Are you a People Pleaser?

p

Don’t twist yourself to fit into who people want you to be – just to make them happy.

You are a Person. You are not a Pretzel.

 

Advertisements

“Not So Perfect”

 

aba

 

Sipping tea in my garden this morning, I watched a little butterfly, perched atop a freshly opened, fragrant pink rose. As someone who is mighty fascinated by butterflies, I leaned forward to take a closer look. The little creature had a beautiful pair of wings, with an intricate design which was clearly visible as it stretched open its wings, in an attempt to fly, Also, one of its wings was tattered!!

I felt a sudden surge emotions for the little being. As I was contemplating on what I could do to help and feeling sad at the same time, my gaze was fixed at the little wings trying their best at flapping.

Lo, behold! After several attempts, it flew and landed itself on the next flower. After gorging on the sweet nectar, it went on to fly further.

Leaving me with a thought – You really don’t need a perfect pair of wings to fly!

It reminded me of various conversations that I’ve had with many senior leaders, who choose to stay stuck in the Perfectionist Frame of mind.As their Executive Coach, it was my duty to make them see the mirror and recognize how this mindset was often counterproductive and coming in their way of success.

Over conversations, we slowly worked on the limiting belief pattern and I am proud of so many of my Coachees, who learnt the art of letting go, slowly but surely. Their pursuit for perfection was slowly replaced by a pursuit for effectiveness.

And therefore realized – Yes, you really don’t need a perfect pair of wings to fly.

Wimbledon 2016: What Roger Federer’s marathon five-setter teaches us about champions

What are the ingredients that go into making “Mental Strength”?

How do you tap into this strength, especially when you are in a challenging situation and the odds that you are surrounded by, seem absurdly insurmountable?

What is that magic ingredient that defines a Champion?

In light of Roger Federer’s “Epic” win at The Wimbeldon 2016, I was asked these questions at an interview conducted by First post, Network 18. My views as a Life Coach, from a vantage point of observation, where I have had the privilege to see many leaders unleash their greatness, for over a decade now, are summed up here.

A token of humble thanks to Ms. Sulekha Nair, Features Editor at First Post who has summed up our discussion so beautifully.

 

 

 

The ‘Vulnerable’ Leader – Do you have the courage to show your authentic self?

The fifth game would decide the clincher of the title between Chicago Bulls and Utah Jazz, two of the best teams in the game during the late 90’s. The five game series had tied 2-2 and the best player in the world, Michael Jordan was going through sleepless nights between the fourth game and the fifth. He wished he be injured during practice, wished that his food be poisoned and he be admitted to the hospital. He wished that some calamity befall and the games stay as they are!

The reason? He did not want to be a part of the fifth match and stake the reputation of Air Jordan, the greatest player centre court had ever seen by losing the penultimate game. At the pinnacle of his career, the greatest basketball player of the world faced the most interesting challenge of his life – “The Challenge of Vulnerability.” It is a different story that he played the game, with all his heart and went on to win the most valuable player trophy at the NBA, but his story certainly resonates with the stories of some of the greatest people who’ve lived their time on earth.

How many of us have faced this situation when the odds are stacked against us, when we really want to quit and give up, when we are haunted by the demons that lie dormant deep within us? How many times in our lives have we almost given up, feeling a sense of desperation and deprivation ready to call it quits when your leadership is challenged? How many times have you felt like a vulnerable leader?

There’s good news. When a Michael Jordan can feel vulnerable, so can you and I. We all have our moments when the odds are stacked against us and we question our own ability and capability.

During those moments you need to realize that vulnerability is not an act of cowardice, but the ability to propel yourself and show your authentic self, first to yourself and then to the rest of the world. It is that force that you experience during the most testing of times, yet you break out of its shackles and emerge triumphant. Vulnerability is what brings out the best from within us and makes us stronger.

vulnerable

There are a few myths which are associated with vulnerability which is very important for us to get done with. The top three myths regarding vulnerability are as follows –

  1. Vulnerability is weakness: No it isn’t. It is the strength that gives us an opportunity to surpass our weaknesses
  2. You can stay away from vulnerability: It is a part of our existence and hence a part of us. No one can stay away from vulnerability, however we can cope with it and emerge victorious.
  3. It is not about going all alone: Vulnerability is also about disclosure, about the confidence to confide in someone who you trust and possibly guide you out of the situation.

There are moments during your course of engagement that you feel low, feel the need to back out, feel that the time and the situation are not suitable for your mind to propel towards action, fret not! Vulnerability could be an asset if used well could guide you into your next orbit of confidence and conviction.

Vulnerability is an asset, use it well!

5 Tips for Leading Effective Virtual Team Meetings

 It is conference call time for a multinational headquartered in Paris. Professionals in three time zones get ready with their details and plug themselves in the conference. The first greeting starts with a small tease with the professionals in three time zones expressing three salutations – A good morning, another one good afternoon and the third one expressing a good evening. They break the ice with another banter stating how the time zones have been made irrelevant by technology.  They then get into their engagements, discussing serious issues pertaining to the clients.  This is no exception, but a rule in a globally connected ecosystem.

