“Don't try to command respect but earn it,” MS Dhoni shares leadership mantra ahead of IPL 2024 season

Dhoni is widely regarded as one of the greatest captains in the history of cricket.

MS Dhoni | XMS Dhoni’s achievement as a cricketer is surreal, to say the least. The 42-year-old has etched his name as one of the finest captains in the history of the game.

Dhoni is the only skipper in the history of cricket to have won all three ICC white-ball trophies – 2007 World T20, 2011 Cricket World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy. He also led Team India to the No. 1 rankings in Test cricket.

While Dhoni retired from international cricket in 2020, he continues to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). He captained CSK to a record-equalling fifth IPL title last year.

As Dhoni is gearing up to lead CSK in the upcoming IPL 2024 season, he spoke about the qualities a leader should possess.

According to Dhoni, earning respect and loyalty is crucial for leadership. He emphasized that respect is gained through actions, not just words, and it's essential to understand and respect every player in the dressing room.

"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 at an event organised by Single.ID, a first-of-its-kind cross-reward programme identifier.

The CSK skipper further stated 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.

For Dhoni, the first step towards earning respect and loyalty is to understand each player in the dressing room properly, including their strengths and weaknesses.

"Some people love pressure and some people don't like pressure. What is important is to understand the strength of the individual and the weakness 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 remarked.

Known to bring the best out of his teammates, Dhoni also highlighted the importance of keeping things simple.

"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."

(With PTI Inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 10 Feb, 2024

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