Business Today 14th January 2018 - Page 40

The Best Management Lesson I Learnt BY N.R. NARAYANA MURTHY ‘Use Data, Facts for Decisions’ Founder, Infosys Articulate and value-based people have no heroes. Th eir only hero is data. Th ey have self- confi dence, dignity... To them, merit, honesty, transparency and fairness are important. have written several articles in Business Today on leadership. In these, I have focussed on, perhaps, the most important attribute that a leader has to demonstrate to earn the trust and confidence of his or her people. That attribute is leadership by example, or walk- ing the talk, or practising the precept. Mahatma Gandhi earned the confidence and trust of the entire nation by his adherence to leadership by example. He would insist on travelling by third class in trains, eating the same food as everybody else, and meeting large crowds at stations. This required lots of plainclothes people to guard him, to check his food to avoid food poisoning and ensure that his health was okay. Sarojini Naidu is reported to have said that it took a fortune to keep the old man in poverty! Poor man, he obviously did not know what it took to make all these arrangements. But, it was well worth it. Millions of Indians followed his example and the nation was the better for it. It achieved the objective of In- dia gaining Independence through non-violence. My own experience is that no amount of empty talk can have even a miniscule impact on people, while much is achieved through leadership by example. Today, I will write about the second most important attribute of a good leader – deciding issues based on data and facts, starting every transaction from a zero base, and not carrying the hysteresis of bias from prior transactions to the current transaction. These attributes are 40 I BUSINESS TODAY I January 14 I 2018