Anil Sachdev, founder and CEO of the School of Inspired Leadership, on what kind of leaders do organisations need and how they should create them
Dated – 14th August 2014
What are the key skills a leader needs to lead a company?
First of all, a leader needs strategic perspective and vision to embrace a holistic view and far sightedness. Secondly, a leader must be able to build trusting partnerships with multiple stakeholders. He should have the virtues of mindfulness (fully present without regrets of the past and anxiety for the future), compassion, ethical conduct (fairness to all), sustainability (balance today with tomorrow) and diversity (leveraging the uniqueness of people to enable innovation). He should build a culture that embraces technology, is responsive and enables all to give their best. He should make people feel great about themselves in his presence. Lastly, a leader should have the capacity to simplify things so people do not get overawed by the complexity of today’s global economy. Above all, a leader needs to act with the knowledge that he does not have all the answers. He needs to convene the right people around the right questions and get out of their way!
Can you outline some rules to help organisations make their leadership more effective?
Organisations need to reflect about what kind of leaders they would need in future (5-10 years perspective). They need to anticipate the areas that would be important to them. For example, if they have plans to acquire companies, they would need leaders who are good at “Integrating cultures and facilitating dialogue across differences.” They need to then pay attention on the way they “assess” the supply of talent – the kind of people available and the pace at which they are likely to develop. This requires deep thought and skills. The organisations need to design a comprehensive plan to develop leaders by giving them structured experiences, exposure through coaching and appropriate education. The process of “leadership development” must be made the highest priority.
Learning on the job or a leadership course – which one would you recommend and why?
We believe that learning is a life-long process and we look for students who believe this. I would recommend that one takes up a short term program for understanding some basic leadership concepts. Once this tuning has happened, the journey of learning on-the-job will always continue. SOIL provides its students a platform to begin their leadership journey and builds a strong foundation. They then continue to excel and grow in their respective fields with each passing year.
Why are most organisations facing a crisis in developing their leadership pipeline?
This is because most leaders do not invest time in enabling others to become leaders. They are so full of the needs of today and ensuring quarterly results that they do not pay attention to the long term process of capability building. The ones who do put efforts in this direction, build high performance organisations. They do not just meet their own requirements of leaders but also supply talent to the rest of the industry and are admired for their dimension.