5 skills every leader needs to succeed

Amit Phadke, Senior Vice President – IT and Managed Services, Accelya Kale, on the pivotal leadership traits every leader must have. By Shweta Gandhi

For Amit Phadke, a leader is only as strong as the team that follows him. Leaders don’t exist in isolation and it’s important they understand what’s good for the team is good for them. With over 16 years of experience in IT strategy, IT operations, managing hosting services, business solutions, service delivery, information security and project management, Amit has had time to hone his leadership skills. He also has expertise in IT, networking, storage, virtualisation, managed services, cloud computing and applications support. For his hard work, Amit was recognised as a SaaS Icon at CIO Power List 2016. Here, he tells us how a leader can keep his head in the game, inspire followers and keeping the team motivated.

1. Motivates and inspires others
“To become a great leader, you must develop a great team. You can start by handing off responsibility to your team and letting your team run with it. Don’t micromanage, but make yourself available if questions or problems come up. Give your team the freedom to work through their own decisions. When projects aren’t on track or your team is falling behind on a deadline, it serves no one if you start pointing fingers. This is when you need to rise to the occasion and inspire confidence in your employees, to let them know you support them and be ready to help. Be ready to alter plans and make new ones. Don’t forget to use humour to keep your team’s spirits up during a crisis. When an emergency hits, your team will look to you to be a tower of strength and endurance.”

2. Communicates a clear vision
“As a leader, you have to learn to communicate your vision or the vision of your company to the people you want to follow you. The vision should be in your mind every day and should be re-evaluated occasionally so that it stays current with the changing times. Your team needs to be just as involved as you in keeping it up to date if you truly want them to buy in on the vision. Be sure to keep your key players involved and make them party to it.”

3. Has passion to follow the vision
“To build an extraordinary management team, you’ve got to light the ‘fire in their belly’ to get them to feel passionate about the company and connect to your leader’s vision. Passion is such a key part of being a great leader that if you don’t have it, you simply can’t be a great leader. Passion is infectious; when you talk about your vision for the company, let your passion for it shine through. Others will feel it and want to get on board with you. If you don’t have passion, you need to recreate your vision or reframe your description so that it’s connected to your passion.”

4. Is a team player
“Don’t be a leader in isolation, who consults no one before making a decision, announces the change the next day and then gets frustrated when no one follows it. Great decisions are often taken in consultation and are based on experience.”

5. Displays honesty and integrity
“Each leader has a leadership style that is based on their character strengths and limitations, which play a critical role. Ensure your character matches with what you think you are. You might wish to be a particular type of leader, but if your character traits don’t align with it, then be honest with yourself. Look a little deeper and find out the leader you can be. In learning to be a great leader, the first step is to be open to feedback about yourself as a leader.” 

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