All entries for February 2016
February 21, 2016
Human have emotions and fears of being unsafe. Traditional leadership is practised by knowing them and then using it against them to make realise their positional power. Such leaders believe by creating fear, not caring for people emotions and pushing them to work will show their strength as a leader. Traditionally right, but actually wrong! Because every person wants safety in terms of respect, job and career progression. They might won't demand, doesn't means that they actually don't want. Great leaders treat their people like parents. They care for them, they create and provide great environment for them to learn and excel, if they make mistake they forgive them, they don't count their children in heads they count them in terms of hearts and emotions, they don't alternate numbers with people, they sacrifice for the comfort of their people as parent do it for their children. There is no doubt that parents are great leaders for most of children.
Creating fear by pushing and yelling at people doesn't makes people to work better or run in one direction, they will run but in different directions. Resulting in uncoordinated team work. People are like chain if you push it from one side you exactly wont know that where will it go. One part may go forward but other parts will go here and there but if chain is pulled from one side then rest of chain will follow you. Leader should lead the people so they can follow you without leader saying anything to people and people saying to leader. This can be done by giving power back to people, once you will people will start giving power back to you again and deflect that power back to people it again, this process will make leader more powerful and this power will be more long lasting then positional power.
Problem starts when leader starts keeping some power to satisfy his ego or whatever. This results in decreased power deflection to people, so people also deflect back the decreased power and then leader again keeps some power, this process makes leader weak in long run and people starts losing trust in their leader. Keeping power means leader starts relying or starts exercising his positional power. Leadership is the most scarce resource, even scarce then oil and gold. People often confuse leadership with manager. One major difference from my discussion is manager pushes the people to get his task done and leader pulls the people to complete task. If leader wants to build his personal power, he must always not try to push people, create fear in them, not care emotions of people. He must always provide safety to it's people. If leader will give his blood, sweat and love to his people, people will deflect it back to leader.
Most of the people wants to lead at some point of their life. As they lead they came across lot of challenges which teach them lot of new lessons. During last week i became leader a leader in one of the group excercise. I got excited when i got selected as a leader. But soon my excitment turned into information burden. Which was a challenge to understand in first instance but somehow i understood. Next challenge was to tell team about the objective of excersice. Which i did, but soon i realized that different team members got different level of understanding. As the excersize started i again realized different team members had a different expectations from me as a leader as some were expecting me to instruct and some were instructing to delegate, most of them had different pace of work. Activity finished, got reflections! Some of the major challenge which i faced were how to complete the task in tigh time bound deadline with engaged team. Task wasn't completed in time and team was also not fully engaged! Failure instigated lot of thoughts that how could we have done better, lots of ideas came across my mind.
But today i was walking through Warwick Art Centre, and saw some people practicing symphony for some competition going on in Art Centre. Melodious music forced me to stop there and listen, it was really nice! But i was amazed to see that how all the people were coordinating to play such a melodious music? When they finished, i asked the lady who was sitting closer to me. That how do you know that at what time which tone of music you have to play and when to stop and when to start playing again? Her reply really gave me a thought about some leadership questions which i was asking myself about last week leadership excercise, in which i performed as leader. She said the person who directs symphony tells team which sort of final music is he looking for. Then every instrument player share their ideas with leader and share their tones with each other. Once tones are decided they once agian played infront of leader to take his suggestions. This practice is done by every instrument player. Then leader tells if he wants some stronger tone then he allocates more intrument players in order to play that tone. After detailed planning we come up with sigle melodious performance.
Such an amazing lecture i got! I realized that it is important for leader to not just delegate but also discuss plan with every single or most of the team members take their suggestions, ask others to suggest something, then give his opinion. Every one should be delegated. Once delegated ask them dummy questions just to clarify that a team member know his role and know how his role is contributing to achieve objective. It takes time to do all that, but once this is done then its very easy to coordinate and work fast. But without any coordination and improper delegation it can be easy to start the task but soon leader will realize that every thing is getting messed up. In order to be an effective leader its important to spend time with team in order to develop a mutual understanding of task and develop mutualy agreeable plan to achieve it. Theratically it seems easy to be a leader, but its not. It got so complicated in such a short time and controlled environment, i was wondering how complex would it be to lead in the real world. I think leaders can learn a lot from an ochetraw, that how to lead a coordinated and engaged team towards final performance or objective.
February 19, 2016
There are lot of definitions for coaching, but one which inspired me was "coaching is about helping or assisting people to solve their own problems". Its leader job to coach its team members not guide. Agree! If i had got an opportunity to coach Hitler, how would it look like. His objective was to kill people and invade world no matter how much destruction it causes. If i would have been coaching according to the definition which inspired me, then i would have suggested some good bombs, poisnous gases, powerful tanks, some war moves and many other ways to kill. It was not just the Hilter's fault for massive destruction, all of his brigade was as responsible as Hilter, because they were till some point assisting Hitler how to achieve his goal. If they could have taken off the cap of coaching at that time, they might have suggested something else or given a strong opposition to his idea.
If coaching means persuading and motivating someone to solve their own problem, then why do we need a coach. Coach should coach and sometimes direct as well even if it is against the will of other person. All humans are born with different instincts and traits. They might think, whatever they are doing is the right thing to do, but if its fundamentaly wrong, then it need to be stopped imediately. Because expence of such learning can be very high. There might be possibility that at sometime Hitler would have realised his mistake and had learnt something, but that was too late.
