Why Business and Political Leaders Must be Institution Builders to Ensure Longevity
What Differentiates Truly Great Leaders from Run of the Mill Leaders?
There are leaders who run organizations and nations to secure their position and to make the most of the opportunity to lead them. Also, there are leaders who are visionary but yet lack the capacity or the needed mission capabilities to focus on organizational and national longevity.
However, there are those leaders who can be considered truly great who are not only visionary and mission enabled but also focus on institution building so that their legacy outlives them and the institutions they helped build last longer and the nations and organizations they run are sustainable over the longer term.
Thus, what differentiates the run of the mill leaders from the truly great leaders is that the latter focus on building and sustaining institutions that can ensure that the entities they run stand on their feet and hit the ground running even after they are long gone.
The Invention of India: The Example of Nehru
In this context, a few of the truly great leaders of nations who have invested in institutions and ensured that such nations remember them for eternity can be named here. For instance, the first Prime Minister of Independent India, Jawaharlal Nehru, was one such institution builder who directed the resources of the state to be invested in building institutes of excellence such as the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) and the NITs or the National Institutes of Technology in addition to investing in dams and heavy industries.
While his socialist approach to economic matters is now being contested and a contentious debate on his legacy is taking place at the moment, what cannot be denied is that his legacy has served India well in terms of creating a class of specialist technocrats and professionals who form the backbone of industry and medicine as well as governmental departments.
Indeed, Nehru’s focus on institution building ensured that the judiciary, the civil services, and the Armed Forces could sustain themselves even after his demise.
From Third World to the First: the Example of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew
Apart from Nehru, another Asian Leader, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore was an institution builder who ensured that Singapore transformed itself from a sleepy backwater and a dissipated port city to a vibrant and thriving modern center of regional trading and port hub.
Indeed, Lee Kuan Yew can be credited for single-handedly transforming Singapore into what it is now wherein even nearly a decade after his death, the City State continues to sustain itself despite being a cultural and ethnic melting pot where the possibility of racial strife is very high.
Moreover, he also ensured that the Judiciary and the Civil Services in Singapore continue to be highly professional and modern and its technocratic elite the envy of other nations across the region.
The Indian Corporate World: The Example of Infosys and NRN
In the corporate world, the Icon of the Indian IT (Information Technology) Industry and the Legendary Co-Founder of Infosys, NR Narayana Murthy, can be considered as an institutional leader who by leading by example ensured that Infosys invested in its people and its infrastructure and followed high standards of corporate governance and excellence.
No wonder that working in Infosys remains the dream of many aspiring and working professionals. Having said that, it is also the case that in recent years, Infosys, and its brand of corporate governance has come under threat which prompted NRN to take up cudgels on behalf of the firm though he retired from the Board long ago.
There is a lesson in this and that despite the best intentions and hard work of truly great leaders, sometimes the institutions they build wither away and atrophy which means that have to also nurture and encourage the younger generation to carry on their legacy and leave behind a lasting impact on the firms and institutions they helped build.
Institution Builders Focus on Capacity and Capability Building
Thus, as can be seen from the examples so far, what differentiates truly great leaders, whether they run nations or businesses is that they invest in capacity and capability building and at the same time ensure that they nurture and encourage institution building by focusing on longer-term sustainability of the entities they run.
Institution building as we have discussed until now refers to investment in physical and human resources assets apart from nurturing standards of governance and excellence that ensure the longevity of the entities, whether they are nations or organizations.
Indeed, once the institutional excellence is ingrained in the people and the entities, it usually lasts for a generation or two before they began to decay and atrophy wherein the process of rejuvenation and reinvention has to happen again for such entities to regain their Mojo.
There is a lesson for all aspiring professionals and that is that if you really want to make a difference to the places where you work or hope to work, it is better to focus on longevity and longer-term sustainability of such entities.
In times when institutions such as the Media, the Judiciary, and the Civil Services are under threat world over, more than ever, it is important for future leaders to focus on institution building and rejuvenating and reinventing the organizations and the entities they run instead of just going through the motions.
Lastly, the fact that it is in the interests of future generations to inhabit a world that is sustainable means that leaders who become truly great must first focus on making such institutions run sustainably with a view to leaving a legacy of excellence.
Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.
