Leadership – Antique Value or Utility Value

Management lessons from the Paranjoy Guha Thakurta episode in EPW! This is not a post taking any sides, but possible learning and commentary from the Leadership style perspective. I draw extensively from the Facebook posts (click on respective images below for original posts) of  Sri Rammanohar Reddy,  Ex-Editor of EPW

(Currently, the links to Facebook posts are functional – However, in case it doesn’t we have screen shots of the same as on 1st August 2017 @1200 Hrs)

Self selecting boards are the bane. I know organizations whose influential member is sitting on the board for last 50 years and invariably surrounded by “Yes-Sir”s . When you sit on a board as the Executive Chief for 50 years the organization tends to be treated as his/her Proprietary firm. (Not to discount the possible excellence of some Proprietary concerns) For an organization not a Proprietary concern, this management style is counter-productive.

What was good 50 years back cannot work today (Why go back 50 years! these days, what was good last year is out of place today) Control freaks vs Participative Leadership argument. We cannot manage Knowledge worker using methods used on unskilled labor (please note – it wouldn’t work even with them in modern times) it is a recipe for disaster. Processes & systems that worked in the past is out of place today not because of geographical spread, but also due to rights assertion. Multi-locational, multi-product delivery calls for different leadership style and fresh thinking – Not an uninspiring leadership – A 50 year old antiquated furniture is valuable more for its antiquity than utility.

Uninspiring leadership – A 50 year old antiquated furniture is valuable more for its antiquity than utility.

I would like to give an example on how antiquated some thought processes are – I am sure it would be the same with many of the reader’s organizations, especially if they have a “baggage” called history.  A particular person who headed this location was specifically advised that maintaining an open office, with free access to your subordinates is not the right leadership style. Little realizing that a rotting place was converted into a happening and successful unit , people gave up their right hand to work for. Everyone of the stake holder expectations were met (of course, not the antiquated Leaders who advised the person, who still thought no amount of success justifies the legitimate means – it is their way or highway)