HOW SHOULD A LEADER BEHAVE? HOW SHOULD A LEADER TREAT?

Behaviour, Treatment, Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope

 

Introduction

To get the willing loyal cooperation in any age, the leader must be trusted, must lead with compassion, must provide stability to the led and must give them hope for their future and aspirations. These four elements are totally dependent on how the leader behaves and how does the leader treat the team members.

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.

—-Peter F Drucker, Management Guru

“Future has always been different”. Future is a factor of time and the time is always changing. The leaders and the led are required to adapt to the changing time— human behaviours and technological advancements are two essential elements of change.

Technological advancements have taken place in this world of ours since the existence of human beings. The technology has changed from the stone age to the current age of IOT, robotics, AI, social media etc but the core definition of leadership has remained the same ie

“The art of influencing and directing men/women in such a way as to obtain their willing obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation in order to accomplish the mission” 

AI, IOT and Robotics will never rule the earth- these will facilitate humans to rule humans. Therefore, even in the age of automation, robotics, AI and IOT, humans will rule the earth. The roles will change. Adaptability of humans for the survival will become predominant. As long as humans exist, there will be need of a leader and followers. The behaviours of leaders and treatment given out to followers will continue to dominate this world of humans.

How you behave and how you treat?

These two words are two sides of a coin. Although, the flower girl of My Fair Lady says, “The difference between a lady and flower girl is not how she behaves but how she is treated” (Pygmalion by GB Shaw). These words are true and applicable on day to day life; personal or professional. The Gallup Survey shows that 71% of the people who changed their jobs are due to the treatment meted to them by their supervisors.

The flip side of the coin is the behaviour of the leaders/supervisors. How should the leader behave? In one organization, the manager attended weekend workshop on leadership and for a few weeks following, he behaved like the character quoted during the weekend workshop on leadership. The manager behaved artificially and it changed as and when he attended another workshop on leadership. This brought misery to the entire team with reduced productivity and morale. Therefore, a leader/manager must know his/her strengths and behave naturally and in a consistent manner. Gallup gives a platform for a behaviour. Sathish Nair, a retired Military Officer has Consistency as one of his signature themes.   A person with Consistency theme is more interested in group needs than individual wants. He will reduce variance and increase uniformity. He will bring rules and policies that promote cultural predictability. He will require standard operating procedures. He loves repeating things in exact same way. He hates unnecessary customization. He follows the principle that “what is right for one is right for all and what is wrong for one is wrong for all”. Even today after his retirement, he is the same. His behaviours are as per his strengths and known to all with whom he deals.

But how does he treat others? He believes that treating people with consistency promotes fairness. He applies rules equally, absolutely, and with no favoritism. Swapnil, A XII Standard girl who has Consistency as one of her signature themes, was taken by her father, Rajesh for the Aadhar Registration. There was a long queue. Rajesh knew the officials, so he jumped the queue and was given preferential treatment. He called Swapnil to come ahead, but Swapnil being a Consistent person, refused to come forward by jumping the queue. She stood her ground and got the chance after two hours for the Aadhar registration. This is the behaviour of a person with Consistency and she should be treated as such. Rajesh learnt a lesson and came to know another strength of her daughter.

The normal attitude in India is to jump the queue. If someone else jumps the queue when you are standing for hours, is generally not tolerated. Swapnil’s consistency saved her father from a great embarrassment. What your followers are looking for is the behaviour like Swapnil and Sathish and treatment consistent with their strengths and values.

Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope

A Gallup Survey on why do people follow revealed that people do not care for the usual stuff like vision, purpose, wisdom, humor, humility etc. What made them follow the leader are Trust, Compassion, Stability and Hope.

Trust comes with honesty. Trust begets from genuineness. Trust sprouts from behaviour and it grows the way leader treats the led. Truthfulness and geniuses cannot be faked. “One must never make a show of false emotions to one’s men. The ordinary soldier has a surprisingly good nose for what is true and what false” said Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, German General Staff. What Rommel said in 1944, while fighting in the deserts of Africa is applicable even today in all fields of life; professional or otherwise. Genuine show of emotions will result in trust. Honesty, integrity and respect are main contributors in building trust. Trust also increases speed and efficiency in the work place. Trust established between two people make things happen faster. As Kofi Annan, (ex- Secretary General of the UN) explained, “if you don’t have relationship, you start from zero each time.”

Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, 40% less burnout.     By Paul J Zak, HBR Jan-Feb 17 Issue

Compassion means caring, friendship, happiness and love for the people. Rajeev, a senior employee of a technical MNC was blessed with a son. His office was two hours of travel time from his place where he lived. The company had another office just a few minutes away from his home. When his wife delivered a baby boy, it was difficult for her to take care of the child alone. Rajeev requested his supervisor to allow him to work from home or to work from the nearby office. He copied the mail to one step higher than his supervisor. His request was turned down by his immediate supervisor but was accepted by the hierarchy whom he had copied the mail. Such attitude of the supervisor will neither promote compassion in the organization nor improve the relationship. The leader should not care for the business and performance only but show compassion to the personal needs of the employees also. This will be facilitated only if the leader understands the needs of the individuals. These individuals make the team interdependent and efficient.

Stability means solid foundation. It means security, strengths, support and peace. If an employee’s job is threatened every day, it will defy stability and greater productivity. The employee must continue getting his/her bread butter, home, life of his family and children—— Roti, Kapda and Makan. Transparency helps in creating stability. Performance of the company and future of the company generates stability.

