Attributes of Leadership - Sam Ma Necks Haw

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<ul><li><p>8/2/2019 Attributes of Leadership - Sam Ma Necks Haw</p><p> 1/5</p><p>What are the attributes of leadership?</p><p>---Sam Manekshaw, MC</p><p>The primary, the cardinal attribute of leadership is professional knowledge and professional</p><p>competence. And you will agree with me, ladies and gentlemen, that you cannot be born withprofessional knowledge or professional competence. Not even if you are the son of the prime</p><p>minister, an industrialist or a Field Marshal! Professional knowledge has to be acquired the hard</p><p>way.</p><p>The problem in India is that as soon as one of us is put in a position of power, he feels that he</p><p>has the monopoly of the entire knowledge.</p><p>Its a continuous study and you never acquire enough in todays fast moving, competitive,</p><p>technological world that we are living in. Youve got to keep up with your profession, whatever</p><p>you are in. Doctors, engineers, scientists, all contribute to journals of their profession. They all</p><p>have contact with their counterparts in other worlds.</p><p>The problem in India is that as soon as one of us is put in a position of power, he feels that he</p><p>has the monopoly of the entire knowledge. Those who are responsible for the defence and</p><p>security of this country, can they cross their hearts and swear that they have ever read a book</p><p>on strategy, on tactics? On military campaigns, or weapons? Can they even distinguish between</p><p>a mortar and a motor, a guerrilla from a gorilla? Professional knowledge and professional</p><p>competence are the main attributes of leadership. Unless you know, and the men you</p><p>command know that you know your job, you will never be a leader. Take industry for example.</p><p>The automobile industry has gone through tremendous technological changes. Its only recently</p><p>that our industrialists have started thinking and producing a modern car. I want to tell you that</p><p>unless you have professional knowledge and professional competence, you will never become a</p><p>leader.</p><p>And that takes me to the next attribute of leadership, the ability to think; to make up your</p><p>mind, to take a decision and accept full responsibility for that decision. Have you ever</p><p>wondered, why a man doesnt take a decision? Very simple, because he lacks professional</p><p>knowledge and professional competence or he is afraid that if he takes a decision and goes</p><p>wrong, he will have to carry the can. Ladies and gentlemen, as a law of average, if you take ten</p><p>decisions, five should be right. And if you have professional competence and professional</p><p>knowledge, nine should be right. And the one that is wrong will always be put right by a bright</p><p>colleague, by an intelligent staff officer or by the gallantry of some soldier. I dont want to give</p><p>you too many examples of why and when people havent taken decisions and what has</p><p>happened. I will give you just one. If the decision had been taken to ensure that the Sabri</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Attributes of Leadership - Sam Ma Necks Haw</p><p> 2/5</p><p>Masjid would not be destroyed, a whole community would not have been antagonised.</p><p>An act of omission can be corrected but an act of commission cannot be corrected. To do</p><p>nothing is to do something, which is definitely wrong</p><p>An act of omission can be corrected but an act of commission cannot be corrected. To donothing is to do something, which is definitely wrong. When I was the Army Chief, I visited my</p><p>formation commanders and I asked one of them what he had been doing about some matter.</p><p>He turned around and said Sir, I have been thinking, I havent made up my mind. It is</p><p>absolutely necessary that a leader must be decisive.</p><p>The next attribute of the leadership is absolute honesty and impartiality. We all have our likes</p><p>and dislikes, but, we must never allow our likes or our dislikes to influence our professional</p><p>judgment. Those of us, who had the good fortune of commanding hundreds and thousands of</p><p>men, know this. The leader must be absolutely impartial and honest in dealing with personnel.