Tag Archive for 'Leadership'

A GREAT LEADER IN ACTION

It is said that you can either add years to your life or add life to your years.

A glorious example of the latter is the life of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who completed one year on 25th July 2008 after demitting the office of the President of India. I read an article by him in the Deccan Chronicle dated 30th July 08 on the eventful one year he just completed out of office. His diary speaks volumes on his passion for the youth of the country for whom he is a mentor, friend, philosopher and guide. He finds time to guide PhD students, interacts with university students in India and abroad, visited various under developed areas of the country and travels to foriegn countries on invitation. He also found time to address the "Lead India" movement and addressed a number of national and international conferences on space research, energy, health care, agriculture and education. He is also a great proponent of Corporate Social Responsibility .

Leaders of all walks of life have great lessons to emulate from Dr Kalam’s example. His advice to the youth of the country to realize their full potential through the association of good books, good teachers and good human beings is of great value. Dr Kalam is a true Leadership Role Model for all.

Leadership-The IPL T20 Way

Six weeks of “cricketainment”comes to a close with the IPL T20 cricket finals at Mumbai tonight. The “Super Bowl”of India-conceived, crafted and conducted with clinical precision has received great appreciations and accolades from all over the world. It is estimated that more than 99 million watched this spectacle on and off the venue on a daily basis, relegating all other chores or engagements to second place.

What are the leadership acts witnessed from  this new “genie” out of the bottle?

  • A Great Business Opportunity – From a cricket game to an excellent game plan with enormous potential to create business value to all its stake holders-corporate kings, star power, media muzzle and brand equity, at considerable leverage and risk-return framework navigating unchartered territory both in sports and entertainment.
  • The “Salad Bowl” kind of global teams -assembled in India at very high stakes under local business banners. It was very interesting to watch how players from different countries integrated gradually into cohesive teams as the competition progressed to the final round.
  • Talent scouting and development – Great team building efforts by veteran cricketeers and coaches many a times disregarding perceived brand value of individual players produced world class teams with a spin off benefit of spotting new talent from within India for future employment.
  • Breaking Barriers – A new level of aggressive performance with dynamism, flexibility and innovative execution was very evident in many of the matches played. Many new records were created or broken during the tournament.
  • The Great Visual Treat – provided to  spectators at global level  within a reasonable duration of 3 to 4 hours at affordable costs with added entertainment value cleverly mixing business with pleasure.

Kerry Parker should feel very happy and vindicated for having first put in place the limited over cricket format. The IPL T20 leadership has now taken it to new heights of “Cricketainment” adapting it to the 21st century visual and digital medium with very promising returns to all its constituents.

Leading from the front

Today, 4th march 2008, will go down in the history of Indian cricket as a day of great achievement, heroism and excellence.

India won the tri-series cricket tournament in Australian soil at Brisbane, the first ever win in that country in such a competition. Beyond the team performance and captaincy of Dhoni, what was evident in sharp focus is the great performance of the little master Sachin Tendulkar scoring 91 runs in spite of a groin injury suffered in the first finals match on 2nd march where again he was unbeaten with a sterling 117 runs. He, through his consistently great performance, has shown the way for all the new junior players, some of whom only infants when he started his cricketing career, the way to play the game in the spirit of the game. Sachin is widely accepted by all team members as a mentor, wise counsel, friend, guide and a great motivator. His very presence in the team along with his ever willing and helping attitude has gone a long way in helping Dhoni discharge his onerous duties of the team captain. A great Leader who led the players in his un-official capacity of a patriarch for the team, leading always from the front. Indian Cricket salutes the Leader in Sachin Tendulkar.

The Identity Of A Leader.

There are as many books on leadership as there are recognized leaders in this world, each calling upon the emerging leaders to follow a particular path. From the age old wisdom of saints, great philosophers and thinkers to the modern management gurus, we have a variety of leadership recipe to cook, serve and create a “followership”. As a life time student of leadership studies, I have been always fascinated by the rich and varied menu available to any practicing leader to understand, appreciate, assimilate and emulate such great success stories in their own walks of work and life. How does a budding leader go about doing this?

A “Leader in Being” looks around first to his immediate environment for support. Some of them are blessed with a family lineage and legacy. We have many such good examples from old stories of successful kingdoms, family run businesses, political dynasties and generations of entrepreneurs. Right from the days of the great epics, there is also evidence of such environmental sensitization supplemented by professional coaching. Experts in the form of a “Rajguru” or counselors in a king’s court or in more recent times, mentors or coaches discharge such responsibilities with great finesse and they get noticed world over for bringing up their progeny. We have such examples in the field of sports, entertainment and adventure pursuits as well.

A third step in the learning process is when a leader learns from his team. In this context, every human interaction of a leader and by a leader is a unique learning experience for the leader as well as those being led. How one benefits out of such distinguishes the successful leader from the “also ran types”. A leader who is open to learn from his environment, his peers, his mentors and coaches and above all from his team stands a good chance to succeed in his mission and life and is likely to leave a legacy worth emulating by others.
A “Learning Leader” can travel only up to a certain extent in his leadership journey. In order to leave a legacy, he or she needs to leave a “footprint” behind when they leave the scene.

The quality of such a foot print will depend on the contribution made by the leader and the difference he or she has been able to make in the lives of those with whom they have interacted with in their pursuit of leadership. Furthermore, has the leader created a unique identity for oneself will make the transference of legacy very interesting. In modern day workplace with its rich tapestry of processes, protocols, systems and technology, there is a great challenge for leaders to create an “identity” for oneself which distinguishes them from the crowd. This may not necessarily involve heroic deeds or acts of valor, but small acts done with empathy, compassion, understanding and an application of one’s own belief systems. A successful leader assimilates and synthesizes all his experiences and learning and carves out a niche for himself when practicing the art of leadership. This and this step alone will help a leader create a distinct identity for himself or herself in their work life.

In order to achieve and excel in this pursuit, a leader needs to first clear all his inhibitions, prejudices and mindsets, be open to learn from anyone and subordinate his or her personal interests in favor of the larger interest of the community he or she is privileged to lead. A passionate determination combined with demonstrated humility will go a long way in achieving a unique leader identity in the modern day corporate arena. When the leaders are at their personal best, they challenge the process, inspire a shared vision, enable others to act, model the way and encourage the heart.

This is true leadership.