Tuesday, 25 June 2013

My Reflections [Leadership Series: Part II]

Here, in this 'My Reflection Leadership Series', I'll be talking about my leadership
ideas and personal experiences which transformed both my 'self' and my life.
My Reflections on LEADERSHIP [Part 2]
In my previous blog, I exemplified captain cool M. S. Dhoni as a super skipper leading Team India in international cricket with victories in all the three major ICC Trophies [T20 World Cup, 2007; ODI World Cup, 2011 and recently Champion's Trophy, 2013]. Here, in the present blog, I would like to share some of my personal experiences and a few basic ideas over being a Good vs. Bad Leader aka Boss. 

"An extraordinary emotional connect creates a climate
which inspires trust, team spirit and a will to work."
As far as my experiences with the leaders are concerned, I must admit that a few of them have really been instrumental for what I am myself as a leader cum follower today. They really transformed me not only as a professional but as a person also. My job, my work-assignments and my profession as a soft skills trainer really demand a ‘High Definition’ leadership on my part. And at the end of the day, when my students or trainees reflect a positive change in their KSAs (Knowledge, Skill, Attitude), it really gives me an immense pleasure and a great sense of satisfaction. For my professional career, I would like to give whole credit to all those amazing individuals (including my mother as well) who showed me the path of real leadership and no wonder it is not any different from what Daniel Goleman suggests, “Good guys with ‘glass half-full’ outlook and with an extraordinary emotional connect create a climate which inspires trust, team spirit and a will to work.”

And now today when I look back and contemplate over this idea of leadership,  I must say that some of my personal as well as professional experiences really defined 'Leadership' to me in more of a realistic fashion. In the light of the same experiences, I would like to add on two most significant aspects here,  
  • Leadership has also to do with how one leads oneself. 
  • Leadership can also come from anyone who displays leadership as an occasional, discrete act of influence. 
OK. So when we talk about leading oneself, I admit that a person with disturbed life style, stressed mind set and unhealthy habits often fails at leading others; what I have observed in my life.  And mind you, he had failed at leading his own life and himself at the very first place. An individual who somehow follows a balanced approach towards his life, often succeeds in leading others. In other words, I could say that 'Self Awareness' is a must to be a leader in true sense. If you fail to lead yourself, you yourself lead to fail.

And when we talk in terms of following do's and don'ts of leadership, we must not forget that leadership is neither a position alone nor a title itself. Leadership is about taking responsibility, accepting challenges head on and taking all others along with oneself in such a way that the people around follow you willingly, positively and of course, smilingly. Then this is also to mention that anybody of us can play the role of a leader as per the demands of the situation. Sometimes as a responsible parent, sometimes as a sensible better half or sometimes even as a mature family member. It feels good when somebody known or unknown helps you in your moments of struggle. It seems nice when your family stands by you,  believes in your capabilities and shows confidence in your abilities. It looks great when your partner accepts you the way you are, encourages you to build-up on your strengths and never demoralizes you on your areas of improvements. 

 Here is a small dedication from my side to a great leader in my life, My Mother
who taught me some of the best Leadership Lessons right from the beginning...
There have been times in my life when I witnessed big fluctuations in my personal as well as professional life. These were the times when I found myself at my lowest. It seemed harder to bounce back. Disappointment, dissatisfaction and depression were perhaps at their peak. Life seemed suicidal with no silver lining being in sight. That was the time when I recognized the true colours of my 'so-called' best buddies. And in such difficult moments, my mother was the one who stood by my side holding my hand tightly in the dark to guide me further. She tried her best to get me back on track. She encouraged me, she motivated me, she made me realize my true worth and showed me the blessings around me. She gave me a completely new view of my life. Though it seemed a bit blurred yet it made me feel hopeful about my future. She did every possible thing in this world to bring some shine on my face and a smile on my lips. I started believing that life was not that darker and I could still fill some colours on my empty canvas. I started noticing the brighter side of everything. And never looked back since then.
At some point in time, I wanted to break
away from those of my ‘bossy’ managers.
Professionally speaking, I must confess that there was also a point in time when somehow I found myself ‘trapped’ with the ones who were great managers or administrators but they failed as leaders. They could not inspire me as a person, they could not motivate me to contribute my 100%, and they also could not encourage me to try my very best. And then ‘the character in the main lead’ (of course, my so called Boss) would often criticize me for not doing enough. My mind was so bombarded with his cranky expressions and piercing remarks that I found myself unable to perform as well as I could. There was a gnawing sense that I was underappreciated. My interactions with my immediate juniors were becoming brittle. No doubt, I led a stressful time and it also at some point took a toll on my personal life even. And at some point in time, I wanted to break away from those of my ‘bossy’ managers.
On the other hand, I also had the fortune of being guided by some real leaders. They were the ones who brought the best in me. They were the ones who always encouraged me, valued my opinion, helped me come out of my comfort zone and most importantly, I felt myself emotionally connected with them. Anytime and every time they had an interaction with me, there was always a presence of this sense of genuine concern and empathy for me, be it their tone of voice, their expressions or their complete body language. I felt an inner desire to follow them and secretly I started imitating their positive attitude and the same genuine concern toward others around me. In fact, they really shaped up my personality for better. I think that merely the comparison between these two different type of personalities gives me a clear picture of all those do’s and don’ts to be followed on this path of leadership.

“A true leader knows the way, shows the way and goes the way.”
In totality, if I summarize my experiences with both types of leaders, I must say that a true leader who successfully brings out the best in you, is a bit more welcoming, original and warm. He/ she shows an authentic smile that suggests openness to connect with people. He/ she exhibits courage to speak out with confidence and is always comfortable in his/ her skin. He/ she is nice to people, honest, calm and solution-oriented. I believe It’s more about having an attitude of self belief as well as self awareness. As they say,
“A true leader knows the way, shows the way and (along with you) goes the way.” 

No doubt, leadership is not just about "GO !!!", It's more about "LET'S GO :-)" 

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