Is There A Difference Between Leadership Development & Training?

Is There A Difference Between Leadership Development & Training? I’m no expert in English grammar but I do recognize synonyms when I see them. What are synonyms? Synonyms are words that share the same meanings with other words. We can usually identify these when we come across them. But a lot of times we don’t. Within business circles for example we equivocate between Training & Development. But there are some fundamental differences between them that leadership programs don’t always focus on. And I want to make the case that Leadership Development is better. Here is my argument:

Training by nature is finite in its scope because it looks forward only a limited span of time. Development on the other hand looks far ahead into the future sometimes going beyond he career of the person. It is infinite in nature. Another aspect of leadership skill is to operate even under conditions that are not optimal. In that context, Training gives you just enough to put one in a comfort zone to do a job. But development is designed to intentionally get a person out of their comfort zone and be equipped for extenuating circumstances.

Training people may equip them with a set of standard guidelines to help them operate in controlled environments. In other words it helps them within a ‘box’. Development on the other hand equips them for greater things by liberating them from accepted norms or standards that might stifle creativity or innovativeness. And lastly regardless of the leadership style required, Training tends to focus on the role that the candidate plays while development focuses on the person himself or herself. It aims to hone their intrinsic skills and abilities for the greater good of becoming better at who they are instead of better at what they do.

Leadership Training programs are designed to equip employees with the right tools and resources necessary to not only do their jobs but also thrive in challenging working conditions. For more info on how companies do this, please refer to the following like:

http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2010-02-16/how-companies-develop-great-leadersbusinessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

The Failed Yogi – Leadership Lessons from Baba Ramdev’s failed Crusade

Why did Baba Ramdev fail, when Anna Hazare was super successful, in his crusade against black money though both opted to follow the path of fasting so strongly advocated by the Mahatma?

The Failed Yogi – Leadership Lessons from Baba Ramdev’s failed CrusadeWhat went wrong – This is a case study on Leadership. Ramdev’s craving for popularity is not new – he has his own TV channel Aastha that broadcasts his yoga initiatives 24/7. Anna’s fast gave him hopes of achieving super stardom in social activism. He miscalculated the effect of riding on the back of the Anna Aura – and how!! He gave up his fast once the realization that his call had lost its fizz and that it was not too great to die a loser hit him. Here’s where he went badly off the mark:

1. He did not have facts on the table – Just a good intention to get black money back into the country won’t work in this dark complex world – how much? Where? Whose? He had only vague answers when quizzed by the media. Beyond a generic estimate he could not prove even one of his allegations.

2. Over Ambitious – A classic case of biting off more than one can chew- did he not know that he was taking on a one billion nation that topped most of the world rankings on corruption and black money laundering?? And he was hoping to fix centuries of misappropriation in one week of fasting?? Uh??

3. Super Simplistic – This is what happens when you simplify an issue – Black money is a tricky and complex issue – too tricky to put your fingers into – If it is complex arm yourself accordingly. Can’t after all catch a crocodile with a rat trap can you?

4. Misusing Core Competence – Face it Ramdev – you are good at Yoga and very good at teaching to others – but people do not go to a yoga teacher when they have a tooth ache! He was trying a tooth extraction with a degree (?) in ayurveda. Perhaps he should consider enrolling for a course in politics now.

5. Lack of Flexibility & Adaptability – The government bent backwards to accommodate him – The Ramlila grounds, water, tents, electricity, security – they were willing to co-operate even further. What was the point in fasting then??

6. Undemocratic – Call to arms?? Are we the Taliban? No self respecting democracy would have allowed him to go any further. He shot himself in the leg with this one.

7. Poor Emotional Intelligence – First he cries and then he talks of creating an army complete with arms and ammunition. Public display of poor emotional intelligence definitely contributed to the dent in his image and drop in public support. Nobody expects a Leader to be whacky!!

