Thursday, January 7, 2010

What makes a business tick

I am going to start a business. I have left my job as I could not be satisfied with the way it was. The business is not going to be easy. There are no assured paychecks , no certainties, no holidays and only work and work. There are no people to protect you . You are like in a military outpost surrounded by enemies who would do anything to take you down except for the real bullets they might use tactics and games.

And when it starts , I know , I need to provide a strong leadership to take it ahead. Now there are a thousand of ways you can describe leadership , more known ones are academic, where leaders are expected to have MBA from a premier institute.

To me, you can have as many degrees as you wish, take up as many courses as you can but if you do not have 'IT' in you , you can never make it . A leader is born and not made may be partially true, but what is takes to become a leader is go against the grain and fight for what you feel is right.

Leadership is not a skill. You cannot be taught to be a leader . Leadership is a trait. It can either be inborn or cultivated with long term practice. It is like marshal arts. It take years and years of effort to gain good knowledge.

So to cut short , I define a leader with following characteristics,( and a leader can be a she , its just a matter of writing)

1. He tends to think differently. He always asks questions to himself what can be done different and how to do it ? It does not however mean that since you think differently you are a leader . A leader will always weigh the options either thought by him or supplied by his team . He will understand the consequence and cost of each option and will go ahead with the option he feels are best suited . He will take the decision and will stick with it .

2. He will always keep the interest of organization above individual interests. He is aware that favouring one person without fair reason , will demotivate rest of his team . So he will always strive to keep his team as a team and not as individuals

3. He will surround himself with people of intellect who are sometimes smarter than him. A leader is aware of the difficulties of knowing and doing it all. He will create a team of experienced and enthusiastic persons whom he can rely upon for advice. It wont matter to him that he is not the smartest person but that he knows that he is in company of them.

4 Leader can go on any path without assigning any reason. A leader does not have to explain his point of view every time to his subordinates or team . He needs strong faith in his capabilities from his team . Sometimes , a team member might be persistent that his idea is correct, but a leader should always reserve the option of overruling him. However , it does not mean that leader has to be a dictator but he would rather let action speak than words.

5. A leader will sometime leads the team from the front and not hiding behind any of the team member. When everything fails , he will have to lead by example by showing exemplary courage or pick things by himself.

6. A leader will always think his team as equals and with compassion so that he can see their point of view.

7. A leader will always keep himself updated with latest developments either by his own personal research or by help from a team member. He will neither produce slack nor will allow anyone to produce it.

8. A leader will have the highest ethical standards to be followed . A leader will not demand under favours which lie outside the fair use of organization resources . He will make sure that he takes only what is right and uses it to benefit the organization rather than himself.

9. A leader will walk in the night alone . In olden days in India , a King always disguised himself t night and went to meet peasants. There he could talk freely about how people are feeling under his kingdom. He could understand grievances which normally would not reach him through official channel.
It is not possible to have this kind of method to be used but a leader can have multiple feedback channels where the feedback is either anonymous or named . More number of named feedback would indicate confidence of people in his abilities.Nevertheless both options should be open .

Last a leader will abide by all the principles told above from time to time and fine tune his leadership. He will read stories of other leaders to understand and utilize their techniques.

Now do you need a book ?