Leadership Lessons From The Life Of The Legendary Little Master

Kumar Gauraw

Early in my childhood, I saw my Dad and the elders in my family stuck to the radio listening to the live commentary of the game for hours. Every time there was a cricket match, the old little radio in our home was the most important gadget in our home.


So, I learnt a lot about cricket and the players early on. But I didn’t appreciate the game because whenever it happened, I would be deprived of the radio set for as long as the Cricket match was played, and to my dismay, it would usually go for 5 days.

My Affinity With Cricket Started With Sachin’s Entry

However, my interest in Cricket rose in 1989 when I was still in school. I read a newspaper article about a 16 year old boy who was selected for the upcoming India-Pakistan cricket match and how everybody was excited about this new player, Sachin Tendulkar. I was impressed. I have been hooked to cricket since then!

Sachin, since then, began a journey of setting new standards in cricket. He practically dominated every bowler in the world and, in fact, he became a standard that every bowler was to be measured against. It was so much fun to watch him play when he was in his swing and the way other teams feared the little master on the field.

At the same time, it was heartbreaking to see him get out in an important game at a low score, or when he underplayed.

A Bit About The Little Master’s Admirers

Known as the “Little Master” and the “Master Blaster”, Sachin Tendulkar achieved the status of God in Cricket. Not just in India but people from around the world see him that way. It’s amazing how much love and respect he commands from people all over the world. Here are a few quotes from a few well known people I think you will enjoy:

The pressure on me is nothing compared to Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin, like God, must never fail. The crowd always expects him to succeed and it is too much pressure on him. But, he rarely disappoints them. ~Mark Waugh [Former Australian Team Captain]

I have seen God, he bats at no. 4 for India.  ~Matthew Hayden [Former Australian cricketer]

Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their TV sets and switch off their lives  ~BBC on Sachin

Sachin is a genius. I’m a mere mortal.   ~Brian Lara [The Legendary West Indies Batsman]

I am fortunate that I’ve to bowl at him only in the nets!   ~Anil Kumble [Third highest test wicket taker in the world]

Sachin Tendulkar has often reminded me of a veteran army colonel who has many medals on his chest to show how he has conquered bowlers all over the world.  ~Allan Donald [South African pace legend]

On a train from Shimla to Delhi, there was a halt at one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing a century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This genius can stop time in India!    ~Peter Roebuck [Aussie journalist]

I can go on and on about the countless compliments people have given him and if you would like to read some more of these, please visit Wikipedia Quotes on Sachin Tendulakar.

The Retirement Of The Little Master

Sachin addressed his fans for the last time from his last test cricket match in Wankhede Stadium,  Mumbai and announced his retirement from all forms of cricket. In those 20 minutes of emotionally heavy talk, Sachin shared his journey’s precious moments and what cricket meant to him. Here is the video for you to watch and hear the Little Master say good bye:

His retirement has created such an impact on the news media which is absolutely amazing to see. News media, TV channels and social media, are flooded with tributes to Sachin and cover stories. It is just incredible to see how a sports star can get such stardom where Time Magazine names him as the Person Of The Week and the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Tendulkar would receive the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award which makes Sachin the first sportsperson to receive the such an award of honor from the Government of India.

How Did Sachin Command Such A Stature?

There have been so many incredible players from many countries. There have been many batsmen from India and from around the world who impressed the world with their spectacular batting or bowling or both. Not once, but many times. But nobody achieved such a feat.

Yes, Tendulkar’s stellar 24-year cricketing career boasts of innumerable records and milestones which would be hard to even approach. But, his fame comes not just because of his stunning records alone. I think he commands respect because of his personal conduct which makes him an example, a shining start which will inspire generations to come.

Most people admire the batting maestro for his extraordinary style of batting and they often compare him with others such as Australia’s great Don Bradman or Viv Richards. But that is not why Sachin’s fame went beyond anybody else we have ever seen in cricketing world.

Sachin is to be admired for another reason – the leadership, his ability to lead himself with discipline that is second to none. He demonstrated the highest degree of integrity in his character combined with his incredible ability to focus on his goals.

