I had never been a Sherlock fan; maybe because I never knew about it as much as I should. My ignorance and lack of knowledge about this brilliant character was actually stopping me from learning a lot of great lessons that one could learn about leadership and business management from him. I have never read about Sherlock, while I knew about this world’s most famous fictional detective for over 2 decades, until recently when I started watching a popular BBC show Sherlock, and I was pushed or rather I must say “pulled” towards knowing and learning some great lessons from Sherlock.

I mention some of the top leadership qualities that I noticed in Sherlock by pointing out the quotes used by him:

My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people don’t know.

As a business leader, you must know everything about your business, even those micro details that others don’t know. Because in the event of a crisis, your employees, stakeholders, and even clients will look up to you for the possible solutions. What makes Sherlock Holmes so great is his eye for details towards the things that others miss. Often times, the solution is right in front of our eyes.

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.

Have you ever seen a judge in court making a decision before the lawyers of both sides have presented their facts? A judge has a role, authority, and experience, but yet, he never makes a decision without the data based on the theories. It would be a sin to jump to conclusion without knowing the facts and data.

Weakness in one limb is often compensated for by exceptional strength in the others.

Often it has been observed that if for any reason, one looses the strength of one limb or any body part for that matter, or any sense, it gets automatically compensated by the heightened strength in other limbs or senses. Similarly, when you are dealing with people in the organisation, if someone is not able to perform in a certain role, find out what he is good at and take the leverage of it. That ways he will be more productive to the business as well.

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains however improbable must be the truth.

When we are trying to find a solution to a problem, we often come across multiple probabilities of solving the same issue. Now, the question comes which would be the best solution? Many a times it happens, when we are looking for a solution, we tend to overlook not so obvious solutions and focus all our energy on what we feel or know could be the right way to solve the problem. So, there are two things, first, never overlook any probable solution, and always ask yourself why this solution might not work. And if the answer is such that it eliminates the solution, than what remains at the end must be the actual solution to the problem.

It is better to learn wisdom late, than never to learn it at all.

Well for the above, I think I should not even say anything, as it is pretty obvious that learning must never stop. One big mistake that many leaders make, they think they know it all! You must not stop learning even if you get a chance to learn from an elementary kid. In a business scenario, you may get some really great ideas from a fresh graduate that you might have hired as an intern. Or you might even get a solution to the most complicated issue from an office boy.

I hate to see you cry, but I love to see you try.

As a good leader you should always trust your employees and keep testing your trust by giving them greater challenges. This way not only you groom them, but create further leaders. While I say so, that should not mean that you push them to the limits, without your support. If they reach a limit where they could break, lend your hand to sail through.

 What’s the point in being clever, if you can’t prove it.

Sherlock Holmes picks the toughest and the nuttiest cases and solves them while making them look so easy. As a leader you should work on creating a product or service that is so superior that others follow you. If you are good at it, let people know about it.

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Manan Chaturvedi

Dr. Manan is the founder of #GlocalizedHR and a 360º HR Setup and Transformation services company Fortune Architect. He is a scholar of Human Resources and works closely with companies design their data-driven talent acquisition strategies that drive effectiveness, growth, and competitive advantage. He also speaks, writes and chairs conferences on HR Development and management.