We all, at certain point of time, have attended highly over hyped “Leadership” trainings. Why over hyped? Cause most of these trainings do not add any value. Yes they obviously help people to learn some jargons and managerial talks but that is far from what leadership is. Wake up corporate. Instead of wasting money on these irrelevant redundant courses, build some processes to incubate leaders. This is one of the major criteria which immediately distinguish a great company from the rest. I have seen multi nationals who truly believe in grooming leaders and then there are the rest who chooses to show on paper how they care about their employees but when it comes to action or implementation, it’s simply not there.
One of the most popular activities in a leadership workshop is “Team Building” and invariably one of the instructors will come and throw this one liner “There is no I in a team”. This is where we all get it wrong. If “I” am not there in the team why should I even care for it? Now believe me I do understand what they mean by that but truthfully they are putting across a very theoretic point. Earth calling to idealists, come down, wake up, it’s no more a dream time. People were, are and will always be motivated by their personal needs. Especially when you are talking about the people you send to these trainings. We are not living in Utopia where Mormons and idealist saints move around. We have basic necessities to worry about. Don’t assume that everybody has reached their self actualization phase of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We still belong to the bottom three layers where the only motivation is personal needs.
Nobody ever defined leadership as selflessness if that be the case get some saints to run your company and within no time am sure your CSR value will go up, instead of the shareholder value. As an employee you are asked to align your personal goals with organizational goals, that’s fair enough if I was an employee my goal would have been to earn money, grow up the ladder, learn stuffs yada yada yada. But as an organization your goal should also be aligned with your employee’s goal. Only way to create that is a win-win condition. Don’t expect your employees to be selfless when organizations are certainly not. You can’t really expect everybody to forget about themselves and practice the learning’s of Geeta. Let’s be real or as Jack Welch’s mom used to say “Don’t kid yourselves”.
So enough of cribbing of what’s not being done and what’s wrong. Point is what’s the solution? How do great organizations groom amazing leaders? How do they continue doing it? Point is very simple they practice it. No not a 3 day course. A lifelong practice to cultivate a culture inside the organization. Empowering people, pilot testing their skills. Taking risks. Now there was this chicken that crossed the road amidst a speeding traffic. And there was this eagle story. An eagle laid an egg on the top of a mountain and egg rolled off and somehow didn’t break and landed up in a chicken farm. Now the eagle grew up thinking it’s a chicken. Grew strong had wide wings but never attempted to fly cause he was told to believe by fellow chickens that they can’t fly. Now this poor eagle used to stare and admire the high flying eagles from the ground. Now the bright employees are like that eagle, waiting to be unleashed. Now don’t send the eagle to the 3 day “Believe you are an Eagle” course, it won’t help him. All he needs is confidence from the top, nurturing. Practicing and the eagle will fly. Let your employees fly. Have trust in them. If you let them they would not fly away from you rather take you on their shoulders while cruising down the blue sky.
Process of incubating the leadership and establishing a culture in the organization is not something a corporate would do for employee welfare. It’s for them. Having an energetic, motivated workforce would ensure your exponential growth. Today most of us reading this belong to the category according as Peter Drucker terms as “knowledge workers”. These people needs challenges every day to keep them motivated. A 3 day training and back to the same work is not a leadership grooming. It’s not magic. There is no shortcut. Structured approached of constantly taking risks and empowering employees is what grooms leaders.
By the way all the above views are of mine (Arnab Ray) and mine alone. If I have offended somebody then am sorry but I think I am making sense. In today’s dynamic world yesterday’s tactics are useless. Feel free to attack my views, support them, or comment on whatever you feel like. Would love to hear all of your reactions. You can also ask any questions if you have @ Arnab.co