Lessons from anti-rape bill: Why leaders need to watch their words
While it is ok to have a view contrary to others, it is essential to have a proper logic in place before countering it
People listen to what their bosses say, but they might stop paying heed to it if the bosses do not know how to say it.
The six hour discussion preceding the anti-rape bill saw a political comedy of errors. As much the provisions of the new bill grabbed headlines, the ludicrous comments made by some of the ‘leaders’ became a butt of joke on the social media. ‘Ladka jab ladki ki taraf dekhega nahin uska peecha nahi karega, to mohabbat kaise hoga? (When boys won’t look at girls, won’t follow them, how will love happen?)’ , asked Sharad Yadav while opposing the suggestion that stalking should be made a non-bailable offence. Another gem came from SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, who argued that the anti-rape bill will lead to alienation of women because men will not hire them. Such comments are not unheard of in parliament sessions. Reduce this to company levels and one could easily spot a few people who are affected by this ‘foot in mouth’ disease. They love to oppose things for the heck of it, like to give just any logic to prove their point, and appear disconnected to public sentiments and gravity of the situation. Here are some lessons that leaders can draw from the anti-rape bill discussion in the Lok Sabha:
Do not turn down suggestions with an ill-framed logic: Sharad Yadav, raised the bar for nonsensical comments when – while discussing the anti-rape law—he tried to make his point against criminalizing stalking by saying, ““Who amongst us have not followed girls.” This might have taken illogical comments to another level, but a boss trying to dismiss a suggestion on the basis of an ill-formed logic isn’t something that is unheard of. While it is ok to have a view contrary to others, it is essential to have a proper logic in place before countering it. Turning down a suggestion without a convincing reason doesn’t help seniors gain trust of their team members.
Do not lose control of your body language: Every issue requires different treatment. Making fun of facts and reducing a serious problem to a trivial issue wouldn’t do any good for a leader’s reputation. This doesn’t mean that there is no place for light comments and humour, but this shouldn’t happen at the cost of the issue. Science has validated that the right body language tends to engage or disengage people. The seriousness which an issue deserves should reflect in a leader’s behavior and his approach towards the problem. Far-fetched and baseless comments do not fetch any takers.
Do not sound ignorant: One of the most hilarious moments of the anti-rape bill discussion was when SP leader Mulayam singh Yadav confused ‘trafficking’ with ‘transfers’ (as mentioned in a few media reports) and went on to explain how this will affect career prospects for women. When a leader sounds ignorant, it is not only a matter of knowledge. This shows how less prepared he is for a healthy discussion to happen. In an article titled 15 Ways to Recognize Bad Leaders, writer Mike Myatt writes, “The best leaders are acutely aware of how much they don’t know. They have no need to be the smartest person in the room, but have the unyielding desire to learn from others. ” Team members do not expect their leaders to know everything, rather it is their approach and attitude towards problems that wins him respect. People want to be lead by example. A leader who isn’t up-to-date with the happenings of his domain and doesn’t show the resolve to solve problems isn’t an example that people will want to follow.