Leadership Lessons From The Life Of Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin’s career and his way of life can inspire all of us and teach us a few lessons of leadership. From what I have known about Sachin over the last 24 years of watching him play and following his game, here are a few leadership lessons I would like to share which I think Sachin is the best living example of:

1. Have Focus On The Task At Hand

Sachin is known for his legendary focus and concentration at taking training. When there was a match to be played, he would work long hours to hone his skills well before the real game. For him, the match would start much earlier than the actual match.

When in the game, he would focus on the game and he wouldn’t let his performance in the game impact his family life. He demonstrated an incredible ability to stay cool, calm and composed at all times.

2. Let Your Dreams And Goals Drive You

In his own words, ”I always had a dream to play for India but I never let it put pressure on me.”

The amount of pressure his fans would put on him every time he went to bat, was tremendous. Can you imagine living up to the expectations of over a billion people every day for 24 long years? Anybody would go crazy just to think about it. But not Sachin. He stayed cool, calm and composed when he amazed people with his spectacular show and his attitude didn’t change when people complained that he should quit because he didn’t play so good in a few matches.

He never let other people’s expectations drive him. Instead, he kept small goals for himself and kept achieving them one after another.

3. Be Responsible – Do Not Let Success/Failure Get Into Your Head

It is easy to feel on top of the world when things are going great. There have been many other star players who even seemed more talented than Sachin for a while. But, as stardom came, they let their success get into their head and it ruined their careers.

But not Sachin. His humility, his consistent and persistent attitude led him through his spectacular 24-year career. Even though people called him God in cricket, he didn’t even once let that distract him from his humble nature. He always stayed steady, no matter what. Probably that is the most important reason why people love him so much.

On the other hand, most people don’t like to stand up and accept responsibility when things are not going as good as expected. Sachin Tendulkar is one leader who took responsibility when the Indian team didn’t perform well during his captaincy. He faced a volley of criticism but never blamed anybody in the team or anyone else. He stepped down from captaincy and supported the next captain through his superb performance for the rest of his career in his usual style.

4. Accept Others At Their Level

In his own words, ”Every individual has his own style, his own way of presenting himself on and off the field.”

Sachin earned respect of his seniors, juniors and all his teammates through his exceptional ability to accept others at their level. He always encouraged his team members by showing his faith in their ability and as people close to him say, “He was able to help others on his team achieve their best.”

5. Don’t Criticize, Complain Or Condemn Others

There have been numerous moments in his batting career when he was dismissed unfairly when he was close to a milestone. Commentators criticized the decision of the umpires, media complained about it and, of course, we fans were mad!

But Sachin always maintained his gentlemanly attitude on the field and off. He never showed any sign of criticism of those decisions or anybody. It is one of the biggest leadership traits of great leaders, and Sachin has exemplified that for 24 years.

6. Have Your Own Standards, Lead By Example

When people would compare him (and they still do) with others like Don Bradman or Viv Richards, Sachin never participated in such discussions. He said, ”I have never believed in comparisons, whether they are about different eras, players or coaches.”

He set his own standards and kept raising them throughout his career. Did he struggle during the 24 years of his career? Absolutely. You can’t have continuous success forever and Sachin had his own share of failures and disappointments.

But each time people complained and began saying he should probably retire, he came back and shut their mouth with his bat. After a while, people started to say that “in the form” and “out of form” are not the terms that apply to Sachin Tendulkar. He set his own standards and showed his tail lights for others to follow.

7. Do Not Make Major Decisions While In A Valley

It is one of the most critical aspects of leadership at the personal level. Most people (and even leaders sometimes) get intimidated when they are met with a series of failures and decide to quit.

But Sachin never let the valleys in his career become the decision making moments in his life. When he wasn’t doing so well with his bat, he kept his patience, he maintained a low profile but kept fighting his fight until he bounced back from there. And when he did, the world watched.

If he had listened to his critics and given up on his career during his under-performing months, he would have become a failure. He rather decided to face the failure but not become one.

The announcement of his retirement came when he was doing well with his bat. But then, he knew that it’s time to say good bye to cricket and gracefully retired with a magnificent show at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai against the West Indies.

8. Be Grateful And Be Happy

If you watched Sachin’s farewell speech, you know that he is a happy man inside out. He played this long for his love of cricket. He has a beautiful family with wife and two children for which he is so grateful.

The reason he was able to cope with all the pressure in the world for 24 long years through victories and defeats, is because he knew he is blessed. He is a man of tremendous faith in himself, his friends, his family and his well-wishers. Only a grateful man or woman can have such quality. People who know him closely, love him, support him and he is grateful for them being in his life.

