International School of Business & Media
Vighnesh Bhat is a member of:
Vighnesh Bhat's Advice
Dont get manupulated
I do not like to advice but certainly like to bring in a few thoughts in this respect. I have a few insights to share: Never ever be manipulative w... more>>
I need to work to be useful as a team leader. I found that there is no shortcut to hard work. I do not agree with the commonsensical viewpoint that leader is one who makes others work. If he continues to do so, he will soon cease to be leader – not to mention effective leadership. A healthy combination of task as well as people orientation – for both the self and others – seems ideal. Before I take up any major group task, I constantly introspect, interact with others and imbibe new and innovative ideas. Leadership is not a matter of fancy words but an actuality of concrete deeds.
Current work profile
I am presently the President of a relatively large Voluntary Organisation in the NGO sector. My association with this NGO (Foundation for Cultural and Media Studies) is seventeen year old, since its inception. As the team leader of this VO (focusing on rural socio-economic activities, (2) public health activities, and specialized activities concerning the weaker sections including women and children), I handle various responsibilities. Planning (annual as well as long-term) with the rural work calendar, Financing the work on schedule (with donor contacts and self-sustaining activities), Information Dissemination and Coordination with HR activities require my full-time attention and action.
I also have a distinct role in mentoring my large student friends – their research ideas, job-related issues and so on. I have been a University Professor as well as Director of large organizations in India and elsewhere. My immediate past assignment (until November 2012) tied me to Government of Ethiopia and Haramaya University, Harar as UNDP Professor and Academic Advisor.
Essential skills required for leaders
I have thought about this issue often - and carefully. Sincerity, responsible forethought, courage and team spirit are the FOUR major elements in effective and successful leadership, may it be industry, academia or whichever field. These four qualities need to be utilized in a comprehensive fashion. I needed it as the Dean of a large university System, Director of a large business school, Secretary of an important Government Committee, and now as the President of a large NGO. Yes. It is not easy to be a leader and it is all the more difficult to be a successful leader and sustain that responsibility. While situations differ and therefore demand differentially effective leaders to handle the organizations, some universals make a leader effectual in most situations.
Balancing personal and professional life
I always prepare, rehearse and go over my plans before I embark on any new assignment. Discussion with colleagues (or family members, in case of personal issues) and built-in feedback mechanisms are important in my scheme of minimizing mistakes. Errors do happen, however and one needs to recognize the fact that limitations are there to overcome, not to make excuses. Over caution leads to anxiety and further mistakes while careful considerations assist in getting the job done appropriately.
I do not like to advice but certainly like to bring in a few thoughts in this respect. I have a few insights to share: Never ever be manipulative while dealing with your fellow professionals and co-workers. The results will be disastrous to you as well as to the organization that you lead. After all you are a leader because the organization opened up an opportunity for you to lead. Courage to face realities is the hallmark of a qualitatively superior leadership. Mind you, if you are unable to face the rough weather, do not expect people to be behind you as supporters. A model is built by leading from the front. Careful project planning, effective resource utilization, keeping the team spirit of accomplishment and a positive mindset are critically important in managing people and organizations.
Taking Important career decision
(1) Resigning from a well-paid, stable but mechanistic university teaching job to a dynamic, relatively volatile and task-oriented position of the director of a large business school.
(2) Fully involving into the NGO sector activity from a cozy office-car-bungalow type of an industrial job.
Employee grievances are not always and not necessarily unconstructive as often thought and taught. For a healthy organizational environment, they are also points of feedback. I handle them on two considerations: problems emanating from personal grievances and problems emanating from technical/work-related/organizational limitations. The first type, I handle with people-oriented approach. And the second, needs analysis of the organizational situation. Discussion with the affected person, his/her colleagues, supervisors and managers is important. However, this is a complex task and needs careful handling to come out with a win-win situation. Level of WPM and worker-involvement, associated with the nature of unionization are contributory factor to be considered. Every case needs to be handled as unique and individual but I adopt the approach I said earlier.
May I modify your question suitably for me to answer genuinely? For me it is “Who have most influenced …..?” because I have been and being influenced by quite a few individuals in varied fields of my life. My teacher, intellectual mentor and PhD supervisor Professor Roland Robertson (a well-known globalization theorist in the world today) shaped my conceptualizing abilities to some considerable extent. I learned a great deal from my PhD scholars, colleagues, farmers, and peasants in my NGO villages. My familial decisions were greatly influenced by my intimate friend (and wife) Dr. Sumitra Bhat. They all influenced me because they made me learn new things beyond what I thought were right.
More about me
(a) I was awarded the prestigious Andrew Mellon Fellowship for communication research while working for my PhD in University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA during mid-1980s.
(b) I have been engaged in social science research for the last three decades and published 11 books and over 65 research papers internationally. One of my books received Government of Karnataka recognition. I have attended a large number of conferences on sociologically and culturally relevant areas of research and delivered lectures in the United States, Australia, Malta, Ethiopia and India.
( c) My forthcoming book, tentatively titled “Richer by Ethiopia” is likely to be out of the press by mid-September 2013.
My views on India Technical development
Even at the cost of over generalization, I must admit that our politico-administrative system is manipulative, highly shady, corrupt and vulnerable to exploitative influences. Civil society is largely apathetic and less-risk-bearing. Acquisition and utilization of material resources, human resource, skill development process, promoting the product, marketing it and profiting for re-investment are all thorny and are susceptible to non-technical influences. Human intelligence benefits society only when it has an opportunity to open up and exploit its potential fully. In the absence of such a healthy industrial and civic societal conditions, it will be too high to expect ideal results.
What needs to be done? I am no expert in giving sermons. However, I do strongly believe that science and technology need to be kept above selfish goals of certain sections of society at the cost of knowledge, application and comprehensive community welfare. It is easier said than done, I agree. Professionals themselves have an enormous role to play here. They need to stand up, stand erect and work above petty considerations, manipulative practices and self-fulfilling prophecies. Education, especially, the area of higher education, needs to be considered as the public capital above sleaze and trivial politics. A lot of introspection is needed by the educated and the ‘enlightened’.
My family background
I hail from an agrarian family in the hilly part of coastal Karnataka. My father was a marginal farmer, a peasant who experimented with newer ideas about crops and life. My parental family was a small family. I have had my primary and high school education in vernacular medium and higher education on various prestigious scholarships and fellowships. My wife, Dr. Sumitra Bhat is a linguistic and a family counselor, and holds a PhD in Sanskrit apart from her formal education in counseling.
My elder daughter, a US citizen, is software professional, settled in Texas, USA with my son-in-law who is also senior software professional. My younger daughter, trained in India and Singapore in the area of fashion design, works in Bangalore, India, at present. I have a large number of students spread over three continents because I have been a university professor for over 30 years.