The inspirational retired IPS officer, who went from being a tennis player to a fearless cop and a highly admired Lieutenant Governor, spoke about her leadership style and what made her click over the years
Mumbai, September 15, 2022: In what was an enriching discussion around inspirational leadership, retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and former Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Dr Kiran Bedi, who recently published her new book, Fearless Governance, spoke at the virtual 30th Leadership Levers Lecture by TimesPro. Sharing actionable anecdotes from her time in uniform to her leading from the front in an administrative role in Puducherry, Dr. Bedi discussed the nuances of leadership.
Taking a leaf from her recent social media post, reading, “Legacy is not leaving something for people, it is leaving something in people,” Dr. Bedi emphasised upon finding the ‘why’ of one’s leadership practice. “The Prime Minister trusted me by posting me as Lt Governor of Puducherry. The trust placed in me, ensured I could deliver. I had my ‘Why’, but I also wanted the people of Puducherry to feel that it is someone of their own sitting in the Raj Nivas. If one is linked to that selfless purpose, it allows them to get rid of their fear and do justice to the role. That’s how one becomes a leader,” she said.
“In the private sector, a job profile and expected outcomes are enlisted, but in a government servant’s role, you can get away with little and on the other hand, you can do plenty. I was clear that I must aim to do the maximum,” Dr. Bedi said. She also shared how she endeavoured to instil values of trust, appreciation and care in the locals.
Notably, Dr. Bedi became the first woman in India to join the officer ranks in the Indian Police Service as early as 1972. She went on to serve the nation in different capacities throughout her illustrious career, with an exemplary commitment to the law of the land.
Speaking on what made her leadership effective as an IPS officer, Dr Bedi elaborated, “Civil servants can be very desk-and-chair oriented. I divided my time between the field and the chair, and even in the chair, I was standing and doing open houses. The more you are on your feet — the more trust you repose, the more feedback you get and the more people connect you build. Trust is never demanded, it is earned. Every gesture you make and each word you utter as a leader, either reaffirms your leadership or puts you under doubt. As a leader, one is living in a glasshouse constantly.”
Speaking on the occasion, Anish Srikrishna, CEO, TimesPro said, “We have seen countries having the best economic growth, also have good governance. This good governance comes from great leadership qualities exemplified by the leaders.” Mentioning her book Fearless Governance, he explained, how Dr. Bedi’s book and life is a true manifestation of Henri Fayol’s management principle of subordination of individual interest to the general interest, and how Dr Bedi’s unwavering commitment to the greater good makes her one of the strongest, yet humble leaders of our time.
Sharing invaluable advice with future leaders, Dr. Bedi said, “Look not for authority but for the content of your work. Focus on your work and you will start to influence people and have followers. You are not a leader without followers, but followers don’t follow you unless there is something interesting in you.”