Friday, August 20, 2010

Clustering the World Societies on Leadership...

Recently when I was working on Leadership course assignment on GLOBE research, I was mystified with the potential of a research which can classify the whole world by standardized leadership attributes segregated across geographies. GLOBE research classifies the world in 10 societal clusters which can be defined under 9 cultural dimensions. So crisp!

As the GLOBE research findings depict - “Leader effectiveness is contextual - it is embedded in the societal and organizational norms, values, and beliefs of the people being led”.

“Charismatic value based leadership” is often quoted by who’s-who of business world to be highly efficacious which is confirmed by the GLOBE research, worldwide. Also, the "Team Oriented" leadership, which contributes to the essence of robust and good leadership, is seen as moderately or highly desirable by business people in all cultures.

Precisely, the research findings suggest that Leaders are envisioned as the embodiment of an ideal state of subjects, and hence, deemed as the society’s instruments for change.

Last but not the least -

“Leadership embarks on where the logic ceases …”

-- By Rajneesh Goyal

Sunday, August 1, 2010

कभी सोचता था कि ज़िन्दगी जीत लूँगा मैं...

कभी सोचता था कि ज़िन्दगी जीत लूँगा मैं,
यह जहाँ जीत बाँध लूँगा में,
हवा में उड़ सकूँगा मैं
पर उड़ने कि तो बात छोडें,
यहाँ तो चलना ना सीख पाया मैं,
यहाँ तो छलना ना सीख पाया मैं,
यहाँ अपने और पराये को न समझ पाया मैं ।

औरो के गम में दुखी हो जाए वोह मैं हूँ,
औरो की खुशी में मचल जाए वोह मैं हूँ,
पर दोस्त यह दुनिया दिल से नहीं दिमाग से चलती है,
यह दुनिया जस्बात से नहीं, चालाकी से चलती है ।

लगता था मैं दुनिया के रंग में ढल गया हूँ,
लालच और इर्ष्या से भर गया हूँ,
इस दुनिया को मैं परख गया हूँ,
पर सोच के बैठूं तो, मैं वहीं का वहीं हूँ ,
मानो दुनिया गोल घूम कर वापिस आ गई है,
पर मैं अभी वहीं का वहीं हूँ,
लाखों करोड़ों की भीड़ में अकेला कहीं हूँ,
अकेला कहीं हूँ ।

अकेला कहीं हूँ, करोड़ों में,
जैसे कोई तारा हो ब्रह्माण्ड में,
पर टीम तिमता रहता है कहीं,
पर टीम तिमाता रहता है कहीं,
आशा की किरण पहुँच जाती है कहीं ना कहीं,
आशा की किरण पहुँच जाती है कहीं ना कहीं ,
चाहे देखने वाला समझे ना समझे उसे,
नई सी होती है हर रौशनी,
उसी तरह से मैं नया हूँ,
मेरा हर ख्याल नया है,
मानो या न मानो इसे तुम,
मैं वहीं का वहीं हूँ,
मैं वहीं का वहीं हूँ,
दुनिया घूम कर आ गई है,
दुनिया गोल घूम कर वापिस आ गई है ॥
-- आदित्य दातार

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"The Karate Kid" - A Situational Leadership Experience

Watching movies has been one of my most favorite and serious leisure time activities. With this orientation, after viewing it twice or thrice alone on Star Movies or other movie channels, watching ‘The Karate Kid (1984)’ during my MBA education at a leadership class was the last thing I could have expected. But, to my pleasant surprise, our professor at SPJIMR was creative enough to suggest movie-viewing as her ‘Androgogy’ for leadership course in class this year. And, guess what, the first movie she suggested was ‘The Karate Kid’. Bless the person who coined the phrase ‘The World is Round’ because in symbolic terms (and of course in literal terms) it is!

