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Humble Leaders

CASE FLYER, ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR
ET Cases, 5 pages
AUTHOR(S) : Vandana Jayakumar and Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Case Preview

Humble Leaders

 

Expected Learning Outcomes

• Discussing the current trend of hiring CEOs for their humility and other soft skills as against the traditional approach and debating on humility vs competence
• Debating on the role of a leader in bringing out effectiveness of a team
• Identifying the characteristics of an effective leader

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Humility vs Competence in a Leader

1. You must have heard from your parents or your seniors about the kind of leaders/bosses they have worked with? What impression do you get of bosses from those anecdotes? Do you think, in India, the perception of a boss is changing?

2. In the article, Jayesh Pandey of Accenture says that, “Increasingly, organizations are looking for CEOs who are humble... talent dollars.” Discuss the  changing paradigm of hiring CEOs at India Inc. Discuss with examples of CEOs who have led organizations to success with their ‘humble confidence’ (Howard Schultz, Jack Ma, Jeff Bezos, etc.)

3. Do you think that there is a danger of humble confidence becoming benevolent dictatorship?

4. ............

Leadership and Team Effectiveness

1. “Companies want leaders... mini rock-stars”. Why is the author of the accompanying article referring to the team members as mini rock-stars? Why can’t the CEO himself be a rock star while at the same time managing a team of mini-rock stars?

2. Referring to the opinion of Rajeev Peshawari (Chief Learning Officer, Coca Cola and Morgan Stanley), the author of the accompanying article states, “While researching for his book ‘Too Many Bosses, Too Few Leaders’... the power of ‘WE’”. Debate how team efforts score over personal efforts in achieving organizational goals.

3. .............

Effective Leader

1. Who according to you are the best Indian CEOs? Why?

2. What according to you are the differences between a leader and a CEO? Can every CEO be a leader and vice versa?

3. ...............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Competency and Character of a Humble CEO

Exhibit II: Designation vs Responsibility


Teaching Note Preview

Humble Leaders

 

Synopsis

The case flyer enables an interesting discussion on the topic of humility in a leader given the current trend of hiring CEOs for their humility and people connect, at India Inc. What kind of a leader is desirable for an organization – A successful CEO who is also humble or humble CEO who may or may not be successful? Perhaps, what companies are looking for is an individual who is not only humble but also has the confidence and the competence to lead his organization to success. The case flyer is suitable for discussing contemporary issues in leadership. In the present business environment, leadership is increasingly viewed in the context of the team. The case flyer delves into aspects such as the role of a leader in bringing out effectiveness of the team. However, it also presents the dilemma that while companies want people with humble confidence, are such people there and is ‘humble confidence’ practically applicable in achieving organizational goals.

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • • Discussing the current trend of hiring CEOs for their humility and other soft skills as against traditional approach and debating on humility vs competence
  • • Debating on the role of a leader in bringing out effectiveness of a team
  • • Identifying the characteristics of an effective leader

 

Positioning and Setting

The case flyer can be used in the following courses:

  • a) Organizational Behavior – Contemporary Issues in Leadership (Providing Team Leadership)
  • b) Human Resource Management – Leadership Development

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Suggested Orchestration

Before the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

a) The students were asked to read the article “Competent Jerks, Lovable Fools, and the Formation of Social Networks” by Tiziana Casciaro and Miguel Sousa Lobo, Harvard Business Review, June 2005, before coming to the class. The article throws light on how in organizations, it is the likeable people who are generally chosen above competent people in accomplishing complex projects. The article also discusses the implications of such a choice for an organization and how an organization can leverage the positives of both types of people. With this, a background was set to discuss the latest trend of hiring CEOs at India Inc. for their humility and other soft skills.

b) Most importantly, the students were encouraged to analyze all the questions given in the case flyer (either individually or in learning teams or in appropriate discussion forums) for them to participate effectively and enrich the learning outcomes.

During the Case Flyer Discussion in the Classroom

The discussion on the case flyer was conducted under three broad topics

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The flow of questions to be discussed in the classroom has been elaborated in Annexure (TN)-I: The Board Plan

I. Humility vs Competence in a Leader

• In this section, the classroom discussion was focussed on the quality of humility in a leader which helped in introducing the main topic of discussion in the case flyer – the new trend of hiring CEOs with humility at India Inc.

• At this point, students were asked to debate on why humility is so important to foster a high performing culture. The animated discussion led to an interesting concluding remark: undoubtedly, humility is a great quality to nurture high performing teams. But ‘humility with success’ is more important than ‘humility without success’, for humility without any success wouldn’t warrant inspiration.

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Exhibits

Exhibit (TN)-I: Humility vs Success

Exhibit (TN)-II: Competence vs Likeability

Exhibit (TN)-III: Competency and Character of a Humble Leader

Exhibit (TN)-IV: Designation vs Responsibility

Annexure

Annexure (TN)-I: Board Plan

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Abstract


This case flyer can be used to highlight the importance of humility in leaders, in the backdrop of an interesting trend of hiring CEOs who exhibit a judicious mix of humility and confidence to lead organizations to success at India Inc. Who is an effective CEO - one with humility and resounding success or the one with humility, but limited or no success? Taking cue from this trend, as outlined in the accompanying article1, the case flyer enables an exciting debate on the topic of CEOs vs Leaders. It also throws light on how companies across industries are hiring leaders/CEOs who acknowledge the power of 'WE' and focus on team spirit to achieve organizational goals. However, does such a class of people exist, who can be both humble and at the same time competent enough to be the CEO of an organization? In other words, will humility of a CEO be a deterrent in achieving organizational goals?



Pedagogical Objectives

  • To discuss the current trend of hiring CEOs for their humility and other soft skills as against traditional approach and debating on humility vs competence
  • To debate on the role of a leader in bringing out effectiveness of a team
  • To identify the characteristics of an effective leader


1 Kala Vijayraghavan and Rica Bhattacharyya, 'Wanted, a Humble CEO' The Economic Times, October 28th 2013



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