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On leadership

"Leaderships is about courage to dream big". And some more. “At the Gartner Summit India last fortnight, Infosys Chairman and Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy discussed the role Information Technology plays in creating a developed India with Gartner Asia-Pacific Vice-President Bob Hayward, Research Vice-President (India) Partha Iyengar and Vice-President and Chief of Research (Asia-Pacific) John Roberts. ”

I: IT in India, II: On Leadership

I've had my differences with Infosys and Mr.Murthy while I worked for them. Nevertheless, I really liked the following quotes from Mr.Murthy.

“Leadership is all about courage, courage to dream big, to take tough decisions, etc. Second, it is the ability to raise the aspirations of people and third, to be open minded and to accept great ideas from different countries and cultures across the world…”

“I am of the opinion that every enterprise must operate at the highest level of productivity, which means that fewer and fewer people can produce more and more wealth. With better productivity, the salaries will increase, the workers have more disposable income, and they spend more in the market. In the end, by enhancing productivity, you are actually creating more jobs. It's a myth here that employing more people and resourcing productivity per worker, we are making the economy better for our citizens. The right way would be to improve productivity.”

“Actually, there are two hilarious concepts in India. One is called MAFA, Mistaking Articulation For Accomplishment. The second is, when we say in India, all said and done, what we really mean is, everything is said and nothing is done.”

I believe leadership is leading people to do something. There are many motivators for this. Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein were leaders; they used paranoia and fear to make people do things. We all know how much they were loved! Mahatma Gandhi was a great leader - he inspired people to do great things.

If Mr.Murthy re-arranged his order to put raising the aspirations of the people first, Infosys will be the best place to work. Not merely one of the better places to work.

Breaking this down, every aspiring leader needs to ask themselves:

And measure successful and lasting leadership by frequently asking:

Many leaders (or aspiring leaders) tend to focus on their leadership qualities for measurements. Over time, they tend to forget that without people to follow them, they can't be leaders. This is probably what happens in 5-10 years after any political revolution! People had high hopes in the beginning. Soon, leaders forget the people, causing disillusionment.

  1. I agree with what you or Mr.Murthy have said here.
    But I see leadership more in empowering the followers to lead their ways/visions themselves. Mostly we see a leader in a person who is able to motivate others to "follow" his great vision!
    But I would like to differ here. I believe that everyone is a good leader ,though most doesnt realize it . A good leader is one who can help them realize this so that we have more leaders than followers..
    In words of a Harvard Alumini, leader is like a shepherd who leads the flock of sheep from behind. Like a shepherd ,he cares for his sheep and lead them form back so that no one is left behind.
    Truly, we need such shepherds as leaders who are not obsessed with their visions over their people. It should not be interpretted as a weakness in a leader to let go his vision. Infact vision of a leader should evolve such that it is shared easily(without any coercion)by his followers.
    What we need to see in the "leaders of modern era" is that they are able to infuse in masses the confidence, that empowers their followers to build their own vision than following the vision of their leader.
    Having done so, no group, community or a nation at large ,would ever face a leadership crisis.

    Posted by: Arvind Ronta on October 11, 2003 10:18 AM