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Leadership

The Six Leadership Styles – As Defined by Daniel Goleman

Leadership is, most fundamentally, about changes. What leaders do is create the systems and organizations that managers need, and, eventually, elevate them up to a whole new level or . . . change in some basic ways to take advantage of new opportunities.
—John P. Kotter

Leadership is about influence—the ability to influence your subordinates, your peers, and your bosses in a work or organizational context. Without influence, it is impossible to be a leader. Of course, having influence means that there is a greater need on the part of leaders to exercise their influence ethically.

Leadership operates in groups. This means that leadership is about influencing a group of people who are engaged in a common goal or purpose.

Leadership includes the achievement of goals. Therefore, leadership is about directing a group of people toward the accomplishment of a task or the reaching of an endpoint through various ethically based means. Leaders direct their energies and the energies of their followers to the achievement of something together. Thus, leadership occurs in, as well as affects, contexts where people are moving in the direction of a goal.

Leaders and followers share objectives. Leadership means that leaders work with their followers to achieve objectives that they all share. Establishing shared objectives that leaders and followers can coalesce around is difficult but worth the effort. Leaders who are willing to expend time and effort in determining appropriate goals will find these goals achieved more effectively and easily if followers and leaders work together. Leader-imposed goals are generally harder and less effectively achieved than goals developed together.

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Leadership

Voices And Echoes – The Choice Between Originals And Duplicates

Be a voice not an echo” -This was a quote by Albert Einstein, one of the greatest scientists humanity has ever seen. This is simple to comprehend. A voice is always original, echoes are just fading replicas of the voice. By this statement, Einstein simply meant that one should to be unique and original, not copycats. Think of all the scientific discoveries and inventions. Everybody had seen apples falling from the trees and most of them either ignored it or ate them away. But Newton thought in a different way – he wondered why apples always fall on the ground, never fly up into the sky.  Similarly, Everyone has experienced water flowing out of fully filled bath tub when they step into it. But Archimedes was the one who put this experience to a useful purpose. The pages of the History of Science are filled with hundreds of such stories.

The same applies in our everyday life. If we are to become successful, we need to be different and smart. We have to stand out among the seven billion people in the world to become noticed and successful. This is because, each person is unique and thinks differently, by nature. But what happens is that some external agents (textbooks, teachers, society, media, politicians, etc) conform people to a particular way of thinking. All one has to do is to carefully preserve his nature of thinking in his own perspective with his own points of view and to have the courage to voice it out.

Unfortunately, the present generation is being made to grow inside the shackles of the conformed thinking, right from the time they start attending kindergartens. A study by George Land in 1968 has shown that when children enter the school at the age of 5, 98% of them are creative. By the time they become adults, this percentage falls drastically to 2%, this shows that only 2 out of 100 adults are creative. The rest of the people lose their creativity in the process of education. Do you know where this begins? This begins right the moment we ask a child to memorize that ” A stands for Apple, B for Ball,….”. What we are doing here is that we are confining a child to think that only an Apple begins with an A. So, it is discouraged from thinking about other words that begin with an A.

This process of confinement continues in school. This is chiefly because of the peer group where the majority of the children are echoes and it is weird to be different, so even children with potentials to be original voices become echoes. Another major factor that impedes the creativity of children is that most of them are made to memorize answers to questions, without allowing them to frame their own answers. Children are not even allowed to think creatively about their futures – they are confined to think that they must either be engineers or doctors. Now, enough on the evolution of echoes, how to become voices?

Being a Voice as A Student

Being a voice takes a lot of courage and careful creative thinking. If you are a student, you can be a voice if you do not follow the path others take just because many people take that path and it will be weird if you do not take that path. Then, you end up taking the path which you have no interest in. Take the path which you are passionate about and you are confident that you will excel by walking in that path.

For example, a student scoring more than 90% in his tenth is usually expected to take up Science in +2. All people in +2 are expected to be either doctors(MBBS) or engineers(BE) and in the worst scenarios, scientists(BSc). Any other option is considered disgraceful. Lucky are those whose parents look into what they are really interested in and let them pursue their dreams. If a student is interested to take up Arts, he/she must be fully encouraged to take up.

A student somehow completes his graduation and he is to step into the job market. Now there are two options available – he either has to take a job from somebody else or become an entrepreneur and give jobs to others. Unfortunately, in India, majority of the job ready people choose the first path which is easy. They fear to venture into risks by taking the second path. This is exactly why we see such unemployment and underemployment rates in India.

What can be done here?

Creativity must be encouraged right from the childhood. Children have an ability to come up with imaginary situations and solutions to problems. This must not be discouraged. When this becomes a regular pattern of thinking, we will have more great people like Einstein or Steve Jobs in the making.

There are steps taken up to promote entrepreneurs and startups in India. The students must be encouraged and trained appropriately to start startups and sufficient aid should be provided to help them sustain their businesses. This initial push will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Being Voices as Leaders

A leader is a person who guides his team towards success. So, quite obviously, leaders are expected to be the voice of their groups. They have to stand for the voice of their group, in spite of all odd circumstances. They are also to stand for the common good of their team, even if the members are against it. This takes a lot of courage and boldness.

