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Coach-Soch: Questions a leader must ask

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A short business narrative (of a 3 min read) that sets the context, challenge(s) faced, the type of leadership involved and the questions to ponder about to solve the issues. This is not to give answers; for business and life, in general, is not like a school-guide-book. Instead, this column is to provoke the reader to think more. And to sensitise that each individual or organisation is unique, the answers would depend on the situation, the difference in organisational culture, context, etc.

Coach-Soch: Questions a leader must ask
To question is to think. To think is to introspect. To introspect is to seek. To seek is to be aware. To be aware is when the journey begins.
How does one invest in a company or a founder when that individual does not respond to multiple calls or messages, or emails?
Shocking, especially when that founder seeks advice for a special critical project and then becomes unresponsive for weeks. Yet my gut belief about that individual is excellent. 
Before we jump to conclusions, hang on. The special critical project is still active and important for the long-term survival of that organisation. The founder continues having the same organisational challenges and is caught up on some other fires to put out. The founder is highly capable, with a past proven track record. He has high enthusiasm and motivation. 
The individual has accepted that once he gets involved in high-priority work, he forgets the rest. That has a risk of organisation floundering since the individual (leader) ‘oversees’ the rest of the functions. 
Ideally, with his admission, one would assume that the founder would see his “high priority project” through, even if other aspects of the firm get stalled or stuck. 
Yet, there are contradictions here. 
He gets busy with continuing to oversee the rest of the projects, despite having capable leaders in the firm. And the 'high priority project' suffers.  
Ask and do? 
What should be the founder do? For example, how does the “priority” tag be assigned to projects? How should the founder look at the delegation of responsibilities? How frequently should those organizational leaders be reviewed? 
Assuming that the founder is a hands-on leader and has an open-door policy, rather more proactively has a constant-walkthrough-office and markets leadership style, how does one carve out space for the other CXOs in the firm? 
How does the founder learn to stick to the core project he is formally driving himself to? Who reviews those milestones? When does the founder start handing over his projects to others in the team to drive? How do one drive accountability and responsive leadership across the organization as a culture?  
Reality is harsher 
After all, a founder cannot be everywhere. 
But the reality of a startup or an organization growing quickly is different. It expects the founder to be omnipresent. 
If the firm is a startup having taken funding from external investors, it is also expected to be omnipotent! 
And the external stakeholders like the media expect the founder to be omniscient as well! 
That’s some high pressure to be this “Omni”-Founder. 
Remember that an organization is not built in a day or a year. Accept that. 
One can’t know everything. Therefore, it is okay to say “I don’t know” and seek answers from others. Superhumans are still not here yet. 
Just be a good individual leader with your strengths and knowing that one can’t know everything. Rest will shape up well. 
–The author, Srinath Sridharan, Corporate Advisor and Independent markets commentator.
Note To Readers

(Gender representation of his/he is only representative, and the leadership-learnings here are gender-neutral)  Disclaimer: The above observations are from the author’s experience in coaching, mentoring many individuals and teams across hierarchies, geographies, industries and the life stage of organizations and ideas.

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