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

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

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

3 Steps to Efficient Negotiation

Most people have it within themselves to try to get a good deal. And almost every such person call on their negotiation skills to get what they want. While negotiating is not possible in most retail situations, certain types of businesses do allow the flexibility to haggle over the price. Effective negotiations can be highly useful in situations like this. But is there a trick to negotiating? Is it a science or an art? Or does it completely have to do with force of personality and/or charisma? The truth of the matter is it is ALL of the above. There is a science to negotiations but it is also an art that requires careful wielding. And a certain amount of personality certainly helps. In this article we will look at some simple aspects of effective negotiation skills

Negotiation Skills Training   is an important program for companies to invest in, especially toward those employees whose jobs require them to negotiate deals and transactions with other corporate parties

  • Depending on the personality of the parties involved, one must determine what kind of negotiating style needs to be adopted. Sometimes rational reasons can be debated for the sake of getting the right deal but other times negotiations can be over nothing but the mere transaction.
  • In most negotiations it is important to evaluate one’s interests for negotiating the deal. What are the contributing factors? What is the one aspect that is the most important in securing this deal? How can we find a middle ground that is advantageous without being a compromise? This is crucial to the negotiation process. If your business strategies often require you to negotiate ,  ‘Six Surprising Negotiation Tactics that get you the best deal’  is an excellent article to help you get ahead on negotiation tactics.
  •  Its important to move the tone of the negotiations from compromise mode to a unified problem solving mode. It takes focus to not go into that kind of troubleshooting mode and instead try to keep the conversation geared toward a win-win situation for both sides involved in the negotiations.

For more information on various Soft Skills Training topics, please refer to these articles/blog:

 The Art of Tactful Business Communication

The Presentation Skills of Apple Inc

Shifting Limiting Mindsets – A Leadership Essential

 

 

 

What To Look For In Future Leaders

Leadership never operates in a vacuum. There are always leaders and then there are always leaders in the making. Companies operate and rely heavily on the wisdom, experience and tenacity that leaders bring to the table. And it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that this trend must continue for the greater good of the company and all its employees. But spotting a candidate that is ‘leadership material’ and than investing and grooming him or her for such a role is easier said than done. This is primarily what Leadership Training are for – to train and equip managers in their respective departments with the right tools to help identify, assess and groom candidates that have the potential to be leaders in order to fill the void that their predecessors will someday leave. So what does this process look like? Here are three key questions that managers must ask themselves before they begin:

What To Look For In Future Leaders

• Does the candidate have the essential competencies to be a leader? In other words, does he have what it takes? It is important that this potential candidate have not only the qualifications or knowledge but also the fundamental understanding of key concepts, facts and dynamics as they exist within the business.

• Does the candidate have the commitment to be a leader? While it may be true that they have great ambition or desire to be a leader, are they prepared to put in the hard work, perseverance and durability to not only survive through tough times but in fact thrive in it? Leaders need to have the ability to ‘weather the storm’ when the going gets tough. This is a foundational aspect of leadership skills training.

• Lastly does the candidate have the character to not only be a good leader but even a better leader? Do they have the principles and values necessary to help them lead their team or company with honesty and integrity? And will this character stay consistent during times of stress or challenge? Character is ultimately the foundation upon which the leader must stand. This is crucial to organizational leadership.

Leadership Programs are constantly in the process of fine-tuning individuals with the skills necessary to identify and develop talent. For more info on how this is done, please refer to the following article:What It Takes To Be A Successful Business Leader

Leadership – Asking the Tough Questions

Leadership – Asking the tough questions

Being a leadership coach I often have the privilege to be in the presence of future leaders. There is one question that I ask in every session, “Who is the leader that you emulate?” I get answers like, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and disappointingly………… Hitler. It happens session after session.

 

Regardless of how consistently it happens, it still saddens me to think that mankind can see something remarkable in a human like Hitler. It takes me a while to re-center myself but after I do, I ask a simple question, “Are you aware of how Hitler died?” There is a pregnant silence after which they say, “Suicide.”

 

Leadership is action, not position.” – Donald H. McGannon

 

After this awareness is created, the participants always reconsider their stance that Hitler is a leader to be emulated. I heave a sigh of relief; there is hope for mankind ………..

 

Being a leader is about asking the tough questions – it is not about providing the answers but it is about the asking the questions that stimulate thinking. It is about knowing that your opinions go through continuous change as you enhance your awareness and learning through your journey in life.

