RRGwrites

On life…and learning

Posts Tagged ‘Compelling Leadership

Do You See Strengths In Your Team-mates?

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I am a big believer in the concepts of working and building upon strengths; instead of only working upon my weaknesses. It works for me each time, and helps me become stronger and better. In one of my earlier blogs, ‘Do You Work on Your Strengths?’, I have written on this piece and many of my readers agreed with me.

As a leader of a team, I have always tried building and nurturing a heterogeneous team – no two people are alike! I keep a close eye on their strengths; what they are good at. It helps me more than merely focusing on each individual’s weak areas. It also helps me channelize capabilities where they fit and deliver best. It also enables me improve the teamwork and it’s productivity every day. It is one of the building blocks that, according to me, makes a team ‘work’.

Let me explain it a different way. I meet a lot of people manager, leaders and leadership-aspirants, who keep talking about being inspirational to their teams. They try achieving this by putting forth the length & breadth of their own experience & domain-expertise. They also try resorting to the ubiquitously available, off-the-shelf, motivational tools; sometimes provided by the human resources function. As a talent management person, I find this quite interesting. Inspirational leadership, which has been a talk of the town for some good time now, denotes something else to me. Accordingly to me, a truly motivating leader is one who has an eye and willingness to observe the best in each individual and recognize & work on their strengths.

In her recent blog on LinkedIn, The Secret to Becoming An Inspirational Leader, Jen Roberts, an executive coach, wrote a brilliant and befitting piece: “A truly inspirational leader sees the best in each individual and the gifts they possess. Inspiring, in this sense, is a way of stimulating and lifting people to a new level of creativity and energy. It’s about seeing the greatness and value in someone and going the extra step of sharing this with them.” 

I couldn’t agree more.

Recently, I wrote few sentences on each of my directs. Qualities that I find inspirational and admirable in each individual…

I penned them down and shared with the team. Here it is:

myTeam - Strengths As I See It - RRGWrites

I didn’t enumerate these qualities and strengths in a jiffy; these are drawn upon from my detailed diary notes, which were based upon my interactions, experiences and above all, my observations of each one of my teammates in last 12 months.

I admire these and find them inspirational… And it was important for me to share what I think with the team – not only to recognize the good, but also to make each individual appreciate the strengths of each other and leverage them.

Do you too work on your team’s strengths?

Why Do You Want To Be A Manager?

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Why Do You Want To Be A Manager

Any fast-paced growing organization boasts of having and promoting scores of first-time managers. Those, who have done well as individuals and have up the ladder by (hopefully) demonstrating potential to take up a higher role. However, many do not have an idea of what people management is all about. More than some Googled Do’s and Don’ts on leadership, they do not see themselves in a different light in their new and enlarged role. Thus, their journey towards people management and later leadership, starts with unexpected, unstructured and sometimes undesired hiccups.

I meet a lot of newly promoted and first-time managers. I ask them a simple question – “Why do you want to be a people manager?”

Surprised, confused and even irked up faces look back at me!

A common answer that I receive, more often than not, is – “…it comes with the promotion/higher position and that it signifies that I am growing. And of course, managing people is a essential part of growing, so I take it up at it comes…”

Shouldn’t we call this effect a ‘default leadership experience’? Where people-leadership is a by-product of career-growth… and where it does not invoke new thoughts in the incumbent’s mind, on the breadth of the new role in terms of managing others. Something that is a key skill requirement post getting that growth. A design by which a leadership aspirant will ask herself a crucial question – “Am I sure I want to be a Manager?” And thereafter, work towards building that skills meticulously…

I leave you with a what Joseph Grenny, a management author, says, “Leadership offers profound satisfactions – but only if embraced fully, willingly, and for the right reasons.”

This is a food for thought for all new managers…

Do you agree? Let me know what you think.

Written by RRGwrites

September 29, 2015 at 8:41 PM

5 Questions To People Managers Desiring To Be Leaders

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leadership-questionsI keep meeting and interacting with a lot of mid-level sales managers. While many of them call themselves a leader, sometime with more enthusiasm than the very word calls for, I can observe that they were mostly by-default managers, and least of all leadership as a concept is really clear to them. That said, the same is true for us all too. Just like love, leadership holds a different meaning for everyone. For some, it is a default role, for others it is a position of power; for many, it is a work level and designation and corner office or the offices next to the one in the corner and for a rare few, it means to serve.

I asked all my such people managers 5 simple questions:

“Why are you motivated to lead?”

