20 Jun 2016 20:32 IST

Be the best leader you can

There are moments which you, as a leader, can seize and shine. Read on to know which ones

Leaders remain relevant when they continue to give their best. Such a commitment generates the momentum necessary to push organisations forward. However, leadership isn’t always a smooth journey. On the contrary, just as the talent of a good pilot is revealed when she/he navigates through turbulence, so are leaders with mettle brought to the fore in times of trouble. We are talking here about being an all-season leader. Warren Buffet expressed this very well when he said: “It is only when the tide runs out do you discover who has been swimming naked.”

Leadership moments are, therefore, critical to building a successful career. Let us see some of these moments that leaders can seize and succeed.

Moment for giving your very best

Leaders think and act to deliver their best at all times. They need to manage their thoughts and self-doubts well, keeping negative thoughts away. As they run into rough weather, they need to see their challenges in a positive light. These experiences will be helpful only when one gleans useful insights from them.

Leadership guru Dr Warren Bennis said: “The distance between the leader and the led is always constant”. Implicit in this statement is the point that if leaders want their team to accomplish great things, they need to push themselves a lot.

Meaning precedes motivation. Creating meaning in what people do by showing them a larger purpose is key to motivating them. The compelling cause leaders create for themselves helps people fully understand the situation before they can decide to act. This cause should stir people’s emotions enough to make them want to stretch and deliver their best.

Moment for taking time and planning

Planning is vital to achieving anything excellent. A defining moment for a leader is when they take time to plan instead of reacting to daily demands. Planning should answer the following questions that team members may have in their minds.

~ What are we accomplishing? (Vision and goals)

~ How are we getting there? (Road map)

~ How can I contribute? (Role and boundaries)

~ What is in it for me? (Rewards and recognition)

Leaders need to be more specific than they imagine is necessary because leaders’ tolerance for ambiguity may be higher than that of the employees.

As leaders, you will do well to understand your own sweet spots. What are you passionate about? Which tasks are very easy and natural for you? Then, match your employee sweet spots to their roles. Matching these two is the best predictor of how far your employees will bring their passion to work.

Moment to act so that you make every minute count for your organisation

This demands that you work on your focus — look at how your spend time. Most successful leaders create their own luck by preparing to meet an opportunity. They must also learn to say no to non-value adding activities.

Just living with a ‘to-do list’ may not be sufficient. Peter Drucker advises the manager to prepare a ‘what-not-to-do list’. Take time to define what is inside your boat, so you do not worry too much about what is outside your control. Listen as much and as often as possible. The ability of leaders to make the right decisions is directly related to how well they listen to their people.

Moment to invest for giving your mentoring and coaching

It is important for leaders to mentor their people for success in work and life. The only way to bridge the gap between potential and performance is to help people eliminate factors that may create the gap. And a culture of coaching can be developed by creating a cadre of internal coaches in an organisation.

Leaders have their moments of truth all the time, impacting and influencing how they deliver their best.