Virtual teams are the new realities of the business world. With physical geographies having been obsolete in terms of businesses being done, to succeed it is but important for every professional to understand the nuances of managing virtual teams across the globe.

Given below are some techniques to manage virtual team meetings effectively –

  1. Motivate people to engage in relaxed conversations

Being in different time zones and from seemingly different cultures, it is but important to break the ice before hitting the point. Motivate your team from across the world to engage in relaxed pleasantries if they are meeting for the first time so that the team is relaxed to share ideas and opinions with each other.

2.  Encourage cultural sensitivity

As your teams move into virtual conversations across several locations, it is pertinent that each one of them attending the meet is sensitized to the cultures of the others who are participating in the discussion. Because it is virtual, it becomes more imperative than face to face meetings as to be sensitive to the diversity that each of the member brings to the table.

3.  Describe work process

Each individual has his/her unique way of looking at tasks. In a virtual team, where time is a huge factor, it is important that you upfront describe the discussions and deliberations so that each one of the member is in the same page. Setting standardization in the deliberations will save a lot of time, which otherwise would be difficult.

4. Have clear and detailed deliverables

It saves a lot of energy and effort from either sides when you have an absolute clear and detailed deliverables to be discussed and concluded at the end of the meeting. Everyone, irrespective of the geographies loves to be a part of a professional culture which is focused and has a clear agenda to discuss and deliver.

 5.  Be meticulous in your approach

Remember that the most important aspect of a virtual team is how you effectively communicate with each other. Hence, it is important that you become a great team player across the board. Make sure you listen intently and ask questions rather than forcing your opinions on others. Also, it would be great if you could call people by their names and get everyone to contribute their ideas to the discussion.  Speak slow and use short sentences so that everyone understands clearly what you are saying. State what seems obvious to you because if you assume that people across geographies understand a few things without saying, you would end up in a position to call for the next meeting…albeit the same agenda!

There is no such thing as “Women Leadership”

 

On January 16, 2016 I was invited to the First Annual Coaching Conference – The World Game Conference, hosted by Erickson Coaching International and Inspire Coaching Systems. A day full of deep conversations and sharing of perspectives on Leadership, Life, Dreaming Big, Translating Innovation into Action, Transitioning boundaries – left the delegates with an enhanced sense of purpose and renewed goals.

As part of the agenda, was a panel discussion, on the topic – There is no such thing as “Women Leadership”. Many interesting and thought provoking insights came up in this discussion. As one of the coaches invited to participate on the Panel, I have tried to summarise my thought process on this subject, in this blog post:

Living near the border of Tibet in the Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, the Mosuo tribe live in extended households with the head of the family is a matriarch. Interestingly, Mosuo women typically handle business decisions for their families.  Likewise, the Nagovisi tribe, an inherent of South Bougainville, an island in the west of New Guinea has ladies involved in leadership and ceremonies and pride most in the land entitled to them.

These are two distinct yet exemplary examples of how women are leading from the front even in the most non reported tribes of the world. This practice is not a new phenomenon but centuries old. And if we look around ourselves, we will find many many examples – be it Indira Nooyi, Sheryl Sandberg, Chanda Kochhar, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and so on, in the corporate world ; Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, PT Usha, Anjali Bhagwat in sports, or in politics like Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, Queen Elizabeth, Golda Mein, Aung San Suu Kyi to name a few.

So the statement that we have here –  “There is no such thing as women leadership.”

Of course there is no such thing.

How could one even categorize leadership and slot it in a very narrow bucket of gender. While doing this we become discriminatory and myopic and take away all the credit of the hard work, passion, dedication, effort and the vision that exemplary leaders, irrespective of the gender, have showcased through centuries of leadership.

Leadership is certainly not gender based, hence, there is no such thing as women leader. My sojourn as an Executive Coach has provided me the opportunity to engage my services and closely work with senior leaders globally. Through years of enriching myself with the experiences seen and shared I have realized that each one of them had their individual strengths and their own styles of leadership, without a hint of gender intonation.

Stereotypes are created by the society. Or else how would you define a leader that is Sanjeev Kapoor, the globally recognized Chef who owns the kitchen space and is a male and Mary Kom who is the queen of the square boxing ring. If gender had to be looked at leadership and thereby their contributions to their individual fields, the roles should be been reversed with Sanjeev boxing and Mary Kom cooking in the kitchen.

Through my years of engagement, as an Executive Coach, I have had the opportunity of working with gentlemen CEOs who have a very nurturing and participative style of leadership, the attributes which is socially declared as feminine. Likewise, I have had the opportunity to work with authoritative and directive high performing women senior executives, as their Coach.  They surely make no bones about their direct approach to communication and execution. If leadership had to be mapped in terms of gender, again the roles should have been certainly reversed.

I ultimately believe that gender has nothing to do with leadership. Leadership is an attitude. Leadership is a way of being. It is about the style one adopts and adapts, to suit the environment, irrespective of the gender. Hence, I conclude by saying that there is no such thing as women leadership and also add a caveat that there is no such thing as male leadership too.