Monday, July 8, 2013

Role of a leader

Creating a course is not easy. Especially a kind of course a senior leader wants for his team.With tight deadlines.

There are two ways out there. One is tried and tested. The other, to try out something different - something you think is worth a try based on the talking to experts. The first one is a possibility sometimes, when the leader wants something, very fast, instant. The second one is worth a try when the leader gives you the freedom to try. And some time. And a little patience. Once that is done, the work begins.

To begin with it means understanding your audience, what they want, what they like, what makes them tick, what is their level of knowledge. It means, preparing.  It means, keeping your ears close to the ground.

As it progresses, it means, working with various stakeholders and making them part of the creation process as well. It means, asking questions. It means, iteration.

While delivering, it means, making the audience think. It means, respecting their intelligence. It means, co-opting them as part of the process.It means making their few hours worth it. It means, at times, taking a decision on the spot. It means, facing tough questions and still guiding them to the right answers.

All of this and much more. And doing all of this has no guarantee that the course you put together will work.

So, it means, suspension of belief at some point. Especially when you taking them away from a tried and tested concept and want them to touch new shores. And making them believe - in themselves - with a new technique.

All of this is no guarantee of success. And there are many reasons it may work or it may not work.

But one great reason it can work is when the leader of the team is with you. Right through the entire session. Without stepping out for a phone call. Standing with his team as they try. Asking questions. Pushing them to think. Making them reflect. Walking amidst the teams as they work. At times, contributing at a table as any other participant would. Applauding their effort. Goading them to take steps. Letting them be. Keeping them honest. It is a never ending list.

But you will know it when you see it. Leading from the front...

(More on this to come - have seen the fantastic effect of leaders in many an intervention. Makes a difference on how the audience absorbs it.)

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