Saturday, October 16, 2021

Human needs during the new normal

The pandemic has shifted the workforce to different levels considering human needs. We all know Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Those needs are physiological needs which are basic needs, safety needs, belonging & love needs, esteem and then self actualization needs. During the pandemic employees lost their jobs, they were worried about their and family’s health and hence basic needs like physiological, safety and belonging, love needs became more dominant. However, there was another need which we never thought of and that was cognitive needs - knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning and predictability. Employees wanted to be aware about the situation, they wanted more information, and a clear understanding of the impact on them. 

Cognitive need is the new need of the new generation. We all know that the future has already arrived and considering the disruptive trends and pandemic the future will be different. In this whole process people are more concerned about their identity. The human being is becoming more smarter, explorer, curious and want to experiment in his own career. 

In any case, you will find five fundamental needs of human beings at new workplaces. 

Identity: They want the identity in the organization. Each human being is different; however, they want what is their role and how they are uniquely contributing to the larger purpose of the organization. 

Image: Atharva Bidwaik

Inclusion: They want to be part of the team. Each member of the team needs to feel part of the team. They want to be included and hence creating inclusive culture is very important. 

Clarity: They want clarity of everything. They need clarity and the impact of different changes on their life. They are curious about what is happening in the organization and how they are engaged in different things.  

Contribution: They want to contribute to the larger purpose of the organization and expect that their contribution to be values and respected. 

Respect and trust: They expect respectful treatment. Organization needs to create the trust capital in the organization.  

Image: Atharva Bidwaik

Employees in the new normal want to be productive and engaged members of the team. They want to accomplish things together. Once leaders start taking care of the above five needs, teamwork will flourish, and your organization will excel towards the best place to work. 

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkartPothi and BookGanga. Income from books is used for social cause. 

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Executive Presence

Image by Gerd Altmann from 

In the last two articles, we spoke about Gravitas and Signature style. Both are imperatives of leadership and creating authentic leadership. Authenticity, gravitas and signature style make your leadership presence impactful, also called as Executive Presence. 

Executive Presence is a persona that lets everyone around you know that you, as a leader, are in charge, confident and capable of leading others. Executive Presence is not related to the position, power, or hierarchy. It is about creating the impact in a meaningful way. It is about your ability to inspire confidence, in your team that you’re the leader they want to follow, inspiring confidence among peers that you’re capable and reliable and, most importantly, inspiring confidence among senior leaders that you have the potential for great achievements. So executive leadership is not about what position you hold.   

ABC of Executive Presence.

Attitude: It starts with the attitude. The attitude of taking proactive actions, continuous learning, acumen and leading the self and others.

Behaviour: Demonstrating right behaviours and being flexible enough to adjust the mindset in the changing world. For example, during the pandemic, you may have demonstrated behaviours which you might not have demonstrated during the normal course. 

Credibility: It is about how you build a trustworthy relationship and atmosphere around you. You need to build trust, earn trust and gain trust. There are different methods. Being credible also means being consistent in your approach. People will trust you when they know that whenever they approach you, you would give them attention and support to solve their issues. Being knowledgeable in your area, sound in the technical competencies will help in building credibility. 

As per the research, elements of Executive Presence are 

Gravitas: How do you Act? 

Communication: How do you speak?

Appearance: How do you look?


Though the major impacting elements are Gravitas and Communication. Appearance also plays a role to some extent in developing the Executive Presence. Most of us say that appearance doesn’t matter much and that is true to some extent. “Simplicity has the glamour when you are a celebrity. It doesn't always work for common people. People will be judgemental and hence it is necessary to create simplicity with elegance and beauty”. Here, appearance doesn’t mean physical personality. It is about overall grooming, dressing sense and cheerfulness. 

“Always remember, people create perceptions. Everything we do, impacts perception and perception impacts credibility. Hence your overall leadership persona has to be developed considering the impact on others’ perceptions.”  

Few more tips to develop the Executive Presence,

  • Create your own signature style

  • Have a personal vision, and articulate it well,

  • Understand how others perceive and experience you.

  • Build your communication skills, learn storytelling technique, Use proper body language. 

  • Become an excellent listener,

  • Cultivate your network, understand socio-political dimensions of the organization and be political savvy,

  • Be emotionally intelligent, learn to operate effectively under stress,

  • Be polished & poised. Dress professionally, pay attention to your clothing style & grooming.

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkartPothi and BookGanga. Income from books is used for social cause. 

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Your signature style

The leaders in all spheres have their own unique style. The style of influencing by overall behaviour while interacting with others. In the last blog we discussed gravitas. Gravitas play a significant role in influencing. However, an essential element of gravitas is the unique signature style you have. Every person has the opportunity to demonstrate the leadership behaviour, however if you synchronize this with your signature style, the impact is more.   

