At a Glance
Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. Founder, MSR Leadership Consultants India
Focus Areas: Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Business Strategy, HR
Thinkers360 In-Depth Profile & Portfolio: Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D.
Latest Content: Soft Leadership, Education, Gender & Mindfulness – Vlog | Interview | Brain Hemorrhage Compassion, Soft Skills: Toward a Sanctimonious Discipline | the Father of “Soft Leadership” | Prof M.S. Rao
Thought Leader Interview
Thinkers360 thought leader interviews profile prominent members of the Thinkers360 community who embody the power of ideas in their work. In this edition, we speak with Professor M.S. Rao, Founder, MSR Leadership Consultants India.
Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with over forty years of experience and the author of over fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’. He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications. His vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030 http://professormsraovision2030.blogspot.com/2014/12/professor-m-s-raos-vision-2030-one_31.html. He has the vision to share his knowledge freely with one billion people globally. He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe).
He is featured in the annual listings of the Thinkers360 Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Entrepreneurship (August 2021), and Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Influencers on Business Strategy (December 2020) as well.
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Thinkers360: Tell us a bit about your background and areas of expertise
MSR: My life has been a struggle from my birth to now. I was born into a toxic family and grew up in a toxic environment. I hail from a poor family background. My father had a tea stall. After returning to school, I assisted my father in the tea stall as I am the elder son in the family. I washed dishes, served food to customers, and collected cash from the customers. I had a tough life with innumerable challenges. Right from my childhood, I have had a passion for education and learning. Unfortunately, my parents were not in a position to afford my education. I joined the Indian Air Force (IAF) when I was 18 years discontinuing the graduation. After joining the service, I came out with a negative attitude. I acquired a positive attitude and developed an interest in leadership. I received a meager payment as I joined the lowest rank in the service. I was sending a major portion of the money to my home and utilizing the little money for my education. In IAF, I worked hard after the working hours and studied hard to acquire qualifications. I utilized my annual and casual leave for my education and examinations, unlike others who enjoyed their lives. I acquired several qualifications in the IAF including BSc, DME, MA, PGDCLL, PGDBM, and MBA. I want to show the world that humans must explore ways and means to accomplish their goals despite hailing from a toxic family background with financial challenges.
When I was serving in the IAF, my father-in-law invited me to join his trading business. I left the service in 1993 and joined his business. My father-in-law backtracked from his commitment and my brother-in-law backstabbed putting my business career in danger. I left the business and joined the teaching profession in 2007 as a faculty member. I joined a Ph.D. in 2007 in the area of soft skills and earned my Ph.D. in 2011. I became an author in 2010 and authored 50 books.
Thinkers360: How did you find time to author over 50 books?
MSR: I am passionate about writing, speaking, sharing, and inspiring others. I do it despite a lack of resources. I am passionate, disciplined, and focused on my goals. I am an expert in time management. I follow strict timings. I execute tasks ruthlessly. I wake up at 4 AM and sleep at 10 PM. I write a lot throughout the day despite several challenges and financial constraints. I have been writing for the last 12 years. I have a strategy. I plan and execute tasks systematically. I persist to get endorsements and forewords for my books and get them published.
Thinkers360: Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
MSR: I started a non-profit initiative: Vision 2030: One Million Global Leaders. Here is the story about it. I served in the Indian Air Force due to my love for my nation and passion for the uniform. I served more than a decade and acquired several qualifications including DME, BSc, MA, PGDCLL, PGDBM, and MBA. After I left the Indian Air Force, I pursued research and earned a Ph.D. in Soft Skills in 2011. I led a painful life both in the military and civil as I was born into a poor family and encountered innumerable challenges in my personal, professional, and social life. I was born into a toxic family and grew up in a toxic environment. I encountered some rogue relatives and siblings who were responsible for financial challenges to me, my wife, and two sons. While serving in the Indian Air Force I acquired knowledge on leadership as the military makes the best leaders due to the kind of tough training soldiers receive and the kind of unique challenges they encounter during war and peace. Hence, I developed a passion for leadership and service. While serving in the Indian Air Force, I did not appreciate the way things were happening in India due to the unscrupulous politicians dividing society in the name of region, religion, caste, and communities. Additionally, lots of money went into the private coffers of politicians rather than reaching the poor people in India. I was disturbed by the conditions in Indian society. Corruption has become a cancer in Indian society. Hence, I thought to train leaders with a global mindset to enable them to develop the nation, promote fraternity, and work for global peace and prosperity.
