Gandhi’s leadership was rooted in clearly understanding that the British wanted Indiato be a net importer of goods, thereb...
The sum & substance of this presentation is covered in the above quotes.Please read them through for a minute & then we ca...
In Robin Sharma’s words, “Remember That You Need No Title to be a Leader.Leadership has less to do with the size of your t...
Leadership is ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITYLeadership is exhibited at ALL LEVELS, BY EVERYONE, irrespective of titles, job profi...
In the next couple of slides, I will take you through how I broke down the CONCEPT ofASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY; of LEADERSHI...
A 2010 McKinsey study on “How centered leaders achieve extraordinary results”shows that executives can thrive at work and ...
What kind of baggage do you carry?Past behaviour is no indication of future performance!!What kind of patterns do you see ...
I wrote an article in my blog recently about “Define who you are to solve yourproblems”. My core idea is that unless you k...
So, it is important to Observe yourself constantly. That provides a wealth ofinformation!To understand yourself. To unders...
lead by example – simplicity, experimentative, tenacious, being the change they wantin the world etc. etc.So, if you want ...
The second important element is to understand people around you.Understand people as they are; accept them; make them feel...
from him. Once we understood each other, we started being more cooperative &helpful. This contributed well to the startup....
As a leader, you need to be clear about the goals of your organization.Why are you doing the startup?What is in it for the...
I recall a bunch of entrepreneurs who wanted to build a small, boutique company andhad no grandiose vision of creating a h...
Karma-yoga, as the Bhagawat Gita Chapter 3 says, is PERFORMING SELFLESSACTIONS.Focus on the larger goal, not on your perso...
When you do a lot of work, your attitude is the qualitative aspect that comes intoyour work & exhibits your leadership:- H...
Hardest thing to do!But, if you can’t measure something, no point doing it!Ask what is expected at the end of it!In large ...
There is an important disconnect that you should be aware of.Corporate mumbo-jumbo of vision, goal, roles & responsibiliti...
The more easily you make the team understand the vision & goals, the better is thecooperation.Learn effective presentation...
Find meaning in your work.Don’t fill in the hours.Take five minutes in the day and ask yourself, what is the top thing tha...
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Building leadership skills_in_teams2

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This is a presentation I made as part of National Entrepreneurship Network's webinar series. Here I talk about exhibiting leadership skills at an individual level as well as creating leadership attitude in teams.

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Building leadership skills_in_teams2

  1. 1. Gandhi’s leadership was rooted in clearly understanding that the British wanted Indiato be a net importer of goods, thereby making it totally dependent on England. Thishas NOTHING TO DO WITH ARMS & VIOLENCE. It was economic independence!He Inspired & motivated others to become self-reliant, and fight the British in a non-violent way – This was the common & key uniting PURPOSE & METHOD that echoedwell with the people.Dhoni played hard and was the match winner in 2011 World Cup. He was a performer& lets his performance speak for itself – to his team as well as to the spectators. Ifyou have seen the winning parade when we won the world-cup in 2011 after 28 yearsunder the leadership of Dhoni, it was clear that Dhoni was UNDERPLAYING HIMSELFand gave all the SPOTLIGHT to Sachin., his team member who probably had all thefeathers in his cap, except the world cup.They were leaders who inspired their teams through their leadership skills. Theseskills are:- Understanding the people & uniting them with a common actionable purpose/vision- Underplaying oneself – BEING HUMBLE, while giving the team prominence.1
  2. 2. The sum & substance of this presentation is covered in the above quotes.Please read them through for a minute & then we can proceed with the presentation.2
  3. 3. In Robin Sharma’s words, “Remember That You Need No Title to be a Leader.Leadership has less to do with the size of your title than the depth of yourcommitment. Ive seen front-line employees, taxi drivers and carpet installers doingtheir work like Picasso painted. Leadership isnt really about authority. Its about achoice you can make to do your best work each and every day, regardless of whereyou are planted.”Leadership is NOT necessarily a titular position in the organization;Leadership is NOT just management only;3
