Smart Leaders Never Judge A Book By Its Cover: Sachin Mittal


Smart people don’t always make smart leaders. Are you wondering why? It’s because there are a range of decisions and delegations to make, which require one to be beyond ‘smart’ and knowledgeable about their area of expertise.

In tune with our fast city lives, do you also hastily judge a book by its cover? Are you accepting things at face value? Are you making conclusions without definitive tests? If you are an entrepreneur or sole leader of your firm, you need to be smarter than that!

 “Leadership Is More Than Knowing What To Do- You Have To Drive Your Team To Do It

In every workplace, there are a variety of employees who must be converted into ‘team members’. Leadership involves the insight to combine such employees and absorb them into the ecosystem of the firm.

Leadership requires looking beyond the face value of the person, assessing what their plus points and negative points are and understanding how they can best contribute to the objective of the firm. Sounds like a lot, right? It sure is. I strongly believe that smart leaders never judge a book by its cover!

We have often heard the sentence “She was spotted by XYZ who gave her an opportunity to become an actor/model.” In real life, this happens in every industry, every workplace. It doesn’t simply apply to the entertainment industry alone. An important part of this equation is the leader, who ‘spots’ the talent! How does one transform into such a leader?

“A Great Leader Can Turn An Underdog Into A Topdog”

 There is a feeling of enrichment when there is variety. Variety can both actually, and superficially make us feel whole.  The same is true at a workplace. Unfortunately, the prevailing attitude in workplaces is different. There are ‘ideal’ employees and then there are some who don’t fit into the predefined ‘ideal’ category. Instead of discriminating on the basis of their apparent capabilities, think like a true leader! Good leadership can push performance to beyond what their job roles state!

 “Smart Employees Are Not A Threat, But An Asset.”

Sometimes, we face a situation wherein we must lead those who are more intelligent than us. How to handle a situation like this? The average human’s response would be to become defensive and shield themselves from such people at work. The job of the entrepreneur is to embrace their skills and take their advice! It will be beneficial for all if you, as a leader can channelize these skills and intelligence in the favor of the company. It will be a rewarding exchange- your employee will attain a positive job satisfaction and your company will grow!

What Separates A Smart Leader From An Average Leader?

There are average leaders, and then there are smart leaders. What sets them apart? Definitely their capabilities to make certain assessments count.

What is the assessment an average leader makes? It is on the lines of “What is employee A’s work capability?” But what is the assessment a Smart Leader makes? Here are some that I like to follow:

  • What is Employee A’s current work capability?
  • What is the level of potential Employee A holds?
  • Is he a keen worker or de-motivated and unwilling?
  • Is he a team player?
  • Is he worth investing time and energy into or likely to switch jobs soon?
  • How can I harness his/her potential?
  • What strategy should I use to involve him in team tasks- task leader, separate assignments, etc.?
  • How can he benefit the team and firm in the long run?

These are by far the most challenging questions to answer. It requires painstaking effort.  Here comes into play the EQ (Emotional Quotient) of you as a leader. Observation, objective analysis and understanding beyond the surface are your key weapons. This insight develops over a period of time, with experience- just like other skills in life. It is important for an entrepreneur to develop such skills.

Leadership And Work Culture At A Start-Up

At a start-up, the work culture is in an evolving stage. Unlike established firms, there is no set of behaviors, mannerisms, activities or do’s and don’ts set in stone. Therefore, it becomes a tougher task for the leader (in this case the entrepreneur) to put into place a system that is both functional yet flexible enough to accommodate the variety of employees.

While at work, I like to remind myself that each employee is more than just that. We are all human after all!