J.R.D. TATA on Leadership and Team Building
Presenting! The TransForm TANTRA Lessons in Leadership Series. Episode 01.
And the first episode naturally has to be – J.R.D. TATA on Leadership and Team Building! Read on …
J.R.D. TATA – The All Time Great Icon Of Indian Industry
If there is one man in India from whom one can learn a thing or two about leadership and team building it has to be the icon of Indian industry – J.R.D. TATA.
Correction: Bharat Ratna J.R.D. TATA.
He is the man who led the TATA group, for almost half a century and over those five glorious decades, he propelled it to new heights to make the TATA brand a global entity. From aviation to steel, automobiles to software – the TATA group made an indelible mark across domains. And amidst all that J.R.D. TATA was a portrait of dignity, a gentleman who actually cared for PEOPLE and also his nation.
Not just business but …
good PEOPLE business!
J.R.D. TATA had the longest stint at the helm, during which the TATA group not only withstood many vicissitudes but also consolidated its presence and ventured into newer domains.
A rare accomplishment of this time is the fact that the TATA brand also became synonymous with not just business but good PEOPLE business! The people practices at the TATA group became the benchmark for Indian industry during the J.R.D. TATA era. And the TATA corporate saga continues to unfold over 150 years now!
First Lesson in Leadership – MORALE!
Let us now learn the first Lesson in Leadership from J.R.D.TATA, the man himself. Please take a little PAUSE as you read on. Take a deep breath. And examine this statement by J.R.D. TATA carefully!
“If I have learnt one thing about leading a team in my long career, it is the supreme importance of morale in any organization whether an airline, an industry or for that matter of that of an army, and I would rather have a united team of average ability but of high loyalty, devotion to the company and morale than a group of outstanding prima donnas lacking in espirit-de-corps and working at cross purposes.”
Letters. (Page 163)
The Supreme Importance Of MORALE
The area of your work does not matter. Stars and Superstars are NOT important.
J.R.D.TATA highlights the key element of outstanding performance – MORALE!
Morale is a term that is not commonly understood. It is NOT the word MORAL without the ‘E’!
Morale is about that ‘esprit de corps’ or ‘spirit’ when a team takes on a situation against all odds and successfully delivers results. The focus is on the TEAM remember and NOT on prima donnas who are usually sought after. And as J.R.D. TATA points out, this holds true across any work domain.
Let’s play with this concept of MORALE just a bit. Take a look at the world of sports. Remember those cricket IPL auctions or even those of Kabaddi! You would see players being bought for HUGE amounts. Now correlate those with the tournament performances of the prima donna players and their teams. You would invariably find J.R.D. TATA’s dictum coming 100% true.
What matters – what is of SUPREME IMPORTANCE is how does the team COME TOGETHER to perform. The presence of prima donnas becomes incidental! What matters are those cohesive forces within the team that brings the collective energies together – what J.R.D. TATA calls MORALE!
Leadership – The Ability To Create Men
Let us now turn to the second insight from J.R.D. TATA where he talks about the special leadership ability of his friend – and one of India’s all time great scientists – Homi Bhabha! Consider it carefully!
“One of Homi’s distinctive traits was his ability, like that of Gandhiji and Jamsetji Tata, to create men, in contrast to others under whose leadership no one of outstanding merit ever seemed to emerge. In fact, I believe that the greatest contribution Homi made to India’s development into the modern state it is fast becoming, lies in training and bringing out to their full capability a host of young scientists and administrators who, today, lead so many of India’s scientific and technical establishments.”
Keynote. (Page xvii)
‘The ability … to create men!’
A man of J.R.D. TATA’s stature describes an invaluable trait of his friend – Homi Bhabha! Such a gracious expression! Needs a big heart to do that! An invaluable trait Homi Bhabha shared with Gandhiji, Jamsetji Tata and with hindsight we MUST mention with J.R.D. TATA himself! DO NOT MISS this gem of a Lesson in Leadership!
Yes! The ability to create men is RARE! In the corporate world, you would have noticed many leaders ‘under whose leadership no one of outstanding merit ever seemed to emerge’.
Why does that happen? The simple reason is the inability to look ahead and beyond one’s self and immediate situation! A myopia – being short sighted in space and time!
Now how does one create men? By understanding that your team grows in performance and stature ONLY when the individuals in the team come together and rise up to take challenges and the team itself FACILITATES that process! This growth process needs to be valued! Not just in terms of immediate performance but also in time!
J.R.D. TATA’s statement about this team effort of Homi Bhabha has tremendous significance today and for the future too! How?
Just look for the evidence in outer space!
The stellar performance by India in its space program has its roots in the efforts of men CREATED by leaders with vision – of true leaders like Homi Bhabha!
J.R.D. TATA – Your Leadership Companion!
The words of J.R.D.TATA are simply inspiring! As a leader, you cannot find a richer source of practical wisdom! You must have these handsome volumes by your side … however busy you might be!
How would you like J.R.D. TATA as your new leadership companion – right there in your office always by your side? You bet it is a good idea! Whenever you get some moments to spare – read J.R.D. TATA’s letters and speeches! You can be sure to find gems of wisdom that will guide you in your endeavors at just those moments when you need them! This writer’s states that from his own first hand experience!
These handsome volumes will certainly change the way you work for the better … for sure! Good Luck!
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