– Col B. Shyam Vijaya Simha, SM, Director, Administration, Indus Altum International school, Belagavi
“I want you to capture Kondana Fort”, said Chatrapati Shivaji to Tanaji, fully aware that it was an impossible task to accomplish. “So be it”, said Tanaji. No questions asked. Rest is history. Tanaji’s handpicked 300 Mavle infantry scaled the toughest rock face, shocked the enemy who fought desperately. But Tanaji and his Mavales (Soldiers from Maval region) struck havoc in enemy ranks. Marathas butchered the enemy. The campaign to recapture the fort ended with victory for the Marathas, but at the cost of the life of Tanaji. Chatrapati Shivaji trusted his commander. In turn Tanaji trusted the decision of his leader and believed it is achievable. Tanaji left his son’s marriage to live up to his leader’s trust.
“Aadhi Lagan Kondhanyache aani mag majhya Raybache” ‘First I’ll win Kondhana and then I’ll conduct marriage of my son Rayba” said Tanaji.
The key quality of a leader is fostering an environment of trust, which is the foundation of leadership. Great leaders choose and select their team and trust them. They create healthy environment to develop great relationships. Their workplace runs on trust. They delegate work to their lieutenants and never encroach in the work which they entrusted to their team. They accept mistakes, cull the fear of failure, aid in increasing focus, and stand tall as a trustworthy leader.
Good leaders avoid micromanaging, taking credit for team’s effort and discourage environment of complaining and backbiting. They let their team understand the goals, seek advice from their team, encourage independent thinking, problem solving, self-management, share ideas freely and always stand by their team. Good leaders give their team members autonomy, a reasonable degree of freedom, trust them and empower them.
Trust is a two-way lane and must be mutual. The leader must live by his word, ethics, and values to be trustworthy. He should be empathetic, logical, and approachable. The team members must be authentic, candid, and forthright.
A businessman was on a long flight when there was a warning announced that something was wrong. Everyone was asked to take their seats. The pilot calmly told the passengers that the inflight services were barred due to turbulence. There was panic in the flight. The plane was flying through a storm. Lightning was seen in dark sky and loud thunder was heard. Plane was being tossed like a toy. Passengers were alarmed. Meanwhile the businessman saw a little girl who was sitting in her seat reading a book as if nothing was happening. The businessman was completely startled. The plane survived the storm and landed safely after a while. Intrigued, the businessman walked to the little girl and asked her the secret of her courageous behaviour in the flight. The little girl replied, “Sir, my dad is the pilot, and he is taking me home.”
Ask yourself, does your team trust you that you will take them home when things are tossed up and seem to be out of control due to the turbulence? Build positive relationships, upskill, be empathetic and consistent, develop unquestionable integrity, be the go-to person for your team, be selfless and YES be the trustworthy leader who can steer your team to home even in tempests.