Written by: Sandeep Jain, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Leadership is a bit like parenting, everyone thinks they are doing it right, but deep down, we all know we are winging it. When we feel we have almost perfected the art of leadership, a lesson comes along, and we realise there is much more to learn. Everyone from a tribal chieftain to a shop-floor supervisor to a corporate CEO strives for effective leadership, even if their interpretation of leadership may differ. Leadership is that, at its heart, it is a simple (even if not easy!) concept that includes three main aspects – leading self, leading teams and leading business (or the domain you work in). You can't be a successful leader even if one is missing. And, the distance you cover as a leader will get defined by the least of these three rather than the best.
If one is good at leading self and teams but needs to improve at leading business, one could be a likeable leader but will not be a successful one. If one is good at leading self and business but needs to improve at leading teams, one will not be able to scale up and build a large company. And leading self is the foundation of leadership, a pre-requisite to creating successful teams and thriving businesses.
As a leadership coach, I often use the sacred triad to deconstruct leadership for my clients. These three are large buckets, each including many different competencies, skills and behaviours. I have explored the sacred triad of leadership with scores of leaders to unravel the critical aspects of leading self, teams and business.
Here Is A Summary Of What We Have Discovered About The Leadership Triad:
Leading oneself is the foundation of effective leadership. It involves managing one's actions, behaviours, and emotions. It requires a high degree of self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation. Self-awareness means understanding one's strengths, weaknesses, and values. Self-regulation involves aligning with one's goals, values, and the accepted norms of integrity and ethics. It also includes self-discipline, managing time holding yourself accountable. Motivation consists of setting goals, working towards them, making the right decisions and staying ahead of your learning curve.
Effective self-leadership also includes taking care of oneself physically and mentally, which means maintaining a healthy lifestyle, managing stress, and seeking support when needed. Leaders prioritising their well-being are more likely to have the energy, focus, and resilience needed to lead effectively.
Leading teams includes inspiring, motivating and supporting others, managing people, collaborating, getting them to perform to their potential and giving them growth opportunities.
Leading teams involves managing a group of people towards a common goal. An effective leader focuses on both the goals that the team is aiming for and how they go about achieving them. A leader must foster a positive culture, promote collaboration, resolve conflicts and create a sense of purpose as the team works towards their goals.
An array of interpersonal skills are integral to effective team leadership. Listening skills help leaders understand the needs and concerns of team members, while communication skills help them build trust and psychological safety with the team members. In combination with other skills, empathy helps create a supportive and inclusive team culture. One also needs to have strong coaching and mentoring skills to develop the skills and abilities of each team member.
Managing work within the team also requires project management, problem-solving, decision-making and delegation skills. The team leader needs to understand the team's goals and priorities as well as the skills and abilities of each team member. This knowledge helps the leader assign tasks and responsibilities to team members that align with their strengths and interests.
Leading a business is about the capability and competencies required to manage and grow the business. It comes from understanding the business, its products and its customer. Leading a company includes, among other things, setting strategy, making the right business decisions, and driving growth. A deep understanding of the industry, market trends, and competition is a pre-requisite, as much as a good understanding of finance, sales-marketing and operations. A good business leader prioritises innovation, creativity, and continuous change for the better.
Effective business leadership needs straddling between operational and strategic and hence, skills for each. Strategic skills include strategic thinking - the ability to identify opportunities and evaluate risks to lay out a strategy roadmap, and strategy execution skills to cruise along the strategy roadmap. There is also a need to clearly understand the company's values, mission, and purpose, which should guide all decision-making and strategy development.
In the VUCAH world (VUCA aggravated by hyper-connectivity), business leaders need to manage change, as organisations need to quickly adapt to the changes in markets, technology and consumer behaviour. The ability of leaders to anticipate and respond to changes proactively while taking along people and communicating effectively with their stakeholders is intrinsic to leading teams.
Finally, effective business leadership requires a commitment to ethical and responsible business practices, as they are accountable to their employees, shareholders and customers to act with integrity, transparency and fairness. This means taking responsibility for your own decisions and actions and creating an ethical culture within the organisation.
In conclusion, the sacred triad of leadership - managing self, team, and business - is essential for any leader who wants to succeed in today's complex business world. Mastering self-direction, empowering teams, and driving business outcomes are at the heart of effective leadership. Balanced focus on the leadership triad can make you the great leader you want to be -the kind people would respect, emulate, and follow.
Sandeep Jain, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
After +25 years in various finance and business leadership roles across Asia-Pacific, Sandeep now runs a boutique strategy consulting and leadership coaching outfit, Value-Unlocked Private Limited.
Sandeep's purpose is to help organizations and individuals bring to life the amazing success stories they want to script for themselves, and he delivers this through coaching, consulting and facilitation.
As a coach, Sandeep primarily works with CXOs in organization-sponsored engagements and with senior teams on agendas around leadership, strategy, purpose and values, business growth, etc. On the strategy consulting side, he helps companies deliver on their transformation agendas through interventions around route-to-market, portfolio optimization, operational efficiencies, leveraging industry-ready technology solutions, cost savings, and organization re-design.
Sandeep also works as a business coach with aspirational business owners who want to scale up, innovate, professionalize and create an owner-independent business and as a mentor-investor-advisor with start-ups.
Sandeep has also recently authored a book Chase the Change which deals with personal growth and helps people own the change that they want to make in their work, life and relationships.