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Secrets to Mastering the Leadership Role

Secrets to Mastering the Leadership Role

We live in a world requiring paramount flexibility, where no straightjacket plans will work for any business leader. Adaptability and openness to taking risks have always been the prominent hallmarks of successful leaders. Is that all required even today in this very indefinite, uncertain, and ever-changing market? Can leaders blindly follow the good old theories of process and procedure to lead their team, or do they need to acquire new traits, skills, and strategies to stay ahead?

GoodFirms Leaders Roundtable is a series of podcast discussions in which we bring to you conversations with top global industry leaders and heads of successful startup companies that will inspire young entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. 

In this podcast, GoodFirms connected with  Nadya Knysh, the managing director of a1qa, to explore the roles of today’s business leaders. As the managing director of a1qa, her role and responsibility are to implement company policies accurately, efficiently monitor and manage the company operations to optimize overall performance, and drive business strategies toward goal-oriented results. She is also an official at Forbes Technology Council.

The Podcast discussion will focus on the following key areas:

  1. Competencies lacked by emerging leaders 
  2. Ways to identify leadership skills or weaknesses 
  3. Tips to motivate your team and establish effective communication
  4. Steps to improve female workforce representation in leadership roles 

After listening to the podcast, you will know:

  • How to improve your leadership qualities and traits for this era
  • Get tips to solve and handle technical leadership issues
  • How to maintain brand success through different transitions

According to one study, startup failure is most likely between years two and five, with 70% failing during this time frame and 82 percent failing to owe to bad management and inexperienced leadership. In your opinion, what competencies are not adequately addressed here or that emerging leaders lack?

I believe that every startup is unique, having a different set of requirements. From my personal experience, I can tell you that the success of a startup depends on the right combination of perseverance, honest effort, and an exceptional niche idea. Yes, the luck factor does have a role to play, but it certainly cannot solely determine the fate of a startup.

Quotation 1

Hard work and diligence gain more traction if the idea fails to click an impression. I have seen many young entrepreneurs only focus on increasing their first investment rather than putting an honest effort into generating innovative ideas or creating specific business plans. 

They invest a lot of money into hiring managers, assistants, and other professionals without realizing that an underperforming manager cannot become a diligent leader and responsive team player. Therefore, I firmly believe that the startup must invest in recruiting a competent leader who can intelligently and successfully steer it through the initial struggles and areas of uncertainty. I believe a leader should enjoy working for your company, become a team motivator, be an effective communicator, and appreciate your goals.

Quotation 2

You can ensure the following steps will help you improve your leadership skills.

  • Staying More Focused- First and foremost, you must learn to stay focused, motivated, and dedicated to your work. Concentrate on one task at a time rather than getting bogged down by multiple tasks, such as a vast flow of emails, meetings, and happy hour cocktails. 
  • Understanding your actions- You need to understand how your actions help in accomplishing your goals. Will hiring a manager or adopting the latest technology take you there? Is it the right time to approach the market? Think about all these before taking any action. 
  • Team Motivator- A team leader must be an inspiration to the entire team, a good communicator, and passionate about achieving targets.

In this day and age of digitization, What it takes to run a software testing team and the problems that one faces nowadays in technical leadership.

It is more than a true craft to lead the team forward and accomplish the goals successfully with effective communication and strong collaboration. I believe that stress and burnout are the two most common pain points that the software and tech industry is experiencing in the current scenario. It is putting intense pressure on both leadership and team members.

Here are a few suggested tips you can follow to minimize stress levels. 

  • Continuously improve your team members' technical and software skills by creating viable opportunities, such as holding workshops and organizing training sessions.
  • Establish effective and seamless team communication by taking into consideration the different time zones and diverse cultural backgrounds.
  • Provide comprehensive and substantial support to all remote working team members, such as collaboration tools and remote work software solutions. 
  • Allocate and distribute the task smartly, set clear expectations, monitor the work progress regularly, and interact with them to stay on top of deadlines. 
  • To send regular feedback, ensure to evaluate each team member's work against the set target. Highlight the key where they have done well and portions that need to be improved. 
  • You must be an active listener and value your team’s suggestions and feedback before making a decision. 

"Leadership without vision is just management," as the phrase goes. As a leader, you know that one of your primary responsibilities is to keep your staff motivated. To accomplish so, you must consistently remind your team of your vision. But how does a leader maintain his/her motivation?

Keeping your employees motivated, proactive, optimistic, and dedicated to work is crucial but challenging, especially when Covid phobia and its havoc are still fresh in their minds.

Quotation 3

Nadya pointed out a few other essential steps to boost team motivation. These are

  • Maintaining a healthy work-life balance, which prevents any kind of stress or burnout situations. 
  • Ensure the mental and physical health of the entire team by providing all necessary help and support.
  • Delegate tasks that team members can perform on their own and grow.
  • Set relevant targets and reward them if they have done an excellent job. 
  • Above all,  hire an inspiring leader whose capabilities motivate employees to keep going.

Effective communication is a core function/leadership trait. You have led one of the best software development companies. What advice would you give to the next generation of leaders for developing effective communication channels within the organization?

