16 years ago in Singapore I gave a taxi driver a business card to take me to a particular address. At the last point he circled round the building. His meter read 11$ but he took only 10. I said Henry, your meter reads 11$ how come you are taking only 10. He said Sir, I am a taxi driver, I am supposed to be bringing you straight to the destination. Since I did not know the last spot, I had to circle around the building. Had I brought you straight here, the meter would have read 10$. Why should you be paying for my ignorance? He said Sir, legally, I can claim 11$ but ethically I am entitled to only 10. He further added that Singapore is a tourist destination and many people come here for three or four days. After clearing the immigrations and customs, the first experience is always with the taxi driver and if that is not good, the balance three to four days are not pleasant either. He said Sir I am not a taxi driver, I am the Ambassador of Singapore without a diplomatic passport. In my opinion he probably did not go to school beyond the 8th grade, but to me he was a professional. To me his behavior reflected pride in performance and character. That day I learnt that one needs more than professional qualification to be a professional.
According to NAASCOM 90% of graduates are unemployed. The same sentiment is shared by corporate leaders. Holistic education has two components.
One without the other is incomplete. A professional leader is a leader who needs to manage a business needs to wear many hats. He needs to be a team leader / team player, a psychologist, an administrator, a visionary, a great sales person, disciplined, competent, a great communicator, and most importantly is someone who takes ownership.
A leader cannot succeed without a good team and there are no readymade teams. Many a times you hear that the leader is good, but his advisors are bad. If we were to look a little deeper into this we would understand this statement as not true. The important question to ask here is who picks his advisors? It’s always the leader. We get advisors in life not the kind of people we want but the kind of people we are.
A crooked Entrepreneur will have a crooked Attorney and a crooked accountant as advisors. An honest entrepreneur will have an honest Attorney and an honest accountant as advisor. One may temporarily get wrong advisors, but in the long run it will not last because the comfort levels are missing. Same is true with friends. We get friends of the kind of people we are but not the kind of people we want.
A leader has to be an expert in dealing with all kind of emotions. Humans are creatures of emotions and not logic. And we all go through emotions of love, happiness, anger, fear and so on. A leader keeps his team motivated and their morale high.
A good administrator ensures smooth day to day functioning of the operations. Ensuring that systems and reporting are maintained, policies and procedures are followed etc. are a mark of good administrator. A good administrator must monitor processes at every level. They set quality standards and benchmarks, inspect carefully and then expect positive results.
A visionary is a person who has the ability to see the invisible. It is not problem solving, but pre-empting and preventing and if we can see the invisible, we can achieve the impossible
Anyone who sells a product, service or an idea is a Sales Person. Based on this definition, who is not selling? In fact a good leader is a great sales person to sell his ideas all the time.
Nothing in this world has ever been achieved without discipline. Can an athlete be a athlete without discipline. It is experienced that if we discipline ourselves, other don’t have to and if we don’t, others will discipline us. A leader recognizes that discipline is a track to run on and that discipline gives freedom.
What is the difference between skill and competence? Leaders not only have the Skill which is an ability, but also competence that is ability along with willingness and desire to do the job. There are many skillful people who are totally incompetent and therefore are not Leaders.
IT has increased the speed of communication tremendously. No doubt, but unless we know how to and what to communicate, we will only mis-communicate a lot faster, won’t we? Improper communication leads to misunderstanding and losses of millions of dollars per day. A leader is a good communicator that builds bridges and breaks barriers with his team.
Every person has a owner mentality or employee mentality. A leader has the mentality of ownership and feeling of belonging. He takes charge, accept responsibility, and consider themselves self employed and the truth is they are self employed because if they don’t work for themselves, who are they working for? At the end of the month don’t they take their earnings at home? A person with an employee mentality will never accept responsibility and will always blame others making excuses for their non performance. A person who accepts ownership, their decision making and problem solving ability is much higher.