Dr Wing Lam on Leadership

Dr Wing Lam on Leadership

Dr Wing lam answers your question on everyday leadership

If you missed Dr. Wing Lam’s inspiring talk on Everyday Leadership, you can watch it here http://youtu.be/mCxezfdSUwE. Below are answers to the questions that Wing Lam was unable to answer during the session.

Hope you find this useful! Leaders build a circle of influence and managers build a circle of control?  

Yes, leaders influence people irrespective of whose control they are under.  As a manager, we can ask our reportees to do things – but whether they do things because you ask them or do things because they believe in them are two very different things.

What are the key leadership styles?  

There are many.  Probably the most well-known is based on the work of Goleman which identifies 6 leadership styles, namely, commanding, visionary, affiliative, democratic, pace-setting and coaching.  Remember that these styles are not mutually exclusive – rather, a leader might emphasize one over the other.

How do you ensure that people listen to you?

Gain their respect and gain their attention.  People will listen passively to their boss, but will listen actively to someone they respect.

In an Indian environment, how feasible is a harsh work environment successful?

‘Harsh’ is a strong word.  Steve Jobs was harsh but he had strong ‘A’ talent and was able to get the best out of them.  That is no different in an Indian context.  Organisational culture has a role here.

How an individual can solve any issues for any team activity?

This is a very general question.  Let’s start by saying not all issues are so important that they need to be resolved.  Let’s also recognize diversity in thinking and decision-making.  Where issues need to be resolved, it should be based on rationale and justification rather than personality.

What are the key attributes for being a leader?

There are too many traits to list!  One of the stand-out qualities of Steve Jobs was the ability to inspire others – that stands out.

What is the role of opportunity in enhancing Leadership skills. I believe that without opportunity a leader cannot grow.

Leaders should find the opportunity rather than wait for it!  If your organisation is not giving you the opportunities to develop and grow, find one that does!

How can we ensure continuous growths and development as a leader?

Leaders should take that responsibility – not wait for HR or their boss to do it for them.  That is one of the major mistakes people often make.  Leaders of top performing companies take time out to read, attend seminars & conferences or pursue continuing education programs.

Aren’t leaders expected to turn the poor performers to good ones, and good performers to great ones.

Good leaders get the best out of people and breed future leaders.  Jack Welch was known to spend 70% of his time mentoring other people.  In a large organisation, that is often required because a CEO has a team of business heads that serve as CEOs in their own right for their individual businesses.  

How does one take a decision when there is a lack of data/facts?  

Steve jobs would make decisions based on intuition.  He was able to do because he had compelling ideas and visions about what the future would look like, and a strong sense of what consumers desire.  Many decisions are taken without data or facts, but sometimes, even with data and facts you could be wrong.

What are things leaders must do when things don’t happen as expected ?

Leaders should ask why and they should learn from it.  Not all strategy turns out to be good strategy – and making adjustments along the way is part of the learning process itself.

How do we handle experienced staff who are not working as per expectations?

Experienced or non-experienced, all staff need to perform.  Having a chat and engaging with the employee often helps.  Many managers are afraid to do that – and never really get to the heart of why someone is not performing. By the same token, they should not be afraid to let go of under-performing employees.  Remember how Steve Jobs tolerated only A players?