Thursday, November 26, 2009

Leaders- Help Others, Help Yourself !

To be a successful leader, we need other people’s intelligence and other people’s cooperation. We need to be able to attract into our life and work the help, assistance, influence and active involvement of lots of other people in achieving our goals. Let me narrate a funny but interesting story which tells us the importance of being useful to others that makes us lovable & respectable in our organization.

Once a stranded tiger entered the washroom of a corporate office and hid itself in a dark corner. As there was always human movements outside, the tiger was afraid of coming out. Many persons frequented the washroom, but the frightened tiger did not attack any one.

But after four days it could not bear the pangs of hunger and caught the man who went in and ate him up. This man happened to be an Assistant General Manger of the organization, but nobody noticed his disappearance. Since nothing happened by way of attacking, the man-eater tiger became more daring and after two days caught another man and ate him. This man was the General Manager of the organization. Still nobody worried about his disappearance (some people were even happy that he was not in the office).

The next day, the tiger caught the Vice President who was a terror in the organization. Again, no one tried to finish off the tiger. The tiger was very happy and decided that this was the right place for it to live.

The very next day, the happy tiger caught a man who had entered the washroom with a tray of teacups. The frightened man fell unconscious. Within 15 minutes, there was a big hue and cry and everyone in the office was out in search of the missing man. The search team reached the washroom, flushed out the tiger and saved the unconscious man. He was the tea supplier to the office!

The story tells us, it is not the position but usefulness to others that makes one lovable and respectable. We need to realize the fact that, no matter how independent we are as individuals, we depend upon others to define ourselves and create purpose in our lives.

Let me share with you seven things we need to do in an organization which form the basis for effective work relationships. These are the actions we should take to create a positive work environment for people:

1) Talk about solutions- not just the problems: Most of the people spend lot of time identifying only problems. That's something any one can do. But the solutions to the problems are the challenge that will earn respect and admiration from team members and leaders.

2) Never play the blame game: We tend to alienate team members, subordinates, and people reporting to us. But, we may need to identify who was involved in a problem. We also need to understand about the work system which caused the team member to fail. Instead if we say, it’s not my fault and publicly blaming others for failures will earn enemies. These enemies will only help us to fail. All we need is allies at work.

3) Our communication matters: If we talk down to another team member, use sarcasm, or sound nasty, others hear us. Once a senior manager of an organization told me, "I know I shouldn’t scream at my team member. But, sometimes, they make me so mad. Tell me when is it appropriate for me to scream at the team members?" My answer is simple- Never! Giving respect for our people is a hallmark of our organization.

4) Don’t blind side a team member, manager, or people reporting to you: If a team member hears about a problem related to him through an email sent to his superior, we have blind sided that team member. It’s better to discuss problems with the people directly involved. We will never build effective work relationships unless our team members trust us.

5) Keep our words: In every organization, the jobs are interlinked. When we fail to meet deadlines or commitments given, we affect the work of other team members. It’s important to keep up our words, and if we can't, make sure all affected team members know what happened. Give a new due date and make every possible effort to honor the new deadline.

6) Give full credit for accomplishments, ideas, and contributions: Can we accomplish a goal or complete a task with no help from others? As a leader, how many of the great ideas we promote were contributed by our team members? Take time and energy to thank, recognize, reward the contributions of the team members who help us succeed.

7) Help other team members to find their potential: Every team members in our organization has talents, skills, and experience. If we can help them to harness their best abilities, the entire organization will grow. Let’s compliment, recognize, praise, and value contributions. By doing this, team members do find and contribute their best.

Like Brain Tracy says, we can accomplish anything we want in life by simply finding ways to help other people to accomplish their goals in life. And the more creative we are in leveraging and multiplying our talents and abilities times the talents and abilities of others, the higher we can rise and the faster we can move forward in our life.

Want to help yourself? Then be ready to help others!