Great leaders are born out of the dire need to make a difference. They want to give their best and bring out the best in people around them. They inspire millions without trying hard. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has clearly set an awe-worthy example by revolutionizing the Indian cricket team. Under his leadership, we have won the first T20 World Cup, 50-50 World Cup, and ICC Champions Trophy along and set many new records along the way. Dhoni has proved his mettle time and again and emerged as a strong sportsperson. Let’s look at the 5 leadership lessons that we should try and learn from Dhoni.
In the light of his recent stepping down from captaincy, we bring an article on the most prized asset of Captain Cool – his leadership skills.
Leadership Lessons From Dhoni: What Did He Teach Us?
1. Take Risks
From giving the final over to Joginder Sharma in the 2007 T20 World Cup to coming to bat ahead in the final of 2011 One-Day World Cup to letting Virat Kohli bowl for the final over in the 2016 T20 World Cup, Dhoni has shown that he, as a leader, will never hesitate to take risks. This attitude has made him India’s most successful captain. Sometimes, these risks have backfired too but that doesn’t mean he has stopped taking them. We should all learn the art of taking risks and believing in ourselves in our life. Failing because of the risks involved does not mean we shouldn’t try at all. We should calibrate our risk radar and keep grabbing opportunities. This was the first and most important of the leadership lessons from Dhoni!
2. Gracefully Accept Constructive Criticism
India was an underdog before the start of the 2007 T20 World Cup and yet came out as a winner at the end. In the presentation ceremony after final, Dhoni mentioned how he was determined to win the match even after hearing everyone’s criticism. That’s when the world came to know that this man has neither forgotten criticism nor has he collapsed under its weight. Instead, he has taken inspiration from it. This is an important lesson to learn since many times in your life, you will face criticism and that’s how you should reply to it – by working hard to prove everyone wrong. If you dream big, no one will believe in you. But that shouldn’t matter. The most important person you want to believe in you is yourself.
3. Give Credit to Your Team
This is one of the most important leadership lessons from Dhoni. In the past, whenever the Indian team has won matches, Dhoni has given full credit to its team members even when he has played a bigger role in those matches (he is one of the best finishers in the world). This is how the team becomes more confident and trusts the leader. The team also knows that their efforts are recognized and appreciated. When the team members like and trust their leader, they are willing to work harder under difficult circumstances.
4. Stay Calm
Even in the tensest situations, Dhoni has maintained his calm and cool. This attitude has always given him the strength to take crucial decisions. Creativity comes to your rescue only if you are calm and focused, not emotionally hijacked. If you panic, you are bound to make small mistakes or neglect some minor things while making a big decision. And if your team sees you panicking, they are going to panic too. So, stay cool like Dhoni.
5. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Unlike Sachin and Dravid, Dhoni is not the best when it comes to technique. But he’s still mastered the art of finishing with big shots in the final overs and that’s where his strength lies. Knowing one’s own strengths and weaknesses helps you beat others who might be more talented but don’t know their true strength. You also get maximum output from the same amount of work. And that is a quality every leader should have.
Nelson Mandela, activist and former president of South Africa, once said “It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory and when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is some danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” That’s exactly what Dhoni has done. These were some leadership lessons from Dhoni that we should remember.
Looking for more inspiration? Read our articles Learning the Right lessons to Succeed & 10 Success Lessons You Could Take from Sachin Tendulkar.
Inspired by this article? Check out how you yourself can become a good leader here.