Life works in the most mysterious ways. Recently, I got a chance to take care of an abandoned fledging. Hurt and struggling with weak wings and injured claws – My wife and I picked it up and took it inside our house. It wasn’t long before we heard two ‘Bulbul’ birds chirping furiously in our corridor. They were clearly looking for the little one.
“Show them the little birdie you got” – commanded my Dad.
“Let them see their little one is safe.“
We showed it to the parents and then went ahead with taking care of its wounds. The fledging was with us for 9 days before it healed completely and finally flew away. These 9 days taught me a number of valuable leadership lessons that every leader should be mindful of.
In-depth knowledge is indispensable to true leadership. Knowledge can be gathered from books, newspapers, and talking to people with more experience. Like in this case, my Dad was the source of knowledge. “How do I take care of a fledgling?“ “What is good for it and what is bad?”
Similarly, a leader should know what is good or bad for his own team.
It was not easy for me to take care of the birdie alone. I took the help of my wife, but I observed that she was not able to manage it well, either.
“No, no stop it, you will hurt the birdie!”
– I found myself saying a lot of times. She finally gave up and that’s when I realised that delegation doesn’t mean simply giving the task to someone, but that one needs to enable the person to do the job, as well. All good leaders when they delegate any task, they make sure they enable the team mate first.
“Why birdie is looking weak today?” Mom asked me one day. I didn’t have an answer.
“Why not, you have been looking after it?”
– she asked. I realised that same as a leader who is accountable for all the actions and decisions for present or future, I was accountable for birdie’s health. People will hold you accountable for all ups and downs, wins and losses. You need to accept this and behave accordingly.
This is one thing which I struggled with Badly, throughout those 9 days. I kept getting impatient about when the birdie will get well? Will it fly? What will happen when it flies?
As a leader, you need to be patient. You can’t rush things because if you do, you might set your team for a failure. However, being patient doesn’t also mean that people can take their own sweet time to show progress, what it means is that you need to set up small milestones for your team and celebrate each of their achievement. Furthermore, you need to keep faith that all the hard work will eventually pay off.
Taking care of the little one was not at all easy. I saw it trying to fly and fall down on the ground too many times! I would get hurt and worried each time it fell. I took him inside the room and wouldn’t let him fly.
“By doing this you are making it weak. It’s a bird and it will fly, let it struggle, this will make the birdie stronger”
– advised my Dad. I had learnt one more lesson. As a leader, you should let your teammates try and fail. It will make them stronger. All you can and should do is be around them to keep a watch whether they are safe or not.
I have seen our leaders – Arun and Mr Bala live up to these traits every day. That’s why we have survived as a team during the tough times of Covid.
Do you have all these traits as a leader? If not, what are you waiting for? Try to learn and practice these traits.