Growth is great for everybody. How does it take place? As the adage goes, “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance”. Every leader has certain habits; what a leader does every day and doesn’t do as a matter of habit determines the contours of the path the unit traverses.
Each one of us has our likes and dislikes, beliefs and styles. For example, some of us are organised and methodical while carrying out a task, dealing with a challenge, or seizing an opportunity; some others would like to jump in and figure it out along the way. Every situation is unique, yet there are a few dimensions which define it. Normally these dimensions relate to driving changes, innovating new products, services or practices, getting things done, resolving conflicts, making choices, building a vision or navigating blind curves.
Our proclivities such as dealing with people and relationships, dealing with tasks and challenges, and our leaning towards life situations such as ambiguities, variances, surprises, status quo, stability, openness to change, values and principles determine our behaviours and responses. Leaders have to be aware of their leanings and biases; at the same time, they need to know the same for their direct reports. Accordingly, they must deploy energies of their own and the members to deliver the best outcome.
The good leader
All of us know that a great leader has several characteristics and behaviours that help him or her transform businesses and teams to deliver consistent results over time. It is not easy for everyone to move to the status of a great leader, an icon and an inspiration. Let’s talk about the behaviours that set the ground well so that great results can be aimed at.
Businesses face challenges and come across opportunities. Most often, they are not fully primed to seize an opportunity or face a storm. Leaders have to institute practices that keep their organisation nimble and agile so that they can adapt faster than their peers. Their structure and practices have to be such that they can implement changes fast. Systems could take time to come to life, however, they can change their processes to suit the new reality. Agility of the leader and his or her direct reports plays a significant role as we live in highly unpredictable times.
Every business has multiple stakeholders, right from customers and suppliers to employees, business partners, government and society. While all leaders have their preferences and strengths to perform significantly better on one dimension over another, a business leader has to create an impact on all dimensions. He or she has to be visible to all the stakeholders and engage with them either directly or indirectly. The stakeholders must experience that they are being heard and contributing meaningfully. They must have roughly the same idea of where the company is headed and how they are playing a role in the overall scheme of things.
Many leaders understand and appreciate the fact that employees must be empowered adequately, and recognised at the right time for the appropriate behaviours and results. However, they sometimes get on a trip of being super-critical of everything around them to drive their teams to deliver more. They push the limits and raise the bar, however, this could be counter-productive because the employees could lose confidence, feel unrecognised and seek greener pastures elsewhere. Engaged employees with high morale can do wonders for an organisation.