As a young HR professional it was one of my dreams to work with one of the top HR leaders whom I admired to the core. Today I got an opportunity to interview him face to face as a part of my personal project and it's like my dream come true. After the interview, my admiration for him has increased all the more. When you connect with a person on a deeper level and can see through the person underneath, the authentic individual that he is, his uncut story and the person beyond his professional aura, you feel good from within. I had an awesome experience today and I feel so much joy doing what I did. I would reveal the name later when my project gets completed but today I will just share with you some of the insights from the interview. And the insight on leadership essence is Passion, Empathy, Courage & Grit.
Leaders don't just do the job but they do it because that's their calling. They love what they do without any hidden agenda. They do it because they find joy in the process and the journey. They are least interested in name, fame, achievement. And interestingly, they do become famous not because they wanted to, but because of the work they do. Mind it, when I say achievement; it's not that they don't want to achieve the goals, they want to but they work not to achieve for personal gains but for what is right and for the betterment of people they serve. Sometimes, the Universe plays a massive role in steering the wheel towards our destiny without us knowing anything about the next step. Only if we choose to listen to the subtle messages that we land up being in the path of our true calling. That's how many notable people landed in what they did and excelled in that. And once on that path, no matter what, they chose to move forward till they arrived at the highest destination that one could think of. The curious & inquisitive person inside me always wanted to know such leaders and so I dived in to know more about what made them who they are, how they handled challenges, how they grew and the like. Sharing some of the insights.
1. High level of passion: They have a high level of emotional investment in what they do. They don't do for the sake of doing it, but they do it because they are passionate about what they do. Passion is nothing but intense emotion. They feel for it, they love it and they just dive into it without if's and but's. As they proceed in the journey, they learn, unlearn many things and this level of engagement gives them more clarity of thought, hone their skills and help them become who they are. They have a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for what they do and this enables them to think out of the box, do out of the box and act extra-ordinarily. Passion is from within, it's their driving force. It keeps them going. This makes them fearless risk-takers. This makes them great learners and passion invokes humility because they become masters in what they do. There's nothing to show, to hide but an open book to be read and absorbed the way you want to.
2. High level of empathy: I thought I was an empathetic person. But today I came to know of a high level of empathy that leaders possess. Leaders don't just empathize, but they act on it to help the person they empathize with. Along with empathy, they provide doable solutions and they stand by it. They choose to disagree with top authorities too when they empathize for the right thing and when they truly believe in what they do. Empathy is beyond just feeling for the person but genuinely helping the person and enabling his/her well-being. They risk their stake for others. They ignite the leader in others and help them shine.
3. High level of courage: Courage is the inner strength, the belief in one's power within. Leaders par excellence have the courage to accept who they are, connect with their authentic self and are fearless of showing their dark side too. They embrace criticisms as an opportunity to grow, learn and lead themselves from naivety to experts. They don't stop when things starts unfolding not as per their terms but they have the courage to embrace embarrassment. Every criticism is a trigger for them to do better and be the best in what they do. That's the courage that I am talking about. It takes real courage to see past the triviality of the ego and actually dive into the real issue at hand. This enables them to be courageous enough to disagree with what is not right and thus paves the way for fearless leadership. Because they are courageous in owning the wholesomeness of their being, they inspire that in others by challenging their thinking, their thoughts and rigid views. This may seem to be daunting, but when you do from a space of authenticity, people are bound to buy in your ideas and views.
4. High level of grit: They have a high sense of character and ethical ways of doing things. They know to set the tone and because of their grit, they ensure high level of excellence in their work. Passion combined with grit becomes an awesome combination towards excellent results. They ensure completion of what they set their mind to. No excuses, no missing of deadlines but just delivery.
Great leaders carve out their path. And along this path, they build deep connections with people, form authentic relationships, embrace both sides of their gifts and what makes them all the more appealing is their ability to learn despite of all the learning that they are full of. Learning and curiosity is something that goes hand in hand and doesn't make them obsolete. Learning makes them humble and wise. We all give excuses for what's not happening in our lives. But when you meet leaders like this, you feel that excuses are nothing but just cover ups for our own inabilities and blind spots. The day we chose to accept that and acknowledge it, we too can embrace the essence of leadership in everything that we do.
A leader is one who inspires us to be a leader. That's all I can say from today's interaction. I am inspired and fulfilled.
Coach to People Leaders, Start-up Founders & Transitioning professionals