I entered the teaching profession as educational institutions are the ideal places to shape students and equip them with leadership skills and abilities. Second, I focused on students as they are teenage, and they can be molded easily as leaders the way the military recruits the young cadets and grooms them as soldiers and leaders. I started getting overwhelming support from students as they were inspired during my teaching and training programs in educational institutions.
As a leadership researcher, I do a lot of research on various leadership styles and how leadership can be used for the benefit of a global society. During my research, I came to know that there is a looming leadership challenge globally due to the retirement of baby boomers, and Gen Y who is also known by different names including millennials is not geared up to global leadership challenges due to a lack of effective leadership development training programs. That means when the experienced leaders exit from service there is an alarming leadership vacuum globally as the young inexperienced people are not ready in the leadership pipeline to take up the leadership roles and responsibilities. Although it is a threat globally, I viewed it as an opportunity to contribute my best. I trained students as global leaders to enable them to grow with leadership skills and abilities. I have taught and trained more than 50,000 students so far. I have taken the support of social media to articulate my vision and share my articles and videos regularly on my social media platforms. Visit my blog here. Since I belong to Gen X I can serve as a link between the baby boomers and Gen Y to bridge this global leadership deficit. I considered my age and experience in the military and academia, and above all, my interest in leadership and passion for students an opportunity to serve students to groom them as global leaders. Hence, I pray to God to give me health, knowledge, wisdom, strength, and lifespan to build one million students as global leaders by 2030.
Thinkers360: What are your current responsibilities and what’s a typical day look like?
MSR: My daily routine: In the morning, I create knowledge. In the afternoon, I acquire knowledge. In the evening, I eliminate unwanted information. At night, I prepare for the next day.
Thinkers360: How do you utilize Thinkers360?
MSR: Thinkers360 is an amazing resource. It has been a great way for me to further demonstrate my impact and thought leadership. I am a firm believer in the power of the network. I can learn from other thought leaders. I can share my work with the wider community of individuals who are interested in creating a better workplace for themselves, their colleagues, and their communities. Because of the Thinkers360 recognition, potential clients immediately know that I consistently contribute to the body of knowledge in deep and meaningful ways.
Thinkers360:Why soft skills are important to develop for leaders?
MSR: Soft skills are essential to developing leaders. They are more important in top-level management. There is more emphasis on hard skills and less on soft skills in the low level of management as employees work at the operational level. On the other hand, leaders at the senior level need more soft skills and less hard skills as they involve in strategic roles and responsibilities.
Thinkers360: What is the secret to your success?
MSR: I am not successful because I have not made any money. I am not passionate about making money. Indian society measures success only when people make money. If that is the yardstick to measure success, I am not a successful person because I still belong to a lower middle class with financial challenges and constraints. If you consider me a successful person, I can say that there are four pillars to my success―passion, perspiration, persistence, and patience.
Thinkers360: What are your goals in your life?
MSR: I set goals for a day, week, month, year, and lifetime. I follow them religiously. Building communities. Sharing knowledge free with the world. Adding value to others. Inspiring the world. Enlightening that everything is possible in the world when people are passionate, disciplined, and focused on their goals. I want to set an example to the world that anybody can achieve success despite hailing from humble origins with financial challenges and betrayals by their family members. I have two goals in my life—to bag a Nobel Prize and to become the President of India. I hope God gives me enough strength, courage, knowledge, wisdom, and blessings to accomplish my goals.
Thinkers360: What’s your main advice for upcoming thought leaders?
MSR: Craft your vision. Add value to others. Lead by example. Embrace uncertainty. Emphasize humility, humanity, and hope.
See Professor M.S. Rao’s Thinkers360 Profile: Professor M.S Rao
Thinkers360: How can people find out more about your work?
MSR: I am very active on social media. I share lots of articles on my LinkedIn and my blog ‘Vision 2030’ freely without any charge. When you type on search engines my name as ‘Professor M. S. Rao’ you will find my blog ‘Vision 2030: One Million Global Leaders.’ You will find free articles, inspirational quotations, and videos. You can follow my blog to get updates regularly. You can follow my YouTube channel where I share videos on life, leadership, and mindfulness. You can find my social media accounts such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and follow them. All my books are available on Amazon. You can purchase copies online. Here are the links to my social media platforms to join and share with your networks.
Vision 2030: https://professormsraovision2030.blogspot.com
See the Light in You: https://www.amazon.com/See-Light-You-Spiritual-Mindfulness/dp/1949003132
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