Leaders Vs Victims

29-12-2020 CA Madhukar N Hiregange

We at our firm have had as apart of our mission, one to develop committed professional leaders. We have done that for decades now – more than 100 + have gone out as leaders in their own right. In this process of improving others, we ourselves came to know where we were lacking and are improving to the extent, we were comfortable. We worked on our “weaknesses” (areas of possible improvement) and especially built on our strengths. 

We are proud and grateful to the boys/ girls going out of our office being acknowledged openly as being of “different professional level”. Many have gone into employment and some into practice in all parts of India. They have invariably imbibed some of the wonderful values for which professionals are looked upto.  

Understanding this limiting behavior 

It is not by an accident that one becomes a leader. When we see the achiever of today whom we admire be it Jeff Bezos, Bill gates, Abdul Kalam, Andre Agassi. None of them were born with any genetic advantage. One has a choice whether he/she wishes to behave like a leader (each and every one of us is unique has come to this earth with a purpose) or as a victim. One cannot be both. A victim is a person who has come to feel helpless and passive in the face of misfortune or ill-treatment. We being human even leaders at times tends to do/ behave like victims. However, it is true that great achievement comes out of great adversity. 

How do I know I am behaving like a victim? 

We can watch out for the actions which indicates to us that we are behaving like a victim (maybe, unconsciously) as follows:  

  • We give excuses when we have not met our commitments- because of being busy, forgetting, not in the mood… 
  • We set low/ poor expectation for ourselves and other in our team of our ability even before jobs are allocated, 
  • We blame others- peers, juniors, seniors, clients, bosses and team (maybe directly or indirectly), 
  • We accuse those near and dear for our limitations,
  • We believe the circumstances were such that it cannot be done in time or the way it should have been done, 
  • We believe that nothing can be done and the situation is hopeless, 
  • We believe that the final result will be a failure, 
  • We are being defensive by saying it is not our fault, 
  • We are “Shifting the monkey”– shirking accountability/ responsibility (google) .. 

Impact on us 

The result of this type of behaviour over time would be especially disempowering in the sense that we give up our strength/ our power to someone or something outside. This leads to our friends, relative, professional colleagues having less of confidence in us. They will not give challenging work and would prefer to do it themselves. In-office this can lead to less opportunities which may look good in the very short term. Nobody likes a loser and therefore can result in loneliness. We would stagnate and stop growing. No victim like this but feels trapped and powerless. 

How to get started to get over this Self-defeating behavior? 

  1. None of us is perfect- build self-compassion. Do not keep beating your self up. “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” — Gautama Buddha 
  2. Start noting down every day 5 aspects for which we are grateful. It can also be people close to us. Parents, teachers, friends…  
  3. Do something for others without any expectation of return. Compassion for others. 
  4. We carry grudges, hurt due to actions by others. Let go, drop it, forgive them.[ not easy for all- we need to work on this.] 
  5. If able to introspect- look for the cause of this feeling of helplessness and weakness.  
  6. Take ownership proactively 
  7. Volunteering is a good way to get out of this 
  8. Stretching to build your leadership muscle- do not say I cannot do it 
  9. Have a belief that everything has a solution
  10. ….. many more 


In today’s world of democratization of leadership, the person who come through, taking absolute responsibility would have passion for learning deeply, doing great work, living in general a happy, fulfilled and joyous life. Any aspects where we want to understand more, get more insights the internet is rich with material on this topic. Be the leader you are destined to be and reach your best self. All the best.