Category: Leadership

Wisdom of Leadership Vision

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” -HELEN KELLER 

This quote by Helen Keller clearly distinguishes the difference between having a sight and having a vision. You do not need to have eyes to have a vision but imagination. Your vision is what makes you different, makes you dream, makes you work and ultimately makes you a leader.  

Leaders are called Leaders because they have a vision, a dream and a direction in which they want others to follow. No one would want to follow a leader without vision. When working in an organization, every employee lives in a world of shared beliefs, values, and goals which is the same as your organization’s leader. As a leader, one must be clear about what he believes and wants to accomplish in life.  

Leadership Vision can be defined as the magical lens of leadership. Through this lens, you can foresee the bigger picture of the future and help others see it and make it a reality. When you share this bigger picture with your team, they will feel that they are a part of something bigger, something better and something achievable.  

They start to adapt, adjust and align with your beliefs and vision and start working in the direction you want them to. The vision that has its roots in the past, addresses the future while dealing with the current reality, represents you and what you stand for. It not only inspires you but also the people around whose commitment you are demanding and with whom you are going to be the change you want to see. 

Simon Sinek once said, “Great leaders must have two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate that vision clearly.” Leadership Vision is not just something to hang on a wall for motivation, but a goal on which every employee will work on, every single day. So, put on the lens of leadership vision and weave something that excites, inspires and captures every heart present in the room including you. Then you must be able to explain your vision and at the same time demand what you need and want. That would be a good starting point to be a great leader. 

But to make tens or even hundreds of people follow your leadership vision is not an easy task. First, you must be very sure of your thoughts, because if it doesn’t reflect in your attitude, no one’s going to buy it. Your vision should excite you and ignite the will that you never knew you had. Reflect on your ideas thoroughly and discuss it with the team. Take your time and build around the ideas a little more, in favor of the organization, employees and of course yourself.

Your leadership vision must: 

  • Reflect your beliefs, values, strengths, and commitment. 
  • Clearly states the organizational goals, purposes, direction, challenges, and benefits. 
  • Challenge people to stretch themselves to a new limit every day. 
  • Encourage to communicate their ideas and thoughts. 
  • Demand the commitment from the employees. 
  • Mirror the concept of together we grow. 
  • Be the reason behind organizational actions. 
  • Inspire care, loyalty, and teamwork spirit. 

Johny Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more, you are a leader”. Visioning requires leaders to convey the common goal to their employees so that they can passionately work towards their common goal. Strengthscape’s Jamavaar helps leaders to create a visual map of their leadership vision. Jamavaar, a living tapestry, is a business workshop that assists leaders to portray their complex ideas into words and images. Jamavaar works hand in hand with the leader to understand the minutest details of the past and the present to craft a clear future vision for the organization. 

 

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Popular Models

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Are You A Boss Or A Leader

All offices have managers and bosses, but very few of them have leaders to whom everyone can look up. Leadership training can bring about such a great change in your style of functioning that you no longer need to breathe down your subordinates necks to ensure they do the right thing – they do them perfectly by their own free will.

Importance of a good leader

The right form of leadership is what ensures a company’s long term development and growth. A leader impresses several positive ethics on employees that help them develop qualitatively, taking the organization to a whole new level of success. Since employees are the fuel on which a company runs, efficient employees mean better output. This is where leadership training is important to be able to harness the capabilities of the entire work team.

Leaders come across as friendly, dependable and approachable whereas bosses present a more conceited and selfish picture. When you are a leader, you grow, your company grows and your employees grow along with you. When you are a boss, you grow alone.

Character traits of a boss

Check if any of the traits mentioned below apply to you and you’ll know if you are a boss who needs leadership training to make the transition to being a leader.

  1. You enjoy wielding power, sometimes even unnecessarily
  2. You try to exploit people’s, even if it creates problems for them
  3. You like the sound of your own voice and are averse to listening
  4. You don’t bother to appreciate people for jobs well done
  5. You hog credit that is not truly yours
  6. You do not care about those who are not the brightest
  7. You are only bothered about things that you deem are important
  8. You do not spare time to discuss employee concerns
  9. You do not try to connect directly with individuals or figure out ways to motivate them

A leader speaks in terms of ‘we’ while a boss speaks in terms of ‘I’. Leadership training helps you look at the bigger picture, transcending the minutiae of power, credit and money. A boss can only wield power and authority but with the right form of leadership training, he can also learn to command his people’s love and respect.

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Signs Of An Insecure Leader

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Role Of A Mentor

The role of a mentor is different from that of an executive coach. While the coach sets you in the path of discovery, the mentor acts more like a guide, a sounding board, a role model, a skill developer and an advocate. The role of mentor in an organization can be that of a group mentor or individual mentor. In group mentoring, a group of employees benefit from the expertise and the experience of the mentor whereas in a one-one mentoring such as a leadership mentoring, the leader gains from the mentor’s expertise.

