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Prime Leadership Qualities

The two most appreciated and desired leadership qualities.
Prime Leadership Qualities

Was hardcore techie in my early years of career, just like every other engineer in India. Mind you, only a handful of blessed souls get to do higher education in the field of business or engineering. Most of the folks from the middle-class family complete their engineering. And start searching for a job immediately. Not that we are not studious, we can't afford to do higher studies in specialised streams. Anyways, soon I matured in my career and it occurred to my leaders that I'm ready to be a leader (they were jealous? since I was having all the fun...).

I was told by my then VP that the first lesson for being a leader is that

You lose the right to complain !

I didn't realise it then, but soon into the job I understood what he meant by that. Oh boy !

Moving on, it took me couple of years to understand the value of leadership as a trait. It needed a different set of capabilities, skill-sets and thought process. In the technical world, everything was a boolean, either true or false. Come to people management and project management, there were lots of ambiguity. I haven't either solved it before or don't know how to go about it, because things were not clear! The mistake was, I was trying to apply logic to every situation that dawned on me and that wasn't the way it was gonna work.

Human tendency - I started complaining.... and there was the reminder again;

'Do whatever you want, but you can't complain'

Remember I lost that right !

Small or big, for every problem that came up, I worried. Most of the times, I used to lose sleep over that. Additionally, I wanted to solve the problem then and there which wasn't the wise choice. As I grew in the role, I realised the fact that there isn't a right or wrong approach. Neither do I have to find a solution immediately. Some times, it helps to take a break and start analysing the situation afresh, sometimes the next day.
Then came the second lesson -

Right or Wrong, stand up & own it for your team.

This was even more difficult. See, as an individual contributor you could accept or deny mistakes completely. There are two angles to it.

  1. You get to learn from your mistakes, it's a win.
  2. You wouldn't have a problem accepting the mistake, well, in most-cases.

In spite of many guidelines & mentoring, people still screw up and things do slip. It's a fact of life and the faster you embrace it, the more easier it is for you to move on and to actually rectify it. It taught me to stand-up for my team and to own up mistakes while passing the accolades to the team when things go right.

Learnt many more valuable lessons but I still reckon that the two most valuable lessons are;

  1. Don't Complain, Fix it.
  2. Stand-up for your team.

The two most appreciated and desired qualities have to be these two, IMHO.