Team India imparts best leadership lessons: Anita & Harsha Bhogle

June 26th, 2011 - 1:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) The Indian cricket team has imparted great leadership lessons to millions of cricket-struck fans as well as business leaders because sports and the corporate world share striking similarities, say commentator, analyst Harsha Bhogle and his wife Anita, an advertising whiz, in their recent book.

The duo teaches leadership to young corporate professionals in the country by drawing parallels with the game — cricket — they have watched for the last 25 years.

“The Indian team has been commandeered by different skippers at different points of time and each captain brought with him a distinct set of leadership skills that was the requirement of that particular moment - given the tumultuous history of cricket in the country,” Harsha Bhogle said.

Bhogle’s book, “The Winning Way: Learnings from Sports For Managers”, that he co-authored with wife Anita drawing from 300 sessions for 150 companies, released in the capital last week. The book with a foreword by business tycoon Mukesh Ambani has been published by Westland Ltd.

“In 2000, when the country was coming out of match-fixing controversies, India needed a flamboyant leader. The team and the people needed self-belief because there was a refrain of doubt as to who the Indian players are playing for India. Sourav Ganguly fitted in,” Bhogle told IANS in an interview.

When Rahul Dravid came to lead the team, the side had reached a certain stage, Bhogle said.

“He was a maintenance leader, you did not need to do anything dramatic at that time. You have got a team that’s ready - maintaining it is a challenge. By the time Rahul Dravid finished, the Greg Chappel thing (row) had started, and the team needed a matured captain.”

Anil Kumble brought the steel to the leadership in the early 2005. Kumble gave captaincy a great stature and respect. Dhoni was widely recommended by Sachin Tendulkar - he was ready when he took and has shown a lot of maturity. He backs his players and they love playing with him. They know what is expected of him, Bhogle said.

Sachin Tendulkar represents traits of a master. “Tendulkar shows how you can marry extraordinary ability with great attitude. He has great performance, he is a great team player and does not behave like a cult of individual,” the former ESPN and Star Sports presenter said.

India has changed as a cricketing nation, Bhogle said. “There was a belief earlier (in the 1970s) that India could win at home, but it couldn’t win overseas. Sourav Ganguly taking off his shirt at the Lords in 2008 was therefore a defining moment for Indians - earlier you went abroad thinking you’d lose respectably. Now the Indian team is far more aggressive, ambitious and confident,” Harsha Bhogle said.

Advertising and communication veteran Anita Bhogle said “sportsmen and corporate executives are both in people’s business… We cite examples from sports to teach corporate workers how you can make people feel and how important it is to perform”, she said.

Winning is when you do your best, she said.

“The team has to win - like in cricket, when you score, the team also scores. However, there are situations when you put your agenda ahead of a team. You don’t want to get out because you are near a century, then the team is at risk. You refuse to pass the ball.

“Sometime you contribute to the team - even when credit is not going to be reflected in your account,” Anita Bhogle told IANS.

For the Bhogle duo, a good leader is one “who makes the team add up to more than the sum of the parts, has visions and communicates to inspire, manages team climate, is trusted and respected, backs team at all times, is approachable and understands the team, empowers the team, creates more leaders, takes the team to places, is open, flexible, honest, is positive and courageous”.

(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at madhu.c@ians.in)

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