The success of any organisation depends on the fine balance between strategy and execution. The real job of a leader is not only to draft a strategy, but also to implement the plan with complete focus. Relentless focus on the goals is a key factor in determining the success of the organisation, which is a boat whose direction is set by the caption and will move ahead only if all the team members now in unison. Whether the boat surges ahead or sinks sans a trace depends on the kind of leader you are! Are you the leader you think you are, asks Shanti Thakur, Associate Partner of Sapphire Human Solutions?
In a free-wheeling chat with The News Hour India Editor, Jayashankar Menon, the human resource expert shares lot of insight about how to become a leader. Being part of India’s most agile retained executive search firm, Thakur brings in a multi-disciplinary approach to solving leadership challenges and enabling people and organisations. Thakur is a B.Tech. Graduate in Computer Science (University topper and gold medallist) and she has done her MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies in New Delhi. With a solid 17 years of cross-functional experience in diverse industries, she has handled various roles in marketing, product management, branding and business development. She has also run her own management consulting firm for six years before joining the Executive Search industry. Excerpts:
TNHI: Can you elaborate on the leadership qualities?
ST: It takes more than a mere hand holding or delegating a task, to inspire a colleague to work harder or a group of people to push further towards a common goal. It takes a leader. The corporate world has always been intrigued by our ability to BECOME a leader. Is leadership a skill that you can learn and develop or is it a talent or ability you are born with? It looks like the answer lies somewhere in between. History and Politics abound with charismatic leaders who have been able to change the course of mankind. We also hear about leaders who have led from the ground up and been able to bring huge impact in our lives. In today’s world, when change happens in nanoseconds, the qualities that a leader should possess have also changed to a large extent. The fast moving and well connected world has its own set of challenges; making the challenges for leaders greater, hence the need for such potential leaders has also increased. Every organisation seeks certain qualities in people for their leadership roles that can ensure the success and growth of the organisation. Some integral qualities that these leaders possess are out in the open but very few can emulate them.
TNHI: What are the things a leader has to keep in mind in order to achieve success?
ST: Openness to Experiment, Pushing the Boundaries and Focus are the key areas. The following are the details:
- Openness to Experiment – The changing era of globalisation and technological advancements has compelled the leader to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation at work, in a bid to find new ways to benefit the customer, shareholders and society. Though it sounds risky at times to not follow the proven ways of success but the actual benefit lies in trying to do things differently and finding that right balance between creativity and efficiency. It opens newer doors for growth. In a corporate environment, openness to experiment is a powerful predictor of leadership.
- Push their boundaries – The major difference between a Manager and a Leader is that people follow leaders and people work for managers. Instead of giving orders, a leader takes the initiative, and demonstrates to his followers. They push their boundaries and inspire people to do the same. There is an old saying that ‘actions speak louder than words’. Companies seek leaders who take charge of the situation and rise up to newer challenges.
- Focus – The success of any organisation depends on the fine balance between strategy and execution. The real job of a leader is not only to draft a strategy, but also to implement the plan with complete focus. . Relentless focus on the goals is a key factor in determining the success of the organisation.
The organisation is a boat whose direction is set by the Captain and will move ahead only if all the team members row in unison. Whether the boat surges ahead or sinks without a trace depends on the kind of leader you are! Are you the leader you think you are?