</p><p>No man likes to be punished and yet a man will take his punishment if he knows that the</p><p>punishment awarded to him is similar to the one for a similar crime committed by somebody</p><p>who has influence, who has the ear of an industrialist, of a minister, of a member of parliament,</p><p>or the Field Marshal. No man likes to be superseded. And yet, they will accept supersession, if</p><p>they know they have been superseded by someone better, better qualified under the</p><p>regulations but not by somebody who is a relative of the minister or by somebody for whom a</p><p>Godman intervenes. It is vitally important when you are dealing with men that you should be</p><p>absolutely impartial. We must possess the courage to withstand these pressures.</p><p>A Yes man is a dangerous man. He is a menace... He can become a minister, a secretary or a</p><p>Field Marshal but he can never become a leader nor, ever be respected. He will be used by his</p><p>superiors, disliked by his colleagues and despised by his subordinates. So discard the Yes man.</p><p>Moral and physical courage are the next vital attributes and I do not know which one is more</p><p>important. While addressing young officers or young policemen, I will put emphasis on physical</p><p>courage but since I am addressing this gathering, I will lay stress on moral courage. What is</p><p>moral courage? Moral courage is the ability to distinguish right from wrong and having done so,</p><p>to say so, irrespective of the consequences to you. A Yes man is a dangerous man. He is a</p><p>menace. He will go very far. He can become a minister, a secretary or a Field Marshal but he</p><p>can never become a leader nor, ever be respected. He will be used by his superiors, disliked by</p><p>his colleagues and despised by his subordinates. So discard the Yes man.</p><p>I am going to give you a personal example of moral courage. There is a very thin line between</p><p>being dismissed and becoming a Field Marshal. In 1971, when Pakistan cracked down in East</p><p>Pakistan, hundreds and thousands of refugees started pouring into India, into West Bengal,</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Attributes of Leadership - Sam Ma Necks Haw</p><p> 3/5</p><p>Assam and Tripura. The Prime Minister held a cabinet meeting in her office. The External Affairs</p><p>Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh, the Agriculture Minister, Mr Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, the Defence</p><p>Minister, Babu Jagjivan Ram, and the Finance Minister, Yashwant Rao Chauhan were present. I</p><p>was then summoned.</p><p>A very angry, grim-faced Prime Minister read out the telegrams from the Chief Ministers of</p><p>West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. She then turned around to me and said, What are you doing</p><p>about it? And I said, Nothing, its got nothing to do with me. You didnt consult me when you</p><p>allowed the BSF, the CRP and RAW to encourage the Pakistanis to revolt. Now that you are in</p><p>trouble, you come to me. I have a long nose. I know whats happening. I then asked her what</p><p>she wanted me to do. She said, I want you to enter East Pakistan. And I responded, That</p><p>means war! She said, I do not mind if it is war. Have you read the Bible? I queried.</p><p>The Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh asked, What has the Bible got to do with this? I</p><p>explained, that the first book, the first chapter, the first words, the first sentence God said was,</p><p>Let there be light and there was light. Now you say, Let there be war and there will be war,</p><p>but are you prepared? I am certainly not. This is the end of April. The Himalayan passes are</p><p>opening and there can be an attack from China if China gives us an ultimatum. The Foreign</p><p>Minister asked, Will China give an ultimatum? And I said, You are the Foreign Minister, you</p><p>tell me. I told them that my armoured division and two of my infantry divisions were away.</p><p>One in the Jhansi/Babina area, the other in Samba and the third one in Andhra Pradesh and</p><p>Tamil Nadu. I mentioned that I would require all the road space, all the railway wagons, the</p><p>entire railway system to move these formations to the operational areas and that harvesting</p><p>was in progress in the Punjab and UP and they would not be able to move the harvest which</p><p>would rot; and I pointed out to the Agriculture Minister that it wouldnt be my responsibility if</p><p>there were a famine.</p><p>...and said, Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, may I send you my resignation on</p><p>grounds of health, mental or physical? She said, Every thing you told me is true. Yes! It is</p><p>my job to tell you the truth I responded, and it is my job to fight, it is my job to fight to win</p><p>and I have told you the truth.