Our professor had guided us to view the feature film with an orientation to correlate Mr. Miyagi as a Situational Leader and Daniel as a follower to such a leader-cum-mentor. In the movie, we found Mr. Miyagi to be a ‘Telling / Directing – High task focus, low relationship focus’ (S1) kind of a leader at the beginning when Daniel had low competence but a high commitment to learn Karate due to his frequent defeat at the hand of his rival. Though he has good feelings for Daniel as a neighbor but Mr. Miyagi was very task focused when he just means business and puts in a pre-condition that ‘no questions be asked’ during the training. He first hands over Daniel just small errands that makes him work hard but with a purpose, which Daniel doesn’t understand. He is completely fed up of painting the fences and waxing the floors. When he was at the verge of giving up, that is the point when Mr. Miyagi understood that the commitment level may go down and though he has gained some competence of ‘blocking’ in Karate but he doesn’t realize. That’s the night when Mr. Miyagi showed him the target of these exercises and tries to head towards building a Mentor-Mentee relationship and understanding, along with task focused approach. He acted more as a ‘Selling / Coaching – High task focus, high relationship focus’ (S2) kind of leader when he started feeling that Daniel may drift towards a D2 type (some competence but low commitment) follower. Here again we see that the leader understood and transformed in the new situation.

Once, Daniel develops the trust on Mr. Miyagi that he actually means business and he also gave in to accepting him completely as a very reliable coach, manifesting his respect for him. At so many times, beyond this, we see moments of a strong bonding between the two. They started sharing great personal moments together along with preparing sincerely for the tournament. During these times, Daniel had started developing high competence but his commitment varied due to the physical pains that he had to go through and sacrifices that he had to make. Mr. Miyagi inclined himself more towards an S3 kind of leader who at times focuses more on the relationship than the task, as he knows that Daniel is learning at a good pace. Now, only thing that could help them win is the strength of faith that Daniel develops in Mr. Miyagi so that he understands the nuances of the game at the appropriate times when Mr. Miyagi signals him about his own understanding. This shows the impact during the finals of the tournament too, when Daniel was so badly injured. It was next to impossible for him to go in for the finals. At this point of time, Mr. Miyagi does a treatment with his hands in which Daniel believes because of the relationship they share. Finally, he was able to participate in the fight and win the tournament. Here, Mr. Miyagi’s ‘Participating / Supporting – Low task focus, high relationship focus’ (S3) approach to leadership actually worked.

So beautifully this movie taught us about the practical concepts of Situational Leadership and we never realized. Did we? Maybe we watch few other movies like this and we can develop leadership theories of our own. Shall we!!!
--By Shwetabh Singh

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Are we afraid of being a leader?

The word ‘leader’ has wrongly become synonymous with the image of a corrupt politician in the minds of an average Indian. It’s difficult to squarely blame him though; given the fact the country has seen quite a fair share of them in the recent past. But it does raise the all important question … can the average citizen really be a leader? Once again, the common man’s reply would be a firm negative.

Is there a false paranoia or negativity associated with leadership nowadays which gives rise to this belief that it is something beyond the common man? Why such fear and pessimism? Have we really forgotten what leadership really is and that it is neither confined to any institution nor restricted by age, location or time.

Leadership is contextual and definitely a part of our day to day life. Reminds me of a popular ad on TV where all it takes is a single child to lead a dispirited group to remove a roadblock. Yes, we all liked the ad but how many of us would actually do that? Did we realize the sad reality of today’s India or blissfully chose to ignore, falsely assuring ourselves that “Aal Izz Well” with us? Bitter truths are hard to accept.

Take this, a real-life scenario. While waiting for his flight at one of India’s busiest airports, my friend saw one of his co-passenger collapses due to a heart attack. What followed was utter chaos. Even if one were to pardon the atrocious lack of emergency medical care at the airport, what does one make of the passengers, ground staff, police, shop-owners et all? Mere onlookers, all perhaps willing to help, but not a single soul ready to step forward and take the initiative! Isn't it expected of a leader to show courage, responsibility and ownership in times of severe adversity, to give hope when there seems none and show the way inspiring others?

