What your manager means when he says that you need to be more strategic?

The most common developmental goal for executives today is that they need to be more strategic. If you are part of the middle management and aspiring to be a senior leadership, there is a strong chance that at some point you have already received this feedback- that you need to be more strategic. Some managers get this feedback either in a 360˚ assessment or performance appraisal. Others realise this as a shortfall once they step into a leadership role. As one of my clients put it, “I’m great at fixing things and solving problems; but now I seem to be required to create a strategy and vision for the business; I’m not sure I know what I’m doing.” What does it mean to be strategic? In a nutshell, becoming more strategic means moving from an execution mindset to that of thinking and creating. Managers are often great at executing tasks derived from someone else’s strategy but not effective in developing their own strategy for their business. In individual roles “Getting things done” is what counts. In leadership roles developing the vision of what needs to be done counts. This is a critical metamorphosis in thinking that needs to happen when an……

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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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When the need to win gets in the way of your success

  I have always seen myself as a go-getter. A winner no less. When I start a program my need to win makes me want to create and deliver at a high level. When I am working with a  client the need to win makes me want to help the client get to the goals they want. The clients I work with are also pretty much in the same league. They want to win. After all, leadership and the need to win is often seen as synonymous with each other. A leader needs to be able to take his /her team to new heights of success. Winning is good. It helps organisations, careers and businesses grow. It creates opportunities and development. The need to win is the cornerstone of all enterprises.   So if winning is good does it always make you more successful? Surprisingly the answer is no. There are often moments when I find that the need to win starts becoming a hinderance rather than a support for me and my clients The need to win can easily turn into the need to win at any cost We all know of successful sports people and drug abuse. Or of eminent business men……

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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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How your success could set you up for failure

  What are your reasons for success If I were to ask you, “What makes you successful?” what would you say? Whenever I ask this question to any successful person surprisingly the answers are very vague. Sometimes I hear about hardwork, commitment, focus while some people just assume that their success was meant to be. Others give credit to mentors, well wishers, luck or God. But the real fact is that successful people rarely spend time asking themselves what makes them successful and those who do are mostly unclear of what “REALLY” makes them successful.   Infact the more successful the person, the less time they spend on understanding what makes them successful. On the other hand people who feel they are not successful spend huge amounts of time dissecting their performance and analyzing why they have not reached their goals. This is both a result of human nature as well as the way most systems are set up; to look for the cause of the problem and not the reason for why something works. Logic also dictates that if something is going well why worry about it. Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. – Bill Gates Why……

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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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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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Are you being a duck in water?

What is a duck in water? A client was recently telling me that he likes to maintain a calm exterior to portray a leadership presence. However he struggles to feel this same calm inside because, most of his days are so busy, he almost never find time to get anything done. This is the unfortunate truth of most leadership positions, whether you are a corporate leader or a business owner. Once you get into the role , you find, your time is no longer your own. There are always board members, important customers, department heads, employees  or other stakeholders who are constantly vying for your time. There is also a recurring need to attend various events, meetings, conferences and social gatherings either to represent the business or to be seen in the right forums for your own career’s sake. I hear leaders complain that they have no time to focus on what they want to do for their business and even to connect with everything that is happening at work because there is just so much to do. The analogy that comes to my mind is that of a duck swimming in water. While above the water it appears to be floating calmly, under the surface it is paddling furiously……

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Is perfectionism your imperfection?

Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – Julia Cameron Most of us have been brought up with the quote ” Practice makes perfect”. We believe that perfection is a virtue to aspire for. Perfection is very useful in making us want to do a good job and delivering outstanding results. However when perfectionism starts driving us rather than we driving for perfection it is time to take a closer look and understand if we are in trouble. Perfectionism often leads to the following problems: Limits thought, inclusivity and creativity: Perfectionists live with the idea that there is only one best way and that is the way they like it. As a result it limits respect for individuality and diversity when working with others. We have all worked with a boss or colleague who is never happy with the outcome. Working with such an individual besides being highly stressful is bound to limit creativity and thought as there is no place for deviations or opinions other than those believed in by the perfectionist. Science and research on the other hand……

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