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Sam Manekshaw: a masterclass in leadership

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw, popularly known as Sam Bahadur, was one of India's greatest military leaders. He famously said, "A military leader must make up his mind without being influenced by the moods of superiors and subordinates, and he must be ready to bear the full responsibility for his decisions." This emphasises the importance of decisiveness, independent thinking, and taking responsibility for one's actions, which are crucial qualities for effective leadership in any field. His leadership was characterized by several key lessons:

1. Lead by Example: Manekshaw was known for leading from the front. He set high standards for himself and his soldiers followed suit.

2. Clear Communication: He emphasized the importance of clear and concise communication.$ This helped in avoiding misunderstandings and ensured that everyone understood their roles and responsibilities.

3. Understanding the Terrain: Manekshaw stressed the importance of understanding the battlefield and adapting strategies accordingly. He believed in meticulous planning and preparation.

4. Taking Care of Troops: He cared deeply for the welfare of his troops, both on and off the battlefield. He ensured that they were well-trained, well-equipped, and well-supported.

5. Decisiveness: Manekshaw was known for his quick decision-making abilities, especially in times of crisis. He believed in taking decisive action, even in the face of uncertainty.

6. Humor and Wit: He had a charismatic personality and often used humor to boost morale among his troops. This helped create a positive environment even in challenging situations.

7. Humility: Despite his many achievements, Manekshaw remained humble and approachable. He never let his rank or status get in the way of connecting with his soldiers.

8. Learning from Failure: He understood that failure was a part of the learning process. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, he encouraged his troops to analyze them and learn from them.

These leadership lessons from Sam Manekshaw continue to inspire leaders and managers across various fields even today.


Dr. Charu Rawat

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