Last month, the Department of FISCal’s (FI$Cal) Chief Information Officer and Deputy Director of Information Technology, Kanuri Murty, participated in a panel at GovTech’s State of Technology summit. During the Q&A, Murty was asked, “How do you build an effective leadership team?” In response, Murty shared his personal experiences and what guides him in his leadership approach. Below is his response.

Growing up, my father rarely told me what I should do. For instance, he never told me I should pray every day or be charitable, despite the fact that these were values my father held dear and took very seriously. My father lived a disciplined life and was very charitable to others.

Growing up, we didn’t have much in the sense of money or valuable things. As a kid, I would think, “If my father would just take a little bit of money from all of the people he helped we could be rich!” One day I even asked him, “Why don’t you just take a little bit of money, not a lot?”  He chuckled and said, “If I were to accept money, then I am not helping. It would be business.”

The point of this story is that he never told me what to do to be a strong leader or even how to be a responsible contributing citizen to society. He demonstrated it. To my father, if someone liked what he was doing, they could follow, if they didn’t, they could find their own path. I have great respect for my father for allowing me to decide for myself what values are important to me and the freedom to create my own path.

My father unintentionally taught me valuable leadership qualities that I look for in others in my personal life as well as in the workplace.

First and foremost a leader to me is trustworthy and demonstrates personal responsibility by communicating the known risks, issues and barriers early enough to allow for resolution, no matter who is at fault. A leader keeps their commitments and is collaborative and communicative, available and responsive.

This is what leadership means to me and this is what I strive to demonstrate every day.

I also look for these qualities when building leadership teams. I hope my teams feel motivated because they see me not only as their boss, but also as someone who is trustworthy and approachable; someone they know will roll up their sleeves in a crunch, and work next to them so we are all successful in meeting our goals.

Leadership is a responsibility, not a right provided to you through promotional opportunities. My father taught me that to be effective you must lead by example. I hope the example I set is one of commitment, collaboration, communication and teamwork, and I hope others feel inspired to follow suit.