Corporate cultures should make space for everyone to speak out1 min read 12 Dec 2022, 10:52 PM IST
Investing in rituals and spaces that allow minds to be spoken fearlessly is essential for innovation
About 30 years ago, the aftermath of a basketball match taught me two lessons, one about individual leadership and the other about institutionalising good leadership environments. I was a newly minted lieutenant barely a month into service, posted in Sangrur, then a remote town of Punjab. Our unit had just won a brigade basketball championship, which was followed by enthusiastic celebrations, as such occasions merit. Three of the five members of the winning team were from my platoon and they rushed up to me immediately after the match, requesting an outpass: i.e., a short leave of absence, usually given to soldiers whose homes are nearby. Since it was beyond my authority to grant it, I headed over to my company commander’s house for his approval, quite certain that the major would agree. After all, we had just won the brigade championship and it was largely thanks to these three soldiers. When my commander asked me their names and the reasons for an outpass for each, I narrated what they had told me. Two of them had sick family members and the third a legal dispute. The major stared at me for a few moments and then abruptly denied the request.