How to build success by devising leaderless leadership

How to build success by devising leaderless leadership

Leadership & Management

Sanj Sethi

Sanj Sethi

19 Aug 2016, 10:25 — 11 min read

I became a full time entrepreneur a little while ago and have been asked by a few people on how do I view leadership. Here are my thoughts:


When will we be really successful? When will our products and services get the recognition they deserve? When will our company be known as the best in what it does? These are some legitimate questions that entrepreneurs and business leaders of young enterprises find themselves asking again and again as they try to blaze a trail of success for their ventures.


While the answers depend on a successful arrangement of multiple factors (the key one being how disciplined are you in pursuit of your chosen goals), some fundamental truths are:


1. Build character and the rest will follow


It doesn't matter what you plan to build - a great product, a great organisation, a great team, or very likely all of these. As a leader, unless you stand for something, you will stand for nothing.


Build character, and a better team, better product, better organisation will follow.


In the dogged pursuit of your dream, your distinctive mental and moral qualities as an individual matter. In fact, you better make them matter, if you want your dreams to matter. In the end, the real secret potion to build conviction and trustworthiness is: your ability immersed in your belief, passion and, character. When people believe in you and trust you, they will stick with you, even in the hard times.


Bottom line: Strong character builds credibility which builds trust, and trust is the hallmark of a real leader.


2. Forget team building, instead build a team


The road to business success is littered with blood, sweat and, tears of entrepreneurs who had a fantastic dream, a great product idea, but somehow failed to be anywhere close to their goals. What started with a bang faded away, faded without anyone ever knowing which abyss swallowed their great idea. All this loss, not because the team had less talent but because it had a case of talent misfit. A curse if you will, not of the recipe but the ingredients.


You can however avoid this terrible fate if you choose your team members carefully; seek the right temperament along with the talent, seek spirit to go with the hard skills. Do this and you will build a durable team that accomplishes tasks, meets goals and achieves results.


So, add team members that have a similar mental constitution as yours and whose beliefs match that of your organisation. Do this and you’ll find that the collaborative undercurrent will bind the entire team, thus no forced persuasion for team building will be needed. Avoid this simple step however, and no matter how many team building exercises you do later on, you'll find people working at odds with each other at the worst and, antagonistic to each other's work at the best.


Bottom line: Build the right team, not merely an employee roster.


3. Be a minimalist. Do more with less


A simple idea, but not that easy to follow. In your everyday work you'll have multiple tasks to manage and each one will be important by itself, but you'll have to stick to the true north. What is the real reason your organisation exists? Is it being the most responsive to the customer, is it being the fastest in delivery, is it being the first in the domain?


Once you have decided the simplest common denominator of your organisation's existence, make it the lifeline that runs through the company and ensure that everyone in your organisation benchmarks every piece of work against this golden barometer. Eliminate unwanted processes, policies, and product features to stay focused on the core, and see the team move towards success, faster.


Bottom line: Have an overriding supreme goal that trumps everything else. Make minimalism the framework to build your organisation.


4. Learn to say, "No!"


You’ll have many tasks arrive at your desk competing for your time. Your own expertise, skill and background will be a contributing factor to this time bandit machine; people appealing to your sense of self-aggrandizement and asking time of you, time which you may well discover in retrospect could have been more wisely spent.


You will learn this early or the hard way, later. Either way, you'll find that many meetings, conversations, or brainstorming sessions didn't genuinely help anyone and, certainly not you.


Time is the most precious commodity and you will have to choose wisely on how, when, where, and with who you invest it in. Learn to pick the tasks only you should be handling and just say, “No” to the rest. No doesn’t mean that the tasks are not managed, they are, but by an appropriate team member. Delegate as much as possible.


Bottom line: Saying, “Yes,” may win you many friends, but saying, “No,” will win you followers


5. Exercise


Yes, you read that right! What has exercise got to do with leadership, you ask? Well, as you drive on the scenic but tough route of building an organisation, different phases of the journey will bring different kind of stress, and nothing else bursts stress like exercise.


Heard the saying, "healthy mind in healthy body?" Know this: not only is this vouched true by every leader, but is scientifically proven: exercise releases brain’s neurotransmitters serotonin (don’t worry, be happy, hormone) and Dopamine (let’s get focused, hormone).


Making tough decisions with a healthy mind is a way better choice.


If you already exercise, then kudos to you. If you don’t yet but want to start with simple exercises, try either or both of the following:


  • Meditate - Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and just focus on your breathing, deeply observing your breath every time you inhale and exhale. Try not to think at all and gently try to stop the thoughts, which try to sneak in. You’ll find that after a few moments, your mind is calm and, you feel peace and relaxation.

  • Do this simple yoga step - Lay on your back on a flat surface with your arms and legs casually placed at your sides. Keep your entire body relaxed and think of nothing. This is called Shav Aasna - lying like a dead. Sounds simplistic, but you'll be surprised at how well it rejuvenates the body and spirit.

Do for as little as 3 -5 minutes or longer (15-20 minutes) depending on your schedule. Irrespective of the amount of time invested, you'll see instant benefits.


Bottom line: Align your mind, body, and spirit and gain better self-control.


6. Find role models and mentors everywhere


You'll notice that inspiration comes from all around you, not just from those you are aware of or happen to know. Ideas, skills, and talents are available in abundance if you know how to look for them.


An interesting dynamic is, that unlike in the past mentoring is no longer confined to mentors with many years of experience. Age is no longer a criteria for receiving or giving mentorship. You also can have multiple mentors since different mentors have different strengths, adding more depth to the knowledge.


You can find multiple types of mentors:


  • Process mentor: experienced in processes, can help your organisation become more efficient
  • Technology mentor: help you learn, use, and implement systems and technologies
  • Professional mentor: update you on trends, changes, and new practices in your profession
  • Industry mentor: provide insights on the industry as a whole
  • Organisation mentor: help clarify vision, mission, and strategies for you


In fact if you just look around, you will find that there is an expert that you can learn something from. You'll be surprised to know how much today’s teenager knows about social media and can help you manage your social media campaigns.


Bottom line: Look for the knowledge quotient in a mentor and, not just the experience.


7. Never stop up-skilling and learning


Grab every opportunity that helps you upgrade your knowledge and skills, not only because a leader must lead from the front but also because today’s moving marketplace impels you to move with rapidly changing times. You’ll be better equipped to negotiate new challenges and will have extra confidence going forward.


With today's technology, you can learn many skills on your own time at a place of your choice, making it easier to upgrading your skills.


Bottom line: Commit to continuously building skills and knowledge. To stop learning is to stop growing.


8. Lead by example, always, every day


As the go-to-guy who solves problems, your team looks up to you and expects that you will practice what you preach.


Have you have ever been to an auto shop where the owner is unwilling to get his hands dirty and just redirects your every query to a worker. Don’t you get the queasy feeling about the place! It is no different when it comes to your business.


Your clients and, your team expect that you will step-in and take charge in important situations. Do not disappoint them. The psychological impact this has on everyone cannot be disputed or, quantified.


If you ask your team to be cost effective, show that you mean it. Flying first class when asking others to go economy can possibly show them who's the boss but does nothing for you in the respect department. If you advise team members to listen to each other, demonstrate that skill yourself.


Bottom line: The way to gain respect and trust from your stakeholders is by always taking responsibility for your actions.


To conclude:


Your end goal as a true leader should be simple; create so many leaders in the organisation, that there is no need for you to lead on a task by task basis.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

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Sanj Sethi

Mobile Apps, Online Ordering and Digital Menu for Restaurants, E- Commerce & Database based Web Solutions