Bangalore-based HR professional, Preeyan, talks about leadership, in the regular column, exclusively in Different Truths.
I would like to mention that the column that I present to you today is completely a personal point of view. It is not a rule book or a guide to be a good leader, but a directional message.
To start with, leadership is the main mast of the ship. The main driving force for the entire system to function as a well-oiled machine. A leader is one who guides, drives, motivates, strengthens and orchestrates the team to achieve a goal. One thing that each individual must remember is that each individual is a leader in himself. It is how you demonstrate your capabilities to lead that makes you different and get chosen as a leader of a group.
To be a good leader it is important for you to be a good follower, Learn from your leaders. Learn both good and not-so-good attributes that they have. You should learn to follow their footsteps and ensure the ‘good’ are always good and the ‘not so good’ is made better.
A good leader welcomes the change. Change is important, change is always good. It brings a different perspective, it creates restlessness and creates excitement. A good leader will channel this to turn out positive results and keep away from negative thoughts. It is true that the only way you can deal with negative is by being more positive.
A good leader is always positive and radiates positive energy. Being a good leader will always help motivate and spread positive energy. Building positive energy is all about attitude. Like happiness is said to be a state of mind and anyone can choose to be happy anytime they want, being positive is also a state of mind, it can be channelised to remain positive even in negative situations.
A dynamic leader never gives up. He may accept failure as a measure to try again but never give up trying. There are many times that you may feel that you have had enough, anyone else may never want to give it another try but that leader in you will make you want to try again. Learn to identify that feeling. Nurture this feeling and grow it, it will help you in every aspect.
When you are named a leader, dealing with dynamics of personalities you are working with is the first thing you learn. You will learn about every individual and what they are capable of. When it comes to assessment try not to be judgemental. You may be surprised to see that those who you thought were not capable of something, excel in it and you may regret that judgment.
As a leader you have to be very social, which means you have to mingle with people. There should be no hesitation to talk freely to anyone. Many times we tend to ignore those few who are introverts and don’t talk much and stick to what they are doing. Many friends of mine have been introverts, most of these friends have had a bad past which they want to hide from. I never put them down, I have always encouraged them and made them realise their capabilities. I have made them do things they would never do otherwise. That word of encouragement and that confidence that we give will help change lives of people. Some of them have even grown to a level that some years ago we may not have thought was possible.
A leader is always approachable. A trait most people holding leadership positions lack. Being approachable is a special skill. The only way you can grow that is by making people feel comfortable. Anyone talking to you should feel the comfort and understanding you give them. Once you have become a leader most people start becoming judgemental about you. Never forget that those who saw you as equal in the past are suddenly seeing you as intimidating and over the top. You need to make them realise that there is nothing that has changed the position, it is just that you will now guide them and protect them.
A good leader will be calm and composed. Composure is a very important trait, you will not let any problem or tough positions shake you. This composure comes from all the above traits. With experience, you will learn to become like a shock absorber. However tough the terrain is the passengers (our team members) inside will feel the minimum amount of shake. At the end of the day, the quality of a car is gauged by the comfort it provides to the driver and the passengers. Similarly, the quality of a team is gauged by the way the team members feel about being a part of that team.
Are all this humanly possible? How can I not vent out the frustration when things are not going right? Why should I not give a little bit of what I got from my bosses? Why should I not openly convey my dissatisfaction? Why should I protect anyone who does not care about what happens to me?
These are all questions that I have asked myself many times in the past, and the only realisation I have had is that all these questions are only about me and myself. I have not once thought about the bigger picture. The bigger picture is that I have been chosen to take this position, I have been given a larger responsibility and at the end of the day what good is it going to do to me if I hurt feelings of my own teammates? What difference am I going to get out of ridiculing someone? The answer I got was ‘nothing’. This was self-realisation. It comes out of introspection.
The last thing I would want to mention here is that to be a good leader you have got to learn to think. In the grind of daily routine, we fail to set time aside for us to think. When you start initially you will have thoughts that will drive negative thoughts, my suggestion is, let your mind vent it out, but keep it to yourself, think of positive ways to take out the negative thoughts. Slowly but surely you will start getting the idea. The thoughts that will flow and the effect it will have in your daily life and future will be immense. At the end of the day, there is always a fight between the brain and the heart as to who leads our body. I would say it is our spirit that leads us.
Keep your spirits high, and raise your glass in a toast to your heart and mind. To all Leaders,
Photos from the Internet.
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