Life Lessons in Leadership — 6 Takeaways From 30+ Years of Continuous Learning

Life Lessons in Leadership — 6 Takeaways From 30+ Years of Continuous Learning

Throughout my career, I have learned from many leaders, all with distinct styles and qualities. This has been a non-stop learning process, shaping my leadership principles. These lessons haven't just stayed in my workspace but have seeped into my personal life. Let me share some of these impactful leadership insights with you.

1. Being genuine and respectful

These two qualities can make employees feel at ease and involved. Be brave enough to be yourself, and by doing so, create a space where others can do the same. Respect is a powerful tool – it creates trust, a key element for any successful team.

2. Empowering others

Great leadership is about knowing when to lead and when to step back. It is a balancing act. It is crucial to understand the strength of empowering others and being skilled at exercising authority when needed and letting go when it is right.

3. The power of listening

My father always said, “We have two ears and one mouth,” hinting, we should listen twice as much as we speak. This piece of advice has been a guiding principle for me. Leaders who really listen, tend to be more empathetic, understanding, and ultimately more effective.

4. Problem-solving tactics

The best leaders stand out with their strong analytical and critical thinking abilities. I have learned that it is not always about solving all problems but asking questions that prompt others to look at issues from different angles. This method often leads to a multitude of potential solutions.

5. Making decisions

In reality, you rarely have all the information needed for a decision. I have found that combining experience, gut feeling, data, and assumptions often leads to well-grounded decisions. Even though these decisions might not be perfect, they usually offer the best solutions in given situations.

6. Humility and selflessness

I truly value humility in a leader. Such leaders allow their team to make mistakes and acknowledge their own fallibility. Being selfless, prioritizing the organization's improvement, and the needs of our customers, is their primary focus.

These leadership lessons have influenced me deeply. They aren't a one-size-fits-all answer or a one-time lesson, but an ongoing process of learning, adapting, and growing. I hope these insights assist you in your own leadership journey.

About the Author:

Gopal Subramanian is Head of Data Strategy, Governance, and Analytics at Fidelity Investments. He is a seasoned data and digital transformation leader with an impressive track record spanning 30 years.

Known for his expertise in leveraging data and analytics, Subramanian has consistently delivered improved customer experiences and operational efficiencies. He combines his substantial knowledge of technology products, digital transformation, enterprise systems, and growth strategies with a versatile and adaptable leadership style, making him a force to reckon with in his field.

Subramanian spent over two decades at Fidelity Investments primarily focused on data and analytics initiatives and leveraging data to create insights and to make better decisions. Prior to his tenure with Fidelity, he worked for numerous technology startup firms leading their data mining and predictive modeling efforts.

An esteemed speaker at various industry conferences, Subramanian shares his insights and expertise, contributing to the ever-evolving dialogue in his field. He holds an MBA from the prestigious Boston University.

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