Sam Manekshaw’s leadership style

  • Mandeep Singh Bajwa, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 25, 2014 09:53 IST

Successful military commanders evolve their own leadership style, motivating their troops and getting the best out of their staff in their own way. Sam Manekshaw had his own unique style of commanding men and imprinting his personality on them.

His style was flamboyant yet carefully thought out characterised by extreme loyalty to senior and subordinate alike. He believed in taking troops into confidence and motivating them to undertake the toughest of tasks with their welfare being uppermost in his mind.

Never happier than when in the company of his men, Manekshaw had a must uplifting effect on them, their devotion in turn spurring him on to greater heights.

He thought nothing of bypassing military protocol to speak with unit commanders or the man on the spot, his channels of information and communication giving him insights into tricky situations.

Sam despised yes-men and encouraged his juniors to express dissent when they felt they were right.

He used this dissension and criticism to fine-tune plans. In line with these principles Manekshaw surrounded himself with men of both character and ability.

Manekshaw had a high level of trust in his staff which he used most effectively. After broad directives from him they were left alone to carry out detailed planning and even take significant decisions on his behalf recalls my father who served with him in HQ Eastern Command.

He remembers that Sam’s style was characterised by informality walking unannounced into offices for consultations with staff officers whom he built up assiduously along with junior commanders.

An extremely effectual communicator both verbally and in writing he made sure his staff knew what he wanted and that his troops understood what was at stake.

A votary of decisiveness, careful, detailed planning to him was the core of all victorious military undertakings. Training and preparation in peace time was of the greatest essence.

A strong personal rapport with the political leadership meant smooth achievement of strategic and organisational goals. The human factor was of the greatest importance to him. Sam strongly motivated and inspired the men under his command driving them hard to achieve victory.

In dealings with his juniors he could take as much as give. His largeness of heart endeared him to everyone. It also meant that he forgave those who conspired against him.

Liberties that Sam took with the army’s dress code reinforced his individuality and added to his mystique. For all his individualism however he was essentially a team player.

Fourth P-8I arrives in India
The Boeing Company kept to its schedule, delivering the fourth P-8I multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft to the Indian Navy.

The plane departed from the company’s plant in Seattle and landed at INS Rajali, the naval air station located near Arokkonam on India’s eastern seaboard in Tamil Nadu on 21st May.

This will be operated by INAS 312 (The Albatross), the Indian Navy’s first long-range maritime reconnaissance squadron commissioned with five ex-IAF Super Constellation aircraft on 8th November 1976.

Since April 1988 the squadron has been successfully operating the Soviet Tupolev Tu-142M maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine aircraft.

The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon customised for India. This variation features on the US Navy’s recommendation a Telephonics APS-143 OceanEye aft radar and a magnetic anomaly detector which are not fitted on the P-8A.

(Please write in with your narratives of war and soldiering to or call on 093161-35343)

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