best practice this week: living it out

"What you are is so loud I can't hear what you are saying."

Practice what I preach. Keep all committments.

Why this Blog?

I started this blog for two reasons:

(1) To share my knowledge and experiences as a business consultant (Asia Pacific) & entrepreneur in the marketplace;

(2) Use this blog as an platform to exchange ideas, to learn from others and to further enrich our business experiences & personal development

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Part 3 - Management Skills: lesson learnt from a group of 18 year olds

Part 3

#5 - Management Skill Learnt: Leading by Example – Pushing Your Team to Their Potential

To have credible integrity means to lead by example. I demonstrated integrity and thereby earned the youths’ trust through leading by example. If I want them to exhibit the desired behavior, learning attitude and values throughout the study trip the best way is to show them by living out those behaviors, attitude and values.

"When I manage and lead teams of people, I always ensure that I live out the high work standards I would like my people to exhibit. What you are speaks louder than words."

In the context of this study trip, I showed the youths how to ask the right questions during companies’ visit, the value of being punctual, giving help to others before they request it, the importance of being curious and being humble.

I did not tell them I was teaching them these values and habits. I showed it to them consistently everyday in the most practical ways. For the rest of the trip, every single individual started to exhibit some, if not all, of these values and habits.

"What you are speaks louder than words. What you are sets the potential of your team."

#6 - Management Skill Learnt: Be Humble

I was fortunate to have mentors who taught me the importance of being humble.

"To be humble means to remain teachable for the simple reason of continuous learning and development."

It was natural as a team leader to think and feel that I knew it all and I was able to handle every circumstance.
"This attitude is the very opposite of teachability and the opportunity cost to it is that I will miss out lessons that will help me grow as a person and consultant."

We were doing our shopping at Hanoi’s most famous and busiest street market. I negotiated and agreed with the owner on the price of a packet of sugar-cane drink. However, the spouse of the owner disagreed with the amount when I returned later to pay for and pick up my sugar-cane drink. We haggled for a while and just as I was about to give in to the owners’ higher-than-agreed amount for the packet of sugar-cane, the youths appeared and asked if I needed help. They were by then quite an expert in price negotiation and very street smart.

I didn’t reply because my natural instinct as a team leader prompted me not to ask help from my team members.

The youths eventually helped me and pulled me out of that embarrassing situation. It was a small incident but I was reminded on the lesson of being teachable.

"There are times as a leader when I do not have answers to certain situations."
This is when the strength and unity of the team comes into play; we overcome difficulties together as a team.

"I have learnt from past experiences that it is not unbecoming of a leader to admit that he or she needs help from the team."
I usually find the responses from the people I lead very encouraging; they are always ready to offer their help and it builds rapport.

For me as a leader, such times are golden opportunities for me to learn from my team members and thereby further develop my skills and knowledge. For the team, it brings them closer to their leader because they find the opportunity to contribute and overcome their leader’s predicament.

Can you imagine the opportunity cost for not being humble?

Management Skill Learnt: Conclusion

Towards the end of the study trip, the youths invited me into their party room and told me what they thought of me initially. In a nutshell, they accepted me into their ranks. This was evident in their willingness to exhibit the values I have showed them and through the questions they raised during companies’ visits.

I have achieved the end I had in mind and it really made it worthwhile to spend 2 weeks in Hanoi with this group of youths.

The management skills I had re-learnt certainly enriched my own management experiences. After the trip, I was even more convinced that I must continue to exhibit the best credible integrity I could and genuine care for my team.

"I have observed and learned that these six management skills are applicable universally. "

They worked for me and I hope they will work for you too.


1 comment:

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