Teaching Leadership Through Games

It is a fact [this means readers are expected not to deny it] that for last several decades we have not seen political leaders of the stature of Gandhi [Mahatma I mean] and Nehru [Jawaharlal, not Arun]. So we need some crash courses in Leadership Development. Stanford, Harvard and Wharton have no chance of succeeding in the job of training our young leaders, although the popular view is that the converse is also true; our political leaders have no chance of succeeding at Stanford, Harvard or Wharton. [Be that as it may, why get into unnecessary debate?]

When two brothers who went to study at such reputed institutes in US, one passed while the other failed, clearly establishing that the chance of success was 50%. They later indulged in bitter war at home, in press and in courts, disclosing that training in Harvard, Stanford and Wharton gave a very myopic and restricted meaning to the words ‘Value based Management.’

‘Lagaan’ the Hindi movie we hoped to win Oscar award, was screened at IIMs and then at many seminars and management schools to study the subject of ‘Leadership development.’ Art, they say, reflects life. Here are some thoughts and ideas for developing political leadership within our country. Games are known to develop ‘killer instinct’ among players. Men with leadership qualities and with ‘killer instinct’ make good political leaders, if not members of parliament or Ministers, in India. So there is a case for imparting leadership training through games.

Rahul Gandhi, is young and is very playful. He enjoyed playing Hide and Seek with Shiv Sena recently. We have watched this with great appreciation and curiosity; and suggest him, Uddhav, Raj et al. to play Hu Tu Tu or Kabaddi. They can chant any of these two words while playing depending upon whether you came from UP, Bihar or Maharashtra. That would take out the regional bias and both can claim that Hu Tu Tu or Kabaddi as the case may be is a UP or Bihari game or Marathi game with great justification. The game also tests your skills in ‘cornering the opponent’ and ‘pulling him down’ which actually will help prepare these young emerging leaders in achieving their political ambitions.

It is a common practice for retired executives, particularly if they have spent their career in HRD [acronym of Harassment till Retirement or Death!], to take up an assignment as Dean or Director of a Management Institute. I obviously qualify, and I intend to take up one. I feel that there is a great scope for training young men and women. Why not launch an MBA course in Political Leadership?

It will be a good business proposition. Any suggestions on what the syllabus should be? Do write.

Vivek

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