Something I wrote for Business Zone
I have just returned from a week long business trip to the fantastic city of Chennai in India. While I was there I had the privilege of meeting Sabbam Hari, MP for the Andhra Pradesh region.
Meeting Sabbam really got me thinking about leadership. Here is a guy that is serving as MP for 80 million people and who is highly intelligence, self-disciplined and full of charisma. To put the size of his role into perspective our recently elected Prime Minster David Cameron only has 60 million to contend with! Sabbam clearly has one hell of a job on his hands.
Leadership, at any level, brings out different characteristics in people. While it may seem a little stereotypical I believe there are two core groups people fall into.
In the first group some leaders seem to struggle with the pressure of responsibility. Even those that reach the highest levels often fail to understand their remit and the potential impact a leader can make. I am sure we can all think of a colleague, politician or historical figure that fits this category. These are leaders that seem to revel in all the reasons why something can’t be done, or the disadvantages to action.
Not liked, but respected
Conversely in the second group some leaders like to demonstrate their power much more than others, often more than their peer groups. These people are the fast movers, often seen as ruthless but determined to push themselves or their team to achieve more. People that fall into this category are not always liked, but often respected, sometimes by those considerably more senior.
Meeting Sabbam was inspirational if I am honest; this is a guy that’s done so much for India’s poor while having a core role in building an economy that’s one of the fastest growing in the world. However if you were to read the description of the task, or the challenge people like Sabbam face I wonder which group we would fall into?
Which are you?
Good leaders all have one thing in common, they don’t just make do with what they have, they maximise the opportunity. These people are the pioneers, the problem solvers, the movers. The opposite group when faced with the same challenges complain that resource is limiting their capability to make a difference.
As a leader I know which group I want to be in, I also have high expectations of those that are more senior than me. How about you?