9. Success Depends On Hard Work More Than Talent

Sachin has been known for his incredible batting techniques. His sharp mind, ability to grasp new techniques and adapt to changing cricketing conditions made him the Little Master. He definitely was a talented cricketer.

But so were so many others. If we look into the history, there have been players from other countries about whom, many experts said that they were better than Sachin. But they couldn’t even play half the time Sachin played in international cricket.

Why is so? Probably because Sachin never took the game easy. He never stopped working hard while others did. When others were letting success get into their heads, he stayed consistent, continued to outwork them and finally, he outshined them (or they faded away naturally).

10. Treat Others The Way You Would Like To Be Treated

We can’t stop talking about Sachin Tendulkar without talking about his humility one more time. The man lives his life by the Golden Principle and even for that, he gives credit to his father for teaching him the principle.

In his own words, ”My father once told me, ‘All things in life are temporary and everything has a deadline. But the only thing that will stay until your last breath is your nature. So you should always behave properly.’ The biggest lesson I learnt from him was that he treated everyone equally, whether it was a big well-known writer or a sweeper.”

Over To You – Share Your Thoughts

If you are here and you have known about Sachin Tendulkar and his achievements, what are your thoughts about the Master Blaster? What did you like the most about his career?

If this is your first introduction to Sachin Tendulkar, which of the leadership principles do you resonate with the most? Why do you think he would have become such a world’s favorite sports star?

Please share your thoughts through your comments. I look forward to your thoughts, your inputs. Thank you kindly!

Kumar Gauraw

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Kumar Gauraw is a Personal Branding & Social Media strategist helping entrepreneurs and skilled professionals achieve personal and professional success by developing leadership and leveraging the power of the Internet, Blogging and Social Media.

28 Awesome Thoughts So Far, Add Yours Now...

  1. Thank you Kumar for an excellent post. I am always inspired to learn of people who have so much to teach us about how to live, how to be humble with our success, and encourage us to be as determined.

    Again, a wonderful post! I really enjoyed this.


    • Hi Bill,

      The ability to stay humble when success is everywhere, is one of the best leadership traits which makes people so great. It reminds me of a quote that says, “When you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” And Sachin has been a man who had all the fame one could ever imagine and yet, he stayed down to earth, a humble man.

      Thank you for your words of appreciation and I am glad you enjoyed the post.

      Have a great week!


  2. Hello Kumar,

    I’ve never heard of Sachin Tendulkar. After I read the post you made about him, I had to go Google him. And I must say, I’m really impressed.

    Of all his qualities, I’m most endeared to his hard work. Real hard work is quite superior to in-born talent, Kumar. This reminds me of a book I once read: Talent is Overrated.

    Thank you for sharing this with your readers and do have a great day!

    – Terungwa

    • Hi Terungwa,

      It’s nice to hear from you again. Yes, he was the most hardworking cricketer I have ever known from India and that really was differentiated him from the rest of the pack for as long as he played.

      I am glad I introduced Sachin to you today 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts today.

      Have a great day, you too!


  3. Hi Kumar,

    Wonderful post indeed – a perfect tribute to Sachin I’d say 🙂

    Yes, it came as a shock to everyone when he spoke of retirement, and as his wife Anjali mentioned, as I read in the newspaper a few days back, that he felt the time had come when he saw the leaking roof and said it’s no good. I guess such a time or such a feeling comes in each ones lives, and we are really no one to judge whether another persons decision was the right or wrong one.

    He played his role pretty well and is all that you mentioned, besides being a wonderful son, father and husband. It’s indeed been a ‘Sachin fever week’ last week at our end, and even though no one wanted him to go, I think it’s only fair to salute and bid him adieu respectfully and with full honors, isn’t it? There was, is, and never will be another Sachin – hats-off to him and all his achievements. He just made India very proud 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

    • Absolutely Harleena,

      A man who sacrificed so much of his time, energy to serve the nation. He deserves a little tribute and certainly, we can learn a few things from him.

      Among all the glitters of his amazing statistics, I wanted to see what can I take home from his life and apply in my own life, my own business. These are a few important lessons I think I learnt and it applies to all of us. Don’t you think?

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing your tribute for the little master. Have a great week you too!


