Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Leading Through Compassion, Building to Last: Chapter 2

 Leading Through Compassion, Building to Last: Chapter 2

for a much better understanding of this follow-upiece
Here is the second chapter in a three part piece on 'Compassionate Leadership'. Do check the first part for a much better understanding of this follow-up piece.

Eventually, be it a Manager, a Leader or a Coach, all have the ultimate objective of leading individuals to attain certain desired results. However, here’s the way I look at it, a manager can be attributed with Transactional Leadership – focusing on the Now. A leader can be attributed with Transformational Leadership – focusing on the strategic, long-term goals through continuous change. However, it is the coach, who needs to take a deep-rooted approach of Transcendental Leadership - focusing in the overall growth of the individuals within a team. Needless to say, none of these are mutually exclusive roles. A Manager will have to time and again keep driving the larger strategic goals amidst his operational gains. A leader will have to play multiple roles from time to time, be it managing some crucial projects or coaching his troops and building the leadership pipeline.
During our fast-paced roles as leaders and managers, our energies are often conserved in achieving tactical or strategic goals. Most of our evaluation mechanisms are often centered around ‘the achieved’ or ‘the not achieved’ part of an individual or team’s objectives. Yes, there are detailed planning sessions, periodic reviews and root—cause analyses at the start and end of each project. But as indicated earlier, the underlying objective is always ‘the project’ at the core of all such discussions. Let’s be candid, most often in our demanding roles as leaders or managers, we have a water-tight mechanism of dealing with our people. We share objectives, make people accountable, empower them, conduct periodic reviews, share feedback, evaluate, hold them responsible and at the end of a grueling year, judge their performance. Meets, Does not meets or Exceeds our Expectation. Period. Absolutely nothing wrong with the entire process and certainly all of us are doing it with utmost sincerity and integrity. However, a good Coach needs to focus on the HOWs, WHYs and essentially WHY NOTs and HOW ELSEs? It demands the Coach to invest much more in an individual and do all that he can do, to make the individual successful. It is here that the success earned has a far long-lasting effect in transforming both the coach and coachee. 
According to a research carried out by the Australian School of business, across 5600-odd employees in 77 organizations, there's a powerful link between productivity and what has been identified as ‘Compassionate Leadership’. It is the ability of leaders to spend more time and effort developing and recognizing their people, welcoming feedback, including criticism, and fostering co-operation among staff. Out of all of the various elements in a business, the ability of a leader to be compassionate – that is, “to understand people's motivators, hopes and difficulties and to create the right support mechanism to allow people to be as good as they can be" – has the greatest correlation with profitability and productivity. Compassion in this context means taking responsibility for the growth and development of others, something that should be every leader's goal. Without this motivation we are on our own with the power we have, rather than using it to benefit our world and work. Without this motivation we're not really leading.
Yes, the pace of our constantly evolving operations and the wide span of our direct reports don’t allow us to slow down and exhibit Compassion at will. Eventually, we do have to identify the stars and the also-rans within our processes and categorize them accordingly. However, time and again, a leader or a manager will need to pick up these ‘also-rans’ and try to fathom – “why haven’t they been running as fast as they potentially can?” Just like a relay-race, ultimately processes are team sport, where success is determined by the speed of the slowest rather than the fastest.
It is these slowest that’ll need a manager’s timely intervention and emphatic ‘coaching’ more often. It is these also-rans and underperformers who’ll need a little bit of push and nudge to ‘be what they have the potential to be!’ It is here that good coach will have to continually flex within the ‘directive and supportive’ leadership scale to truly nurture and extract the most out his coachee. 

Everyone needs that one slight nudge

This is the second chapter in a three part piece on 'Compassionate Leadership'. Do check the conclusive third part to get a complete dope on your role as a Compassionate Leader.

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