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Whether a startup, small/medium enterprise or a corporate/ MNC, Build leaders at all levels within your team, by having a well-defined Leadership Agenda with 4 core aspects, for the following benefits :
- Self-empowered teams with improved productivity
- Magnified, bonus gains & seeds for future growth
- Succession planning for all major roles identified
#1. Define what results are expected of Leadership : Weaving of magic?
Doesn't a magician's job of weaving magic appear vastly simplified after you spot all his hidden props? A Leader, a magician of sorts - identifies strengths and weaknesses, optimizes resources and maximizes opportunities - all of which are already present, and performs a splendid act of success that appears nothing short of magic.
Akin to a Virtuoso’s skill that creates beautiful and unique symphonies by guiding the mere seven notes of music in different tones and metres, Leadership is the giving of direction to the varied talents already present in an organization, in such a way, with such skill, so as to produce first-class results; meeting & exceeding company goals within timelines and budgets.
Leadership is not about having the right environment or having the right team. It is about identifying opportunities, giving direction, empowering and creating a suitable environment for the available talent, with respect to goal achievement. Thus, each team must define leadership in their own words, in the language they understand and spell out its significance, to provide direction and a sense of responsibility to its team members.
Unfortunately, several titled leaders (read: empty titles) assume they've got it right and expect team members to learn on the job by merely fitting into a culture that has actually never understood true leadership to begin with, let alone defining it for the team.
#2. Identify and Communicate: Who is the Leader?
Poor Leadership skills or lack of Leadership itself is one of the most common causes of delayed projects. A good manager with a heavy-weight title enables a good leader - whether senior or subordinate, to lead with their vision, better grip over situations and to bring out the best in other team members, thereby reducing delays, conflict and allowing seamless and successful delivery of results.
The title of Leadership, like a baton ought to be passed around as per the series of tasks in a project, and leadership can be built at all levels, if the role is dynamic in such a manner. Because Leadership is actually a trait, not a real title, hence, Leaders ought to be identified on task/ project basis on merit rather than position.
Sadly, few titled leaders, who claim to know it all, predetermine the course of action, hold discussions with their teams for show and focus on task completion rather than real contribution by all, pinning the limited time factor as a reason for their lack of action. This is not to say that task completion is not important but time is always limited yet there is a substantial difference between leading vs commanding.
#3. Scaling Leadership across the organization: Who's responsible?
Leadership traits are naturally displayed by team members irrespective of designations, albeit in varying degrees when allowed or forced to "think for oneself", when the feeling of responsibility is invoked with empowerment. Self-empowered teams displaying leadership perform at superior levels of productivity, efficiency and are more likely to flawlessly execute planned actions and deliver expected results.
Whether it is building relations with clients, taking a financial or technical decision, working on a new idea or following-up with peers or partners and more, build an environment & formal systems of growth through genuine involvement and 1:1 mentoring on behavioural traits, management and soft-skills (not only limited to target achievement and/or merely conducting appraisals at year end) where team members across levels are groomed to think and act like a Leader in their field of work. In its employees growth lies a company's growth, thus, kick start a virtuous cycle - the multiplier effect of such an initiative will sow the seeds for the next phase of sustainable growth, resulting in collective gains and enterprise-wide bonus outcomes.
Unfortunately, many titled Leaders, having lost passion in their work, leverage their rapport with a few peers and seniors to get things done and dump the job of day-to-day execution on a few juniors - you know the rest of the story, there's no grooming of leaders happening in such cases. Such so-called leaders, when backed by weak or regressive HR, believe that an increased workload and an expanded team alone means empowerment.
#4, Ultimately, Act: Lead without Greed: True Leadership requires working with a conscience, a sincere contribution with a sense of sacred devotion, to experience real passion in work and thereby motivate others.
The position of Leadership is one of Power and Responsibility that could inspire, innovate, transform and accelerate results; a Leaders nuanced actions impact the approach of team members in subtle and unspoken ways, whether good bad or ugly and last a lifetime.
Several titled leaders, who are focused all-year round on their year-end assessment with an eye on the next elevated position within/outside the country rarely do justice to their role; they harbour ill feelings against those who succeed, grab attention and recognition by putting another down and boot lick their bosses to climb up the corporate ladder.
In the working world, we all intuitively know that within an average of three years most managers are promoted, rotate jobs, get transferred or quit thus, the bonus for an organization to build leaders across levels is that critical roles are better insured with higher chances of within team/ internal hiring, which is in most cases preferred over external hiring.
Each team member, irrespective of title or position in the hierarchy, is a Leader – of one's own work, team, partner or vendor. Build the above elements in the Leadership agenda at your organization and let the rewards of clear definition, identification, scaling and empowerment boost results naturally.
Disclaimer: This article has been written with the intention to highlight the intuitive ease with which Leadership roles could be performed in any work setup, with the precedent of sincerity; it explains the difference in perception and thus, different approaches titled-leaders undertake. This is not to say that one bad apple represents all apples.
#leadership #power #responsibility