This one came about after a detailed discussion with my key account management team at OUR VIVAHA (www.ourvivaha.com)
The young team , comprising almost wholly of women (yeah! we are pioneers in empowering great women and future leaders) were very animated in their deliberations and wanted to understand a few qualities that ensure that you are a better manager than your contemporary, and I used all my 20 years experience to give them 5 pointers that I Think help make you a better manager.
- Balance. Sanjeev and I were both wrong – balancing intelligence and experience is more important than either one. Strategy versus operational execution, ideology versus practicality, intuition versus logic, passion versus calm. The key to balance is knowing when you need one versus the other and not going overboard in either direction.
- Humility. It’s okay to be arrogant or young and full of yourself, but it also leaves you wide open to all sorts of issues like shortsightedness and believing your own BS. Humility leads to objectivity. It’s also an important leadership quality; if you can be humble, then confidence and strength can’t be far behind.
- Objectivity. Since executives are by definition immersed in their environment, perspective is as critical as it is difficult to achieve. One of the most powerful tools in decision-making is being able to take a step back, ask others what they think, and see the big picture.
- Teaming. I once had a boss who asked me if I ever looked back to see if anyone was following me. I was more than a little head-strong in the early days. I can’t overstate the importance of team, meaning aligning with peers, working with customers to solve problems, and understanding what being part of a company means.
- Knowing what you don’t know. It’s good to be intelligent, logical, and able to wrestle tough problems to the ground and reason them out. But knowing what you don’t know is just as important. Until you know what you don’t know, you won’t ask the tough questions and arrive at the right conclusions.
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This is one is coming after a long time since I was away on business travel ….
One of my colleagues at GramVaani technologies ( http://www.gramvaani.org) asked me…”Ashish, we are a startup now, but after some years we will definitely grow, and when that happens I would like to be prepared to climb the corporate ladder”
This set me thinking and I realized that many ambitious young professionals aspire to know how to get to the top and dont seem to have a clue.
This post is meant to answer some of the questions that you too might have on how to get to the top in a corporate.
Five Qualities for Climbing the Ladder to Success
- Flexibility. Willingness to change direction, do what it takes, let go of personal agenda, and swallow pride, all for the greater good and the overall health of the business. Also being a team player when it counts most. There’s a maturity factor, for sure. This is the trait that surprises people most.
- Honesty. Courage to look people – especially customers and authority figures – straight in the eye and tell them the genuine truth, regardless of consequences. Telling the story straight without sugar-coating bad news. “Yes men” are toxic to companies. Ethics and morality are related.
- Leadership. This is not as complex or subjective as you might think. Leadership is the ability to encourage people to follow you, especially when they don’t have to. It also enables executives to drive consensus, or pull a diverse group together, united behind common goals, strategies and plans.
- Accountability. Willingness to take responsibility, own a problem, and be held accountable over the long haul, regardless of the risk. Maturity to take it on the chin without pointing fingers and wasting time on CYA activity. Stickwithitness and loyalty are related.
- Intelligence. Anybody who denies this is full of it. Everything else can be learned, but not this. Forget old notions of book smart versus street smart. You have to be both. Ability to rapidly digest and analyze information, reason, solve complex problems, and make critical decisions.
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