Yes, LEADERS can be MADE!
By RINKU BASU
As a leader, I have been an ardent practitioner of situational leadership. It is interesting to have a topic, so complex theorized in such simple words by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson in their book ‘One Minute Manager.’ If you take a look around, everybody is practicing some style of leadership depending on the environment and their characteristics. We usually fail to exercise what is desired, instead, we behave the way our mind stimulates us.
The model makes you drill down your leadership style. Eventually, we find all our behaviors guided by gut feeling or the way we have been treated or coached by superiors. If we think of the best Leader we have ever worked with, isn’t his/ her style similar to ‘One Minute Manager’?
Didn’t s/he always analyze the need for the situation before passing on a verdict?
A ‘situation’ can be determined either by the competence level of an individual, experience or the complexity of the task.
It is imperative for a Leader to understand that all variety of horses cannot run with the same speed and in all types of racing. Even in a similar setup, the same horse cannot score the same every time. Depending on the situation and the variety of horses, they get identified for particular types of races, and they are treated and coached in a manner most appropriate to their breed and race.
Our leadership style indicates two points of view. One is our perception of leadership, and the other is your team’s perception of your leadership style. We often consider our judgment to be accurate and stick on to that form if we are convinced about it being the ideal one. It is the most prominent mistake a Leader makes resulting in a de-motivated and unproductive team. It is of utmost importance for every Leader to know the perception of her team and then alter her leadership style accordingly.
If there was no mirror, could we ever know how we look like? We could have lived imagining our appearances and be okay with it. Understanding the needs of the team help us win their confidence and is supportive in creating an environment of mutual respect.
There is another debate in the management fraternity- ‘Can leadership be acquired?’
There is no right or wrong answer to it. Instead, it comes with the various school of thoughts. Some might believe you are born with it and as a child, if you have always led the group of friends while playing and at school, you emerge as a great leader in the corporate world later and Vice Versa.
Going by my experience and whatever little studies I have done on the topic, I do not support this logic. I had seen great leaders at school not doing great for themselves later in life when they had to take higher responsibilities and leadership roles.
Similarly, I have also seen naïve and so-called ‘backbenchers’ taking up leadership roles later and succeeding enormously in their careers. It is all about how you adapt yourself to the situation and learn as per the need of the hour. Situational leadership provides a perfect illustration of how leaders emerge. It talks about how Leadership is a learnable quality if you are ready to invest time and efforts into it.
It is no rocket science but just a matter of practicing the right style and being a “Situational Leader.“
Another interesting fact which came out from the theory is that it doesn’t confine to one particular culture or the type of people instead applies to all cultures across the world. Think of any team situation around any region across the globe and see it working perfectly fine for all.
I can safely conclude this by saying there is no perfect Leader unless s/he is adaptive to the situation and has a good understanding of people, their perceptions and complexity of the given task.
Rinku is a management professional and has about 15 years of experience in a variety of leadership roles. Her experience spans across all aspects of HR, Organisation Development, Business-critical initiatives, Global Operations, IT, Infrastructure, Enterprise Applications etc. She is a Symbiosis, Pune & INSEAD, Fontainebleau alumnus.
Apart from work, she is an artist and loves to paint. She writes about topics related to social issues & lifestyle, with Women Upliftment being the core area where she is working to make an impact.