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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

SHFJ Maneckshaw - Overflowing Charisma

Never have I taught the theme of 'Charismatic Leadership' without having the image of the very Handsome, Powerful, Strategic, Brave, Charming, Out-spoken and yet so Empathetic SHFJ Maneckshaw with his slight mischievous smile and a twinkle in his eyes donning his military fatigues with a Gorkha hat in my mind. I merely describe him and I never miss on any dimensions of the theme !

Being asked by the ever so aggressive Indira Gandhi - with reference to war with Pakistan - if he and his troops were ready ? ..... not many (I would even wager to bet - not any) would have had the guts to say..." I am always ready, sweetie !". Possibly, the only time that the aggressive lady Prime Minister may have blushed in her life like a coy girl, I presume!

But to say that and get away without being chastised, you require a different credibility, a different confidence, a different charisma and a different style. Infact, a uniquely different persona !

The German Sociologist Max Weber developed this concept of Charismatic Leadership. His reference was to a rather compelling and charming style of transformative leadership that inspires others to higher levels of performance and deeper levels of committment to enables delivery to the agreed purpose even in crisis.

Scientific leaders rely more on systems, processes and programs to succeed. The Charismatic leaders offer their personal trust, enthusiasm and inspiration to infuse the team with energy and guts to tide over the challenges and adversities.

This rare to find breed of leadership is best suited to handle crisis, acute challenges and adversities that defy logic. Churchill was yet another in this genere. Martin Luther King, Mandela, Gandhiji ... some other such leaders.

They say that when a Charismatic leader in an adversity tells his team - "jump" one challenges him or asks why. All they say is - "how high !". Folklore has it that the Gorkha Regiment he lead has more songs eulogising his bravery and charisma than the total men in the Gorkha Regiment !

Offering homage today to the great hero and India's first Field Marshal on the occassion of his 14th death anniversary..

Long live the hero in our memories.

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