8. Misuse of the tool of protest – Anna used this tool and it worked – he’s a Gandhian – in thought and in action. His simplicity worked for the people but for this island owning yogi it failed miserably. People rejected the lack of congruence in thought, action and reality.

9. Skeleton in his Backyard – Was he hoping to take on the industry moguls, the policy makers, the law enforcement agencies, the politicians and the regular aam aadmi when his own backyard was full of junk?? Make sure you have no skeletons buried before you attempt to dig out others’.

Leadership training can help you understand your core competencies by doing a self-analysis. It can help you focus on the areas that you are equipped to handle. All of us have certain core competencies and strengths. A good leader is somebody who capitalizes on his strengths and works in that direction to make a success of things.

Captivating Traits of Great Leaders

Captivating Traits of Great LeadersWhat is Leadership? There seems to be something about great leadership that appeals to us, inspires us and draws us in. Sometimes it is charisma but more often it is something that is not superficial but intangible and yet so externally apparent. Across the centuries, the world has seen the rise and fall of leaders. Even notorious leaders like Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin had leadership qualities that they chose to abuse and use to their advantage instead of for the good of their people. This of course doesn’t make the leadership qualities in them intrinsically evil. They were used toward an evil purpose. Leadership traits like ‘courage’ and ‘determination’ are neutral because they can be exercised for morally good pursuits but also be abused in the pursuit of morally wrong endeavors. Traits like ‘truthfulness’ and ‘honesty’ are intrinsically good attributes that many leaders do possess.

In general most leadership skills, provided they are exercised within a legitimately good framework, bear good results. Leaders intuitively understand the responsibility they bear on their shoulders and feel a sense of duty toward those they are obligated to lead or serve. It may seem like an oxymoron to use the word ‘serve’ in the context of leadership but businesses today are beginning to understand the indomitable value of those leaders who make it their primary concern to serve those who follow them. This is leadership by example.

The most obvious avenue for leaders to shine is in relational areas. This would seem rather obvious to some but it can easily be overlooked in an age when social barriers are erected through media and technology in the name of getting connected. Leaders show people vision, trust, responsibility, honesty and conviction by their mere actions and words. That it must be genuine would be a no-brainer I would suppose. And yet in the most intuitive way, people sense these leadership skills and are captivated by them. Companies today understand the power of these incredible traits and constantly try to incorporate them into their Leadership Training Programs

The Difference between Leadership Training and Leadership Development

I read an article recently that said, according to the ASTD (American Society for Training & Development), the US spends over $170 billion dollars on leadership curriculums, specifically focusing on Leadership Training. However, the article went on to say, that the investment never really pays off in the real sense of actually creating leaders. These ‘leaders-to-be’ start off with great gusto and grandiose ambitions but quickly burn out when the going gets tough. I couldn’t help but smile sympathetically, not at the financial payoff (or lack thereof) of the program but the sheer misunderstanding of a fundamental concept – leaders are not trained, they are developed.

The first question that tends to come up now is if this is really a matter of semantics. Are we just playing word games? Are we just being equivocal about the way we use terms? The honest truth in response to the above-mentioned questions is “NO”. There are foundational differences between Leadership Training and Leadership Development. And it is these differences that we’re going to focus on in this blog:

  • Training is objective while Development is subjective

Training generally tends to adhere to a preconceived set of ideas, rules and systems that were created based on past experiences and administered within controlled environments. Development on the other hand is custom-made for the individual based on his or her individual traits in preparation for future and possibly unforeseeable circumstances.

  • Training is ‘system oriented’ while Development is ‘people oriented’

Training tends to focus on methodology, system and manuals. It generally adheres to fixed standards and operates within a rigid framework of repetitive efficiency. Development on the other hand focuses on the people involved and works with the aspects of individual character and personality to develop maximum potential.

