Leadership Lesson 3: Hold on to the Values not the Person

Abhishek Paul
2 min readOct 22, 2018

Every leader is an unique combination of values & skills. It is this combination that inspires people and moves mountains. The common trap though is to place the leader on a pedestal and attribute all outcomes to the person / personality. The danger is that we are turning a blind eye to human frailties, ie no human being is perfect. So when a leader invariably displays his shortcomings or even turns away from his earlier lofty goals, those following him become disillusioned and might also give up — it even becomes a convenient excuse for our own inability to effect change. Worse still, some choose to rationalize the leader’s faults at the expense of these values.

A value or ideal on the other hand can be perfect, it can remain incorruptible and inspire people for centuries (“Do unto others as you would have them do to you”, “Turn the other cheek”). Whenever a leader taps into these timeless values, we can cheer them and when they step outside them, we hold all the more fiercely to the values — because we have seen even the best of us can stumble.

We do not blame them for letting us down or pity them for giving in to temptations, but rather remain grateful that they boldly carried the torch for us and showed us what is possible when ordinary folks hold dearly to the right values.