Leadership principles by Sam Manekshaw

Leadership lessons

by the late Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw

  1. Leadership can only be achieved with personal competency.

    1. Leaders are not born. Anyone with rational thinking can be trained to become a leader.
    2. Leaders should acquire professional knowledge throughout their life.
  2. Ability to make up my mind and quickly make decisions

    1. No comeback after the decision

      If you must be a bloody fool, be one quickly.

    2. Art of commission > Art of omission

    3. Taking full responsibility for the outcomes of the decision without blaming your subordinates.

    4. Why a person can not make a decision?

      • Lack of confidence
      • Lacks Professional competency (see #1)
      • I never learned or trained on the circumstances or assumed it needed to be more severe.
  3. Absolute Justice and Impartiality

    1. A person will accept the punishment if she thinks she deserves it.
    2. A person will accept to be superseded if she thinks the other person deserves it.
    3. Why should I not punish you? Punishment should be a lesson learned not to destroy someone.
  4. Moral Courage

    1. Ability to distinguish right from the wrong
    2. Once distinguished, dare to stand up and speak your piece irrespective of your superior/colleague/subordinate/parents' thoughts.
    3. A “Yes man” is a horrible man; never a leader
      1. It may rise high, but
      2. Used by superiors
      3. Disliked by colleagues
      4. Disrespected by subordinates
    4. Physical courage: Everybody fears. Never show your fear to others and never to your subordinates. Once you show fear to them, you quit.
      1. The only way to face fear is by facing it.
  5. Loyalty

    1. Loyalty is a two-way thing between leaders and subordinates.

      Leadership is managing men (with a sense of humor and empathy) and resources.

  6. Discipline

    1. Show up five minutes before the time. Always be punctual.
    2. Always sleep on time and wake up on time.
    3. Be focussed.
  7. Character

    1. Know what you are inside (and what you portray) rather than what others decipher about you.


Thoughts 🤔 by Soumendra Kumar Sahoo is licensed under CC BY 4.0