When leadership fails


Chairman and MD of the Air India, Ashwani Lohani showed concerns over the fact that employees are blamed for the organisation’s failures whereas the real problem lies with the head of the company.

Ashwani Lohani, chairman and managing director of Air India, spoke his heart in one of his recent blogs. A renowned tourism professional and an acclaimed bureaucrat, Lohani recently posted a blog in which he shared that the ‘lack of leadership’ and the recent ‘merger’ is responsible for the company’s woes. He stood in defence of the employees saying they should not be held responsible for any of the failures of the airline major.

Condemning the bureaucracy and the organisation’s inability to appreciate talent, Lohani said, “The tremendous potential of an individual, often explained as ‘kundalini jagran’ in all ancient Hindu texts, has never been understood. How can an organisation that loses no opportunity to deride its own people and make them unhappy, find faults with them for lack of deliverance is what I have always failed to fathom”.

Ashwani Lohani

He showed concerns over the fact that employees are blamed for the organisation’s botches, whereas the real problem lies in the hands of the head of the organisation. “It makes me sad when the common employee is often blamed for the ills of the organisation, in this case too, whereas the real reason for the debacle lies elsewhere— in my opinion on the head honcho,” Lohani said in the blog. “An organisation is only as good or as bad as the head honcho, everything else is merely a symptom,” he stated.

This is a curious case of leadership glitch where the employees have had to bear the brunt. And most certainly, this is not a one-off case! However, this is definitely a rare one where a senior professional has broken the silence and confronted the organisation’s flaws in an open-to-all post. He also talks about people who like to advise others without any expertise; and those who turn their backs to the same rules of the game that they expect others to follow.

Having said all that, he ended on a positive note saying, “The mess is by no stretch of imagination a minor one, yet it has to and shall be sorted out”. Air India, the Government-run airline, which has been grappling with huge debt and losses, roped in Lohani in September last year with hopes to help lift its fortune. Lohani, in his previous stints, with the Indian Railways and MP Tourism, has been known for significant achievements in business.


  1. Very well stated sir “An organisation is only as good or as bad as the head honcho, everything else is merely a symptom”….wishing you and the airlines all the best and hoping it to do well in coming years

  2. This is the reality. The position that is supposed to take credit for the growth of the organisation, is responsible to the debacle also.

  3. A very important point indeed.There are no of examples to prove this.Look at ApTourisim,One man Sri Anjaneya Reddy could do the turn around.Similarly Singareni Colleries Sri Sharma.
    Once the Leader sets the direction and facilitates moving in that rest falls in line.Thats why its said,Great leaders don’t just tell you what to do; they also guide you through

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Prajjal Saha is the editor and publisher of HRKatha, which he founded in 2015. With nearly 25 years of experience in business journalism, writing, and editing, he is a true industry veteran who possesses a deep understanding of all facets of business, from marketing and distribution to technology and human resources. Along with his work at HRKatha, he is also the author of the Marketing White Book. Thanks to his extensive experience and expertise, he has become a trusted source of insight and analysis for professionals across a wide range of industries.