Author: Dr. Ajit Varwandkar

I always insist youngsters aspire and become a leader, not a manager. Merely managing the given job role is a managerial value, while creating something significantly enriching within the given resources is a leadership trait! I agree that one needs managers to efficiently run an organisation. However, all such managers would deliver exceptional results only when they have inherited at least these four leadership essentials:

  • A curious mind
  • Winning Attitude
  • Self Belief
  • Care

A curious mind

It is said that logic can take you from ‘a’ to ‘b’, but if you apply creativity and power it with curiosity, you can start from anywhere and reach anywhere. Invariably, curious minds end up asking questions which give birth to empowering results. These are people who refuse to be satisfied with the status quo. They want to know much more and learn.

You remain a curious mind when you know that you know significantly less. Leaders never ask a question for the sake of it. They ask because they are hungry to learn more. A leader can never be content with the current reality. A curious mind is not aligned with contentedness, which is the growth symptom!

Winning attitude

A leader can smell the future fragrance of victory. You refuse to get discouraged when the world looks at you with doubt. Obstacles never stop you from moving ahead. On the contrary, barriers on the road become your inspiration milestones.

A winning attitude enables a leader to walk into uncharted territory. Often a leader is required to leap into the unknown destination of time. This is possible only when the leader has a winning attitude. Look around, and you will observe that managers have a limited resource of winning attitude. But for a leader, the winning attitude has no expiry date.


People never respect a timid person. A leader has to lead from the front most of the time. 100% belief in one’s ability to drive the project is the prime enabler for leadership. When we talk of self-belief, it is not just about confidence and courage. The essence is the ability to take confident decisions with full accountability. A leader usually ends up making realistic assessments of circumstances. This ability makes the leadership capable of taking fruitful risks.

Self-belief helps a leader read between the lines and decipher the unsaid. Since most of a leader’s work lies in the future sphere, this attribute becomes an imperative must-have for all successful leaders. A person who believes in one’s own decisions inspires trust in society.


A leader can never lead if they don’t care. It is not just sufficient to be caring. A person must demonstrate loving actions. A manager may care more about critical results, but a leader always cares for his people.

Leader is usually known for their high level of empathy. This attribute of caring helps a leader to build cohesive and high-performing teams. At the same time, a manager may be remembered as a taskmaster. The inherent instinct to care for others and their happiness naturally inspires people to follow you.

Friends, there can be umpteen characteristics to define and distinguish a leader from the crowd. I mentioned these four because I understand these do not just help a leader survive but also enjoy life cheerfully.

Do contact me in case you have any career queries.

Dr. Ajit Varwandkar is the Director of He is a leading career counselor and can be contacted on 9826132972 or email him at

This column was originally published by the author in The Times of India