On leadership, management and happiness

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The following write up is a collection of some loaded thoughts I gleaned over the last few weeks. The thoughts have been in my radar for a few years, but listening to Tony Hseih’s audio book ‘Delivering Happiness’ made me to consolidate the ideas into an interwoven compendium. Tony Hseih is the founder of the successful internet shoes retailer Zappos.com. I am indebted to different sources for the wisdom in the following words. None of them are my original findings. But I have made the observations and can vouch for the truth of these statements.

For success there are four things required – competence, communication and teamwork combined with passion.

There are three keys to effective teamwork – cooperation, communication and information sharing.

There are five elements of effective management – ask for concerns and suggestions, share information, treat with respect, do not micromanage, compliment on good work.

There are four important keys to effective leadership – vision, communication and passion plus effective management.

Managers and leaders must have demonstrated ability for making judgments, problem solving and effective communication.

Managers must have a culture of openness, win-win, flexibility and objectivity.

Era of coercive, reactive management based on fear is gone. The employer is not superior to employee anymore; they are both equal cogs in the wheel of successful business.

Managers and leaders must be able to confront those who do not have the above culture with emotional calmness. Managers and leaders must have a high emotional quotient.

Hiring must be a careful choice based on careful evaluation of cultural fits. Success occurs when the employees live their convictions and culture rather than do anything different from their own beliefs and culture. The reason for this is the premise that people do not like to edit their behavior for the sake of jobs anymore although it used to be the case in the past. Behaviour based interviewing is, therefore, a critical part of hiring.

Firing cultural misfits is a better option than trying to change their culture.

In order to succeed leaders must have a purpose that is greater than self-serving interests.

The key to happiness is being able to give happiness first. Customer is not king. Understanding customer satisfaction is very important for survival of business. However, to achieve happiness choose to work to deliver happiness to customers, workers and vendors alike, not just for the customers.

Wisdom from Jeff Bazos, founder of Amazon: “I know only a few things, they are – obsess over customers, tell them what they need, never be complacent.” I have paraphrased the ideas from my memory of his audio presentation.

Wisdom from Tony Hseih, founder of Zappos: “culture of delivering happiness to vendors, customers and organization is the key to doing great as a service company.”

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