Sunday, 11 September 2011



Leadership skills can be in-built. Or they can be inculcated. Prakash Iyer belongs to the group which thinks that leadership skills can be learned. And in his effort to make people aware about their potentials, Iyer has come up with his book, The Habit of Winning, which was launched recently at the Landmark bookstore in the town.

Through several positive stories of self-belief, perseverance, leadership and teamwork, the 248-page book tries to change the way we think or live or work. In his book Iyer says that we all have a leader in us. I wonder why then we need a leader. “Self-awareness is not easy. So just as a jeweller needs to tell us the value of a jewllery, we need leaders to tell us about our abilities,” says Iyer. “Everyone tells us what is wrong with us. But someone has to tell us what is right with us.”

He then cites the story where two men, who are breaking stones, look at their work differently: one thinks he is just breaking a stone; the other thinks he’s helping to build a cathedral. It is this positive mindset that can make the difference. And a leader’s role is to comprehend and channelise the positive energies of his or her colleagues.

But while one applies the leadership skills that are learnt, won’t there be chances that he or she will be a clone of the leader? “It is not necessarily about following the leader. Leadership can actually make one realise his or her skills. That in turn will help that person to become a leader,” asserts Iyer. “One need not be a leader in a big corporate house. But in our own lives, in our own little ways, we can be leaders.”

We then dwell over the recent anti-corruption agitation in the country. “This movement got people think and excited. Those who joined were stirred up by the vision of a corruption-free India. And that’s where the success of a leadership lies,” Iyer explains.

I ask him how has the corporate world helped him to see the skills needed for leadership. “I am just another guy. I see the same things that everyone else does. It’s just that I have noted how ordinary people can be extraordinary,” he replies.

Iyer’s storytelling is simple. He opts for a conversational style and narrates the tales without getting into any management-corporate jargon, which is creditable considering his corporate background. “This book doesn’t aim to reach the corporate people. My intention was not to write as someone with knowledge. I wanted this book to be read by all those — the young people, in particular — who can learn something from the stories,” the author explains.

He chose these stories — which he came across during his corporate career over 25 years — keeping the different issues in mind. “I tried to balance between teamwork, mind, balance in life and other aspects while deciding the stories to be included in the book,” he informs.

Iyer is now planning a book which “possibly will be for the kids.”