Leadership Lessons

Last week I was fortunate enough to accompany my dad to a reunion of his Indian Army Unit. He served with the 2nd Lancers (GH), one of the oldest (200 years +) and most highly decorated armored regiments of the Indian Army for over 30 years.

The 3 days that I spent in Secunderabad interacting with officers, ranging in seniority from Majors with six years of service to a highly decorated ex-Army Commander with over 36 years of service, reinforced in me the belief that the Indian Armed Forces continues to be a premier establishment that regularly produces inspiring leaders and motivated followers.

Some key takeaways from my conversations with my father as well as the other officers –


Respect is earned (and lost) everyday – Your past accomplishments only last so long. Every new mission is an opportunity to prove yourself and inspire everyone under your command.


A time for strategy and a time for action – And the two don’t usually mix. Improvise. Adapt. Overcome


Achieving the mission is everyone’s responsibility – While the CO (Commanding Officer) typically leads from the front and takes responsibility for all losses, the sense of failure on not achieving the mission and letting each other down is shared equally by everyone. The unit introspects individually and as a team to analyze what could have been done differently and better!


Praise in Public, Admonish in Private – Rarely will you see good officers berating a junior officer in public (there are rare occasions when they want to set an example to the rest of the unit) but typically one on one conversations are usually the norm and considered much more effective.


Discipline, Expected in war but mandatory in peace – In peacetime, everything you notice around you in an army camp is spotless and in exactly the right place. Right from the uniforms, to the accommodations, mess halls and equipment. It reflects the pride that everyone feels in themselves, their unit and the men they serve with. The continuous drills, exercises and surprise checks are a constant reminder of the old adage “The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war” and the fact that high standards need to be maintained consistently and without excuses.

For all the veterans out there – Thank you for your service!

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