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

Gravitas


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. 

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Conflict and Relationship

(Cartoon sketched by Atharva Vinod Bidwaik for the book "Vitality in Human Resource") 

In most of the relationships, either in personal or professional life, conflicts occur because of lack of proper understanding, communication, and respect. Somebody rightly said, “Without communication, there is no relationship. Without respect, there is no love. Without trust, there’s no reason to continue.”

Over time, behaviours are changed and that escalates conflicts which may damage the relationship. Those behaviours become the normal part of communication between partners, friends or among colleagues. Generally speaking, conflicts occur because of four behaviours in any relationship. Those are as under:

Behaviour 1:

Criticism:

Problem: Wise people said, “Don’t blame the person, blame the behaviour of the person.” We missed this. Blaming is pointing and if you blame somebody, it makes him/her defensive. While criticizing, the focus is on perceived personal shortcomings instead of changeable behaviours. For example: “You again made a mistake, you are dumb.”

Solution: “Communicate unto the other person that you would want him to communicate unto you if your positions were reversed.” quotes Aaron Goldman

The best solution is to deal with problems in a calm and gentle way. The focus should be on the problem, not the person. The person in question should also take it positively. Feedback is always a gift which helps the development, however when you take the feedback personally, conflicts occur. For example: “I am disappointed by your mistake, can you take corrective actions and ensure that such mistakes don’t happen.”

Behaviour 2:

Being Defensive:

Problem: When the feedback is given, the person takes it personally and becomes defensive. S/he doesn’t take ownership of his/her behaviour and starts blaming others and circumstances. There are a lot of excuses to justify the mistake. For Example: “This is not my fault. I sent the mail and I have not received any response from him.”

Solution: Own up to your behaviour without blaming others or circumstances. Feedback is like a gift. As said by Ken Blanchard “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” If you want to be the champion and take control of your life, always seek feedback and demonstrate the right behaviour. Say, “I have sent the mail, I have not received the response yet, I should have just picked up the phone and called him.”

Behaviour 3:

Showing disrespect:

Problem: People love themselves. They need to maintain their self-image. Showing anger, disgust, or hostility towards the next person, creates conflicts. Making them scared, threatening them about the negative consequences, being sarcastic and showing the power, hurt the people. Some people are experts at throwing tantrums. This is toxic in any relationship and also in organizational culture.    

Solution: Make people comfortable and help them to realise their behaviour. Explain to them two sides of the issue, negative and positive consequences. Appreciating the right time, showing respect and creating trust (ART) build a strong relationship.    

Behaviour 4:

Stopping to communicate or stonewalling:

Problem: The person withdraws emotionally, shutting down, or going silent during important discussions. S/he stops communicating and listening. Based on the situation, the person avoids having difficult conversations and goes in the capsule. However, because of this behaviour nobody is able to solve the problem or issues.   

Solution: Self reflection is the key. Understand your blind spots and try to improve on the same. The key is not being passive, aggressive or playing the card of victim but being assertive and understanding the actions and meaning of those actions. Be positive and try to speak about the problem and not the person.

The key in a healthy relationship is listening and understanding the next person. There is always a story behind any conflicts and relationship, it is upto you how you make that story interesting and with a happy ending. 

(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, August 28, 2021

Protective factors in life

Challenges and struggles are an integral part of human life. There are very few people who easily get what they wish for, however the majority of people have to stretch themselves and have to come out of their comfort zone. To live life and make it happy is an internal state of mind. There are millions of people who wake up early in the morning, go to their job, (now during a pandemic, log in on the computer while working from home), listen to their managers, get the job done. The reasons behind going to the job are different. Some People want to live a happy life by achieving more, some want to give the education to their kids, and some run for loans. Everybody chases their dreams. During this process, people get success and failure. People live with a big burden on their shoulders. Stress, work pressure bring disappointments and frustrations. Everybody becomes part of the rat race; they may not like to be the rat in the rat race, but they are unable to find another option. We are not rats; we are human beings. Unfortunately, very few people in the society have the right ecosystem to support them. The problem is that both success, and failures bring stress. The overall scenario is impacting mental health. Organizations are investing in their people to support them in their life, however is it enough?    

Image from internet
Finally, it is you, who has to take actions for your good life. How to do this? The best way is to find out those protective factors in our life. Protective factors are your defense system, in case your mental health is affected because of struggles and challenges in your personal and professional life. It helps you to bounce back in setbacks and to be resilient. We need to develop those protective factors in our life. Unfortunately, in the rat race, we forget to take those protective factors along with us. In fact, we totally ignore those factors. 

Those protective factors can be classified as under:

Social factors: Generally speaking, this is society around us. All of society may not be useful for you. Sometimes people don’t recognize your success because of their jealousy.  Jealous people don’t want to see you better than them. And hence it is very important to identify those relationships which would support you in case of setbacks and challenges. It includes relationships, family members, friends, teachers, coach, and mentors. However sometimes this also may not work. Hence many protective factors are out of the control. Your protective factor only works when there is the respect and unconditional intentions of the next person. Find out those close family members and friends to whom you can speak about your problem without any fear. Their ability to understand you will determine how effective they are. This also depends upon the level of support you are looking for. Parents, spouse, and children are natural protective factors and then comes your family and friends.

Coping skills: It is said that you are the first person to help you. This is your ability to manage uncomfortable emotions in a healthy way. Resilient is one of the skills which helps you to manage setbacks. Emotional Intelligence is the key part of coping skills. Ask the questions yourself, are you aware of your own emotions & feelings? Do you recognize the impact of the same on your behaviour?

Health: Physical health is very important. Proper exercise, healthy diet and enough physical activities including simple walk or cycling keep you fit. More you fit, the more your ability to manage stress, failure, and struggles. The benefits of physical activities are amazing. That’s why our ancestors told us, “Health is wealth.”

Purpose: It is the reason for being. If you have a strong purpose, your power increases, you become passionate and then struggles become tiny. This is a great protective factor in our life. Finding the meaning in life will help you fulfill the purpose and goals in life. We can’t live life as it comes. There should be the reasons you get up in the morning. If you have a purpose, it can guide life decisions, influence behaviour, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning in life. The overall process makes you strong.

Thinking: Albert Einstein quoted, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking”. You become what you think. Healthy thinking is one of the protective factors in your life. We all are the victims of cognitive distortions. Every event in our life triggers irrational thoughts in our mind. Those thoughts influence our behaviour. Everybody experiences those thoughts but if it is more extreme then, it is harmful for us. Identify those irrational thoughts. Think how you can use your strengths and weaknesses rationally in life. Thinking clearly by understanding different biases, irrational thoughts will make a stronger self.

There is another protective factor like hobbies. Hobbies give you energy. Pursue your hobby and make life easier.

Check the level of those protective factors currently you have and make your plan to make it stronger. Remember the stronger your protective factors, stronger you are. Protective factors are your immune system which helps you to keep you healthy mentally. 

(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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