Hard-Learned Leadership Lessons


31st Jul'22

They say smart people learn from their mistakes and wise people learn from other people’s mistakes. 

Now after this hard sell, I hope you’ll like to read what I have curated for you. These are leadership lessons from some of my favorite leaders that you can learn the easy way. So here are 12 hard-learned leadership lessons for you.


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Ratan Tata 

Mr. Ratan Tata needs no introduction, he is undoubtedly one of the greatest industrialists in the entire world. We all love him for many reasons, his humility, his vision, his dedication to the country, his kindness, his many ventures that changed the lives of so many Indians, etc, etc, etc…

He is undoubtedly the man of the era. His kindness and vision set him apart. We all have heard many stories about him. He evokes trust and faith in all of us but how? 

The answer is simple. He is dependable. We all trust Mr. Tata because we can. He is the person who shows up. He visits his employees when they are sick, he cancels felicitation ceremonies arranged by kings to pay his respect to his departed dog. He builds a budget car for the safety of those who might not be able to afford it. 

There are many lessons that we can learn from him. My top 3 picks would be-


1. I don't believe in taking the right decisions. I take decisions and then make them right.


Being the person who shows up and takes responsibility is what sets you apart as a leader. You will have to take a lot of decisions and that part of the job is what you are signing up for. You should take a decision carefully, once you do then it is your responsibility to see it through. 


2. Businesses need to go beyond the interest of their companies to the communities they serve.


What you do is your contribution to the world you’ll leave behind for future generations. Hence it is your responsibility that your actions can not be self-serving but rather should be in service of others.


3. Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going because a straight line even in an ECG means we are not alive.


Accept what happens in life, be it good or bad. You can not expect to go through life without facing difficult times. Improve your mistakes, build character and move on. Things can not always remain the same, that is not the nature of life.


3 women in buisness meeting


Raghu Raman

Mr. Raman has an interesting career graph. He served in the Indian Army for about 12 years, which included a tour to war-torn Angola as a UN Peace Keeper, being an instructor in the School of Armoured Warfare, and much more.

Post his service in the army he joined the Mahindra Group where he led different companies starting with the United World Colleges, then as the CEO of FirstChoice, CEO of MahindraSSG, and finally as the CEO of the joint venture between BAE and Mahindra. 

In  2009, Mr.Raghu was given the responsibility to create the National Intelligence Grid by the Home Ministry of the Indian Government, in the aftermath of the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai, India.

He also teaches Leadership, Analytics, Strategy, and Communication in leading Business Schools and Institutions and is a member of the Outstanding Speaker Bureau.

Additionally, he is a columnist for The Mint newspaper and the author of a book published by Penguin titled "Everyman's War".

Mr. Raman has given many speeches on leadership and here are his top 3 leadership lessons-


4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.


A lot is going to happen around you and you might not like a lot of it. That is okay. You can not get worked up about everything. You should your battles wisely. Select whatever you choose to worry about or get concerned with. Things that are petty and inconsequential don’t require your attention.


5. Many times you will fail at something in life. That failure is designed to bring out your true strength. 


Failure happens, it is part of the learning process. It is in failure you build your strength and character. Allow your failures to teach you and then don’t repeat those mistakes.


6. Leaders are supposed to produce leaders better than them.


To be a leader is to be a teacher. It is your responsibility to train the next generation to be better than you, that is how you ensure the legacy of your institution/county/company. 


Mahendra Singh Dhoni 

The former captain of the Indian cricket team remains one of the most celebrated and beloved sportspersons even today. He is popularly known as Captain Cool for his relaxed temperament and amazing leadership skills that brought home the ODI World Cup 2011. He appears shy and humble when addressing the media. His decisions as the captain often perplexed the world but almost always hit the bull's eyes. There are many things that we can learn from this extraordinary man.

So here are the top 3 leadership lessons from captain cool -


7. For me, being a part of the team is much more important than being the captain.


Being a team player is important. You have the responsibility to take the team forward and bring out the best in everyone. It is your responsibility to create an environment where everyone’s contribution is valued and everyone is respected. The only time you come forward should be to accept the blame.


8. I never allow myself to be pressured.


We take the worst decisions when under pressure. As a leader, you can not allow your nerves to get the better of you. When you are calm and collected you naturally take better decisions.


9. It’s important to learn and not repeat the same mistakes. What is done is done.


There is no point in dwelling over the past. Accept what happened, learn from it and move on.


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Narayana Murthy 

N. R. Narayana Murty is the founder of Infosys. He is often known as the father of the Indian IT sectThe Fortune magazine has listed him among the 12  greatest entrepreneurs of our time.

Mr.Murthy began his career at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad where he was the chief systems programmer. From there he moved on to work with Patni Computer Systems in Pune (Maharashtra). It was 1981 when he started Infosys with the support of his wife Ms. Sudha Murthy. He was the CEO of Infosys from 1981 to 2002 as well as the chairman from 2002 to 2011.

Narayan Murthy is one of the greatest leaders of our country. He created jobs when there were none. He is most loved and respected. We can study his life to learn from him and there still will be many things left. So instead of paraphrasing, here are some direct quotes from this extraordinary man-


10. A great leader also has the ability to make people an inch taller in his presence.


In your presence, people should feel heard and valued. This is how you bring out the best in people. Creating a positive work environment is the job of a good leader.


11. Leadership is about doing the right thing, even if it goes against a vast number of naysayers and mediocre people.


A lot of people can become rich and famous but if you lose your integrity in the process, then what have you gained? 

The reason I feel most inspired by Mr. Murthy (and other distinguished gentlemen on this list) is their commitment to their values.


12. The real power of money is the power to give it away.


For me, a community leader is one who wants to serve rather than accumulate wealth, one who wants to give back to the people and build an ecosystem of growth and opportunity for the present and future generations. It goes without saying I am very moved by the teachings of Mr. Murthy and Mr. Tata for they walk the talk. I hope these hard-learned leadership lessons inspire you to be a better leader and a better person!

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A student in more ways than one. Trying to feed her curiosity with news, philosophy, and social commentary. 



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