My leadership style can be characterized as Servant Leadership, a style that puts the focus on doing everything possible for those being lead to succeed. Being a serving leader is a choice one needs to make every day.
I moved into Management three years out of University. This was a significant departure from work specific to my Electrical Engineering degree which I believed would insulate me from the burden of dealing with people. In Management people are the primary focus. In Management success is measured by how well others perform. I love the quote by Jack Welch:
Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. ~Jack Welch
If I had to assess my effectiveness in those first years of Management, I would say I was mediocre. I had my shining moments and also those that tarnished my shine.
In 1991, I heard the concept of Leadership expressed as separate construct from Management in a sermon by Bill Hybels at Willow Creek Community Church. I also learned that Leadership was not the result of fairy dust sprinkled upon a select few at birth but a skill that can be learned. It was in the same year I attended my first Leadership Summit at Willow Creek which has since grown to become the Global Leadership Summit. This is an annual must attend event for me.
Leaders, to maintain effectiveness, need to increase their leadership skills by 5% to 10% year over year! ~Bill Hybels
I have been on a quest to grow my leadership skills ever since the transformational experience of my first summit. I have read hundreds of books on leadership and have worked diligently to apply my learnings in any setting where I find myself leading be it the 14 years I coached youth soccer, the 2 years I lead groups struggling to restore their marriages, or the 28+ years in industry as a people manager and a project manager.
In 2012, I created a six session leadership training course which I used to help grow the leadership skills of beginning leaders in my organization at our home office in the US and in a satellite office in India. My favorite feedback of all time came after the first session was when I was told, “The course was transformational.”
One six session training course cannot magically transform someone into an effective leader but, for those interested, it can whet their appetite to learn more on their own or help them understand that leadership is not for them. I have been a leadership mentor for a number of the people working on my teams.
In India it seems that everyone in business wants to be a lead. It’s a cultural drive wherein prestige accompanies a leader and increases with the number of direct reports. So, for those not already in leadership, I created a leadership primer training course to help them understand what a leader does, the personal cost/benefit of being a leader, and to hopefully enlighten them that leadership is a completely different skill set that the skills they had grown to be effective in their Engineering roles.
I created this blog to share some of my 28+ years of leadership learning. Teaching/Mentoring neophyte leaders is a passion of mine and, through this blog, I hope to provide a bit of Insight for those on their leadership journey.