Tribute To The Leader Inside Us


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A write up from my inside voice on Leadership. This is published in our National Newsletter (My current employer).

Hope that people find some amount of wisdom in it. :)

Keep Learning, Keep Growing......
Ashutosh Labroo

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Tribute To The Leader Inside Us

  1. 1. Tribute to the leader inside us………………. Leadership is not only my favourite subject, it is my life. I can write enough on it and still feel, I can write more. Well, during my travels across the country, I have met many peopleand even many people have walked up to me with their peculiar queries on people & leadership. They have all asked me so many vast & varied queries. I have tried to answer them to the best of my abilities. However, when the thought of writing this piece came, I also thought of these queries & also the fact that most of these queries were out of a list of FAQ (Frequently/ Repeatedly Asked Questions). I thought since majority of the people ask me these queries, they may also be valid for general public at large since we have many people who manage teams. Therefore, I feel happy to share my learnings & views with the intent to help the leader inside you. I hope by the end of this write up I would have made a difference to your thinking & touched the leader inside you. Leadership is Situational: I have always believed leadership is situational. Every situation determines the quality of leadership you need to or want to demonstrate. Honestly, I have never learnt leadership from books. Though I read a lot, I apply what I choose to apply. I have gone by situations & determined how every situation needs to be treated& how to lead that situation. More often,I have been right & when I have gone wrong, I have learnt & improvised for future. Every situation or challenge you face today or in the past has shaped the leader inside you. Respect that fact. Aggression is very bad: Very typical statement & I have often found this coming to me from my Leadership Development sessions wherefew people stated, they were told again & again that they are too aggressive & they wanted to know how to reduce their aggression. Well first of all, let me define how I look at it. When Aggression is positive & utilized to get things & work done, it is called PASSION. When aggression goes overboard, it can cause collapse & also destroy whatever you have done so far. Negative form of aggression is nothing but RAGE (Blind Anger). Thus the right thing to do is channelize your aggression & convert it into PASSION to excel at work. However, understanding this requires a lot of maturity & a clear perspective. What you need to know is how to channelize your aggression. What we must remember is aggression used right is PASSION& aggression used wrong is RAGE. The former can get you REPUTATION & RESPECT & the latter can FAIL & DESTROY you. You must develop the maturity & wisdom of knowing when to elevate your AGGRESSION &when to completely suppress your aggressionbecause that is what determines your success.It is in short about this fine BALANCE. When used properly aggression can be a powerful tool for communicating your views emphatically. However, when not utilized properly it can break relationships & even cause you pain & misery. How to change people or give feedbacks when they are negative: I am often asked this: how to manage difficult & or negative people who maybe good at work but are either bad listeners & or negative in thinking & or always interpret things told to them wrongly. Well for starters, since I am passionate about developing. It is in my blood & I have enough internal aggression about it . A large part of my life has gone into developing & coaching people & leaders around. However, even in my leadership journey, I do stumble upon people off & on who are drop dead negative. When I meet such people, I usually don’t give up but if I see them choosing “not to
  2. 2. change”, I also choose to detach. Since performance is not the issue with these people, it is their attitude which is the problem. I would rather let them do what they are good at. In leadership coaching these people are called the “I Want To Be Difficult” category. Detaching from these people works best. History proves that such negative people realize sooner than later that their success was not due to talentalone but more due to occasion & opportunity. Once the occasion & opportunity shifts, their negativity will unfortunately fail them& it will happen. That is when life gives them enough lessons that even you couldn’t have taught. So don’t bother about such exceptional cases. Leave them as is. Leaders build consensus – Right!!!!: This is absolutely wrong. In the name of consensus, companies end up hiring people who agree with everything. Always value people, whom you hire, if they can tell you on your face, that they disagree with you. The famous saying: “Between you & me, if we agree on everything, then one of us is not needed” is so true for any corporate setup. Companies while hiring must insist on looking at people for talent & not for finding people with consensus. If that be the case, we can as well hire stenographers & not talent. Leaders create more Leaders &not people who work on consensus. Let the best ideas win. The best idea can come from anywhere & anyone at any level. Infact the biggest mistake of the 19th century leaders was to create only followers. That is also the reason that some of the biggest corporate giants no longer exist today. Developing Successors was considered fatalistic. Everyone paid for a skill called “Yes Sir”. Remember “Hail Hitler”. One of the worst things to do when leading is to find people who behave like you & or follow your trail “blindly”. World class teams & world class organizations thrive on differentiation & the key is hire more people for how different they can think & act & yet remain inspired & attached to a common cause & goal. When you become a leader you stop learning: Think about it, you actually become an HR Head or a Finance Head & or a Sales Head & or a Business head & then stay in those roles then for a lifetime. What changes perhaps can be only the company or scale & size of your role. Eventually we all reach a plateau in life. When we do so, the leader inside us must ensure his/ her quest for learning continues. I like to spend nearly 20% of my “learner time” in reading & also I pay for coaching my own skills to my own reliable mentors very often. I do it because 8 years back when I first became a Head of HR, my learning curve in HR stopped. What rather started was a learning curve in leadership. I realized the importance of coaches &mentors. Today I go & pay for these sessions since I want to know where I can make leader inside me shape better. Always value “honest” criticism from people who tell you what you lack in. You can easily differentiate honest criticism by the intent of the person giving you the feedback. Honest criticism is unbiased & not one sided. People if biased will never give you a feedback on face anyways. They will do so behind your back. You must ignore such people but you must value people who have the courage to give you an honest feedback because their intent will be to make the star in you shine further.
  3. 3. Like the famous saying, it is easy to find people to agree with us, it is difficult to find people who can look at us & tell us as it is……………..Find & value such people because there aren’t many such people in the world today. Why? Simple the world started valuing Consensus more than Right Leadership….. However, Right Leadership will remain the platinum standard in Leadership. Be there since there will always be very little competition there…………..Here’s wishing you a life filled with learning & a desire to lead “RIGHT”…………………. Amen…………………..