[ To Express, To Reflect, To Give Back ]

Leading smart

Rajesh Setty who writes an interesting blog at “Life Beyond Code” has offered some tips in an article titled “Leading smart IT professionals”. It is pretty good though in some cases uncoventional. However, I think there is nothing IT (as in information technology) about his tips. It can be applied to leading any type of people albeit smart.

A quick and brief listing of his tips in my own words (just so I will remember them even better!) :

Always ask, first, for suggestions and solutions to problems before you offer yours. If you happen to work with smart people, one of them will likely suggest what you might have in your mind. That is almost always better for the team.

Always encourage successful failures. A failure is always better than never attempting. After all, we can only learn from failures. Make your team and working style a safe place for your people to not just take up risk but be able to gracefully fail and learn from them. Encourage them to share their experiences; A failed experience is the greatest asset when making a second attempt.

Introduce healthy changes in regular intervals. Even if the type of work is reasonably unpredictable on a daily-basis, human mind is infinitely capable of adjusting to such jobs. Give people, new roles and responsibilities every now and then. If you are doing the same thing for more than 2-3 years, your “marginal learning” from it may be less.

Understand that everyone wants to grow. No matter how experienced and how young someone is, everyone aspires to grow as soon as they can. Thats the nature of any aggressive smart employee. Understand their expectations and help them set reasonable short-term and long-term goals. Always align them (some if not all) to your team’s goals. Reward every accomplishment. A reward need not be in $$$, a strong appreciation in front a group, especially with senior management, will probably go longer than a small cheque could. Of course, $$$ should come into the picture sooner than they ask!

Engage in conversations and activities outside of work. In 21st century work culture, people likely spend most part of their active day at work and with colleagues. Indeed, work can take some fun and bit of other things too. Avoid setting monotonous routines such as regular friday team lunches or Monday bowling nights! Go beyond what most leaders do. Be creative and let your team understand that you will always bring some cheer when they badly need it.

I like this quote on leadership (more quotes)

“The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind in others the conviction and will to carry on.” – Walter Lippman

This will happen when you make each one of them feel as leaders themselves.

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