Thursday, June 14, 2012

What Do You Think?

What makes a good leader? Some will say a good leader is someone who can bring the best out of his/her people.

How do you bring the best out of his/her people? Some will say by giving pointers and guidance. 

How do you give pointers and guidance? Some will talk. In fact, most will just talk. 

I think a good leader should be someone who walk the talk, not just talk. A good leader gets his/her hands dirty to show his/her people the way.

Some may say this is spoon-feeding. I think otherwise.

For example, if your staff ask you for guidance on work, most bosses would dispense some wise words, "Do this, look out for this, highlight this...". At the end of the day, the staff will come back to the bosses with the work and bosses will say, "no no, do this, not that".

I would think a good leader should draft out the frame on the actual work (may it be slides or documents), then dispense his words of wisdom. The staff will do his/her thinking along that frame and fill in the "meat". That is real guidance.

Take the first step, show the right way. This is an effective way to impart the leader's high level thinking. No amount of demoralisation or "humiliation" can make the staff learn faster and better than walking the talk.

Do you have to do this for every piece of work you assign? No need. Your staff will walk your talk next time.

This is not limited to drafting slides or reports. I know a colleague who coded out skeleton of the program for a really-really inexperience staff to implement. Alas, the staff rewrote almost everything and badly.

Last but not least, a good leader provides real help, not just talk.

So, what is spoon-feeding then? What do you think?

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