Many many years back, when I took up my first role as a Business Manager in a Bank, I was a bit like Arvind Kejriwal. Brash. Loud. Visibly aggressive. I always felt that the only way in which one could do well in life is by aggressively driving home a single point agenda.This approach was backed by the strong conviction that I had in my business, my team, my policies and in what I wanted to achieve. I felt at that time, that the only way of demonstrating conviction and strong will was aggression. I would try and bull doze people in meetings. Show off as to how brilliant and aligned my team was to the cause that I represented. Ring fence the team well enough so that outsiders don’t get a chance to get inside information about the team. In essence I ran an island within an organisation.
I felt it was necessary. Necessary because there were constituents of the business which did not report to me. I ran a lending business. Like most foreign banks, Credit did not report to me. Compliance was a separate team. Operations was independent. In all meetings my approach was to highlight the flaws of the other teams and stake my claim to take over those arms of the business – if not in letter, at least in spirit.
This was the choice I made. And in life, every choice has its consequences. My choice in running after the departments, which were not under my direct control, made those teams wary. They became defensive. I made more enemies than friends. And trust me, when you make enemies at work, you spend the entire day figuring out their next move rather than work towards betterment of your business profitability.
In politics and on the central stage, Arvind Kejriwal is doing exactly what I did in my corporate life. But I learnt my lessons. Some though counseling by well wishers and friends. And some the hard way. But I learnt them fast.
I have learnt that in life, great leaders are not those who deliver with things directly under their control, but are those who learn to work with people not directly in their span of control, but upon whom they have reasonable influence on account of stature, position and knowledge. Only if you do that, would people rally around you, trust you, work for you. And when the entire team – direct and indirect rallies around you, can success be far behind?
That’s why my unsolicited advice to Arvind Kejriwal would be – get back to work. First do things under your control to improve life of people in Delhi. They voted for you. Before you put them through hardships, get them to rally for you by fixing things under your control – things which you can do yourself. I am sure there are hundred things you can do on your own. Build a name for yourself. Demonstrate good governance. Once you do that people will themselves support you in your battle for taking control over units which you have only an influence over. And at time, it will be time for the central government to figure out a reason why they need to hold on to those departments. Give people a reason to fight for you.
Anyone can get work done by people who directly work for you. Great leaders go outside their sphere of control and change lives by influencing outcomes beyond their direct line of sight.
INFLUENCE….. and not CONTROL is the key word here My Kejriwal. Hope you learn your lessons fast, else you will be disappointing loads of Indians who saw in you someone who could change the face of Indian politics. As of now they are beginning to lose faith in you.