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Leadership Lessons from Abu!

, July 24, 2018, 4 Comments

leadership-lessons-marketexpress-inThe students of B-schools who are aspiring to be Managers have to be groomed to be future leaders. Grooming can happen only when we practice what we preach. So as a Professor in a B School, I am eager and open to learn and practice. I often happen to interact with some of the top Business leaders, enthusiastic colleagues, and pro-active students. When I meet a person, I always try to figure it out what leadership trait the person possess? Also watching the interviews of celebrities and analysing their leadership traits is invariably fascinating. One of them is how actresses take charge of their life and manage hectic outdoor shooting and schedules, in spite of their health setbacks like migraine.

To quote an interesting experience with my students, Once it happened that I had selected a student as a class representative for an undergraduate course. He was doing his role very well. After a few months, he met me one day to inform me that, he will be out of station for 10 days and has appointed another student on his own, as an in-charge class representative. Wow! I was amazed by his responsible behaviour. A leadership shoot sprouting?

As Leadership is a personal commitment to oneself, It is to be responsible for himself/herself and the people associated with him or her. In this context, I recollect a small story.

One day a man was asked to paint a boat by the owner of the boat. He brought with him paint and brushes and began to paint the boat with bright red, as the owner asked him. While painting, he realized, there was a hole in the hull and decided to repair it. When he finished painting, he received his money and left. The next day, the owner of the boat came to the painter and presented him with a cheque. The painter was surprised and said, that he has already been paid for painting the boat! This is not for the paint job, the owner said. It’s for fixing the hole in the boat.

When I asked you to paint the boat, I forgot to mention about the hole. When the boat dried, my kids took the boat and went on a fishing trip. They did not know that there was a hole. At that time I was not at home. When I returned and noticed they had taken the boat, I was desperate and tensed because I remembered that the boat had a hole. Imagine my relief and joy when I saw them returning from fishing. Then, I examined the boat and found that you had fixed the hole. You saved the life of my children!. This money is a small way to repay your good deed and sincerity, replied the owner.

The painter in the story mentioned above is a great leader in his own sense. He took the responsibility to take care of things which are the utmost importance in a larger context, though not included in his terms of service. You don’t need to position yourself to be a leader, all one has to raise oneself to take the lead.

In another instance, about leadership I could recall, once in one of our MBA batches we had a visually challenged student. Though he was a sharp student, he needed a lot of help from other classmates. Most of his classmates tried to help him. But it really needed a lot of patience in terms of help. So most of them tried to help him once or twice. But I found that most of the time the boy was getting the help from one particular student. When other classmates lacked enough patience, only one student allowed himself to be patient to do the noble job of helping his visually challenged classmate.

Truly, People who possess this kind of patience are the real gem. I feel being Patient is a unique trait of leadership. In this instant gratification age, patience is becoming slowly extinct among the youngster. Whether it is a health issue or business issue, diagnosis is very important. A leader can make a right diagnosis only when he patiently observes and listens. Also, by being patient the leader gives greatest respect to his team members. They gain confidence and strength.

In one of the TV shows which I watched a few years back, there was a girl who was calling her father as Abu, I liked it and wanted to call my father as Abu which means Father in Urdu. It looks like a short pet name for “Appa” in Tamil. Even Abu affectionately calls his children and grandchildren with short pet names and in his own unique style.

If we consider being responsible as a leadership trait, Abu has it all. He behaves in a responsible way to the people who are associated with him, be it anybody! Whenever people associated with Abu meet us, they have an admiring point of view about Abu, which they share with us religiously. I feel, Abu sows the seeds of goodness wherever he goes. Abu, the goodness train!.

A leader percolates his or her energy into their team by being patient. It lets the team to manifest into an efficient work engine, as each team member seamlessly take up their space. This acts as a positive re-enforcement. It confirms that the leader trusts the team mates’ ability and brings the joy of transformation. This way, a patient leader takes care of their teammates. The team mates look forward to work with the same leader. The teammates are also learning the art of being patient and focusing, focus working to the larger goal of the team. The team usually wants a leader who can make them successful without bullying them. A patient leader is a graceful leader. He creates trusted organizations.

Being Patient is natural for Abu. He executes his plans at the same pace, at which he has planned. Abu’s patience transfers his energy to the people surrounding him. There is no struggle in the process. Only his patience is dominating in his actions. Success follows eventually. With patience he listens. With patience he speaks. With Patience he appreciates. With patience he loves.

Being with Abu is being in a place filled with patience. This is just a drop in the ocean of Abu, that I am trying to take a few drops and learn and practice the art of Leadership.

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  • Geetha hariharan

    Inspiring article! People become rolemodels because of the attributes that they possess and not because of mere success.! 🙂

    • Devi Balaji M S

      It is true Geetha.

  • Swathi Vattam

    Very inspiring read! Way to go mam.

    • Devi Balaji M S

      Thanks Swathi.