Sunday, August 30, 2020

Vulnerability and Blind spots

During my school days, I had a scholar friend. He was very studious, always wanted to be the first in the class in everything. His parents were very serious about his career. They had enrolled him in all types of classes. He was perfect in most of the things. He was the student who was the first person to raise his hand to answer, the first person to help teachers to bring their books, papers, etc. He was popular among all teachers but not among us. However, he was always in stress and under pressure. His mind was always occupied with questions like, “what if I don’t have the answer, what if I couldn’t answer first, why somebody knows more than me, why some others scored than me.” He wanted to be a performing and perfect student.

As a human being, we are not perfect. Even the most perfect person is totally imperfect. However, understanding the imperfection is crucial. Most of the time, competition makes us more active and we tend to be first in everything. Being first is very nice, however it does not necessarily mean we should have all the answers to everything.  

We also have people, leaders, employees around us who want to be perfect, strong, and performing employees. However, this is not helpful to anybody. This thinking is the major flaw in our development.  We lack that vulnerability which helps us to be wise people. A vulnerable person is comfortable with not having all the answers, engages perspectives and thoughts of their people and does not have to be the first with an idea or the first one to answer. Most of the time people consider vulnerability as the weakness, however lack of vulnerability creates blind spot in your life.

This “blind spot” exists not only in our collective leadership but also in our everyday social interactions. We are blind to the source dimension from which effective leadership and social action come into being.

As per the research, most of the leaders have those blind spots. This is because they have the pressure to prove that they know everything. As expected by followers, leaders should have all answers. Another important area is lack of self-reflection and inner space. 

In general, we know very little about this inner space. Inside Out approach is taken rarely to enhance the performance. Unfortunately, there are different tools & techniques seldom used. This lack of knowledge constitutes a blind spot in our approach to leadership and management.

We need to be reflective and take the inside out view to make the personal and professional life more effective and enriching. There are few techniques like Johari Window, where you improve self -awareness by interacting with other people. Another philosophy is Mindfulness where you make aware yourself with all your senses. When you use all the senses, you reflect more; by doing this you develop the Intention to cultivate awareness, attention to what is occurring in the present moment and attitude that is non-judgmental, curious, and kind.       

However, the most powerful method is “holding your inner space”. You can create or “hold” a space that invites others in. The key to holding a space is listening to yourself (to what life calls you to do), to others (particularly others who may be related to that call), and to that which emerges from the collective that you convene. But it also requires a good deal of intention. You must keep your attention focused on the highest future possibility of the group.     

Finally, it all starts with “you” and making yourselves aware what’s there for you in it. We should not shy away to take help from others if required.  

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle; Vitality in Human Resource  

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Don't be Judgemental

I was in the hospital for the annual medical check-up. This is a specialty hospital and always crowded. You have to move to different departments to take a few tests. While I was waiting to meet one of the doctors, there were few regular patients and their relatives waiting. One of the elder women was in a wheelchair and she was accompanied by another young woman. The chemistry between both women was amazing, they were hugging each other, joking on something. The young woman was taking all care needed to the patient. Everybody thought that they must be mother and daughter.

While this was happening, young women went to collect the report from another window. a few others started conversing with the woman, chit chatting about the general things.

“Your daughter is lovely; she takes good care of you.” One of the other patients to woman.

“Yes, she takes all care of me like a daughter.” Woman replied.  

“Like a daughter?” asked another woman,

“She is my daughter in law, but she is like my daughter.” Elder woman replied proudly.

This is the amazing & positive story of a relationship. The relationship also must be reciprocal. Mother in law must be treating her daughter in law like a daughter.

This is also the example of how we perceive things and make our opinions based on the face value. Everybody was perceiving them as mother-daughter. Having a brain and thinking is a gift to human beings, however most of the time this gift is not used wisely. We interpret things based on the face value. We create opinions and we become judgemental. We rush to the judgement without reasons.

We never imagine the daughter in law treating her mother in law properly. Whenever we see such a relationship, we label them without understanding much in detail. We judge people based on their clothes they wear, the way they talk, the property they own. We respect people who have materialist positions like big cars, big homes and look smart, beautiful and handsome. It is ok to create opinions but should be based on the facts and experiences.      

How to avoid being judgemental?

Don't pass judgment: If you find yourself being judgmental, stop yourself.

Stop and step back: Instead of just commenting, making any opinion, creating some assumptions, just stop and step back. Think for a while. We make assumptions based on our experiences, get out that baggage. Experiences are good but not necessary they should dominate your viewpoint.

Be curious: Instead of giving direct opinion, be curious. Ask questions, try to understand the situation by being more observant.  

Take a pause: Pause is the powerful tool in everything. It gives you the freedom to think. Try to challenge your assumptions.

Understand: Instead of judging someone for what he's done or how he looks, try instead to understand the person. Show empathy.

Accept: Once you begin to understand, or at least think you kind of understand, try to accept the fact.  

Next time when you see someone, simple looking and in shabby cloth don’t pass the judgement. He may be a rich person in your area. When you see someone who looks wealthy, he may be in debt. 

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle; Vitality in Human Resource  

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Always ask yourself, "Fact or Opinion?"

Social media is a powerful tool. It is also important nowadays to reach, build relationships and engage with your audience. This also can be used effectively in the business to create leads and finally sell your product and services. Everybody knows the power of using social media. However, it also has an evil in it. Your personal security and safety are at stake. You are at the risk of cyber bullying. Army of trolls is waiting for you. You don’t know the fact. Even mainstream media is also reporting one sided news. The other side of the news, which is inconvenient to them, is never broadcasted and the same is applicable for social media. People who look happy may not be happy in real life. In fact, social media (WhatsApp university is ahead in this) is creating half -witted citizens. Everybody is expert in everything and wants to comment on everything without understanding the logic. Sometimes they don’t even know what they are forwarding. 

