One of the most important qualities that a leader needs to possess is empathy. The simplest meaning that is floating around is trying to put yourself in others shoes (Dictionary meaning - Understanding and entering into another’s feelings).
One could be charismatic with their communication skills, the way they carry themselves, being friendly with their people, being creative etc. But one can become a leader if and only if one has got the ability to sense what his/her people need.
But the most bothering issue for everyone in the present environment is how to be understanding when they are pressured with so many things on their plates?
This incidence took place few years back when a person joined my colleague’s team. He was teaching prior to joining his team. Seemed to be an enthusiastic chap but after few days we realised that he wanted everything in his plate and never wanted to stretch himself to learn something. He was more interested in getting involved in others business than equipping himself.
On the third day he came back to my colleague and told him that he is planning to quit. The reason being he was not able to handle the work pressure. If somebody had come to me, that too on the third day itself, I would have happily asked them to get lost (there is nothing for me loose when he is just 2 days with the company). To my surprise though my friend was really busy decided to spend sometime with him immediately rather than asking him to come back after sometime/get lost.
He was really to the point and saw things from his angle, he was in to teaching and he was not able to accustom himself to the corporate world. He encouraged him and eased things for him. Over a period of 3 months the chap who said “I want to quit right now” became one of the good finds and eased out lot of pressure from my colleague’s team and even bagged the best performance for that quarter.
This thought a very good lesson; my colleague didn’t waste half an hour on that day when he had so many things to be delivered on his desk. Leadership is all about empowering people, one need to invest their time on people to see the change. You need to get in to your team members comfort zone if you want them to give their ears to you.
1. My colleague spending half an hour with that fresher at a very crucial time wasn’t a waste; it proved to be an excellent investment.
2. Try to see the hidden potential than taking things on its face value.
3. People needs time to settle, you might be excellent on a job but you can’t expect others to be equally good immediately. You would have learnt by doing lot of mistakes before becoming a master.
Leadership is all about knowing your people and drive them to achieve what they think as impossible.