Around a year ago, I came across a lady in one of the interviews conducted for senior positions in Aspire Systems. She had approx. 5 years’ of experience in the industry and was in charge of a team. When asked to explain her current role, she almost spoke for 5 minutes on her daily activities – not a moment she talked anything about rendering technical assistance to her team.
I got dissatisfied instantly, but however left my partner-interviewer to field his questions – because we always need to give some chance before concluding. Finally, we had to reject her. In a couple of days after that weekend recruitment drive, I got a call from one of my HR team members who wanted to know why we rejected her. It seems, the lady had gotten severely upset that we hadn’t taken enough time for the interview, and above all rejected her, neglecting her managerial capabilities. The poor HR friend lamented about the tough time she had, answering the lady.
It is not this one instance. We have encountered lots of people who exhibit their managerial abilities, and want a job profile conforming to a managerial position. It is high time we understand that the industry doesn’t want any more of those class!
We are in an era where we need persons that can also play the role of “technical leads”. To put it simply with an example, let us take a grocery store in Tamilnadu – There would be a shop owner sitting at the counter (known as kalla), and a couple of young boys serving the customers. In case there is a shortage of service boys any time of the day, the owner himself moves out of his seat, weighs the requested item, and folds newspaper packets (pottlams) tied by string.
Apart from that, the whole concept of management that bugs the industry currently should die out. Practically, you can observe managers as mechanical entities, who just want outputs all the time no matter what factors affect. They are constant quizzers, but those who don’t have answers. They are number crunchers, and at the same time people crunchers. They try to seal the pore instantly, and don’t think of preventing cracks that could erupt in the future.
Leaders are supersets of managers. They do both – leadership and management. A leader can exactly understand why on a day there was no output, what a team needs to provide the output – be it leave, good systems or good food at the canteen.A leader sets example, and hence trust. When a team accredits that their leader is technically competent, then they yield so naturally; respect needn’t be demanded.
We need such people who can build their teams for the future and at the same time monitor the present, who can create independent responsible resources and identify the existing best, and those who enjoy trust equally, when they take the rod and when they give the lolly pop.
Let us understand that some of the most successful attempts in Indian Aerospace have been executed by motivated teams who have been lead by positive leaders, not by managers who sacked those that couldn’t make the rocket hit the moon at 90 degrees!!