A day – I am too much perturbed seeing the way things are conducted or executed or communicated. I myself am at a loss to pinpoint where I made my mistakes. Did I ever try to live on some imaginary laurels that I presume that people showered on me?? At least I don’t think I ever tried to live on such laurels – many of which I don’t even take seriously. Anyhow have to live it out…for good or for bad…whatever.
I decided to put down whatever I perceive is the right path…if it ever help any one person even to say “Oh, it really helped”…I would be a satisfied person.
I remember I read somewhere in my teenage “some people are born great; some achieve greatness; some have greatness thrust upon them”. I don’t know why at the beginning it self this phrase came to my mind…may be it may have some relevance as I scribble through the end.
A leader is the one who is self-made; not born. One who have the desire and willpower or commitment, can only become an effective leader. Such leaders develop themselves through a never-ending process of self-study, self-education, and experience.
To inspire your junior colleagues and workers into better teamwork, there are certain things you must know and do. These do not come naturally, but need to be acquired through constant work and study. Good team-leaders always improve their leadership skills by studying contemporary happenings in their respective fields; leaders just cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
At the end of the day it is, generally, a common goal, which is required to be achieved through a group of people. You may call them employees, colleagues, workers, family members or whatever. But they need to be educated, inspired, motivated and guided to achieve this common goal, which happens to be the prime duty of a leader.
Please be mindful that one can’t ever call him/herself a leader by force. Leadership is, in addition to other qualities, all about explaining, coaxing, cajoling, shouting and still bringing a consensus in the approach. When all of the above fail, comes punishment.
As the responsible head, you must know your job and should have good familiarity with the tasks entrusted with the employees. When your sub-ordinates approach with a problem, you are duty-bound to solve it by your own means or means you take from others. Many a times it may seem silly problem to you; but you should understand that as long as it is beyond his understanding and solving capacities he would not have come to you at all – unless, of course, he is an idiot. If he is one, then the problem again lies at your doorstep because you failed to understand the real individual and deal with him suitably in time.
Leaders should realise that lieutenants are to be handled delicately; so are colleagues as well as customers. In industries that are generally categorized under un-organised sector ‘HANDLING’ of issues related to anything and everything is done with absolute care.
Also, a point to be noted is that it is not the leader himself or his bosses who determines if he – “the leader” – is successful. To be successful one has to convince your lower order that your ideas and suggestions are worthy of being taken up and they themselves are in the hands of an able leader. I don’t need to emphasize again and again that the leader’s success primarily lies in the hands of his lieutenants.
Before one takes judgmental position, for God sake, peep into one’s self whether or not he / she is fit enough to make a judgment. More over, before even we talk about punishment, throwing away, kicking out etc…think. Did you ever tried to guide or mould the individual? If the answer is a ‘NO’ then one doesn’t have the right to punish either.
When things go wrong – that can happen at times – stop blaming others immediately. Try to understand the subject in its entirety before even thinking loudly. Try and analyse the mistake, and keep moving to your next activity. I see – many times – dissecting, passing the buck, trying to find out who is the culprit etc. etc. But the head has to realise that – at the end of the day – the buck stops at his table.
If the leader has to stay put as the leader with wider acceptance he should have at least (i) timely decision making habits, (ii) timely problem solving techniques, and (iii) above all good planning skills.
Just hearing does not help; one needs to see also to learn things. So, you will have to set some examples at least for the rest to follow. Also, one has to know the people under him thoroughly i.e. attitudes, capacities, and their motivation levels etc., without which the leader will remain a leader on paper only. More importantly, ensure that your colleagues understood what you want and also make sure that they have everything that is needed to accomplish what you want.
Remember one thing, ‘Without trusted lieutenants a leader can be only a leader in paper’ so giving a pat on the back once in a while to someone who has done above average expectation won’t harm your prospects.
Needless to say, as a leader it is your prime duty to make process improvements that eventually helps you in maintaining quality, increasing production etc.
There is a very old saying, which is truly apt for any leader –
“When the going gets tough; the tough gets going”…. I don’t remember whose words it is, but I do know one thing that there is no other motivational caption to a real leader which is comparable…
Madhu K. Nair [5th December…8th December 2008]