The Distinguished Guest Lecture Series at IMI Kolkata for the year 2013 began with Lieutenant General Ashok Kumar Choudhary, AVSM, SM, VSM General Officer Commanding Bengal Area, visiting the Institute campus on July 12, 2013.
Lt. General Choudhary spoke on “Perspectives on Leadership and Management: The Army Way” wherein he discussed the leadership concepts and practices in military situations and the military leadership. He threw lights on how military leadership works and in what ways it is different from corporate leadership.
He mentioned that there is an interrelationship between leadership, management and in case of army command. But it is only good leadership that can make commands effective and management efficient. Therefore, in his opinion, leadership is a broader concept than management.
The General Officer discussed at length the importance of leadership in military, in particularly, where it is impossible to persuade people to risk their lives for no material rewards without a powerful substitute. He opined that the incentive has to be moral, which can only be created by high quality leadership. Indian army, therefore, is emphasizing on the pre-eminence of human factors in military affairs. He stressed that in military leadership ‘man’ is considered the most important factor.
While discussing the traits of leadership he laid out a list of attributesnecessary for military leadership which primarily included: Alertness of mind, bearing (Desirable Physical Appearance, Dress and Deportment), courage – physical courage and moral courage –, decisiveness, ability to communicate clearly, concisely and authoritatively, the ability to act normally in an abnormal situation and continue to think rationally when his men have ceased to think and be decisive in action when they are paralyzed by fear, dependability, maturity, the ability to put business before pleasure, endurance, enthusiasm, ability to take initiative, integrity, tactfulness without the loss of moral courage, judgment, knowledge, loyalty,sense of humor, the ability to be happy and keep the environment stress free so on and so forth.
In the concluding part of his lecture the General Officer elaborated on the practice of regular monitoringof the leadership in the Indian Army using three broad criteria, namely morale, esprit decorps and discipline.