What is the little voice in your head and what does it want?

Imagine this; you are outside an interview room waiting to be called in. The interview is for a job you really desire. You know you possess the right skills and experience. You are well prepared and dressed right. In spite of all that you are feeling a wee bit nervous. A close friend is accompanying you. As you look through the glass door of the interview room, your friend spots the interviewer and says, “That guy looks mean. He probably won’t like you. He may give you a hard time” Hearing this, your nervousness jumps up a notch. As you step into the interview room and come face to face with the interviewer you find that he does look intimidating. You somehow fumble through the meeting. As you walk out of the room you know that you’ve blown it. And your friend says, ” You are a stupid oaf. You couldn’t even get the simplest of answers right. Even if you did get the job you would probably have screwed it up.” By now you are probably thinking that this is not a great friend to hang out. But would you be surprised if I told you that this friend……

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What is your ugly duckling story?

The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Anderson is one of my favourite fairy tales. To me it is a story of hope, dreams and aspirations. I was recently reading the story to my toddler and as I read, it dawned on me how relevant the story really is to all of us and how many of our lives are shaped by similar experiences. Here is my interpretation of the story. A mother duck is incubating her eggs. One by one the eggs hatch except  the biggest egg which takes a really long time. The mother duck gets impatient wondering why the last egg is taking so long. The last egg finally hatches but the duckling is different. All of the other ducklings are yellow and pretty but the last one is ugly, large and grey. The other ducklings point and whisper because he is different. The new hatchling wants to be accepted and loved by his siblings but they shun him because he is not like them. The ugly duckling feels sad and lonely because he doesn’t know what to do. All of us are born with our own uniqueness but from the time we get some level of cognition the world……

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7 Leadership Lessons I learnt from Game of Thrones

  Game of Thrones is a hot favourite right now for all TV buffs. Many claim that its popularity is because of the high drama, violence and sex depicted in the series. The serial does indeed have a high dose of fantasy (with dragons, warlords and wights thrown in for good measure).  But I believe that the one big reason many of us are quite addicted to the show is because of the strong characters that most of us can identify with. There is the noble bastard, Jon Snow, who rises to a high position inspite of his background or the witty dwarf Tyrion Lannister who is one of the strongest characters in the show inspite of his looks or the lack of support of his family. Then there is Jamie the King Slayer, who shows two sides of his character, first by pushing an 8 year old child off a high tower and in another scene returns to rescue his friend Breine of Tarth. And then there is the strong Danarys Stromborm, Mother of dragons, who grew from a  timid girl to a queen on-screen, who rules savages and believes in non-violence. Perhaps we feel a strong connect with Game of Thrones because we see bits……

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If you are a manager – get good at sharing bad news

The dilemma of sharing bad news Leaders are often the messenger and sometimes the creator of bad news. While the saying goes “Don’t shoot the messenger” unfortunately that is exactly what some employees want to do when they hear bad news. Bad news can be of different proportions and impact. It could range from mass lay offs and salary cuts to asking someone to work over weekends or asking a low performer to leave. Often the manager may have taken the decision due to circumstances or business needs. At other times the decision may be taken by someone else and the manager is expected to deliver it to the team. At such times leaders often feel uncomfortable with doing the job because at a human level they may not want to impact another human being. Often managers anticipate a negative reaction from the team or are uncomfortable dealing with emotional outbursts. Some managers avoid sharing bad news or delegate it to someone else. Some try to mask it with jargon or logic. At the same time there are a few who handle it with finesse . Why is it important to get good at sharing bad news: As a manager it is part of your job and it will be……

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The one reason you may not have got a leadership promotion yet

You are really good at what you do. Your management, peers and subordinates agree that you do a great job and you have the awards and appraisal ratings to prove that. You have had a fairly steady career growth in the past till you got stuck at the level you are at now. You know you are working with the same efficiency and getting great results. So why isn’t your career graph moving as fast? More importantly why haven’t you got that coveted leadership promotion yet? How career growth happens at entry levels in an organisation Lawrence J Peter formulated the Peter’s principle that states, “ In an organizational hierarchy, every employee will rise or get promoted to his or her level of incompetence.” This means that employees in an organisation will continue to rise to the next level based on their current performance till they reach a position where they stop performing. Most careers start out this way. People joint at entry level positions. Those who work hard (or smart) and perform well grow to the next level. This continues to happen for quite a few levels up in the organisation including first few levels of management. Often people start assuming that……

