Sunday, November 06, 2011

The makings of a great leader

This world needs great men and women. And it is a terrible thought that some young people might have fallen through the cracks of society their potential lost to the world. Perhaps there might have been a young person who could have come up with a cure for AIDS or a lasting solution for a mental condition called Schizophrenia. May be there could have been a young person who could have come up with a solution for poverty or hunger. May be a young person who could have created a new kind of robot that can think for itself.
The thought that such young people have not been discovered, that they have been overlooked or that they have simply faded away is a terrifying thought. Because these young people could have been leaders.
Leadership was a subject which was touched on 'The Final Step', a workshop conducted by John Keells Foundation for the benefit of undergraduates of Sri Lanka universities. This year's programme was held in collaboration with the career guidance unit (CGU) at Sri Jayewardenepura University.

Challenge the process

"Leadership is trying to achieve a shared goal. It exists at all levels. Whether you are in a family, in an organization or within a country, you have to exhibit signs of leadership. It is absolutely essential if you are thinking of growth, if you are thinking of innovation, if you are thinking of doing new things. It goes beyond individuals, communities and countries and you will see that in practices, ideas and philosophies. Leadership doesn't exist only in people but in other things as well", said chairman, Environmental Foundation Ltd., Sharmini Ratwatte.
In her address Ratwatte drew from her own experience and readings and outlined what you need to be a good leader. She emphasized the fact that if you are going to lead, you have to challenge the process. And that means experimenting and taking risks.
You need to get other people excited about it, you need to tell them about it, rally people to your cause. Each person has different strengths and you need to have diversity in your group. You have to collaborate with others, these are things you learn on the way.
"Steve Jobs was not just a leader. Mark Zuckerberg is not just a leader. They are called disruptive innovators. They did things unheard of. They did thing differently, they changed the course.

Think differently

They had skills in them that made them innovators. You need to ask questions and observe. You need to network - talk to people from different disciplines. Today the world needs people who can think differently. What I learned about leadership is you have to be passionate about your goals. You need to be hardy and take setbacks. Stay on course. You need to be organized and have good planning," said Ratwatte.
In his address Director, Gateway Group, Dr. Harsha Alles divided individuals and teams into two groups: High System and Low System. He said that some people work with extremely good systems and that others have no system at all. There are also people with high empathy and low empathy.

"If you lead with low systems and low empathy you and the organization will be in chaos. You may be very intelligent and an organized high system person but if you have no empathy you will be considered a very cold person. Then there is the third category with high empathy where you are considered a good person but with no organization. So we must all target high systems and high empathy. Especially in Sri Lanka you need brains and hearts. Then you can be successful", said Alles.
Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka (pvt) Ltd Sriyan de S. Wijeyeratne summarized everything said before into IQ, EQ and FQ.

Productive time

"When it comes to IQ you are all the highest in the country. EQ involves empathy, concern for others and then there is FQ - Flexibility quotient. IQ, EQ and FQ are necessary for a good leader. Ask yourself: Are you practicing or scoring? You go to university and study but you cannot perform in the work place. Does that make sense? How much are you worth for an hour? We have only about 40 hours of productive time every week," said Wijeyeratne.
Wijeyeratne also divided people into two categories.
"There are X people and there are Y people. X people don't trust others. They think that people cannot contribute to business, that other people cannot work in a team, that others will not want to be motivated.
Then there are Y people. They genuinely believe everybody is talented, everybody can contribute to the organization, everyone wants to work in the team, everyone loves to work and contribute.
X types of people are managers and Y types of people are leaders.
Courtesy - Daily News by Ishara JAYAWARDENA