Whatever Be The Kind Of Mentoring The Role Of Mentor Is More Or Less The Same

1. Guide

In mentoring relationships, the mentor acts like a guide to the organization by identifying areas that need to be set as objectives for achievement. He/she sets targets, time frames and lists people responsible for task accomplishment. This may also mean rearranging of tasks or their methodologies and guidance for effective time management.

2. Role Model

In mentoring programs the mentor is more of role model than just a teacher. The mentor possesses skills, knowledge, experience and insight which the organization as a whole desires to adapt and follow. He/she is a person who influences people by their organizational knowledge and experience, communication skills and style, people management skills and techniques and values will make him/her an effective role model for the organization.

3. Sounding Board

The mentor acts a sounding board especially in a one-to-one mentoring where he/she gives ideas, plans and problem-solving. They also help the mentees understand the organizational culture and politics so that they can grow and achieve their highest potentials.

4. Skill Developer

As experts mentors are basically skill developers. In a mentoring relationship the mentors teach mentees or facilitate learning process in mentees.  Mentors also provide specific skill development that an organization may require for their employees, for instance, managerial skills.

5. Advocate

Apart from being a guide, a mentor sometimes advocates and supports top talent mentees which benefit both the organization and the mentees according to the scope of mentoring for that particular industry.

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Ernest Shackelton

Leadership is one attribute that has always been admired and revered in men as and when they have displayed it. As a subject this has been researched a lot and as a quality and character people have tried to instill it in themselves and others by different ways and means. But in every case the thing that has been most widely used to understand this topic are examples of people who have great leadership qualities and have used it to great effect. Any list of such persons would be incomplete without the mention of Sir Ernest Shackelton, arguably the greatest of them all.

Although bestowing such a high accolade to Sir Ernest might raise some eyebrows but a deep study of the life and times of this gentleman would be sufficient to erase any shadow of a doubt that anyone would have in this regard. In fact one particular voyage of 1914-16 called the Imperial Trans-Atlantic voyage is a prime example and source of study for most of the leadership gurus of the modern era. It was his impeccable leadership and decision making on this particular voyage that left a great mark of this gentleman on history.

The voyage was of course a failure as regards its original goal but how the 27 members survived the ordeal and the extremely adverse conditions for over two years under the able leadership of Sir Shackelton is the real reason why he is held in such high regards. Just a look at the advertisement that he published to hire manpower for this tedious journey provides ample evidence of the righteousness that the gentleman possessed and with which he conducted his affairs. The advertisement clearly mentioned the hazards of the journey and the meager monetary returns.

After setting out on the ship called ‘Endurance’ from the South Georgia Island but a month later in January 1915 they found themselves trapped in pack ice and drifted along with it for nine months. Later, they lost their ship and which was crushed by the ice and wind and this forced the crew on the floes where they spent another 6 months. When the ice floes began to crack that is when they shifted on to the life boats they had and were out in the sea and after battling the winds and tough weather of the southern ocean they landed at the uninhabited Elephant Island. All along Sir Shackelton displayed admirable leadership in maintaining the optimism of the men and their decorum. From the Elephant Island 6 members of the unit left for South Georgia Island which is at a distance of about 650 miles. It took them more than 16 days to reach there. And it was still four more months before the rest of the crew was rescued from the Elephant Island on the third attempt.

From this entire journey and its records various lessons in leadership and managements have been drawn by the experts. Some of them are as follows.

  • Careful selection- one of the most interesting process of Sir Ernest that can be put forth as an example to any and all budding leaders and managers of the modern era is his selection process. While selecting his team he did not only go by the knowledge and competence of the person but also the character and passion that he possessed. Shackelton’sleadership further brought out the best in the candidates who were selected.
  • Generating the trust of the crew by putting their safety first- This was perhaps the most endearing aspect of his greatleadership that when there was a grave crisis that they faced his decisions were based on the well being of his men even if this meant sacrificing a major goal of the entire expedition.
  • He lead by example which is the most admired and desired characteristic of any leader. He knew the importance of the old saying that actions persuaded more than words. So for e.g. when he had to order the men to travel lightly, he was the first to lighten down so much so that he even tossed his bad of gold coins to send the message across clearly to his men. He treated his men equally, all had to do all kinds of work including him.
  • All this was possible because of his flexibility in making decisions according to situations and circumstances. This helped in sustaining great optimism while facing various adversities on trips of danger and hardships. His life and ways are a lesson for any aspiring leader and manager in the contemporary world.

Considering all this and studying about it in detail one is very much convinced of the status that is bestowed upon Sir Ernest Shackelton. He was far ahead of his time as far as managing people and crisis is concerned. No wonder that today most people benefit a lot from his experiences and leadership.

