Article: The need for the right leaders


The need for the right leaders

A lingering leadership crisis continues to haunt the corporate of today and shows no signs of abating. Innumerable authorities have stepped in to offer solutions and counsel.
The need for the right leaders

Across the globe, we are experiencing unprecedented economic slowdown, often recurring with an erratic cycle. This brings along uncertainty that comes along with accelerated and profound technological, cultural, economic and personal changes. The net effect is increasing anxiety, insecurity and pressure on all stakeholders of business. We need leaders who know what to do in turbulent times,    manage change, communicate a vision and coach team members. A lingering leadership crisis continues to haunt the corporate of today and shows no signs of abating. Innumerable authorities have stepped in to offer solutions and counsel.

Companies have invested huge sums of money on leadership development programs. After decades of corporate practice, we are unable to nail down every important aspect of leadership development with respect to best practices. This subject is considered to be very important as spelt out by heads of corporate in any survey. 

Yes, with all the above, we feel that we do not have the right leaders.     

The Need: Scope for improvement

These are based on my own experienced learnings, my perceptions of live ‘requirements’ weighed with exhibited qualities, the resulting gap therein, accompanied by my own readings of good practices elsewhere .This article deals only with ‘practical insights’ with situational analysis meant as a guide for the special requirements in the cultural settings of India.

The ‘Do Nots’ of Leadership and corrective means

Today every segment of industry is facing the talent war. The operating managers, always on a moving belt, sometimes slip on the wrong side, in daily management with pressures all around, unaware of the effect. A compilation of dark spots of Leadership styles, based on critical observations /real-life experiences is shared here in a positive tone.

Improvement zone & Effects

Gen Y in particular

The Senior management/HODs who are more accountable to make happen the financial plans a reality, amidst the melee in work place, (with a  mix of Gen X & Gen Y) are sometimes prone to be casual /spill loose  or harsh words (unintentionally) with the end objectives in mind.

The young, sensitive & fast track Gen Y, in a hurry get hurt and quit the job. The managers must know that it costs more money & time to hire, induct and align ‘new ones’.   

Knowledge workers

The industry managers should handle ‘K-worker’ with a soft touch, especially those stars with potentials to become leaders. Knowledge is plenty but ‘specific knowledge’ is in short supply.

A real leader on his way to Level 5 of Leadership, must know the difference between ‘firmness’ and ‘harshness’ and avoid the later. The effect is reflected in team morale, sometimes leading to attrition.

Motivation & Behavior

Good work must be instantly appreciated, the moment it is shared by any of your team member. More of intrinsic motivation can be used as rewards & recognition.

The managers should encourage people who are straight forward and allow young members to talk what is ‘right’. It would be better if the employees are encouraged to take forward the ‘bad news/message’ from the shop floor, rather than good ones. We have to develop and build people who can internally censor for ‘sensitive’ words before uttering in a meeting or shop floor and make it a ‘habit’ (to target potential people with negative EQ scores).

The Leader must first follow himself, any guidelines/teachings before offering to his team mates and validate practicability. A leader can be firm but not harsh with people. He should praise/ appreciate in ‘public’ and can correct/fire ‘in private’. 

Team building & People Development

The Leader has to spend quality time with all his team members and promote ‘positive thinking’. A balance of ‘micro and macro’ management is vital. It is an ‘A’ category task for every Leader to ‘develop followers’, some of whom become Leaders later.

Every Leader should understand the fact that while market shifted from ‘seller to buyer’, the mindset of people who serve the customers, is in transition from “excuse culture to commitment culture”.   It may take some more time for some members, to make any change into habit. Assessment of ‘depth of commitment and loyalty’ is not easy .A balanced boss shall not go cosy on ‘lip service’ and at the surface level promises, coated with words alone.


The culture and leadership styles are linked and the Top Management must avoid blind copy-paste styles if they benchmark across segments. What works in one culture may or may not work in the other.

We have very few solid, spirited, consistent professionals today. It is the Leader who should spot them and nurture them.  Considering the current population of Gen Y and their wavelength /frequencies, it is all the more necessary that we do a self-review of our Daily Managing Styles (DMS) and maintain an overall balance. The leaders must do a silent self-introspection and change the style quietly for the good of their organisation.

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Topics: Leadership, Culture

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