Sreedhar Bevara’s poignant tale – The Roaring Lambs– draw a pen picture of an animal kingdom, where the greed of the lions far exceed their need and they start mercilessly killing lambs for their meat and entertainment. Enraged by the injustice, the lambs form a defense group led by the young and dynamic Shuja, who tries to protect their herd and bring long –term peace to the territory. The Roaring Lambs is a fascinating tale of leadership, strategy building, managerial duties and correct channelization of talents and skills; drawing purely from animal analogy. In fact, years after the Animal Farm was written by George Orwell, comes another novel as exciting, simple, and wise, as the former.
Often times in high school, colleges or even in corporate life, one comes across the question – What qualities should a leader have? This novel jots down several qualities – some inborn and some acquired- which helps one grow as a leader and progress along with the team. For, a leader is no good if they cannot achieve team progress and contribute to a greater goal. Throughout the novel, one primarily identifies 9 major qualities as below.
- Observation: Careful, near accurate and quiet observation helps in collecting information about ones team, opposition and surroundings. These information can later be used in ones favor in a. Shuja on one of his crusades, watches a nomad chief take on a lion all by himself. Observing this battle quietly he notices that both are fighting only for self-defense, rather than the motive of killing each other. This small note made him take informed decision when required in future.
- Dialogue: Transparent communication is the golden rule to solve any issue. To-the-point peaceful dialogue often helps in problem resolution. This restricts and solves the matter in a nascent stage and does not let it escalate.
- Diplomacy: Is often resorted to, to solve a problem quickly. But on the flip side, it can often take the form of backdoor diplomacy or blackmailing which are unhealthy means of resolution. While diplomacy is a great tool, its usage determines the final course of actions.
- Patience: Towards oneself, one’s team and the results of various actions taken, is key. Impatience only leads to mistakes which might later intensify and go against the situation.
- Believing in Self Worth: No individual is devoid of facing criticism. It is completely on them whether they succumb to it or fight it out. When Shuja’s plan of overcoming the lion pride was being discussed and mocked at, he clearly states ‘Let’s stop underestimating ourselves and undermining our honor. I was not born to die without putting up a fight. You need to change your mindset.’ Insecurity, belittling oneself and underestimating one’s abilities are the greatest enemy a leader can have.
- Sharpening ones skill: With time, skills need to be honed and newer ones picked up. It is absolutely essential that one is updated with the ways of the world. This thorough worldly knowledge helps in picking ones brain when needed and in finding quick solutions to what may seem complicated problems. Sharp skills help in keeping leaders onto their feet, else quick access to everything will make them dull and numb. When the lion pride habituates themselves to leisurely killings, it amounts to regular availability of food which results in many of the older lions forgetting the tricks of hunting and the younger ones not being taught at all.
- Accepting the truth: Those who quickly accept the truth, comprehend the situation and formulate a plan and a back-up plan, stand to win much. Denial would only complicate matters by making it worse.
- Defeating Ego: When Shuja asks the Lion King ‘Which pride are you talking about? The one behind you or the one within you?’ it says it all. A leader is revered, respected, and glorified. Such is acceptable as long as it does not give birth to pride in the leader. Pride in turn leads to the development of ego and ego finishes it all!
- Strategic alliances: No man or animal can live in isolation. Every individual lives in a community and a society at large which consists of various species. It is thus necessary to venture out of a closed circle and look for strong alliances, which would form a bond of friendship and can be looked up to for help in dire times.
It is quite interesting to note that every character in the book – Shuja, the popular leader of the lambs; Kesan, the exiled lion; the nomad chief; the Lion King Kaizaar; the Lion King’s right hand Shaka; and lion Queen Leela; are all leaders on their own. While some exhibit how a leader should be, others reflect what a leader should not be like.
Meticulously penned and thought out, The Roaring Lambs, as the names suggest, reveals that no individual is big or small in this world. If need be, lambs can roar like lions and lions can bleat like lambs on being defeated. A special mention is to be given to the cover designer and illustrator who have thoughtfully chalked out the essence of the book in the first look itself.
Though a light read, the subliminal messages make it a cherished handbook for management students and among those in the corporate ladder. If at any time one wants to become a true leader, this is the read to turn to, which through its holistic penmanship, paints the ideal picture of leadership.
Page No. : 178
Publication: Harper Collins
Cover Design by: Saurav Das
Cover Illustration: Mohit Suneja