Yesterday, Virat Kohli during his batting innings, urged indian supporters to stop booing Steve Smith. Kohli encouraged them to applaud Smith instead. This action won Kohli a lot of appreciation. And rightly so. Thats how leaders are expected to be.
During the 2017 India – Australia test series, Virat had accused Steve Smith and the Australian team of cheating when it came to using the DRS review system. At that time, because it became a ‘your word against mine’ scenario and also because the two cricketing boards had to protect the reputation of their national teams, we did not appraise Virat Kohli’s stand too well. The South African tour ball-tampering scandal rocked the cricketing world later on. The rest is well-known.
My contention is Kohli’s action in confronting Smith and Australia then is equally deserving of the same appreciation that people showered on him when he urged supporters to move on and not hound Smith. To call a spade a spade. To do plainspeaking is also how leaders are expected to be.
In organisations, we have many a leader who will be warm and effusive. And that’s good. Can we encourage leaders to also be plainspeaking and call a spade a spade? How many times have you been in a meeting and seen a leader who hasn’t straightaway called out team-members for not doing their work? These leaders speak in generalities and water down the message so much that noone gets around to changing behaviours and actions.
When tough actions get the same recognition and appreciation as warm actions do, leaders will step up to the plate more often and do plainspeaking.