Leadership

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Do We Need Experience To Lead?


Udayakumar Nalinasekaren
Dec 21, 2010

Light At The End Of TunnelThe video below set me thinking. What are various aspects of leadership? How are they related to experience for leadership effectiveness? These were the questions that surfaced. I came up with the following thoughts:

Leadership is all about effecting change from the established routine. Positive leadership is about changing a system to be more productive for improved performance in socially acceptable ways.

There are four distinct leadership environments that come to my mind. They are

  1. growing something from ground up
  2. turning around something from a failure situation
  3. sustaining an existing system with continuous improvement and
  4. shutting down something that does not work anymore

In real life, changes influencing one environment cause transitions to other environments. For example, what has been grown requires sustaining, what was being sustained fails for some reason and needs to be turned around, and so on. So leadership has to be sensitive to the effect of change and readjust constantly. In large systems a combination of more than one of these environments can exist simultaneously. 

First aspect of leadership is identifying the change required. This requires a vision about desired end state performance from the system. Comparing that vision with the current system performance exposes opportunities for change. 

Second aspect of leadership is to identify parts of identified change which have not been tried by the leader before and hence smooth execution of that change is not guaranteed. These expose the opportunities for risktakes.
 
Third aspect of leadership is the establishment of belief and resolve in oneself that the change can be accomplished. This is the leadership platform for action.
 
Fourth aspect of leadership is to get people in the system to

  1. understand the need for change 
  2. know what does the change warrant from each element in the system and
  3. hope that outcomes could be guaranteed without system degradation.

Fifth aspect of leadership is to find and bring the right set of people/ resources who can and will execute the actions for change and empower them.
 
Sixth aspect of leadership is to monitor the execution and make course corrections as desired.
 
Seventh aspect of leadership is to communicate progress to everyone so that their hope of accomplishing the desired state becomes firmer.

The question I think we need to answer is - which aspect here requires past experience for the leader to be successful?

 


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