- Leadership - Introduction
- Importance of Leadership
- Role of a Leader
- Qualities of a Leader
- Leadership and Management
- Leader versus Manager
- Authority vs Leadership
- Leadership and Motivation
- Emotional Intelligence for Leaders
- Organizational Leadership
- Leadership Ethics
- Leadership Strategy
- Leadership Styles
- Personal Leadership Brand
- Level 5 Leadership
- Situational Leadership
- Situational Leadership and Motivation
- Leadership & Subordinate Development
- Leadership Development - Introduction
- Intrinsic vs Extrinsic Motivation
- Inside Leaders vs. Outside Leaders
- Transformational Leadership
- Leadership for the 21st Century
- The Transleader
- Three Traits of Effective Leadership
- Importance of Compassion in Leadership
- An Important Advice to Future Leaders
- Avoiding Focus on Quarterly Earnings
- Reinventing Management for 21st Century
- Ambidextrous Leadership
- Invest in Oneself
- Social Media Skills for Leaders
- Social Stratification and Hierarchy
- The Ethical Imperative
- Leadership in the Face of Adversity
- Emotional and Spiritual Intelligence
- Leadership Theories
- Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid
- House’s Path Goal Theory
- Great Man Theory
- Trait Theory
- LMX Theory
- Transformational Leadership
- Transactional Leadership
- Continuum of Leadership Behaviour
- Likert’s Management System
- Hersey Blanchard Model
- Fiedler’s Contingency Model
- Leadership and Trust
- How to be a Good Leader ?
- Effective Leadership Skills
- Leadership Vision
- Different Types of Power
- Women and Leadership
- What are the Challenges in Leadership ?
- Tips to Overcome Challenges in Leadership
- Role of Communication in Overcoming Leadership Challenges
- Role of Management/Organization in Overcoming Leadership Challenges
- Tips to Strengthen Bond Among Employees
- Vision of Leaders has to be Actualized by Middle Management for Organizational Success
- Leadership in the Time of Epic Changes and Struggles Over Ethics and Values
- Great Leadership is about Initiating, Sustaining, and Carrying through Ones Vision
- Cultural Dimensions of Leadership
- Scarcity vs. Abundant Mindsets in Leaders
- Different Folks, Different Strokes! The Many Leadership Styles in the Real World
- Persuasion and the Art of Changing Minds are Essential for Contemporary Leaders
- Managing in Chaos: A Necessary Skill for Managers and Leaders
- Leadership in the Contemporary World
- Need to Develop Network Thinking and Seventh Sense for Success in the 21st Century
- Why Do Some Business Leaders Attain Greatness Whereas Others Fail?
- Hands on Approach to Leadership: The Need for Leaders to be Good Administrators
- How Great Leaders Transform Organizations, Nations, Societies, and the World
- Why Business and Political Leaders Must be Institution Builders to Ensure Longevity
- Qualities of an Inspirational Leader and their Benefits
- Foundation Pillars of Successful Leaders
- Self Assessment for Leadership: Assessing the Strengths and Vulnerabilities for Improving Leadership Effectiveness
- Self Motivation for Leaders
- Techniques for Developing Self-Motivation
- Leadership Development Plan
- Writing a Leadership Development Plan
- When Hope Meets Reality: The Challenges for Leaders to Sustain the Momentum
- The Challenge for Contemporary Leaders is to Restore Trust and Faith in Institutions
- The Ever Shortening Business Cycles and What They Mean for Business Leaders
- Leadership Case Study: Steve Jobs - The Man Who Ushered in the Smartphone Revolution
- Why Leaders Must be in Control over the Direction and Pace of Organizational Change
- The 4Cs of Leadership Styles for Leadership in the Digital Age
- Lessons for Business Leaders from the Downfall of Charles Ghosn of Renault - Nissan
- Truly Great Leadership is All about Walking the Talk in All Aspects of Being Leaders
- Examining the Crisis of the Leader – Follower Relationship in the Present Times
- How Great Leaders use a Mix of Micromanagement and Hands off Approaches
- Leadership during Crises is what Distinguishes Great Leaders from Manager Leaders
- What the Dalai Lama can teach Corporate Honchos about Leadership and Management
- Why we Need more Emotionally Intelligent Leaders and Managers in Chaotic Times
- Why the Digital Age Calls for a New Approach to Leadership and Team Management
- Business Leadership in the Age of Nationalism and Populism and the Rocky Road Ahead
- Leadership in a Collapsing World When Faced with Insurmountable Problems
- The Importance of Thought Leaders and Influencers in the Age of Social Media
- Leadership by Optics Management: Taking the Howdy Modi Event as a Case Study
- What Should Leaders do in Low Growth and Recessionary Times
- What Ails India Inc. and is it a Crisis of Leadership or a Structural Issue to be Addressed?
- The Tyranny of the Quarterly Results: Why Business Leaders must Avoid Short-Termism
- The Perils of Leaders and Their Personality Cults in Times of Authoritarian Rulers
- Leadership in the Digital Age and Why Contemporary Leaders Must Master These Skills
- Misdemeanours by Senior Leaders Must Be Handled Firmly and the Right Message Sent
- When Hope Meets Reality: Why Visionary Leaders Have to Balance Dreams with Realities
- Power as a Managerial Tool
- Why We Need More Self Aware and Less Self Centred Leaders, Who Can Self Evaluate