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4 ways to master that task that you don’t like doing ……but need to do anyway

Susan(name changed) is one of my clients. We have been working on her transition into a job role she got promoted to recently. In the course of the conversation she mentioned that one of the things that her new position requires is to host relationship building events with customers. She feels extremely nervous just thinking about these because she believes that she is  not good at public speaking. She feels worried about how she speaks on stage and that her lack of oratory skills will show her in a poor light. She is also pretty sure that other than this one thing she can handle the role perfectly and is excited about the opportunity. This is something I hear frequently with my clients. Part of their job that does not feel right and more importantly does not feel like them.

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4 mistakes that could make you feel stuck in life

“Feeling stuck in life” – that feeling that we all know. When you are in a situation that you hate but you don’t know how to get out of. It may be a job that feels monotonous or purposeless, but you need the money to pay the bills.Or it could be the business or career you have been working very hard at but, it just doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. It could be a relationship where you feel unloved but you stay for the sake of the children/family/parents/society. If any of these sound familiar, you are not alone. All of us struggle with these or similar situations, which seem to take over our lives and there seems to be no way out. The worst thing about feeling “stuck” is, that it is generally in a part of our lives that matters a lot to us and we have to deal with everyday. As a result it starts draining, what one of my clients define as, our “life-blood”. Even if that sound a bit dramatic, there is no denying that situations like these are stressful and take a toll on our emotional and mental energy What gets you stuck to start with? It is easy……

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Leadership VS the Myth of the Perfect Leader

 “The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves” – Ray Kroc Who is a Leader? At a recent leadership workshop I asked the question, “ Who is a leader?” I got many answers and perspectives largely catergorised into leadership presence, knowledge, vision, team management and business sense. All answers together told me 2 things: There is no single definition of a leader. Each of us want something different from the people we perceive as leaders and we want them to be “perfect” in matching our definition. We all want strong leaders and we want them to deliver! We all like to fantasize about that glorious human being who will change the world. In politics we have seen Obama( Yes We Can!) and more recently Narendra Modi being put up on that pedestal where they are expected to turn around the economic situation. We don’t care about facts or what the challenges are. We just want outcomes. In the workplace, employees often look at their manager and expect that he/she replicate an image in their mind. When this leader fails to do so, they often feel let down, if not outright cheated. Organisations too have guidelines and criteria for leadership that……

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The achievement treadmill – why pausing it is so hard and what to do about it

“Sometimes you need to press pause to let everything sink in.” –  Sebastian Vettel Being a high achiever means that you are on a constant journey to scale bigger and higher mountain heights.  But as you move from one achievement to the next you may find yourself unable to stop, even momentarily, before moving on to the next pursuit. When you experience fatigue you probably dig deeper and keep on going. And as you do that you may experience an inner niggle that tells you to pause. This may either be in the form of exhaustion, loss of concentration or something bigger like an impact on your health. More often than not you will ignore the niggle and continue to push yourself to perform at the same pace that you always have.  I can already picture a lot of you nodding your heads when you read this and I know that I myself have been guilty of doing this. Most of us even take pride over being on top of our game inspite of what we may be experiencing. Before I continue, I want to clarify that this discussion is not about being driven in your career or wanting to……

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Imposter syndrome – The nemesis of all high achievers

The good news first. If you find yourself relating to this post chances are you are a high achiever or a leader in whatever you do. High achievers and leaders generally thrive on their achievements. While power, wealth and fame may also be strong motivators, the high of delivering on a difficult outcome is generally unmatched. The world of a high performer is also very different from that of an average performer. There is a lot more activity and a very strong commitment to the outcomes. Most high achievers thrive in high-speed, high stress environments.

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