RRGwrites

On life…and learning

Posts Tagged ‘Leadership Development

What I Learnt From My ‘Not-So-Great’ Bosses…

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Lessons Learned RRGwrites

We all love to talk about our Bosses, don’t we? And Lord knows, a minority of of us would regard our bosses as good leaders. When I wrote my earlier blog – ‘What My Great Bosses Taught Me’ – many of the readers asked me, “Hey, what about the bad bosses?”

So here it is…

The matter of fact is, I never had a really bad boss. Truly! That said, I have had my fair share of bad apples – a very insecure boss, another one who was ill-mannered and one who was simply incompetent for his job. However, none of them were awful enough for me to either loather or run away from them. In fact, I performed better under a couple of them, and was more successful under one of the tougher nuts.

There are many things I learnt from my great managers. The earlier blog enlists those. However, I learnt lot many more things from my, should I say, not-so-great bosses. A learning that proved invaluable in my later years; both, as a professional and as a people leader. Some of them were very simple, practical things and few were too profound a learning…

They are:

  1. Don’t reply to an unfavourable email in a hurry; wait till evening at least. That helps my hyper-reaction settle down and choice of words become calmer!
  2. You may be really intelligent and smart and all that, no point over-fighting your peers – functional or cross-functional. Even though they may not be able to score a point over you, they will end up despising you – something that won’t do good to the professional image in later years. From this boss, I learnt the value of building a truly well-knit peer-group, which may not be my besties, but wouldn’t despise me either.
  3. No one comes to work to do a bad job. No one joins office thinking they will give their worst that day. Keeping this in mind made me practice empathy and statesmanship, even when I was right and others were grossly wrong.
  4. Harsh language never helped the cause. If you are younger and more successful than your peers, you need to not oversell it. Success is a lousy teacher and it encourages arrogant behaviour and as rash tongue. Worse, even if you are right in what you say, how you say that will be picked, and surely used against you. Here, I learnt to be firm, yet stay polite. A learning that has held me in good stead since then.
  5. I learnt the craft of managing very senior management employees from one of my most difficult bosses. He was really good at this. I learnt the art of polite persistence, presentation skills to a senior audience group as well as how to handle tough questions from them, specifically those whose answer I didn’t know!
  6. Never work for a powerless boss. This is a great life/career-saving tip I received from one such a boss. I have written in detail about this learning here
  7. One must not feel insecure when your subordinate’s stars are shining brighter than yours. I once had a very insecure manager, who, despite being extremely competent functionally, was extremely inhibited in front of smarter juniors. He would simply feel threatened! My learning was a life-long one; that the key to success for any deputy is to do such good work that his boss gets promoted and recommends him for taking his spot! I have written in detail about this learning here…

Four Thoughts On Leadership…

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Effective Leaders & Their People Assets…

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Effective Leadership - RRGwrites

Written by RRGwrites

May 22, 2016 at 11:51 PM

Leadership Towers & Foundations

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Why Do You Want To Be A Manager?

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Why Do You Want To Be A Manager

Any fast-paced growing organization boasts of having and promoting scores of first-time managers. Those, who have done well as individuals and have up the ladder by (hopefully) demonstrating potential to take up a higher role. However, many do not have an idea of what people management is all about. More than some Googled Do’s and Don’ts on leadership, they do not see themselves in a different light in their new and enlarged role. Thus, their journey towards people management and later leadership, starts with unexpected, unstructured and sometimes undesired hiccups.

I meet a lot of newly promoted and first-time managers. I ask them a simple question – “Why do you want to be a people manager?”

Surprised, confused and even irked up faces look back at me!

