Leadership Training and Development – What is it about?

Leadership Training and Development – What is it about?

Recently I was running a leadership development program for a group of branch managers of a public sector bank. Repeated requests to turn off or put their cell phones on silent fell on deaf ears. As the session progressed one the issues that quite a few participants voiced was that it was hard to handle generation Y. They said that the new generation had very little respect for the seniors. At this point I asked the participants this question, “I have asked you many times to put your mobile phones on silent and you have not respected my wishes. Is it possible to get the respect of others when you are not doing the same?” There was pregnant silence.

What is leadership training and development about? It is about choosing to live the life that others desire to follow. It is about being authentic and creating the desire in others to live in this authenticity. It is about embracing a life of values and these values being displayed in the smallest of your actions. Is this easy to do? Of course not! But living the life of a warrior is difficult but the life of a coward is decidedly easier. A life of mediocrity is simpler than a life of excellence. What are you choosing? What are you doing to stay on this path of continuous improvement?

Problem Solving Training, Communication Training and Team Building Training– these are buzz words in developing leaders in the training industry. But my point of view is that unless one decides to embark on a path of self-awareness and continuous development none of these trainings will have the desired effect.

Michelangelo who sculpted ‘David’ – a 17 foot robust statue sculpted out of one block of marble with only a chisel and a hammer – had this to say when he was asked how he was able to make such a perfect piece, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

As managers, you are the sculptors who have to see the David in each one of your team members. You have to see their inherent potential, which even they are not aware of and awaken it to be productive. How can you carry this colossal responsibility if you do not live your life authentically?

Hence, I would like to conclude this blog by hoping that you have seen the wisdom in making a decision to be the leader that your people would desire to emulate. Personal development is the focus of the Leadership Training programs that are conducted by MMM Training Solutions.

Creating Leadership Readiness Through Animated Movies

 Where do the best learning’s take place – in schools? In colleges? At home? At work??

Well the best learning takes place in a movie hall – specially when we watch movies of the animated kind – have you ever noticed how these creatures we call animals so beautifully mirror thoughts, actions, behavior, attitudes and morals as recorded in different faiths – they are perfect teachers – from whom we can glean a wealth of insights on human behavior.

Animals for centuries have been used to depict life’s lessons and the inevitable truths in a magical way. For many decades now we have experiences this magic through animated films. These films inspire charm and teach in ways that live -people films, limited by shackles of reality, struggle to do.

Let’s talk about Cinderella – Once the magic of the fairy tale wears off what life lessons are we left with to ponder over?

Cinderella had a step mom who made the devil scurry home to finish his housework before he dared any devilry – what did she do about it? Did we ever hear her complain – not one whimper from those pretty lips. It is so commonplace to complain, lament and lash out at the world for our miseries – Cinderella was the epitome of quiet strength and beauty. Harsh treatment and harsher words did not deter her commitment to her responsibilities – heck she even made the most of her adversity by daring to dream.

Cinderella teaches us an invaluable lesson – persist with the cards life has dealt you with and you will find gold at the end of the rainbow. It also teaches us the priceless worth of forgiveness – Beauty is a treasure but graciousness is truly priceless. If she could forgive her step sisters and step mother at the end of the story, we can surely try to forgive to build and further relationships.

Persist..One day a prince will appear who will help us flourish into the princess we always were.

Lots of hard work, a little patience and the clock striking twelve will definitely not turn our carriage back into a pumpkin!

Leaders – How Clean is Your Window?

It was raining very heavily and the little restaurant where I was having dinner was very crowded. All the tables were occupied and some hungry customers were waiting for their turn. Some children were crying as they had to wait and the harassed waiters were hurrying to serve the diners.

Amidst all this confusion there was one waiter called Chandran who was serving everyone with a smile. His communication skills were fairly advanced. He was serving each customer according to their need, carefully listening to each order, checking his understanding and then executing the order. But Chandran’s smile was short lived as very soon there was a huge commotion at one end of the restaurant. One angry diner had flung his plate across the room and was screaming at him.

