Management Sutras – True Leader

10 Attributes of a Great Leader – Excerpts from Management Sutras

A true leader lets go of control

He creates leaders, not followers. An important mark of good leadership is letting go of control. Are you in control when you are sleeping or when you are dreaming? Can you control any other function in your body? Your heart pumps oxygen on its own. Are you in control of your thoughts? You are not.

So, when you realize you really do not have any hold over all the critical aspects of your life, then you learn that the idea that you are in control is an illusion. And knowing this will relax you.

Sets Examples

A leader leads by example. He does not just issue orders. He teaches others how to do things by first doing them himself. A good leader creates leaders, not followers. He takes good care of those whom he is leading. He delegates responsibility.

Does Not Worry About Position

A good leader is well aware that the respect that he gains through virtue is very different from the respect he gains through the position he enjoys.

He knows that the respect the position brings is short-lived and temporary. Being a chairman of a committee or a president of another, being a governor or a barrister – these are all momentary experiences. Positions come and go. But the respect that he gets for being a nice person, for his virtues and attitude, is genuine. It lasts long.
Accepts Challenges

A good leader is motivated when there are challenges to meet. He is alert in times of crisis. He is not disturbed; rather he sees challenges as opportunities.

Balances Head and Heart

A successful leader maintains a balance by listening to the head as well as the heart. When he needs to commit himself to his work, he listens to his head. In other areas of his life, he listens to his heart.

Is Empathetic

An effective leader is able to put himself in others’ shoes and see things from their point of view. He is a good communicator.

Does Not Care for Comfort

Anything creative and dynamic can happen only when you stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. You are often stuck here. You may think that you cannot do something. But if you make an effort and take that first step ahead, then you will find that you are not bound by your comfort zone. A good leader knows this.

Has Long-Term Vision

A true leader has a long-term vision and the short-term plan to work on it. He is prepared to put the organization, the country, before his own needs. That sense of sacrifice is needed.

Has Integrity

A good leader is satyadarshi (truthful), samdarshi (equanimous), priyadarshi (pleasant personality), pardarshi (transparent) and doordarshi (farsighted).

He has a mission and a vision and a spirit of sacrifice, compassion and commitment.

Does Not Let His Position Make Him Arrogant

A good leader does not exhibit that he is a leader. He becomes one among everybody. He does not think he is better than everybody else. He just sees himself as part of the group. A sense of belongingness makes him interact with the ones he leads. Developing good human relationship skills is a necessary quality in a successful leader.

Management Sutras – True Leader

The “StateCraft” of Salary Hikes, promotions , appraisals and an implementable solution


Indians Exports :
Contribution  of IT Industry
1994 – 4%
2012 – 25 %

Thats Cheetah Fast !!! And salaries also did grow at the same pace, almost till recent past. Most of the times we saw the ladder of career growth faster than an elevator – most of times defying logic and rationale.

But things are changing now , so do the process of appraisals , promotions needs a change.

Obviously, HR practices that evolved during these years took a certain shape.

Today :
A budget is decided for the total amount of increments by the company , and then allocated to each group or a team. So basically they are trying to fit the appraisal ratings distribution to the increments one(tring tring!!). At times promotions also follow the same road which leads to Rome, may be at times the manager feels threatens about attrition and promotes someone, otherwise there is not much rational.

Sounds unfair and crude ? 

Solution :Live  it, as thats the way it it .

No , the HR system needs a revamp. High time.

Time to innovate

For starters – do realize that each of those tools serve a different need.

  • Appraisal Ratings give feedback about how the person has performed over the past cycle.
  • Hikes (or Increments) plus bonuses serve a dual purpose – first to make sure the employee considers it worthwhile to spend his/her effort and time for your work, and then as a mechanism to share the company’s good performance and fortunes in the market with everyone who was involved.
  • Promotions are a way of telling people that you see greater potential in them, and would like them to shoulder more responsibilities.
The above 3 are of course correlated , however the strong CAUSE-EFFECT(Appraisal-Hike) effect linkage is simply  wrong. Not only this linkage messes up the desired communication (rationale behind a basic Appraisal)  but also screw’s the communication of the retrospective messages that the employees derive out of these.
eg: appraisal rating is mostly done against some objectives which are not static across the year (or the period of appraisal) , mostly in IT the goals change frequently and its hard to make the sound tangible. Now adding relative grading over that is not only redundant, but ugly, not smart at all.
Some workable solutions , be brave try them out:
  • Disconnect/Separate the increment and appraisal cycle completely : Outcomes of both should be different, and monetary benefits should not be linked to only increment cycle.
  • Be Transparent : Let the numbers do the talking, be as transparent as possible about how the company is doing, and what are the effects and plans etc. Make the employees part of decision making , share the responsibility.
  • Have shorter and more frequent appraisal cycles : Make the appraisal cycles more frequent, at times we keep them biannual or annual as we see lot of efforts are invested into it , however if there are more frequent and little less formal then automatically it will feel routine and easy. Also with this you will have the ability to revisit the objectives more frequently and also monitor them better.
  • “Together we sail together we sink” : Visibility sells more than ability. I am sure its not Greek to you. In simpler words if you are visible and the manager feels you are important than you have won half of the battle , so no matter how excellent you have been at work compared to your team mates what matters eventually is the perception or your demand. What happened to skills ? What happened to efforts ? What happened to relative grading ? is the appraisal for me to help me grow , or for the company itself so that it knows whos is good or who is bad ? Confused .. yeah! So better reward those who are less visible but have been playing a key role of an enabler in your firm.
  • Its not always about money , honey ! : Track skills and value growth as well Apart from monetary increments(Short term or Long term). This will not only help the employee to gauge himself but also help the company to have a better foundation for bigger opportunities within the organization.
  • Promotions should not come easy : Its a commitment to a vision one buys into, and the readiness to explore and experiment with ideas, practices and execution at a level one has not tried before. You should be able to undo a role-experiment. Try a different word for “promotion” so you don’t have to “demote” someone if they or you feel they’d rather do something else.
    Delink roles from “salary bands” etc . Create them based on levels of responsibility, impact and effort needed.
  • Self appraisals –  Assuming you have smart and ethical employees (i.e. if you have hired them right), overall, you’re likely to stay within the same ballpark for errors in the process. Balance with sanity checks at random. If you cannot trust your folks at all, well, you have bigger issues!

Not all work for monetary rewards and establishing a company around that will only lead to a culture which will choke when the money flow is down. Hire better and nurture them(not use them!). Look at creating a self-managed and transparent organization where you do not have to conjure up untenable explanations or make people look unproductive or inefficient merely because there’s not enough to give everyone a good hike.

The “StateCraft” of Salary Hikes, promotions , appraisals and an implementable solution