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No Fear No Favour

5 Leadership lesson Virat Kohli should learn from Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has stepped down as captain of India’s ODI and T20 International teams, the BCCI said on Twitter. The 35-year-old had already retired from Test cricket in December 2014. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has developed a reputation for being one of the greatest leaders that the game of cricket has ever seen.

Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India won the 2007 International Cricket Council (ICC) World Twenty20, the Commonwealth Bank Series of 2007–08, the 2010 Asia Cup, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.Dhoni has an arsenal of leadership skills that will really help anyone who stepped on his shoes now. As Virat Kohli is a front-runner to take helm from Mahi, this leadership lesson he should learn from Captain Cool.

Being uninhibited and confident

Even though Dhoni hails from a modest rustic background, he never let this hold him back. He is always confident, forthright and often surprises audiences and media with his comments. Not holding back and being true to yourself carries you far in the corporate as well as the sporting world.

Managing egos and legacy personalities

Dhoni was made captain ahead of several other established players and former captains in 2007. He took his time about making changes and maintained methods that had been proven to work. He managed the egos of most of his players. This is something new managers in business often have to contend with. He did not rush to make changes or mark his personal stamp; his main focus at the start of his captaincy was to establish credibility. In this 2014 interview with BCCI.TV he talks about learning from the seniors in his team. With two of them being Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, that’s an important lesson to learn.

Handling Success

Dhoni won fame and money at an early stage in his career but he was, and still is, humble and modest. He maintained a steady path and was not brash, flash or overbearing. Managers who gain success too early on often lose their balance and cannot maintain the poise required for longevity.

Staying calm under pressure

Even when severely tested, Dhoni manages to stay calm and this influences his whole team to resist caving in. They gain self belief and continue to perform at their best, inspired by their captain. This is one of the biggest gifts a leader can give to his company. Being able to insulate yourself from your environment is vital for success, and Dhoni demonstrated this during the Champions Trophy when there was controversy over the Indian Premier League. An ability to cut through distraction and negative energy is one of the best marks of a leader in every situation. Dhoni competes with himself at all times, as explained in this article that explores Dhoni’s emotional intelligence .

Team Playing

Dhoni backs his players at all times with trust and confidence. This support gives them the ability to play at their best and also endows them with a sense of responsibility to perform well. Entrepreneurs need to feel safe to experiment- and fail if they need to- on their way to success.

Rather than dictate to them, Dhoni develops his players so they form their own working system in sync with others.

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