Interviewed By: Charu Madan, Corporate Editor, The CEO Insights
The CEO Insights: Why be the Gardener of MSR Leadership Consultants India?
Professor M.S.Rao: I have a passion to share my knowledge with the world. My lifetime goal is to train and groom one million leaders in the world. It led me to choose teaching, and training as career. I do it through my training company – MSR Leadership Consultants India. In addition, I author books on leadership, coaching and CEOs to accomplish my lifetime goal..
The CEO Insights: What do you think has triggered this evolution in leadership styles?
Professor M.S.Rao: As the world is getting more complex and uncertain there is need for new leadership styles. Additionally, the expectations and aspirations of the people are rising rapidly resulting in the need for new leadership styles.
The CEO Insights: What would you consider the biggest differentiating factor between a Manager and leader?
Professor M.S.Rao: Managers think within the box while leaders think out-of-the box. Managers do things right while the leaders do right things. Managers climb the ladder while the leaders ensure that the ladder is leaning on the right side of the wall. Precisely, managers are missionaries while leaders are visionaries.
The CEO Insights: What does it take to be a successful mentor?
Professor M.S.Rao: First of all, the mentor must have passion to share his knowledge, expertise, and skills to his mentees. He must find out what the mentee needs and how to equip the latter with the requisite skills and abilities to become a good leader. Above all, the mentor must be a true professional who must be willing to make difference in the lives of mentees.
The CEO Insights: Educational institutes are mushrooming in all corners of India; however the quality of education imparted is sacrificed as the motive behind the mushrooming of institutes is commercial? Can education be treated as a business?
Professor M.S.Rao: It is true that several educational institutions are mushrooming across India. Unfortunately, we don’t have qualitative educational institutions to impart right education where industry craves for employable and deployable students. Traditionally, education in India is treated as a sacred one unlike the western countries where they treat education as a business. Of course, there are educational institutions run on non-profit in the west. Hence, it is essential to emphasize on quality education to bring out the best among students.
The CEO Insights: Our education system in India is largely dependent on learning by rote, how can we change this and bring about a blend of praxis and pedagogy ; your view?
Professor M.S.Rao: Currently Indian education system emphasizes on 3 Rs – read, write and reproduce. We still follow outdated teaching pedagogy that produces clerks rather than leaders. India has billion plus population and we don’t have adequate leaders when compared with population. If India produces leaders in proportion to the size of population you can imagine the kind of India we will live in. Secondly, our education system doesn’t encourage thinking ability among the students as students cram the content and reproduce during exams and score grades and marks. They don’t understand the basic idea. If they understand the basic idea they will be able to apply the idea in many areas and reap rewards out of them.
The CEO Insights: According to you, what is the USP of your training programs
Professor M.S.Rao: My teaching and training programs are unique as I blend concepts with case studies, stories, and interaction. My training programs depend on the type of audience I am handling and the type of topic I am delivering to my participants. Succinctly, my training programs are a blend of education and entertainment to achieve the desired training takeaways among the participants and to change their behavior to deliver better at the workplace.
The CEO Insights: HIs choosing between soft and hard leadership, situation dependent?
Professor M.S.Rao: Soft and hard leaders are two different styles of leadership. In soft leadership, people adopt persuasion, mediation, and negotiation to get the things executed effectively. It is about relationship-oriented and transformational leadership style with an end in mind but through soft, polite and assertive means to get the things done successfully. In contrast, hard leadership is about task-oriented and it believes in coercion and threat to get the things done. It is a transactional leadership style. Ultimately, it is the soft leadership that prevails in the long run because the days of command-and-control don’t work any longer. In addition, the Gen Y is very bright and ambitious who would like to work with partners rather than with leaders. Hence, soft leadership is going to rule this world in future. Hence, I coined ‘Soft Leadership’ and authored a book and published articles in international journals. I led a webinar organized by prestigious International Leadership Association (ILA) as they found my concept very interesting. It is getting great response globally. Here are the links to view for yourself on Soft Leadership: http://www.amazon.com/Soft-Leadership-Make-others-important/dp/8175156538, http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=17083779, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ltl.20019/abstract .
The CEO Insights: According to you, what role does emotional intelligence play in soft and hard leadership styles?
Professor M.S.Rao: Emotional intelligence (EI) plays a crucial role in any kind of leadership as it is the key thing that makes ordinary people as leaders. In the case of soft leadership, EI plays a major role as soft leadership is a relationship-oriented leadership and it emphasizes more on people with a view to get the production done.
The CEO Insights: How would you brand your leadership style?
Professor M.S.Rao: My leadership style is soft leadership style with more emphasis on people without compromising the production. I have been doing intensive research on this and creating new tools and techniques. I would like to use Soft Leadership for global peace and prosperity.
The CEO Insights: What are your favorite book, movie, and/or play?
Professor M.S.Rao: I read mostly books on leadership, coaching and CEOs. I rarely find time to watch movies. But I enjoy watching the Hollywood movies directed by Steven Spielberg.
The CEO Insights: What are your Hobbies and Interests?
Professor M.S.Rao: I enjoy reading books on leadership, learning and women psychology. I am passionate about teaching, training and authoring books. My hobby is gifting something to others such as books, or stationary items or key chains or chocolates to others depending on my pocket and people around me. Above all, I want to make others feel important and always appreciate people around me to make a difference in their lives.
The CEO Insights: What advice do you have for today’s managers?
Professor M.S.Rao: Take feedback positively as nobody is perfect in this world. We learn from our own experience and from the experience of others. Taking feedback helps you correct your mistakes to grow as a great leader. Additionally, learn, unlearn and relearn to soar like a leader.
The CEO Insights: What motivates you??
Professor M.S.Rao: I am motivated by reading great books. I am motivated when I author books. I am motivated by continuous learners who are passionate to learn from me. I am motivated when my mentees and coachees grow in their lives and appreciate my contribution for their corporate career growth.
The CEO Insights: Is there anything you would like to add?
Professor M.S.Rao: Love your mother but don’t hate another person’s mother. Share your knowledge with others as knowledge grows when shared. Build leaders around you. And make a difference in the lives of others.
To read more about Indus Professor M.S.Rao, International Leadership Guru and Author of 21 Book on Leadership, Please click here