TECH TALK: Leadership Lessons from Lagaan (Part 3)
Make a Beginning. Bhuvan did not wait to start. He did not see around. He made a bat and a ball, got the kid interested and started. Many times, we brood and end up thinking too much. The only way one can test out new ideas is by jumping in, by getting started. Only when we close the door behind us will we see the doors in front start opening.
Small Victories are Important at the Start. The first time Bhuvan hits the ball, he does so in public, in full view of the entire village. He makes it seem easy, he makes them want to participate. In the film, watch the faces of the villagers after Bhuvan’s first strike. When starting any project, it is important to have small wins at the start to motivate the team.
Building the Team. This is at the heart of the film in the first half. Building the team is like recruitment. One needs to select the right people and motivate them. Just watching Bhuvan go from one to eleven offers a lot of learning. He understands the pressures and the soft points of people, and uses this knowledge to make them part of his team. Watch and listen to the song which he uses to recruit Goli, the largest land owner in the village, and Ishwar Kaka, Gauri’s father. To get Bhura, the murgiwalla, he makes him feel important as a person who can teach something (catching) to the rest of the lot. Watch also how Bhuvan talks to each of his team members. Each one is treated as special, as being different.
Allocating Roles. Bhuvan also assigns responsibilities to each of his people. Just getting the people on board is not good enough. They have to be told what the goal is. Just as the hand consists of a thumb and four fingers, a team consists of different individuals. The objective is to make them all work together like a fist, like a team.
Support the Team Members. Bhuvan backs his people to the hilt, even when they make mistakes. He is willing to give Kachra a second chance (on the second afternoon of the match) despite the skepticism of others. He knows Kachra can be a match-winner – and Kachra proves him right. It is very important in any team that the captain support his team, backing the right person at the right time for the right job.
Passion as the Differentiator. Bhuvan and his team were playing for the hopes and aspirations of a nation. Their passion, especially Bhuvan’s, made all the difference. It is in crunch times that one’s passion for the work helps in bringing out that extra strength from within. Bhuvan’s body language, his actions all speak for themselves. He is confident, not arrogant. As leaders, we all have to be careful of what we say and do, for the slightest sign of weakness can get magnified within the rest of the team.
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