I’ve been thinking about the age old saying, ‘One shoe doesn’t have to fit em all’. Ok, I lied. Twice. Just thought of it and that’s not an old saying at all!! Talk about a deceptive way to kick start a Friday morning.
Humour me and indulge my thoughts for a minute. What if I told you that the shoe is not the problem. It’s probably the feet that are off. The one shoe doesn’t fit them all feet is a wonderful example of how we choose to find fault with the world of things rather than having a moment to introspect. Why blame a shoe. It isn’t even sentient.
I’d like to believe that customer engagement is my forte. I’d very much like to believe that I’m usually the bloke who gets sent to the front line when all things go wrong. Some of it has to do with how I manage issues and most of it has to do with the choices that I make to manage people. While I’m not a designated leader, time and again, I inherit that role. Once my job is done, I strip myself of the title and resume being a peasant.
This ties back to the shoes and feet. Leadership is similar to that shoe. The people who don that role, well well well, we are that feet. It’s good to sit back and see if its the shoe or the feet.
From a resolution point of view, there are a few commandments that I always follow.
1. Listen to the customer erupt
2. Set the first view of the expectation and promise to revert with an updated view
3. Sit back and understand the issue
3.a Evaluate the boundaries around the issue
3.b If its got nothing to do with us, Push back and Push back hard
3.c If its got to do with us, focus on resolution than witch hunt
4. Reassess and reset the updated expectation
5. Do whatever the hell it takes to meet that commitment
And that’s how I wrap a given Monday.
The things that I’ve called out are not a formal framework set in stone. These are the few steps that I follow , which I’ve learnt by getting yelled at for years. Get yelled repeatedly, you are bound to see a method to the madness. The steps are still attributes of the shoe that we spoke about. Most of us end up doing them in varying capacities. They do get done.
The difference between a bloke, a better bloke, good bloke and a great bloke, is how individuals carry those steps out. Feet.
A failure or a challenge is a fantastic way to understand how our mind works. We react to a challenge based on our limitations, our fears and insecurities and our strengths.
The ability for the feet to not take a failure personally goes a very very long way. When hell breaks loose, which it usually does on Fridays, there are specific ways where the feet of the IT world react
1. There are those who find the source to blame and end up making someone’s life miserable
2. There are those who panic because they freeze
3. There are those who start worrying about the consequences and how it might impact their plans of paying off those EMIs
4. There are those who stop, think, plan, act and solve
5. And there are those who call on help , wash their hands off the responsibility, let the right people do their jobs, come back for the laurels
6. Oh and there are those who call on help, let the right people do their jobs, support them, take ownership of the situation and when the time comes for passing the due credit, they generously award them to the folks who got things back on track
The point is, there is no right and wrong. Leadership is not a trait. It’s usually a necessity because the situation warrants it. Managers and leaders are not born. They just happen to be blokes, caught in the wrong time at the wrong place. Some make their hay when that sun shines, some don’t.
The leadership trait that we express is a culmination of two significant factors. The things we read on benchmarked leadership traits and the other important thing, WHAT WE BRING TO THE TABLE. Besides our skills and years of experience, sore backs from the inertia of those lousy chairs, we also bring our personal and professional demons .We exhibit our strengths and limitations. If our limitations worry us, we tend to display a defensive approach to situations. When we stay assured of our strengths and stay wary of our limitations, we play to our strengths.
Always remember, there are no bad managers, just people bringing additional skills to the table!
So there you go. Shoes, feet and Management ! Fancy that sentence. Fancy that indeed!!!!!!