A group selects a person who has his own voice (meaning, has his own opinions) and expresses it aloud boldly, without thinking of the consequences. This is because people believe that if a person can defend his stand for his own sake, he will be capable to stand for the group when needed.

A voice must be indeed unbiased, bold and standing for the common good. Such voices are the biggest need of the hour in a confused nation. A leader must never repeat the words of the others like a parrot but must have his own perspective of the situation and must be able to judge the situation without an biases. Then alone, he will be eligible for the position of a leader.

Absence of Voices, Presence of only Echoes

The readers must be aware that in Gol Gumbaz, there is a chamber called the “Whisper Chamber” where if one whispers something once, it will be echoed eleven times. Now there is a place where any voice, whether desirable or not, whether correct or not, will echo a thousand times, wonder where?

The present Indian society witnesses the maximum presence of echoes and minimum voices. In each and every matter, there are a few voices which shout their own manipulated biased opinions and the very next moment, there will be thousands and lakhs of echoes reproducing the same like parrots. People have seemed to lost their own sense of analysis anf originality. All they need is a ready-made conclusion and opinion to adopt. This poses a serious threat to the democracy, which is heavily dependent on the opinion of the people. If they allow their opinions to be manipulated by some biased or on biased voices, they are willingly giving up their voting power to others, except that they authorise the opinions of voices in ballot papers.

With elections in many states, it is an urgent need to educate the people about the real facts and leave the rest to their rational thinking so that they arrive at the conclusion which is beneficial to the whole nation. Let every single individual become a voice of his/her own original opinions, not the echoes of the other voices.

Sources:

  1. https://www.ideatovalue.com/crea/nickskillicorn/2016/08/evidence-children-become-less-creative-time-fix/
  2. Image Source: https://liltdalliance.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/a-mountains-echo/

Author: Ms. Nayana M R

Categories
Leadership

Being a Better Leader

It may seem that leaders get all of the credits without having to share the pain. But great leaders know there is more to their work than visible. So much of what it takes to be a leader often goes unnoticed. The behind the scenes and after-hours, the tough decisions that need to be made, everything! Leading a distributed team is rewarding. But incredibly challenging too, especially because we care deeply about our colleagues. It is hardly easy to give honest feedback to people you really care about. It is even harder to part ways, regardless of the situation. The real truth is that leaders experience many joyful moments, along with moments of disappointment. The ongoing learning process makes one a better leader. Anyone who aspiring leadership must push on and allow challenges to shape them. Here are some of the tough lessons that every great leader will learn:

1. Trust takes time and energy.

Do not assume trust will occur naturally over time. Being likable is not the same as being trusted. You will realize that you can spend your time and energy trying to be liked or you can invest in being a trustworthy and effective leader. But you cannot do both.

2. Kindness is underrated.

You may think that your leadership position gives you license to say or do whatever you want. But a single careless comment can cause a lot of havoc. Showing kindness may be an underrated but is necessary. It can transform how you lead your team and send a clear message for how they should treat each other.

3. Words are hollow.

Your words are meaningless unless you follow through with action. So work on goals and your commitments. Proving yourself will inspire your team to support your plan and to be part of making it a success.

4. Status quo is safe.

This truth is especially tough for leaders who join a new organization. There are many others when a new leader starts who are more comfortable maintaining the status quo than embracing new challenges. You may need to evaluate your team and make some tough choices about who can break free and strive to keep getting better.

5. Power trips ensue.

Power can go to your head if you are not constantly vigilant. And even still you will have moments where ego bests humility. Good leaders invest in a daily effort to be humble and consider the work that each person is contributing. Practice putting the needs of the team before your own. The less time you spend thinking about yourself, the better. 

6. Not everyone is to stay.

You do your best to earn trust, follow through on your plans and treat others with kindness. Yet this does not ensure that everyone will stay in your organization. People leave for personal reasons or because they cannot accept change or challenges. Your job is to accept it, ensure that the person’s departure does not disrupt others, and move forward.

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Leadership Self Development

Is your emotional intelligence accurate or just an act?

It is completely possible to fake emotional intelligence. Similar to fake accessories, emotions and actions can also be faked to look like the real thing but really aren’t. With the best of intentions, we can see smart leaders charge into sensitive interactions armed with what they believe a combination of deep empathy, attuned listening, and self-awareness but in real is a way to serve their own emotional needs. It is essential to learn to spot these forgeries, especially if you are the one forging it.

Research has in fact led to the documentation of manipulative misuses of emotional intelligence — the intentionally subtle regulating of one’s emotions to engineer responses from others that might not be in their best interest. Since most people are not sociopaths, the more common misuses of emotional intelligence are in fact subconscious in order to safeguard against inadvertently falling prey to them, we need deeper levels of self-examination. Here are three of the more common counterfeits that are seen snaring well-intended leaders.

