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The Leader Makes a Difference

G. Balasubramanian | Chairperson, Board of Advisors, ICSL | Editor-in-Chief, The Progressive School


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

You might have read the following anecdote, but it makes a lot sense to read it repeatedly so that we understand its powerful implications:


As the old man walked the beach at dawn, he noticed a young man ahead of him picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Finally catching up with the youth, he asked him why he was doing this. The answer was that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.


But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish” countered the other. “How can your effort make any difference?


The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and then threw it to safety in the waves. ”It makes a difference to this one”, he said.


A leader makes a difference in the lives of many of his followers. Often, he influences their thought process, their living patterns, their work profile and their cherished goals. A leader acts as a catalyst and empowers his fellow-beings to work with commitment and dedication.

But the beach goes on for miles and there are millions of starfish” countered the other. “How can your effort make any difference?

A leader identifies those who need help and support and enables them to reach their goal. At times, people do wonder how one can change the fate of the whole world and if things don’t change why they should continue to struggle. Like the single starfish for which its position either at sea or on the shores makes a difference, so does the support and help rendered by the leader to some of the followers.


At our workstations, we often find that someone needs our understanding and looks forward to our help. Do we really identify and reach them?


Edith Wharton says:

There are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror reflecting it

What should we choose to be?

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