Surgical Strike – Leadership with Heart!

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fb-pic-_-unsplash_-2It has been  an interesting week. My niece is currently in Bengaluru as I am writing this appearing for her final round of SSB test (Army Selection). She apparently has cleared the aptitude , group discussion etc and now in the fray for the final round of selection which will last for 3-4 days.Currently working with an IT giant  (campus selected from engineering) but wanted to go beyond what she is doing ,so when she decided to opt to serve the country – I was glad.

We all are proud of our Army and what it stands for. The recent surgical strike did bring a lot of attention and accolades to our brave soldiers and they deserve all the credit.

Both these circumstances coupled with something I had read and heard from Simon Sinek  recently got me thinking and I thought I will share this perspective – are our corporate leaders like the leaders that we have in the armed forces ? On one side we almost ignore or have to be pushed to perform  certain task/activities/role  while on the other side you go ahead and follow what your leader says even if it means that you might die ?  What makes the leadership in the army unique ?

This is what I believe happens :

1.The leader in the army leads from the front , he is not only giving directions and making strategies he is also leading you and will take the first bullet . Unlike  a corporate leader ?

2.The leader in the army fights for his life and more than his life , he fights to protect the lives of his fellowmen and sometimes dies protecting the life of others.

3.He gets recognized when he ignores his self interest and brings the interest of his/her country and his fellowmen above his own interest .

How many leaders do you know who would put their name first on the layoff list ?

In corporate life, it’s the opposite –  a leader will never think of cutting his job first before he announces mass lay offs to increase shareholder value. His position and his perks are always safe compared to everyone else in the organization and I don’t think the leader ever leads from the front.

In other words , the corporate world has got it upside down. Don’t you think ?

“People first” is just a meaningless  , non committal slogan – which is the same as customer first – bullsugar !

A Famous story as told by Field Marshall Sam Manekshaw during the 1971 war against Pakistan wherein the Pakistan army had surrendered and we had 93,000 odd Pakistan soldiers in our camps and as a practice Manekshaw used to visit these camps to ensure that they were comfortable since it was our responsibility till they were sent back. So he would meet the Pakistani soldiers and ask them – are you sleeping well ? are bed bugs troubling you ? Is the food ok ? He would personally go to the kitchen area and taste the food to check if everything was fine ?He would check the toilets too. While he was on one of his rounds ,  he saw a person from the Pakistan army cleaning the toilet – without hesitation as he would do normally , he put his hand out and asked him if he was fine ? The person cleaning the toilet did not know how to react , so he did not put his hand out to which Manekshaw said – Would you not shake my hand ? The cleaner , reluctantly did.

When Manekshaw came back from the rounds , the Pakistani Subedar General of that camp said -Now we know why Indian Army is unbeatable , we have never been treated like this.

People First.

Heart-count over Headcount – Simon Sinek.

Shaju Nair

Next Gen Leader Builder.

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