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While thinking of how one can become a good leader, many a quality came to my mind which a man or woman should possess for being one.

He should lead from the front, he should be a motivator, he should inspire, he should be strong, he should own responsibilities, he should be a good communicator, he should lead from the front. . . . So on & so forth. I wonder, how one person can acquire and implement so many soft skills in his life time & finally emerge a leader. !!!

Hundreds of books have been written by the stalwarts of industry and scholars from academic world on leadership. And interestingly, most of them, if not all, advocates for one common conclusion and that is – ‘Leadership’ is not something that can be taught or trained on. 

Rather its some traits & the X factor in an individual, what makes him or her a leader. Rest are followers. Either they follow their leaders or they follow books; I belong to the rest. However, I try to learn leadership from some more entertaining, more interesting & more spicy sources than boring books & monotonous lectures. That is hindi cinema. 

Let us watch out !!

The young man of average academics & an aspiring marketer nailed it completely. !! Movie - “Rocket Singh. Salesman of the Year” 


The hero of the movie may have been dubbed a failure in school and college, but he is determined to make a success of his life. He wants to become an ace salesman simply because he has the power of persuasion, negotiation and conversation. It doesn't take long before he realises the corporate world is truly cut-throat, cruel and completely devoid of ethics. Well, almost... 

(Personally I believe the word ‘Business ethics’ is the second greatest example of oxymoron – A combination of contradictory words. What is the first one then? Well, I’m not too sure how many will agree to it in public. . . . . Its – ‘Happily Married’!!!!! )

Anyways, the hero has some other plan. . He is out to take his chance & finally makes it big.

“ Risk toh Spiderman ko bhi lena padta hai; main to phir bhi salesman hoon”. .  Rocket Singh. .  A marketing masterpiece in sugar coating of a corporate comedy

Lesson # 1 A leader has got to take risks & be open for taking his chances for an idea that he wants to transform into relity.  If you are convinced of your idea, take your chances & go all out for it. This movie articulates an instance of transformational leadership with surgical finesse.

There will be hindrance, challenges, setbacks, but, that is what a leader has to sail through. Leader emerges outside the comfort zone & inside the effort zone. 

Very often I fondly recollect the saying of Mahatma Gandhi –

“Hesitating to act because the whole vision of yours might not be achieved or because others do not yet share it, is an attitude, that only hinders progress”. 

A leader, under no circumstances, can afford to be risk averse. 

https://www.slideshare.net/Sanatmohanty008/rocket-singh-movie-analysisppt

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From Salesmanship to gamesmanship. Bhuwan and his team are out to take on British on the cricket ground with sole objective of making his village free from the curse of ‘lagaan’!!!

‘Lagaan’ is a movie of epic proportion and & scores of articles, analysis & blogs have been written on what we can learn from it. 

However, the thing that touched me most in the movie is - How Bhuwan, the male protagonist & captain of the village cricket team persuaded against all odds & managed to induct Kachra, a dalit & divyang spinner, in his team.

Bhuwan was firm on his decision in including Kachra in the team because of his seer talent of spinning the cricket ball. When rest of the team mates were completely defiant and against Kachra because of his low caste, Bhuwan stood his ground & did not retract when the rest threatened to quit & the entire team was virtually on the brink of getting collapsed. It was only the conviction of Bhuwan on his decision that finally everybody else relented & made inroad for Kachra in the team. Rest is history. ( Is it  !!! ).

There is another sequence in the movie – when Kachra toppled three wickets of the british & made an hat trick, everybody else in the team were busy congratulating each other and making merry, but the man who did it all was standing alone in the crease. It was Bhwan, who first noticed it and went to Kachra to pat him on his back and congratulate him for his deed.

Lesson # 2 Stand by your people come what may. Support who needs it and never bow down to any wrong, which is stopping you from doing the right. And secondly choose your people based on their talent, potential & merit & not on their social status or academics. 

Finally, ‘Lead from the front’. If you have the habit of shooting by keeping the gun on someone else’s shoulder, then, you are not a leader. Bhuwan is the finest example of “inspirational leadership” who knows the way, goes the way and then shows the way.

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Jump cut & action; from Cricket ground to hockey field. Movie – Chak De India.

The coach of Indian woman’s hockey team had an uphill task of making his players fall in line in the first place & behave like a team. All the girls were out to play their own games, be it ‘on the field’ or ‘off the field’. Khan chose to be harsh and strict with them. His measured atrocity & rude behaviour finally compelled the girls to come together forgetting their own differences & revolt against their coach. Then job of the coach was to channelize the fire of the girls in correct direction & win, which he could do followed by a fight between his girls and some eve teasing crooks in a food joint in busy roads of Delhi, where the girls could realize for the first time that they are a team & the coach is their leader.

Coach Kabir Khan knew it all.“ Agar mujhe dushman banake ye saare ladkiyaan ek jut ho jaate hain, toh, ek team banane ke liye yeh bahut choti keemat hogi”.

Lesson # 3 A leader has to be a motivator & a strict disciplinarian at the same time. Kabir Khan, in mindboggling display of “Transformational leadership”, first made the girls get united against him, then made them get united against opponent & finally made them get united for the Nation.

Khan did not hesitate to remove his most experienced player from the team, since, her personal interest was growing bigger than the team goal.  And thus he made sure that there is no in fighting or ego clash between the players & all of them play for a wining cause. Later on, when the girl fell in line, he reinstated her in the team & they became a formidable force ended up grabbing the woman’s Hockey World Cup for India for the first time.

A leader has to make sure that his team is disciplined. No matter, how unpopular he himself becomes in doing so. Discipline & impartiality are the adhesives that bonds a team.  

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From Grassy Hockey field to mountainous battle field of Kashmir. Movie – ‘Uri  The Surgical Strike’ 

When Major Vihan Shergill’s team would prefer to wait till morning for backup & reinforcement to reach from their base, as they were out in a mission to eliminate a group of terrorists in the thick forest somewhere near India Myanmar border & they found number of terrorists much more than their intel inputs, the Major decided otherwise. He quickly assessed the situation and decided to go as per plan & not to wait till morning, since the element of surprise will vanish in day lights. He only changed the modas operandi. He at once instructed his men to form an outer perimeter & encircle the enemy. Whoever would escape the inner perimeter would be killed by the soldiers of the outer.

Lesson # 4 The film has demonstrated a great example of “Situational Leadership”. Assess the change in situation, anticipate the issues that could prop up & strategize your action accordingly without diverting your focus from the goal. This is what situational leadership is all about. What I could never understand from the books, learned from the movie. 

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From bloody battle field to stony ruthlessness of Chambal. Movie - Sholay – No lesson from hindi movie would be complete without this. . . . “Jo dar gaya, samjho oh mar gaya”. This dialogue of Gabbar Singh is no less popular than our National Anthem, which has mesmerized four generations of India & will continue to do so for ages to come. Gabbar Singh is a deadly display of “autocratic & charismatic leadership”, whose shadow loomed larger than anybody else.

Lesson # 5 You cannot be fearful & hesitant, if you want to be a leader. Whether you are leading for a rightful cause or a wrong one, you need to be strong, fearless, decisive & gutsy enough to make tough calls and act irrespective of situations and adversaries. If A leader is lingering on decision making because of situation, then, at best, he is a negotiator, not a leader. 

I don’t know, whether these lessons would qualify for leadership tricks, but, while writing them, I could cherish the fond memories of the scenes I have literally lived in the silver screen time & again.

Filam to har koi dekhta hai, par hum to ise jeete hain !!!!