Larsen & Toubro Leadership Workshop
Sometime back, in a Leadership workshop for Larsen & Toubro that I was conducting, one of the participants shared a challenge he was facing.
“Earlier I had been involved in direct sales of earthmoving equipment to institutional buyers. A year back I got promoted and was moved to product and market development. However even now a few of the clients continue to contact me on even small issues.”
“That only goes to show that they still have a lot of trust in your support to them, is it not?” I commented.
“True,” the participant agreed. “But it often leads to negativity and bad blood with my sales colleagues who think I am trying to throw my weight around and stepping on their toes.”
“So, what is stopping you from letting go and clearly informing your ex-clients suitably?” I asked.
“That is what I am finding difficult to do. I feel I might be letting my clients down” was the response.
“That surely is a good intention. But are you taking accountability of future sales to the client?” I asked.
Looking at me, the participant slowly shook his head to conveying that he was not.
Each one of us, in our career, would have faced a similar situation. The problem occurs because of the clash between our stated positive intention and the negative impact we are making. If we are not careful, we can get sucked into a black hole of spiraling negativity which ironically arises from an initial intention to help.
The authority being exercised in some manner (even with good intentions) without being accountable is really abuse. If we expect others to be accountable for the task at hand, and we get sucked in, we need to be equally accountable to them, even if hierarchically they are junior to us.
Simply put our impact and influence may move in contrary direction leading to minimal or nil positive outcome. We thus need to explore how these two may operate together in the same direction to maximise the positivity of the outcome. Think of a train being pulled by a set of double engines.
Jim Dougherty, CEO of a software company, writes in Harvard Business Review ( Dec 12, 2012 issue), “If you want to get an emotional connect with the people you are working with or with whom you have business relationships — you need to be willing to commit and be accountable to them , unsolicited and without direct hope of reward.”
Should you wish to move on the road to better influence and impact, I invite you to explore and answer these questions:
- Are you willing to make personal investments in people?
- Are you willing to share what you are learning?
- Are you willing to empathise with the stresses and frustrations others feel?
- Are you willing to work for a shared purpose, results and consequences?
What could you do to maximise the overall outcome from the influence and impact you make?
In Learning…………….. Shakti Ghosal