This blog is authored by Makarand Patwardhan
Leader as defined (as a noun) is a person who leads or commands a group, organization or country. One more definition is Principal Player in music group, but the definition which attracted my attention most is “A series of Dots or Dashes across the page to guide the eye” as used in Printing business.
I am always attracted towards articles, books, blogs on Leader & leadership. As I am approaching towards end of committed corporate innings, I was thinking about the whole journey since my first job way back in 1981 and the various roles I played in my career. In my opinion, the most important factor is Passion. Passion for learning new things, passion for taking risk, passion for planning etc. which plays important role in shaping one’s aspirational goals. Leadership is more of an attitude than skill. In corporate life or personal life, one may see a person who always wants to lead, irrespective of whether he knows the subject in depth or not. During various outbound trainings, many a times one observes certain persons, immediately opting to lead a smaller group, even before a task is assigned to the group.
Another important aspect to be a leader is to lose your importance, which indirectly reflects a proper knowledge/ know how transfer, in developing new leaders. Therefore capability development in your team for taking over the tasks and there by losing your importance in decision making in an established processes, requires a different mind-set.
Following points come to my mind for describing a leader or leadership
I see leader as a person who defines the path on which an organization will be moving. The leader charts this path after considering the set goal, whether it is in business/ government / home / school or any group of people. For charting the path, the leader considers the value system of the organization and designs the process, which is optimal. In this process, he designs & tests, the mid points, which will measure the progress and these becomes “Dots & Dashes” across the process path, which guides the executioner of the process, to reach the desired end.
Therefore leadership is the ability of a person to have capability of designing the best or optimal design of the business process, which helps in achieving the organizations goal, while remaining within the rule boundaries set by the value system of an organization. There is nicely worded a sentence, which was originally coined for design thinking, but which aptly fits for defining the leadership. The sentence goes like this: “Design is to Design the Design of a Design”
Leadership is more of an art than science. It is more behavioural. Even though one can read the nuances of leadership, unless and until, the person has right behavioural trait, the reading remains to be nice information and does not become knowledge. Information is nothing but filtered data, which helps in improving representation while knowledge is combination of information, experience and intuition, which helps in increasing consciousness. Therefore, leadership has an angle of inner urge to lead, which with experience, culminate in to expression of leadership traits.
Even if person exhibits leadership traits, whether he will be a successful leader or not depends on many other skills like Integrity, passion, communication, delegation, creativity, empathy, networking, accountability etc. Apart from this the organization’s culture and values, will have impact on type of leadership style that need to be exhibited by the person. Gone are the days, where a person used to be associated with an organization for very long period, in current age, the switch of Jobs / Roles, has become order of the day. Hence, person’s flexibility to adapt to leadership style in his new Job /Role is more crucial. Passion & Compassion plays a crucial role. One requires passion to be a leader and requires compassion to be an effective leader.
If you have passion to Lead, and want to become a leader, you should develop or enhance your ability to Deal with Situation/Person. Hence, unless one improves in dealing with situations / persons, howsoever passionate one may be to lead, will not be effective leader. Leadership and Dealership has to go hand in hand.
Makarand Patwardhan is a Senior Professional in Supply Chain with various leadership roles in his career span of 35 years. In his current assignment, he is Senior Vice President – Fragrance Operations & Business Solutions with Keva , largest Indian Fragrance, Flavour and Ingredient company.