Today’s modern India in a way is very much indebted to Jamsetji Tata, known as “The Father of Indian Industry.” While, he himself couldn’t completely fulfill the missions of starting Tata industries, he laid the foundation for success, only to be fulfilled by his great grandson, Ratan Tata who became the successor of Tata Group and gave a glorious expression to each of his dreams. Ratan Tata is the present Chairman of Tata Group, who consolidated and expanded the business from him and made Tata one of the most prestigious brands in Southeast Asia. His Vision led the Tata Group become one of India’s largest business conglomerates and in recent years has made significance presence at international level by various Acquisitions. The qualities that people admire about him are his sincerity and total devotion. He is a workaholic. One of his democratic qualities is the discussion in a small group, when all those present could open up and freely express their views on all subjects.
This quality more defines his Democratic leadership style. Usually, when a person gets promoted to a higher position in the hierarchy, his attitude towards the bottom level and his workplace gets changed. He was a deputy chairman before the Board of Directors appointed him as the chairman. The chairmanship of TISCO (then known as Tata Iron and Steel Company, now Tata Steel Ltd.) did not change him. He evoked support from his team and he still does. Ratan Tata is not the type of boss who is given to thumping the table. He softly mandates, and those to whom the message is addressed get the point very clearly. He thinks big and encourages others to do likewise. He does not discourage those who occasionally fail to deliver. When dealing with difference of opinions, he will convincingly present his point, but at the same time, he will also carefully listen to the point of view of others and then come to an agreement.
“We are organized more like a telephony model system, which is not one of command-and-control, but one where multiple activities are happening.”- Ratan Tata. Along with a Democratic leadership, Ratan Tata works according to different theories of leadership. Today, he is one of the successful business leaders who have used mixtures of theories to run their businesses. According to Hershey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Model, Ratan Tata’s leadership behaviour is of delegating type. He is involved in the discussion, but the process and responsibility is transferred to the individual company’s MDs. On the other hand, according to Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid Theory, Ratan Tata holds high readiness in both concern for people and concern for his production, which can be witnessed in Tata Group companies which are Tata Tetley Tea, Tata Motors, Tata Chemicals, etc. Moreover, he also fits in Transformational Leadership theory, where satisfies all those qualities that makes him a transformational leader.
He is vision to make Tata as global company was done by introducing Tata Nano car worth 1.5 lakhs INR. ($2500 CND). Secondly, he maintains his Integrity by conducting his business fairly, with honesty and transparency. Everything he does must stand the test of public scrutiny. Furthermore, his strategic thinking (intellectual stimulation) of taking over JCR (Jyoti Cera Rubber), Tetley (Tea Company), and Corus (Steel Company) is also evidence. Lastly, his communicator skill, the way he communicates his visions to his group companies, also shows that he does fit in the transformational leadership theory. Hence, Ratan Tata is a leading business leader who believes in doing things the right way and building what’s good for long term.