Thursday, September 4, 2008

Is there anything left to discuss about Leadership?

The answer seems an emphatic, YES, because we get to read so many articles on leadership and agree that they are the best that has ever been written. Out the blue, YOU become a leader one-day and realize that the thousand books you had read make no sense! You also realize the significant difference between ‘reading’ & ‘being’ a leader – the former is easier to do.

You have toiled about a decade long to realize one day that you suddenly are a ‘LEADER’ & things seem very different. Someone in the senior management team took notice & made you the head of the Business Unit. Now what? It's simple to understand – ‘The buck stops at YOU!’ More than thousand people can testify that they underwent hell when they came to this point – few succeeded, some survived and many others perished. Why did this happen? Did the management related books you read not talk about this situation?

Leadership requires different mettle and personal attributes that help them succeed. It needs a leadership mind. Check-list of successful leadership involves:-

1. Leaders TRUST their teams. They do not micro manage, but do get involved in the projects. That’s a very thin line!

2. Leaders stand at the frontline in organizations. They strategize in the boardrooms, discuss it at the cafeteria, and brainstorm on the shop-floor; basically they get folks involved in their ideas & vision

3. Leaders do not hesitate to roll-up their sleeves and get the work done. Even if it means making that cold-call to a customer, helping the marketing team with their collaterals, taking a dozen interviews to help the recruitment team close a critical position. They lead by example; not by barking orders!

4. An ideal day in a Leader’s life has 48 hours! They work relentlessly towards achieving their targets, they seem pushy, cold, straight forward, ruthless, taskmasters, whatever, if they aren’t you need to worry. Your next pay check/hike might just be dependent on bagging that marquee customer. The sooner you understand & implement this leadership trait the faster you will succeed

5. Leaders take tough calls. They have the guts to take decisions that you may never be able to make, like asking that under-performer who was given numerous chances to either to ramp-up or leave. Saying a confident ‘NO’ to a customer whose demands were unreasonable

6. They are frank, out-spoken and transparent in their work, yet at the same time able to recognize and reward good work. All this gets done at the frontline, while at the same time they are hovering at 30,000 feet to see the big-picture

7. Leaders enjoy their role, like a fish takes to water! They have a good time, enjoy time out in the sun and most importantly celebrate wins!

Let me know your thoughts.

Next up? How much time do you need to become a leader?

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