July 18, 2023 | 03 min read
Life often presents us with unexpected opportunities for growth and self-discovery. One such opportunity came my way when Abhi nominated me for the “10xer program.”
Initially, I had modest expectations, wondering what I would learn beyond Abhi’s (The O.G! ) gyan and what I already knew from my on-the-job experiences.
However, I have to admit, I was intrigued by how other new managers are coping with challenges, and wanting the steal a few tricks of the trade which they had already tried and tested. True to all the fuss and buzz about the program, this experience has been phenomenal in structuring my thoughts and boosting my confidence in the right and wrong aspects of my leadership approach.
Day 1 of the offsite was a bang!! It set the tone and raised the standards of my expectations way beyond anything that I had seen in Bizom to date! The open conversations and discussions the group was having with KK, Shree, Lalit, Sridhar, and Revathi and the vulnerability with which all opened up about their challenges were really moving. In retrospect, the offsite was my Aha moment, where I recognized that leadership demands excellent humility!
As part of our jobs, especially the sales and support teams, we start our day with a call from a client in crisis and probably end with negotiation or customization request calls, where we try our best to handle situations and get the client to agree to our terms. Sometimes we succeed, and sometimes we fail. But the sad part is that lost in day-to-day crisis handling, we rarely spend time understanding the psychology behind persuasion or are mindful of the strategies for crafting compelling narratives.
Lately, I have come to understand more and more and believe that true influence lies in effective communication and persuasion. The various techniques and strategies discussed were quite interesting and made me think differently. For example, even the smallest things like knowing which part of the review meeting is best to give the good news, and when to give the bad news, or the importance of saying “what else” instead of saying “anything else” while holding open discussions, or even asking a potential client for coffee versus asking for lunch, play a huge role in psychologically influencing the listener! These small techniques and tricks, made me notice patterns in the behavior of my stakeholders and feel more in control of the outcome of the discussions. (It’s an inside joke in the 10Xer club that we don’t use the phrase “it depends” anymore 🙂)
One of the invaluable lessons I learnt in the last few weeks, is the concept of coaching via asking powerful questions. This had a profound impact on me. If you ask me today what the top 3 attributes of a great leader are, I’ll say the ability to ask the right questions to coach and drive growth will be one of them! And literally, each session reinforced just this.
Recently, we decided to bring a couple of interns on board with us full-time, and I was having a routine discussion with them to give them feedback on their performance during the internship and also to convey to them that we would like to have them join us full-time. Adding on to the OG way of doing this in the past, this time, I also went on to ask them a few questions: what exactly is their motivation to join us full-time, what do they think are their reservations, areas of strength, what would their ideal workplace look like, and what disappoints them, etc.
I made mental notes to ensure that I provide a suitable environment that enables their growth and brings out their best. I also have a better vision of knowing exactly when and why they would feel disengaged and what needs to be done to avoid that. I am looking forward to putting together a great team where each one of them openly discusses their aspirations and takes ownership of their growth and development!
Here are my 2 cents for anyone who aspires to be a leader (with or without a title 🙂) – Leadership is a continuous learning journey, and in order to be an effective leader today, you definitely have to be skilled at including and drawing out contributions from many sources!
Remaining open-minded, curious, and receptive to new ideas is not just a choice but a necessity to stay ahead, uncover new opportunities, and find innovative solutions to the challenges you encounter along the way.