Tuesday, August 13, 2013

* Two Marks of great Leadership - Living with Competition and Complementariness

I think understanding the merits of the two C’s - Competition and Complementariness- is vital as they’re the hallmarks of great leadership. Just because the two concepts are divergent, it doesn’t mean they can’t go together. It simply requires exceptional leadership to appropriately utilize them for various purposes. First of all, there’s a lot of virtue in positive competition in business. Here, I’m not referring the ones that deceitfully scheme in order to win and those that often compromise moral principles and ethical standards. That’s why ‘positive’ intervenes. Management in some organizations uses competition as a crucial tool in bringing out the best out of its personnel; and thereby increases productivity. Rewarding outshining staff or/and team is always appropriate, as the individuals deserve appreciation in having brought something worthy to the organization, striving all the way long. This scheme not only drives workers to excel, but most importantly, serves as an instrument in identifying great leaders and talents who could potentially be part of the core management. Quality service/product has been rendered to customers thanks to the neck-in-neck competition among the various similar services or product providers. Dr. T.P. Chia said, “We live in a world that is competitive in spirit and action. We cannot run away from competition, and we have to pay a heavy price for being uncompetitive.” We, as customers, would otherwise be obliged to compromise and take whatever is “thrown at” us had it not been for fierce competition out there. This is very common as this is usually practiced in the fleeting absence of this phenomenon called competition. The higher the quality provided, the better the market share and profit - economics 101. The intent of modern day innovation and great strides in technology, in most cases, was, not always necessarily aimed at resolving difficulties per se; it’s sometimes bent on to be able to thrive in the ever changing fast economy, and most importantly, from the urge to stand out among comparable services and products. I don’t think I’m becoming too harsh on other innovations . So, in this context, competition is virtuous. A wise man once said, “I wasn’t born to follow and I’m not sure if I was born to lead, but what I’m certain is that I was born to fight my way through life and win”. On the other hand, I believe that there’s a greater virtue in understanding complementariness among similar services and products. After all, in the world where our popular culture, such as reality TV, emboldens to become faultfinder, it’s very difficult to appreciate the value of complementariness of similar services and products. The very core idea that two competitors came into being to serve customers is consciously overlooked; also the fact that both products and services have been utilized in some way by the same people at different times is snubbed; it’s willfully sidetracked that both have been appreciated for their timely worth. After all, natural complementariness is an absolute necessity in business, just as free meter in poetry or polyphony in music.So,rather than mislaying potential talents just for another win-lose battle, it would be wiser to accommodate competitive individuals or teams and foresee what they could possibly bring about as an innate complimentary force. After all, the winning side has learned a great deal from the losing one, without whom couldn’t have come up with the innovative service/product. Referring to organizations, you might find some staff that seem to have been utterly in disarray and are unheeded. I strongly believe that it takes a great leader to drive these provisionally defeated forces into still potentially great winners, instead of looking for fresh ones by replacing them. Living with these individuals may not be an easy journey, though, but leaders should be able to dine with the “losers” whom I call complementary, as much as they want with the winning ones in order to reap fruitful results.

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