What Baahubali-2 can teach you about managing your team more effectively
Kattappa ne Baahubali ko kyun mara?
If the mighty Baahubali himself had pondered over this question before the tragic turn of events, his career could have soared to new heights. Instead, his dream run ended abruptly because he couldn’t see through his trusted lieutenant’s mind.
From strength and resilience to strategic thinking and humility, the hero of the blockbuster film Baahubali 2 embodies several qualities every leader should emulate. His one drawback, however, was his inability to read the people around him.
If you want to succeed as a manager, understanding the weakness of your team members is as important as gauging their strengths, in order to best manage them.
Take a look at Baahubali’s inner circle. Do any of these people sound familiar?
Devasena: Quick-Witted but Arrogant Star Player
Devasena’s beauty has no bounds, but it’s her battle skills and sharp thinking that capture Bahubali’s attention. What he fails to see is her haughtiness and that proves to be his undoing.
Fix it: Every manager dreams of finding a star player who is really good at the job. But that can quickly turn into a nightmare if the employee is arrogant.
Sit down with the team member and explain that even though the work is excellent, his/her interactions with other people are unacceptable. Outline the behaviour you find impermissible and suggest how it needs to improve. Set a deadline to see if these changes in attitude and behaviour have been implemented. Also, keep other team members in the loop about the actions you are taking to show them that you’re being methodical and fair in your dealings.
Sivagami – Gullible Senior
The queen of Mahismati is both a brave warrior and tender mother. But Sivagami is also easily emotionally manipulated. Unaware that she is being used as a puppet, she orders Bahubali’s death. He, on the other hand, reveres her to the end.
Fix it: Having someone on your team who is easy to deceive can prove extremely harmful for you. So equip them with the tools they need to ensure they are not exploited to serve someone else’s agenda.
Encourage them to trust their gut, recommend they take time on the big decisions and show them how to say no, diplomatically but firmly. Also, teach them to question whether they have enough information about the situation, and ask them to reserve judgement until they have more proof.
Kattappa: The Blind Loyalist
‘Mama’ is Baahubali’s most trusted aide, but their relationship is jeopardised by Kattappa’s oath to the queen. The seasoned soldier’s inability to challenge her authority, and put a stop to what he believes is a bad decision, eventually leads to Bahubali’s downfall.
Fix it: Blind loyalty is actually disloyalty, because it ignores things that can bring a leader down. Make it clear to your team member that, if you’re about to do something incredibly damaging to your career or company, you want people around you who will tell you that.
Bhallaladeva: Co-worker Who Secretly Hates You
Powerful and ambitious, Bhalladeva believes he is the rightful successor of Mahismati. But realising the futility of making a direct play for the throne, the scheming young prince engages in some underhand moves to unseat Baahubali, hiding his true feelings under the guise of concern.
Fix it: A smart co-worker won't overtly display their disdain for you because they don’t want to cause trouble or jeopardise their own careers. But there will always be subtle red flags that indicate they are not out for your best interests. The only way to continue working with such people is to manage their enviousness. You can do that by allowing them to function with a degree of independence.
Bijjaladeva: Master Manipulator
Baahubali’s uncle harbours a great deal of resentment dating back to the time he was denied the crown because of his disability. The fact that his wife chose her nephew over their son, as her heir, only added insult to injury. Instead of confronting her head-on, the wily Bijjaladeva manipulates events that lead to Baahubali’s tragic end.
Fix it: At some point in your leadership journey, you are likely to find yourself having to manage a manipulator. These type of people are usually battling their own insecurities, so tackle the problem with compassion. Ask direct questions to avoid putting them on the defensive. Mentoring or mediation to help the manipulator gain awareness of their behaviour is the most productive way to resolve the situation and prevent future unpleasantness.
Weaknesses are inevitable, and if you’re not prepared for them, you’ll be blindsided by your team members. As a manager, you can’t just look the other way. Instead, let Baahubali inspire you to create a stronger workforce.