Blog Archives

Leaders Listen Passionately

listening

Active Listening is the Greatest Learning Tool

Often we hear leaders chatter on endlessly about their “intent”, “visions” and how the teams should flower under their tutelage. They never tire of torturing an audience till the organisation tires out of the “How” that the leader explains with such disdain each time he gets an opportunity. This is accentuated if the employees only get to listen to the leader and are seldom allowed the latitude to articulate their own aspirations and visions about either the task at hand,  the organisation or the team.

When they listen, they “hear” with a view to out talk the led. Such leaders start the cycle of cynicism in an organisation, especially when the leaders are not able to Walk their Talks. Teams hang on to every word, motion or activity of the leader. While a blabbering leader may forget what he said yesterday – the team remembers – and thus starts the Chinese whisper in an organisation, disempowering the teams across verticals.

Good leaders listen and listen actively to absorb the aspirations and callings of each member of the team. This helps them find each team member’s true calling. There is nothing more motivating in an environment where a team member feels confident to explain his point of view succinctly and without parental oversights by the leader. This simple habit of the leader energises the team members and motivates them with an optimism that their views would be heard passionately towards the larger good of the organisation. They then push the envelope as active participants in the growth of the organisation.

It is true that leadership and mentoring are not a one-size-fits-all propositions. “Different strokes for different folks” is more like it. Some people need a lot of direction or hand-holding; others need autonomy and freedom to experiment and grow. Some team members may need different things at different times, depending on challenges that arise, the level of difficulty in job assignments, and the ebb and flow of motivation. Amongst all these variations, leaders can rarely afford to stop listening passionately- it helps keeping their ears to the ground and invert the pyramid in an environment of trust and mutual respect.

This passion is contagious across all levels of leaders and the led, where leaders automatically produce leaders and not mere followers. This creates an enabling environment where the “why” overrides the “how” and unleashes the true potential of each team member.

Active listening accentuates an organisation’s trajectory in geometric progression and provides the leader with the most vital component of organisational success – feedback.

As they say in the military, “passionate leaders lead by actions not words”.

Good Leaders Celebrate Life

This lesson couldn’t have come but for at the prayer meeting of death of a great soul Madhu Bhatia. The sons, daughters and grand children of the departed great “leadership model in motion” were dressed in their colourful sunday best to celebrate her life at the prayer meeting.

At first it appeared awkward for the Indian gathering, all mournfully dressed in white to see the household in a buoyant mood. Once the religious sermons were over the offsprings offered their tributes to this great lady through a series of light hearted reminiscences of her life – remembering her in death as they did in life. The hall full of sombre audience suddenly realised this great gesture and burst out in joy at each anecdote of Madhu’s life narrated with the wit and poise which only a great family leadership model can deliver. The customary tea thereafter had the desired air of  celebration – a celebration of  life, well spent.

In her passing away this great lady passed on to those present that life was a wonderful gift worth celebrating each moment. I reckon that is what made Madhu and her family leaders of a genre we seldom see in India.

This is not Deepak Chopra but much larger lesson of life one could ever have learnt at a prayer meeting.

Thank you Madhu for this wonderful life leadership lesson..you shall continue to inspire us

We dedicate this poem, (author not known) to the spirit of Madhu

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying [to ourselves] that we are born to eternal life.

Humility and Perseverance

Getting good at getting along with people is a great book. A learning resource for every leader who aspires to achieve his vision through collaborative participation of his team. Amongst  great visions of bottom lines and productivity, organisations take their eyes off the ball in leading their visions through the power of their people.

The ultimate character of an orgnisation and its leaders ,therefore, is in investing in its people through humility and perseverance. These two essential organizational qualities transcend known performance enhancement matrices and catapult the leaders to an all together different dimension of governance. These two allow you to balance your life needs with the organisational goals and enable organisations to excel.

Positively controlled and managed anger, at times, can yield results in the short term but somehow leave an unsavory taste in the mouth. They cause a disconnect deep within where trust is eroded and perseverance suffers.

Humility and perseverance are thus the hall marks of all good organisations. These organisations get good at getting along with people who celebrate life in a multidimensional approach.

Profits follow

Pro activity Pays

Proactive Leadership

Pro active Leaders are always at the front

Leadership means exciting, enabling, educating and empowering the team to deliver across the full range of activities in a swarmed manner, happily & willingly.

The acme of leadership’s deliverance is in producing results by each member of a team in such an egoless manner that every activity generates multiple options for the leadership to exploit to active the organizational goals. Creating this win win situation for the organization, leader and the led remains the basic art of leadership.

Articulation of Intent

When each member of the team pushes the envelope to the best of his capabilities, the combined synergy that is produced far outstrips the imagination. A leader has perforce got to be the visionary who articulates his intent unambiguously and leads from the front in each endeavuor of the team. He has to have the third eye to “see” situations and conflicts arising well in advance and take corrective measures in time to propel the team. Proactively pays!

Calling the Calling

An essential component of leadership function is to convert each member of the team to be a self

Calling the Calling in practice!!

starter. Initiative, innovation and experimentation are the key to exciting and empowering the team. However, the leadership has to be acutely conscious of putting the “right peg in the right hole”. Each person finds his mean in certain specific activities. If positively energized, that becomes the person’s calling. A progressive and enabling leadership works towards discovering this calling in each member of the team and assigning him requisite missions. An empowered team member working in sync with his calling will always produce the best results-no matter what!

Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking is an attribute most often misunderstood with warped thinking. It is not. It is the ability of self energized team members to generate out of the box blue ocean strategies to perform an assigned mission. Debono articulates this well.

Application of OODA Cycles.

As the OODA cycle enunciates by its name – the “Os” are times to observe & orient so as to deliberate and debate on all aspects of a problem at hand and generate multiple options. This is the phase that demands utmost sincerity in discussing debating and evolving options. Once the decision is taken, the team needs no more discussion but acts in a synergized manner to generate the desired momentum towards the next OODA cycle. The faster a team completes an OODA cycle, greater are the chances of success.

When such pro activity permeates the environment you stop managing but leading change.

Do that and watch miracles happen!