Leadership Role Model

{P, a Professor of a premier Management Institute meets L, a charismatic political Leader in modern India. Their Dialogue is summarized here.}

P: Thank you Mr. L for giving me this appointment, despite your very busy schedule. As I have told you over the phone I have recently undertaken a research assignment on 'Leadership Role Models in the Post-Independent India '. This visit of mine is a part of the study. 

L: Well, tell me what you would like to know. But use simple words, not difficult management jargons, since, as you know I am a man from the masses, for the masses and always with the masses.

P: You are a runaway success as a Leader. What is the most important contributory factor underlying your success?

L: Buying loyalty of the people by distributing favors and generating enough resources, adopting all possible means ' fair or, what they call, unfair, it doesn't matter ' for doing so.

P: Could you mention the guiding Spirit behind your success?

L: It is 3A's ' 
Ambition, Arrogance & Adventure.

P: I appreciate your adventurous spirit. I'm also aware that you're arrogant. But what about your ambition? 

L: My ambition is to become a top world leader and for this purpose to become first the Prime Minister of India. But I would continue to keep this state under my control, installing a close relative or follower of mine who must be also a sycophant, as its Chief Minister. 

P: In the field of Management we use terms like Vision, Mission and Destination or Goal. Could you say something about these?

L: My Vision is to see a world full of only rich people, even if their number is too small say, only 20% of the total population as at present. Since poverty cannot be eliminated, it would be wise to eliminate the poor. 

P: Interesting! And what about your Mission and Goal as a Leader?

L: India has so far only one family to call the shots and decide her destiny, either directly or through remote control. It comes from the elite class. My Mission is to present to the nation another family for playing the same role much more effectively -- a family that has a rustic background ' that originates from the poor toiling masses.

P: But Sir, aren't you contradicting yourself when you want to eliminate the poor on the one hand and offer to the nation on the other a family originating from the poor class?

L: There is no contradiction ' there is only a time lag. When I reach that stage I would no longer remain poor. In fact I have already become very rich.

P: When rich like you get richer, the poor become poorer. How do you justify this?
L: I have already said: Let the rich become richer and the poor disappear or vanish. But a note of caution is: the masses should never be told that they are being systematically and progressively eliminated. They should rather be made to believe that whatever leaders like me are doing are for their well being only.

P: May I now use another management concept?

L: Why not? But explain this briefly before you seek my response.

P: Yes, I shall do so. This is the famous time-tested Mc Kinsey's 7 S Model. The 7 S's signify seven concepts, each having S as its first letter. These are prerequisites for achieving the Vision, Mission and Goal. The concepts are: Strategy, Structure, Systems, Style, Staff, Skill and Shared Values. (L quickly notes down the list)

L: These are not so difficult. Let me share my views on these, one after another. First is Strategy. I have to adopt appropriate strategies mainly to tackle my adversaries. This is 
The 3 B's ' Bluff, Bribe & Bully, in that order.

P: Could you please explain this a bit?

L: If somebody collects facts to trouble me, I shall first bluff him. If that fellow is intelligent enough to find out the truth, I shall then try to bribe him and if this also doesn't work I will have to throw my weight and bully him. 

P: If the person cannot be bullied or cowed down?

L: This can happen, perhaps once in a million situations. In the recent past the 3 B's Strategy didn't work only with one Mr. Faith, who suddenly appeared, God knows wherefrom, and showed the guts, going even to the extent of putting me behind bars! 

P: So your image must have been battered badly?

L: Not at all. Firstly, I got the jail room transformed into the CM's Office. Secondly, through a series of well-planned publicity measures adopted by my henchmen, I could convince the gullible public that I was victimized because I was trying to protect the interest of the poor. They in turn voted my party as well as me back to power.

P: In strategic management we call this: converting a threat into an opportunity.

L: You may call this whatever you like. But I am very grateful to Mr. Faith for helping me to uplift my sagging image. Had he not done this to me, I would have lost the last elections, even with the widespread rigging, intimidation and violence, almost matching the highly scientific rigging and impeccable standard of malpractices in elections, set by one of the neighboring states of ours. 

P: Would you like to mention anything else about your strategy?

L: Yes! Management experts like you often talk about reactive and proactive moves.

P: Which one do you follow?

L: Earlier I was in the reactive mode. But after having badly burnt my fingers, I have since learnt how to be proactive.

P: Would you like to give an example to clarify this?

