"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." These words by John Quincy Adams act as a guide to me whenever I feel confronted with a problem in managing my team.
After a year at Intel, I was given the responsibility of leading a team of engineers for developing new products and improving the existing ones. After taking charge, I organized a team meeting where we casually got to know each other. I could sense that this was not going to be an easy assignment. They were from different backgrounds and cultures. Some of them were older than me and had more experience at Intel. Initially there were many misunderstanding between us and I found the going tough. Then I understood that I had to gain the love and respect of these people if I were to lead them. I spent one month studying the current status of the various projects of the team and found that the progress stagnant. The group was behind schedule on more than three projects and the two of the new products failed at the prototype tests. It was apparent that they were down on enthusiasm, just going through the motions, some of them considering quitting the job. My task was cut out.
First of all, I took them off from their individual projects and made the whole team responsible for all the projects at hand. That changed the scenario from one of indifference and loneliness to new world of compassion and empathy. One by one we reviewed all the separate projects, established priorities and proceeded to take each project by the scruff of its neck. With all of our brains working together to solve the problems, ideas and solutions came in abundance and the obstacles evaporated one by one. The transformation was spectacular, as the team introduced over 30 technical innovations by the end of the year, many of which won us awards and recognition from the top management.
My team became a model for the other divisions. This became apparent when the head of the electrical engineering (EE) department came over and asked for our help with a problem. This gave me the idea of cross-departmental innovation platform where innovative ideas could be sought and shared for the benefit of the corporation as a whole. This activity was a run-away success as people from all the seven departments put their problems on the table and we sat together throwing solutions into the air. Some ideas stuck and solved problems for departments that their own specialists could not discover.
At Intel, I inspired my team to become the most influential department that spread the idea of innovation throughout the organization. I learned that a true leader inspires his people to dream more, learn more, do more and become more. My experience at Intel taught me to be a catalyst of change, to help them innovate and to inspire them to dream. It also reminded me of my shortcomings in a multi-cultural team that I need to work on and be ready the next time around. This experience will help me tremendously in improving my leadership and motivational skills.
Discuss the most difficult constructive criticism or feedback you have received. How did you address it What have you learned from it 500 words
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