Being the hero

Empathy is one of the key components of emotional intelligence. The capacity to understand and share others’ emotions creates genuine connection and deepens trust. But a leader’s genuine desire to demonstrate care can transcend healthy boundaries in unintended ways. An example being an officer who handled a potentially volatile conversation. The goal of the conversation was to agree on how he would get the project back on track. When asked how it went, he responded with exuberant relief, “Better than I could have expected.” He went on to explain he was sure to start with empathy, and when time was right, they moved into problem solving.

Over the next two hours, the conversation revealed his need to feel indispensable completely overshadowed what he actually needed: accountability, coaching, and guidance. He felt the conversation had gone well because he felt needed. The senior thought it went great because he was no longer on the hook alone. At first, he defended his intention of being a caring and compassionate leader. But eventually he was able to see that when his expression of care turned to rescue from a difficult situation, it stopped being compassionate, and became selfish. When a leader indulges a codependent need to feel central to another person’s success, it takes away the other person’s power, making them weaker instead.

When expressing empathy for those you lead, pay attention to any need you might have to be the hero. Compassionate understanding for the challenges of others is emotionally intelligent. Rescuing them from the consequences of those challenges may be more cruel than kind.

Masquerade as an active listener. 

A fundamental social skill of emotional intelligence is being an effective listener. Being attuned to the spoken and unspoken concerns of others shows a willingness to engage ideas different from ours. Most leaders believe they listen to dissenting ideas, and are willing to have their minds changed when stronger beliefs and facts are presented. But many would also admit, if they were being honest, that letting go of being right is painful.

But unaware of the tension between a genuine desire to take in others’ views and a need to be right, leaders can feign listening while actually trying to lure others to their side without realizing they’re doing it. Trying to sound conciliatory and open-minded, each would attempt to “summarize” the other’s views with statements like, “So what I hear you saying is the only way you’ll agree to those quotas is if….” and “I’m really trying to understand your view on this, given that last month you seemed to be more aligned with….” and “I sense that you’re really frustrated right now, and I’d love to find a solution that can work for both of us, if we could just agree that…” Both believed they were genuinely interested in finding a mutually acceptable compromise. But nobody in the room saw it that way and neither of them believed it about the other. If you have strong views or a critical agenda, own it. It doesn’t mean you don’t care what others think. People are more likely to believe you’re open to hearing their ideas if they feel you’ve been straightforward about where you stand on yours.

A need for approval dressed up as self-awareness. 

Self aware leaders detect how others experience them. They solicit critical feedback from others, and accurately acknowledge their strengths and shortfalls. But i fueled by an desire for approval, self-awareness can warp into self-involvement. One executive, who prided himself on his astute self-awareness, regularly asked his team for feedback, believing he really wanted it (and on some level, he probably did). But what they saw was a neurotic plea for affirmation. In a diagnostic interview, one direct-report said, “Every time he asks how I’m doing, we all know the best thing to do is just say ‘Great,’ so we can get on with our day.” Every leader is insecure about something. Genuinely self-aware leaders face that insecurity head on, and don’t put the burden of soothing it on others.

Our ability to express emotional intelligence is sometimes impaired by unacknowledged, unhealthy, emotional needs. If you want to genuinely employ effective emotional intelligence skills, pay attention to the unaddressed scars and voids lurking beneath the surface of your inner emotional landscape. Tend to those honestly and carefully, and you’ll better be able to maintain credibility and strong relationships with others.

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Leadership

Habits For Becoming A Leader

An important title or position in no way makes a person a true leader. There are people who spend their lives as managers of an organization, but they fall short in realizing their true potential for leadership. Only a true leader unlocks the potential of an organization and takes it towards success. True leaders are not born but merely adopt some behaviors that differentiate them from the rest. They make people feel important, remain attentive to the voices as well as concerns and actions of others around them.

Leadership behavior can be adopted by doing the following:

Establish Credibility:

It can be donebyearning people’s trust and respect by consistently making decisions that benefits others. The decisions should have a good impact on the people who work with and for the organization.

Informal Authority:

Formal titles and posts do give a good impression. But in reality these are shallow sources of authority trust. In such cases the said admiration is achieved by helping people and solving issues with sincerity, passion, and vision.

Communication:

For being a true leader one needs to win people’s hearts. Talking to people on each level and sharing your hopes for the organization makes them feel important and needed.

Apply Golden Rule:

Everyone wishes to be treated with respect and kindness. People rarely remember the words one speaks, but remember the way they are treated. Be kind to everyone and give respect for what they do for the company or the organization.

Delivering on Promises:

Making promises is easy. But delivering on them is what takes the real effort. Avoid making commitments that cannot be fulfilled. If it takes time to fulfill the promises, then make a note to explain it to the people along with the reasons behind it.

Visibility:

Simply communicating by emails and texts makes one invisible. So it is advised to take time out and break free from the desk responsibilities and connect to people. The best from the colleagues and employees’ can only be achieved if they see their leader more often.