Leader should use a mix of coahing and direction to assist his team to solve their problems. Because there is no alternative to experience. If leader knows from his expereince that some of his team member is doing something fundamentally wrong and he knows the consequences, in this case he should direct his team member. But if leader feels his team member is heading towards right direction but is stucked somewhere, then he should coach him about, how does his team member thinks it should be resolved and then should build on suggestions of his team member to coach properly.
Leader is an agent of shareholders and his primary goal is to maximize the wealth of shareholders. If his coaching process is costing lot of money to shareholders then shareholders will either withdraw their money or change him, both of them are not good for a company. By using mix of direction and coaching, he can maximize shareholders wealth along with promoting the culture to learn and solve their problem on their own. This will be beneficial in lon run, as team members will be able to solve their own problems as it will give leaders some extra time to think about other issues. Resulting in improved performance of overall team.
From my past accounting academic background, we were taught how to control the cost and keep an eye on increasing cost. Most importantly find the reason for increasing cost and try to relate its impact on the revenue generated. Increasing cost were termed as "Adverse impact". It was very important to relate every cost, that if it is contributing to increasing revenue or not. Like if training expence, marketing, raw material costs were increasing they use to have an poitive impact on reveneus as well. But it was very difficult to make direct link between CSR and revenue in short run, as accounting records are updated on very short term basis. So CSR expence use to be our first target to cut down, when we wished to control or reduce costs. I think its just difference of perception for the treatment of CSR in accounting terms as expence where as it is an investment in future, if CSR activity is in line with your vision and helping to promote the brand. Because at sometimes alot of successfull products are launched under the umbrella of brand with positive image.
There is difference in accounting investment and investment in customer brains for soft image of brand. Accounting investment normally consists of capital(long term but in something tangible or non tangible) or revenue(short term used in a year). CSR is normally treated as revenue expenditure which i realize is quite different despite which it should have been. CSR is sort of capital investment which you are doing in future to strengthen your brand. It is very important to note that CSR doesn't and shouln't mean throwing away money without adding value to business. CSR should be some positve socially respoinsbile acitivity which helps to generate value and recognition for business in long run as well.
As organizations are an important player in socities, so are socities an important stakeholder to businesses. In many cases, socities provide important input to businesses interms of employees motivation, their skills and engagement to make business more successfull, suppliers and customers. CSR is investment in the future inputs to increase the quality of inputs. If operations of some business is making the lives of socities around misereable, someday in future that misery will enter the organization as input and ruin all its performance. Because we have one plannet for all living beings, its very important to take care of it. It's more like "GIVE AND TAKE". Think about them, they'll think about you. It might take some time, but they will. Becaue humans are attached to emotions, which sometimes connects them to some organization or products.
February 17, 2016
Being a effective leader is not an easy task to do. It is a perception the person who have good communication skills, robust in decision making, physically strong persson, have skills and expereince to lead can become a good leader. I think its not as simple as that. Because this depends how leader uses all his skills and expereince. Does he use them to assist his team members or does he use them to develop his importance in organization ? This is what decides or makes you an effective leader. If a person hold and builds his positional power then it would be easy for him to get the things done. But those things will be done by heart and soul, there is no guarantee to that. In this people will obey their leader as they dont want to lose their job, but they will not do something extra apart from the task which they are asked to do. This is an easy and quick way to get the things done. But another is personal power, which takes comparatively longer time to develop but is more effective. In this, leader leads by example, charisma and vision which he sells to his team members instead of forcing them to do something. This can be done by communicating with people, buidling a positive rapport, delegating and trusting team members, transforming them by giving them whatever learning you have got, not using rank to impose something. Effective leader must have a good and friendly relationship with employees, where they feel comfortable to share their problems and suggestions with leader. Through such leadership manager can get feedback form his employees, which he can further use for self development and improve performaance of team. It's not neccessary that only leaders can have great ideas, they can come from any part of organization. Its leader's responsibility to create such environement where new ideas can encouraged and brought forward easily for implementation if they have any potential, and people should be motivated enough to go extra mile while completing their task. That's what a personal power can do, but it takes time and efforts to develop that much area of influence. Leader who excersive positional power can get their tasks completed in short time but in long run their wont be effective due to lack of dedication and interest of his poeple to work towards the goals which such leader wants to achieve. If leader wont care about peopel, vice versa.
February 09, 2016
There are billions of definitions, qualities and traits to define a effective leader but still no one is able to make single definition, idetify set of traits to define as a good leader. Defining leadership can result in never ending debate. There are number of things which makes a good leader but it depends on the people and circumstances to decide which qualities they want more in their leader to deal with problems. These qualities can vary from time to time. Sometimes people want to just follow the instructions of leader in those circumstances giving effective instructions will make a good leader but sometimes people may want the powers to be delegated to them, here effectiveness of leader will depend on his ability to delegate. One of the trait which a leader must have is the ability to understand the pyshological and emotional state of the people working for him. Because people are humans and they have emotions. Different people have different emotional strengths and its leader's role to understand the past and current emotional states of people working for him. So he can understand everyone individually from the team working for him.