No answer…

I ask the second one – “Why should anyone be led by you?” I explain this one; ”What is that you have that people who are as smart as you, as experiences as you and as successful as you; your very peers… why should they report to you?

No answer… some baffled faces…

I ask the third one – “If you were a product; what are the ingredients and contents of your leadership and what is the brand value you portray to your followers?” I go further on this one, “And how do you intend to strategically further this brand?”

No answer… even more puzzled looks…

“What do you want from your people?” I ask the next one.

To this one, answers come quick – they all want loyalty, integrity, performance, discipline, mannerisms, result-orientation, process-adherence, willingness to take feedback, et al

And then I ask, “What do you want for your people?”

Puzzled faces followed by few, unconvincing mumbles come back as a reply…

Do you find these questions right? Do share your thoughts…

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Image-credit: scoutmastercg.com

Written by RRGwrites

July 9, 2015 at 3:10 PM

Why Are You Motivated To Lead?

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Why Are You Motivated To Lead

In one of my most read blogs – ‘‘Why Should Anyone Be Led By You’, I asked 12 questions to all leaders and leadership-aspirants – the first one being – “Why do I want to be a leader?”

Over the years, several of my readers, team-mates, leaders I met and trained during leadership workshops have attempted answering these 12 questions. Many of these admitted to me, that they haven’t ever really asked themselves – “Why Am I Motivated to Lead?” In my opinion, (much to the contrary and popular one), everyone is motivated. There is nothing called a not-motivated person. However, the moot question is not IF a person is motivated, but WHY a person is motivated…

More so pertinent a question, if you are a leader…

Hence, as a leader, don’t you want to answer this – Why Am I Motivated to Lead?

If you think this is a right question to ask, do attempt answering… That will be an interesting self-reflection in your leadership journey.

It Is Time For Leadership

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Time for LeadershipSometimes, in the normal course of the day, one gets to hear most basic and yet, most profound statements. Sharing something similar that I heard last week.

Sitting in a sales-team meeting of senior managers, I heard a lot of them mentioning about challenging external business environment and toughening regulatory controls. In one voice, almost everyone opined that it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage the pressures of performing amidst the changing, rather non-favourable conditions of doing business.

Mood was palpably intense, I could sense.

One senior manager, who was sitting quietly in the room till now, remarked,

“Things are indeed difficult. And that’s why, this is the time for leadership!”

What are profound statement! Leadership simplified!

Wherever there is chaos, adversity, challenges, you need leadership to come forward, to pave way, to show how it done, so face the music and to lead by example.

Don’t you agree?

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Image-credit: people-onthego.com

Written by RRGwrites

September 18, 2014 at 2:03 PM

Never Work With A Powerless Boss…

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Indecisive Leader 2In my earlier blog on what I learnt from my Great Bosses, I wrote about a lot many things these leaders did in their daily lives, which helped me and other team-mates do better in our work and careers thereafter.

One quite important attribute I wish to add to the list – great bosses are those who are decisive in nature and do not try to please everyone. They carefully consider all the aspects and then reach a thoughtful decision. And it is not that they do so in an autocratic manner – they partner, communicate and collaborate extensively before a decision is arrived at. And once a decision is taken or a path is chosen, they do not waver, in a vain want of everyone’s alignment at every step of implementation. I understand that a supervisor who changes his or her mind often and shoves his team in myriad directions based on new feedback at the drop of a hat, and never seems convinced of the appropriate direction, will make his team uncertain about every decision and hence, would adversely impact their action-orientation and productivity. By asking them to begin, then review & restart, and change direction, such weak managers alienate their team-mates… and in the process, they often end up killing the zeal of many.

When I say that one should never work for a powerless boss, I absolutely do not refer to the word ‘power’ in the strict sense of the word. In fact, I strongly believe a powerful boss is one who is decisive and has the caliber and maturity to stand for a decision taken, without being irresolute – wavering between conflicting positions or courses of action – often trying to please everyone, including his own boss. A powerful boss will be respected amongst his seniors and peers for his ability to charter courses and guide his team, and will earn his team the same respect. A powerful boss will be mature enough not to avoid reasonable conflict when necessary during the execution phase; he would rather treat such conflict as positive and ensure everyone stays on course.

Working for a weak boss will only make you weaker by the day… you will keep running in circles to get your work done and please everyone; and I must say, during the same time, another decisive and powerful supervisor will take his team ahead…

This is what I think. I would be keen to know your observations and experiences. Are you working for a weak boss or a decisive one?

