Interview: "Leadership is both art and science"
A leader has multi-faceted talent and he/she needs to have a well-rounded approach, stamina, energy, discipline, foresightedness, empathy to be able to run a venture.
Dr. Hiru Bijlani who is the Master Licensee of Leadership Management International India talks to People Matters about what makes a great leader, leadership coaching, and on change management.
Dr. Hiru Bijlani holds a Doctorate in Business Policy and Administration and has over 30 years management and consulting experience in diverse organisations worldwide. He is the author of numerous articles and five books, namely "Globalization - an Overview" and "A Guide to Global Joint Ventures and Alliances”. He is the former President of the Institute of Management Consultants of India, the apex body of management consulting professions in the country. He has also served in various leadership roles in other professional, business and government bodies and institutions.
What are the top 5 effective ways a leader can enhance his/her capabilities, especially in this age of disruption?
What is not known to many is that leadership is both an art and science that incorporates the use of not only a rational approach, but an emotional connect as well. There are five effective methods that enhance a leader’s capabilities. The first way that a leader can enhance his capabilities involves an appeal to values. In addition to having a considerable amount of charisma and commitment with the employees, leaders must have noble values to inspire others to join in their efforts of achieving the same goals. Inspiring others can be achieved by leading by example – which is the second effective way forward. Building internal and external relationships and maintaining trust falls third on the list, and aids in generating loyalty. The fourth step involves seeking opportunities and taking risks - without which a leader remains stagnant, predictable and complacent. The last step requires that a leader should have a long term view and persuasive powers that will encourage internal and external resources to work towards a more productive future.
What makes leadership coaching different from other similar people development interventions?
Coaching an executive may be specific to an area, sales, time management, team building, or communication contingent on the needs of the groups or individuals. Leadership coaching covers these aspects but focuses on bringing about awareness and promotes clarity of vision required to develop a goal-setting process for the entire team.
Leadership coaching also enables leaders to learn and develop not only external relationships with bankers, clients, suppliers, governments, and investors, but also internal relations with the people within the organisation.
Why building change management capability is vital to work?
Change management capability is as vital as a competitive or technology development, and can threaten the survival of companies. Traditionally, one of the cornerstone models for understanding organisational change was ‘Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze’. Currently, organisational change is a continuous process. Leaders must proactively and consistently bring energy and belief to their team and embrace constant changes.
What are the most important skills of a successful leader?
Every successful leader can agree that being aware and staying one step ahead of things is an important skill to have. Be aware about the organisation’s competitors, their actions and how they think. Leaders must be open to learning and keep abreast of not only one area of interest, but other developments as well. Additionally, self-awareness is an important step towards tapping into one’s leadership skill and style.
How must leaders preserve, nurture, and manage talent?
Leaders coach and mentor people who in turn, train their protégés in the art of taking responsibility not only for their actions, but also for their results. Mentoring an employee does not involve re-creating them in your own image, but providing them with the opportunity to create their own brand of themselves. Leaders appreciate and encourage people and help them accomplish tasks.
Successful leaders preserve, nurture and manage talent by learning, coaching and developing existing talent.
How important is failure for a leader to succeed?
I have always maintained that failure is nothing but a stepping stone to success. When a leader learns from failure, they grow more resilient and this builds character.