Thursday, 30 April 2015

Leadership Qualities

In my last presentation, I had defined Leadership. I had also explained what it takes to be a good leader. How must a leader go about performing his/her duty that would justify leadership.  Today, I shall talk to you about the characteristic elements of personality which are necessary for a good leader:

1. The first on the list is Honesty. Honesty towards oneself. This means that the Leader must be himself or herself all the time. At no time the Leader should try to copy anyone or say something which he/she does not believe. The leader must believe in an honest, ethical behavior as a key value. All the actions will foster among the team members the same value. Once accepted the value can be a strong bond among members of the team, a group, or an organization.   


2. The second quality which a leader must have is the ability to delegate. This requires the leader’s trust in the members of the team. Besides, the leader should have the ability to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the members. This will help in assigning appropriate tasks to individual members. Such a delegation will be meaningful and the results will be more productive.  


3. Excellent communication represents the third important quality of a good leader. The leader should be in a position to communicate in a language which is understood by all – be it an uneducated skilled worker on the floor or the CEO who is a member of the board.Further the leader must ensure that whatever has been communicated is not only understood, but assimilated by all concerned. This will be possible only if the leader has an open mind and encourages rather than discourages feedback. 


4. The fourth important aspect of good leadership is sense of humor. In the competitive world of today everyone has to stretch to produce results – this means constant stress. As good morale is the key to productivity; the stress can be negated only by good humor. 


5. Another important quality is the confidence of the leader. An effective leader must be a person who stays calm, keeps working and forges ahead even in times of adversity. It is the confidence of a leader the leader that is rubs on the team, making them motivated and energetic performers.


6. A strong sense of commitment is the next aspect of positive leadership. Committed leaders often have a hands on approach and are able to do it themselves especially in times of a crisis. This approach ensures the commitment of the team, which feels secure under such decisive leadership. 


7. A positive attitude is also a very important aspect of leadership. Positive Attitude of the Leader ensures high energy levels of the team members. It also ensures that the Leader looks at every challenge as an opportunity rather than a roadblock. 


8. The eighth important aspect of a good leader is his creativity. In times of crisis, it is the leader’s creativity that enables him to think out of the box and to come out with an appropriate solution.   


9. The leader’s quality of Institution refers to his gut feeling about the course of action he is to take. The quality of Intuition enables a leader to take calculated risks in decision making when facing an unforeseen situation.  


10. The Ability to Inspire is the last and certainly not the least important quality. This enables a leader to positively motivate team members and enables him to leverage the strengths of the team members.  


Thanks for reading.

Self-made, Selfless Leader

Today is Prime Minister Modi’s Birthday. It took me time to think about the title of the blog. I always felt Modi’s success as leader is because of his selflessness, because he doesn’t have any selfish motives. Because he is not interested in any of his relatives or friends to benefit from his position. All these attributes which contribute for making a good leader are undoubtedly present and they are visible.


The intriguing part of the dynamic leader is his growth from a tea seller to the Prime Minister of the greatest democracy of the world. After contemplation I observed that here is a leader who plans the course of his life. And always keeps in view the challenges he is likely to face during the course. Of course this relates to the years after he had already decided to take up politics.


As a child he was an average student. There is no story talked about his brilliance during his education. However, his teacher confirmed that he was very good in debating. Besides he was fond of theater. There are no instances which have come to light which would depict that he was argumentative. But he was assertive. Whenever he took a decision he lived by it. He was never scared of upsetting his colleagues or seniors. The very fact that he did not accept his own child marriage shows that he was not scared of his parents or other members of the family. I find assertiveness is one of the very important quality of our Prime Minister.


When one is selfless it is very easy to take decisions (particularly hard decisions). He had decided to dedicate his life in the service of Nation. Therefore whatever he found was best for the nation he decided and pursued. These attributes of his personality are conspicuous even today. It is said about Steve Jobs that he was a great individual who could relate to only few persons in his large organization. He had built up the great organization but personally he would know only on a few members of his team. The same appears to be true for P.M Modi. He is also innovative, who takes new initiative and would be ready to bear the brunt of eventualities or the risks involved in such initiatives.


Wishing all the best for his long life. I would conclude by saying:

A very happy birthday Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


Thanks for reading.
 

Hurricane

I saw a number of children

On the large ground

Each playing with himself

Gloating over some mystery found.


Building their palaces

With pebbles, making thrones

Mixing muddy sands

With sun-bleached stones


No one talked with the other around

With their own vision each was bound

For each one

This was a home

A distinguished abode

On the horse of imagination

Each one rode


Suddenly came

A hurricane

And a sandstorm

Shattering their images

All their work


Each extended hand

To catch

Other for support

With ability to match


Do we need a hurricane to come together?

The Indian White Revolution


Today, India is the largest producer of milk in the world.