  • Training aims to ‘indoctrinate’ while Development looks to ‘educate’

Training generally looks to the immediate application of specific methodologies. It is transactional in nature and focuses on maintaining a certain performance trajectory. Development however focuses more on the future adaptation of the individual being developed and looks to educating the employee for maximum efficiency through potential.

Modern Leadership Training Programs however have discovered the subtleties between training and development and try to bridge the gap with a more comprehensive approach to grooming an employee with leadership potential.

Leadership Is All About Handling Adversities

Life is full of problems but what really matters is how we react to those problems. We have various options – to become hard and miserable or react positively to the various situations that life throws at us. Then, “What is leadership?” Leadership is all about handling life’s difficulties with courage and forbearance. Business leadership is being able to handle organisational problems with the right attitude.

“Giving people self confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do because then they will act.” – Jack Welch

Recently I read a thought-provoking story about a young woman who learnt a revolutionary lesson from a simple demonstration from her father. She was once complaining to her father that her life was full of problems and that she did not know how to handle them. Her father, who was a chef, listened to her patiently. He did not say a word to her but took her to the kitchen. There he took out some eggs, some potatoes and some coffee beans. He immersed them in separate bowls of boiling water. After a short while he asked her to touch all the three ingredients and share her observations. She noticed that the potatoes had become really soft, the eggs had become hard and the coffee had a rich aroma to it!

The potato, eggs and coffee beans had all faced the same problem– that of the boiling water. However, each one responded to the adversity differently. The potato went in hard but came out soft and weak, the egg was frail when it went in and emerged from the water harder than before. However, the ground coffee beans were different! After they were exposed to the boiling water, they created something positive about the experience – fresh, delicious coffee!

“Which one are you?”, asked the chef. ”Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

A leader should be like a coffee seed. When he faces problems he should see this as an opportunity to transform.

In life problems are only 10%, 90% is about how you handle these problems. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, one should be able to develop leadership skills that enable one to adapt to uncertainties. Leadership qualities that help one to make predictable the unpredictable are critical in the 21st century.

Leadership training programs that help to develop the blind area and the unknown areas of the Johari Window are the programs that one should attend. It enables one to develop the untapped potential that helps to traverse unchartered territory.

Executive Coaching is a Privilege

And he said, “Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his own hometown.” – Luke 4:24

Let me explain the reason why this verse from the Bible has left an indelible mark on my life.

Executive Coaching is a PrivilegeJesus performed the least number of miracles in his own hometown. When he conducted meetings and the lame were healed, the blind saw, the deaf heard and the dead rose. The audience marveled at His abilities and did not doubt that He was the Son of God and that He is ‘extra-ordinary’. Then someone said, “Is he not the carpenter’s son?” Upon hearing this, they swiftly lowered Him from the extra-ordinary to the ordinary! The wonder turned to skepticism and the belief turned to doubt thereby hindering the manifestation of the miracles.

We are leadership coaches who are endowed with the responsibility to see the extra-ordinary in the ordinary and to see the super-natural in the natural. But so often we hold people imprisoned to the picture we have drawn of them and we are unable to lure them to the realm of possibilities.

I wonder if the Wright brothers would have created a functional airplane or if Edison would have persisted till the bulb emitted light if they had relied on the leading of such leadership coaches? The ability of a coach to look at a new day as a fresh canvas filled with opportunities and disconnected from the pictures of yesterday is what enables the coachees to connect to the infinite! The executive coaches that have the rare and uncanny ability for painting a fresh depiction in each encounter are the ones that enable the manifestation of the super-natural from the natural and the extra-ordinary from the ordinary.

“Visionaries see the “impossible” as the inevitable.” – Robin Sharma

Hence I say, “Executive Coaching is a privilege!”

3 Tips To Improve Creative Thinking

We’ve all seen those commercials that simply blow us away with their innovative perspective and creative ideas. Surely people must have sat around for weeks or months just thinking through stuff until something magically came together and then, “Eureka!” a brilliantly creative idea is born! While this is mostly how creative thinking skills are developed, there are actual steps that most people can take to improve or bolster their creativity. Sometimes we tend to think that some people are creative and others are not but the truth is that everyone has a certain level or degree of creativity that they are born with. These just manifest differently. This is what we leverage upon in our creativity training program.

