Leading with Imperfections

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When we grow in our professional lives, we tend to develop a particular style of operation along with a unique set of skills. Our personality brings in certain attributes into our style of functioning. When we grow to become leaders, this style of operation tends to come under sharper scrutiny by people around us, as it starts impacting their ways of working.

Each individual has a style. It is but natural that people like to operate in a method that seems to work best for them. The interesting dimension however is when a leader (consciously or sub-consciously or unconsciously) starts to impose his/her style of working on the people around him/her or the organization at large. Personal values of leaders are known to significantly impact how Organization’s values are defined. It is also known that many great Organizations are built by people with strong values & character. Going beyond values, when leaders start imposing their style of functioning on rest of the organization, how does this impact the functioning of the organization? I also wonder how much can leaders separate their value beliefs from their style of operation? Is it even possible?

Let’s explore an example. I was working with a very senior leader who was highly energetic and passionate about his ideas. He encouraged people to speak their minds, believed in empowering people, respecting people and valued ethical behaviour. He was so passionate about his ideas that while he heard others points of views; he only wanted his own ideas to be implemented. His desire to drive his ideas was so deeply entrenched that he micro-managed every step of the process, rendering most people around him disempowered. Due to his desire to manage every detail, he was often times unable to manage his time & schedules, leading to people around him waiting for his availability and decisions. This led to the leader unconsciously not valuing others time & abilities; thereby an implicit disrespect to others. While his leadership intent was probably at the right place, all underlying behaviors emanating from his style of functioning, led one to feel an apparent sense of contradiction in words & actions.

My sense is many of you reading this blog would be able to relate to multiple incidents in your own life working with such leaders. Some of us may also be reflecting if this is how we may be probably coming across to our people. The question is not whether this is right or wrong?

· The question to explore as leaders, when we drive our agenda into our organization — Does it need to be exactly the way we want it to be?

· Do we realize that driving something exactly how I would want it to be may be “perfect” for me but imperfect for others around me?

As a leader how does one strike the balance between getting stuff done, accommodating other people, their ideas, their styles & their aspirations; even if that means the leaders own aspiration for perfection are compromised to some extent.

What are your thoughts?

Anand Bhaskar — CEO Planet Ganges

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PGC is a boutique Management Consulting firm engaged in the business of enabling its clients to transform their Org, Culture & Capabilities.

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