Leadership Lessons That Apply Universally
Five Non-Negotiables for Effectiveness and Success
Find Your Purpose
Having and operating with ‘Purpose’ makes all the difference in one’s experience of walking the same path as hundreds of others. The power of purpose is so strong that at times, it can balance out a missing zero from the salary. And only a leader who has a clear vision and a well-defined purpose can help create an environment where others can find meaning in what they do. The purpose becomes core to a mission’s existence, a powerhouse, and a preamble to its constitution.
‘We’ Before ‘Me’, Always!
It falls upon the leadership to ensure that the whole team, even if they are not working in the same physical workspace, is bound by the same culture whose language is not ‘me’ but ‘we’. A language that enables-
- a sense of belonging,
- responsibility with ownership and,
- sharing of the blame when things go down.
Moreover, by nature, most processes and changes are meant to be shared. Just like a war needs a whole army of soldiers to be won; a country needs a whole parliament to ensure sound democratic rule. Similarly, achieving a vision necessitates the collective efforts of a diverse group of individuals who are fluent in the language called ‘WE’.
Un-romanticising the Mission
Leaders should never expect to find the same degree of motivation in everyone as in them. The team might be on the same path leading to the same goal, and have absolute alignment and goal orientation, but the incentives and values that they are driven by will never be an exact copy. Instead of finding one’s own shadow in everyone, leadership should make time and mind space to embrace different perspectives and find what drives different members in the team in order to build a sustainable system.
In practice, diversity is never a challenge but an answer. A group of individuals with similar thought processes is capable of coming up with a solution and moving with it quickly. But that solution may or may not stand the test of time. A leader should aim to bring together individuals with unique thinking processes and steered by unique motivations to form a team. This diversity then pushes toward a solution that is sure to be distinct, sustainable and robust to thrive in a dynamic environment.
Insignificant is Relevant
As a leader, one has to ask questions that may sound insignificant at first, and plan to bring changes that seem small. For example in a healthcare facility, the top priority of the management body becomes the quality of treatment being given to the patient. But often patients (who are most likely to be oblivious of what goes around on the operation table) leave with complaints about the long waiting time or unpleasant behaviour of the staff.
It’s really important for leaders to know and act on even the seemingly small challenges in order to bring much-needed micro-improvements. It’s this course of active vigilance and the ability to articulate challenges that awaits in disguise that defines an organisation’s journey and its success story in years to come.