In this blog we will look at 3 things that anyone can do to help get their creative juices flowing…or creating!

Self-Made Restrictions

History has it that Dr.Seuss wrote ‘Green Eggs & Ham’ after betting that he could not produce a story in less that 50 words! There is some insight to this that we can pick up on. Most people when trying to do something new choose to take the path of least resistance by simply building on pre-existing ideas or concepts. But this stifles creativity and doesn’t encourage it. Sometimes placing restrictions on oneself to achieve something forces us to be creative in getting around the challenges.

Staying Positive

Studies in brain patterns and activity has shown that creativity is at its highest when the person is feeling positive or good in general. Negativity is a damper on creativity. Getting yourself to a positive frame of mind is relatively easier to do and various things like reminiscing on good times, laughing and doing energizing things all help to get there.

Thinking Of Others

Research has shown that when ‘outward thinking’ is crucial to the process of creativity. In other words people are the most creative when they think their work is going to help or have a positive impact on other people and will be cause for greater gain or benefit. Trying to be creative when you are the sole beneficiary of your creativity has been shown to not be conducive to the very process of being creative. Being creative entails having a positive impact for the greater good!

Creativity Training is an important leadership training program that equips employees to not be conformed to the rigid patterns of past systems but encourage them to think out of the box and come up with novel trailblazing ideas for the common good.

For more information on our various training programs dealing with creative thinking, visit the following links:

Creative Thinking through Outbound Training

Essentials of any Leadership Training Program

What it Takes to Develop the Leader in You.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How NOT To Deal With Stress

We’ve all gone through it some time or the other in our lives – Stress. It creeps up on us everywhere from work to home and in some odd cases, even in our sleep. Stress can also manifest itself in different ways depending on the person – while some may experience headaches; others may suffer more extreme symptoms like panic attacks, shortness of breath, etc. And the solution to all these stress related symptoms are as numerous as the sources of stress themselves. There are numerous tips, home remedies and self help books that address stress management .   In this article however, we are going to look at some things that one must NOT do to deal with stress:

Stress Management Training   is a core program  in our soft skills training and corporate training that is gaining new found respect amongst corporations as they understand the cost of playing at high stakes in a competitive industry and the need to equip their employees with the nerves to handle it.

  •  Smoking – This is quite self-explanatory and hardly needs expounding upon. Smoking is bad for one’s health even if they have zero stress in their lives. Smoking is unhealthy, period!
  •  Pills or Drugs – While there are legitimate medications that one can take to relieve themselves of a head ache or so, frequent use of such medications cause the body to adjust chemical levels within itself to make it dependent on the medication while simultaneously lowering the body’s own immune system.
  • Alcohol – While some alcohol in moderation might help to calm the nerves and steady oneself, ‘drowning’ oneself in it to block out the stress is dangerous to the liver. Besides it seems counter-intuitive to cause the body physical stress in order to deal with mental stress.  ‘Managing Stress Can Improve Company Performance’  is an article on effective stress management techniques.
  •  Withdrawing from people – Sometimes stress causes us to go into a shell. Occasionally some personal space and time might be helpful. But talking to someone also helps in coping with stress better. Otherwise internalizing our stress with no external vent or outlet is not healthy for us.
  • Excessive media – Some people immerse themselves into exorbitant hours of TV or video gaming in order to be able to deal with all the stress. These media devices actually cause more stimulation to the brain preventing it from slowing down and allowing oneself to process and reflect over the stress.

