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Mastering the Art of Leadership and Creativity with Mr Bharat Dabholkar

bharat dabholkar Bharat Dabholkar, a polymath excelling as an ad guru, theater virtuoso, playwright, actor, and director, epitomizes versatility and ingenuity. Armed with a law degree, he found his true calling in the realm of advertising, where his innovative campaigns reshaped the Indian advertising landscape. His iconic creations for brands like Amul, Videocon, and Frooti have become a part of India's cultural fabric.

In the theater world, Dabholkar's prolific career spans over 32 plays, including classics like "Blame it on Yashraj" and "Bottoms Up." His influence extends beyond the stage and screen; he is credited with popularizing the 'Hinglish' language style, seamlessly blending Hindi and English.

Let us explore the key leadership lessons from Bharat Dabholkar's experiences shared in the book "YOU CEO 2" by Dr. Nitin Parab. Each insight reflects his blend of creativity, camaraderie, and strategic acumen:

1. The Perfectionist’s Path: Handling Hypersensitivity

Creative individuals are hypersensitive souls, requiring a unique approach. Mr. Dabholkar’s perfectionist nature allows him to navigate this delicate balance. He respects the creative process, allowing room for exploration, even if it means being 'wrong.' He believes in dealing with creative minds differently, valuing their unique perspective, and fostering an environment where innovative ideas can flourish.

bharat dabholkar 2. Friendship Over Hierarchy: The Key to Leadership

His leadership philosophy challenges conventional norms. He advocates for leaders to be friends rather than authoritarian figures. By promoting camaraderie and embracing an open-door policy, he creates a workplace where laughter and storytelling forge strong bonds among team members. According to him, a team that shares laughter stays united, and he ensures that everyone feels valued and heard.

3. Facilitation Over Dictation: The Facilitative Leadership Approach

Mr. Dabholkar operates as a facilitator, not a dictator. He actively involves himself in every aspect, fostering an environment of shared responsibility. Despite his penchant for hands-on involvement, he encourages freedom within his team. This approach cultivates creativity and ensures that everyone feels an essential part of the process.

4. Trust: The Cornerstone of Leadership

In his world, trust reigns supreme. Leaders must trust their teams implicitly. He emphasizes giving individuals complete ownership and pride in their work, fostering a sense of accountability. By instilling pride and responsibility, leaders empower their teams to achieve remarkable results.

5. The Power of Urgency in Decision-Making

Mr. Bharat's leadership style also involves quick and decisive action. He narrates an incident where his swift decision-making enabled the successful launch of a product. His ability to make rapid yet informed decisions underscores the essence of effective leadership in urgent situations.

6. The Timeless Bond of Shared Responsibility

Drawing inspiration from historical figures like Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mr. Dabholkar highlights the significance of shared responsibility. True leadership involves inspiring others, instilling discipline, and creating a sense of shared ownership. This concept, evident in successful entities like the TATA Group, remains a hallmark of exceptional leadership.

bharat dabholkar 7. Great Things Can Come from Fun and Laughter

Bharat Dabholkar's agency Ad Guru became the fastest-growing agency in the country because they loved to work and laugh together. Their objectives remained simple: getting together, laughing, having fun, and working happily. This camaraderie fueled their success, emphasizing the power of enjoyment in achieving greatness.

8. An Organizational Bond Is Also Like a Human Bond - It Lasts!

He emphasizes the enduring nature of organizational bonds. He shares anecdotes where personal connections with business associates endured years, highlighting the lasting impact of genuine human relationships in the professional sphere. These enduring bonds serve as a testament to the strength of authentic connections in the corporate world.


Bharat Dabholkar's leadership journey is a testament to the fusion of creativity, empathy, and strategic acumen. His approach, characterized by understanding sensitivities, promoting friendship over hierarchy, facilitating collaborative efforts, trusting teams implicitly, making swift decisions, and valuing fun and laughter, serves as a blueprint for aspiring leaders.

In a world where leadership is a dynamic art, Mr. Dabholkar's principles resonate as guiding lights for future leaders, ensuring the harmonious coexistence of creativity and strategic vision in the corporate realm.
These lessons are shared by Mr. Bharat Dabholkar in the interview for the book “YOU CEO 2: Success Lessons from Leading CEOs” authored by Dr. Nitin Parab. For a more detailed understanding of these concepts, purchase your copy of YOU CEO 2 Now! Grab your copy here: YOU CEO 2: Success Lessons From Leading CEOs

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 25th October 2023.

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