Sunday, June 30, 2019

My Talk to Emerging Leaders: Be authentic to self, your team and your superiors

This blog is in continuation to the earlier blog I wrote about my experience in being a mentor to emerging leaders in my organization.

What experiences, roles, and opportunities have led you to the role you are in today at Citrix?

There are obviously quite a few learnings in my journey along the way. But I would like to call out one of them I consider important, and then share a few others.

When i applied for a move to internal off-beat role within my organization 2-3 years back, one of the things i was mulling about was how to present my resume. The conventional way of presenting resume is to highlight all the achievements and ensure that they get prominently heard and listed.

One part of me wanted to be honest about my failures as well. It was a risky proposition, as the talk of failures is not a commonplace in many organizations, not more so when attempting to make move to new roles. I went ahead with my gut and drafted a 3 page resume.
The first page talked about my experience.
The second page talked about my third dimension (my interests).
The last page talked about my failures, not only at Citrix but also in other organizations.

Now, to be fair, I have messed up more often so one page may not do full justice but i tried to be as honest as possible highlighting the areas (of failure) that I felt were important to bring forward.

Why did I include a failure resume ? There were really two thoughts that dominated my mind:
1. I wanted to be as authentic as possible. I have always believed to be open about vulnerabilities and weaknesses. It's very hard to do it in a competitive environment especially where you are considered as good as your last failure or success. But I have always defaulted on being authentic, accepting the risks, terms and conditions it comes with.

One of my idols, the cricketer Rahul Dravid is supposed to have said this while describing Virat Kohli, current India cricket captain:
"While Dravid admitted to cringing at some "outrageous" things Kohli says on occasions, he also defended him by saying that so long as he was true to himself, and it helped get the best out of him it shouldn't matter. I think the game is still about performance. So let's not take that way from someone like Kohli," Dravid said at the Bangalore Literature Festival on Sunday. "That's his personality. People have asked me, 'Why didn't you behave like that?' But that's not what got the best out of me. I would have been inauthentic to myself if I had tried to put tattoos and behave like Virat."
2. Second reason was the impact one of the stories narrated by one of our execs had on me. In one of the forums sharing his personal journey, he said that one of the things he was very proud of during his multi-year stint at Microsoft (his previous employer) is that he lived long enough to see through his failures. He didn't run away from it, rather owned it up and faced it every day. I felt it was a courageous and the right thing to do.

To cut long story short, the mention of my failure resume page turned out to be a talking point during my interviews and led to fascinating conversations. I learned a lot from those conversations and at the same time, it helped me be authentic and in my zone during the interviews. By zone, i don't mean comfort zone, but a place where I was at peace and not attempting to hide any detail for showing a overly positive side of me.

I am glad i was able to live through my philosophy:"Be authentic to self, your team and your superiors"

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