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Transform yourself from being just a manager to a “Leader”

, May 2, 2015, 0 Comments

Prasad kaipa Manager-MarketExpress-inPrasad Kaipa, an Executive Coach, Mentor, Speaker, Educator  and author of the book From Smart to Wise, shares his  Insights on Managing & Leadership. Prasad focusses on innovation and leadership coaching since 1990, for about 120 C-level executives in Global Fortune 500 companies. Prasad’s unique competence is in helping his clients find their next significant step and take it.

Ezilarsan PKP : How one can transform himself or herself from being just a manager to a “Leader”?

Prasad: First, one needs to understand why one wants to be a “leader” and what they mean by that word. It is because each of us unconsciously or subconsciously picked up various traits/characteristics that we identified in our role models for leadership and we want to learn them or demonstrate them. But it is possible that one gets disappointed that leadership could be much different in the eyes of others in their organization or for the people who work with them.

So it is good to sit down and write down whom they admire as leaders and why? Once you have three or four names and traits down, then discuss it with others in the organization who are considered to be leaders and see what and how they can match what they like with what it is going to be. Obviously, reality might turn out much different but one needs to be prepared for it.

Second step is to identify skills and capabilities that differentiate leaders from managers and see whether those skills are easy for them to develop or whether they have them innately. It is going to require some unlearning and selective forgetting of their current strengths to transform themselves in the eyes of others and let them view the person as a leader.

Third step is going to be to realize leadership cannot be given by others. You have to inspire others around you and develop a noble purpose of helping them to become successful at what they want to be successful. In other words, being a great leader means, assisting others to become leaders themselves and become very successful without you being dominant figure in their growth. it is hard and requires humility, ego control, empathy, willingness to listen and inspire.

Finally, realize that becoming leader is a journey and there is always going to be more to learn and more to unlearn. So vulnerability and humility are going to help become a wise leader and those characteristics with your noble purpose of helping others around you to be successful leaders will create your leadership legacy.

Take Steve Jobs for example. He was leader in his ideas and thoughts but was a lousy manager to begin with. But he learned from his failures and learned from others that he needed to mellow down. He realized that he might have great ideas but it takes others to make those ideas come alive. First Steve Wozniak and then many others helped him. Later, he realized that it takes a team to make anything successful and helped them to become leaders in their own right. He asked them to challenge him just like he challenged them. He was a hard person to work with but when they learned to stand up to him and make things happen, he appreciated them. Towards the end, he left a good bench of leaders in Apple so even 4 years after he died, the company continues to be creative and successful beyond any other company in this world. So Steve Jobs wanted to be a leader and change the world and in more ways than one, he did — as a leader.

Ezilarsan PKP : What is you take on – Complementing vision & skill-sets are mandatory qualities to form a long-term partnership among the founders and to flourish?

Prasad: I would say that vision has to be shared at some level and it has to be larger than that of either one… If there are more than 2, then it has to include and transcend individual visions and the shared vision has to be truly shared and everybody must be committed to that vision for the startup to make progress towards it.

In terms of skill set, I agree that it should be complimentary so that together they have skills to deliver what the market place needs from end to end — from soup to nuts.

There are other things that i believe are even more important — for example a noble purpose for creating your start up. In other words, why do you think your company will be successful? What will customers like about your products and services? What is it that you give to customers that nobody gives?

Passion is another thing that is critical because start ups go through ups and downs and you should have fortitude and resilience to learn from those circumstances.

Finally, your employees and customers have to find meaning in what they do and what they get…

So in addition to vision, strategy and skills — purpose, passion, meaning are going to be important elements in making start up to flourish and founders remain partners for a long time…

Google is a great example of what I mentioned above…