Leadership from the edge
- Jul 27th 2020
This blog is authored by Sweta
“An organization is a group of people, who work together in collaboration, to achieve a common goal”. During my MBA, this was the line on the first page of my book I think it was the one on Organization Behavior. So this implies that, even with the best machinery or work premise, what matters most in any organization is people, that is, employees. Now what would these employees do? They are expected to help the organization achieve the vision or mission, that larger purpose for which the organization came into being. But how does that happen? Humans are the most complex mammals and cannot be herded in a direction. Here comes our ‘Superheros’ our ‘Leaders’. It is the leaders who are to understand, supposedly, the purpose and mission of an organization, communicate that to the employees; I say ‘communicate’, not tell the employees, as it is witnessed in most cases; and lead them towards that common goal or vision, of course, not push them. It can therefore, be stated and rightly so, that while good leaders can take organizations to great heights, the bad ones can make the whole organization run screaming for the hills.
So what then makes a good leader? Having worked for almost 19 years now, across organizations and institutes in varied industries, I have gained ample insight to differentiate between a manager and a leader. While ‘Google’ will be happy to do this, I am viewing it from my experiences over all these years. I strongly believe that from an employee perspective, it is the leader who shapes the career and beliefs; the organization or brand comes later and sometimes may become irrelevant.
First some consider themselves as great leaders, not their fault, they just happened to land up in those eminent chairs within organizations. I still wonder how, but there they are, holding management books, garnishing their conversations with few words or lines they just picked up at a conference. During the launch of my training initiative in an organization I worked with, a member of the senior leadership team, who was invited to open the session, said,” training does no good at all, it hasn’t done any to me”… needless to say I regret having invited him, They are insecure, hesitant to delegate, refrain from letting subordinates come forward or interact with cross functions, the ones who will take credit for the work that their subordinates do. They hide where they have to confront and confront where they should empathize.
And then there are those who make a mark wherever they go, they are role models. While patience is a skill, they have the quality of calmness, they are anchored and steady. Insecurity and impossible are words gone missing from their professional realm. They challenge processes, egg you on to learn, discover, move out of your comfort zone. Their views are…does this excite you? Should you want to know more, read these books, you can also block my calendar and I will share what I know on this. They emanate rigor and drive that evolves the employees’ self-belief. They are wise, they inspire others to unearth their potential. They are the leaders who people willingly follow, sometimes out of the organization. They don’t give solutions, they equip people to find it. They never fish for others, they teach how to fish. They walk the talk and motivate. They demonstrate immense trust and focus on building capabilities. Their degree of integrity and ethics is awe-inspiring.
Working with a leader can change lives, give vision, raise self-esteem, and lead to an evolved self-image. Amid garbed leaders, was fortunate to work with a real one. Wondering how I can I say that? Well, when I joined, right from the security and drivers of the company to the division and function heads, everyone said one thing unanimously…”You are working with a fantastic leader”. Three months in the system and I could bet that; any mail or query that was received relating to my vertical, the mailer or person would be directed to me, be it from within the organization or outside…there was complete transparency; and I was experiencing it for the first time. It’s the key to building trust within the team, isn’t it? I mean can we work in an environment that’s void of trust?
Knowledge often gives birth to arrogance, but wisdom always breeds humility and that for me is the mark of a good leader.
Rajat is a Master Certified Coach (MCC) with over 18 years of industry experience and over 2500 hours of coaching experience, helping people and organizations attain maximum effectiveness. His background includes working with CXOs, senior managers, managers and board of directors of small private companies to multi-billion dollar publicly traded organizations.