On the 16th of August 2014, the students of ISBR attended a workshop on leadership conducted by Brigadier Arun in the college auditorium at 9:00 am. After a brief introduction given by Dr. V. Prince Martin, Principal ISBR Business School, Mr. Arun began his talk on Leadership by asking members of the audience to list various qualities about themselves that they both liked & did not like. This exercise was followed by a question – Where do you see your self five years from now? After listening to a few students, he pointed out that only two students had actually mentioned that they would like to get into a leadership role when they start their career. He then began to talk about the meaning and definition of ‘leadership’ by showing the audience several definitions of the term by different people, all of whom are prominent names in the business world today.
One of the definitions shown on the slides mentioned that leaders need to be able to inspire and motivate people to follow them. Brigadier Arun then said that the best way to motivate people is through story telling. He then shared a story with the audience of an incident that had occurred when he was on duty. He had received a call, informing him that several militants had occupied a nearby village to which he responded by sending a group of officers to neutralize the situation. He was later told that one of his men had been shot, forcing him to send a newly posted doctor ahead of his squad to treat the injured soldier. Due to harsh and difficult terrain conditions, the doctor found it extremely difficult to treat the patient and when Brigadier Arun arrived on scene, he lashed out at another soldier for not doing enough to contact the hospital where the wounded soldier had been airlifted for treatment.
Fortunately, they were able to establish contact with the hospital shortly after and Brigadier Arun, having not eaten in five days, impatiently inquired about the wounded soldier. It was only after the nurse on the other end of the line threatened to disconnect the call that Brigadier Arun was able to bring his emotions under control. The nurse told him that the severe nature of the soldier’s injuries necessitated the removal of one of his kidneys along with a significant portion of his liver & stomach. Additionally, the soldier had suffered a shattered femur, fractured one of his lower spinal vertebrae and broken three ribs that had bent inward and punctured his left lung causing a build up of a fluid.
Realizing the severity of the young soldier’s injuries, Brigadier Arun then asked if he could speak to him. The nurse put the phone to the soldier’s ear and when Brigadier Arun asked how he felt, the man replied, “Sir, its just a little stomach pain, how’s the rest of the squad?”
This story really drove home the point that Brigadier Arun was trying to make when he explained the types of leaders out there. The wounded soldier was one of the selfless leaders that he was talking about and his story was meant to inspire the audience and demonstrate the power of selfless service.
After some discussion, Brigadier Arun then showed the audience a picture of a man with two prosthetic limbs, the man is a US soldier who had served in Afghanistan and who was recently facilitated by president Obama for his courage in the line of duty. The soldier had lost his left leg in a grenade explosion as he and his squad walked into a trap, attempting to rescue a screaming girl from terrorists. After he returned to the US, he participated in the Boston Marathon which took him around six hours to complete. When he reached the finish line, the entire town was waiting for him. After this incident, he tried to enlist in the army again but was rejected due to his disability forcing him to take his case to court. After winning this legal battle, he was given a desk job at an army base in Afghanistan.
During this time, militants had brought down a helicopter and were firing on US soldiers from two different directions. The soldier rode out in a humvee, along with the remaining squads at the base, to rescue the helicopter and the soldiers on site. Upon reaching the area, the reinforcement squads took up strategic positions and began returning fire while the soldier was forced to remain in the humvee due to his disability. During the fight, the soldier saw his friend get shot and fall to the ground. Against orders, he left the humvee and headed towards his fallen comrade. Upon reaching him, he warped one arm around the soldier and began dragging him back towards the safety of the humvee.
Alas, just as he was hoisting the 180 pound soldier into the vehicle, a mortar shell hit his right leg. Due to the severity of the injury, doctors decided to amputate the leg and the soldier returned home wearing two prosthetic limbs. He then participated in the Boston marathon for the second time and took nearly twenty three and a half hours to complete the race but this time, along with the entire town, his fellow runners were also waiting at the finish line to cheer him on.
Another inspiring story, this time about going the extra mile or as Brigadier Arun put it love what you do so that you give it your best and never rest until you own it.
This guest lecture was definitely one to remember and I am sure that we can all learn something from it.