Hope implies besides ensuring excellence today, the leader must meet future aspirations of the employees. It means direction, faith and guidance. Such expectations of the employees can only be met by a leader who is a coach and not a bossy manager. Harshna is an enterprise opened by Khurram Mir in Srinagar and he is running this in-spite of prevailing violence. Khurram Mir is an Agricultural Entrepreneur. His business is to buy and store apples and provide space to apple growers to store apples. While recruiting his staff he tells them that they would never be required to work at Harshana for more than two years. “my standard instruction is – after two years, if you do not leave me and start your own business, then I have failed” -extract from chapter—Business Models in the World’s Most Dangerous Place in his book “Recasting India” by Hindol Sengupta. Khurram Mir, like a true leader he, not only ensures excellence for his employees but within two years, prepares them to become independent. He gives hope.

Aspects of behaviour, treatment, trust, stability and hope are going to be further illustrated with the three examples in three diversified fields. As to how Ramesh Swamy is leading his team to achieve success of his dream of empowering youths. Why did Maj GSD charge into the cave occupied by the terrorists and others followed him almost to death? How did OG created an effective and efficient team of logistics and transport in Baghdad which became magnet of talents?

Ramesh: of UNNATI

Ramesh Swamy, the Lead Trustee of UNNATI Bengaluru (www.unnatiblr.org) founded SGBS Trust (Sree Guruvarurappan Bhajan Samaj Trust). Ramesh has always had a deep-rooted involvement with Indian Culture and is passionate about helping to bring change in the lives of the underprivileged, as he firmly believes that only then will there be progress and overall societal development. Ramesh has been involved in organizing events to promote art and culture for over two decades. He has been a source of inspiration and support to many young artistes. He constantly scouts for young talent and provides them a platform that will help launch their careers. With an inspiring attitude and unbounded energy, Ramesh today is one of those few, who have touched many lives in India.

UNNATI is an institution under the aegis of SGBS, with its core philosophy: Learn-Earn and Stand-Tall, aims at youth empowerment. It is a vocational training and transformational programme which helps the underprivileged youth to secure stable employment. UNNATI offers a 50-days vocational training programme at a subsidized cost to the underprivileged less educated, unemployed and economically backward youths with an assured job. UNNATI enables inclusive growth by empowering families below poverty line. Ramesh is the Lead Trustee of UNNATI, who runs the day to day affairs of UNNATI. He has succeeded in establishing 50 UNNATI Centers all over India and so far, more than 16,000 youths have benefitted from the programme and are proudly standing tall in the world. (data from www.unnatiblr.org   and confirmed by Ramesh). He further plans to train at least 10,000 youths in the year 2017-18.

Ramesh is the leader of the flock. He has a core group of Trustees, Volunteers and UNNATI Employed Staff who are part of his team. He is a leader. How does he lead his diverse team of employees and volunteers? He leads them by his openness. As any other leader, he also lives in a glass house and recently he has turned on the lights for everyone to see, thereby increasing his OPEN AREA on the Johari Window. He has let everyone know his Strengths and Values. His strengths are “Connectedness, Activator, Communication, Relator and Analytical”. His values are “Loyalty, Passion, Achievement, Emotional Well-Being and Community. Now his entire team knows his strengths and values. Not only this, Ramesh also knows Strengths and Values of his core group ie those who work directly under his supervision. Most of them knew each other for the several years, but did not know why they behave as they do and why they treat as they treat.

Ranga Gopal Krishna is an elderly volunteer and the Master Trainer of UNNATI. Ramesh activates and Ranga trains. Ranga’s strengths are “Harmony, Developer, Responsibility, Discipline and Maximizer. His values are “Family, Dignity, Justice, Knowledge and Recognition”

A detailed analysis of Ramesh’s Strengths and values reveals that

His Behaviour

  • He likes to remain connected to the rural/urban youths whom he may help. He also likes to remain connected to his team and stake holders. His emotional attachment to needy youth of the community, state and the nation always glares on the balcony.
  • His analytical and activator strengths make him a great analyst pertaining to the needs of the youth of the country and opening of 50 centres all over India and still striving to do more.
  • He is a great communicator not only to his stake holders but also to all. Making difference in the lives of 16,000 youths communicates itself – communication by deeds.

His Treatment of Others

  • Knowing the values and strengths of his core group, has prompted him to treat them as per their strengths and values.
  • Take the example of his treatment of his Master Trainer, who has the strengths to maintain harmony in the group; his responsibility, maximiser and discipline ensure that the jobs are done with perfection and on time. Ramesh knows and understands Ranga’s strengths and his treatment is dictated by these. Ramesh also considers Ranga’s values while dealing with him. One of the most important strengths as Master Trainer, Ranga has is Developer. One of the UNNATI students spoke during a valediction ceremony “when we came to UNNATI we were like raw materials and now after 50 days of training, we are finished product ready to stand tall and independently”. These words describe Ranga the best. That’s what he does.
  • With the knowledge of each other’s strengths and values, their behaviours and treatment are well defined and as clear as crystal.
What great leaders have in common is that each truly knows his or her strengths – and can call on the right strength at the right time. This explains why there is no definitive list of characteristics that describes all leaders.

                                                         —– Donald Clifton, Social Scientist

Conclusion

To sum up, leadership whether those were the days of ancient time, medieval period or of modern era or in future days of IOT, automation, robotics and many other inventions —- the leader will be leader only when he or she leads people. There are people to follow. They will follow provided the leader behaves appropriately, the leader treats the led with compassion. Provided leader creates an environment of trust. Provided the leader coaches them for the current excellence and future aspirations. Provided the leader ensures stability. So, the leadership boils around six words – behaviour, treatment, trust, compassion, stability and hope.