Monday, September 25, 2006

Leadership - What is your style?

The thumb rule of leadership says ‘The success of the real leader is determined by how many leaders he or she has created’. Leadership is all about ‘enabling others’ and this can be applied to all walks of our life ranging from family to corporation. The latest form of leadership is ‘thought leadership’ as the world is in knowledge era. The knowledge is considered as the most powerful entity than anything else. In Indian tech industry I have been observing two leaders and thought of comparing their leadership styles. They are none other than Narayana Murthy and Azim Premji.

Looking into them more closely, we can say they both are totally different personalities and their companies reflect their personalities. We can take the following examples:

  • Premji built Wipro as a ‘family owned’ company, whereas Murthy built Infosys as an ‘employee owned’ company. Murthy believed in sharing the wealth with their employees by making them as ‘stakeholders’ which is not true with Wipro.
  • Premji never believed in the media and never accessible for media personnel. In the past five years I have seen him in only on couple of TV shows (NDTV-walk the talk and CNBC Power-Turks) apart from announcing Wipro’s quarterly results. Whereas we can see Murthy appearing and giving his opinion on fee reduction in IIMs to RTI act. I have never ever read any news about Premji’s family members, whereas everyone knows almost everything about Murthy’s family.
  • Infosys have a ‘leadership training’ institute in Mysore where they are grooming next generation leaders for Infosys. It is more of a systematic approach where the leaders are ‘grooming inside’. Because of this reason it is very hard to see people quitting Infosys and becoming Entrepreneurs. In a sharp contrast Wipro had ‘grow outside’ approach, because of which many of senior executives quit the company and went on to become Entrepreneurs.

In conclusion I would say both of them are great leaders in their own style. They strongly believed in their ‘ideology’ of running the business and stuck with it for about 25 years. In both the cases they have ‘created’ new leaders, but again in different styles.

What is your leadership style?

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