  4. 4. Leadership is ASSUMING RESPONSIBILITYLeadership is exhibited at ALL LEVELS, BY EVERYONE, irrespective of titles, job profilesAs an entrepreneur, you have already decided TO FOCUS your efforts on a problemand solve it. You are starting with a clean, white paper & writing your own destiny.The key is to REMEMBER that all through your entrepreneurship life, especially whenthe going gets tough!Even if you are an employee, the same rules apply. Assume responsibility. Focus. Dofewer things well.What if you don’t have the title to drive any change? Probably it is easier to drivechange without the burden of a title!!Leadership is the ability to FEEL & SHOW MEANING, MOTIVATE & MANAGE ONESELF,MOTIVATE & ENERGISE OTHERS, COMMUNICATE, HAVE AN UNWAVERING MORALCOMPASS TO GUIDE DECISIONS.4
  5. 5. In the next couple of slides, I will take you through how I broke down the CONCEPT ofASSUMING RESPONSIBILITY; of LEADERSHIP into seven, simple, no-nonsenseelements as listed here.These seven elements are not in any particular order of importance.However, it is always good to start with oneself.5
  6. 6. A 2010 McKinsey study on “How centered leaders achieve extraordinary results”shows that executives can thrive at work and in life by adopting a leadership modelthat revolves around FINDING THEIR strengths & CONNECTING with others!A quote from that article that is relevant to this element of knowing & managingyourself: “Our senior team is always talking about changing the organization,changing the mind-sets and behaviour of everyone. Now I see that transformationis not about that. It starts with me and my willingness and ability to transformmyself. Only then others will transform”What are your motivations?Money? Fame? Learning? Power? Helping others?Do you value team goals higher than self goals? Or Vice Versa?What kind of a person are you?Logical? Intuitive / Instinctive? Emotional?Do you use fear /anger /rebuke to manage others?Integrity? Ethics?What kind of emotional state you are in?Usually cheerful & happy? Prone to mood-swings? Angry most of the time?Peaceful mostly?Stressed out?Sattvic? Rajasic? Tamasic?6
  7. 7. What kind of baggage do you carry?Past behaviour is no indication of future performance!!What kind of patterns do you see in the way you react to situations?These are important. If you don’t know OR are not curious to know about yourself,then how can you transform yourself into a leadership attitude?6
  8. 8. I wrote an article in my blog recently about “Define who you are to solve yourproblems”. My core idea is that unless you know & understand yourself, how can youmake any change???Ask yourself constantly about your motivations & past baggageGain clarity!What is it that gives MEANING to your life? To your work?When I started out, I was not clear of my motivation to start out, other than“JUST START, CREATE A HIGH VALUE COMPANY, MAKE MONEY!” It did notwork out, as I had to face conflicting situations in the journey, where decisionswere not taken in line with the basic motivations! We constantly startedasking ourselves, “how long would it take to recover our ‘opportunity cost’ ofbeing an employee!!I was not clear on the MEANING the startup was offering to me. The visionwas narrow, to admit the least!Alternately, I know a bunch of entrepreneurs who have created successfulsmall startups, including consultancy services because they were clear, theywanted to be small, do meaningful work, enjoy life, write a book, so on & soforth.7
  9. 9. So, it is important to Observe yourself constantly. That provides a wealth ofinformation!To understand yourself. To understand emotions. Manage them.How can we claim to “lead” if we are not physically fit?How can we claim to “take responsibility” if we are not able to control our emotions,instead the emotions control you??It is absolutely important to stay physically fit through regular exercise. You reduceyour ‘downtime’.Do Yoga or other forms of exercise that suits youEqually important is managing emotions; controlling negative emotions; BeatingStressAnger, jealousy, sadness, hatred are strong emotions. They cause stress if you don’tmanage them. They also cause immense damage to you & others around you!I recommend you to meditation, & breathing exercises.Take responsibility for your actions; reflect on the actions & their resultsFor example, let us say you are responsible for pricing decision of your product/service. Although you will take inputs from many people, remember the finaldecision rests with you. If the product bombs in the market, because of pricing, thenyou take the responsibility for failure.Don’t pass the buck and turn around the story by giving excuses! Accept failure.In another example, I was once given a feedback that I did not take care of my teammember’s interest and somehow belittled his contribution towards a project.Although I did not feel the feedback was appropriate (note – I was justifying tomyself!!!!), perhaps my body language, the tone etc., may have given that impression.On reflection, it was indeed clear to me that I did not go with the right attitudetowards my team mate’s interests & contributions. I did go back and apologize to theteam member and from then on, I was more conscious of how I should support him.Lead by exampleHere again, I want to bring back Mahatma Gandhi & Dhoni into picture. Both of them7
