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QUESTIONS FROM THE HINDU BUSINESS LINE with Dr. Otazo on the topic of leadership,
which was featured in their
“Author, Author” column.


1) Who is a leader?

A leader is someone who inspires others to get more done than what the leader can accomplish on his or her own.  With the involvement of followers,
leaders can get do more than what they can do on their own. .   Leaders get more done by mobilizing other people who are working towards the same
goal(s) in similar or different areas. A leader may be formal or informal.  The key is getting others motivated and committed to taking action toward a goal.

Leaders may, or may not, have the title.  It is the fact that others follow that makes them leaders.

2) What to do if the job is good but the leader isn't?

Determine what isn't working with this leader.  What is it about the leader that needs to be improved?  If you like the job you need to help the leader, even coaching him or her, to enable them to improve. In coaching, however, you need to be specific and positive in the way you talk about the needs.
So, for instance, you might indicate that project meetings need more focus because the participants need to how they're doing against goals or deadlines and what needs to be done by whom. There is a need the leader can fill.  You can even make up a "cheat sheet" to help a leader be more effective.  Since your leader is very important to your job satisfaction it's worth your time to help him or her out.

There is a gain/pain ratio however.  If the gain exceeds the pain in your job then it's worth working on the leader.  If the pain is greater than the gain you can try some things and still may need to look for another job in your company or elsewhere.

3) How far should the team leader protect his flock from the management's half-baked ideas that can at times be demoralizing?

If you're given half-baked ideas that take your team's valuable time yet don't ever get used you will lose credibility with your team.  There could be a valid reason for the request and then you have to determine what's happening and how it will work out.  You may need to do more of the work than you'd like so you can shield the team from what doesn't make sense.
You want to make sure there is a reason why something has to be done. A team leader can be supportive of his or her boss yet needs to determine the reason for the request to put the request in context. Sometimes you have to find out more about what needs to happen with the request.  It's okay to discuss and barter with your management about what they want to happen. You then have the opportunity to work it out with your flock and get their ideas which will also get their buy-in.



4) When the ship is sinking (metaphorically) should the leader stay on till the last of his/her team members leaves for a different job?

That's not the leader's job if it a move to close down.  A leader needs to let his or her team know what's happening and counsel each all of the team members about their situation.  A leader can counsel employees but is not the long-term coach for each of them as they seek other jobs.  Ideally, the company will hire a transition coach through an outplacement company or a local headhunter.  There are some great ones in Chennai.

The irony, is that when a leader leaves someone on the team can step up to the job and work with the team if only for a while.

5) Can someone be a good leader but a bad family member? 

Yes!  They can be a good work leader but neglect their family or be morally uncaring about their family's welfare since they are so focused on the work situation. It is hard for many leaders to spend the time with family when the work situation is so compelling.

Having said that, good parents often make good leaders.  The skills are not dissimilar.  You need to: listen well, give each team member time and attention, help them to discover their own talents and abilities and use the effectively without telling them what to do; support them emotionally as well as by providing the physical environment and doing little things that show each of them is valued.

 

 

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