© Santosh Subramanian – Some rights reserved - Under Creative Commons

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What are Leaders made of!

Hello World! I am back with a bang! LOL :)

I tried my best to stay away from the blogging world for some time due to external pressures & realized how intensely I am in love with expressing myself, talking to others & communicating to the outside world. With out expression, I cease to exist! So, here we go.

I am actually in a hangover from one of the classic movies that I saw in bits & pieces over the last 2 weeks – Scent of a Woman. Wonderful movie, great performance & considered one of the classics of English Cinema. Al Pacino won the Academy Award & the Golden Globe award for the Best Actor in portraying the retired, blind (caused by mishandling grenades), Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade. I am not going to talk about the movie or the plot or the performance of the actors here. But there are many take-aways from this movie in general - on living and on leadership.

The dialogue he delivers at the court-room kind of setup in the School where his assistant Charlie Simms, a student of the graduate school, is being tried as a witness to a silly prank some fellow classmates did outside the Headmaster’s Chamber - is just mind blowing & thought provoking. Charlie is recommended by the Headmaster to the jury council to be expelled from the school for not giving out the names (Apparently the Headmaster offered a bribe to Charlie in terms of a seat in Harvard for exchange of the names - which he declined) thereby permanently damaging his career, when Lt. Col. Slade gets up and gives out this thought provoking dialogue.

The dialogue, though not exact, is below: -
By expelling Charlie, you think you are sending him home with his tail between his legs; but you are executing his soul! For what?

When I walked in today, I heard something about this school called the “Cradle of Leadership”. What kind of leaders do you make here? If I were the man I was five years ago, I'd take a flame thrower to this place...

Charlie has reached a cross road in his life & he has chosen a path. Its the right path. It is a path made of PRINCIPLES... that leads to CHARACTER... He won't SELL ANYBODY out to BUY HIS FUTURE. And that, my friends, is called INTEGRITY. That's called COURAGE. And that's the stuff that leaders SHOULD be made of!

I just couldn’t agree any more. Are today’s leaders (Corporate & even others) made of this stuff?

I don't know. From my experience, It is a dirty, murkier, back stabbing game of shamelessness where there is not even a trace of integrity, forget courage.

Some food for thought!