  10. 10. lead by example – simplicity, experimentative, tenacious, being the change they wantin the world etc. etc.So, if you want your employees to work hard, you work hard too! Show them.If you want your team to be on time, you try to be on time!7
  11. 11. The second important element is to understand people around you.Understand people as they are; accept them; make them feel safe with emotionaldialoguesMotivations?Likes /dislikes?Style of working?Type of person – emotional /logical ?Motivate them & guide them according to their nature.Remember that NAME, FAME, POWER, WEALTH are considered as commonyardsticks for success. As a leader, DO NOT criticize or condemn such notions. If youdo, YOU WILL CONFUSE people, or even make them reactive, defensive or rebellious.We had an employee in our startup, who used to leave office everyday at 5pm! It wasunthinkable for us as we were working late nights every day and here was this guywho was leaving so early every day. It was agony for us to think of him enjoying hisevening while we slog! One day we decided to confront him and ask him why is heleaving so early. His answer was very simple! “I go to an English speaking course, toimprove my communication skills and my class starts at 6pm!”.We were actually embarrassed by his answer. However, that dialogue created a spacebetween us to work around his need to learn and our need to get the work done8
  12. 12. from him. Once we understood each other, we started being more cooperative &helpful. This contributed well to the startup.Leverage their strengthsDont over emphasise training to overcome weaknessesTrying to change others when they are not ready disturbs them.I had a team member who was good in data analysis, presentations etc., butwas tongue-tied when he had to meet up with customers! Unfortunately, hewas in a customer facing role. So, over a period of time, I had to transition himout from a customer facing role into a marketing role.Encourage people by celebrating small/big contributionsThe trick is not to over-do anything, thereby losing the meaning of celebrations!Use compassion; not fear /anger as the key emotionListen with empathyPay full attention to the moment. Listen to your team members.Switching off your mobile, not checking your email is all the physical aspect oflistening with full attention. The most important thing you should do is to listenwithout judgement & mental chatter!Learn to let go & don’t expect perfectionRemember that each one of us is different and we do thingsdifferently. I cant take care of the house like my wife, and she is not as good as what Iam in investing in stock market. If she expects me to keep the house spick & span; orif I expect her to make investment decisions the way I do, we will end up with aMahabharata war everyday at home!8
  13. 13. As a leader, you need to be clear about the goals of your organization.Why are you doing the startup?What is in it for the people who are toiling away to create value?Articulate the goal.Understand what needs to be achievedPrepare hypothesis of ‘future’ & articulate itIf you don’t understand the goals, don’t fear to ask questions & clarify the goalsInternalize the goals. That is when decision making becomes easy!REMEMBER THIS: The GOAL worth striving for is ALWAYS that has a ‘larger good’ –what is it that is beneficial to all the stakeholders in the startup?Goals that serve the interests of only the founders or investors always are inferior to ashared goal. Evolve the shared goal. That gives more power & momentum to achieveit.Once the shared goal is clear,Connect the short term goals to the ‘larger’ team goalConstantly ask, how will this fit into the larger ‘good’ of my startup?9
  14. 14. I recall a bunch of entrepreneurs who wanted to build a small, boutique company andhad no grandiose vision of creating a high growth startup. Their key interviewquestion was, “Would you like to work for a slow growth, boutique company, wherewe enjoy working with each other and create value OR rather would you work for afast, high paced startup?” If they were not convinced about the person’s true interestto work in a small company, they would reject him irrespective of his credentials!9
