Aditya Birla On Leadership

Good leadership is one of the very important factors for success. Gone are the days, when the boss was automatically the leader, and the cardinal rules while dealing with the boss were: Rule No. 1—The Boss is always right and Rule No. 2—If the Boss is wrong, refer to Rule No. 1!

I have found times without number when good leadership has made all the difference. Loss-making units have been turned into profit spinners by a mere change of leadership.

I have tried to analyze what goes into the making of a good leader. Why do some men become good leaders? Here again, there are several qualities and several routes to attain excellence in leadership. Some people attain leadership through financial management, some through good management of labor and good human relations. Again, some attain leadership through marketing—Lee Iaccoca is a fine example. Some go through the route of administrative controls and some through quality controls and some through quality control and technical management of production. Like the Chairman of Honda.

So there are several routes that people take to leadership, but there is one thing common in all these, and that is hard work and commitment. There is no substitute for hard work and commitment. When talking of commitment, I am reminded of the story of a shop owner, who, on his deathbed, inquired about the whereabouts of his wife and three sons. When he was assured that all four were at his bedside, he yelled in alarm—

Then who the hell is minding the shop?

This is commitment.

Good leadership can make all the difference between success and failure. With you, I share one thought. Sometimes in adversities, when all efforts are made and you don’t find results, one loses heart and, in such times, the famous verse from the Bhagvad Gita—Thy business is with the action only, never with its fruits—has given me great solace. Then again when times are uncertain, gloom looms large. I recall the verse from the Ramayana—Gain or loss, life or death, credit or discredit, they are all in the hands of God.

This verse gives me equanimity and strength in times of distress. I hope you as leaders will also derive strength from this thought.

Thank you very much!

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