  4. Hi Kumar,
    Its really good to find your page at Adrienne’s space!
    When we talk of this little master the words are insufficient!
    Yes, such a rare personality he is, though he conquered many heights, he is not a proud man instead a humble and simple personality, and of course he proved his metal in sports at the same time he is a good philanthropist too, which many do not be aware about it. We salute this little Master Blaster, Thanks for sharing those wonderful info from his sports life. I too posted a small note in this regard
    Keep inform
    Best Regards

  5. Hi Kumar,

    Being here in the U.S. and not being into sports, I never heard of Sachin Tendulkar. Once I started playing that video, my eyes were glued on it for the whole 20 minutes.

    What I got out of it was his humbleness, gratefulness and most of all his thankfulness to family. We don’t get much of that stuff here in the U.S. Our family values here seem to be melting, but hey, that’s my opinion.

    A wonderful role model is he for “success” because it didn’t go to his head and he didn’t see himself as a “superstar” but rather, a man that was playing the sport seriously. He didn’t forget anyone while he was saying goodbye.

    It must have been hard for the fans of his. What a noble and gracious man he is.

    Thanks Kumar for using him as an example of what we all need to be.


    • Hi Donna,

      Thank you for your wonderful comment and for sharing this on several social media networks. And thank you for watching the whole video. You are awesome!

      I am glad you agrees with my thoughts on the leadership qualities of Sachin. I have been a big fan of him and this post is my tribute to a man who became a great example of what can be done for generation to come in cricketing world.

      His humility made many people, humble


  6. Hi Kumar,

    I’ve never watched a cricket game in my life and unfortunately I’ve never hear of Sachin either. Wow, 24 years of playing in a sport and from what you just shared, doing it very very well.

    I’ve learned a lot about leadership since coming online and I think the first lesson I can learn from this is loving what you do (#2). I think for me a lot of these qualities come because you love what you do. When you’re very passionate about it of course you’re excited to help others so a lot of people fall into this position. In his case he didn’t want to disappoint I’m sure but always wanted to do the best he could.

    All of what you shared are great qualities and what makes a great leader. This was a wonderful example from someone you obviously admire a great deal. I’m sure his retirement is a big shock to a lot but sometimes, especially when you’re in sports, there comes a time when you know you need to call it quits. I’m glad he had that opportunity to have control over his own decisions.

    Thanks for this awesome post Kumar and love this list.


    • Hi Adrienne,

      You are right about loving what we do being the central keystone for a lot of other leadership qualities. Sachin, definitely was driven by his love for the game. Otherwise he wouldn’t have persisted through all the challenges of the game inspire of multiple injuries for 24 years. That’s a great observation. Thank you!

      And yes, it has been a sad news for me as well as he meant a lot to the game of Cricket and I’m not sure if I can have that much passion for Cricket without Sachin anymore. But then, he decided that it was his time to say good bye and so this post is my tribute to the little master 🙂

      You have a wonderful week as well.


  7. Hi Kumar,

    This is a fantastic post Kumar and this person which I did not know seems to be such a great human being.

    I really like the fact that he took everything objectively and didn’t’ let the pressure of his fans get to him. I truly believe that no sport, no matter at what level, deserves to mess with our mental and well being. It’s only a sport after all.

    I totally agree that hard work can beat talent any time, and that talent alone without work or action behind will lead you nowhere. I’ve seen that up close and personal.

    If every one were to follow the golden rule of treating others like they want to be treated we would be living in a TOTALLY different world, indeed.

    Thanks for such wonderful life lessons.

    • Hello Sylviane,

      I know the name is unknown to you but I am glad that you enjoyed the lessons I drew from his life.

      Thank you for dropping by and taking time to share your thoughts.

      Have a successful week.


  8. Jeevan Jacob John

    Thank you for the share, Kumar 🙂

    I gave up watching Cricket after the last World Cup (once I heard the rumors about Sachin’s retirement). I do regret not watching his last test match last week (I suppose I could look up the highlights :D).

    I do agree with every one of your points – we can certainly learn a lot from people like him – the perseverance, patience, and attitude are all important traits to pick up (Well, without them, I don’t see how we can achieve our goals).

    It is easy to just give up, so many people do it (Sometimes, I wish of a world – a world where people pursued their dreams, even if it seems impossible, even if the whole society made fun of them or their ideals). It doesn’t matter whether we succeed or not, what matters is that we try 😀

    Thank you for the awesome post 😀 I hope you had a wonderful week!

