Friday, October 06, 2006

Learning leadership from a train journey

The more I think I should not be blogging on personal opinions, the more I am getting tempted to throw my personal views. However, the incident was interesting hence thought of a mention on my blog. There will a consistent rule on my blog. Any idea which may rouse negative thoughts will be supported with literature and analysis available and any positive thoughts will be stated as is. The reason is simple, if I feel strongly negative of something it needs to be substantiated with research and literature and not be on my mere judgement. I hope I am able to reduce the effect of judgement from my articles.

Recently, I was traveling from Bangalore to Chennai in a train. One of my co-passengers were a retired professor of accounting and control from some university in Chennai. As soon as he saw the "HBR on The Mind of the Leader" his immediate reaction was you will learn more leadership from talking to leaders than reading books. I wanted to avoid a debate in the train. It helps no one and with my schedule of job, course work for exec-MBA it's really hard for me to find time to read a book which I did not want to spoile. Yet, I decided to talk to him and be a non-contributor. There are two distinct points he made although in very crude terms we will have lots of examples in lreal life to substantiate.
  1. Leadership is about being a good listener
  2. To be a successful leader it's important to be a good follower in early part of your life

I found both of these viewpoints unique in someway and very nice. Of course the HBR analysis does not talk about these anywhere. Some learning which only gets to you when you grow grey hair may be :-)