It started from a ‘positive reinforcement’ from my childhood – my mother quotes from the family astrologer, soon after my birth, that I was destined to be a good administrator in my profession. While this statement of hers kept repeating at various stages of my child hood, I discarded the ‘destiny’ portion of it as the growing years of perceptual reasoning caught up. However, that statement was at the back of my mind and it reflected in sub-conscious programming that resulted in being a leader throughout my own little world.
My teachers, all along the school years, right up to high school always considered me very responsible with maturity levels beyond my age – which meant I was a natural choice for a class monitor throughout – supplemented by nature’s contribution to be the first in the class to wear trousers, have my adolescent voice broken and sprouting facial hair – natural things that put me ahead of the rest !😊 The concluding school years of leadership saw me as a School Pupil Leader in 10th and 12th standards of two different schools, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Gill Nagar and Kendriya Vidyalaya, IIT Campus, both at Chennai.
This leadership thirst led me to drop my mundane first job in the Statistical Branch of Southern Railways to be selected for the Indian Army and saw myself in the portals of Officers Training Academy (it used be called Officers Training School those days) in 1986. Although I was not a spectacular upwardly mobile Army Officer, I did have my share of three tenures in the counter-insurgency environment, an Instructor in Gunnery, led a Black Cat Commando Team as a Captain of the Special Action Group of National Security Guards in J & K Valley, coordinated Operations & Logistics at the Brigade level in Counter Insurgency Operations and coordinated Artillery Fire Assaults across the POK Line of Control, ended up successfully commanding an Artillery Unit in the mountains and wound up a cherished Armed Forces career as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2009.
Stepped into the Corporate when the world was facing depression and worked my leadership roles in four different industries before Heading HR of an IT company.
In this five decades of leadership, two plus as an Armed Forces Officer and a decade plus in Harrisons, Bally Tech, Scientific Games, COO of Private Public Partnership project and finally as Head HR of MobME at Kochi, I learnt ‘adaptive’ leadership. Leadership that ‘adapted to the environment’ and not templating from previous experiences.
What was amazing then and now – I didn’t have to put an effort to be a leader! It came naturally – is it a case of a born leader? I still don’t have an answer because more leaders are made than born. I certainly don’t qualify to be in the class of outstanding leader of masses or master of my profession even today; but leader in my own humble world – yes!
Incidentally, I don’t have a role model in any aspect of my life. I believe, role model puts in awe of someone and that stifles being yourself!
This leadership is purely innate and experiential – I made a conscious effort not to define my leadership according the established school of thought or as they say it in corporate – the “done thing”!! I questioned existing leadership practises in the Army and the Corporate and was admonished for not playing ball! Yes, there was a price to pay for that, which was fine – it gave birth to asking dreaded leadership questions and ability to sleep well at night, thus giving an unblemished insight - which I want to share as part of my giving back to the society as valuable experiences in formats acceptable in social media, own website, online courses, books and videos - in an endeavour to be an infopreneur!!