Monday, 17 February 2014

Leadership is freaking hard!

I had the opportunity to interviewed 3 very admiring women. Mrs Yuanita Rohali, Mrs Lilis Setiadi, and Mrs Dini Makmun. Top leadership in their respective companies.

From these interviews i learned, A LOT.

First and foremost, they take the time to coach their people. *sigh* i hate it. My people skill is really really low. i don't like one on one conversations with other than my best friend, my sisters, and my husband. One-on-ones make me very uncomfortable, to the point that it brings anxiety at the mere prospect of it.

Second, don't give a shit about what people say about you, including what your staff thought of you. It's not your job to care, your job is to run a company. Get the company to have the right vision, policies, and moves that tolerate no-nonsense what so ever.

Third, Result is always the measurement. Mrs Dini Makmun, actually advised me to say this to employees that say, "but i've tried my best.", she told me to say, "well, (with very neutral tone, like discussing the weather), maybe you should start to reconsider whether you are talented enough for this job."

My jaw dropped.
I was silent and probably stared at her bewildered. So she added, "Look, the result is always what matters. If you want me to value your effort, I'm sorry, that can't be done. That's just the way it is"

I really don't know how to react to that. I mean, i know she was right. But, i can't imagine saying that to people. In my mind i said, "they (the employees) will hate me." But, is it part of the package for bosses to be hated by their employees? To be the topic of  lunches and dinners? Whatever we do, if our directions are difficult, employees will always say things behind our back.

So many real people and books by great leaders say the same thing. We can't be great by being nice. My coach even scolded once, NICE actually stands for Nothing Inside me Care Enough.

Being clear in direction, firm and no nonsense are the rule.

So, as leaders, we have to learn to say no to : "but I've tried" excuses, but at the same time we must know whether the employee is actually unclear of what they have to do, or simply don't have what it takes to do the job well.

How the hell do we do that?

They say, the knowledge come to us through that one-on-ones we have with the employee. After a while, they say, we will develop some sort of radar that can separate the bull from an actual systemic problem. *sigh*

All these inner monolog is giving me a major headache... and heartache too.

Leaders always aspire to be loved or admired or both. But, most of the time, it is a lonely position. Steve Job, was seen as an A**  by people who saw the JOBS movie. But i can totally see his point of view. He cared too much of what apple should be, what it (should) stands for. His attention to detail was seen as outrageous, but he only did what's best for the product, for the company. He was seen as someone so unrealistic, unappreciative of his original founders/partners. Again, he seemed cruel, but he was only thinking what's best for the company.

Leaders have to have the guts to demand quality, the strength to make extremely difficult decisions, to stick to those decisions, even when it's hated by a lot of their employees. Leaders must also have relentless will power to soldier on. Especially whenever their vision is seen as ridiculous or impractical. All for the betterment of the company. For that green fields they know existed, way beyond the horizon. Even when everyone else see only steep, dark, winding, endless, worthless, and hopeless road.

So Yeah, leadership is hard.