Art of Leadership

Anil Deep Mehta
One of the finest aspects of leadership is to lead by example and setting higher standards for the organisation one belongs to. Unfortunately in present day scenario leadership is held as one which can force the maximum from the ground functionaries, by hook or by crook. This brand of leadership breeds a new generation of slipshod and shortcuts compromising with ethics and quality and thereby weakening the fundaments of the very institute. For a strong building there needs to be strong base. Similarly leadership is not created but assumed by the solid character exhibition and a strong work ethics build thereupon. But for that the one at helm needs to know the nitty-gritty of all ground tactics and only then a well planned work model can be build on that foundation. An old saying fits that belief, “one who does not know how to blow a flute cannot lead a band”.
One cannot choose to be a leader but leadership is acknowledged of those who by dint of years of good work and work culture rises to become one. The leadership does not entail coaxing and forcing the employees working under you to pursue results and goals without giving them a competitive road map or right direction to move on. So many times employees are found groping on the wrong path and after waste of lot of time, energy and money get to come somewhat on course, which not only causes waste of even best of resources but also percolates lack of confidence and increase in frustration levels. As against that if the same resource is put to a well directed path or direction it will bring the desired results with less expensed energy and time and will also boost the morale and confidence of the resource. I have come across many employees who have been burdened with the tasks and targets but have been at sea in handling and executing them leaving them to copy the cheap work version either through the net or from the peers working under the same environment. This scuttles the innovation and slowly compels the resource to get accustomed to the dogmatism and seeking shortcuts. This has been the case in most of the institutions especially in public sector undertaking and/ or in organisations and companies having a nominal market share and at plateau so far as growth is concerned within few years of their working.
But the leadership which believes its workforce and gives them an initial direction/roadmap and then encourages them to innovate over it the results are always different and in the business growth chart whenever there is flattening of the curve new innovations/ changes and thoughts are infused and the desired rise in growth curve is maintained. There are two important facets of a workable leadership, one it takes due care of its resources in all aspects and makes them happy which encourages them to walk extra miles for the organisation. Celebrating birthdays, asking welfare of their families and dear ones takes no extra expenses or effort but go a long way for the employee in believing that organisation thinks about him/ her and allows him to utilise his full energies to the job assigned to him/ her. Secondly organisation must sit often with the resource and get the feed back and ground realities which enables the organisation to learn and change according to circumstances and rework on its strategies and market plans. This has added the value to the organisations and seen them making exponential rises in market share and net worth. N R Narayana Murthy, the founder of Infosys and now the Chairman Emeritus, has acknowledged pursuing the route of feed back, as one of the various methods of strategy, which according to him has helped enormously in the growth of Infosys.
These processes of employee-employer relationship and continuous engagement creates a healthy work environment, where there are no inhibitions but free discussions and accommodation of evolving thoughts. This not only creates a valued and efficient work force but also creates future leaders for the organisation. It is seen that increased happiness level of employees / work force has seen less attrition / dumping in the organisations. The combined efforts creates value for the company/ organisation and also value/ handsome return on money of its investors and stake holders. Only change of leadership has seen overturning of so many under-performing or sick organisations with the same set of employees and work force.
Leadership is a sum up of the following characteristics:
* Ethical and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
* A vision of commitment to the organisation
* Assess the gap between the top management and employees in less time
* Excellent communication
* Ability to listen and debate
* Teamwork
* Delegation
* Management not the same as leadership
* Leadership though require management
* Be a leader not a micro-manager
* Talent Management
* Change Management
* Forward thinking
* Honesty and integrity
* A problem solver
* Focused
* Confidence without arrogance
* Learn and Evolve.
Though I do not claim to be in league of leadership yet as per my personal experience in my own organisation is to speak about the performance level of the staff rises 150 percent only by being interactive and keeping them in good humour and happy. Taking all along is imperative for the leadership as it is said that speed of the fleet is reckoned by the speed of last ship and not by first one.
(The author is former General Manager J&K Bank.)