 

A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there. – David R. Gergen

 

Effective Leadership & Power of Choice – Voting

As India votes in the Lok Sabha Elections 2014, here are some important lessons about the way we as leaders can choose to view critical life situations.

An incident that happened today reminded me of a key principle that should be a part of every Leadership Training Program. I was on my way to exercise my right to vote for the Lok Sabha elections this morning, I met the Garbage Collector of our colony. He was earlier than usual. My neighbor asked him “Why so early today?” He replied. “Well, I have to go and cast my vote. So, I am finishing my responsibilities as early as I can so that I can go and vote.”

It made me proud to hear this. Around me today democracy is alive. It is displayed by empowered people exercising their right to vote. From neighbours to friends to colleagues and even domestic help. Almost everyone I have met today seemed thrilled to vote.

This reminded me of the amazing ‘Power of Choice’. While circumstances are often not in our control, we can choose our responses to them.

With a vote, we have the power to choose our future leaders.  Similarly, we have the power to choose our responses in a given situation. We may get criticized. We have the power to choose to let it bog us down or learn from it. We will face challenges. We have the choice of letting it deter us, or turning them into opportunities for growth. We will have situations that cause anger. We have the power to choose between ‘being angry’ and ‘channeling that anger’ into productive energy.

One of the most amazing gifts that we have is that we can choose our mindset in any given situation. An interesting example of this happened very recently in a training session I conducted. The session was being held on a Saturday, which was normally a ‘day off’ for the participants. Their collective energy was very low, at the start of the session. Most of them wore a look on their face that said ‘I would rather be somewhere else’. I knew I had to do something different.

I said “We have a choice. We can choose to brood about all the things we would rather be doing today. Or, we can acknowledge that we are here for learning and choose to make this a day where we enjoy ourselves and the process of learning that we have been given the opportunity to embark on.” Immediately, I saw a smile on all their faces. They had recognized that there is an opportunity for choice in the situation. I then asked, “Who is ready to take this learning journey with me today?” Everyone sat upright and put their hands up. There was an immediate shift in energy in the room and the rest of the session went well.

This is something that we focus on in Leadership development programs. This could also be an interesting talking point for Leadership training in India.

The power to choose is a blessing. India fought for its freedom to allow for its citizens to have the freedom of choice. Martin Luther King fought for equal voting rights for Americans from varied ethnic backgrounds. This power is not to be taken lightly. It comes with responsibility. Research the candidates, read the political party’s manifesto and then cast your vote. When making a choice to vote, make it an informed choice. Let us make a choice to have Effective Leadership.

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.” – Larry J. Sabato

What It Takes To Be A Successful Business Leader?

What It Takes To Be A Successful Business Leader?
I have always enjoyed watching epic war movies. Whether they were movies based on ancient history like ‘The Legend of Troy’ or more recent ones like ‘Saving Private Ryan’, I’ve always thought it captivating how the commanding general made decisions of great consequence under the intense pressure of a grueling war. To me, it seemed occasionally, that these men who were at the front lines of a raging war, with lives being lost all around them, were the epitome of the quintessential leader. I’ve often pondered over how I myself might function in a situation like that. Would I take the risks that leader took? Would I put my men in harm’s way for the greater good? How far would I go and at what cost, to accomplish the ultimate objective at hand? The questions are many and I can only speculate. But I speculate in awe of such leadership skills.

The stresses and strains of our modern urban life however carry a different sort of burden. Leaders are still needed today. Most of us still make decisions that cost incredible amounts of time, energy and people. And in our current corporate culture, those are invaluable assets that need to be utilized efficiently. Regardless of the nature of leadership required, there are certain leadership skills that leaders tend to have, that set them apart from the regular folk. Lets look at a few of these:

  • True leaders are trailblazers. They seldom take the conventional safe route and often prefer the road-less traveled. They make their own path, one that ordinary people have stayed away from. Risk taking is an important leadership trait because beneath the surface it reveals many other things about the leader – courage and unconventionality.
  • Leaders are not pressurized by negativity or criticism. Often even in a modern corporate environment, there are always skeptics and pessimists who will often tend to see the glass as half empty. The negative and discouraging words that they spew can be disillusioning. Other times, situations can just look plain bleak and difficult. But leaders are not moved by such odds. Instead a driven leader will often perceive an obstacle as fuel to drive him or her further to overcome the hurdle.
  • Leaders lead by example. They understand intuitively that the ‘buck stops with them’ and if they don’t take responsibility and step in, no one will. Leaders will put their own necks on the line in an effort to inspire others. When leaders are willing to be on the front lines, his or her team line up supportively.

