How do you define a good leader
This post belongs to Support Driven Fall Writing Challenge 2018 — Prompt 1
For the SD Fall writing challenge, I will pick my fav topic ‘How do you define a good leader’. What is the potential required to distinguish people to become the leaders, the innovators?
I came across this question many a times being in executive meetings or while hiring people for managerial positions. Even the new hires ask this question to ensure if they know what they are applying for.
Is it really that tough? Is everyone good with People wrangler’s role? All have their own verdicts.
Let us re-iterate what is more important to be a leader — A good leader!
When we say a leader, it denotes a principal Leading a team. This team could be of 3 members or 30 members or even 300 members. Every leader needs a few mandatory skills to drive his/her team.
During my initial career days, I worked in IC role (Individual Contributor) and I always looked forward to my leader who is good at:
Communicating with the team… Managing the team in a way that we know his vision… Supporting the team always… Motivating the team.. Sharing knowledge with the team… Trusting the team.. Appreciating the team. All these expectations were real, and every blog speaks the same. But when people start with it and come across the real scenarios or the challenges, they get confuse with (or kind of fear):
· How to motivate people, shall I start doing their job?
· How to communicate with them frankly, they are junior to me? Am I allowed to share all my thoughts with them?
· How to trust them, if something went wrong, why shall I be held responsible?
· How to make my vision clear, will they even understand it?
· Why should I share my knowledge, they will take my position?
· How can I learn from them, will it not raise a question on my capabilities?
Do you resonate with these thoughts? Have you ever come across these thoughts? Yes? No worries, that’s common. But having these thoughts will only allow you to lead a group somehow, it won’t let you become the one whom your team want to follow and look upon!
Everyone wants a good leader to lead them, who demonstrates and make them understand the things, who cares for them, who learns with them as well as from them, who can actually do something extra in a unique way, who leads them with excellence, who holds their hands and tells them to move ahead, who stays at top to handle tough situations, who facilitates the required skills/help to excel, who listens to their problems and solves them, who delegates the things and trust team members. And with it, who makes his/her team authoritative as well as accountable for all what they do.
All this can only be possible when you know your vision, when you develop your own skills, when you never stop, when you always consider you as a learner, when you yourself are a follower. When you are up to upgrade with new techniques, accept the new challenges, lead with an example, and never allow your passion to end up at any stage. Remember the best teachers are life long students!
Always follow the approach “Ask-Ask-Ask”, being a leader or a team member or a CEO. Till the time we maintain our curiosity to know the things by asking WHY, we have much better thought process and approach towards work.
Know no bounds
Don’t restrict yourselves to explore different areas of your work. There shall be no boundaries to define your functions, despite the department you work for. Every problem is your own problem if that’s an obstacle in your (or organization) vision.
We always train our team members to empathize with our clients. And same goes for our internal team. We are customers too!
Train your dragons
The first step here is, to hire your Dragons. With right set of people, with right attitude and right approach towards work, you build a strong team. Second step is to train your dragons to achieve next level. There isn’t a one size fits all solution. Hence, identify the strengths/weaknesses of team members and coach them accordingly.
Welcome the change
In every organization, changes are expected to happen because of change in strategies or re-structuring or maybe targets. As a leader, always be prepared for change to happen. However, share these changes and the vision behind it with the team. Leaders are responsible for taking care of process as well as people.
Be prepared to make tough decisions
You might come across situations where you’ll need to take a tough call. It could be hiring, firing, retaining, or allocating resources. Analyze all the decisions, pen them down, decide on pros n cons, and then take a call.
Appreciating and rewarding always boost up team confidence and privilege them to do more! Rewarding a team really overwhelm the team and who doesn’t feel good after it? The help given to the team at various steps is also a part of showing appreciation and gaining their trust.
My fav quote is “When you focus on what you DO instead of what you ARE, like becomes much more interesting!”. (this phrase says a lot)
Focus on your vision and share your vision with your team. When you’re clear on your goals and have a clearer vision of what you’re trying to achieve, your team will stand by you. And this makes you a good leader!