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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