Lahore School of Economics

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How to ‘earn’ Leadership?

Mr. Nadeem Rehmani, Director Operations, METRO, and a very experienced speaker on the managerial circuit, paid a visit to the Lahore School on November 6, 2014, to deliver a talk on Leadership and to answer questions of the MBA participants of the Organizational Behavior and Leadership course. The talk and his answers were very well received.


He began by noting that a manager was appointed by the company whereas leadership had to be earned. However, even junior managers can become leaders because it was the situation which created leadership. The more unusual insight from him was that a leader had to balance between confidence and humility, aggression and patience, optimism and realism, and between deliberation and decisiveness.

Even more interesting were the types of “leaders” Mr. Nadeem said one could encounter in almost every organization and whom he would call as “unwanted”. These included the narcissistic (I love myself); the ditherer (I will not take a decision); the panderer (I will do everything to please my boss); the faddist (I love the new fad till I run into a newer one); the fantasizer (I will build this, do this) and the tunneler (the micro-manager).


He divided most employees on a two by two matrix of Skill versus Value. Thus one could put them into four boxes. The stars were obviously those with a high skill set and a high value set. Then there were those with high value but low skill set (hardworking and honest) and you had to invest in them. If there were those who were low on both, it meant they were 'hiring mistakes'. The most dangerous were actually those high on skills and low on value because these would form their own followership and one needed to get rid of them.

The MBA participants used the last one hour to ask him a large number of questions. In response to a question on his style of people management, he informed the class that he had some 25 direct reportees whom he met regularly for 15 minutes per person to discuss their problems. A business leader had to have a hand on the pulse of his or her people and had to keep them happy. People make mistakes and those who do not make mistakes would not become good leaders.


And finally, he told the class he had the same personality whether in office, home or in class (What we call in our jargon, authentic leadership!).

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 11/08/2014 02:25:00 PM,

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