Retired Indian Army officer teaches students in Abu Dhabi


A retired officer of the Indian Army is in the Capital with an aim to transform students into tomorrow’s leaders.

At the age of 24, Major Shirish Patil had led a team of 120 soldiers at Siachen Glacier – world’s highest and coldest battlefield. After 16 years in uniform, he took retirement in 2009 to work with companies like Adani and, where he led big teams.

Patil follows the theory – great leaders are made, not born. He went on to start Turv Consulting, a skill development organisation, which conducts lectures and workshops in leadership and soft skills for corporates and business schools.

It was in 2015 that Patil was approached by his childhood friend and classmate Saju Sahadevan to help students in the UAE. Sahadevan is based in Abu Dhabi for over a decade and said: “I felt very less attention was given to developing soft skills in children and I approached the best man for the job.” Patil first hesitated but soon got involved in the right earnest.

“I spoke to many teachers, curriculum developers, psychologists and others in India. After 2-3 months of research, I put together a concept for workshop – Leadership, the Army Way. I focused on students of 13 years and above, which is the right age for them to pick up right traits,” said Patil, who hails from Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

His forays into the UAE started in last October with open introductory sessions in Abu Dhabi Indian School, American International School Abu Dhabi, JSS International School Dubai and Indian Social and Cultural Centre Abu Dhabi. “The response was good and parents were very involved.”

The 41-year-old gives children a ‘flavour’ of how important leadership skills are in the army, where stakes are very high.

“I teach them how communication, team work, building trust, integrity, goal-setting and basics help them in school and career. I share field experiences and consequences when communication fails.”
He involves many fun activities and case studies to drive home his points. He also gives children tasks to do as homework. “It’s one or two sessions of two hours a week and are set to span throughout the year. A psychologist will also be part of the 12-session programme,” he said.

He conducts special sessions for parents too. And soon more retired army personnel will join Patil.
He has got a local partner in Define Management Consultancy and Training. Its academic director Sathyan is happy to get such an ‘inspiring and motivating trainer’.



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