L: Yes! On the occasion of a wedding ceremony in our family a couple of years ago, I had spent lavishly, befitting my standing as a leader. But the Income Tax Commissioner asked me so many irrelevant questions about sources of funds for such ostentatious spending. He really made my life miserable. Only with extreme difficulty ' using the 3 B's Strategy ' could I extricate myself out of the embarrassing situation. Now there is another wedding in the family. Do you know what I've done this time? The daughter is given on marriage to the family of the Income Tax Commissioner himself. Tell me; is this not a proactive strategy?

P: Yes! It's also a very good example of a proactive stance. 

P: You have clarified your Strategy very well. But what about your organizational structure?

L: It is very simple. In all key positions, I put only those people who are totally loyal to my family but are dullards and sycophants. Rebels if any are dealt with ruthlessly and applying 'Dandaniti', as advised by Bhishma in theMahabharata, I throw them immediately into the junkyard.

P: What type of Systems do you have in place?

L: I don't believe in systems. These are sheer waste of time and money and only cause delay in decision-making. Strictly speaking I am the system; nothing more is needed.

P: In one recent best selling book by an Western scholar it is observed that, in a country like India, out of the money and materials made available by the higher authorities for the benefit of the poor masses, as much as 80% gets lost in course of transmission and hardly 20% reach those who are in dire need. Without good systems, how can you prevent such a massive transmission loss? 

L: I don't want to. In fact my target is to raise that 80% to 100%. And systems will obviously stand in the way of my achieving this target.

P: But would it not be too harsh if the poor and needy were denied everything that is meant to ameliorate their suffering? 

L: Not at all. It will rather help them immensely.

P: Excuse me! I am getting a bit confused. Would you kindly clarify?

L: Well, have you read or heard about Karma Theory? According to this theory:

  1. poor people suffer because of their bad past Karma.

  2. such sufferings nullify the bad effect of their bad Karma.

  3. only if their Karma account is squared up through this process in this life, will these people be privileged to get a `Five Star Rebirth' in the next life.

  4. why should I support artificial impediments, like providing money and materials for their relief, and scuttle their prospect of `Five Star Rebirth'?

P. So you intercept and divert all relief money & materials and appropriate the same. Excellent! 

L. Thanks for the compliment. But please understand the situation correctly. First, for the diversion I have to engage only loyal people, who are specially trained in such task. Thereafter it's not an appropriation; it's rather putting a part of the society's wealth in safe custody. 

P : Sorry! I don't understand how you can call yourself a safe custodian of the society's wealth. 

L : Well! Let me explain. You must be aware of Gandhiji's 'Trusteeship Model'. Some people, i.e. the powers that be, have to hold in `Trust' all the wealth of the society. This action of mine is therefore truly Ghaddhian. As a matter of fact, to day I consider myself to be the only Gandhian in this country. Many others also claim to be Gandhians; but they only deliver lectures on Gandhiji's philosophy and concepts but seldom practice these, the way I do.

P: Amazing!

L: Thank you. Let me tell you one interesting experience of mine. A Japanese industrialist recently came to visit my state to explore the prospect of investment in new industry. When we met during dinner, he suggested that if this highly resource-rich state were handed over to him, he could convert it into Japan in two years. Do you know what I told him? I told him that if he could hand over Japan to me, only in six months I could replicate my state in Japan.

P: Very apt reply indeed. May I now ask your view on `narcissism', which is mentioned these days in the literature on leadership?

L: What is that?

P: Narcissism means intense self love and its behavioral manifestation in leadership is `chair-clinging syndrome'. In other words, a narcissist leader does not like to step down and hand over the charge to his successor. He is so adamant that he will not call it a day, even when the day has long arrived for him to call it a day.

L: I agree with this. It is a good concept. 

P: A good concept?

L: Yes! I shall rather call it a `night', not `day'-- when the night will arrive in my life, everything will get handed over automatically. But give me one good reason why should I hand over right now everything on a silver platter to an incompetent person, take `sanyas' and leave for the Himalayas? Do you know how much suffering and hardship I had to undergo and how much money I had to `invest' without any guarantee as to `return' by now of course I've got back a thousand times as much, perhaps more -- in order to take possession of this chair? And what will happen to the nation if proven leaders like me take `sanyas' now?

P: Lastly, please tell me something about your Leadership Style.

L. Simple! This can be stated briefly as: 
The 3 C's ' Coterie, Caucus & Clique.

P: Thank you Mr. L! I have found in you a perfect role model of leadership in modern India. I would like to stop here. Sorry for taking much of your valuable time. Thanks once again! 


More by :  Prof. Dr. B. K. Chatterjee

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