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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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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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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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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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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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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The 5 inner demons every leader must tame

Vince Lombardi said “ Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.” If this is indeed true why are so most leadership development programs so unsuccessful in imparting these learnings?  Alternately if leaders are born why do organisations spend millions every year in leadership development? This is because there is a third element to the “made vs born” debate. People can be born with leadership qualities, which the development processes can fine tune OR people can be born sans leadership and acquire it along the way.  

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Are you “playing to win” or “playing not to lose”?

chess kings

“ In order to succeed your desire for success need to be higher than you fear of failure” – Bill Cosby While we would all want to be always consistent in our performance unfortunately professional and personal effectiveness like life does not come in absolutes. As most business leaders grow in an organisation there are subtle changes that start happening in their personal mindsets.  

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Having it “all”

A recent article all over Facebook, news portals and blogs had Indira Nooyi’s picture and title proclaiming in bold terms “I don’t think women can have it all. I just don’t think so. ” While active feminista ran to share the post and add a whole bunch of likes to it; it made me wonder why we are making such a hoola hoo about this. “Women cannot have it all”….but then who can? Is there really anyone out there, man or woman who can claim to have it all…….all the time?

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