It was a freezing evening in Noida, but Ram was sweating with the pain of not getting promoted for the role he assumed that belongs to him. His colleague Shyam has been promoted to leadership group of the company. Despite being junior to him at Amigotua Group of companies by few years, Shyam succeeded to the role while Ram was still struggling to cope with this change. Ram has been blue eyed boy of the organization successfully achieving his targets over the years but despite that new ones are given preference over him in the leadership group. The current promotion was more difficult for Ram to handle as he was the one who groomed Shyam over the years.
He was completely aloof to the freezing weather & thoughts of why he has been overlooked is burning in his heart. It was a one of the difficult times in the corporate life of Ram. He has all technical skills & excelled in all task given to him but continuous ignorance for a place in leadership group is beyond his understanding.
Ram is not the only one who is struggling with problem. There are people who struggle to move from managerial position to leadership role. But the question Ram is asking to himself is a genuine- Why despite being growing seamlessly from junior to mid-level in the organization, he is not able to make it to leadership group.
The case of Ram is intriguing & worth to be analyzed. The more I study about leadership, the more I get convinced that soft behavioral skills have higher weightage than technical skills when it comes to leadership. Ram always acquired all the technical skills be it SAP, python or SAAS but never worked on to improve soft skills. He was hardworking & high-class task master which help him in growing seamlessly from junior level to mid-level in the organization.
So, what he overlooked to work upon which would have helped him to grow in leadership role. I believe anyone who wish to grow to the leadership role must start working on three key skill set right from the day he is starting is corporate career
- Knowledge of your subject– At senior level, one must have the subject knowledge for review, advise, improvement etc. Normally he acquires the knowledge it over the years of working. This knowledge helps him to guide, mentor, coach & obviously monitor progress of his team. Knowledge also help the leader to command respect among his team members which is key for anyone to become a leader. A leader must earn respect from his team & knowledge of the subject certainly helps.
- Personality & communication– Well knowledge of the subject is fine & more or less a person learns it over a period but what really support him to place his foot on the doors of leadership group is his excellent communication & personality. A person with a charming personality is likely to have edge over others. As a member of leadership group, one must have great communication skills as he needs to address a large team & many times on complex issues. While climbing corporate ladder, many people keep on working on the technical skills but hardly focus on enhance personality & communications. A quick study reveals that a lot of people attribute personality & communication as natural skills. It’s not true- Like any other leadership skills, it can be learned over a period. One should not wait for the right time to start working on these skills, you work on these skills from day 1 & you will automatically find yourself at right place.
- Opportunist– Have you ever seen & wonder how few of your friend seamlessly move into leadership role. One must be opportunist to grow anywhere & corporate life is no different. You may have seen people who refuse work because they don’t know about it or it’s not part of KRA or their work or department. Mark my words, People of these personalities’ traits will saturate to grow beyond a level in the organization. Whenever an opportunity present itself to you, see it a path to grow in the organization. Keep doing this until it becomes a habit for you.
Ram did everything right except working on his skills which could truly transform him as a leader. He realized it late & it cost him dearly. It’s true that moving from managerial role to leadership is most challenging in corporate life but success hardly come by chance. One must rise to the occasion every time by identifying opportunity, grabbing it with both hands & finally taking responsibility. But to utilize the opportunity for growing in the organization, one must have right behavior & skill set and these are learned over a period.