The effective attitude that almost always works for fast-track growth in your organization

We observe that with all circumstance and abilities remaining the same, some people climb the corporate ladder faster than others and assume key decision making and leadership roles. These are the people that later go on to also assume CXO positions and also become successful entrepreneurs themselves. Why is that? Why do some succeed at this and some do not? Why do some people get disillusioned in a short period of time and keep moving from one company to another, hoping to grow the way they expect to grow? Worse, when they raise their heads in the process and look back, 10-15 years have passed by and they realize they have been sitting in a carousel that is definitely rotating, but is fixed to a steady axle in the ground (read stage of growth). Sounds familiar when we look around us?

We have heard a lot about EQ & IQ and how the former is more crucial for growth in career and overall quality of life. One element of EQ, that I think is an effective ‘hack’ for recognition & fast-track growth in an organization and one which also addresses the conundrum expressed above, is ‘Empathy’.

This element of EQ, and this might sound ironic, is ‘Empathy towards the Founders/CXOs/management team (let’s call them leaders) of your company’. I say ironic because we usually hear empathy in the reverse context i.e. the management empathy towards employees. Let me try to explain this from my perspective as a company founder.

When you see a company running day after day, month after month, year after year, what you may not necessarily see is the numerous challenges that leaders face concurrently to run the business. While many of these challenges are being tackled by them on a daily basis, there are several challenges that are outside their sphere of control. Still, they have to accept them, confront them and try to solve them (or circumvent them) in a manner that doesn’t affect the overall stability of the organization, its business, its employees and its customers. This specifically applies to small and mid-size companies where leaders have to keep juggling multiple variables at all times – employee goodwill & retention, customer acquisition & retention, finances, cash flow, growth strategy & planning, processes, quality of products & services, Taxes, Statutory, Relationships and many more – without letting even one of them drop from the juggle. Only when you find yourself in this position, feel responsible for the business & the people you employ, will you realize that this is not easy.

Having said this, it is impossible for one person to keep a company growing, generating employment & revenues and contributing taxes to the government. Think of any larger- than-life business leader we know of and we know that it wasn’t she or he alone who did it.

Leaders always look for employees who understand their challenges. They develop a soft corner for those that demonstrate this empathy with the approach they take to their roles, their method of working, their work ethics and the result-oriented mind-set they develop. Leaders genuinely appreciate such employees who know what it takes to take the entire company along and who shoulder responsibilities that need not necessarily be mentioned in their appointment letters. I call this ‘Going above the line’ or ‘going over and above their line of duty’. Leaders love team members who work with the spirit of accountability & responsibility, rather than the letter of their contract. They are re-assured that it is no more lonely at the top and that they have company of like-minded team members who identify with their vision, their goals for the business and their challenges.

They then start to share strategic responsibilities with such employees. And with responsibility comes authority! With authority comes decision making power. With all of this, such highly motivated employees find themselves at the top, driving key company decisions, leading large teams and becoming the face of the organization. What others see is someone who steadily rose to become a GM/VP/SVP/Director etc. What most don’t see is what has being going on in the background with these employees to have come to play such a crucial role in the organization.

Sometime, we even hear murmurs about favouritism, nepotism etc. Of course, there are always such exceptions to the rule. Fortunately, that’s not the norm. If at all there is favouritism, it is out of appreciation & gratitude towards those that have identified with the leaders’ challenges and are working shoulder to shoulder to address them and grow the business. Even a parent shows a slight tilt in favour of the child that is more empathetic towards the family situation, right?! We are talking of business here. Leaders view all employees the same, to begin with. They have no axe to grind with anybody. Everyone is given equal opportunity and the same platform to perform. Some employees demonstrate empathy, accept that every organization has some challenges and take the ‘bull by its horns’, make tangible contribution to the company and become a role model and inspiration for others in their company, including their leaders! Others find excuses, do not accept their own areas of improvement, leave and are forgotten.

In conclusion, my 2 cents for fast-track growth with a growth oriented organization is to identify with the vision, mission and goals of the company you are with. Align your efforts and actions with them. Give your best. Ask what you could do to contribute. Take more responsibility. Be solution minded. I assure you that leaders are more than willing to delegate responsibility. And when they delegate responsibility, they delegate authority too!

Then a day comes, you don’t have to ask what the company can do for you. The top-most on your leader’s mind will be – “What more can the company do for this team member?”

And who knows – another entrepreneur is born!

Sr. VP-Business & Strategy TSL Consulting Pvt. Ltd.