I can proudly say that my friend did not take a step back unlike the ‘crowd’, revived the passenger through CPR and then with some help, saved his life by ensuring earliest possible medical aid amidst all the confusion. Not only that, he has now taken up this issue with the airport and airline authorities to ensure such a crisis never repeats. A common man exhibit leadership without any fear and make a difference. Inspirational, to say the least!

So what was it stopping the others? Was it really a fear of failure or have we become so used to being led that we have forgotten how, where and when to lead? What are we waiting for?
The right time to lead is NOW … let there be no fear!
--By Rajarshi Chatterjee

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Can leadership be taught?

“More than Knowledge, leaders need character. Values and ethics are vitally important. The basic leadership can be taught. What is desperately needed is more responsible leadership-a new ethic to confront the challenges of our day”-Oscar Arais

Today Leadership has become “Buzz” Word and is taught in almost all B-schools. Most of the management schools agree that some aspects of leadership could be taught, although there may be differences in the views regarding how successfully leadership skills can be developed through formal courses.

I believe leadership can be taught at basic level. Habits of mind, values and dispositions, skills and knowledge are all requisite aspects of leader¬ship which all can be developed. People can be taught to take responsibility, exercise power and become active agents.

Aspects like reflecting, analysing a situation, ability to communicate effectively, prepare a succession plan, involve people, develop teams etc. are indispensable tools for the exercise of leadership which can be strengthen by practices of leadership.

Courses on leadership can benefit people enormously as they provide a platform where people can draw their experience, reflect on the challenges they face and the ways that they usu¬ally do things, and consciously put in place more effec¬tive approaches. Education and train¬ing as well as systematic and disciplined experience with feedback are essential building blocks of effective leadership which should be explored.

However, teaching like a formal class of leadership educa¬tion can explain less of leadership develop¬ment. Leadership can be developed through challenging assignments, human relationship, mentoring and any other experiences which may have impact on leadership development. These parts of leadership can be learned, but they're almost impossible to teach. And it's even harder to teach someone how to do them well. That is why leadership is an apprentice trade. One learns mostly by doing it. Development of leadership is more important than leadership talent. Someone may be born with a great leadership potential but talent can remain unnoticed if person does not get an opportuni¬ty to develop on its leadership potential. One will learn faster if one seeks out development opportunities, choose what one do and get feedback that can be worked upon.

The U.S. Army is a example of institutions that try to teach leadership. They emphasise on the "content," the knowledge and experience associated with acts of leading.

Thus the ability of leadership to be taught is more a onus on student than its teacher.

--By Bhavishka Sabharwal

Monday, July 12, 2010

ना जाने ये आँधियाँ कहाँ तक ले जाएंगी

ना जाने ये आँधियाँ कहाँ तक ले जाएंगी,
ये रास्ते क्या मंज़र दिखाएंगे,

जीतना जिसकी चाह होती है,
रास्ते वो खोज ही लेते हैं,

रात में जो उजाला देखते हैं,
जो सिर्फ़ पाना जानते हैं,

जीतते हमेशा वही हैं,
जो ज़िंदगी जीना जानते हैं...

-- विकास श्रीवास्तव

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Can Leaders be made?

A debate that plagued mankind for generations! Can leaders be made or are they born? Truth be told, it’s a question that plagues not only the upper echelons of corporate world but also the political fraternity.

And perhaps it is as much a seed of our feudal devotion and servile mindset as it is of common understanding. How else can we explain dynasty of politics? Right from the days of kings and queens to our present generation of political leaders it carries the same story. The Mughal’s, the Rajput’s, the Nizam’s to the Royal families of England, Jordan, Japan et al to the Kennedys, Bush, Roosevelt’s, Taft’s of US, the Dys of Philipines and our very own Gandhi’s.

Why does the venerated “Leadership Institutes” that our corporate bell-weathers have, fail to create a great line of successors? Why does Britain still talks of Sir Winston Churchill as an epitome of leadership?

Is there a secret formula to make leaders and churn them out of a “school”. Crack the formula and become a millionaire!!!
-- By Sayan Ghosh