Curbing your natural instinct
This is what I love about my Job. I was conducting a Managerial Effectiveness program for one of India’s leading Hospitality companies and during a discussion I had this rare flash that threw light on a lot of different issues.
Great Leadership is about curbing your natural instinct
This for me is the basis of a lot of my further research and thought on the subject of leadership. Hence I thought of sharing it here through my column.
I think a lot of what goes wrong and right for managers is right there in that one sentence. If we as leaders can manage to curb our natural instinct and do what is right for that moment instead of what comes to us naturally at that moment, we would all be good leaders.
Curbing your Instinct in Tough Times
When the results of a company are poor – the natural instinct of a person/leader would be unhappiness, anger, depression. Good leaders however, curb their natural instinct and don’t get angry or show depression. They move on. They rise to the occasion and put up a great front for their team pegging them to go on and face the adversity. It does not matter how they feel. What matters is what their stakeholders want to see and what will help the company sail through.
When a team member does something stupid – the natural instinct would be to get upset. Make a face. Shout. But good leaders curb that instinct. They may be seething inside but understand that shouting at your people will not rectify the situation – cohesive action will. They do the opposite. Show faith in the people who committed the error and encourage them to perform better in both the medium and long run.
When your customer behaves badly – the natural instinct could be to tell the customer to take a hike. But would doing that help the company?
Curbing your Instinct in Good Times
Complacency setting in: Curbing your instinct is something that’s required even during the good times. When companies and professionals meet success, the natural tendency is to get complacent. The natural instinct is to take the customers and employees for granted. To treat the achievement of goals as a reason to slack. Every company and professional must work hard to prevent from succumbing to this instinct. The great companies/professionals are relentless in their approach and treat every milestone as a reason to get even better and stay committed to their pursuit of excellence.
Arrogance: The most natural tendency of leadership is that of arrogance. Good leaders however, buck the trend. They keep their personal state of mind in check. We see this arrogance on full display in Leadership at all levels in our Polity. Everyone from the Sarpanch to the Personal Assistants of Ministers start developing an air of arrogance that comes from the power they hold. The leaders in Business and Politics that can maintain their humility and ensure that their coterie do too, become legendary leaders.
Playing safe: The complacency discussed earlier often leads to our desire to maintain status quo. Our natural instinct becomes that of playing safe and avoiding anything we deem risky. That in turn leads to a lack of Innovation which results in new start ups coming up and beating the incumbent.
Curbing your instinct takes practice. You won’t get it right the first time or every time. It’s something you need to work on every day. Irrespective of what you believe your personality type is, it’s never too late to start getting better.