Arjun Raj Urs | Assured State Management Services

One sculpture many sculptors

28 May, 2021

Have you ever wondered about your innate leadership style? A leadership style that springs from your deeper nature? Not one that’s learnt or borrowed from books but one that’s truly you. My observation is that leaders are most effective when they apply their innate leadership style.  A leader who is not connected with his deeper self and adopts leadership styles alien to his DNA jars with reality. Consider this - a Buddha-natured leader cannot become a General George Patton and a leader like Patton cannot become a Buddha-natured leader.An Akio Morita of Sony  ( Book : Made in Japan by Akio Morita ) cannot be a Jack Welch of GE ( Book : Straight from the gut by Jack Welch ) and vice versa. Likewise, Ratan Tata’s leadership approach ( Book : From steel to cellular edited by Rahul Singhal ) was different than of J R D Tata ( Book : Beyond the Last Blue Mountain by R M Lala ) .  Yet each one of these leaders and their leadership styles are effective.

The first and foremost leader in this series is Mr. D Suresh Kumar, General Manager – Refractory, Bhoruka Steel.

Mr. D Suresh Kumar was my first ( 1984 -86 ) and the last ( 1992 ) reporting manager at Bhoruka Steel Ltd.

I describe him as   ‘always stable, ever able’.

 I would like to tell you about my experience with him. In fact, there are two incidents in particular that are etched in my memory

  •  When I was the shift in-charge, earlier on in my career,  one night we had to produce about 400 refractory bricks.  But for some reason there was a breakdown and it could not be resolved. As a result, those 400 refractory bricks could not be made. I stayed over the next day to meet Mr. D Suresh Kumar expecting to get a proper dressing down. He  came over to the production area where I was standing and asked what had happened. I  explained everything. He immediately  understood  that the issue was   with the pneumatic cylinder which definitely could not be resolved in the night as we did not have  the  support from the mechanical maintenance department. He called the concerned person who was available during the day and resolved it in  an hour’s time. He doubled the production in the day shift by deploying  additional resources and  the production target was met.

          He was always calm as a lake.  In my eight years at Bhoruka,  I haven’t seen him raising his 
          voice even once    In the face of a crisis or challenge, he would  - gather the data and  
          think of the best that can be done with  available  options

  • We would often talk among ourselves that Mr D Suresh Kumar knew every nut and bolt  in the Refractory Division and that it is next to impossible  to get away   with  faff in his presence the same time I do not recollect even a single instance when he would accuse/make one guilty .  His depth of knowledge  about  everything related to refractory products and the production process was so phenomenal  that people  wouldn't deviate from the fact but state the truth.

          He always  showed care and concern for those who worked with him.  So much so that,    
          25 years after I had quit Bhoruka, he called me one day and said,“  I am concerned about
          you, you have changed your career path and have gone into something that is so alien to
          us’. So  I invited him once to my open house leadership workshop. He sat through it right
         till the end and said, ‘Now I am very happy and relieved that you’ve become someone like                  Amir Khan of 3 Idiots’.    

What  is leadership quality that stands out in D Suresh Kumar?  One can say he was caring, concerned and compassionate.  For that matter, he never fired even a single person in his long career as a leader spanning more than four decades, rather he  accommodated  all the engineers and supervisors  along with their weaknesses and limitations.

Let me bring to the notice of readers  that during long stint as a Manager & Head of the Refractory Division, at Bhoruka he had to be effective and deliver  results  to  meet organizational objectives. In any successful business organization,  meeting business objectives and  targets are the primary measure of a leader’s success.  Care, concern and compassion can, many a time, become impediments to be successful leader.

From a leadership perspective one needs to see what is much more than care, concern and compassion which made him an effective and able leader in a career spanning over 45 years.

In my experience of being a leadership coach for 20 years, I have found this leadership characteristic which is most effective but least applied by many leaders. This leadership characteristic was demonstrated and exhibited time and again with ease by Mr.D Suresh Kumar was ‘Safety’.

Safety in the context of leadership is to create an environment where the team members or colleagues are able to express and share without holding back or suppressing the facts and ‘as it occurred’ information / experiences. Especially when  the stakes are high and difference of opinion is there.  

I am  fortunate to have  worked under Mr D Suresh Kumar. He continues to be  a person who prefers to be a guide my side rather than an officer on rage.  


Publisher: Arjun Raj Urs | Assured State Management Services

Arjun Raj Urs
Leadership Results Coach
People Architect
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