How often do we pause and ponder about industry issues that have a bearing beyond just our rigmaroles? Share insights that can further the common understanding? Or, at the very least, point at things that need to be set right. View Point - an exchange4media platform, will fill this void and become a source of understanding, action and perhaps some inspiration.
Be a leader, others will follow you as an evangelist
Prof. Sushil Bahl, Consultant, International School of Business and Media, Pune
“To me business isn’t wearing suits or pleasing stockholders. It’s about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials.”
– Richard Branson, Chairman, Virgin Airlines, in a recent ad for Samsonite luggage released in India.
Leadership in organizations is a quality that more and more corporate managers try to imbibe, and practise in order to understand and improve their ability to lead people and their organization to better performance levels. The way they deal with and motivate people in the organization is the only lever they have for creating an enduring competitive advantage. Leadership is the manager’s guide to empower change and for achieving all-round standards of excellence.
Most organizations have a leadership deficit because they ignore leadership potential and don’t offer training or relevant role models. Today, we need more leaders who can help groups come up with visions that are not just self-serving but visions which serve the entire organization.
Historically, great leaders are self-confident people who have extraordinary capacity to make decisions when others crumble. One of the foremost management institutes in the world, INSEAD in France, has developed a Global Leadership Centre, which outlines a unique set of qualities in an effective and successful leader whom others will follow in an organization and in the world outside. In the philosophy they teach, strategic leaders need to have cat-eyes for opportunity, a command presence, and be ever ready to pounce on innovation that produces growth, through execution of priorities as well as moral decisions and courageous actions to strengthen their and their organization’s position in the market place. Some of these qualities which are extremely important for young managers of today are:
1. Chalk out your personal and professional priorities and commit to an action plan for achieving success. As a leader this means identifying your unique challenges and at the same time understanding your effective and limiting behaviours. Personal example is a powerful method of influence that can affect behaviour and facilitate change.
You need to learn to organize yourself to build networks, trust, and obtain a critical “buy-in” action plan that is constantly assessed and followed up for results. You need to adopt a “best practice” approach to managing in the organization and thereby managing change. Today we need heroes at every level. More people need to step up and provide change leadership.
2. Develop skills to lead high-performing individuals and teams by enhancing your inter-personal relations, coaching, and mentoring and leadership qualities. In other words, leading from the front. Planning for success, with the ability to direct team strategy, facilitate various points of views with ease, and by learning to proactively and successfully resolving conflict and capitalizing on opportunities. People need more positive examples of what works.
3. The role of a manager is to turn a person’s talent into performance. If you hire great talent and let them run, they will be productive because that’s what talented people do. The manager leader’s role is to speed up the reaction between the talent of a person and the goals of the company. Add credibility to your actions and your advisory role as a manager-leader. Be an evangelist, others will follow you. This can be done when you become a critical resource to your management and peers. They seek your advice, and you advise them strategically and with clarity.
You need to constantly refine your skills backed with information and knowledge of human behaviour and organizational change. Adopt a new clinical approach, learn from a cross-section of professionals from various cultures and industries around you that will help you create a healthy organization. You need to be a catalyst for all round performance.
4. Transform your view of your own self and your organization’s by reviewing your professional and personal style. Chart out your leadership journey using concepts in psychology, psychoanalysis and psychiatry to gain insights into your personal and professional life when dealing with people inside and outside the organization. Discover the power of personal authenticity, explore the relations between personality, leadership style, organization culture, structure and strategy. As a leader, you need to innate optimism, a belief that things could get better, and the ego to believe that you can make the future come true. Many leaders struggle, not because their egos are too big, but because their ethics are too small. The best leaders have a driving need to be at the helm and move people into the future.
Create a personal brand that influences how people perceive you -- different from others, and one who builds strong relationships with people. Lead with your presence (command presence as it is called). Leadership is about rallying people to a better future. Develop internal talent. Animate and engage people. As the adage goes, “Leadership is being (spirit). Leadership is being there. Leadership is being all there.”
5. Reflect upon and explore the leader within you. That is learning from emerging thinkers in management philosophies and actioning greater consciousness of “what’s new” and “in” -- linking creative vision with action. Follow your core convictions – even in small matters -- to create and achieve long-lasting leadership as a visionary person and a visionary organization. Be productive in building knowledge and competence.
6. Today, and more so in the future, learning to develop “international” management skills in professional, private and social management is vital for good manager leaders. Gain awareness of systems that impact leadership approaches globally. Reflect on your responsibilities and re-vision your priorities and action to global levels. Increase your capacity to manage complexities of leadership in multiple cultures and generations, a competitive marketplace and in the shrinking global world (village) where concepts like “globizen” and “globatude” are buzzwords today.
7. Be aware and knowledgeable of local and international governance concepts and skills. Meet with governance leaders. Gain insights and align your self and your organization on methods, composition and direction in good corporate governance and the latest thinking on critical issues facing the organization at different levels, today, and in the future. This will make a big difference to your organization, and if integrated into your actions, will reap you rich rewards.
In life, change is inevitable. In business, change is vital. Leadership is about making change happen – sometimes making the impossible happen. Leadership excellence redefines how businesses are conducted, how people are motivated, and how success is achieved. From how it’s always been done, to new standards of excellence by shedding the inertia and inbred adherence of doing it the usual way.
Many manager leaders start on this path, but a few finish well as change leaders! You need to learn this fast, add a touch of showmanship to it, and enjoy the journey to your success.