‘Reality based Leadership’ – The Need of the Hour !!

reality check

Working in a recession-hit economy/ business environment is challenging to any entrepreneur – whether he is seasoned or novice ; only the degree of frustration will vary based on what he can do and he cannot do. In these business situations, deployed resources are always a derivative of the business process to mitigate business risk and the waiting period to earn profits depends more on external factors besides persistent individual efforts of a promising/ experienced entrepreneur.

‘If I ask you what drives you crazy at work – who holds you back from being an amazing leader and producing extraordinary results – chances are you won’t have to reflect very long before coming up with the answer. Frustration is at all-time high, and the responses I get to this question generally fall into two categories – people and circumstances. The circumstances: the sky-high customer expectations, the rising cost of doing business, increased regulation, the recession, the pace of change, budget cuts and being asked to do more with fewer resources. The People: whiny, high-maintenance employees with a sense of entitlement where their motivation and entitlement ought to be, who prefer creating drama in getting their job done….’, writes Larry Winget and Cy Wakeman in their book – “Reality- based Leadership – Ditch the Drama and restore sanity to the workplace”.

In these present times of recession, leadership is tougher and the odds are high, tall and many. In fact, it is a catch-22 situation now ; whether to Hire or Not? Definitely, you are in need of capable manpower to beat the recession; at the same moment you are reluctant to add manpower, looking at the existing overheads. The employer as well as the employee is very cautious to meet the change, feeling insecure themselves. The expectations on either side is higher and the tendency to attach self-importance is very evident while choosing options. I am referring to high performers – whether it is a well-progressing client company or an extraordinary employee. In addition, being pushed hard by the customers and bosses, existing employees are feeling like quitting their jobs but they cannot. Then, what is required to get the best results in these situations? Larry says, “We need a reality check!!.” Leaders in today’s situation – have to help the reportees to perform. We need leaders who can rise above the circumstances they are in. People are differently enabled and we know that. They have to be shown the right path through exemplary leadership. They seek individual motivation beyond just a pay check in difficult economic times. Leadership has to be reality based. Do more and talk less, turning excuses into results. Sounds inspiring, right? But, it is tough to practice though not impossible.

I have mentioned in my earlier posts too, in this blog ; today’s employers (clients) are not in a hurry; but are diligent while filling up the vacancies or positions ! Head-count matters now more than ever. Performance is being measured on a day-to-day basis. And, it is because the situation is demanding so. It is not that the bosses have become very mean overnight. Larry proposes a new business model, in his book, that can be adopted to beat the recession. Reality-based Leadership – Leaders who are capable of quickly recognizing the deficiencies in the situation and can act or react quickly to fill the gaps. Larry divides his reality-based approach into various parts as listed below, along with my suggestions:
1. Find Peace at the workplace – this is essential; to get our minds working to beat the odds stacked up against us.
2. Bring in sanity at the workplace – Win people over. Do reality check while proposing targets to be achieved. Reward accountability. Conduct coaching and training sessions whenever required. INVEST now so that you HARVEST the first, the moment market situation changes.
3. Lead your team to results – bring the pace of change silently among the employees, making it not very visible (so as to counter the resistance to change) but set higher expectations from employees. Skillful and well-engaging leadership is required here.

Situations and circumstances can be overcomed and all it requires is ‘the right approach’ – to mend our skills to meet the needs of the market, couple with positives to reduce the impact of negatives, change the course of action or direction, transform people through motivation besides pecuniary benefits, develop valid options to enhance and sustain positive efforts, and most important, by adopting Reality-based Leadership.

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