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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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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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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Internal networking is not optional. Embrace it!

  Rajesh is a very successful sales manager. He is known as a people’s person and is highly spoken of by both his team and his customers. His biggest strength is managing relationships and building trust with his team and customers. This has got him ample success in the market space he operates in. At the same time Rajesh struggles to use this strength of building relationships within the organisation. Apart from his immediate team and manager not too many people know him well. More importantly not too many career influencers in the organisation know him. Rajesh sometimes feels that he may be missing out on opportunities because of this. He knows he needs to spend more time and effort on internal networking as but at the same time he felt unsure of whether he really wants to do it. Why internal networking is important Helps open up opportunities: Internal networking helps an individual make the most of the opportunities available in an organisation. People prefer to hire people they know. Connecting well with people across the organisation and outside your immediate team will also help you get your work done faster.  When you take on a new or higher role knowing the people you……

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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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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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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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