Monday, 24 June 2013

The 3 C's

The 3 C’s of a Leader

  • Character :  People always look up to the person who has a strong and genuine character. If a leader does not have integrity or cannot instill trust and confidence  in the people,  s/he will never be able to rally them towards a common purpose. It is the personality and character which brings lasting success with people.

  • Charisma :  Charisma is an integral part of  great leadership. According to me, charisma is not external but very very internal.  How does one get charisma?  By putting others first. Charismatic leaders think about others and their concerns before his/her concerns.  Leaders exude charisma when they are more concerned about making his followers  feel good about themselves than making them feel good about the leader himself.

  • Communication : Developing superlative communication skill is absolutely essential for a leader. If the message cannot be communicated effectively and is not motivating for the team , then delivering the message does not even matter. Effective communication by a leader drives the team towards the goal , creates a sense of urgency and enthusiasm. Another important aspect is the “how” the communication is done. Depending on the “how”, the “what “ of the message gets a completely new meaning. Emotionally intelligent leaders effectively use “how” they talk to make the team feel that s/he cares for them.  The communication should be effective and motivating to seek action from the audience. 
Can you think of any more C's which a leader should possess ? Please add on ....

Monday, 10 June 2013

Leader, How do you make things happen ?

My first job was in a software firm, as a trainee programmer.  It was barely two months of my joining and I was stuck with a tricky logic for a code.  I had worked hard towards my deadline , burning midnight candle for several days in continuation, but somehow I was just not able to crack this small piece of logic for the code.   One night, after all the people had left,  I sat in from of the computer , a gloom of despondency on my face.   Suddenly, there was a pat on my shoulder and I looked up . The head of my unit was standing there with two cups of coffee in his hands. He offered me a cup and took me to his desk. 

"Tell me . What is the problem ?  Why are you looking as if it is the end of the world ? " His smile was so warm and reassuring.  Something stirred inside me and tears started flowing down my cheek.  He was silent and let me cry.  I told him my problem . I was surprised when he sat with me and looked at the logic. He gave some tips. Though , he as not accurate , but the  very fact that he sat with me, made me so comfortable and secure that I could solve my problem in the next one hour !

I have learnt so much from him and so many other great leaders with  whom I had the privilege to work.  When I look back,  I find that that these are the things which leaders possess to make things happen :

  • They know what they want : The clarity about their goal is fixed in front of their eyes . They are focussed on their goals and nothing can deter them from it. If sometimes they waver, they realign and quickly come back on track . When he sat with me to solve my problem, he knew that he wanted me to solve the problem - which I did !
  • They take risks :  Leaders make thing happen by taking conscious risks.  Big thing happen only when you have the capacity to take risks.  
  • They push themselves : The team always looks up to the leader.  When they see that their leader is pushing himself  to act,  they get inspired and things just happen ! The credibility of the leader increases and he earns trust.  
  • They make more mistakes : The more you take risks and the more you push yourself, mistakes are bound to happen. The more the leader makes mistake, the more he learns . Leaders are not afraid to admit their mistakes. It shows their honesty and the humane angle of their personality.  Leaders have " make mistakes, but can do and get done " attitude.  The grit and perseverance of the leader makes things happen. 
"Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand." - Colin Powell

Monday, 3 June 2013

Humor is Serious - 6 tips for Leaders

"If I were two faced, would I be wearing this one ? "

 This is a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln .  A simple one liner quote, but indeed a very powerful one . It shows his ability to laugh at himself . 

A recent study found that when employees are asked to describe the strengths and weaknesses of senior colleagues in their organizations, “sense of humor” and “work ethic” are mentioned twice as much as any other phrases. Research on Leadership show that people appreciate leaders who have fun and work hard to get the job done. Those who can combine a strong work ethic and sense of humor may have the leading edge in their organizations. 

If you lose a major project, or sometimes if you cannot meet a critical deadline however hard you might try due to some external reasons, guiding your team through the process without panicking is as challenging as it is important. It is better to motivate your team by laughing than by crying.  Such situations show the tenacity of the leader and the team gets the much needed relaxation to put their best foot forward and overcome the situation. A good sense of humor keeps the team motivated and charged.

True leaders should always be capable of laughing at themselves. This shows the confidence and the childlike nature of the leader and the team feels at ease and relaxed which boosts the productivity and it softens the blow of bad news.

But again, humor is a tricky thing . The following are some tips which will help the leader use humor appropriately :

  • A Leader is NOT a comedian.  Humor should be used for leadership and motivating and making the team relaxed and more productive
  • Humor should not be pointed at any one particular person, rather it should be collective.
  • Humor should never be discriminating. Never use humor to cloak racist, sexist or regional sentiments and tag them as "just joking" .
  • Laugh at yourself and the situation . Laugh WITH the team and not ON the team .
  • It is better to avoid practical jokes since we do not know how the other person will take it. It might happen that instead of being motivated or relaxed s/he feels awkward and singled out.
  • Last, but not at all the least... do NOT fake it ... ! It shows! And it will have a negative effect on the team's perception about you.

So go ahead and have a good laugh with your team  !