Recognizing Leadership Risk
Date: Friday , February 04, 2011
Most of us could bring to mind someone we think of as a good leader and we could even describe certain characteristics they exhibit, such as being charismatic, inspiring, driven and so on. Are these characteristics enough on their own and do they make a leader successful? Life generally requires us to take a certain amount of risk, for some people more so than others. In certain businesses risk taking may be seen as more desirable than in others. But what makes one leader take a calculated risk when nine out of ten others would walk away?
Vishwas Mahajan, Former CEO, Compulink and member of Senior Management Glodyne shares his opinion on the issue and says, “When you challenge status quo, when you think you can go where no one has gone before, it’s about risk.” It’s not only the leaders at top hierarchy of the organization who demonstrates leadership and take risk but even a customer care executive who’s at the bottom of the hierarchy demonstrates leadership in his own way while giving out solutions to customers. Risk taking is leadership’s attribute and ability to allow people to take decisions might lead to company’s growth, knowing some people may fail. “Leaders should support people under them by giving them the freedom of doing things the way they think is right, not the way others ask them to do because sometimes the person in the particular department knows his job better than the one at higher level who orders him,” says Beerud Seth, Co-Founder and CEO, SMS Gupshup. Hiring versatile employees in the organization rather than a specialized one sometimes goes in the favour of the company because in scarcity they can take up other roles as well as the situation demands.
On the same lines, Ajit Balakrishnan, Founder and CEO, Rediff.com relates that managing or supervising others is a big risk. A young person who joins the organization often succeeds by the virtue of his own contribution. For them moving up from being a personal contributor to a first line supervisor is the biggest challenge, where you don’t do things yourself but manage others.”
Leadership and risk go hand-in-hand at some point in the organization. It’s an opportunity at hand and at each phase of leadership one has to take decisions on their own irrespective of against others’ whims and wishes. As the computer scientists Admiral Grace Hopper had once said, “If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.