Leadership always counts

Leadership always counts

One might be blessed being born a leader, for others it is sweat and inspiration with a slice of, what one might call luck.

A leader is powerful and with fortunes of many of his people in his control never loses that vital aspect of dealing with human beings - treating people like individuals.

Even an unpleasant task, like reprimanding a person, could be done with grace and without bitterness, if the ultimate aim is to change that delinquent into a better person.

Just like a ship which cannot proceed without a competent captain, so too is the case of an organisation which can muddle along facing roadblocks and floundering often without the guidance of a leader.

No wonder then the headhunters are busy in fixing the right man for the right (top) job promising that person the moon.   A leader has some or all of the characters to be discussed in following paragraphs:

Patience personified

The leader is a person who oozes goodwill and bon homie, and not one with furrowed brows and a stiff upper lip telling people that they are not welcome. A pleasant person has already won the battle of his people’s minds. He has time for his people, barring exceptions where he is handling a crisis or attending to matters of utmost importance. No one under his control needs to take a formal appointment with him. He preaches and practises an “open door” management. Under such a set up the people build a rapport with the boss who is seen as a human being understanding their needs well.

Openness

The workplace is not a prison where the people working have no voice. The boss, by his behaviour, will set the tone for inter-personal relations. He hears more and talks less. All ideas and suggestions from his people are given due consideration. Any idea, which is sound, will be accepted with thanks to the concerned person. On the other hand, more importantly, ideas, which are not accepted, will be discussed with those who have given such suggestions to explain the rationale behind their non-acceptance. Any rebuff by the boss is taken as a personal insult and the affected person will withdraw into a shell.

Dissent by a subordinate is not only tolerated but also encouraged so that ideas can go back and forth for a better one to emerge. This contrasts sharply with a workplace environment where the boss acts like a dictator snubbing all dissenters to silence.

Responsibility

Sharing responsibility with others is anathema to some leaders who want to hog the limelight. Moreover, they are afraid that a junior may replace him / her one day if that person grows from strength to strength. Therefore, he takes care to put that upcoming junior in his / her place and show him / her in poor light. People accept responsibility, and in a few cases, demand it too, given the right motivation and environment.

Recognition

Human beings crave for attention, whether it is home, sports field, art or business. It is not always possible to reward an achiever by monetary incentives or to promote him / her. All that person wants is recognition by the superior, and his / her colleagues, that he / she is a valuable member of the team contributing his / her best. This can be a mere handshake, a certificate of appreciation, a small gift / memento or just a pat on the back.
While a manager is quick to reprimand his / her subordinate for anything that goes wrong, he / she is stingy with praises. Praising an employee in front of others is a tremendous ego booster.

Human development

With the installation of Human Resource Development (HRD) departments in organisations, more attention is being paid towards employee development. Investment in HRD has improved the training / retraining of employees, motivation and development of multi-skills.

Development of leadership qualities too is given attention in order to recognise a talented person who could provide the much-needed leadership to a group of people. A leader is always on the look out for any one who has the potential to blossom into a leader of men. Thus, no effort is spared to give the much-needed impetus for leadership development, which is seen as an opportunity for better performance and not as a threat to one’s own position.

It is clear in these days of liberalisation / globalisation, a leader who can make that vital difference to the organisation’s future is in great demand. The faith reposed in a leader is not misplaced as he / she provides the engine of power to the organisation to excel itself. He / she is sharply focussed on the needs of his / her customers without whom the organisation has no locus standi.

By his / her persuasive manners, he / she wants to take the entire team with him / her because he / she knows the importance of all-round cooperation and teamwork.

(D B N Murthy is Independent Consultant in Quality & Management in Bangalore. He can be reached at dbnvimi@gmail.com)

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