Friday, 20 September 2013

My leadership lesson from my grandfather

In a recent discussion with one of our customer I said that I am born lucky and the luckiest of all is that I spent my entire childhood with my grandparents at small little town Karkala. Me and my brother (Jayaprakash) were just discussing during his recent visit that how our life is inspired because of our grand parents.

My grandfather Mr. Narashimha Prabhu (1920-2009), a Gandhian by true sense was the first leader who inspired me in many ways. This blog post is very special for me as it is my gratitude, love and respect towards him.


My top 5 learnings from my grandfather my leader:

1. Discipline - Foremost important aspect of being a leader 

I have seen my grandfather in Khadar (a type of cloth) every day and I have hardly seen him miss his routine. He joined business at at age of 17 supporting his father Shri Venkatesh Prabhu (a leader in freedom movement). At work, his passion drove discipline. He has his regular checks, disciplined way of documentation and quality on every thing he does. He had amazing discipline coupled with simplicity with strong eye for detail.

My learning: Discipline is reflection of person mind.  

2. Silence is golden - Leadership is not about just about talking but doing

Leadership come in different styles and packages. But my grandfather had a unique way of leadership. He was mostly silent and speak only when necessary. He trusted his team and always gave free hand to explore and realize their own faults and learnings.

My learning: Leadership is not about quantity of speech but quality and clarity of mind.  

3. Helpfulness with humbleness 

I have seen my grandfather being helpful to many, but he never spoke of it even to his wife or children. I remember my grandmother used to know through neighbors and friends.

My learning: Generosity needs to be back with humbleness. 

4. Inner love does not need language  

My grand father like many during those days never expressed their love through words or greeting cards but through respect and caring for each other. After I cleared my 10th grade, my father refused to take me to collage for enrollment as I scored low marks. He gave me his peace of mind which my grandfather heard. I was terrified but my grandfather accompanied me for admission. He was then the Chairman of Administrative Committee of our local collage in Karkala. I was very shy as I will be now noted by all professor, but I had no choice but take my grandfather help. The admission office was in level # 1 and there was a long que and seeing my grandfather few of the professors asked us to take preferential and come ahead skipping the que. But he did not and stood in the que and helped me finish the formalities. He made me realize that don't mix issues and it made me realize I am just a common student and this even helped me stay grounded. Later I requested my grand father to join me during admission for bachelor of engineering and later during my master as well. I also accompanied him during many of his visit to leaders in the region which also has lasting impact on me even today.

My learning: Life long learning are through experience. So keep exploring ...

5. Systematically conservative 

He was conservative when it comes to self but generous to needy. It is just not just materialistic things but he was every very mindful of his time too. Be it sweeping the portico in the morning, sometimes washing his car or folding cloths in the morning. He always kept him occupied until his last breadth.

I also want to share my remembrance to my grand mother Mrs. Sarojini Prabhu who supported my grandfather relentlessly. She was also a lady who always cared for human values and respected every one with warmth and care.

For more on systematic conservative - pls. read my other blog post.

Additional link -

Picture of my grand parents during their 60th weeding anniversary


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