A common answer that I receive, more often than not, is – “…it comes with the promotion/higher position and that it signifies that I am growing. And of course, managing people is a essential part of growing, so I take it up at it comes…”

Shouldn’t we call this effect a ‘default leadership experience’? Where people-leadership is a by-product of career-growth… and where it does not invoke new thoughts in the incumbent’s mind, on the breadth of the new role in terms of managing others. Something that is a key skill requirement post getting that growth. A design by which a leadership aspirant will ask herself a crucial question – “Am I sure I want to be a Manager?” And thereafter, work towards building that skills meticulously…

I leave you with a what Joseph Grenny, a management author, says, “Leadership offers profound satisfactions – but only if embraced fully, willingly, and for the right reasons.”

This is a food for thought for all new managers…

Do you agree? Let me know what you think.

Written by RRGwrites

September 29, 2015 at 8:41 PM

Leadership and Character…

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In times when there is no dearth of prescriptive literature on leadership’s skills and rules and what not, I read this thought-provoking piece…

“Why was Lincoln so great that he over-shadows all other national heroes? He really was not a great general like Napoleon or Washington; he was not such a skillful statesman as Gladstone or Frederick the Great; but the supremacy expresses itself altogther in his peculiar moral power and in the greatness of his character.

Leo Tolstoy, quoted in The World, New York, February 7, 1908

 What do you think?

Written by RRGwrites

September 2, 2015 at 5:01 PM

Why Are You Motivated To Lead?

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Why Are You Motivated To Lead

In one of my most read blogs – ‘‘Why Should Anyone Be Led By You’, I asked 12 questions to all leaders and leadership-aspirants – the first one being – “Why do I want to be a leader?”

Over the years, several of my readers, team-mates, leaders I met and trained during leadership workshops have attempted answering these 12 questions. Many of these admitted to me, that they haven’t ever really asked themselves – “Why Am I Motivated to Lead?” In my opinion, (much to the contrary and popular one), everyone is motivated. There is nothing called a not-motivated person. However, the moot question is not IF a person is motivated, but WHY a person is motivated…

More so pertinent a question, if you are a leader…

Hence, as a leader, don’t you want to answer this – Why Am I Motivated to Lead?

If you think this is a right question to ask, do attempt answering… That will be an interesting self-reflection in your leadership journey.

5 Questions You Need to Answer If You’re Being Promoted

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The Leader In Me

Were you promoted recently or are you being promoted? And will you now be a manager to those who were your peers till yesterday?

What are your feelings? Happy? Apprehensive? Both…?

I recently got a chance to interact with a bunch of such promoted senior managers; people who grew from within ranks, sales folks with tons of experience and hard-earned credibility. Upon hearing the news of their elevation, they were initially ecstatic! Then, as the conversation proceeded, I observed myriad emotions emerge – happiness, apprehension, thoughtfulness, even over-conficence – ‘I will deliver to all expectations types’… some also asked about improvement areas…

Having worked with leadership talent all across the spectrum, I wanted them to succeed in their new roles and not fall prey to a leadership nemesis several go down to – THE I know it all!

I asked them these five questions… it left them thinking!

  1. Why are you being promoted? Because of the old good phrase – ‘I am THE best performer’ OR, there is more to it that your boss and company saw in you and which you need to be more self-aware of?

  2. What are the top five expectations your boss and company have from you in your new, enlarged role?

  3. What are the top three or five things that you will start doing from tomorrow; things you weren’t either aware of or focussing upon till now?

  4. More importantly, can you list down top three or five things you will stop doing, as you take charge of your new role?

  5. Why should till-yesterday-your-peers agree to be led by you? What is your leadership quotient with such people? Remember, these are as bright, as seasoned, as performing as you were! Even bigger question… why should anyone be led by you?

A found the group staring at me… some mustered answers to few of these questions; other few went into a deep thought. A couple of rather over-confident ones also put up a brave exterior – that of ‘I have figured it out all!’ Incidentally, almost everyone had said in earlier conversations that they will deliver upon all expectations and yet, when they drew up the list to answer the second question, as mentioned above, I could observe a lot of mismatches!

And the boss of these recent promoted ones? He too went thinking!

Your thoughts? Do you think I asked right questions? Do you want to add any questions?

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Image-credit: sheroes.in

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