[Updated on 24 September 2018]
By MARCUS LIM
Reading Roshan’s story of becoming the “best in the world” when he was part of the leadership team of a “surviving” Malaysian company was insightful. It inspired me to write a response article dedicated to the emerging generation of today, my Generation Y cohort.
As a quick summary, Roshan explains how the leadership team of that company, within two years, transformed the organisation’s turnaround time of more than 450 days into an organisation with turnaround time of below 40 days with the same “Malaysian” workforce. According to him, this was all possible with a leadership team who believed and was committed to being the best.
Then my question was if it was all up to the leadership team to inspire, what would happen if they did not come along at all? Could the emerging generation come about and do something to inspire that change of mindset and push growth from the bottom-up?
I believe the answer is YES! And here is how.
It begins with that decision
It all begins with that decision to become not just a good employee, but a great employee. That is, an employee who decides to take ownership of his or her role in the organisation and become great at it. It all starts with that thing we call “vision”.
More often than not, managers fail to ask the question, “What is your vision for this department?” to new employees who join an organisation. However, that is not an excuse for us to neglect that question and go about working like drones.
The first step is to ask what your vision is for the department you are currently working in and what your manager’s vision is. Are they aligned? If not, how can you align your vision to your manager’s? If yes, excellent, you are on your way to achieving greatness.
Be that inspiration, that role model
Of course, having a vision for the department is just the first step. What comes next is the plan. It will involve much determination and perseverance on your part to become that role model for your fellow colleagues.
The idea is that while you have little to no influence over your manager or the leadership team of the organisation, you have peer influence over your colleagues who work with you in the same department.
Through your dedication and hard work, become the best at what you do and you may inspire others to follow suit. Help your manager achieve his or her vision for the department by aligning yours with his or hers and take ownership of your role in that department.
Go the extra mile and focus on that gap you want to bridge to ensure success and persevere until you have successfully closed it. Subsequently, when you hit your targets, share the success with everyone because at the end of the day, the success reflects well on your department as a whole.
Share that beautiful mindset of greatness
However, becoming that role model is only half the battle won. More often than not, when you become successful at what you do, people will seek you for your secret sauce. This is the opportunity to share your ideas and plans on how you operate as an individual and spread that mindset of greatness and growth. Be generous with your information and how you can help others in your department.
Begin a culture of appreciation by giving out notes or little gifts to boost morale and form that connection within the department. Organise department lunches or “get-together” outings to build bonds and promote teamwork.
In the end, if everyone does well, the whole department looks good. And when your department looks good, your manager looks good to the leadership team and that will eventually motivate him or her to believe that greatness is within reach.
Do bear in mind there is a chance your hard work and dedication may not be recognised and rewarded. If that happens, you will have to call upon your great heart to understand that while officially you may not be rewarded, you have impacted the lives of your colleagues and your manager.
Becoming a great employee means becoming an effective follower, i.e. a follower that inspires greatness in your fellow teammates and supports your leader with the necessary push and motivation. Remember the saying, a great leader is only as great as his followers. So be a great follower!