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Leadership RE(de)fined

2017-03-25 09:08:12 来源:职工文化网 浏览:592

 


 

Last week, Global Workforce Management (GWFM) organised a HR Roundtable at SP Jain Global School of Management, Mumbai. The topic was ‘Engaging gender equality for organisational success.’ I was invited to deliver the keynote address on ‘Leadership Redfined.’

I was a bit perplexed. What did this mean? So, my first action (like most of us) was to google it. Google didn’t let me down – it never does – it gave me nearly 6.5 lac results! Phew. That is a lot for anyone to go through!

I was stuck that almost all the material googled spoke of the topic in relation to either leadership skills, ethics, gender inequality, inclusion, teamwork, governance, integrity, etc…all that sounded so clichéd to me.

And I thought that since ‘redefinition’ means defining it in a new way, I could define it the way I want!

Leadership refined

What are the words that are often used to describe leadership – authority, control, command, superiority. I asked myself what if I refined superiority with ‘supportive’. What if I chose ‘emotional’ over ‘control?’ And replaced authority with ‘sensitivity’. Would that make a person less of a leader? NO! What a wonderful thought! Leadership refined!

Leadership is not a definition of words

Leadership is how you refine yourself, it stands for who you are, what you stand for, and it is of the choices that you make in your life. Leadership is NOT a management jargon. It is not limited to your organisation – it goes much beyond that. I think the word ‘leadership’ has suffered from the ‘management’ tag for far too long.

The time has come for us to flip the word 'leadership' inwards and give it a new flavour.

When I just cleared my class X exams, my brother got my admission done in a commerce college. His dream was to see me become a chartered accountant. The rebellious me instead chose science and joined a suburban college. In my second year of junior college, I relocated to a college in the city. I wanted to have a taste of the city life. That was my first step towards refining myself. My first conscious act of being my own leader and not letting my dreams get murdered at the hands of my brother. Since then, when I look back at my journey, I see that the small steps that I took then have shaped me to who I am today.

Leadership begins from self

For me, leadership begins from self. You are a leader if you are someone who wants to change herself/himself.

Remember, your professional growth stems from your personal growth and not the other way round.

Over the course of my professional journey, I have learned several lessons on leadership. They all have one thing in common – focus on your strengths. I didn’t set out to be a leader. I chose a career of doing what I enjoyed. At the same time, I took risks of getting into jobs, in sectors, of which I had absolutely no knowledge!

When I joined Steel Authority of India Limited at their Bhilai Steel Plant as an Occupational Health Trainer, it was a first for SAIL too. No one had an idea what the role meant. An outside consultant was hired to give contours to the whole OSHA set up that consists of Safety, Health and Environment. Along the way all of us learnt what occupational health meant. We grew together. We defined and then redefined what we wanted to achieve. It did not matter I was a greenhorn with just a year or two of work experience. I still became the leader in my vocation. My 11 years stint there gave me the opportunity to not only sharpen the role but set in place the whole process.

I have since then learned, that if you have to grow, never take a job that you are absolutely sure you can do! Take that risk of becoming a leader of your choices. 


Leadership is about creating positive change

To me, leadership is also about creating a positive change. Now you don’t have to be designated as a leader to do this! Imagine if each one of us with our actions and deeds could create an enabling environment…imagine how the world would change. In 2012 I took the conscious decision of moving from my comfort zone of corporate social responsibility and plunging into the world of policy and advocacy. It was an opportunity to co-create a better me, an opportunity to diversify my knowledge.

Leadership is about building another ladder

My stints have also made me realise that “if I don’t like the ladder I am on, I could build another ladder.” I now free lance, something that I would have never thought of doing ever.

A couple of months I started consulting for a startup. I must confess – I wanted a taste of the startup culture. It was a new territory for me. The CEO wanted a communications roadmap but had not much idea how to go about it. So, in a way, for both of us it was a new territory. We were both on a journey of discovery. Much like what it was two decades ago at Bhilai.

Leadership is about being agile

The last two months I have been on a roller coaster ride. Used to annual plans and budgets, I am on a path that is extremely agile where even monthly plans are fluid and everything can change as the business environment changes. This is all so exhilarating and liberating and I am constantly learning. I have realised that I had taken certain things for granted. That I could thrive only in a world that process driven and had all systems in place. It took a startup culture to show me a whole new world out there that was just waiting for me to embrace it.

Leadership is self-discovery

From the above and other experiences along the way, I believe there are several underlying traits that each one of us have that makes us to be leaders in our own unique way. 

Being passionate about what you truly believe in, compassion and empathy, humility and courage to chart your own journey – this is what leadership is all about. Allow me to reiterate – leadership is not about a designation. As a student you can be a leader. As an individual contributor, you can be a leader.

Leadership in this sense is gender agnostic and does not confine itself to any specific role. It is universal and omnipresent. We just need to tap it within ourselves.


I urge you to look within and refine your own meaning to what it means to be a leader.

Take it as a journey of self discovery.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-redefined-sarita-bahl?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BsVZHaiyWOPb8Y8EzhhzDEw%3D%3D

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