Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Good Leader...

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people...
Gandhi (yes our very own Bapu) was on to something when he quipped -
This point is brought home time and again in the work place, where we have to get people to believe in us, trust us, respect us...I guess my job would be a whole lot more difficult if I had to convince Engineering of every feature decision I made without them questioning my every decisions and trusting that I am making the right decision based on business and market indicators...or Sales questioned every licensing/pricing model that I put point being that to be effective - You need to be a team player...but beyond that you need to be a person who has some or most of the qualities discussed below-
(A) Passion - Whatever we undertake, we need to feel passion for that that a product, a service...we need to believe to make an impact
(B) Be Principled - I think values are built on the fundamental principle - that you respect your team's ability and grow it as you grow...the whole is greater than the sum of the parts...and is black or white...we have a built in ethical system which will guide us through this sense of right or true to your conscience and you are probably ok
(C) Vision and yet the understanding that there is more to learn - In this ever evolving world of constant change what was true today won't hold water tomorrow...what is key is going beyond the fads and understanding what the market really wants (it might be something stupid simple...but sometime the simplest solutions are the killer ones)
(D) Confidence and Decision Making - It's not all about planning, its about planning, strategizing and executing...and it is about having confidence in your decisions and seeing them through
(E) Humility tinged with Humor - Laugh at yourself...sometimes admitting that you are not always right and being humble and open to criticisms and ideas makes you a better leader...Arrogance usually leads to over confidence which leads us back to the "Peter Principle" of getting obnoxious, people not wanting to work with us and incompetence (a vicious cycle)
(F) Communication - It's not about how great a communicator you are...think of Mahatma wasn't how he communicated but the message that resonated...if you can get your team to believe, stand behind and support your cause...whether a product or a service or a start up are a great communicator...
I absolutely love what Peter Drucker said in an HBR (what makes an effective executive) that I had read eons back, but which stayed with me - The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say "I." And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say "I." They don't think "I." They think "we"; they think "team." They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but "we" gets the credit. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done
Do share your views on - What being a good leader means?

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