"You will come to know the way to success only when you know your strengths and also the way in which they can help you and others for a good purpose."
- Varun Saurya A
Bell Labs conducted an interesting study - closely watching the common characteristics among a group of technical professional who rose to the top. The exercise revealed nine key factors outside just technical competence that differentiated brilliant technical folks from the masses.
The Bell Labs engineers who did extremely well for themselves - as they progressed in their career, showed that nine distinct qualities that differentiated them from their peers. They are listed as follows:
1. Taking initiative
2. Cognitive ability
6. Follower ship
8. Organization Savvy
9. Show and tell capability
Taking initiative is accepting responsibility above and beyond the stated job. It is about volunteering for additional activities and promoting new ideas. The concept of initiative begins by looking for technical and other opportunities in the organization and volunteering for them. Initiative is also about two things - dealing constructively with criticism and planning the future.
Cognitive ability is situational understanding and consequence thinking. Consequence thinking is to look the immediate deliverable of a task and it is about asking who will be impacted by my work, what is the end state? Cognition determines how much we are able to read patterns, make sense of things.
As one grows higher in life, we are often as powerful as is our network. Building a professional network requires us look at whom can I learn from. If one wants to progresses in life, the learning has come from unusual sources. One has to be exposed to social worker, architects, graphic designers, teachers, people who lead government organizations, leaders from client organizations. These create networking opportunities and open many doors.
Leadership skills include communication, negotiation, influencing, inter-personal skills, business knowledge, building spokes person ship and so on. You need to work on it right from the early stage. Establishing thought leadership is another requirement of growth and independent of whether I want to be a technical person or to be a manager to develop as a leader to influence others.
Collaboration is the most important part of our work life. Along with collaboration come issues of forming, norming, storming, performing stages of tem life. Capability to create interdependencies, capability to encourage dialogue and dissension, knowledge sharing become critical to professional existence. Our social upbringing our resource-starved system tells us to ensure self-preservation ahead of teamwork.
The best leaders are also great followers. We can be great leaders if we learn and imbibe the values of followership. When solving complex problems in life, we have to know what is "situational leadership". People feel comfortable being led by others. One must learn to trust leadership.
People having a very narrow view of their tasks, many do not see the criticality of their task. Two people were laying bricks. A passer asked the first one as what he was doing. He replied " I am laying bricks ". He asked the second one . He replied " I am building a temple". So Perception various from person to person but who has good perception will succeed.
Think of the difference between one Project Manager and another or one technical lead from another. One person always gets the resources she needs - the other one struggles. One person knows who is getting freed from which client engagement and ahead of time blocks the person. Larger the organization , higher the need to develop organization savvy.
Show and tell capability
Show and tell is about oral and written communication. Most of the technical persons have the mindset that says it is enough to write code and not to bother about communication skills. We asked a cross section of international clients the primer quality of improvement for Indian engineers. They replied it is Communication. In a sense, if you cannot sell the technology you create, it has no value. So, building salespersonship is a key requirement for technical excellence.
Article Contributed by :
Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Computer Applications,
Velammal College of Management and Computer Studies,
Chennai - 66