Power hungry people always find a way to get to the top of the pyramid of power or die trying. They know how to use and discard people and manipulate levers of power effectively. Power is so intoxicating that people who acquire it become insatiable and typically want more and more until they themselves are consumed by power itself.
Democracy as it was born gave relief to the masses and a good shot at changing their means of survival and progress. It however requires that the people exercise wisdom in the choices they make. Democracy is unfortunately under siege. Instead of providing a better world and India, it has in fact mutated into something toxic called an 'ineptocracy'.
People are made to believe that democracy provides a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Nothing can be further from the truth. Leaving aside the rhetoric, the press briefings and speeches, it is now 'a government of the evil, by the cunning and power hungry for the benefit of a select few.'
History clearly shows that across the world across nearly all time that a group of people representing a marginal percentage of the population are the 'haves' and the vast majority are the 'have nots'. The politician needs the money and resources of the haves and the voting numbers of the 'have nots', while promising to protect each group from the other.
When a state reaches a position where approximately 50% of it's citizens rely on the largess of the state for their continued sustenance, the form of government becomes one of ineptocracy.
What are the management lessons I can share with you?
An outcome of my many years of teaching and consulting with organisations and families, it is observed that there are 3 possible types of leaders, based on rewards and punishments.
The first is the briber. This person is normally an incompetent person and has no other choice but to keep bribing the people to support him or her. This is not difficult to implement because one can always be gracious with someone else's money and resources. This is why the government of India under the UPA leadership has been compelled to spend Rs 11 trillion in past decade in programs of highly questionable value. The follower or employee gladly takes the bribes but often feels offended and alienated. When the sops dry up the followers leave and seek other alternatives. A problem for bribers is that the followers or dependents become addicted to sops and soon grow dissatisfied and they need even larger doses of bribes. Such leaders are initially lauded but soon despised, and they are almost always never respected.
The second type are the slave drivers or 'intimidators', the primary tool they use is fear. They so intimidate the followers that they do not dare disobey. They work towards crushing the individuality and collective identity of people. Once implemented this approach delivers very fast results and impact of change can be rapid. This is possibly what is happening in China. Unfortunately gains tend to reverse as soon as the fear factor diminishes. The performance of followers is also just above bare minimum so that they escape punishment. Many school teachers and administrations also use this approach. Such leaders are often hated. They demand respect but almost never get it.
The third type are the true leaders, they use a blend of positive reinforcement while wielding a big stick. They normally have a well thought out strategy which is communicated and excites their followers. The leader's dream becomes the dream and vision of the followers. This is based on educating, facilitating, supporting and encouraging followers. Performers are suitably rewarded after evaluation by a transparent system, and non performers are encouraged to perform better after due dialogue and analysis. The laggards are often cast aside and supported to survive but fall behind the main group. This approach is the foundation and builds a meritocracy. Typically leaders adopting this style of leadership are hated and loved at the same time, but always command respect.