TECH TALK: Leadership Lessons from Lagaan (Part 4)

Lead from the Front. Bhuvan is always there – encouraging, talking, making the decisions. He knows that having taken up the challenge, he has to take the fight and be there till the end. The same applies to us. If we take on a responsibility, we have to take it to completion. Bhuvan, as a true leader, also points out the mistakes of others – like when he ticks off his team members at the start of the match when they are all running after the ball and complimenting each other.

Define the Enemy. To Bhuvan and his team, the enemy was clear: the (bad) British and their oppressive laws. For Russel’s team, it was not so clear. While for Russel the enemy was clearly (and only) Bhuvan, his team members were not quite sure about the cause. To them, it was just a game. Having a clearly defined enemy works as a rallying point for the team.

Overconfidence Destroys. Look at Captain Russel. In trying to destroy Bhuvan (a personal enmity), he forgets what he is speaking and what he is offering (when he puts up the challenge). What he was trying to do was to take his anger against an individual against the entire province – and it boomeranged back at him. It made the opposition (the villagers) united, it made them discover talents they never had. One should never overestimate oneself or underestimate others.

Train and Practice. Bhuvan and his team did not just go into the match; they trained and practiced day and night. There are no short-cuts for physical and mental fitness. To be fit, one needs to work hard.

Celebrate the Small Wins. Watch the genuine joy in Bhuvan’s team when a catch is taken or a wicket falls. The small celebrations help in encouraging and motivating the team as a whole. It also helps lift everyone’s spirits. How many of us celebrate the small wins in the workplace?

Never Give Up. Because the Last Ball can be the winner. A small opening – as in Chess, as in Cricket, as in a battle, and as in life – is all that it takes to make the difference and turn the tide. But you have to be prepared to be able to exploit it. Look at the situation in the Lagaan match. One ball to go in the match, 5 runs to win and Bhuvan is at the non-striker’s end, with the partly handicapped Kachra facing. A seemingly lost cause. But Bhuvan did not give up. When Kachra hit the ball, he ran and took a single. As it turned out, the ball was a no-ball. That single created the opening for Bhuvan. If he had not taken that run assuming that they could not have won, the extra ball would not have made a difference. In sport, in life and in business, always be alert because you never know how and when opportunity comes.

Faith In God. The pre-match rituals and the prayer at the end of the second day are examples. When everything else seems lost, God shows the way – as long as you are on the side of the Right.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.