The Art of Becoming a Bulletproof Manager

Bulletproof Manages are those who stay streets ahead of their competitors. They never accept no for an answer. They would always look for new opportunities and new markets. Based on some well-known examples from the Indian Corporate World, an attempt is made in this article to discuss some details of the art of becoming a bulletproof manager.


Bullet proof Managers always stand out for their success. They are no ordinary people. They excel in whatever they do. They are never crisis managers. They challenge the status quo more than anyone else and get noticed for their success stories. They are all-round managers. They easily transition to leadership roles.

Be that as it may, in this article we will discuss a) Who is a bulletproof manager b) The pro-active strategies of bulletproof mangers c) The ability to built teams of the smartest brains d) Ability to spot and build on the best opportunities and e) Ability to teach the world lessons on becoming bulletproof at all times.

Who is a bulletproof manager

A bulletproof manager is one who is basically a leader in whatever he does. That is, he has the ability to impress and motivate his or her subordinates to do whatever heor she wants them to do and obtain their voluntary co-operation. A bulletproof manager has the ability of forecasting problems and taking preventive actions. They always have many contingency plans and stick to the basics. They are the real visionaries.

The pubic sector Indian Bank was incurring losses. The Government of India brought in a proven performer called Ms. Ranjana Kumar. She was firm but involved the key managers in charting a grand recovery plan. She gave maximum emphasis to customer service. The bank managers were motivated to open hundreds of new savings and current accounts that are the actual assets of any bank. These low-cost deposits helped to contain costs. The massive deposit mobilization campaign also had its own effect. There was a big drive to go after willful defaulters. The bank returned to the black in no time. The entire change process happened because of this lady who would put in a punishing fourteen hours per day and be involved even on holidays. The motivational mechanisms worked. She was a good bulletproof manager.

Another example of a bulletproof manager was Mr.A.M. Naik of Larsen and Toubro. Even after attaining the age of 70 he is reportedly active even now. During his period he made the organization shed its non-core businesses. He stood firm even many board members did not agree to sell the profitable cement business. He sold it to the Aditya Birla group and the rest is history.

Larsen and Toubro became a truly focussed engineering company. It is a market leader in almost all businesses. It is a formidable player in the information technology industry as well. It has constructed really good roads in the public-private partnership model. There is documented evidence that he had a good Vision and went about firmly giving a meaning to it. He was personally involved in every stage of the grand strategies that helped L&T reach a turnover of over one hundred thousand crore rupees.

The pro-active strategies of bulletproof mangers

It is not that bulletproof managers are or were seen only in Corporate India. We have had really good leaders in Jawaharlal Nehru and Kamaraj who together built giant Public sector companies like BHEL, NTPC, NLC and so on. It should be noted that these companies have hundreds of bulletproof managers with tremendous leadership potential.

These leaders were truly pro-active. Capital formation in the economy was so low and the private sector had not developed at all in those times. The situation needed pro-active strategies. These two leaders did many things that were not even thought of at that point in time. They laid the foundation of modern India. BHEL is a massive profit-making organization with a commendable record of success in human resources management.

The ability to built teams of the smartest brains

At the global level we have had fabulous bulletproof managers. Bill Gates of Microsoft and the late Steeve Jobs of Apple Computers are the best bulletproof managers who built the best business models for their companies that are profitable at all times. The key is their ability to appoint several managers who were very smart and then empower them. A large number of these leaders are from India. The big boss of Google called Sundar Pichai is one such. He has had the ability to spot talent and built big teams of young managers who are the best bulletproof managers. Their business models are giving the competitors a run for their money.

Google pay has given Paytm a big competition. It has challenged the net banking of so many banks. The banks have signed up as it reduces their transaction costs. The Grand Vision of Sundar Pichai is seen at every stage of Google's success. It is an open secret that the working conditions in these companies are tough. Only those who are real bulletproof managers pass the litmus test and make it big. The Tata group is headed by one of the finest bulletproof managers called Mr.N. Chandrasekaran. He is reportedly engaged in giving a new style of functioning to the many businesses the group is engaged in. The group has already made an exit in the cell phone service provider business.

Ability to spot and build on the best opportunities

Amul is the real national brand in the dairy business. Its pilot for success was one of India's best bulletproof managers whose name was Kurien. This professional manager built a massive business that made millions of farmers part of a co-operative called National Dairy Development Board(NDDB). The simple fact is that Amul is a big name in so many products and its ice cream business is the best example. Can an Indian company give the MNCs a run for their money? The answer was and is yes. This was made possible only because the late Kurien had such a grand vision for the business and he built it from scratch by appointing professionally qualified managers. He was the brain behind the Institute of Rural Management (IRMA). This institution has produced hundreds of managers who work in rural India.

Kishore Biyani of the Big Bazaar group is another example of a bulletproof manager. He has quickly come out of businesses that did not fit his core. The Big Bazaar group is the largest organized group in India that has rewritten the rules of doing the organized retail business in India. Its discount model has real;l;y worked in the commodities business.

Bulletproof managers never rest on their laurels. They go on from strength to strength. Kumaramangalam Birla of the Aditya Birla Group is one glorious example. He has recruited the best of senior most management brains from a number of companies and has totally empowered them. The businesses are all doing well now. Aditya Birla is a force to reckon with in the Mutual fund industry. It is the market leader in cement. It is a global player in aluminum.

Bulletproof managers keep on spotting these opportunities and exploit them. Mr. Kamath of ICICI Bank built a financial powerhouse in his time when he was the big boss. He had emulated the legendary Mr. Vagul who was his successor. His ability to spot talent and go after opportunities has no parallel in the Indian industry. His emphasis on acquisitions paid off handsomely. Bank of Rajasthan was a good example. The ICICI Bank brought in a big revolution in India. It is the clear market leader in the private sector insurance business. All these achievements can be directly attributed to Kamath's leadership.

Ability to teach the world lessons on becoming bulletproof at all times

Mr. Narayanamurthy of Infosys Technologies was one of the best bulletproof managers. He gives lectures everywhere in India on how he built the global giant. Mr.Ratan Tata is actively promoting venture capital and entrepreneurship. Mr.Anand Mahindra the highly respected big boss of Mahindra and Mahindra is one of the best speakers in most of the IIMs. These are some examples. There are so many other leaders who were bulletproof managers when they were active in their lives. They keep on teaching the young mangers what it takes to build the kind of competencies that are vital to success.


Some most important characteristics of Bulletproof managers have been discussed above. Their success stories will offer useless lessons for any budding Indian manager, at any point in time.

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Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao13 Nov 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

A nice article from the author. A bulletproof manager is always an asset to an organisation. We have seen many organisations which have been doing very well but collapsed immediately after a change at the top. The future of the company always depend on the person who is at the helm of the affairs. He should have an eye and anticipate what is going to happen tomorrow in the market and think how well we will get prepared for that by that time.

I just got an example. But it is not about a corporate. It is about a state. If you think that a state is also an organisation and the CM of the State is the CEO, a change of CM will change the progress of the State. The difference is very well seen in the State of Andhra Pradesh. When Babu was the CM people were jumping to start their businesses in that State. The CM having changed many companies are going back on their decisions. This is giving the neighbouring states a lot of benefits.

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