All eyes turned to that part of the room. It was surprising to see that Chandran was involved in this situation. As a regular diner I had always admired Chandran for his skill at customer service. Always polite and quick to serve the customers, he was indeed very popular with everyone. In fact he had also very recently received the “Employee of the Month” award from his employers. So what was going wrong?

The customer was actually accusing Chandran of physically assaulting his little son. The manager rushed to the spot and, after pacifying the customer, got to the bottom of the issue. Most of the people around also had seen Chandran drag the little boy across the room but what was Chandran’s version?

Then we came to the final truth. Unnoticed by the parents the little boy was playing with a fan that was kept nearby. As Chandran was passing by he noticed that the child was pushing his fingers dangerously close to the fan. Chandran quickly dragged him away from danger. A moment’s delay would have had dire consequences. Instead of thanking him these parents were shouting at him!

The attitude displayed in this situation reminded me of something that I had recently read:

“And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look.” – Author Unknown

When we look through a dirty window the world outside looks dirty and when we clean the window and look through it, the world outside is a beautiful world. The window we look through is really the perception we have of people and situations.

If only those parents could clean their window and look at the situation. Instead of shouting at him they would be thanking him for saving their little boy!

“We see the world not as is but as we are. By improving, refining, and defining who we are, we see the world from the highest, most enlightened perspective”.

– Robin Sharma in Leadership Wisdom

Leadership… Pointing the Way

Sandra stood up one more time and pat came the reply… this time louder than before, she was correct as always.  “Oh Sandra… Oh Sandra, not again”, I groaned to myself. The trainer in me could not allow this to happen.

Sandra was a participant in a customer service training session. She was a very intelligent and extremely confident lady.  She handled even the most complicated questions with ease. Her enthusiasm was initially infectious; however, as the day progressed it became burdensome to the others. As the facilitator, I set some firm limits but she paid no heed to them.

As the leader of her team was she displaying good leadership traits?

“The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way.” – Henry Miller

Half way through the session I was forced to give her some very direct and open feedback. She was not allowing any one to learn and in the process not learning herself. Her behavior was disrupting the session and demoralizing the others.

I also spent time with her alone and sensitized the need for her to change her attitude and behavior. Although she broke down once, she took all the feedback very bravely.

“Truly great leaders spend as much time collecting and acting upon feedback as they do providing it.” – Alexander Lucia.

She started allowing others to speak and gradually started giving more understanding and gaining respect. By personal example she proved her love for her team by acting upon the feedback. She implemented the suggestions given to her as feedback

And so was born a Leader who understood Leadership as ‘Pointing the Way’ – a key concept in Leadership Training.

Here are some more blogs that address various soft skills topics:

  1. Is Your Feedback Constructive?
  2. 3 Tips To Preparing For A Good Presentation
  3. The Paradigm of Indian Leadership

Life Changing Customer Service

As MMM Training Solutions conducts Customer Service Training we are often privileged to hear stories that are life changing thanks to one person who decided to serve another person beyond the expected. Here is one such story:

January 2006, it was a severe winter in the United Kingdom. There were spells of snow and rain combined with sleet showers. It was my friend, Vikram’s, first trip out of India. He was overawed by the hustle and bustle of London as he made his way to the famous London Tube station to go to Cardiff in South Wales.

It was the peak hour of a weekday and at the station the trains were spilling over with people. He was one of the last to get into the train and before he could pull in the second suitcase, the door closed.

The suitcase was left on the platform and train began to move. The panic set in and the fear of losing his valuables in a new place began to control his senses. He agonizingly saw his suitcase left in the platform as the train moved past it swiftly. It took him about 3 to 4 minutes to recover from the shock. As soon as this happened he realized he could get down in the next station and ask for help.

Vikram knew that any unattended baggage would be destroyed immediately due to security reasons and so he got down and informed one of the stewards of what happened and asked for help. While taking down the details of the baggage the steward noticed the tension on Vikram’s face so he gave him a seat and comforted him. Then Vikram had an agonizing wait for a status update.