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Myth About Leadership

Any great work, on the face of earth has never been accomplished without the proper guidance of a true leader. However, contrary to popular beliefs, it has been observed that the quality of leadership is not a matter of hereditary genes or academic qualifications. It is rather all about understanding the requirements of people and helping them to reach their goals. History abounds with examples of people who have risen above the common myths of leadership, by the virtue of their quality and capability.

people who have risen above the common myths of leadership

Myth 1- Leaders have charismatic and imposing personalities- People respect and follow leaders, who are honest and have attained a certain level of credibility among the masses, owing to their hard work. A good leader is always capable of understanding and influencing his people in the correct direction. A charming personality, definitely acts as an added advantage, but it is not one of the main signs of great leadership quality.
Myth 2- Leaders are egoistic. – A true leader is always a people’s man and there is no place for petty sentiments like jealousy or ego. Great leaders understand the importance of his position and always work for the betterment of his subordinates.
Myth 3-A person is often born with leadership skills.—Contrary to common belief, most great leaders in the history of mankind had a very humble upbringing. The quality of leadership is attained by proper training and by hands on learning experience in real life affairs. A responsible person, who shows a burning desire to perform under extreme pressure, eventually becomes a good leader in the long run.

Myth 4- A leader is defined by his designation. — This is perhaps one of the most popular myths about leadership. However it has been seen in numerous studies that in many cases subordinates hate their bosses. Merely being in charge does not make anyone a good leader. Only a person, who is blessed with the rare quality of identifying himself with the goal of his subordinates and his company, manages to become a good leader.

Leadership, in modern times is no longer all about honor, valor and duty. It is all about the willingness of a person to listen to his subordinates and uniting them together for a common purpose.

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Leadership Qualities

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Making Leadership Training Work

Companies invest huge sums on training, believing that having their staff attend a leadership training session will help them gain the necessary skills to function as effective leaders. However, how much of this training translates into actual results in the workplace? Unfortunately, not much. A few days following the training, everything learned is forgotten or dismissed as being difficult to apply in real-life situations. Here are a few suggestions to make leadership training work for your organization so that you receive a valuable return on your investment.

Here Are A Few Suggestions To Make Leadership Training Work For Your Organization 

1. Tailor the Training
Think about the areas in which your executives need training and tailor the program to meet these specific requirements. For example, if you are preparing for a major change in the way your organization operates, it makes sense to provide specific training on change management rather than a generalized leadership training program.
2. Ensure Organizational Commitment
When employees attend a highly motivational training program, many of them get back to work, charged up with the emotion of adopting the principles they learned. Unless the organization too buys into this idea, and provides an atmosphere that is conducive to adopt these ideas, you cannot see any major change. For learning to convert into action, it is important there is commitment from the very top of the organization. If a manager is enthusiastic about collecting feedback from employees as he learned in the training, but finds the management is dead against this idea, there is no question of him applying his newly acquired knowledge or skills.
3. Follow Up Regularly
It is important to have a plan for regular follow up of how well trainees adopt their learning. Say an employee has attended a leadership training program that emphasized time management skills. You ought to monitor his progress at getting things done in time on a weekly or fortnightly basis. Ask about which particular principles of time management he has adopted, and get feedback on how it is helping him deal with work. Such follow up helps the person too remain alert to the need for adopting the principles he learned in practice.

Effectiveness of training often boils down to an individual’s willingness to change. However, even the most engaged of employees requires an environment that fosters this process of change. Until the organization commits to providing this environment, the best training program or the most inspirational trainer alone cannot ensure that leadership training works.

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Questions Leaders Ask

The accepted image of a leader is that of someone who motivates his team. Therefore, it naturally follows that a leader’s work involves interacting with the team and communicating goals and procedures with clarity. However, in the leader as coach philosophy, much of this communication also has to do with getting the right information from the people you lead. By asking the right type of questions, it is possible to get valuable feedback that helps you lead better.

By Asking The Right Type Of Questions?

1. Open-Ended Questions
If you ask someone a question that just requires them to say yes or no in reply, it does not get you a lot of information. Rather, asking open-ended questions such as “What is your opinion about….,” or “Tell me about….”are an invitation to the other person to participate in the conversation.
2. Evaluating Questions
It is vital for leaders to gauge their team’s understanding of any given situation. Asking evaluating questions is an important aspect of the leader as coach approach. When you ask questions such as “What do you think about this situation,” or “What are the challenges we face in….”it helps you find out how much the team understands and this becomes the starting point to guide them further.
3. Support Questions
When you are a leader-coach, you need to extend the support necessary to the team. To be able to do this effectively, you need to have a clear picture of what is the type of support the team expects of you. In such situations, you ought to ask questions such as “What are the resources you need to do a good job with….” Or “Tell me the areas where you need me to help out.”
4. Simplifying Questions
When there are some bad feelings, employees communicate vociferously, but there is often a lack of clarity because of all the emotion involved. At such times, the leader as coach needs to ask questions that simplify the issue, often re-framing the problem in different words to clarify the point. For example, if someone is cribbing about a new measure introduced, you may need to ask, “So you are unhappy with this because of abc reason or xyz reason?”

There is an inherent danger in asking questions: it can set people giving answers that may not be pleasant to hear. However, no business today can afford to be like the proverbial ostrich, burying its head in the sand. If there is some unpleasant truth, the earlier you learn of it, the better equipped you are to deal with the situation. Therefore, when you follow the leader as coach concept, make it a point to ask questions of your team and listen actively to their answers.

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