    • Thanks Jeevan. I am glad to know you are also in Sachin’s fan club 🙂

      For many like you and me, Sachin’s retirement has created a vacuum in Cricket and I think we will not watch those games for a while, until we hear about another shining star somewhere which seems like him 🙂

      Glad you enjoyed and thanks for the words of appreciation.


  9. Hi Kumar

    Unlike some of the others here I do understand cricket but as an Australian of course we are competitors in the game – Australia and India. The funny part is you mentioned this on my blog in a comment and I had to call my husband to ask who this man is. He looked at me like I had two heads – he follows cricket and I do not 🙂

    I am not the normal Aussie as most Aussies follow cricket.

    I love this video and started crying in about 2 minutes in. I also would pay tribute to his wife for putting her own career on hold to support her husband. Clearly a great man.

    I love and agree with your leadership lessons.

    Awesome post and I am going to share it with my family members who have a great love of cricket.


    • Thank you Sue! The video is indeed, an emotional one. Having tears while watching is not unexpected 🙂

      Thank you for sharing and I am also surprised just like your husband to know you live in Australia and don’t follow cricket 🙂 LOL!

      Have a wonderful rest of the week.


  10. I have never heard of Sachin or have watched a game of cricket, but after watching your video it doesn’t matter. You can be touched by his story whether you know the game or not. When you are love what you are doing it shows. Sachin has great leadership qualities. Nothing comes easy but hard work does pay off. These were great lessons for all.

  11. I never heard of Sachin before, but probably because cricket is not popular in my country. Anyway, that doesn’t matter, what matters for me is that I know now about him. Thank you for sharing and expanding my knowledge, Kumar! Such people like Sachin always inspires and motivates me. For me it doesn’t matter what sphere they are into, what matters for me is that they are champions in life and that is the most important to admire!

    • Awesome Aistis! I know that you didn’t know about Sachin. But the man dominated the world of Cricket for about 24 years consistently.

      His leadership qualities are absolutely amazing to learn from. So, I decided to share these through my blog and see, now you also know about him 🙂

      Have a great weekend!

  12. My son follows the cricket and, although I don’t have any interest, I keep up to date with the scores as he regularly comes and reports on the current state of play. Like Sue Price, I am not a normal Aussie. I do not even follow AFL which is almost a requirement if you live in Victoria, Australia. You have put a new perspective on cricket for me here, to make me interested enough to go and find out about some of the players. That way I can have a conversation with my son about cricket rather than it all being one way. He may develop some role models to help him overcome certain difficulties he faces in life because of disability and who knows I might find inspiration there too.

    • Awesome Sue! I am very happy to know I have at least given you a reason to look into this game and get to know a few stars of this arena and if your son loves cricket, I am almost certain that this will give you a great platform to have a dialogue with him 🙂

      Thank you for dropping by and sharing your story on Cricket. Have a great Sunday!



  13. Hi,

    Sachin needs no introduction in India. He is a role model and icon for the youth to follow. One of my favorite cricketers. You discussed his leadership qualities very well here. Sad that Little Master will no more be entertaining us.

    I happened to hear his farewell speech. He said that his father gave him total freedom to do the things he loved most. He could have misused that freedom, but discipline never allowed him to go astray. Also, I think discipline is the quality behind such longevity of Sachin’s career.

    Above all, he’s so humble! A quality that I adore 🙂 We can learn a lot from him. Thanks for sharing this article.

    • That is a wonderful observation you noted Arun. His father did give him total freedom. We are talking about early 80’s when either you were a doctor or an engineer and if you didn’t do any of these, then you pretty much were considered a failure. In those days, letting his son play cricket as a career, was a courageous decision. And Sachin didn’t let him down!

      Thank you for pointing that out. Discipline is the key ingredient to all other leadership qualities.


  14. Sachin is such a great player as well as a leader as he alsys mannages the team in the right way.

  15. A great and really inspirational example.

  16. Sachin is the god of cricket. He is awesome and I am a big fan of Sachin. We must learn something from that great personality. This tribute to Sachin is nice.

  17. Thank you for the awesome information. Sachin has always been better batsman in the field. Now this time he is called as ambassador for world cup 2015.

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