Being + Doing
Leadership is about having a spirit of the need for this too and that too. The focus is on being and doing. It’s not a choice but is the only way forward for the genuine well being of people, society & environment. Accepting that there is no option is difficult. Imagine that when the atmosphere is positive, people are proactive in their own care and for others, like co-workers, customers, the environment and community what can stop the success of such Self aspirated people who are a part of a collaborative culture? This will require sharing of Joy, a constant course correction and exchange of hard feedback, without which no change is sustainable. This does not mean that we will not spread joy or appreciate the good things, but that we will not hesitate to have the tough conversations/ confrontations on performance and on setting things right. Objectivity with Compassion is desired, and both must co-exist.
A lot of CEO‘s are reaping the benefits of their personal & the co’s branding by doing noble acts in public but internally, the situation is grim.CSR & Purpose are the umbrellas’ under which CEO’s take cover to promote their self interest . Budgets are being cut for employee welfare activities yet CSR in public is on a high. It’s time to wake up and set the internal things right by focusing on their well being as only that will be instrumental in helping them remain energised and the company survive better in the long run.
No woman or man is an island, they say, and for everyone, relationships matter. The starting point for all external relationships is the relationship with your own self. Many of us eagerly wait for external validation – for people to trust, appreciate or believe in us. Sometimes, we also give in to the bad, thinking of it as a necessary compromise for the overall good. Before seeking external validation, why not start by doing the things that one expects or would like from others. Threads of our purpose in life need to be awakened and aligned with the larger purpose of the company.
In this journey, there are a few things that can make a huge impact on our personal and professional lives – and in today’s world, the lines between the two are increasingly blurred. These things include better time management, the ability to face the mirror without illusions, and equally show the mirror to others without bias, and finally take in and give out hard feedback – always in a psychologically safe environment. A safe place, where candid feedback can be shared without others listening is very important – both at home and in the workplace.
There are four things, I think, that can be easily done to make these effective. Initially, it is a conscious action that needs to be taken, but over time it becomes a habit. Did you SHARE, CARE, LISTEN OR SPEAK TO SOMEONE TODAY WITHOUT ANY EXPECTATIONS?
Here are some examples-
Caring in the Workplace: Secure leaders are not afraid to show they care for their people, the environment or the community. Insecure leaders worry that it might jeopardise their authority or make them appear sentimental and soft. What the latter don’t realise is that happy workers and happy customers form a virtuous loop, increasing the ROI multiple times. Also, a small effort goes a long way and creates a culture of caring throughout the organisation. Trusting people can pay back multiple times. In one company I visited, a trusted team was created and completely empowered to take all decisions when there was a cyclone warning. The team, fully empowered with trust and responsibility, worked tirelessly and ensured that everyone reached home safe. Many of them continued working day and night even if they couldn’t reach office to take care of their responsibilities. Customer satisfaction sky rocketed. A vote of thanks for the team in office meant that next time more volunteering was automatic. When a leader from another department praised someone from the Customer Care unit saying that his Customer was really happy it moved others to aspire to do even better.
The peer group equally made sure people did not learn the wrong lessons. One member who decided to show his bravado by refusing the rain coat caught fever – but did not get much sympathy. He was not a hero to the team for his actions, but one who actually increased pressure on the others because they also had to take care of his work when he fell sick.
Sharing in the Workplace: I remember one case when a boss, entitled to a business class seat, happily gave it to a co-worker who had a bad back – and got back a lifetime loyalty for his gesture. In another organisation, everyone put pooled a small share of their bonus to create a recreational room where retired employees could come and spend time. Some people were not keen to put in even a small portion of their bonus, but many changed their minds when the thought struck them that they would also become retirees one day. The return – great, lifelong relationships and wisdom and advice that one would never get otherwise.
Listening in the Workplace: Leaders who dictate everything, refuse to listen to ideas of subordinates, and believe that their every word needs to be followed in Toto are bad leaders who will never earn the loyalty of the team or get the good ideas flowing from the ground. Sometimes, the team needs to get together to stand for something they know is right.
An example comes to mind. A production manager in a foods factory insisted on using Transfat because it was cost effective. It was also not against the law. But one day, his team got together to find a solution to producing stuff without Transfats while not increasing costs. The top management had to take a decision and they backed the team and appreciated the initiative. Brand loyalty shot up. One day, the law was passed to deter Transfats, and the company’s reputation went sky-high when customers realised that it had made the changeover even when there was no law against it. The boss himself changed – he started taking more ideas from his team. He realised that he had been made to look good because of his team’s actions.
Speaking in the Workplace: The way one interacts in the workplace is perhaps even more important than what happens at home where trust and love allows many things to be forgotten and forgiven. In one workplace, my immediate supervisor and I never got along. But one day, when I fell ill, he came home to take check about my wellbeing and spoke with my family and offered his support. Our relationship changed to one of mutual respect. It was not that I agreed with him in every professional matter, but his little act made a huge differen ce to my attitude while listening to him. The art of speaking is particularly important when you have to give hard feedback or convey bad news. How you do so makes a huge difference. While sharing feedback, you can be destructive or constructive. You can destroy a person’s self confidence or give him the boost to do better. The choice often lies in the way the feedback is given. In many cases, people believe a note or an email will do. But I have found that face to face conversations always work best.
A leader who is secure can be influenced to Share, Care, listen and speak appropriately but an insecure person will find it difficult to pick it up even when he is the No 1. Small Nudges and behaviour changes can make a huge impact. There was a time when ice spilt in the canteen, and the CEO started picking up the ice cubes; in minutes the situation was in control and the spirit of reciprocity was generated.
It’s time to be the MASTER of your own mind, be secure from within and make use of
ATM for Happiness i.e.,
Accept yourself and others as they are
Take Charge of the present with Objectivity & Compassion
Make the Most of what you already have
Did you Care, share, listen or speak to someone today? If not do it and soon it will become a movement / way of life? When being good translates into Doing good it becomes GREAT! My inbox will always remain open to hear about miracles from you.
Author: Naveen Khajanchi is an Alumnus of INSEAD. He is CEO of NKH FOUNDATION PVT LTD which is into Leadership Search . He is also an Executive Coach and Family Business Advisor.
For more details, visit: www.naveenkhajanchi.com