Sunday, April 13, 2014

A true leader

Today I got an amazing example of a true leader while reading about a small incident from our former president Mr. Abdul Kalam's life.

It goes like this:

Mr. Kalam was chosen as the project director of one of India's largest satellite launch vehicle program, called the SLV-3. This program was to put India’s “Rohini” satellite into orbit by 1980.

But then despite of lot of efforts towards making it a success, the same got failed miserably. There was some problem that got developed in the satellite at the last stage and instead of going into the orbit, the whole rocket system plunged into Bay of Bengal. It was a huge failure and a letdown for the whole team.

Now, that very day, then chairman of the ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization), Prof. Satish Dhawan had called for a press conference, which was obviously to be conducted by Mr Kalam as he was the project director. While in the press conference, it seems Mr Kalam got really nervous. And then, Prof. Dhawan pulled himself in and asked Mr Kalam to leave for doing something very urgent. Obviously, it was an excuse to make Mr Kalam leave the conference. And then, Prof. Dhawan, like a true leader conducted the press conference himself.

He took the complete responsibility for the failure on himself.  During the press conference, he said that the team had worked really hard, but that it needed more technological support. He even assured the media that in the next year, the team would definitely succeed.

How many leaders, in today's world have the courage to stand next to their team. Infact how many leaders have the courage to stand and take the responsibilty for their team's failure? How many of them become a shield to protect their team from all sort of problems. In realistic terms, the failure was of Mr Kalam, but instead, Prof Dhawan took the responsibility for the failure as the chairman of the organization.

The story doesnt end here.

Next year, the team again tried to launch the satellite and this time they  succeeded.

The whole nation was, obviously jubilant. And again, there was a press conference organized. But this time, Prof. Dhawan called Mr. Kalam aside and instructed him to conduct the press conference.

And he made Mr Kalam to be the face of the success.

This incident is a live example of a great lesson, which no book ever can teach. When failure occurs, a true leader of the organization owns that failure. And when success comes, he happily give it to his team.

Sad to say, but there is a dearth of true leaders in our country now. Be it in any sector, people are managers, bosses, but leaders: they are hard to find.

I wish there were more leaders like Prof. Dhawan. World would have been a happy place. Work would not have been a burden and life would have had become so easy and joyful, sans all the stress, tension and torture of the insensitive, selfish bosses.

Keep smiling.

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