Since the past few months, I have seen a lot of debate among cricket analysts on who was the better captain – Dada Saurav Ganguli or Mr. Cool MS Dhoni.
I am a huge fan of both these stalwarts of Indian Cricket. My childhood belongs to the Tendulkar, Ganguli & Dravid era so naturally I am more inclined towards saying Ganguli was a better leader than Dhoni. But does this comparison is unfair, in fact not needed at all, as they are both stars and achieved a lot for Indian Cricket.
I tried to dive little on the style of leadership of both these gentlemen. I must admit, I was enlightened by their leadership style and a lot can be learned from them. These learnings cannot be limited to sports, it can be of great benefit to corporates, politicians and anyone who wants to grow as a leader.
Like one size never fit all, in the same way one style of leadership is never going to provide positive results everytime. Just to understand it in a simpler way, imagine if MS Dhoni and Sourav Ganguli swapped their teams. There is high probability that both are likely to fail if they continued with same style of leadership.
Just look at a scenario when they both stepped into the shoes of captaincy. Ganguli got a team which was performing badly, one that had a poor reputation of overseas games, captain Tendulkar had just stepped down and of course morale of the team was low. The positive was that Ganguli has very little baggage to carry forward. Performance was already so low that nobody was going to complain if his team lost few matches. On positive side, if Dada’s team starts wining then it will add to his stars. Additionally, he only had to deal with one senior player Tendulkar who himself stepped down from captaincy. So, support to the new captain is natural for him. Thus, Ganguli got a clean slate to create a team he wanted to do. Moreover, he had the full support of the board in bringing change to the team as he saw fit. For a person who believes in aggressive approach, it perfectly suits him.
On the other hand, when Dhoni stepped into the captain’s shoes. He was lucky to get more star players in his team in comparison to his predecessors. Star players already have big fan bases and enjoy support from the board. So, he had less opportunity to play around the team selection or bring the culture which he may want to bring in the team. Remember he had to deal with the combined & individual stardom of Tendulkar, Ganguli, Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan, Zaheer Khan. His cool & accommodating style of leadership suited for this change, so team performed well under his leadership.
The debate on whose challenge was bigger is never going to end & I don’t wish to drag readers in this debate. I just want to emphasize that both are legend captains & exceeded in their role as the situation suited their style of leadership.
All leaders do have their own template of style of leadership, but they also have flexibility to adapt as per the situation & requirement of their team. The flexibility to adapt make them great leaders.
In all, situation plays a key role & success of a leader depends a lot in it. If I can say, then I will say average leaders succeed when the situation suits their style of leadership. But great leaders adapt their leadership style in accordance with changing scenarios to drive successful results.