Monday, April 4, 2011

India's World Cup Lessons - Leadership From Dhoni

This goes to all leaders I guess be it in the political arena, the corporate job, school cricket team or even at home. Much will be discussed and analysed of Dhoni's captaincy in the days and years to come because rarely has one seen a leader of such remarkable cool and clarity. But to go back to some snatches of what I have heard and what I saw and read, these are things that Dhoni teaches by his acts.

  • Believe in your team and the resources available - and back them fully (bowling Yuvraj as a frontline bowler is unbelievable)
  • Delegate jobs, roles and responsibilities to teammates clearly - and don't fret your head after you have done it (it's their job, Gautam's job was to stay till the end)
  • Play for the higher goal and be clear about that to everyone - in this case they played for the country (players must realise that they are playing for the country and not for the crowd)
  • Stay in the present, not in the past or the future (this team did not make the Super 8s last World Cup and also fared badly at the T20 World Cup so they had to get over that)
  • Take the pressure off the team - right from day one he has said that India was favourites but anything could happen, it's just a game
  • Made each one back and trust each other - how they did it is a mystery but they did get everyone to take on another's responsibility if they did not deliver on a given day - Raina, Kohli, Zaheer, Gambhir, Dhoni, Yuvraj, Sachin - everyone did it for the team when there was a crisis
  • Made them play as if their lives depended on it - another great mystery from a side that looked ragged and patchy, cometh the big day and they all fell, into place like some clockwork - Raina, Yuvraj and Kohli fielded like tigers, Zaheer bowled the best first spell of the tournament possibly nad Gambhir, Dhoni and Kohli took away all Lankan hopes clinically. Somewhere he managed to make them all aware that they were all equally responsible for winning the Cup
  • Stepped up his own game when needed and led from the front, batted through the pain barrier
  • Accepted his mistakes

An intriguing quality of Dhoni is that he is quick to give merit and blame wherever concerned. Not the sort who says, I will take all the blame when it goes wrong and share all the credit. He shares both blame and credit. He also appears, like he said, to be rooted in the present. In which case, he would already have moved on from the World Cup frenzy to other things in life!

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