Story Of A Boss Who Cares…

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Caring LeadershipIn the leadership series of my blog, there is a strange trend that I have noted over the period of years. Every time I have written about poor bosses/managers/leaders, the readership of my blog swells. A clear signal that there indeed is a leadership deficit all of us face across levels, industries and geographies!

However, the world also has some brilliant managers; who give us hope that we shall continue to come across good leaders in our careers. Hence, it becomes imperative for me to write and share about good leaders, as and when I come across them. So, this one is to share a simple, yet superb story of one such great manager…

Here is how it was experienced by someone I know…

So, this person worked with a renowned management consulting firm. Got a good offer and wanted to move out after serving an appropriate notice-period. However, it wasn’t as easy. He was an integral part of the senior team involved in a crucial client project, which had just begun. The project was ambitious and relationship with client delicate; and required all attention, commitment and experience that this team could bring to table. So, an early exit was simply out of question – and the conversation with senior leadership wasn’t encouraging at all. “No early release”, he was told clearly…

To make an early exit an even more complicated issue, there was a pressing personal reason too. This person and his wife were expecting a baby, and the doctor had allowed only a small window for safe-travel for a vacation. And those of you who have gone through parenthood would appreciate that if this couple weren’t able to avail this vacation, they would not have found time or energy for at least next couple of years to break away, with a baby and allied changes coming in their lives.

Well – three intertwined issues needed resolution – timely and smooth handover and exit, in time to encash that miniscule window of travel, and be back in time to joining the new role!

It was here when the Boss took over. She heard the issue empathetically, took pains to understand the issues at hand and showed genuine appreciation of the same. Fully aware that the outgoing person was a key member of the crucial project they were in and that replacement wasn’t easy, she assured the best possible cooperation to her subordinate. Well, don’t all bosses promise the same, you’d ask, and yet end up delivering only lip-service? No, not this one. She meant it for real. In order to help, she mobilized her network, organized support, looked for possible replacements, spoke with the client & made them understand, and above all, also convinced her own boss! She took a bold risk, indeed. All so that her subordinate and his wife do not end up missing out on that crucial break!

When I came across this story, I was overwhelmed! And I was also pleased to note that while we all keep cribbing about bosses from hell and what not, with such managers existing, there is hope for leadership, indeed there is. In my view, she could do it because she cared, authentically. Authenticity and Genuine Care for One’s Team – twin bedrocks of true leadership. And it did remind me of what Henry Gruland said,

“Being the leader is more than just wanting to lead. Leaders have empathy for others and a keen ability to find the best in the people… not the worse… by truly caring for others.”

I am sure this story would inspire some of us, and will help us be better leaders… I know for sure that this subordinate was truly inspired!

Now it is your turn. Do you have a story, an experience of a great boss? Do share…

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Image-credit: alameleadership.com

How Will You Fare As A Boss, As Compared to Your Own Boss?

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Time for LeadershipHow often you’d observe someone cribbing about his or her boss? Quite ubiquitously, you’d say. And how often YOU would do so yourself – crib and find follies in your own boss?

Every day, I meet a LOT of people complaining and finding errors in their bosses. However, in my experience, only a rare few also try and look inside inwards, check their own leadership styles and introspect, asking self, “What kind of a supervisor am I?” and “How do I better myself so that at least my juniors do not crib and complain against me, especially for the same very things that I find objectionable in my boss…”

Now, isn’t that’s one hell of a difficult question to ask self?

This one is to all the supervisors, bosses, managers and leadership aspirants – let’s spend some time introspecting on this moot question, at the very outset of this brilliant, promising new year 2014, and become better people leaders.

To help you begin this journey of introspection, I am leaving you with what F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of the finest American authors of the 20th century, wrote in his novel, ‘The Love Of The Last Tycoon’:

“Credit is something that should be given to others. If you are in a position to give credit to yourself, then you do not need it.”

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Image-credit: practiceprinciples.net

Leadership is NOT only about the Leader

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leadersquotesLeadership is not ‘only about self’; you know that feeling of ‘I am the most important and senior of all’. Most of the leaders fail to understand this, and thus, fail at leadership altogether. If a leader does not appreciate the concept of moving over ‘self’ and strive to be with others and serve them rather than being self-indulgent, her followers or subordinates will not entrust her with their trust and confidence. I have said in my earlier blogs – a leader is of no use if her followers do not ‘genuinely‘ wish to be led by her.  Arrogant behaviour, intimidating demeanour and ego are not leadership characteristics. And absence of authenticity will take away the shine off the choicest of pleasant words and flowery language.

