March 19, 2023 | 02 min read
Looking back at my 10Xer journey, something that I remember clearly is the discussion we had over dinner during our first offsite with the 10Xer participants: Lalit, Nikhil, Sridhar, and Revathi. We had deep and honest conversations about various challenges that come along with the responsibility of being a leader, ranging from how to run a team, manage non/low performers, build trust among the team, make and leverage important connections, and more. These discussions set the tone for the whole 10Xer program and reminded me of how challenging a leadership position can be.
The program is designed to inspire one with many ideas. I cannot say that I immediately implemented every new idea. I picked up the ones that resonated with me the most and put them into practice. For now, I am letting the other ideas simmer in my head and will probably put them to use when the situation arises.
What definitely changed in me with the program is the way I give feedback. We can all agree that giving feedback is probably one of the most important things a leader has to do. Furthermore, giving negative/tough feedback is never easy. I actively started shifting toward always coupling my feedback with outcome-based actionables.
When I give tough feedback to someone, I ensure that I focus on what I expect the other person to take action on and reiterate the outcomes we want to achieve. What I noticed was that since the feedback conversation ends with a call for action for my teammate, the discussion is not bitter anymore and rather gives more clarity to him/her. This has helped me engage (in some cases, even retain) my team better.
Another skill I am trying to master after the program is managing my team better. Sridhar mentioned during one of the offsite dinners that “managing a team member is like flying a kite. Depending on the wind situation, one must learn when to let go, relax and when to hold on tight, be careful. If you do not master this art of subtle balancing, there is no pleasure in flying a kite.
You hold on too tight, and the kite ultimately collapses, and if you let it loose, risk it flying away.” In line with this, I started to divide ownership and responsibility instead of distributing tasks to my different teams. I provided them with all the resources and information required, as well as the liberty to make the decisions required to reach the agreed goal.
With ownership, I noticed my team taking more responsibility than ever before, and driving themselves without me having to follow up every day. Earlier, my standups used to last about 30 minutes per team (overall, about 1-1.5 hours), and now my daily stand-up call duration has significantly reduced to a maximum of 30 minutes in total!
There are many such small changes I picked up during the program and am experimenting with currently. All discussions, mentoring, and interactions with peers reiterate every single day that I am not alone in the journey and and will always receive support and resources when I seek.