Monday, March 17, 2014

Leadership by Giving - Workshop at StratApps Day 1

PV and I got together for a workshop on Effective Leadership or what I'd call 'Leadership by Giving' at StratApps Solutions Pvt Ltd. 14 young team leads joined us for the 4 hour session - we have a 4-hour session every day for 4 days. The idea of the workshop is to acquaint leads / future leads with concepts of leadership, deconstruct it, reconstruct it and make the entire affair of leadership bearable and effective.

The 3 types of leadership are those that one gets by position, process-driven leadership and inspirational leadership. In leadership by position where one has the position but no know-how, the leader may be at a disadvantage. It may breed an insecure leader who can harm the team and individual interests. I always feel it is best to give some inputs to leader sand expose them to some ideas which may empower them a bit. Which is where SratApps scores well.

The second type (process-driven leadership) is what we focus on because it gives some basic structure to work with and that leads to results that are positive. You need not be a superhero but by following the processing and working at it, one could evolve into a good leader, an inspirational leader over time. This type of a leader is more secure because he/she has some know-how and knowledge thanks to the exposure to some leadership thought.

The third type is the leader who is passionate and who can inspire his team to follow him wherever he leads. He can bring them to take ownership and perform to their potential. It may appear that this leader is the one who is least hassled, who is also doing the least work but who is getting the maximum return and benefit for his efforts.

The first thing to discuss was whether leadership could be learned or are we born with those traits. Of course it could be learned. We shared some experiences. The participants agreed that it could be learned, like anything.

Next we tried to put a number on how much they thought good leadership could impact team performance. The overwhelming response was upwards of 60%. We pegged it at 70% which is huge.

Okay, so now we moved into understanding leadership a bit more. Is it possible only when we are given the position or can we think like a leader in non-leadership positions? There was some dissent because one cannot do things when there are other leaders. That's when we looked at leadership within our role. Can we take leadership as an attitude and do the best we can to improve our delivery? If leadership is action or an attitude, it is all about seizing the opportunity to 'add' or to 'give' to whatever position one is in. To drive home the point we all shared stories from our lives where we took leadership positions despite not having been given the power or position. From donating blood, putting out fires, taking responsibility for college tours, apartment works, cricket teams, corporate teams - there were wonderful stories on display - some of them quite moving too. It turned out that in times we took leadership positions we  looked to 'give' without expecting really. We 'added' to the situation, to life, and looked to do the best we can. In short we took responsibility.

Leadership was then defined as showing the way, as giving and creating and as something that grows us and people around us as individuals and as teams.

We deconstructed leadership further. Why are we leading - as in the purpose of leading or taking a leadership attitude to our work or role? What do we want to achieve? How do we do that or how do we approach leadership? Who do we effect? Among the approaches it was suggested that the giving or growing approach is something all of us can handle and do. It can give results, grow people, make life easy.

Then we reconstructed the ideal leader. We threw up many qualities of the ideal leader and from those came down to 6 professional traits and 6 personal traits that one desires in the ideal boss. Each participant was asked to rate themselves on the attribute. A rating of over 8 was good or else, there was work to be done.

Good participation and good energy especially with PV handing out goodies like chocolate for best participation etc. More to come in the next three days. Good work then Praneeth, Nagendra, Satish.K , Satish.B, Rajaneesh, Raghavendra, Kiran, Sreenivasa Katra, Sreenivasu, John, Sandeep, Surendra, Gopinath and Anuradha.

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