At The Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, anyone answering “It depends” is really frowned upon. But the topic of leadership and dilemmas around leadership processes can be quite situational and difficult to understand. Therefore it does depend. But we must think about what depends on what and why?

I feel leadership is a conscious choice. You’re nothing without the people you’re leading, so it is crucial to get into their shoes to understand how is it that they look at us. It may not be possible to reach out to each of the people we’re leading, and therefore, Social Expectations,  which are commonly shared, is a good starting point to look closely at.

If we wear these lenses, we shall see that most of our followers or subordinates look upon us for direction in times of crisis and for vision in the good times. If we’re doing the opposite, we’re either just preaching or are unable to connect with our people.

About Feedback and Critical Views

Frankly, it hurts when someone randomly gives you extremely negative or brutal feedback. However, Feedback is extremely significant in the journey of leadership. Education sometimes ruins the thinking process. I often see people and think of only one thing – the Dunning Kruger Effect.

Dunning Kruger Effect

Here’s a video to help you understand where my thoughts are flowing from:

Off late, I’ve realized that being your own critique is essential for self-improvement. So also accepting critical views from others.

On Reputation

Even without defining reputation or having a deep understanding of it, one can get the essence of having it v/s losing it. A few of my favorite quotes, wrt building a personal reputation are:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you will do things differently.”

Warren Buffet

Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked and never well mended.”

Benjamin Franklin

“Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit, and lost without deserving.”

William Shakespeare

If you have ever read ‘The Theory of Moral Sentiments’ by Adam Smith or ‘The Complete English Tradesman’ by Daniel Defoe, the implications from Adam Smith and Daniel Defoe are that if you choose to be a leader or are even enforced upon to be one, there are specific qualities which are attracting people to you and if one does not understand that, in a moments notice they could be spoiling their entire reputation.