The year was 1999. Ratan Tata and his team had gone to sell off the company’s emerging car business to Ford, but what came as a result of the meeting held, was something very humiliating for not only the private firm holding its root in India, but also left a tarnished image of the country’s indigenous automobile manufacturing sector.
In a dramatic change of events, during 2008 sub-prime crisis, the same Ford’s JLR was bought by Ratan Tata.
The above extract not only has the theory of “Karma” instilled in it, it also shows how two different leaders showing different personal characters of leading their firms, sailed the way through while being in a crisis being faced all around the world. While Ratan Tata is known of being humble and a motivational character- a “Man of his words” as we know him, the same way Bill Ford, showed the character of vanity,conceit and narcissist who regarded no one but himself to be the top in this business.
So, what was it that differed between the two, so much so that they were/n’t able to make sure they were stable in adverse conditions? Apparently, a leader needs to be a humble servant and a charismatic leader at the same time. While being able to guide the fellow subordinates, inculcating faith in them about success to follow is imperative (which is more about having faith in the team and less about believing in the luck factor) . The driving factor for TATA in the Indica project was to a launch an indigenously developed small segment car, which could displace the monopoly of Maruti 800 and give other options to the rising middle class.
While in the initial years, it experienced a major setback and was suggested to sell the passenger car, the “faith” developed by Ratan Tata in his fellow employees led it to a success. Thanks to a full of character and strong personality leadership, Indica became one of the leading sell-outs in the small car segment after just 3 year of its launch.
Let’s first understand what all are the institutions we’ll talk about in the following write-up. Institutions for me ranges from a philanthropic institute like Bills Foundation, a small town, a whole country, the diaspora, firms like Facebook or even a terrorist organisation as Al-Qaeda.
A leader is some one who takes initiatives to bring about a change in the society. Bill Gates is a known billionaire. What sets him apart is the amount of philanthropic activities he takes under his account. Apparently, his initial motive was bringing in “connectivity” to the suburbs of the country- the developing ones. He came to know only after he visited those place, that how ridiculous the idea was when he saw living conditions there firsthand. A patient of TB in a clinic hospital of Africa bowed the seeds of apathy towards the billions who were denied equal rights to live – for something that wasn’t in their hands. His Bills and Melinda Foundation has been going strong still, and helping the poor get out of the miseries of life – which are not the same for different people. What character does this show about institute he has been working for?
Moving on, let’s take an example from sports. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is a world-wide known personality, known more about how successful a captain he has been sailing the country through World Cups, won some of them, and still maintains his calm and composed nature. What sets him apart is not how he keeps himself cool while the wins, but also how he takes the responsibilities for losses from the front,replying with wit to the press that haul on him criticizing for the heck of it. At an international stage, he not only represents the country, he also represents his small town of Ranchi, which is known as the city of Dhoni around the country. Thanks to his contributions, even small town boys aspire of achieving something great in life. While being a leader, he inspired some and showed a character of small towns (institutions), because of which people believe that a leader can come out of these corners of the country as well.
Furthermore,a leader needs to be visionary. Narendra Modi, the leader of the country has been known to be diplomatically active since his party started his tenure. The world now knows our country by his name – such is the charisma of the leader. What sets him apart? The way he dreams of the country, being a world leader irrespective of the party in power is what has fostered a ray of hope in the youth today. Thanks to the Skill India mission, even a 12th graduate now knows he can attain skill and earn their living by getting a job. He has been representing the country and addressing the diaspora which has infused a sense of respect for the fellow Indians in any countries. Same as his character, people now see Indians as being hardworking and visionary at the same time.
Also,the world knows our country by Gandhian ideologies. He showed remarkable traits of “servant-leadership” by showing how he took care of his followers first. Thanks to his theory of “Non-violence” the world knows us as being a tolerant nation, with a wide range of diversity, having different practices and faiths, still living with peace.
Evidently, leaders like Mark Zuckerberg are examples of how “quiet leaders” need to be. He doesn’t give inspirational speeches, nor does he force anyone to do anything they don’t wish to do. He himself takes initiatives, to make sure things are done. He represents Facebook on the international level, as a place where people learn and not act like machines. It is his characteristics of “getting things done himself” why people want to join the firm.
We saw how robust, sturdy and vigorous leaders made their way to represent their institutions and have been responsible for each of its success. But why is it that the leaders needs to be so important, to represent his own firm/institute as a whole? It is because of some leaders in history who have redefined the meaning of leadership – In a bad way of course.
Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organisation. The word literally means “the foundation“. While the foundation could have been something looking after the welfare of the people, its leader Osama-Bin-Laden,actuated it towards spreading war and distress – the twin tower attack is an example of how a psycho leader can change the mindset of people and make them do things unethical and immoral. Ironically, he was an Engineer. Who knows, may be if he had nurtured this skill towards building an idea that could help the society, Al-Qaeda would have been a liberal, benignant and a humanitarian organisation?
Adolf Hitler was a conservative nationalist, who exploited the state of depression and hyperinflation that Germany was suffering under and built a picture of a prosperous Germany. He was a brilliant rhetorician, and was also a man of extreme certitude, which you can clearly see in his speeches. But his vision slowly drifted towards military obsessed strategies and he was the one responsible for the second world war. He represented the whole of Germany, and even after the war, the people around the world feared the Germans. People became “germophobic” (metaphor) and considered them as the non-whites of Britain responsible for the inhumane sentiments around the subcontinent.
While doing all this, we forgot the most important element of quantifiablity. Without the representatives of the institutes on the subordinate level, we cannot expect an institution to flourish. Each and every element of the institutes – right from the CEO to the market to the consumers – everyone has a defined role. The efficacious conglomeration of the representatives of the firm on each level are the ones who either hinge or boost the efforts in placing the scalable organization in place. Apparently, management and leadership are push and pull, one defying the mutual coinciding with the other. Leader is to inspire, while management is to motivate to the objective.
Leadership is about goal definition, vision creation, and mission articulation. An absence of leadership as it relates to scale impedes the growth of your objectives. A leader needs to show character, even in the adverse times to sail the way through it. A leader is the one who first aspires and inspires, who defines and follows, and in the same routes, lets other walk with him hand in hand and foot-by-foot, building the institution and displaying the epitome of his character in the same.