Introverts as leaders- why it works!

  “I’m not sure I can be a manager, because I am an introvert.” said Anjali. This was her response when I asked about her career plans Anjali’s view on things  is common. We often picture a leader as the quintessential Alpha male or female- flamboyant, visible and extroverted. It is easy to assume that to be a leader these qualities are critical.  For people who don’t “naturally” have these traits, it can be daunting to step into leadership. Introverts often tend to write-off leadership as a career option without even thinking about it. Why people assume leadership equals being extroverted The internal conditioning often starts early. At school and in the playground,  the loudest and bossiest kid in class, most often gets his/her way.  So quiet and introverted kids assume that to be a prefect or class captain you need to be loud. Organisations and media often project a leader as being an extrovert. A lot of political leaders are great orators and socially proficient. In traditional businesses like construction or shop floor management  the leader or supervisor often needs to be commanding and visible.  The image of the extrovert leader holds true in most of these circumstances but in the white……

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If your team does not follow your directions- here’s what’s wrong!

  Leadership is defined as the ability to get others to follow you. The key responsibility of a leader is to get the team to follow the path that he/she sets for them. The success of a leader depends on being able to build followers and getting them to deliver on the vision he/she has. All successful leaders are masters at this – getting the team to connect with their vision and owning it as their own.   However, not being able to get the team to follow the leader is a big challenge for many organisations today. Because of this, leaders, both new and experienced ones, struggle to deliver on assignments and targets. When this happens the logical deduction is that either the leader not communicating right or there is a problem with the team’s understanding. The organization may decide that the leader or the team needs evaluations, feedbacks and trainings. All of these remedial approaches work well depending on the context that they are applied to. Yet again sometimes they don’t. This is because this approach is based on the premise that if the communication is not working either the communicator or the recipient is at fault. What……

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You’ve successfully met your big goal – and that is your problem!

John is one of my clients. We came in contact, after his organization hired me to support his transition into the new role of a Vice President (VP). He had been part of the succession plan in the organization and had been a high performer for a longtime. After a few sessions, John confessed to feeling low and empty after his promotion. He had always aspired to become a Vice President in his organisation.  He had been working there for close to 8 years and the last few years had been focused on the goal of making it to VP. But once the euphoria of becoming a VP vanished, the reality was not what he expected. He broadly classified his issue in 3 categories: The excitement and elation of working towards a big goal had kept him going. But now that he had reached the goal he missed the focus and anticipation. He had assumed that when he became a VP, he would love the job but instead he felt out of his depth and was struggling to keep up. For the last few years he had worked really hard and had subconsciously hoped to take it slow after he……

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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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Is internal competition killing your organisation’s effectiveness?

Most organisations have evaluation systems that measure employees against their goals and how they performed vs their peers. The obvious intent of the performance measurement system is to have a tracking mechanism to know how each of the employees’ is contributing, towards the organisations growth. This gives a comparative measure to reward good performance. This method stems from the grading systems in schools and colleges, that measure a student’s comparative performance, on various subjects. Parents have used this approach for years with children, to push them to perform better, by comparing them with siblings and peers. However, based on research, educators and child experts say, that, comparing a child constantly is not only bad for his/her self esteem but also leads to longterm performance and psychological issues. So if this system does not work for kids can the impact on adults be really that different? While the intent is to drive performance using competition among employees, the unfortunate truth is that, it is detrimental to the overall performance of the organisation.  To understand how this happens, let us start by understanding the meaning of competition Competition, is a contest between organisms, animals, individuals, groups, etc., for territory, a niche, or a……

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The difference that makes the difference

This week in India was marked with the sudden demise of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, the Missile man, the extraordinary scientist and most importantly the man dubbed as the People’s President during and after his tenure in the Presidential office. What made him so admirable was not just his academic and career success, his knowledge and simplicity but everything that he stood for. He came from a poor, rural, Muslim family in Tamil Nadu and rose to the highest office in the country, through sheer determination and hardwork. For young India he is an Icon of what is possible. In the midst of scam, corruption, high competition and unequal opportunities Dr. Kalam’s life was an inspiration of aspirations, dreams and success. This post is a dedication and a reflection on the great man and his greatness. What makes someone who comes from a life of hardship and challenges make it the way someone like Dr. Kalam does? And more importantly what prevents others in similar circumstances from doing the same?   The biggest difference is not what the world throws at us but how we perceive it. Perception is the way we see and experience the world and it varies from person to……

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3 Steps to take control when change happens

take control

Change is difficult!
Occasionally its manageable. More often than not it is tough to deal with.

Some changes in life happen voluntarily for most of us. A lot of them are a result of circumstances. Whether we like it or nor change is part of us; professionally, personally, physically, financially and in all aspects of life.
All of us have heard the saying “Change is the only constant”. But, knowing that we must go through change repeatedly in life does not make it easier.

Perhaps what makes change so difficult for us is the fear of the unknown. We feel threatened by losing what we are comfortable with and stepping into unknown territory. We fear that the safety of what we know will get replaced with the insecurity of undefined terrain. Sometimes this fear is so big that we continue to hold on to things we are unhappy with because we fear that the “new” could be worse.  This is often a reason why people continue in abusive relationships or unfulfilling jobs. What if the next relationship is worse or what if I don’t find anyone? What if a new job is more demanding or does not offer the same financial security as this one?
Belief systems also sometimes hamper our need to change. If I walk out of this relationship that I feel trapped in am I being selfish? If I let go of a secure job to follow my dream am I being impulsive and rash?

And behind this fear and belief systems lurks the discomfort of letting go of control

Sometimes we willingly take on a change and then find that we can’t deal with it and going back to the old and familiar seems like an easy choice.  We may have started with wanting this change but when we get into the new situation it becomes extremely difficult to deal with.

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The missing piece in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Maslow spoke about human motivation and human needs being interrelated. Maslow’s work on the hierarchy of needs pyramid published in 1948 has been the basis of most of the motivational theories in organisations as well as clinical work on the psychology of motivation. Broadly put Maslow states the stages of life and motivation for an individual follow a certain sequence. When one need is met he/she moves on to the next need.   While early researchers were quick to criticise and point  out the futility of maintaining this sequence of needs, there is a broad acceptance that the needs themselves are very relevant to motivation. For this reason Maslow’s  theory is still taught in all HR curriculums although most researchers agree that these needs are all messily woven into life and cannot be separated so sharply. For most individuals all needs are present in varying degrees at most times. The intensity of each need is  subjective to circumstances both within and outside the individual. So how does one separate or understand what really makes someone motivated to do or not to do something in life?   To understand this concept, the one thing we all need to look at is the……

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