Why is MS Dhoni still a Leadership Goal?

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Let me confess at the onset that this write up took me the longest time to write which I had thought I would be penning down in a jiffy. Since this is dedicated to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former Indian Cricket captain and the very successful leader of the Chennai Superkings squad (as if he needs an introduction!) perhaps the only celebrity I consider myself to be a true-blue fan of literally! Finally, this culminates after thorough research and the fan is delighted!

Its cricket uninterrupted since last month and will remain so, with the biggest cricketing festival, that is the World Cup, 2019, kickstarting on May 30. Before that, IPL fever with its share of fun, buzz, celebrations and even controversies, has hit the Indian cricketing buffs full on. Chennai is now Chennai Superkings, Mumbai is suffixed with Indians, Rajasthan is royal now and Bangalore is challenger now, at least till the IPl extravaganza reaches its finale on May 12th! Television is inundated with heroes from the dressing room. Dhoni is again topping the charts with the Chennai Superkings clinching five out of the six games they have played so far. He is again proving to be the darling of advertisers, endorsing an endearing smile to smart fans to smart apps and roaring like a lion yet again!

Still fresh in our hearts is the mammoth win of World Cup 2011 under the scintillating leadership of MS Dhoni. This insurmountable victory instantly catapulted Dhoni into the league of most successful captains. Not just his hardcore fans, even his distractors acknowledged his immense and unique leadership qualities managing and inspiring the team to perform to their best. This is one of his unique traits; to be completely focussed on the short term as well as the long term goal and not be distracted by unnecessary criticism. He maintains an extremely focussed approach while on the field. Already enough paeans have been sung about the ‘coolness’ the Ranchi boy exudes. Chumki Bose, Senior Psychologist, Mentriq Mental Health Services, enlightens, “Being calm under pressure, is a skill of high emotional intelligence. The field is a place where there is extreme pressure and trust rested on each individual player by millions of people and especially the captain!! Dhoni has done it magnificently because he is grounded in his aspirations and is well acquainted with the fragile nature of the status of a player in each match. Being calm and composed helps you with the individual relationships with the team as well and hence his success!!”

Being a successful and motivating leader always implies leading from the front. Dhoni has proved it again and again with him being labelled a great finisher of the game. There have been enough instances when he has turnaround the game in India’s favour when an impending defeat could be foreseen. One of the instances being against the ruthless Aussies at Chennai in 2017 when India was in a crisis situation at 64/4 and our ‘Crisis Man’ walks in. Alongwith Hardik Pandya, the 118 run partnership made India stole the match with the ‘Cool as a Cucumber’ Dhoni guiding the youngster on the opposite crease.

Not just leading from the front, Dhoni has shown another distinctive leadeship skill, that is of mentoring the younger brigade. Media might have created a Kohli-Dhoni superficial ‘war’ comparing the two as to who has been the more successful captain.. The truth is Dhoni has always mentored Virat and guided him with his experience. India was facing South Africa in the semi finals of ICC World Cup T20, who set a 173 target for India. Virat, being the run machine that he is, hit a glorious 43 out of 68 balls levelling the scores at 18.5 overs. Now the strike was with Dhoni to finish the ‘win’ in style. However, Dhoni nudged the ball gently, smiled back at his counterpart, giving the chance to the young and promising Kohli, who finished the game with a confident boundary. Captain Cool later said in an interview that this was the best that he had to offer to Virat. Adds Chumki Bose, “There are two essential qualities of a leader according to me; one is being emotionally intelligent because out of control emotions cause cognitive narrowing which can hamper the decision making abilities under pressure,and another is team work, that is, the ability to think about the growth of each individual the leader is responsible for. A leader is always someone on whom people have trust that their best interests will be taken care of.”

Dhoni may not have studied management at a top school but he epitomises the leadership skills. Be it his risk taking abilities like inducing fresh talent into the team or handling the pressure with grace and ease, Dhoni is still an icon to emulate. A man of multi-million dollar worth stays grounded and never boasts a glamorous lifestyle. His story has been told many times and here I am just not stopping. Probably a book will justify his glorious skills. This fan is waiting to meet her role model and interpret his story my way!

Pic Courtesy: deccanchronicle.com

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