Companies today understand the importance of Leadership Training Program and developing good quality leadership in every rank and department of their company. They understand the significance of people needing a model or a standard to look up to. And understandably they’re willing to invest in the making of such leaders: How top companies breed stars?

For more information on Leadership Training Programs,  refer to this article: Leadership Training and Development – What is it about?

Simple Solutions to Complex Problems

Simple Solutions to Complex ProblemsThere’s a story I heard, it may be apocryphal, but even if it is, it serves my purpose in introducing my thought.

A huge U.S corporate giant built a new high rise headquarters. A month or so after the headquarters was fully occupied, the employees began to complain about the slowness of the elevators. Soon, the complaints were so rife that the management spoke to the architects of the building for a solution. The architects were asked if the elevators can be made to move faster or the size of elevators be increased. The architects were quick to respond saying it is possible to increase the size of elevators but it would involve months of work demolishing, extending and reconstructing around the elevators shafts. The noise and commotion surrounding such a task would be highly disruptive to all the employees.

The story goes on to say that the corporation did nothing to the elevator shafts. Instead, full length mirrors on every floor were placed beside the elevator doors and on the inside-walls of the elevators. The employees spent an extra few moments grooming themselves and looking at one another in the mirrors and the complaints faded.

My point is, almost every problem (not all) has a simple solution to it.  I concede that there are a few things that are not simple. For example rescuing people in a building that is engulfed in fire. It involves a lot of coordination, resources, courage and competency of a big team of rescue-workers. But fire-fighting is not a daily affair, or is it? Our day-to-day problems that we face at work or at home are, in reality, simple. Many a time we look for complex solutions when simple ones would be easy to find, easy to implement and appropriate to the problem. Here are few things I suggest that should help you in becoming better problem solvers.

  • The problem should be described in not more than 25 to 30 words
  • Ask simple questions – who, why, what, where, when, how
  • Expect simple answers
  • The solutions should be described in not more than 25 to 30 words and in 30 seconds or less.
  • If your solution is way too complex, please ask yourself if there is a simpler way.
  • Check if you made any unnecessary assumptions about the problem and allow lateral thinking to give you simple answers

 

Most problems can be solved if we use simple logical thinking. Our mind has the ability to search for simple answers to seemingly complex problems. Instead of getting lost in the details and complexity of the issue, let us stay focused on the most important part – the solution.

“You don’t drown by falling in water; you drown by staying in there” – Edwin Louis Cole

Creativity and Appetite for Risk – Is Jeff Bezos a fool or a leader?

As I read about the octocopter drones in the newspaper yesterday morning, I thought I was watching a science fiction movie in my dream. After pinching myself to reality, I raced to the Internet and watched Jeff Bezos of Amazon being interviewed on 60 minutes.

I was entranced by the octocopter but even more mesmerized by Jeff Bezos who has the courage to take such a huge risk. Bezos stated that the time between receiving the request from the customer and delivering the product to the customer is shortening everyday and if the innovations are not targeted in this area, the business dies. In his quest to keep his business fresh and listening to the voice of the customer, he has revealed that Amazon has invested in the research and development of the octocopter which is a GPRS driven electrical device that will deliver packages (of maximum weight of 5 pounds) within a 10-mile radius in a window of 30 minutes. The description of ‘fast’ needs to be rewritten in the dictionary!

“A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what it is built for.”― Albert Einstein

As a leadership trainer, people who push the limit and are willing to take the fall always fascinate me. Managers who are conservative and cautious are becoming obsolete in today’s market. The ability to explore unexplored paths and make imagination a reality are core competencies of a leader today. In the 19th century, business encouraged people to be risk-averse but today people have to risk-hungry. Situations that are risky are seen as an opportunity for creative thinking and growth.

Corporates that focus on leadership development should be asking themselves some key questions – Are we encouraging creativity, innovation and risk-taking in our people? Are we rewarding these qualities and is it a part of performance management? Are we talking about these qualities only for the top management or are we creating this environment for people as soon as they join the company?

The leadership programs conducted by MMM Training Solutions focuses on the core competencies of a leader that are essential for success in the 21st century. Some of the distinguishing features of our program are – duration of 3 to 6 months, combination of individual coaching and group training and individual assignments that help the participants to put the learning into practice.