Real leaders are ‘real’ people. Fake behaviours will only earn them fake followers…

What do you think?

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Photo-credit: searchquotes.com

Your Leadership. What is in it for me?

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Just heard the magnetic speech of Narendra Modi, who was speaking from the dais of the renowned Shri Ram College of College, University of Delhi. As the chief guest of the Business Enclave 2013 hosted by the college, he was delivering the Shri Ram Memorial Lecture of the year.

He spoke at length about several initiatives that have led to the all-pervasive growth of the Indian state of Gujarat for over a decade or so. However, I am not writing to praise Modi or the work his government has accomplished in Gujarat. That’s not what made me tune in to his speech in the first place. Rather what made me listen to his speech with attention was my keen desire to observe and note his leadership & influencing skills, a key area of my focus and learning.

And I am so impressed! Not because he spoke so well, Indian polity is replete with many eloquent orators across party lines. Not because he spoke of facts and figures of development, I know speechwriters are good at that. Not because his model of development is catching the eyes of the world, and certainly not because of the running debate of whether or not he should be or would be the next Prime Minister of the nation.

I am impressed because he reaffirmed my belief in the dire need of leaders connecting with their followers in a meaningful and persuasive manner. He spoke with charisma; and more than that, he spoke with real influence. And why I felt so? Because he spoke with enthusiasm. He spoke like a man possessed with raw energy and pleasurably sounded like a leader who wanted me to belong to him. Laying down his thoughts and vision, he indeed provided the thousands of young minds gathered there and millions more on the Television the answer to the quintessential question – What is in it for me?

Often I have pondered as to why the leaders of the present times don’t sound authentic and appear compelling to me and not only to me, they don’t appear compelling to the entire youth. I ask, why is this missing in the present Prime Minister, who has the distinction of being the most celebrated economist? Certainly not the competence or the character, the twin bedrock of leadership; those we know he has, aplenty. Then what’s missing in his words, and in most of most of leaders we meet and see around us?

What is missing in most of the leaders of the political class, and otherwise, is what I call the soul of a leader. They don’t answer as to why should I feel connected, why should I feel belonged and what is in for me in all they are saying and envisioning.

Narendra Modi was inspiring – he appeared bold and forthcoming in his speech and demeanor. He was also relevant – made me as a listener quickly calculate the leader’s capability, basis the proven track record of his competence. I won’t say I got sold, but he did get my serious attention over his offer of providing me with a win-win proposition, a victory for him a leader and for me as a follower.

In my earlier blog on a leader’s authenticity and trustworthiness, I wrote at length about the importance of connect of a follower with his leader. Modi proves my point today. I am not sure how many of you would agree with me, but if the reaction of the youth brigade present at the event was to be kept in mind, they proved with their attention and applause that even they felt belonged.

India; the youngest nation of the world. A nation, which is in dire need of and search for visionary leadership, not only in governance, but also across industry, education and other sectors. A nation of all brilliance and capability that one can put on offer. A nation with growing knowledge-workers and rising aspirations. Quite like a corporate organization brimming with talent across levels, waiting to deliver superior results, only when guided and led by a true leader. This talent would look for leaders not only worthy & competent to lead them, but also who appear keen and enthusiastic to do so. And don’t mistake this talent as one merely looking for and getting sold to the word-weavers and eloquent seller of dreams. This talent is smart and calculative enough to measure the reality and then invest their faith in the leadership.

This talent will carefully watch out for their leader’s passion and commitment; they will be unrelenting in pursuit of leader’s sincerity of purpose and would demand to know whether the leader would take them towards an environment where they can deliver their best. And they would keenly watch for the growth and success that gets offered on the cards, should they commit their faith and hard work to the vision of such a leader. Thus, mere oratory won’t work.

I am no fan of Modi, and this isn’t a political critique I am writing. I also do not have any good view of the hardliner politics he has been accused of practicing and rather have a dislike for it. I haven’t even started thinking to become a follower of his. The jury may be still out on his capabilities as an administrator and I am sure the opposition leaders will be vying for his blood after today’s speech. Yet, what he did convincingly today was to sound honest and meaningful as a leader to me – a commoner. Something that most leaders, across domains, fail miserably at.

Somewhere amidst his enthusiasm and vision, I could see – ‘what’s in it for me’…

I am sure more leaders are tuning in…

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are author’s own and not of the organization he is associated with.

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