For more interesting articles/blogs on stress management, please follow these links:

Can Tough Feedback make you Tougher  

Stress – A Leadership Non-Essential  

 

Essentials of any Leadership Training Program

Much has been said about Leadership and its essential principles. Leadership has always been a vital aspect of human interaction and dynamics since time immemorial. History has seen its fair share of leadership in every realm of life. Leadership principles have been expounded upon, especially in the business field in leadership training and development programs these days. But leadership has a facet to it that is often overlooked even by these modern leadership training programs – Emotional Intelligence. In this article we will look at some important aspects of EI within the broader subject of leadership principles. These are extensively covered in our Emotional Intelligence Training programs.

Being Self-Aware

Being a self-aware leader does not mean being conscious of oneself. But in fact being keenly aware of one’s own strengths and weaknesses while also understanding how one’s actions and decisions may have an impact on people around them. Many leadership development training programs don’t focus on this internal awareness enough but tend to lean toward the more surface skills and distinctions.

Self-Disciplined

Being a good leader also requires incredible amounts of discipline. This discipline may stretch over emotions, values and accountability. Even leaders are susceptible to being overtaken or overwhelmed by emotions and thus need their leadership management to be grounded in intrinsically good values and by being held accountable by others.

Self-Motivated

Leaders have to be self-driven in order to find within themselves the strength to keep pushing and persevering even when the situation is dire. Keeping their eyes firmly fixed on the objectives, plan and execution is vitally important to stay motivated. Staying positive or optimistic is crucial to being motivated. A leader has to find a way to stay focused on the accomplishments and opportunities instead of get distracted by the problems and setbacks. Every member of executive leadership needs to be conscious of this.

Despite the varying qualities of a leader, Leadership Training Programs are designed to equip leaders with cutting edge tools and resources for progress and development. To see how companies handle this, please read through the following link – Why Great Leaders Never Stop Training

For more information on Leadership Training Programs, please refer to the following articles/blogs:

3 Steps to Enhance Your Leadership 

How to Develop Coaching Skills in Leadership Roles

The Paradigm of Indian Leadership

The Cost of Clarity in Communication

Communication is probably the most important of skill that humans are endowed with and need to improve upon in order to relate with his fellow beings. Communication can be of various forms – oral, written and non-verbal (physical), but all of which serve one purpose – the transmission of ideas and thoughts. Business communications also operate with the same fundamental principle except with the added facet of protocols and socially acceptable dynamics that need to be in place for a more professional form of communication.

Communication Skills Training  is a fundamental part of equipping employees to become great communicators and leaders within their respective organizations.

Within businesses even, communication spans over various forms – emails, faxes, memos, notes, meetings, presentations are all conducted and handed with the express purpose of communication. Whatever the medium may be, there are some key elements to communication that are fundamental to the proper transmission of ideas. In this article we will focus on just one of these aspects – Clarity. This is probably the most important aspect for effective communication in business. ‘8 Ways to Improve your Communication Right Now’  tells you how stepwise which  is easy to comprehend.

Whether one is writing an email or giving a presentation, the ultimate objective is to convey a message that is persuasive to the person on the receiving end of the message. This is the most effective of communication techniques. But this will not happen if the message is not clear in the first place. The onus is on the presenter or sender of the message to be clear in his or her transmission of the agenda. Ideas must be defined and extrapolated for clarity and presented in a simple and easy to understand manner. Vague or ambiguous words that may skew or distract from the core of the message must be avoided for the communication to be effective. When beginning an email or a lecture, begin with a clear and well-defined purpose. If you as the presenter do not know where you’re going with the correspondence, there is no way that the receiver is going to know where you’re going either. This is the key to improving communication.

Minimizing the body of the communication to its most core ideas or purpose keeps the correspondence lean and avoids any unnecessary language or ‘fluff’ that distracts from the main idea or objective of the message. This is the key to good communication skill.

For more information on Communication Skills Training, please refer to the following articles:

The Art of Tactful Business Communication 

Communication – A Leader’s Trump Card 

 10 Tips for Effective Workplace Communication