How successful leaders handle a “no”

Successful leadership is often about getting stuff done. Which means convincing, requesting, delegating, directing and mentoring people to take on work that you need to get done. As the saying goes, good leaders make people want to work for them. And one of the traits of such leaders is the finesse with which they handle a “No”. Some leaders start taking it for granted that, when they ask someone to do something, the other person will obey. Infact, research suggests that of all the people who struggle to say no, 78% claim they find it most difficult to refuse their boss’s request, even if the request makes excessive demands on their time, energy or work-life balance. There is enough literature available on the internet and books on how to learn to say no. But rarely do organisations work on teaching their leaders to handle a no. Why is it so difficult for most people to hear someone say “no”? When people hear a no it may trigger certain beliefs and feelings which are often based on past experiences rather than the present situation. We all have an intrinsic need to be accepted. Hearing a “no”  can mean that we are not and this can……

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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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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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Why “Purpose” is the most critical factor behind the success of your enterprise.

 “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.” – Peter Drucker    Off late, I have been interacting with a lot of entrepreneurs, both first time startups and seasoned entrepreneurs. The thing that I find common with each of these individuals is the passion they feel for their enterprise. If you are or have been an entrepreneur , you will know that entrepreneurship is a world full of rushed timelines, funding constraints and struggles to keep the lamp burning. It is exciting to see how these dynamic men and women trudge along bravely in the face of adversity and actually take strength from it. What does surprise me however is that while each enterprise is born of passion, there is huge ambiguity to the  purpose of each of these. And that brings me to the topic of this blog. As an entrepreneurs your passion will give you the momentum

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2 things you need to know about willpower to be able to use it

Will power is defined as : “The strength of will to carry out one’s decisions, wishes, or plans.” or  “Control of one’s impulses and actions; determination; self-control.” or “The ability to delay gratification, resisting short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.”   Irrespective of which definition resonates with you, will power is something that very few claim to have and most aspire for. This power can lead you to persevere and achieve anything, be it quitting smoking, losing weight or any other seemingly impossible goal. It is equally easy to discount your  failures to lack of will power. But I believe each and everyone of us has will power inherent in us. What we may not have is a clear understanding of what will power means and how to use it to get what we want.

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