Today, the challenge of a good leader is to be a democratic, open minded, perceptive manager, who hires and retains the best for the job.
In an age of advanced specialised education and precocious talent, it is imperative that one realises that fresh recruits are often potential giants rather than pygmies!
With young resources with high IQs and unbridled drive,the manager's role is very challenging as she/he has to encourage the teamby building an environment that is fun yet challenging enough to exercise the innovative entrepreneurial spirit without ever losing focus of the goal post.
To achieve this, the manager has to be very clear in communicating performance standards. They should listen and find solutions. It is pertinent to encourage candidness where teams talk, confront issues, cement relationships at work. This ultimately generates speed, encourages innovation, cuts costs, and eventually benefits the end consumer.
Of course, with new age theories, I believe there is nothing to circumvent the character ethics propagated by the age-old virtues of integrity, honesty, and fair play. My team always knows that monetary targets should never come in the way of what is right for the customer.
I consider leading a team at work is quite like leading a sports team.
As a manager, I am greatly influenced by Jose Mourinho, manager of the Chelsea football team who has proven that winning is about the team rather than individual brilliance.
At work, it's all about the group dynamics of a bunch of efficacious people rather than identifying and grooming individual stars whose personal goals ultimately supersede those of the team.
Another key deliverable for a leader that I focus greatly on is Vision. One has to dream up the road ahead and communicate this and get a "buy in" from the team. Then the focus should be on execution of getting the vision from paper to real world. The manager needs to be enthusiastic and energetic as this is infectious. In today's highly competitive environment, there is really no scope for a "non-playing strategist manager".
It's analogous to cricket where the days of a Mike Bearley are gone ... today you need to be a Rahul Dravid or Ricky Ponting. If you do not bat - you should not lead!