Leadership, communication and Management are the key ingredients to drive business growth in today’s world. In this edition, we speak to author, speaker and an executive coach Satish Kakri about Leadership Effectiveness.
This interview touches upon leadership development as business strategy, balancing short-term and long-term business requirements, major challenges for leadership effectiveness and how a leader can inspire others. Let’s read;
Q1. How important it is for an organisation to link leadership development back to the business strategy
Satish: Business strategy is like a vehicle of the business growth. The leader is the driver of this vehicle. If the vehicle is not in good shape how can it reach destinations in time? Therefore, it is necessary to examine the strategy in relation to the resources available. A great strategy will not be able to produce any results if most suitable team is not there. More importantly, it is the leader who has to create the team, who has to ensure that the team is properly aligned to the mission of the organisation. Once the strategy is right, the driver has to be an expert. The two are inextricably bound together. So in order, that an organisation is able to leverage the strategy and the leadership, the two has to be linked consistently and strongly. Further, there are many demands of the changing time which make it imperative that the leader and the strategy must be viewed as one entity.
Because of fast changing technology, the leaders may have to adopt different tactics. Adaptability is another important characteristic of a good leader. The understanding of changing demands may also require modifying the strategy. Thus it’s very important to link leadership development to business strategy.
Q2. What is the key to balance long-term and short-term business requirements?
Satish: Short term business requirements are like milestones of long-term goals. These are similar to starting a journey to the destination. But these are not fixed stations. These are subject to changes. While it is necessary to move according to the needs of the road ahead, it is critical to keep the destination in mind the critical played by the leadership. The key to balance the short term and long term goals is to remain alert, focus on the performance and monitor the progress. Immediate changes that may be called for due to changed environment have to be attended. Therefore, the key of progress is the leadership, more importantly in the changing time.
Q3. These days, we are a part of multigenerational workforce. What do you suggest to manage the needs of the multigenerational workforce?
Satish: Diversity is in fact a boon not a bane for an organisation. But the important factor is the leadership. The leader has to understand the cultural differences of people coming from different environment. The leader has also to understand the way the minds of young people are different from the middle aged and the elderly. We have to feel and drive social justice and not only care for the bottom line.
Diversity is also important as are the skills. It helps in problem solving provided the leader is able to leverage the inherent advantage of a diverse workforce.
Q4. According to you what are the top 5 challenges to leadership effectiveness?
Satish: Here the 5 Challenges;
- Developing managerial effectiveness : Leader decides what to do while the manager works on how to do. While there is no doubt that it’s important to find out what to do in any given circumstances, but implementation depends on how to do which the manager must work out. So the leader has to also act as a manager in most cases and this is challenging indeed.
- Understanding team members requirement and aligning them to companies mission : The second challenge for a good leader is to understand the member’s skills and requirement. Further they have to align them to the company’s mission. Leader must understand the company’s mission clearly, be committed to it and have the communication ability to imbibe the same among the team members.
- Ability to handle change: Everything today is changing faster than ever. Business environment which is depending upon various factors most importantly change in technology is subject to fast change. The leader must be able to manage change by motivating his/her team.
- Understanding reasons for attributes and handling its impact: In the fast pace world, offering various new avenues of expenditure, the desires of people are also rising more than ever. At the same time, the organisations are always on the lookout for the right people. Both these factors have resulted in high level of attrition in most companies. It’s indeed a big challenge of a leader today to train the new comers so that they jell with the existing team.
- Understanding and managing the ever changing needs of the customers – internal and external: Due to intense competition, and heavy dose of multimedia communication, the customers need more and more benefits. The value for money from the point of view of customer has become extremely important. It challenge to understand the growing needs and desire of the customer and ensure that the organization is able to satisfy the same.
Q5. How a leader can inspire others?
Satish: There are various ways through which a leader can motivate his/her team. Some of these are listed below:
- First of all, leader must be committed to his/her mission which should be aligned with the vision of organization. It’s only their understanding and commitment which helps the leader to infuse the same enthusiasm among the staff members.
- There are six different styles of leadership. Leader today must adopt his leadership styles as per the needs of his team. They must also understand that the environment in which they are working is subject to change. The communication skill of the leader has to be excellent in order they can motivate the team. Today, people are subject to so many distractions that to focus on one thing has become more challenging than ever.
- The leader must be abreast with the latest developments in the technology which is fast changing. Many principles and products become obsolete because of the on slot of the new technology. A leader who doesn’t keep pace with the latest technology will not be able to motivate his people.
- The leader can inspire their team only by living the values which he/she may desire their team to adopt. Nobody is just following the rules because the manager tells them to do so and he himself is not practicing. So the old cliché” Practice what you preach” has come to the forefront and must be acted upon.
Q6. Share your mantra to guide change in an organisation, a project or a team.
- First of all the leader has to decide what is there to change. Change cannot be implemented without clearly defining the reasons for the change
- Every change is likely to affect some people physically and emotionally. While developing these strategy to change both these have to be factored. They should not be ignored.
- One cannot expect to bring about a change successfully unless all members of the team are sold to the idea. Communication is critical. Making team member understand the process as well as the need will go a long way to motivate people. Training wherever necessary should be implemented.
- Once the process for the change is developed, the members of the organization are mentally prepared the support structure for those who need is put in place, the change can be effected with minimum disruption.
Satish Kakri is an author, motivational speaker and an executive coach. A flair for writing and public speaking has always been his passion. He has diverse work experience including managerial positions, international trading and running an NGO (Nimble Foundation) and a training company (S. K. MEC. Pvt. Ltd.). His published works involves – a) ‘My Mind Speaks’ b) ‘Power of Positive Poetry’ c) ‘Management Goals through Poetry’ and ‘The Bhagwad Gita’- Translation in English.