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Coach-Soch: What is right and wrong for a leader?

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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. This column is to provoke the reader to think more. And to sensitise that each individual or organisation is unique, and the answers would depend on the situation, the difference in organisational culture, context, etc.

Coach-Soch: What is right and wrong for a leader?
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.
Is the founder moody? Is the CEO alone in the decision-making process? Do they play favourites?
Don’t they have their durbar? Don’t they have a busy calendar otherwise? So how do they recharge their batteries?
How do they do a fact-check for every data thrown at them?
Who do they check in with during their decision-making process for any of their queries or worries?
Isn’t this why they say, ‘it’s lonely at the top’?


Inverted data-to-wisdom pyramid 
Every leader works with the construct of the “inverted pyramid,” where the wider circumference of data is filtered. The next layer, thinner than the previous and beneath the previous, distils the data into information. Information into knowledge. Knowledge into wisdom.
It is prior experience, when combined with the ability to use questions, becomes that filtrate. This very act helps in decision-making. While some of us make presentations of over 20 slides of data/observations etc., the leader would use those into their filter and take a final call.
The accuracy and trustworthiness of each layer of this inverted pyramid are important.
Leadership style 
What type of decision-maker are you?
Is there any specific style that’s better than others? Should you even compare leadership styles or play to your strengths to fit your organisational culture?
Can your leadership style change frequently? Or can it change depending on the situation?
Is it okay for the leaders to show their emotions in public? Or will it be perceived as a sign of weakness?
If you are running a large company in public view, should your social media statements be moderated? Just like your emotions? Or does the current world allow every leader to have a public persona, which could be different from their private lives?


To what extent should your work come into the home and personal life come into the workplace? Or can you balance them as the situation demands? Is it even possible to? Especially during the pandemic and the aftermath of working from anywhere, have we broken the boundaries of work and personal lives being intertwined and even intruding into one another?
Is taking a holiday a sign of weakness? Or does it showcase that everyone needs to recharge and that the organisation has sufficient leadership bench strength to function in your absence?
Is it necessary to show that you work even while on holiday and keep calling your colleagues? Doesn’t that set wrong (pressures) expectations from others in the team?
There are no rights or wrongs. But there has to be the consistency of the code of conduct that applies to all. So, the self-governance aspect is what appropriate moral conduct is all about. And in that lies the answers to many a question.
–The author, Srinath Sridharan, Corporate Advisor and Independent markets commentator. For other articles in the Coach Soch series, click here.


 
Note To Readers

Note: 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 life stages of organisations and ideas.

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