All entries for Wednesday 10 February 2016

February 10, 2016


A variety of definitions can be found on leadership, but the gist of it is that leadership is the process of influencing the thoughts and activities of followers towards achieving a shared goal. Leadership is a function of the leader, group mates and the situation.

Today's lesson enlightened me that the way one communicates makes a difference. Choice of words and questions can be geared to generate thinking. Questions such as "are you happy with this state you are in?" and "how can I support you to reach your goals?" are pleasant on the ears rather than being instructive. Such phrases gets the job done without the need to push the employees and sets them thinking.

Always start with a positive feedback first followed by the negative as people do not like to be criticised. Today's lesson certainly has enlightened me more about leading however, I believe being a leader also requires great soft skills too. The art of knowing how to handle people and make them feel important and appreciated is definitely a boon.

However, leading people combined with running a firm is a much more complex issue. People leave because they are unhappy with the firm, or they want to climb the corporate ladder or get paid more. In many instances, managers have been known to incite unhappiness via propaganda and may then replicate a similar business of their own, using the existing staff. I have seen many firms crumble due to this effect, resulting in a brain drain in the firm. The question is how can this be prevented and to what extent is it effective?

Everyone has a certain standard of a leader but I believe hiring the right people is also vital. We all know how this can go terribly wrong in the case of apple's ex ceo, Steve Jobs, who was fired by his own firm after hiring John Sulley. Furthermore, I believe the job of a leader does not only lie in leading people but also, the leader as well as the followers have to have the same integrity as well as ethics. Many scandals such as libor scandals as well as tax evasion occurs time and time again due to people lacking in morals and ethics.

However, hiring people who have integrity and ethics on day 1 does not mean that these values will stay the same forever. The problem herein lies in the fact that people change and no one stays constant.

While some may argue that the solution to this will be to make sure employees are replaceable, thus keeping them on their feet. Yet, such a solution may be detrimental to the firm as employees do not feel loyal to the firm and thus productivity is not maximised.

This is my conundrum that I have yet to solve.

To lead, one must follow

In today's world, with the advancement of technology and information readily available at your fingertips, the world has evolved into a fast-paced society. With governments solely focussed on economic growth and policies catered to allow an influx of FDIs into a country, it is to no surprise, that many firms are solely focussed on profits and results. Many a times, firms have been too blinded by the tasks, that they have neglected their most important resource, people. While, the easiest way for a leader will be to instruct his employees to carry out a certain task however, such a method employed is not an efficient one.

It is important to focus on the tasks, however, a leader must also pay attention to the individuals in the firm. A leader must learn to listen to his employees, find out what makes them tick, inspire, motivate and empower them towards a common goal. A leader must not be interested in having their own way but in finding the best way.

Leadership is a people business and helping people to grow. A leader understands that as the people grow, it helps the organisation to grow thereby creating a stronger organisation. Leadership is not about positional power but personal power.

February 2016

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