The whole world is shallow, opinionated, polarised. You can see all types of emotions on social media. Sometimes, people demonstrate their natural behaviour on social media, though not real life. Reporters and journalists are not reporting facts but their opinion. Everybody has their own biases based on their friable value system.  

The issue is not about the social media itself; the issue is about knowing what fact is and what perception, opinion is. In day to day, professional and personal life, we create opinions and perceptions and comment without understanding facts. We become judgemental about people, situations and everything without giving much thought. We don’t discuss events but people. We tag people in different categories based on our opinions   

We tend to be driven by our emotions and opinions, which create a vicious cycle by fuelling each other. Our emotions strengthen our opinions, which in turn, intensify our emotions. This leads to impulsive acts and unhelpful longer-term consequences, which help to maintain the overall problem. This behaviour creates unnecessary tension in the society, relationship, personal & professional life.

Realising that many thoughts are opinion rather than fact makes it less likely that we’ll be distressed by them, and more able to make wise and calm decisions about the best action to take.

Hence whenever you read something or encounter some situation, ask a simple question, Facts or Opinion?

Facts are evidence based which supports truth. Facts are indisputable. They are driven by rational thought process.

However, Opinions and perceptions are based on our belief and personal views. Opinions can be argued easily. They are driven by emotions and personal feelings.

When you realise that these are opinions and perceptions, we can dive deep to understand it more.

During the feedback session, when the manager gives the feedback about some behaviour ask him the situation where he has observed that behaviour. If you are the manager, give the example of a situation where an employee demonstrated such behaviour. That’s the fact. Without giving any logic and context, it is just an opinion.

Take an example, your colleague walked fast ignoring your presence. It upsets you.

You may think, “How rude he is, or he is just selfish. He approaches only when he has some work.”  Here, the fact is only he walked fast & ignored you, rest all is opinion, your interpretation of the event. The reason behind, he has ignored you, may be different. Perhaps his mind may be pre-occupied. 

Asking this question, “fact or opinion”? has one benefit. You become mindful. You become free from unnecessary worries and unhappiness.

Just get into the habit of asking yourself, facts or opinion?

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle; Vitality in Human Resource  

Saturday, August 01, 2020

Mid-Career Crisis: Inevitable but manageable

I keep getting a lot of calls of friends, professionals, peers, consultants, journalists, professors, training & placement officers, conference organisers and many more. Purpose of calling varies from asking career advice, asking views to selling their products or services. After a few interactions, they become comfortable with me to share their personal achievement and sometimes ask for some help in career development. At a certain point, most of them mention that they are working hard, they are doing good in their current job, but they feel they are stuck and they are not enjoying what they are doing today. 

Have you experienced a similar feeling sometimes in life? You are successful, you are earning a good salary, you have everything with you but still you are unhappy and looking for something different in life. You are unhappy because you feel that opportunities you should get in the organizations are given to somebody else. This happens typically when you are at mid- career at the age of 40-50. 

There are 5 stages in career development: 

5 stages in career development

Exploration: Your initial period where you decide about your career.

Establishment: You gain the experience and you settle in the career you choose,

Mid-career: this is the stage where your struggle starts. You are established but you are not enjoying the job. You don’t want to change the job because now you are comfortable doing what you are doing and scared to take the risk. 

Late career and decline are the different stages of career and most of the people are at these 2 stages accept the fact of life and don’t do much. 

However mid -career is the stage where the mind-career crisis starts popping up in your life. 

Mind career crisis is defined by a sensation of feeling stuck, specifically in your career. People going through a rough patch in their professional development will commonly perceive a lack of growth and opportunities in their current work environment. Further at this stage life seems to settle, but you feel that nobody in the family, spouse, children etc or peers and superiors understand you. And you feel that nobody values your contribution. This is a strange situation. 

This stage is a normal phenomenon but can lead to disappointment, self-destructive behaviours and depression. It may also lead to making wrong decisions about the career like changing the job desperately without thinking much or starting your own venture. 

How do you deal with mid-career crisis?

First recognise the situation and face that. Believe that this is a temporary situation.  

There are two strategies to deal with this. Quit or Cope.

If you quit, there is no guarantee of solution. Your career crisis may go worse. People who are trapped in mid-career crisis mostly go for their own business, consultancy or alternate career. Before doing so, please review your situation and take a calculated risk.   

In our careers one of the issues is we are known for the position or title we hold and not really who we are. We have an identity which is associated with the job and company we work. Nobody knows us except for family, relatives and few co-workers. Ideally this should not be the case. This happens because we miss the larger purpose of the job and career and are held in the trap of the competition. 

So, find out the purpose. Go for the self -reflection journey. 

Invest in yourself. Learn new skills, read a lot of books, upgrade yourself.

Network strongly, there are a lot of people who may help and support you in your career journey. If you don’t share with them, how will they know that you need their support. It is reciprocal. Keep investing in building relations.

Find a Mentor or coach. Not necessarily we have all the knowledge and awareness about life. Get the mentor and if required Life Coach. You may have to invest some money here but consider this as an investment. 

Pursue your hobby, your “me time” is very important to reflect. Give some time to yourself and work on your hobbies. 

Finally, patience is the key. You have to learn to take the ownership of your career and life. Opportunities come silently, grab them.

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organization)

Please read the print replica of my latest book written for leaders on amazon kindle; Vitality in Human Resource    

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