GNcareers, from Gulf News

Leadership lessons from a koi fish

A good leader is able to create a boundless environment for growthImage Credit: Supplied

One fascinating thing about the koi fish is that if you keep it in a small fish bowl, it will grow to be only about two or three inches long. But if you place it in a tank or a small pond, it will reach six to 10 inches. Put it in a large pond and it may grow as long as a foot and a half. However, if you put it in a lake where it can really stretch out, it has the potential to reach a size of up to three feet. Amazing, isn’t it? The bigger its space, the more it will grow in size.

Similarly, people are like the koi fish. Each individual has the potential to grow to the dimensions of his boundaries.

When applied to an organizational setup, leaders are the ones who can establish such boundaries. Either they create a setting that limits their team’s potential to grow, or create a boundless environment where better opportunities are provided for the team to uncover their hidden potentials like the koi fish.

The limiting factor that restricts people with gifted abilities from excelling is fear. It is the leader’s job to lift that cap and unleash every employee’s potential. A person’s innate abilities are developed by several factors, including his work environment and the people he deals with.

The best thing a leader can do then is encourage his team to take bold and massive steps towards the attainment of their goals. He must teach them to accept failures and learn from their mistakes. He must give them enough margin for errors, but urge them to learn from past issues and commit to not repeating them.

Leaders must give credit where credit is due. They must stand up to their responsibility in case of failures, and remember that integrity, not speeches brimmed with powerful words, is what inspires any team.

Experience is the sum of all failures and successes. Where an employee stands in terms of achievements can be partly credited to a good leader.

Handy Hints:

* Leaders must urge employees to take well thought-out risks

* They must give them room to grow and appreciate their efforts

Source: Kamran Ahmed Siddiqui, Special to Jobs & Careers

The writer is Training Manager in a major Abu Dhabi Oil & Gas Company