When leaders stand up for their teams

Venkatesh, Sudheesh (2023) When leaders stand up for their teams. People Matters.

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As India celebrated the success of the Chandrayaan-3 space mission, many recalled an incident from 1979 when the Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 (SLV-3) failed, and the satellite fell into the sea. Satish Dhawan was the Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, the Project Director. The country was disappointed, even livid, and demanded accountability for the Rs 20 crore spent on the mission. Dhawan addressed a press conference, took the blame on himself, and told the country that he had full faith in his team. A year later, in July 1980, the launch cycle was repeated, and the engineers successfully put the satellite Rohini into the near-earth orbit, making India a member of the exclusive space club. This time, Dhawan asked Kalam to lead the press conference. Dhawan had taken the bullet when the mission failed and given full credit to his team when it succeeded. This anecdote is part of ISRO folklore, a profound tenet embedded into its strong organisational culture. Kalam often recounted this incident and said that the boss had more confidence in me than I had in myself.

Item Type: Newspaper Article
Authors: Venkatesh, Sudheesh
Document Language:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chandrayaan-3, ISRO, WTO, TESCO
Subjects: Social sciences > Sociology & anthropology > Social processes > Coordination and control > Leadership
Divisions: Azim Premji University
Full Text Status: Public
Related URLs:
URI: http://publications.azimpremjiuniversity.edu.in/id/eprint/5189
Publisher URL:

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