Sharing by Diana Yusoff, NTU-SIFE Alumni, Founder of Gourmet Guru Academy
Read this article about leadership, very insightful. And I only realised this after leaving NTU SIFE.
Key learning points:
- Being a leader is not about knowing what decisions to make, or where the company should go. It's not about having all the answers.
- Being a leader is about knowing what the organisation stands for (values), picking the right people and coaching them to succeed together, and being accessible to everyone in your organisation (human touch).
Took out the key highlights:
Everything I Thought I Knew about Leadership Is Wrong
To get rich, do you have to be miserable? To be successful, do you have to punish your customers? Tough questions from a CEO who's smart enough to admit he doesn't have all the answers.
So what is my job as a leader? The essence of leadership today is to make sure that the organization knows itself. There are certain durable principles that underlie an organization. The leader should embody those values. They're fundamental. But they have nothing to do with business strategy, tactics, or market share. They have to do with human relationships and the obligation of the organization to its individual members and its customers. For example, our most controversial value --the one that was narrowly approved -- speaks to our commitment to the community. It was also the one I argued most heatedly for. And today, it's one our entire organization supports fervently.
The second job of the leader is to pick the right people to be part of the organization and to create an environment where those people can succeed. That means encouraging others to help develop the strategy and grow the philosophy of the company. It means more collaboration and teamwork among people at every level of the company. I am now a coach, not an executive. When people ask me for a decision, I pick up a mirror, hold it up for them to look into, and tell them: Look to yourselves and look to the team, don't look to me.
The third job of the leader is to be accessible. I want to be open to people in a broad range of their experiences in life if they need it, and I want to be accessible for two-way communication that's honest, open, and direct. During my years at EDS I communicated the way most CEOs do: I showed up on stage every six months and delivered a pep rally speech. I wrote memos that went to the top dozen people in the company and had meetings with them every two weeks.
Today I travel with my laptop and get e-mail from all over the company. I get thousands of messages per month, some of them trivial, many important. Everyone in Perot Systems knows they can e-mail me and I'll read it -- me, not my secretary. Electronic mail is the single most important tool I have to break through the old organization and the old mind-set. E-mail says that I'm accessible to anyone in our company in real time, anywhere. I am an instant participant in any part of the organization. No more dictating memos that get scrubbed before their formal distribution to the corporate hierarchy. Now, when I hear about a win in a hotly contested competition, within an hour of the victory I'm sending out congratulatory e-mails to our team members around the world. The impact from that kind of direct communication is enormous.