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HBR ARTICLE

REVIEW
YOUNG AND THE
CLUELESS
KAVINA SHAH
SECTION C
2015PGP449
LEADERSHIP WORKSHOP

IIM INDORE
The article Young and the clueless aims to highlight the challenges faced by
the group leaders today. It states that most leaders today promote aggressive
people by paying more attention to their accomplishments than to their
emotional maturity. Thereby, ineffective leaders emerge in the process. In the
past ten decades, there have been dozens of managers who have fallen victim to
a harmful mix of their own ambitions and their bosses willingness to overlook a
lack of people skills. I agree with this point. We see a trend where we see only
successful employees being promoted. People fail to realise that personal
success in no way guarantees the skills of a leader. It is a necessary condition
but its not the only skill required. A true leader needs to not only have immense
knowledge about his work, domain and sector but he/she also needs to have the
necessary skills to motivate, lead and guide his team to success. For example,
we have seen Sachin Tendulkar, he is a brilliant batsman but even he succumbed
to the pressures of being a team Captain. The article also backs this up by
research. According to the article, research states that the higher a manager
rises in the ranks, the more important soft leadership skills are to his success.
The article looks at five strategies for boosting emotional competencies and
redirecting managers who need to work on their soft skills:
1. Deepen 360-degree feedback
States that we should interview a wide variety of the managers peers and subordinates and let him read their responses
2. Interrupt the ascent
Instead of promoting the inexperienced manager, help him build his soft skills by
assigning him cross-functional assignments where he cant rely on rank to
influence people
3. Act on your commitment
Hold the manager accountable for his interpersonal skills. Take a tough stance
like demoting him or deny promotion but with the promise that changed
behaviours will be ultimately awarded
4. Institutionalize Personal Development
Make emotional competence a performance measure. Institute formal training
and development programmes.
5. Cultivate Informal Networks
Encourage the manager to develop informal learning partnerships with peers and
mentors in order to expose him to different leadership styles and perspectives.

While in theory the article does seem to be very effective, there are many
limitations that senior leaders face today. It is not easy to defer the promotion of
a successful candidate. Due to increased competition among firms, a successful
employee can easily leave the firm for another firm. This will lead to loss of a
valuable employee as well as increased recruitment costs. Apart from that, the
first recommendation of using 360 degree feedback seems like a reasonable and
effective tool which will be easier to implement. Even the recommendation of
institutionalizing personal development seems to be a reasonable idea. However,
it will lead to increase in operational costs for the company. In todays world it
also depends on which industry or sector the company is working in that
determines the kind of cash flows that it generates. Not every firm will have the
resources to implement such measures. To summarize, the challenges
highlighted in the article are apt and the recommendations are well backed with
facts. However, the article would be more effective if it acknowledges the
limitations in implementing these recommendations and gives a few more to
suggestions to overcome them.