Leadership is NOT about designation, but compassion! Do you have it?

My last few weeks have been really busy and I have spent a lot of time at work, which presented an opportunity for me to observe people and their leadership styles. My current focus at work is to lead the ‘Early Professional Hiring and Journey’ for IBM India Sales and Distribution and under this exciting strategical effort, we are inducting a cohort.

An illustrated lot of leaders is interacting with the group and sharing their priceless information. Along with that, I am nudging the group to look for skills and characteristics which appear beneath the surface but impact the leadership and the leader; and more so, people who work with the leaders. And then imbibe those.

Leadership Khalid Raza #SocialGlamor

While I can create a fancy laundry list of actions each leader need to be cognizant of but I am not a guru and no one is a disciple here. Let’s uncomplicated it. You must have read in Talent Mantra: People should lead – People. Rest is just waste! that even if people have great roles, they may leave the organization if the people they work with create a hostile environment.

Compassion is the only differentiator between a designation and a leader who gets respected and admired. While talented people grow, sometimes those who just stick also move up the pyramid. However, at the top, compassion becomes a strength and the only key to engage and drive people.

I would also recommend you to read this blog in which a lot of people shared their idea of a good leader: What makes a good leader?

Read this small story about a person working with a freezer plant.

It was almost the day end. Everyone had packed up to check out. A technical snag developed in the plant and he went to check. By the time he finished it was late. The doors were sealed and the lights were off.

Trapped inside the ice plant for the night without air and light, an icy grave was almost sure for him. Hours passed thus. Suddenly he found someone opening the door. Was it a miracle?

The security guard entered there with a torch and helped him to come out. On the way back the person asked the security guard, “How did you know that I was inside? Who informed you?” the guard said, “No one sir; this unit has about 50 people. But you are the only one who says Hello to me in the morning and Bye in the evening.

You had reported in morning. But did not go out. That made me suspicious.”

He never knew a small gesture of greeting someone would prove to be a lifesaver for him. Remember to greet when you meet someone, of course, with a warm smile.

You never know – it may work a miracle in your life too.

I know, now you must be wondering if you ever stop to talk to people who open doors for us, that chai-wala who gives you a cup of tea and when you rush through a break, the guard who manages the main gate and the janitor wo wipes the marble and floor after you make a mess there.

But before you even go there, have you wondered how people who work with you think of you? Does it bother you? Or you think you don’t care. If you do care, please take a look at this activity which you can use to start your journey as a leader and also help you make the workplace a happy place.

Share your feedback after using the activity and how did it help you.

The original blog was featured on LinkedIn.


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6 thoughts on “Leadership is NOT about designation, but compassion! Do you have it?

  1. maureenmonte July 2, 2015 at 12:59 am Reply

    Khalid, looks like you’re experiencing fun and growth in your new role! I like the activity suggestion (and commented when you posted it a while back.) Can you speak to the courage it takes to observe oneself, and ask others for feedback (in a manner that makes it clear you really do want their feedback)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Khalid Raza July 6, 2015 at 5:24 pm Reply

      Indeed Maureen, I am enjoying the buzz and craziness of the new work – it has been a roller-coaster ride where sometimes I cringe in pain and frustration of people not doing their job or of people trying to do my job (sitting on the fence) and sometimes the sheer joy of helping new IBMers shat out their career.

      Regarding the courage, I feel it is more of ‘knowing’ what makes you better. The first time, one needs courage to ask for feedback but when you realize this is the most potent potion to make you better, it is more of an addiction (in a good way) that courage. However one has to show perseverance to change the behaviors – that’s not easy. But who said becoming awesome is easy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • maureenmonte July 6, 2015 at 6:31 pm Reply

        NOBODY said that becoming AWESOME was EASY! 🙂 Great points – look forward to a proper update on your experiences.


  2. Vicki Flaherty July 4, 2015 at 3:54 am Reply

    Thanks, Khalid, for this wonderful post! There is such power in really SEEING others, acknowledging their presence and being genuinely interested them as PEOPLE (versus resources). I’m leading a mindfulness movement at IBM and a couple of the activities in our community (Mindfulness@IBM) involve compassion. Maybe you want to check it out? Would love to have your passion and expertise there!


    • Khalid Raza July 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm Reply

      Wow.. now that sounds awesome. Please do rope me in if I could be of any help in that. I would sure search for it. Thank you for sharing it here with me and thank you for your comments.


  3. […] a second and read these 3 points again – hey hold true for all professionals. We know that leadership is all about compassion – we should learn to treat like we wish to be treated. So are you guilty of not treating […]


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