The Reality outside of Textbooks – Self Leadership for entry level employees



A 22-year-old graduate with high hopes and a strong ambition to secure a job that he loves! With a little bit of past experience from internships and volunteering, he had faith in himself. He sits for a few interviews and is given a task by the recruitment team. Two of the HR managers are content but the third one is still in doubt. The latter tells him that he needs to perform a decision-making task.


He is asked to handle a team of 4 lazy interns and get the work done within the next 4 days. He is asked to contact the interns from the next day onwards. Additionally, he is told that he will be compensated for his efforts regardless of his selection. He goes back to refer to his notes on management, leadership, teamwork, personalities, and understanding people.


He sits down with a cup of coffee and decides to brainstorm on this further. He starts getting distracted by the topics that were taught to him in college. He wonders why only a handful of colleges pay attention to developing practical skills rather than theoretical. He regrets wasting his time running behind a high GPA.


Suddenly, he has a thought. He wonders how the Internet has allowed people to get first-hand narration from experts. He browses the internet for a few hours and gets his thoughts together with the help of virtual mentors.

The next morning at 9 AM, he calls his team. Two of them pick up while the other two don’t.


Since he had read about how diverse teams are, he didn’t sweat too much about it. They call him back an hour and a half later. He has a discussion with them and quickly sets up a team conference call. As per his knowledge and capabilities, 50% of the assignment was done on the second day.


He realizes the value of discipline and time management. He appreciated them and felt confident about the completion of the task. On the fourth day, where 20% of the work was left, his interns gave excuses and kept shifting the responsibility onto one another.


At first, he was nervous and did not understand what should be the way forward for him. He was certain that if he started the assignment alone, he’ll be done by the EOD. But he knew he can speak to them and get the work done. He recollected a post he had read on LinkedIn and how the author had managed to handle his team in a difficult time like this. He quickly set up a team call with them and took a session on accountability and ownership. He felt that his team was more mature and understanding.


All of them worked together. He sensed that the team was starting to believe in that they could finish the task on time. They submitted the final report and the work 3 hours before the deadline. He felt positive and thanked his team members for their efforts. He understood the true meaning behind the word ‘team’. It is more about understanding your team members that getting them to work.


Within minutes, he received a reply over email with the subject: “Interview round 2: Selected candidates list”


He hastily reads the email and downloads the attached pdf. He sees three names in the list


He went to sleep with a feeling of accomplishment and happiness.
The next morning, he entered the room and was greeted by a panel of 7 HR managers. To his surprise, 4 of the interns were a part of the panel. The panel asked him to sit and told him that he has been selected for the position. He thanked them but was a bit confused.


Before he could ask, one of the HR managers said, “You look confused. Let me explain. We wanted an individual who is curious, proactive, and someone who kept himself accountable for his actions. We decided that if you were able to complete even 20% of the task you will get the position. Since these ‘interns’ got a firsthand experience of you as a leader they called us the very next day and informed us about your selection. You see that file in front of you?


That’s your offer letter. Congratulations and welcome aboard!”


Self-leadership is not just working more than what is assigned to you but, being an individual who is proactive and willing to serve the team with innovative ideas. Self-leadership is holding yourself accountable owning up to your actions.




Blog written by  Mr. Ashish Janiani
Founder – Motivational Diaries
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