By now, if you are a regular subscriber to our blog, you have read a lot about our philosophy of Thoughtful Leadership™ – stepping away from the chaos and frenzy of the day-to-day to lead with intention, purposeful action, and self-reflection. We not only like to share our philosophy, but also love to highlight Thoughtful Leadership™ in action by sharing examples of leaders who practice and live those same ideals.
This week a CEO who embodies and espouses many of the qualities we see in Thoughtful Leaders™ was featured in the Sunday New York Times. Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO of Genpact, a business process and technology management company, shared his ideas on what makes great leadership and a great organization for employees anywhere:
- Understand what is important to be successful – Tyagarajan discussed how his definition of success shifted from being number one in his class to being a strong communicator and member of the team. “Just knowing the answer is not good enough,” he said. Being clear about what defines success for yourself as a leader, as well as for the members of your team, leads to stronger performance.
- Be willing to admit what you don’t know – Early in his career, he was put in charge of a team of people who had much more experience and knowledge than he did. Tyagarajan’s willingness to learn from his team (especially the most senior person) and to be open and transparent built trust. Particularly going into a new role, many leaders try to create a façade of being fully prepared and more knowledgeable than their staff in order to avoid the vulnerability and discomfort of admitting what they don’t know. Letting your team see that you are willing to say you don’t know and are open and ready to learn new things and try new approaches models the right kind of behavior.
- Know how incentives will drive behavior – Every organization has measurements, goals, and incentives for reaching those goals. Tyagarajan has found that metrics that are understandable and show progress, rather than simply rewarding the highest or fastest, drive the right behaviors and get the best results.
- Value curiosity – “Curiosity opens up so many other windows,” Tyagarajan said. “You’re more inclusive. You question more, and you listen.” Being curious, promoting inclusion, questioning, and listening genuinely are all traits of a Thoughtful Leader™. Encouraging and creating a culture of curiosity on your team and in your organization sets you up for growth, development, and sustained learning.
- Make mistakes – Tyagarajan shared that he looks to understand how people view mistakes during his interviews with potential staffers. He sees a willingness to make mistakes as the key to risk taking and continuous learning. He wants to know how new employees have handled failure, what they learned, and how comfortable they are with the idea of making mistakes. A leader who models willingness to make mistakes and encourages risk-taking without reproach opens up the work environment to greater creativity and trust.
Tyagarajan also offered great career advice during the interview, encouraging others to stop comparing themselves to other people and instead compare themselves to what they could and want to be. So often we focus more on the decisions that others make or the opportunities that others have. Instead, this Thoughtful Leader™ advises us to reflect on what we want for ourselves, push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, and be willing to make mistakes and be imperfect. Then you can become the kind of Thoughtful Leader™ that you want to be.
Many of today’s executives like Tiger Tyagarajan are leading Thoughtfully and getting strong results in the process. It takes self-awareness, courage to do things differently, and keen understanding and awareness of those around you. The earlier in your career that you can adopt the kinds of leadership principles that Tyagarajan shared, the sooner you can be on your way to joining the ranks of high-performing Thoughtful Leaders™ everywhere.
What other leaders embody the best in Thoughtful Leadership™?
Tell us about her or him.
If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.
To build your Thoughtful Leadership™ skills, contact Robyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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