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Building a Performance Driven Leadership

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Leadership is key factor in all aspects of Management. Many leadership hiring as I read tell me one thing in common. We tend to look at as epiphanies and land up hiring them for their cognitive skills. With AI & IoT taking away loads of jobs, we often mistake cognitive appreciation as the final frontier of capability. Then there is often a talk down 3 months (nowadays even this time frame seems to be very high to finally determine and judge the capabilities of leadership hires) yet we hear and experience the lament of deteriorating quality of leadership all around. This chasm lying between what ‘should be’ and what ‘is’, is tragic It is funny that the best traits of leadership have been spoken right from our ancient literature like Arthasastra , still the leadership gap causes insomnia to many of us !. 

Recently, I was witnessing one of the talk from a leader and was surprised to find that every word uttered and further elucidation thus made only embraced arrogance. In such cases any experienced listener connects the dots rapidly and more than the cognitive erudition there was very high unlikely a fact that the practitioner was missing practice absolutely. . Then what works best for leadership to bring change in them? Remember no fake lecture will work. The smart opponent who is listening to you is also subconsciously evaluating you and observing your leadership patterns – from your behavior and your living its brand value. 

Sometimes I think what makes some leaders perform so outstandingly well? It could be life threatening circumstances, and for others an epiphany. It all depends upon whether you are willingly playing the game and how far you play it well along with others – either way, it’s a game of chance. We must definitely create spaces for conversations but not depend on them to create true changes in any leadership behaviour so that shifts initiate right behaviour in leaders and are also cognitive of their mind and thinking. 

Most times the change is driven down compulsively. These are like contracts that have no consideration that are void ab initio. Change must be driven carefully in leadership just as the way we would want ourselves to be going through that journey.  A leader can be successful only if the shift initiated is natural with mind in thinking, behaviour than a anchoring with coercion. Hoping otherwise has to be termed as “intellectual arrogance. “

Many a times, it’s the perception more than performance or the capability that kills the life span of a leader in an organization. Too much focus into the work makes the manager assume that you are rigid and are against bringing in change. Some say they even tried various talks / dinner / walk with their managers to understand their expectations better, and in worst cases, the promoters of such changes are themselves the most unwilling (or do I frame it as “incapable?) to change. I would like to believe that such dichotomy is not because of a lack of intent.

There are no conclusions but some observations that I would like to submit , a few of them as follows : –

a.    Many of us as experienced leaders have truly over rated our ability to understand others (mostly our teams and the candidates) and that no one has any clue why & what others think and opine of our views and if they truly want to change and why they don’t.

b.   Many of the leaders assume that we have adequate number of experience to support our so called assumed success and hence arrogantly presume that we have a readymade “All-in-One tool kit that can do wonders to others and start serving our sermons on them.

c.    Use our learning agility compulsively on others just because we know its worked well for us and has influence on our current life. After all, erudition of the subject of human change is not the same thing as the ability to usher it. In today’s context the most deadly word could be “matrix reporting” if two supervisors have different expectations and the leader is sandwiched and framed for “incompetence”.

d.   Would be great to see and hear from a leader who spends quality time not only for self but also understanding other leaders to bringing success in them and thus enabling change rather than those who are only talking about it intelligently with cognitive thinking and this is where the leadership hiring goes wrong!.  

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