The suspense lasted for about 15 minutes. A Lady walked up to him and asked him to identify his baggage she had. The lady, a steward from the previous station was extra courteous understanding Vikram’s anxiety. My friend was so happy and his joy knew no bounds when he was handed over the suitcase. He repeatedly thanked all the stewards.

The secret to success is to treat all customers as if your world revolves around them.” – Leadership Tools

What followed this incident was the exception. The tube train in which the steward traveled was still parked in the station waiting to leave. Vikram asked the steward if he could board the train. Much to his shock she said, “The train has been waiting for you to board all the while.”

Isn’t it important that we disregard limitations and go the extra mile to ensure that our customers have a positive life changing experience?

As far as customers are concerned you are the company. This is not a burden, but the core of your job. You hold in your hands the power to keep customers coming back – perhaps even to make or break the company.” Unknown

Here are some more blogs on soft skills training:

  1. Developing Creativity in Employees Through Outbound Training
  2. 4 Effective Ways To Manage Your Time
  3. Handling Difficult Conversations – A Leadership Essential

The Pursuit of ‘Goodness’ – Is It A Choice?

Things that are bad for you seduce you easily; you run towards them impatiently. But things that are actually good for you fail to attract you; you shun them creatively, finding powerful excuses to justify your procrastination…”

– Mythical character ‘Raavan’ as quoted by mythologist Devdutt Pattanaik in the Times (Times Life, July 4th 2010)

I cannot but agree with king Raavan as far as the above quote is concerned. Many times in my life I have been seduced by what was not good for me. Be it that tasty fried dish, that extra hour spent watching television instead of going to bed, lying about something so as not to lose face and all the other pleasures of materialism that come with being human.

A number of times I have shunned what was good for me – the cleaning up of a room, the exercise that I always wanted to get but never seemed to make the time for, the vegetables that were lovingly kept on my plate, being bold enough to swallow my pride and take responsibility.

How do I rise above this? How do I chase after what is good for me with a greater interest than what I show to all that is material?

The only answer I have found is ‘shifting my intentions’. Choosing to do the ‘good’ things; the ‘right’ things. I chose to eat more vegetables. I chose to take more responsibility. I chose the good. Surprisingly, it was not as hard as I thought it would be. It was by no means an overnight process but the power of a determined mind can take one to levels that a strong body cannot.

Good and bad exist within all of us. I believe that what you give power to (the good or the bad) is what will determine your path in life. Today, ‘goodness’ is something that I chase after. Today, the ‘truth’ is something that I constantly chase after. The challenge is separating the ‘truth’ from ‘subjective truth’. It is an arduous journey, yet one that I believe is the path of higher learning.

As an person who conducts extensive amount of both executive coaching and leadership training, I strongly believe that it is this path that will allow me to be a candle that will spark the learning of those around me.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…”

“…And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Mariam Williamson (Spiritual activist and author)

Below are some of our blogs that have been well received by our readers:

  1. What It Takes To Develop The Leader In You
  2. Creativity and Appetite for Risk – Is Jeff Bezos a fool or a leader?
  3. Sachin Tendulkar – The Epitome of Self-Leadership

Leadership – Sticking To Your Guns

Walt Disney needs no introduction. The famous founder of Mickey Mouse and co-founder of Walt Disney Productions was an influential thinker during his time. As a young boy, he developed a love and passion for drawing. The journey never stopped even after the setting up of the Walt Disney amusement park, where all his characters still enchant audience – young and old alike – even to this day.

Walt Disney was a man with high Emotional Intelligence – his strong leadership qualities were very pragmatic because of his understanding of the people around him. He believed that you should never stop dreaming, as it leads to the formation of new ideas and gives you a sense of purpose and direction. Though he suffered huge setbacks in his life, he had the courage to keep going on.

His story of struggle and success teaches us an important leadership lesson – leaders need to have the tenacity to chase a dream or goal. This is what will make a true leader stand apart. This person should be the motivating factor to urge his team on towards the finishing line. The leader should encourage others to make their dreams a reality.