Image: Pixabay
While deciding the signature style think about following building blocks,

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • How do you create your impact?

Who are you?

While answering the first question, we need to introspect and decide what leadership style you can adapt depending upon your organization, culture, and circumstances. There is a lot of research and material available on leadership, but still, you can’t decide what works for you. Leadership is about experimentation, exponentiation and learning through the process. You may have your experiences where you have demonstrated those behaviours which had a long lasting impact. Learn from those and decide your signature style based on those experiences. 

Self-awareness is the bottom-line. Assess your leadership style and reflect on those elements of leadership. You may be an authoritative, democratic, coaching, or situational leader. Just think, is that style helping you to create the right impact? If not, start working on those behaviours. There is no right or wrong in leadership styles but it is always good to understand what works for you in a given circumstance.

What do you do?

Just imagine you are observed in a lab by senior leaders, team, peers etc in your organization. You are constantly watched, and your behaviour is recorded, what will you do? Perhaps you will become cautious, perhaps stressful, and maybe you will make some mistakes. This exactly happens in the real world, you are always watched and observed; opinions are made about you by the people. If you have a strong signature style, people will relate your behaviour with your style. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But this will help you how you are able to create an impact on others, positive, negative, or neutral?      

One of the elements of your style is understanding how you are likely to react to and deal with complexity and ambiguity, how you are confident while handling the crisis and difficult situation, identifying situations and contexts in which you are likely to be most successful and where your leadership skills are stretched

How do you create your impact?

One of the leaders to whom I worked always emphasized authenticity and he was absolutely right. Your every action and every word has an impact on others. People may not understand your intentions but if you have the authenticity people understand the intentions. Authenticity creates the impact. You can demonstrate that impact by your signature style. If you have leadership differentiators, acumen, ability to define the purpose for the larger group, ability to create the sense of purpose, the impact can be seen manifold.    

Developing your own signature style is an ongoing process, it starts with developing your emotional intelligence, specifically self-realization and social awareness. 

I found following quote very interesting to reflect upon,

“You had only one chance for a signature in life, but most people left no impression.” Quoted by Meg Wolitzer. 

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkartPothi and BookGanga. Income from books is used for social cause. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021


Whenever I have interacted with leaders who are leading an enterprise, function, or any impactfull social initiatives, one of the common things I observed is their confidence, courage and composure. They have a personality which influences the followers and team members not because of their disposition but because of their ability to create the invisible aura around them.

Gravitas is an important imperative of leadership and executive presence. Most of the leaders failed because of the absence of gravitas. In simple English it is a noun, meaning dignity, seriousness, or solemnity of manner, but it is about ‘how you act’.  It has become a skill which is rarely discussed. If you learn it, gravitas will enable you to command respect and your chances of promotion to leadership roles are higher. In a new way of working the gravitas seems to be formal and may be considered as old age skill, however it is not about the formality of being serious, dignified etc but it is about the authenticity, confidence, influence, and authority by informal ways.   

Simply, gravitas means communication with confidence, influence, and authority. It is one of the elements of executive presence which leaders have to demonstrate. The fact is that people having gravitas are taken seriously, their contributions are considered important, and they are trusted and respected.

People with gravitas lead better, present better, communicate better and network better. In a competitive environment, leaders who have gravitas build stronger relationships, win more business, get promoted more quickly and get better results.

Few aspects of gravitas are as under:

  • Confidence, pose and grace when you are under fire.  

  • Decisiveness and demonstrating assertive behaviour. Showing you are capable of fighting and defending yourself.

  • Integrity and courage to speak the truth,

  • Emotional Intelligence,

  • Reputation and your expertise 

  • Vision and ability to align the team to the larger purpose.    

Can you develop it? And how?

You can earn it.

  • As per the saying, “Knowledge is the king”. Learning to convert that knowledge in wisdom is the key step in developing your authenticity. People should feel comfortable to speak with you, come to you when they need suggestions, guidance or directions as a leader. In the modern organizations where authority works seldomly, you need to earn that respect by your knowledge and connections with the team.  

  • Decide how you want to be known in professional circles, society, community etc. if somebody asks about you, how will they describe you? 

  • Self -awareness is always critical in developing gravitas. Understand your strengths and blind spots and take feedback and be positive about it. 

  • Work on the impact and influencing skills.

  • Practice the elevator pitch.

  • Identify that ‘Uniqueness’ which suits you which can be your signature style.

  • Build rapport and trust by demonstrating curiosity about your colleagues’ lives outside of work or sharing something about your own. -Focus on building courage along with confidence.

  • Give respect and take respect.

  • Work on your overall presence.

Developing gravitas is difficult and it needs continuous efforts but you can get there if you have the right mindset and attitude.

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkartPothi and BookGanga. Income from books is used for social cause. 

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