When leading a team for an extended period, one realizes that effective leadership is not solely about pursuing personal desires and ambitions. It is about recognizing and leveraging one's own capabilities. Decision-making is a complex process that involves seeking input from various sources, conducting feasibility assessments, and implementing initiatives gradually and strategically.
This decision-making process is applicable to teams across different industries and sectors. If someone has experience as a CEO, they can relate to the intricacies involved in this process.
Let me illustrate with an example from our IT-focused company. It would be impractical to suddenly halt ongoing projects and instruct everyone to engage in agricultural activities. Such a spontaneous shift would not align with our core business objectives and would likely disrupt the existing workflow, causing confusion and inefficiency.
So, what defines the extent of authority in a leadership role? It goes beyond a mere piece of paper or a formal appointment. The essence of authority lies in the consensus and agreement among all stakeholders involved. It is about earning the trust and confidence of team members, clients, and partners through actions and decisions.
Contrary to popular belief, being bestowed with the title and responsibilities of a manager or leader does not automatically guarantee the ability to effectively manage a department. True leadership ability encompasses a deeper understanding of the department's operations, familiarity with its history, and possession of the necessary resources and skills. Relying solely on a formal appointment will not command respect or cooperation from others.
Drawing from personal experiences, I have held various positions throughout my career, including that of a department manager. I recall a situation where I had to assign performance ratings to two individuals – an experienced employee who was highly regarded and diligent, and a newcomer who had impressed me greatly.
Although I wasn't entirely satisfied with the outcome, I had to make a decision based on the prevailing circumstances. In an ideal scenario, one would prefer to reward those who actively listen and accommodate preferences. However, fairness and impartiality must also be considered, as they are crucial for maintaining one's professional reputation.
Unfortunately, due to constraints at that time, I had no choice but to assign an "A" performance rating to the experienced employee, even though I held the newcomer in high regard. This decision was driven by the fear that not acknowledging the experienced employee's contribution appropriately might lead them to leave our organization. Considering their valuable skills and expertise, their departure would have significantly impacted our department's ability to function effectively, leaving us with inexperienced staff ill-equipped to manage the workload.
As a department manager, ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of the team is always the foremost responsibility. This objective takes precedence over personal preferences or individual aspirations. It requires making tough decisions that may not always align with one's desires but are necessary for the greater good of the department and the organization as a whole.
In conclusion, while line-level employees might harbor unrealistic expectations, leaders at higher levels understand the complexities involved in decision-making and the importance of prioritizing the overall success and functionality of the team. Effective leadership can be achieved and sustained through this mindset and approach.
If you are a department manager, the responsibility rests directly on your shoulders. Being a boss comes with even greater pressure. Every boss has to balance three relationships: stakeholders, the market, and the core team. All three aspects are essential.
Just like the analogy mentioned earlier, imagine an IT company suddenly telling the management team to go farming. It goes against everyone's interests, so how can it be executed? Many people who have never been a boss think that bosses can do whatever they want. In reality, bosses have the least control.
Let me share another example:
Joseph Patrick "Joe" Kennedy Sr., the father of JF Kennedy, was a notorious Wall Street speculator, infamous like Livermore. He made a fortune in ways that are considered despicable and unethical by today's standards. In fact, he was heavily criticized even at that time.
The founding fathers of the United States discussed how to view this group of people. The final conclusion was simple: if their actions took place before the establishment of rules, then their gains would reluctantly be accepted. In other words, they were acknowledged.
Was this done for the sake of fairness? No.
If you look at the popular opinions advocated by intellectuals, they all sound noble. But in reality, true discussions reveal that the true intention at that time was to build a global investment market.
The founding fathers of the United States started thinking about how to turn the US dollar market into an international market and construct a system of US dollar hegemony long before World War I. This key foundation is what was mentioned earlier. Even if you knew that he was speculating, as long as he speculated before the establishment of regulations, you had to reluctantly acknowledge it. This was done to establish expectation management, to create an expectation management system for global capital. Global investors all understand that the United States is a casino, but this casino has maintained one rule for over a hundred years. As a result, they dared to confidently enter the market after the United States became number one after World War II.
Today, the proportion of the US dollar as a global trade settlement currency is more than ten times that of China. However, the US dollar as a trade settlement currency is not the main aspect. The real main aspect is the US dollar as the primary market for global investment.
This market is four to five times larger than the scale of trade settlement. This is the foundation of US dollar hegemony. In the field of investment, the US dollar market is equivalent to the international market. The wealth of most global major investors is immersed in the US dollar market and denominated in US dollars. This is a scheme that was laid out a hundred years ago.
At that time, it was unfair to acknowledge the wealth of "Joe" Kennedy because he was truly disgraceful. But in fact, Roosevelt even appointed "Joe" Kennedy as the first head of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Today, a large part of the regulations in the US market were established by "Joe" Kennedy. In fact, if you go back a hundred years, this approach was unfair. The fairest way would have been to not acknowledge "Joe" Kennedy's wealth.
But everything has two sides.
To put it simply, for the founding fathers of the United States at that time, it was a game of choosing between two options. If they pursued fairness, they would have lost the opportunity to exploit the world through US dollar hegemony in the long run. Global investors gathered in the US market because they saw that "Joe" Kennedy could take advantage of it, eventually turning the US market into an international market.
Today, I discussed two complexities in decision-making: team constraints and trade-offs in time and space.
I often remind my staff that we should prioritize self-cultivation, family harmony, governing the country, and achieving world peace, which we learned when we were young.
What does "family harmony" mean? As a chairman, it means effectively managing your company and taking care of those who work closely with you. At all times, we should be responsible to our fellow brothers and sisters and their families.
Avoid arguments or finger-pointing on how to achieve world peace right from the start, as that is not your real responsibility.
Your duty is to lead your team and ensure that your colleagues are free from worries when it comes to buying homes, cars, and having access to education, healthcare, and retirement.
This is our foremost responsibility, so let's focus on doing what we ought to do.
You might say, "I haven't even become the chairman of the company I am currently in!" Let's strive for that as our initial goal.
First, focus on self-cultivation and self-improvement.
You might say, "I can't even reach a management position, I can't even earn a six-figure salary, I can't even take care of my own family, and I can't even get into a prestigious school."
So, what should you do first? Polish yourself.
First, enhance your efficiency tenfold, elevate your thinking to a higher level, and become a commanding presence like a warrior on the battlefield.
Then, step by step, take care of more colleagues through a stakeholder approach.
In one's lifetime, what is the greatest revenge against someone you dislike? The greatest revenge against someone you dislike is to become a better version of yourself. By living your life well, you are granting them the greatest revenge.
I hope that you become someone who can be relied upon. It is said that your parents are proud of you, your spouse finds reliance in you, and your colleagues say that the greatest thing they have done in their lives is to follow you.
If I can influence ten thousand people in this manner, I would indirectly change the destinies of tens of thousands of families. So, what else should we consider when it comes to achieving world peace? We have already made our greatest and most authentic contribution to this world.