Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Leaders and Leadership - Post 1

I had been wanting to write this article for quite some time now;
So, here it goes:

Leaders and Leadership - Post 1

Classrooms across the world have a tradition of appointing someone as the monitor, or in the senior classes, a group of students are appointed as the Prefects who are in a way the representatives of their class/ school.
Most of the times the Monitors/ Prefects are selected (not elected) on the sole criteria of their academic performance; so generally, we have the student who scores the highest marks in the class appointed as a representative of the class.

Is this the best way of selecting our representatives?

Come to think of it, this may be one of the most weirdest ways of selecting the representatives of any society.

In this post, I have taken an example of three of Indias' (recent) greatest cricketing icons, their styles, and leadership patterns: Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin has been rightly recognized the world over as one of the greatest batsman to have graced the cricket field. There is no surprise that, these days, with every innings he plays, some new record is broken. He is definitely a role model millions around the world.
It is no surprise then, that Sachin, during his glorious career had the opportunity of leading the country in both the forms of the game.
His captaincy record, both in Tests and ODIs, though is nothing short of disastrous,

What went wrong:
Individuals like Sachin have an aura about them. People tend to worship icons like him for their skill, temperament and commitment levels.
Sachin, during his period as captain also expected the same from his players - that they display the same level of skill, temperament and commitment.
What he perhaps forgot was to appreciate the latent individual capabilities, and limitations of his own players; so when he devised for one of his ace fast bowlers to bounce out the opposition; the plan failed miserably; not because of the lack of a try by the pacer; but, because the Sachin had not considered the limitation of the bowler in executing the plan.

Working in teams requires the leaders to appreciate the inherent talent/ skills in each of the team members, and at the same time to recognize the inherent limitations in the individual; and then come out with a winning strategy.

Justin Langer had this to say of his captain, Steve Waugh:
If Steve asks me to run through a brick wall, I will run as fast as possible because I know Steve will not ask of me a task he thinks I cannot do.

Leadership is all about inspiring faith in the team to outperform themselves.

Perhaps, if Sachin had asked the same of his team-mates, they would have thought, "Hey, we can barely run without tripping over, and he is asking us to run through a brick wall?"

Rahul Dravid
Rahul "Wall" Dravid, has earned the nickname "The Wall" for the solidity he displays in his batting, the utmost integrity he shows at all times, and for the Never Die Out attitude that he carries.
Dravid took over the leadership of the Indian cricket team during a tough time. Sourav Ganguly had lost favor with the selectors, and with Sachin declining captaincy, Dravid was the but obvious choice(again appointed in a similar manner to choosing a monitor of the class).
Dravid had been the Rock of Gibraltar of the Indian team, and had enjoyed the goodwill of all the team members.
Under his captaincy, India went on to record their most consecutive ODI wins.

What went wrong:
Things began to go wrong when Dravid started losing form with the bat.
Being the Professional he is, Dravid spent a lot of time and effort in gaining back his once splendid touch; but, in the process lost his decisiveness as a captain.

Leaders like Dravid like to lead by example - by knowing the way, by showing the way. They let their performances speak for them, and can only inspire others in the team through their own deeds. When the going gets tough for them on the personal front, seldom can they carry their team alongwith them.

Sourav Ganguly
Sourav "Dada" Ganguly took over the leadership of the Indian team in troubled times; the match fixing saga was threatening to ruin the state of cricket in India. Instead of being bogged down with the burden of the past deeds (or misdeeds) and added responsibilities of leading the team, Dada brought about a breath of fresh air, by being cocky with his mannerisms - be it making Steve Waugh wait for the toss, or having run-ins with the umpires all too often.

All his mannerisms displayed one thing for sure - that his team was not going to go down without a fight. He instilled a sense of belief in his teammates, particularly the younger ones, and the attitude that winning teams carry.

Sourav himself was a batsman of a limited capacities; but through his leadership skills developed a Brave New Indian team.

What went wrong:
There is a dialogue by Sharukh Khan in the movie ChakDe India, which goes by,
"हर टीम में एक गुंडा होता है. इस टीम का गुंडा मैं हूँ" which loosely translates to "Every team has one leader; and I am the leader of this team".

Sourav was passionate about leading the team, and one who would want full authority in running the show. What happened with the introduction of Greg Chappel as the coach of the team was that Souravs sole position as the de-facto leader of the pack was questioned. This lead to bad blood, and ultimately leading to the ouster of Sourav from the leadership position.

There is a concept of shared leadership evolving in corporate India; I am pretty certain that Sourav would not want to vouch for such a thing.

Leadership is often made out to be a very difficult subject to tread on; but the essence of leadership is very simple, as elaborated by the quote below:

A good leader inspires people to have confidence in their leader;

A great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.

They say that Leaders are not made, they are born;
But, Leadership can be learnt.

So true.

More to follow...

Please bear in mind while reading this article, that I am no expert on the field of Leadership; this article is just about penning down my observations about a particular set of leaders



  • Nice one..

    By Blogger Siddharth, At 11:57 AM  

  • Good one Manish...

    By Blogger Gokhs, At 7:52 PM  

  • Good article! I agree to your views especially on Sachin's failings as a leader!

    By Anonymous Rahul George, At 1:53 AM  

  • nice one Manish and very true!!!

    By Anonymous Sandeep, At 11:56 AM  

  • Manish,

    Your all articles are very good. I give you one suggestion or request that in your profile we will not see your face so you will change your photo and put full photograph. Also i want to give you one article for you. you will modify it in your writing style and put it in your blog. Because your writing style is very nice.

    Subject: Where to Cross The Border?

    If You Cross The North KoreanBorder Illegally You Get 12 Years Hard Labour.

    If You Cross The IranianBorder Illegally You Are Detained Indefinitely.

    If You Cross The AfghanBorder Illegally, You Get Shot.

    If You Cross The Saudi ArabianBorder Illegally You Will Be Jailed.

    If You Cross The ChineseBorder Illegally You May Never Be Heard Again.

    If You Cross The VenezuelanBorder Illegally You Will Be Branded A Spy And Your Fate Will Be Sealed.

    If You Cross The CubanBorder Illegally You Will Be Thrown Into Political Prison To Rot.

    If You Enter BritainIllegally You Will be Arrested, Prosecuted And Sent To Prison And Deported

    If You Are A Pakistani or a BangladeshiAnd Illegally Cross The Indian BorderYou Get
    - A Ration Card,
    - Passport ( 1 or more)
    - Haz Subsidy,
    - A Drivers License,
    - Voter Identity Card,
    - Job Reservation,
    - Special Privileges,
    - Credit Cards,
    - Subsidized Rent Or A Loan To Buy A House,
    - Free Education,
    - Free Health Care,
    - A Lobbyist In New Delhi ,with a ready Television Channel & group of expert human right activists.
    - The right to talk about secularism, which was not heard of back home

    And Ofcourse - Voting Rights!!
    Hats off to the ********* in Delhi!!!!!!! !!! & pseudosecularists in society, who elect them.

    By Anonymous bhavesh Ashar, At 8:34 PM  

  • nice one Manich...!

    By Blogger shekhar, At 7:18 PM  

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