‘All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.’
– Martin Fisher
I have always believed that inspiration can be found even in the most mundane of things. And recently, I found myself looking at leadership with a ‘brand new’ perspective. A recent retail purchase brought to surface a host of interesting insights into the qualities that define leadership –
It’s very important that you get comfortable with your running shoe before you hit the marathon track. Getting comfortable with a new pair of shoes takes time. Light jogging followed by trial runs Is the ideal way to get ready for a marathon. Same goes for leadership. You need to learn the right skills and adapt habits that reflect the same. You need to practise and behave like a leader, every day, rather than waiting on the day that you will be given a baton and declared a leader.
Most of us would agree to this point that different shoes are needed for different adventures. There are different shoes tailored to different needs like – trek shoes, soccer spikes, running shoes, basketball shoes and the list is long. You need to be smart in selecting your shoes. Same goes for leadership; you can’t use the same leadership skill to solve different problems.
“What got you here won’t get you there”.
You need to be smart enough to adapt as a leader to the ever changing needs of your team and organisation.
You can’t wear formal shoes or any single pair of shoes, for that matter, all day. You Always come home to step out of formal shoes, get into comfortable slippers and Then dawn on a different pair when stepping out with friends.
The parallel to draw here is that you can’t always carry yourself as a leader with your team members, you need to also sit with them, have lunch, join them beyond office hours and develop a good rapport with them. It will help you understand your team more and make better leadership decisions.
“Do you have more options?”
“A little tighter than this, maybe?”
“Do you have something more broad and comfy?”
Each one of us is familiar with these statements. Our preference is our comfort. Will you buy a shoe on the salesman recommendation even if you are not comfortable? Of course, not!
Same is with leaders. They need to trust their team mates but not blindly. A leader needs to be aware of what’s next, and most importantly, make decisions that are good for his team. Considering different opinions from the team members might be a good practice but it is a leader’s responsibility to take the final call. A biased decision will do more harm than good, in the long run.
The next time you are buying a new pair, be sure to practice these simple rules – After all, a leader is as a leader does!