“The key to happiness is having dreams. The key to success is making your dreams come true.” ~Anonymous

Living With Emotional Intelligence – Learning From The Mosquito

An important aspect of Emotional Intelligence is optimism. Here is an amusing story based upon positive thinking that I recently heard. I’m sure that it will help us understand that life becomes more beautiful and exciting when perceived from an optimistic perspective.

This is a story of a mosquito family. Like any other mosquito child of his age, the little mosquito of this particular story had to go to mosquito school. This was where he would learn how to fly and feed himself from the best available resource available to mosquito-kind – the humans.

After its graduation, the little mosquito left home on its first assignment. Its parents were excited and worried at the same time – their little one had grown up, and was about to take its first flight into the big world. The little mosquito calmed them saying that he would definitely return and share stories of his taste of success.

Time passed by. The little mosquito was gone for a while now, and his parents were beginning to get nervous. Just when they thought that all hope was lost, in he flew. He looked very happy, and was jubilantly smiling. His proud and relieved parents asked him, “How did you do it son? We’re so happy that the humans haven’t swatted you!”

To this the little mosquito replied, “Swat me? No way! I think they somehow came to find out that it was my first assignment. They were so happy to see me that they encouraged me throughout – by clapping hands and cheering me on!”

This humorous story brings out an important facet of life through the perspective of the little mosquito. Life is what you make out of it – you can choose to be happy and enjoy the journey and the challenges it brings; or you can choose to be pessimistic and appear downtrodden in your own eyes – seeing every hurdle as a mountain in your path, and ultimately having nothing to look back and be proud of.

We should lead life in an emotionally intelligent way, and ensure that we have something to look back at and be happy that we have done something, rather than wonder why we had not done the right thing when it was demanded of us.

Emotional Intelligence – The Seed You Sow For A Fantastic Life

In this blog post, I would like to help readers understand an important aspect of Emotional Intelligence – life is what you think it to be. Read on…

On May 29th, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary became the first man along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak at 29,000 feet. In his book, High Adventure, Hillary mentions that he had to grow into this success: In 1952 he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed.

A few weeks later, a group in England asked him to address its members. Hillary walked on stage amidst thunderous applause. The audience was acknowledging an attempt at greatness, but Hillary saw himself as a failure.

He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. He made a fist and pointed at a picture of the Mount Everest and said in a loud voice, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow… but I’m still growing!”

Such extreme achievements have a lot of physical, mental and emotional power involved. If Hillary would have given up, or relaxed after the first attempt, the world would not have known such a great mountaineer today; he is a man known for his sheer determination and grit – and I would like to see him as an individual who sowed the right seed that led to a great achievement.

This is an example of Emotional Intelligence that harbours many facets. Taking the right step is an important beginning that would chart out a better view of the challenges that you are faced with. So by thinking in the right way – optimistically – you pave the way for continued success in your life.

Emotional Intelligence – The Story Of Two Horses

Emotional Intelligence, today’s corporate buzzword, is a concept that is more concrete than abstract. When you open your eyes and start to think, there are a lot of instances, examples and anecdotes that will come to your mind with regards to it.
Here is an excerpt of a short story that I recently read that once again drives home the concept of Emotional Intelligence that is, or should be, at work in our life…

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it. From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you get a closer look you will notice something quite interesting…

One of the horses is blind.

His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made him a safe and comfortable barn to live in. If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell. It comes from a smaller horse in the field. Attached to the horse’s halter is a small, copper-colored bell. It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so that he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse, and that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is, trusting he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, he will stop occasionally to look back, making sure that the blind friend isn’t too far behind to hear the bell..

– Author Unknown

The display of empathy and inspiration is common amongst animals as it is in man. Think of your personal and professional life up to date: there are a lot of instances where you don the role of the blind horse and other times when you become the horse with the bell.

The blind horse signifies the times when we needed to be inspired and motivated, just so that we realize and are reminded of our infinite potential and strength. Other times, we become the horse with the bell – that is, the source of inspiration and motivation to guide others so that they can find their way through, and achieve what they are capable of.

In a nutshell, what more can Emotional Intelligence mean, when applied to our lives?