What 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
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.
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.
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.
Jesus 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!”
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!
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
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
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
Of all the places I could have found examples, the TV show ‘Survivor’ displayed some good anecdotes of how an ordinary person can become a leader under the right circumstances and when left with no choice. Over the period of a few weeks, I saw a nervous, timid and docile contestant become a passionate and inspiring leader to the rest of his team. It demolished my perspective that leaders have to be born and not made. The task of bringing out the leader in you is precisely what leadership programs aim to do. In this article we will look at some common areas that they focus on.
Leadership Training Programs are designed to identify, assess and harness the skills and talents of an employee in order to not only bring out the best in them but to be the catalyst in paving the way for future leaders as well.
- Self-Confidence – This is primarily what companies want to tap into. If a candidate has zero to low self-esteem, building that up to a point where he or she can be equipped to do more things can be very challenging and require a longer curve of training and investment. A healthy self-confidence or self-esteem is a great foundation to build upon other skills that anyone can rely upon.
- Emotional Intelligence – Another leadership skill that organizations are very interested in developing is ‘Emotional Intelligence’, a soft skill that is worth its weight in gold in the corporate arena. The ability to sense the pulse of oneself and the team that one is working with is a tremendous skill to have in working closely with people in the workplace environment. ‘One Simple Concept that will infuse your Leadership with Success’ is an article to help you let the leader in you emerge.
- Role Model – Any team is only as good as its own leader. Companies look to examine the character, values and ethic of a person to assess any possible leadership potential. A leader who can think right, lead right and serve right, can always be counted upon to be the right influence and inspiration for his or her team. While leadership style is often emphasized over anything else today, the intangible force of being a good leader over a charismatic one far outweighs any style aspect.
For more information on Leadership Training Programs, please refer to the following links:
What to look for in Future Leaders
Essential Differences Between Leaders and Managers
What Should Leadership Training Focus On?
Exemplification of Leadership
Professional etiquette is an important part of a cohesively healthy functioning model within a business environment. With advancements in technology changing the way people and businesses communicate and interact with each other, management has begun to understand raising the need for an appropriate mode or medium of communicating and doing business. Hence, Business Etiquette Training should be an important aspect of the managerial training and soft skills training programs. It provides smooth and efficient functioning of business dynamics in the modern times our society lives in today.
Professional etiquette can be as simple or complex as multicultural social etiquette, where there may be profound differences in the way people dress, speak, listen, address or interact with each other. This is important because it provides the catalyst for seamless interaction in a professional and courteous manner. It reduces the risk of disturbing relationships within the workplace via ignorance or negligence.
Professional Etiquette can encompass a wide spectrum of issues. These may range from verbal or non-verbal communication, eye contact, body language, gestures, etc. With the large-scale globalization of industries and markets, understanding these key elements are crucial to the efficient functioning of personnel between diverse social or corporate cultures. Conglomerates that operate internationally are especially vulnerable to this and must be aware of local norms, customs and values before venturing into the foreign market. Another category of employees who fall into this segment are sales people who, by virtue of the nature of their job, may end up interacting with diverse groups of people requiring specific awareness of sensitivities and tact according to the situation. . ‘Business Etiquette and Social Media’ is an article emphasizing the importance of having the necessary tools for being comfortable in a social scenario.
Professional etiquette however is not reserved only for senior or higher level administration in companies. In today’s world of virtual interactions and social media, business etiquette is an ever-increasing need that requires corporate etiquette training to be facilitated across multiple levels and departments of a company or business. Businesses must first gain first hand knowledge of existing standards and norms before these are incorporated into large scale training for their employees.
For more information on Business Etiquette Training, please refer to these articles/blogs:
Etiquette Training for Multi Nationals
Etiquette is a Major Focus of Corporate Training
3 Tips to Good Business Etiquette
5 Invaluable Soft Skills in the Workplace