Why I am ‘Dravid-ified’

It is the Indian Premier League (IPL) season and like all previous years, this year too there is excitement, animated discussions between colleagues at work, between friends after work, and once at home, with our families! Because, you know, when it comes to Cricket, everyone has an opinion –  it is almost like our patriotic duty!

I am a ‘Royal Challengers Bangalore’ (RCB) supporter and am hopeful of winning this year. RCB, RCB, RCB!!!

However, in the recent match between RCB and Delhi Daredevils, something interesting happened. Kohli and AB de Villiers had hit the ball all around the park. Later, when Delhi was batting and scoring the runs, my son turned around and asked ‘Appa, whom are you supporting?’

This got me into quite a conundrum! I just said I’m an RCB guy, so all logic would lead to the fact that I would want Bangalore to win – but something inside me said Delhi. Can you imagine that! I knew why… Agreed that Delhi is a young team with no “real stars” that makes you want to back them, but the reason was – Rahul Dravid.

Granted, Tendulkar is the ‘God’ of Cricket (though I still don’t back Mumbai Indians when they are playing). However, when it comes to Dravid, I support whichever team he is associated with.  Funny how the image or perception that we have about an individual drives our affiliations and decisions. It is no different with Leaders in our own work space.

So, why does Dravid drive this affiliation from me? For the following reasons:

• A Level 5 leader: As Jim Collins puts it in his book, ‘Good to Great’ – ‘Level 5 leaders channel their egos away from themselves and into the larger goals of building a great company. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious – but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution and not themselves’. From what I’ve understood, Dravid exemplifies this!

Balanced leader: He is a simple, down to earth, ‘walks the talk’ leader – there is no fan-fare, no flamboyance, but just 100% focus to get the job done in the simplest and the most practical way. He comes across as someone with a very high emotional quotient which is important in leadership roles. There is ‘Balance’ in his own conduct and emotions.

• Equal leader: You can see that it is not about star players or individuals, but about the team. Be it the Rajasthan Royals earlier or the Under-19 team or the current Delhi team, his willingness to work with and through young teams, without having any ‘Stars’ tells you about his ability to create high performing, high energy teams. To me it means he is an ‘Equal’ leader.

• Empowering leader: Leaders have to believe in themselves first and have immense clarity in their minds – to create an environment that enables, empowers and gives freedom within the defined boundaries. Ownership, which is a big challenge in the corporate world is something Dravid seems to have driven perfectly within his group. His team knows that he is the ‘Wall’ that will stand behind them. And his game plan seems to be to – ‘Believe’, ‘Enable’ and ‘Empower’.

• Approachable and honest leader: He comes across as someone who is approachable, someone who will be willing to listen to you and yet not judge you. He is honest and someone that you can ‘Trust’ and ‘Respect’.

Needless to say, IPL will give us a lot of exciting and heart-ache moments in the coming months. While RCB still remains my favorite, I am ‘Dravid-ified’!