Leadership! What is it anyway?

Leadership Training in Delhi

Pavan Bakshi

Everyone wants to be leader. Up there in the lime light taking decisions which are resounding successes and hear the applause- like a super star athletic performer breaking the world record.

Is that what leadership is about or is it more an internal struggle to recognise old barriers ,patterns, hot spots and then slowly but consistently work on creating more effective behaviours.

The outcome will be external surely but the real work is internal in the brain with all elements of the thinking, automatic and emotional brain inter playing their parts.

I believe that as we move from being an individual contributor to a manager to a manager of managers and into executive roles, a few leadership skills need to be focussed on to beat the Peters Principle (every person rises to his level of incompetence)

An individual contributor is an expert in a small area of work which allows him to be a specialist giving advice and inputs as does a consultant. The mind-set here is to be able to provide his individual best to the success of the team. The first time manager needs to change his mind-set to “Hence-forth I will live in the glory of my team??? and build managerial skills focussing on efficiencies. Comparing this to Maxwell’s five levels of leadership this would entail Level 1 & 2 ie people follow you because they have to & people follow you because they want to.

The few behavioural changes that are required to be developed to play this role well are focussed on leading his team and hence are:

  1. Communication Skills
  2. Time Management
  3. Teamwork and Motivation
  4. Stress Management with specific focus on self -awareness and self -management.
  5. Project Management Skills for enhancing efficiency

The changes are not easy and can certainly not be built in tandem. It will take close to 6-8 months of focussed activities to build each of these skills. The sequence is not that important but the priority should be on what is critical in the particular job and necessary to meet the team’s yearly target. This enables real live situation where these can the practices and hones through the methodology of action learnings (The (ALRE Cycle) apply, learn, refine and embed these behaviours cycle)

The above Skills enables the first time manager, to build an efficient team and provide outcomes for which he is noticed, rewarded and hopefully promoted as Manager of Manager’s. The next stage however brings in a need for a more long term mind-set??? Henceforth I shall grow in the glory of achieving company’s goals???. Influence, moral authority, building trust and rapport are the key areas . Comparing this to Maxwell’s five levels of leadership this would entail Level 3 & 4 ie people follow you because of what you have done for the organisation and people follow you for what you have done for them. Leadership is now all about:

  1. Getting Business Results through increasing productivity, profitability, customer service and employee engagement
  2. Advance communication and conflict management skills
  3. Influencing Skills
  4. Presentation Skills
  5. Building Emotional Intelligence with focus now on Social Awareness and Relationship Management
  6. Coaching Skills to tap into collective intelligence and motivation of the teams.

Imbibing, the above skills is dependent on self- motivation and a desire to change. Remember change will take more effort now since the old patterns are now firmly embedded in the mental maps. It has been however proven without doubt that it is not only possible to change, only it needs a safe, trusting and enabling culture in the organisation.

As you move into the executive designations a whole new world awaits the manager of managers. Visionary and Coaching Style of Leadership are more at play, not to say the executive will not need to display other four styles as well but with due consideration. Awareness of their de-facto leadership styles is the first step followed by understanding your personal learning styles. Creating a positive organisational climate is a must since it supports build-up of a high performance culture. The two most effective interventions have been:

  1. Executive Coaching
  2. Building Emotional Intelligent Leadership in a Group action learning and coaching format.

The above will create the Level 5 Leader wherein in people follow you for who you are and hence can also be defines as a Transpersonal Leadership( focus is beyond the ego to the needs of All stakeholders each given appropriate priorities.

The answer to Leadership!

What is it anyway? is that Leadership is a journey of individual growth and self-development ,mostly slow , but sometimes a sudden growth due to adversity or self-realisations moments. It is recognising the strengths one has built but also recognising our gaps in what we are now to what we want to become in this one wonderful life of ours- and then working on them consistently.

The Author is an acclaimed authority is leadership trainings and has helped top organisations and their leaders to achieve their respective objectives.

Pavan Bakshi, Colonel (Veteran), PMP, RCS Certified Executive Coach has a work experience of 30 years and wide expertise in the domain of Operations, Projects, Supply Chain Management, Business Development and Training.

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