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BW Businessworld

To The CEO Chair

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All of us at some point in our lives have sought answers to questions such as what does it take to be a leader? Do I have it in me? Can I learn to be a leader? Are You Ready For the Corner Office? is an insightful book by executive coaches Pradipta K. Mohapatra and Ganesh Chella, which shows us that effective leadership is about balancing multiple intelligences, behaviours and competencies.

The book is a collection of 25 thought provoking case studies looking at the personal and professional developmental journeys of 25 senior leaders as seen through the eyes of their executive coaches. One insight that stands out is that being a good leader is not only about possessing hard skills. It is as much, if not more, about being good with people and having soft skills such as compassion, trust and respect for others. A well-rounded personality and emotional intelligence are the hallmarks of an effective leader.

Reading the cases also brings to light the fact that every leader is confronted with certain personal weaknesses and flaws. These could be the result of the environment/circumstances the leader has been exposed to and the beliefs or attitudes he/she has inculcated over life. Some of them may be aware of their weaknesses while others may be oblivious to them or worse, unwilling to accept them. If not cured, few of these flaws such as lack of trust in team members can seriously jeopardise the leader’s growth prospects. The path to leadership development starts by acknowledging these weaknesses and investing in their mitigation.

One important nugget of wisdom that the authors share is that executives and entrepreneurs are dealing with a lot in their work lives. They are expected to resolve conflicts and make decisions some of which may have far reaching implications. At the same time, they have to manage multiple stakeholder communities. All this can put executives under a lot of pressure. However, help is at hand in the form of coaches who can act as a sounding board and help managers cut through the haze.
Yves Guillaume

The book shows that challenges abound for leaders. More importantly, it shows that with an experienced and empathetic coach, managers can grow from within, rid themselves of their psychological and attitudinal handicaps and realise their true potential. I strongly recommend the book to all those occupying the corner offices or aspiring to get there.
Guillaume is President,  Airbus Group India
(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 09-02-2015)