Sunday, September 07, 2008

Self-leadership at the workplace

Path to self leadership...

I have been longing to record my observations and experiences on how self leadership can go a long way in building a positive image about you at your workplace. My observations aren't necessarily exhaustive in nature, since it stems out of the fact that the period of interaction that I have had with people at my work place has been brief. But I believe that the best way of moving towards becoming a complete professional is to first learn the art of self leadership. I know I have a long way to go before I could master a few tricks of the trade! But this is a small attempt to jot down (for my own future reference) my point of view on what makes self leadership so important at your workplace.

The following is the list of qualities I would categorize as important traits of a person who is self lead:
  • Ability to communicate seamlessly: I know that you would have heard it a gazillion times from infinite number of sources, but here I am stamping a seal of authenticity on this trait! The effectiveness of a professional lies in the clarity with which he/she conveys his ideas to the people with whom he/she communicates (both verbal as well as non-verbal) on a regular basis.
  • Time Management ability: The most precious thing for a professional is the quality of time he puts in a day to finish his/her task. Especially if you are a billable resource to your organization, time management is the biggest virtue you could posses. It always zeroes down to the point as to how you can prioritize things at the beginning of a day and live up to those promises you make for yourself and your team. A simple way I found to do this is to send out an email to your immediate supervisor on your agenda for the day and sort out the work to be done, before you jump in to execution!
  • Ability to handle pressure: IT is such an industry where encountering pressure situations are a common thing. Since a team invariably involves people with different character traits, there is all possibility of you encountering a situation which demands a lot of maturity on your part to not loose your cool, no matter what. Trust me when I say this, if you master the art of handling pressure it will help you a lot in the long run.
  • Ability to abstract information at various levels: One thing at which I used to fail in my communication a short while back was my ability to abstract a piece of information and send out processed information that really mattered to people. For eg: If you are asked to send out an update to different people (Technical lead/PM/Client) on a problem that you are facing while working on a module, you should learn what is the amount of technical/functional information that you need to share with each of them, that helps them understand the problem better. Your ability to discern and filter out the necessary details in each communication is what speaks volumes of your effectiveness in communication.
  • Ability to receive things: All of us have heard of the ability to give. Many of us are very good at it! But frankly, how many of us have the potential to receive? As a young professional who has along way to go in the industry, I feel it is very important for all of us to learn the art of receiving things. The ability to receive things includes your capability to grasp information around you, take feed back, etc. Subroto Bagchi, in a speech delivered at IIMB, emphasizes on this very fact. In an industry like IT where it is extremely important to be not merely technical/functional but be techno-functional, the essence of openness to learning is of paramount value.
I have collated a few qualities I felt are quintessential for self leadership. If you happen to come across more of them, please do write them under the comments section.

~IT's My Life

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Vidya said...

You have listed such important traits. It is so rare to come across anybody in IT who follows these paradigms! Wouldn't you agree?


Suresh S. a.ka. Suri said...

Yeah. It is very rare to come across people who put things in theory to practice. I just happened to realize the importance of these traits.

Mahesh said...

I think you missed out commitment, probably because it is a basic prerequisite before we embark on the other professional traits of leadership qualities..But, that answers why most of the people find it difficult to follow these..its not a matter of choice but force and compulsion(need to make a living;-)) that many get into their field..If one is passionate and feels he/she is making a change in the world through his work, everything falls into place...hmm, kind of 2 faces of a coin......I liked the one "Ability to abstract information at various levels"...Had to break my head to think what the other guy needs and give him not more than that but enough;-)..

Suresh S. a.ka. Suri said...

@ Mahesh,

Thanks for sharing your views on the same. I completely agree with you. Passion and commitment towards work are the very important traits of a leader self-lead.

Poornima Prabhu said...

Good observation. Apart from all these, it would be a icing on the cake, if you have the capability to mentor people around you. This is one of the skills that employers look for when they hire people for the lead positions.

Suresh S. a.ka. Suri said...

@ poornima,

Very good point poornima. It will definitely be a feather in your hat if you can do it.

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