This definitely will not work

Met a bunch of friends the other day. We were celebrating 16 years of us being together. They were part of my first professional team (sounds like a professional sports team, right?) back in 2003-04. It used to be fun then and over the years it’s only gotten better.

Despite the brotherhood and camaraderie, there’s one major thing I disagree on — leadership. They’d say it doesn’t exist in their industry (outsourcing/off-shore operations) thanks to the incompetent management. I’m convinced they haven’t tried because leadership doesn’t require permission but the right intent. Also, I’m in a better position to exercise my ideas than them.

I’m pretty sure you’ve been in a similar position. And like you, I get frustrated too. But I knew damn well I cannot reason (successfully) with people (despite that I love them) who’re convinced change cannot happen by just their efforts/intent. There are just way too many factors at play — incompetent superiors and underpaid associates subordinates. And mind you, these are the folks who’re all excellent leaders in their own rights! Yes, I precisely know what they’re suggesting but spending the rest of their professional lives believing they’re helpless is just insane!

It’s a well-documented fact that leadership can exists at all levels. And regardless of who you are and what you do, it’s a practice that one’s got to embrace. Just that it’s hard to do and will constantly push you out of your comfort zone (sometimes just keep you there). The only reason why leadership wouldn’t work in your case is because you’re convinced it’s not worth the time investment (a lot of it) and the hard work (a lot of it) that follows.

Waiting for the “right position” sounds like a great idea but it isn’t. Why? Because some of our best leaders are influencers who don’t even hold positions! And they say, “the best opportunities come when you’re prepared.” It’s not the other way around.

So, I’ll continue to tell my friends to “do what they can with what they have” because I love them. Moreover, if I keep at it (which I will) one of these days they’ll be convinced that leadership is a choice and a habit that doesn’t depend on the people above and below them.

P.S. The conversation with my friends made me realize why I was so drawn to my podcast’s title name — This Might Not Work. More details soon.

By Sunil Nair

Nurturing leaders of tomorrow.

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