“A leader is someone who knows the way, shows the way and goes the way.” A leader is someone who inspires you through his personality, motivates you to do your best and ensures that the team’s objectives are achieved. Being a leader is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is a cumbersome task, when all eyes are on you, and you are burdened with responsibilities and held accountable for the outcomes. Its about taking the blame on yourself during defeat, while standing behind, and putting the team forward during victories. While some regard leadership as an encumbrance, others regard it as an opportunity to grow. While some succumb to the pressure, others thrive in it.
There is no best prescribed or a universally accepted style of leadership. All successful leaders have some common traits or features, they possess a definite style that is unique to their personality and intellect. Being a huge cricket fan, I have been fortunate to witness two utterly contrasting leaders of the Indian Cricket Team in this decade. One being the veteran at holding his nerves, keeping his cool and having an amazing sixth sense, Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The other being fairly new to captaincy but is highly motivated and never shy of expressing his emotions, Virat Kohli. It would be unfair to make a comparison between them and neither should it be made.Both leaders despite being miles apart in terms of their styles, have great captaincy records and have done wonders to Indian Cricket, which is the ultimate objective.
MS Dhoni,the man needs no introduction. Regarded as the most successful Indian Captain, he has all the trophies under his belt, be it the ICC Tournaments, IPL or Champions League, he has won them all and is the only captain in the world to do so. No matter how tense the situation is no one absorbs pressure better than MSD himself. Sometimes his plans do not work out as well as he would have liked but he does not bat an eyelid and stands unruffled. He is adept at hiding his emotions and keeping his cool. This gives confidence to the players and they are not worried about making mistakes, rather they are able to focus on their game. In almost a decade as a captain,one does not remember any incident when Dhoni has yelled on someone for dropping a catch or entered into a heated argument with the opposite team’s members. Whether India wins or loses, he is neither too excited nor too worried. His key to success as a leader is his composure, his wit and his intelligence.
Virat Kohli, as a leader is an inspiration to many. Such is his aura that only his name is enough to cause a tremor in the opposition camp. He has a long way to go in terms of captaincy but he has had a tremendous run as a captain. He almost won every series he has captained so far and has an amazing win percentage.
Virat leads from the front. He sets an example for others, be it in batting, fielding or fitness, he is right up there. What stats suggest is that his own batting performance has improved manifold since the time he has taken up captaincy. He likes taking up the responsibility. Virat is an aggressive captain. He looks the opposition in the eye and is always ready to take up a challenge. He tolerates no nonsense and does not hesitate in giving it back to the opposition. He gives a tough time to them. It is his vigour and the never say die attitude that infuses enthusiasm in the team players. He wants to win at all costs and that’s the message that he communicates through his actions. This brings the best out of the players and inculcates a fighting spirit in them. He does not restrain from celebrating when an opposition wicket falls neither does he shy away from expressing his disappointment. His key to success as a leader is his fighting spirit, his ability to crush the opposition down by his attitude and his practice of leading by example.
Thus, there is no perfect style of leadership. Leadership is all about believing in yourself and not trying to act as someone you are not. Leadership involves being original and true to yourself. It’s about respecting your team members and communicating what you expect from them and enabling them to meet those expectations. So even if you don’t speak much or do not express your emotions, but can handle tense situations and think wisely, you will make a great leader and even if you lose your cool or have a heated argument with someone occasionally, but are extremely passionate about achieving the objectives and willing to give everything you have, you can make up for it and will still make a great leader. Just be who you are and give your best, this is what we learn from these two stalwarts of Indian Cricket.