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The way we LEAD

Last week was quite emotional for cricket fans especially Indian Cricket fans; as MS Dhoni announced his decision of retirement from all forms of cricket. Retirement is an event in waiting and is part of a sportsman’s career. The clock starts backward from the day you start playing. Great players and their feats are always cherished and memorized after they have left the competitive sports arena. Like any other sport, cricket is also full of legends in all departments; there is a huge list to even mention a few here. However, there is another list which is shorter rather very short i.e. list of great leaders or technically speaking captains. In my list MS Dhoni is being placed way ahead of the few others; and it will be a long path to traverse for anyone to reach somewhere near to him.
When we recall Mahi’s contribution; it is always flushed with the moments of MS as a captain, as a motivator to team members, as Dhoni Bhai to the juniors battling under pressure of contribution. His position on field also shows his leading skills; from behind the stumps we have seen him observing all perspectives, noticing all moves and creating the required changes. He left behind a void that can be filled technically by someone, but it will be uphill task for anyone to evolve as Mahi the crusader.
This is what great leader leave behind – a void. They are felt as much in their absence as when they are physically around. Today when the world is in chaotic mess; politically, psychologically, ergonomically or emotionally; the missing block in the picture is daring leaders. The word ‘DARE’ is given a funny and boisterous outlook by people propagating it. Soft drink sellers feel ‘to dare’ is to jump from heights or some stupid driving pattern; like seriously.
However, when it comes to leaders to dare; it comprises of basic human emotions. It requires a leader to
• Hold and Share
• Seek and Give
• Learn and Teach
The trick here is these are to happen simultaneously all at the same time. Finding that right balance makes you the gem for team to look to.
Leaders who lead from heart; yet who are courageous to call tough shots are the ones who connect with task as well as task doers. Our social setup silences the uncomfortable questions; questions that we do not want to answer are silenced or ignored. This pattern is forced on us from childhood. Gradually we stop raising questions fearing they can be perceived as dumb, rigid or issue creators. When these crushed and restricted minds become leaders, they have already lost acumen to hear and to talk. Till there is no sharing, there can never be connection. People who are not feeling connected can never lead to accomplishment of common goal.
A leader can measure his growth by the growth of the people under their leadership. As a mentor or teacher, we all play role of a leader. However, leadership skill is mostly given sophisticated definition comprising of tactical skills, diplomatic behavior etc.; this makes leadership as a puzzle to solve for many. This treatment gives a feeling that leadership is beyond the soft skill emotions like love, care and share.
A leader should have something to offer in everyone’s testing and tough times; however, he should first understand the requirement and need. He should seek to understand first before expecting to be heard and understood. If a leader creates scenario of open conversations, he may have to face uncomfortable questions; though this will save him from ineffective and unproductive behavior.
The grip of pressure to deliver makes a leader so fearful that he almost decides and acts out of fear. Quoting here from MS himself “Never let success get to your head and never let failure get to your heart”. In a situation of panic, we turn emotional monsters for ourselves as well as people around us. So, leader should find the balance and lead from heart; share the tough situation sensibly. Keeping people informed is a leader’s duty however, the way information is communicated matters most.
A leader is more of a facilitator to his team for helping them with resources, guidance and emotional support. If someone is remembered for the technical ability, they can be good technical leaders; however, a leader is more remembered for his presence, his company, his contribution to your growth and evolution.
Quotes and messages about Dhoni from cricket fraternity around globe are an example for this. People tell that they would love to play under him, play on his side; not because he is a good finisher or an agile wicketkeeper but to be guided and lead by his cool demeanor.
Matter of fact is that we need to connect beyond the set parameters to become a leader. To end it with a quote from Mahi himself
One of my theories is to be captain on the field and off the field, you need to totally enjoy each other’s company. I don’t like discussing cricket off the field

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