Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leadership (Re) Defined

Sometime back, I wrote What the heck is leadership?

Seems that day, I had a selective amnesia, a momentary lapse in to loss of senses and forgot the definition of leadership taught to me by a much wiser (May be younger) kid on a very special circumstance.What he taught me was, A person who gets things done by his charisma, by his presence, by driving others hard is a manager but  definitely not a leader. A leader is the one who make things happen even in his absence by inspiring people.
How many leaders or people do we know who could pull off this kind of leadership?

After reading Line of Fire, the autobiography of  Pervez Musharraf, more especially the military coup by his troops, I would say he fits the bill rather than any one.

Why so and how so?
Musharraf was on his way back from Colombo in a commercial airliner unaware that he has been dismissed from the post of army chief.In his absence, with out his guidance or coordination or command, his generals carry out the coup, dismiss Nawaz Sharif, and ensure Musharraf's plane lands safely.

Of course, all this is allegedly based on the self account of Musharraf, which need not be true.

Of course, the destiny played its part where the flight got delayed here and there and with out those delays history as we know could have been very different as the timing played a crucial factor.

Of course, Musharraf and his generals would have considered the possibility of his dismissal brainstormed, played strategic war games on this scenario.

Of course, one could argue, the loyalty of Musharraf's generals should have been towards the country but not to a man called Musharraf and hence Musharraf has failed miserably.

Still, think about it, his generals are not sure, will he even land safely?  They could have simply kept quiet, saying no commander, no commands so no coup. Why should they risk their very lives and conduct a coup which may go wrong?

Still a bloodless coup occured which overthrew the government in less than four hours. [May be Musharraf later chided his generals, "Why the hell it took so long?]

So how many of us could take a vacation and be confident that your team could carry on even with out you? [No, I am not talking about how dispensable you are!]

Thanks to the KID who taught me what leader ship is?  
Thanks to NHM for their special discount sale.
Thanks to friends who have listened to my rant on this.

The first, "Of course" scenerio mentioned above also did reinforce my faith, belief, philosophy and guiding principle of tough times:
Rather than fretting and feeling bad when things dont go your way or  starting to sulk for silly things, accept things as they happen, because, everything happens for a reason and for a very good reason.

Couldn't resist thinking, Was Gandhi, ever a leader, more especially after reading the pen ultimate paragraph here
Considering the special circumstance then, this definition of leadership was never far away from my mind, but off late it has been haunting me with high intensity...


Ramesh said...

Very nice post on the dimension of inspiration as a leadership trait. Great leaders can inspire in ways unfathomable. The more you write about Musharraf's book, the more it seems to be a great read.

The piece on Gandhi was complete crap and trash journalism. Very few pieces really inflame me when I read them and this one was one of them. Utter garbage, in my humble view !!

zeno said...

Well, I really liked it a lot. Not sure how you might feel.
உங்களையே கடுப்பத்தற அளவா இருந்துச்சு? I can recommend few more trash or treasure [depends on hw u look at it] to help you develop your patience :)
It is also ironical the review became more popular than the book!

RamMmm said...

Maybe trust was leadership in Musharraf's case. Military folks always form a coterie and layer themselves. In other projects, I would see trust as very important; the manager and the teammate should have a level of trust which allows them to give and accept feedback in a truthful fashion and also the level of independence once enjoys.

சும்மா லீவு எடுங்க, உங்க team மேல நம்பிக்கை வெச்சு. :-)

zeno said...

Musharaf, Yes it was trust. Still considering the stakes, it was great! When it comes to other projects, Managers become Managers rather than just being Man. They start worrying about the impact, risk and remove the human element. They just become selfish!

I might take leave very soon!