  15. 15. Karma-yoga, as the Bhagawat Gita Chapter 3 says, is PERFORMING SELFLESSACTIONS.Focus on the larger goal, not on your personal goal.Decisions should be made based on the larger goal.Also, as a leader, in your sphere of work, you SHOULD LEAD BY EXAMPLE!This is the best way to guide others.As a leader, you must be detatched, patient, enthusiastic, dynamic & inspiring.Remember, the underlying motivation should be “welfare of all” and not selfish goals.Take the case that you as a customer facing leader will face all the time –negotiations!If you view negotiations as a race to show one-up-manship over your customer, thenyou are “attached”.The attachment gives rise to impatience, mis-guided enthusiasm.Over a period of time, it will give rise to anger & then you lose control of thesituation.Being detatched should not mean, apathy. Rather it is intense observation of thesituation and LIVING IN THE PRESENT. LIVING IN THE NOW – to resolve the situationto the welfare of all.10
  16. 16. When you do a lot of work, your attitude is the qualitative aspect that comes intoyour work & exhibits your leadership:- Have an attitude of dedication: Work devotedly. Don’t demean any work as “belowme – I will not do it”.- Attitude of cheerful acceptance: Accept all work that comes along & do the best.- Attitude of continuous giving & giving up: Share your knowledge, help others. Giveup the “results” of your work by NOT claiming YOU DID IT! Credit the team.Genuinely praise the team for the good work done & the results.Also,What are the levers you should apply?Anticipate challenges that you are likely to encounter & plan for Plan BSharpen the axe constantly (Trainings, reviews, regular 1-1s)Get the right tools10
  17. 17. Hardest thing to do!But, if you can’t measure something, no point doing it!Ask what is expected at the end of it!In large corporations where I have worked, it was clear that the performance of salesperson was measured on only one parameter – revenues. So, the sales persons dideverything possible to maximize their revenues and in turn the sales commissionsthey were entitled to!While the strategy worked in general for the company & the sales person, there wereinstances when the commission paid was much larger & disproportionate to thesales! Such a strategy was not in the larger good of the company. On the contrary, Iknow of smaller organizations where the outcome is measured in very complex way,with no transparency. This benefits the organization but not the sales person.As a leader, you need to be clear how you want to measure your team. As a founder,you set the rules.Articulate them well. Be transparent.11
  18. 18. There is an important disconnect that you should be aware of.Corporate mumbo-jumbo of vision, goal, roles & responsibilities as written down onpaper or on your intranet is NOT communication.As a leader, you should be able to articulate to your team how their work “connects”and contributes to the larger goal.If you can’t do that, how can you expect your team members to relate to the largergoal?Clarify purpose & enlist their help;Share your vision of how their works help in achieving the purposeTell your goals, plans, strategy, concerns, questions, doubts to your teamFor example, if your goal is to maximize profits, then you should communicate thatclearly. You should articulate the decision making criteria. When your team comeswith an investment proposal, they will ensure that the proposal is maximizing profitsand NOT revenues!In another case, pushing inventory levels was the most important short term goals toimprove profitability. The CEO ensured that he communicated that all we need to dois to push inventory as a priority action. This automatically empowered the sales tooffer higher discounts!!12
  19. 19. The more easily you make the team understand the vision & goals, the better is thecooperation.Learn effective presentation skillsLearn the art of story tellingAnalyze & present complex stuff in simple wordsInfluence through writing, presentations, 2 way dialog, questioning12
  20. 20. Find meaning in your work.Don’t fill in the hours.Take five minutes in the day and ask yourself, what is the top thing that you must dotoday that would further the cause of the universal, larger goal of your startup?You may be surprised with the answer!It could force you to NOT postpone important hiring decisions OR important spendingdecisions if you ask the question.I want to end this presentation by sharing a simple thought:There are several paths to the goalSome are correct, ethical, short, less cumbersome; some are exactly oppositeChoose ethical path to achieve your goalsGoal of ‘universal good’ – that which is good for your team, is “higher” than selfishgoal.When you make decisions, ask yourself from where the decision criteria has arisen? Ifyour conscience points you to the “higher good” and not “selfish good”, go ahead anddecide. Else, think through again!!!13
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