</p><p>Then I said, My armoured division, which is my big striking force is supposed to have one</p><p>hundred eighty nine tanks operational. I have got only eleven tanks that are fit to fight. The</p><p>Finance Minister, who is a friend of mine asked, Sam why only eleven? So I told him,</p><p>Because you are the Finance Minister. I have been asking you for money for over a year and</p><p>you say you havent got it! And finally I turned around to the Prime Minister and said that the</p><p>rains were about to start in East Pakistan and when it rains there, it pours and when it pours,</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Attributes of Leadership - Sam Ma Necks Haw</p><p> 4/5</p><p>the whole countryside is flooded. The snows are melting, the rivers would become like oceans.</p><p>If you stand on one bank, you cannot see the other. All my movement would be confined to</p><p>roads.</p><p>The Air Force, because of climatic conditions would not be able to support me. Now PrimeMinister, give me your orders. The grim Prime Minister with her teeth clenched said, The</p><p>Cabinet will meet again at four o-clock. The members of the Cabinet started walking out. I</p><p>being the junior most was the last to go and as I was leaving, she said, Chief, will you stay</p><p>back? I turned around and said, Prime Minister, before you open your mouth, may I send you</p><p>my resignation on grounds of health, mental or physical? She said, Every thing you told me is</p><p>true. Yes! It is my job to tell you the truth I responded, and it is my job to fight, it is my job</p><p>to fight to win and I have told you the truth, She smiled at me and said, All right Sam, you</p><p>know what I want? I said, Yes, I know what you want!</p><p>I had the moral courage to tell her the truth. A leader must have moral courage otherwise he</p><p>will not be respected.</p><p>I now come to physical courage. Fear, like hunger and sex, is a natural phenomenon and the</p><p>man who says he is not frightened is a liar. But to be frightened is one thing and to show fear is</p><p>something quite different. It is when your knees are knocking and your teeth are chattering</p><p>that is when the real leader comes out. If you once show fear to your men, you will never have</p><p>their respect. I could quote you many examples of my own life. I am not a brave man! Please</p><p>believe me. You have to have physical courage. Never show your fear. How often has a course</p><p>of a battle, when everything was going wrong, changed because some young officer has picked</p><p>up a handful of men and changed the situation by his physical courage? How often a poor old</p><p>Inspector of Police with nothing but a little swagger stick in his hand quelled a riot by showing</p><p>physical courage?</p><p>The other attribute of leadership is loyalty. We all except loyalty but do we give loyalty? Look at</p><p>things happening around you. The sons of kings, chief ministers and heads of governments have</p><p>shown disloyalty.</p><p>The other attribute of leadership is loyalty. We all except loyalty but do we give loyalty? Look at</p><p>things happening around you. The sons of kings, chief ministers and heads of governments have</p><p>shown disloyalty. Loyalty you must get from your subordinates and also give loyalty to your</p><p>superiors, colleagues and subordinates. Men may give you trouble and create problems but a</p><p>leader must deal with them immediately and sternly. A leader must remember that human</p><p>beings have human problems, so the leader must have a human touch. Leaders must have the</p><p>gift of the gab and a sense of humour. And finally, men and women all over the world like their</p></li><li><p>8/2/2019 Attributes of Leadership - Sam Ma Necks Haw</p><p> 5/5</p><p>leader to be a man, to have manly qualities. It is not that only a person who has no vices is a</p><p>good leader. Look at Caesar or Napoleon, they had vices but they were outstanding leaders.</p><p>Since I joined the Army, many changes have taken place; the .303 rifle has been replaced by a</p><p>new weapon. Horses and mules have been replaced by vehicles and tanks. Signalcommunications have advanced a great deal. Satellites now give the entire information to the</p><p>Commanders. But for infantry soldiers, one thing has not changed, and that is their job. Their</p><p>job is to fight and win. If you lose, you would disgrace your country, your village, your home and</p><p>your wife. Let your motto be, No one provokes me with impunity. In other words, or in a</p><p>soldiers language, if your enemy hits you on the chin, black both his eyes and push his teeth</p><p>down his throat! If you can instil this quality in your men, you will be a great leader. The leader</p><p>that this country lacks at all levels, in all walks of life</p></li></ul>