MS Dhoni’s captaincy and man-management skills are part of cricket’s urban legend, and the former India skipper on Friday said earning the respect and loyalty of players with deeds formed the primary layer of leadership.
Under Dhoni, India had won two World Cups and a Champions Trophy besides reaching the top of ICC Test rankings for the first time.
“Loyalty has a lot to do with the respect factor. When you talk about the dressing room, unless the support staff or players respect you, it is difficult to get that loyalty.
“It is actually about what you are doing and not about what you are speaking. You may not actually speak anything, but your conduct can earn that respect,” said Dhoni in a function organised by Single.ID.
Dhoni said that respect for a leader comes from his deeds rather than words.
“I always felt that earning respect (as a leader) is important as it does not come with the chair or rank. It comes with your conduct. People are insecure at times. Sometimes, even if the team believes in you, you are actually the first person who will not believe in you.
“To sum it up, don’t try to command respect but earn it, as it is very organic. Once you have that loyalty then the performance too will follow,” he said.
But the first step for that, Dhoni said, is to understand each and every player in the dressing room – their strengths and weaknesses.
“Some people love pressure, and some people don’t like pressure. What is important is to understand the strengths of the individual and the weaknesses of the individual.
“Once you have done that, you will start working on the weakness of a player without actually telling him that this is a weakness.
“So, it keeps a player confident and keeps the player from doubting himself. They like to see how it works and that is the job of a captain or coach to figure out what works for who,” he added.
The Jharkhand man said as a leader one has to keep things simple to get the best results out of a team.
“In that process, the simpler you keep things, the easier it will become for you. I always felt that the team (that he captained) had character because all of us were different.”