Leadership is one of the most defining and most responsible roles in Corporates. While a leader encompasses multiple roles simultaneously across an organization, he/ she must fit what every junior can look up to. Also, a leader to someone is also junior to another leader; and so what he learns from his senior percolates down through the hierarchy. Maybe 360-degree thinking is important for a number of actions and decisions in a leader's life, but should the leader know everything? Shouldn’t they have any limitations?
In reality, the answer is No. But do his followers feel the same? Now, this could be the toughest question to answer to a leader's face.
Ideally, a leader’s role includes a variety of Key Responsibility Areas (KRAs) such as
A) He should be technically sound to provide inputs in various projects handled by him or his team.
B) He should be creative and be able to give out of the box ideas to his team members to keep the team efficient and productive
C) He should be able to manage the team members, weigh their strengths and weaknesses cumulatively, provide them the best possible guidance, and push them towards growth.
D) He should be able to mitigate the negativity percolated due to internal and external factors
E) He should form a channel between various levels of hierarchy and helps in transparent communication across
Most importantly, he should be able to think through and/ or anticipate the "can-go-wrongs" in a situation.
Each point mentioned above could vary based on the exact role defined in a company. But, for a true leader, the undefined roles are many more. Overall, it’s that tendency of people to want multiple aspects from a single person. In a way, multiple tasks from a single person. The higher the leader in the hierarchy, the more the importance of the leader.
So, when such huge expectations lie on a leader, can he reach the expectations?
Every person in the world has strengths and weaknesses. In reality, even the leader has both of them. While the weaknesses of the followers are compensated by a true leader, his weaknesses remain a question in the follower’s mind.
Followers generally expect all the issues to be sorted by the leader. In case the leader has weaknesses related to the same issue, the problem arises. The followers' expectations, many times overpower his ability to understand the senior’s weakness. As a result, the capabilities of the leader are questioned. So, should the followers really question the leader’s credibility even if the leader has a few weaknesses?
The answer is clearly No.
As no human is perfect, the leader may not provide solutions directly through his thoughts or work.
To handle these situations well, the leader can follow a few basic points
A) First and foremost, the leader can acknowledge his shortcomings or inability to provide solutions if required. There is no harm in it.
B) He can collectively work with other team members in order to solve the problem. He should be able to procure the right resources and time for that.
C) He should discuss the unresolved issue with the right people and provide the best support to the follower with the problem
D) If the solution is not found, accept the reality and look for alternatives collectively.
A leader should thus be put his best while acknowledging his conscience. There might be some questions temporarily, but you can clear the air in the long run.
Overall, the leader should not shy away to be open with his juniors and keep things transparent. As a result, he leads the way and helps the upcoming leaders understand the importance of it, and make sure everyone looks up to him with the same positive intent.