For the average Joe, 6th May 2018 was just another lazy Sunday. But it was not so for employees of Apple, since, twenty years ago on this very day, with Apple barely 90 days away from bankruptcy, Steve Jobs unveiled the iMac – the very first product after taking over as the interim CEO after a long hiatus. That this was a last-ditch attempt at reviving a dying patient by administering a CPR would be an understatement! That was Apple then. Apple today is the first company to hit a market cap of USD 1 Trillion. And, this 20-year journey started with the iMac. But in many ways, more than just being a leader announcing the next product offering, both Jobs and the iMac are symbolic for something which is far greater - passion.
"Passion turns ordinary human beings into superheroes, making them achieve the impossible. It is like a pathogen, infecting you first, and, leaving you with the choice to either spread it by infecting others, or allowing others to administer you with a quick antidote so that it eventually dies away."
Jobs, as we all know, created an epidemic!
Like us common folks, there is a lot going on within the mind of a leader at any given point of time. Leadership styles says a lot about where we are and where we are headed.
"Our passion drives most of us to pursue our dreams and be persistent enough to turn them into reality. We tend to lose track of time, family, sleep, and the rest of the world around us as we single-mindedly chase our dreams that we so badly want. Along this journey, we tend to expect the same level of focus and passion from those working with us in our teams as well. While that may be the need of the hour in trying times and rightfully so, quite often, we tend to completely oversee the other side of the coin – passion’s brother from another mother – compassion. And here, lies the perfect balance in a leader."
Identifying potential talent
In their pursuit for excellence and perfection, most charismatic leaders are misunderstood (Jobs included), and, end up rubbing some very trusted co-workers the wrong way. If seen from their point of view, they seem right. There is a job at hand, and, it needs to be completed well in time leaving no room for shoddiness or cutting corners. When seen from the receiver’s end, displaying some compassion is not exactly asking for a lot. It makes the team feel valued, cared for, and, the warmth exuberates the passion. Besides, not everyone tends to understand the idiosyncrasies and the neurotic behaviour of overtly passionate and focused individuals.
The ability to identify not just the best talent among the crowd, but, also the potentially good ones is what makes a true leader. Eventually, the best tends to leave for greener pastures if their motivational aspects are not catered to consistently. The ones who are good but not so great, the ones who display potential, but are currently not brilliant, are the ones whom we groom into productive leaders of tomorrow - those are the ones who will stick by you. By being alongside with them, you create a story.
Avoiding a blinkered approach
Our work environment attracts individuals from various walks of life. We would never know what someone is going through in their personal lives or how is it impacting their performance at work. At such times, having a blinkered approach to work is very short‑sighted. The ability to keep aside personal idiosyncrasies and dispassionately look at any given situation helps us in arriving at a more workable solution – a win-win for both sides.
In the era of impending automation with AI, Machine Learning, Block chain and IoT, what continues to remain with us is our ability to care for those who matter to us – personally and professionally. As working hours stretch beyond human capabilities, our colleagues are gradually becoming our extended family. And, as is the case with all families, compassion will always continue to remain as the only binding factor.
"While passion may help us build our balance-sheets and bottom-lines, the trial balance will ultimately achieve equilibrium on the foundations of compassion. This is the bedrock of not just the future of work, but also the future of leadership."
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