I believe that communication is a two-way street with a constant flow of information and exchange of ideas. It must be transparent, open, and without biased feelings towards each other. However, during the recent Covid 19 outbreak, it has undergone a massive transformation, with virtual interaction tools, such as video conferencing software and web conferencing applications, becoming the new normal.

Quotation 4

To streamline the flow of communication, you can take these steps-

  • Proclaim an “open door policy” so that your employees can easily reach you when they need it most.
  • Schedule regular team meetings to ensure everyone is aligned with current objectives or knows about upcoming changes.
  • Be empathic and show your employees that you care about what’s happening in their lives outside of work.
  • Be responsive – make sure to find time for people around you.

What are the numerous types of transitions that a company goes through, and what measures should a business leader take to maintain the success of a brand during these transitions?

Each company has its distinct path, from formulating an innovative idea to chalking out a business plan for the initial investment and coming up with a minimal viable product. And every transition that a company passes through does not take place overnight. You can take these measures to ensure the success of your brand.

  1. Think about the further steps- If you are involved in brainstorming new startup ideas, you can start thinking about creating a transformation strategy. 
  2. Secondly, let the transformation take place at the right time. Remember that transition requires effort and the right people in the place. 
  3. You need to ask yourself if this transformation will bring that massive change to what you are aiming for and help in achieving your goals.

Quotation no 5

Women in technology are gaining momentum as the technology industry advances, and women in tech leadership are breaking through the glass ceiling, attaining double-digit gains in leadership roles. What can critical organizational initiatives be implemented to improve female workforce representation in leadership roles?

I feel extremely happy and elated when I see women taking pole positions and leadership roles, such as CEOs, CFOs, and CTOs of the company. I encourage and urge all women listening to this podcast discussion to start believing in their capabilities and never give up. This motivation should come from within and drive them forward to achieve their goals.

Quotation 7

Talking about external motivational forces, there are two things to take into consideration. 

First, I believe that women must be given equal opportunities at all levels and places, whether it’s the workplace, educating society, or the responsibility of administering the country. 

And number two is to emphasize their skills, not gender. I still hear stories of female candidates being rejected every now and then because they may decide to prioritize family over career or be moody. Here is the thing: I’d rather work with someone talented and passionate about what they do vs. someone who is “the appropriate” gender. It is because passion and skills help you achieve goals, and gender doesn’t.

Leading a digital transformation can be daunting, even for seasoned IT pros. With new executives struggling to steer their organization's digital transformation through the pandemic and beyond, What are some of your personal takeaways or do's and don'ts that have benefited you and your organization?

I think digital transformation has been a massive success, allowing organizations to optimize their operations and automate many manual tasks. I suggest following a technology-driven strategy, such as 

  • Implementing a transformation management office (TMO) to lead and help you stay flexible in the new hybrid work model.
  • Prioritize cybersecurity at the forefront
  • Create strategies to augment customer experience
  • Cloud-based applications help to store large volumes of data and access it from anywhere. 

You may find digital transformation a challenging game in the initial stages, but the journey becomes simpler with an experienced leader, a proper plan, and set goals.

How has your experience in managing teams influenced the pandemic and the new normal of remote working?

To be honest, it was pretty challenging for the QA teams to swiftly transform from office mode to a remote work environment as there was no plan for it. It took us a month or two to figure things out, switch to online and transform your home space into your office space. And for some specific projects, we had to take an entire year to adjust to the new normal.

Quotation 8

We’ve started using both synchronous and asynchronous communication more frequently. We are more flexible with our employees’ needs, e.g., when they request to schedule their shifts.

Lastly, as leaders in the software and service listing platform, how has Goodfirms catered to your organizational achievements?

GoodFirms gives us an excellent opportunity to acquaint the audience with our company, software testing, and quality management approach and share our 19-year QA expertise, best practices, and emerging QA solutions.

To ensure high customer service, we analyze opinions to identify areas of improvement, better understand clients’ needs, and deliver quality experiences.

We value GoodFirms’ commitment to developing marketing initiatives, and we’d like to give many thanks to your team for their support, friendliness, and open communication. It’s an absolute pleasure for us.

You can listen to this podcast here. 

What’s Next

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” - William James

With leadership comes responsibility, authority, integrity, inclusiveness, and determination to steer the team in the right direction keeping the positivity rate high. A leader is a versatile team player with a future vision and a full-fledged plan to carry out a task collaboratively. A leader is someone who learns from his mistakes and converts failures into opportunities. 

Women entrepreneurs are proving to become successful entrepreneurs, whether they are leading a software testing company or leading any other organization, group, or administration of a country. We need to encourage them to come forward and take more responsibility and leadership roles. 

About Leaders Roundtable 

Leaders Roundtable is a campaign by GoodFirms in which we highlight the core problems and challenges young budding entrepreneurs encounter and address those issues by interacting with top business leaders and experts of various industry sectors. 

To get your company’s name listed here, you can email us at [email protected].

Paul Richards
Paul Richards

Paul  Richards is a Senior Content Creator at GoodFirms, an IT research and review firm with 7+ years of rich experience. An ardent sports enthusiast and travel freak, he loves to share his ideas and knowledge on everything technology, software systems, digital marketing, and the latest industry trends. An avid reader, he likes to explore and browse various websites to accumulate more information on different topics.

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