There was a time in Mumbai when milk was not easily available. The government diary in Worli was not able to meet the requirement of the large population of Mumbai. The Dudhwala Bhaiyas were supplying milk to only a few at very high price. While in a city like Mumbai the problem was grave, other cities were also not much better off. That was the time when a visionary leader and an excellent manager came to Anand, a small town in Gujarat. Unmistakably, he is remembered as the one who changed the ‘Milk scene of India’. On this Day, 9th September in 2012, he left this world leaving all the great memories of the stupendous task. I give below some details of his life and work as described in Wikipedia.


Verghese Kurien (26 November 1921 – 9 September 2012) was a renowned Indian social entrepreneur and is best known as the “Father of the White Revolution”, for his ‘billion-litre idea’ (Operation Flood) – the world’s biggest agricultural development programme. The operation took India from being a milk-deficient nation, to the largest milk producer in the world, surpassing the United States of America in 1998, with about 17 percent of global output in 2010–11, which in 30 years doubled the milk available to every person. Dairy farming became India’s largest self-sustaining industry. He made the country self-sufficient in edible oils too later on, taking head-on the powerful and entrenched oil supplying lobby.


He founded around 30 institutions of excellence (like AMUL, GCMMF, IRMA, NDDB) which are owned, managed by farmers and run by professionals. As the founding chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), Kurien was responsible for the creation and success of the Amul brand of dairy products. A key achievement at Amul was the invention of milk powder processed from buffalo milk (abundant in India), as opposed to that made from cow-milk, in the then major milk producing nations. His achievements with the Amul dairy led Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to appoint him as the founder-chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1965, to replicate Amul’s “Anand model” nationwide. He is regarded as the greatest proponents of the cooperative movement in the world, his work has alleviated millions out of poverty not only in India but also outside.


Based on the brief, we took the script and music to him and it was approved immediately. He was a proud Indian who always wanted original Indian advertising. After that, even as they launched a number of other products they never had to do separate advertising.

It was always Amul: The Taste of India. Dr Kurien used to say, “If I have a good product and good advertising, it will sell by itself.”

That’s why Amul is such an iconic brand. In the food industry where brands are constantly coming up with schemes, it has never relied on any schemes to dealers or consumers.

Everything moved; they’ve never dumped. He gave the agency a total free hand and never changed so much as a comma or full stop in the copy.

Thanks for reading.

Ganpati Visarjan

All good things must come to an end; so do all festivities. That will create space for a new beginning. At the same time it also gives all those who are involved in the festivities a relief, a break from the fast paced celebration. These 10 days of prayers to lord Ganesha of bringing Modaks and other sweets, of sharing and distributing Prasad to all who come to the Pandal for the Darshan pass very swiftly.

Today is the day of Visarjan. The devotees will immerse the idols of their favorite lord Ganpati in the sea. It’s the way of bidding adieu while requesting him to come again. Visarjan is also celebrated as a thankful sendoff to our favorite lord. It is said that whenever a new project is started with prayer to lord Ganpati, it brings good luck.

I have selected a number of images from the net which I consider truly reflect the festivities associated with Ganpati Visarjan. The sheer spirit and the enthusiasm with which the favorite lord is given a sendoff keeps people motivated enough to look forward to the next year’s celebration. Preparations for Ganesh Chaturthi are made a number of months before the festival begins. Now a days in Mumbai many housing societies have started making their own Mandaps. By this way social interaction among the society members is increased. Prayer to lord Ganesha becomes the common desire of all people residing in the society.

At the end of the photo gallery I have given some information about the beginning of the festival which will interest you.










Ganesh Chaturthi is said to have been celebrated since the days of Maratha rulers: Satavahana, Chalukya and Rashtrakuta. Mainly celebrated in the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh with a lot of zeal and splendour, Ganesh Chaturthi is the most popular festival of Maharashtra. Ganesh Chaturthi was started by Chhatrapati Shivaji as a public event to promote traditions and nationalism, this festival was even celebrated by Peshwas to worship Ganapati as their family deity. The festivities remained a family affair until the festival was revitalised by Bal Gangadhar Tilak in the late 19th Century, to take the message of freedom struggle to all Indians. This festival brought in a feeling of unity and togetherness in Indians that helped in revival of their patriotic spirit. Through the medium of this festival he brought together all the classes of societies against British by getting rid of the caste differences. He stressed on it that Ganesh Chaturthi was a festival for everyone irrespective of the caste or class, and so he organised cultural events like dance dramas, musical nights, and religious gatherings on this festival. That was the time when social and political gatherings weren’t allowed by the British. Festivals like Ganesh Chaturthi that continued for ten days gave people of every religion the scope to interact and know each other. It is from that time this festival has been celebrated every year with great fervor all over the country.

Thanks for reading.

Commonsense.


Indeed, there is so much of information fed to us from all directions everyday that basic common sense is often overlooked. The biggest problem that arises out of our care for minute details and not using our commonsense is that the big picture is lost. We become so much engrossed in the finer points that our perspective itself gets disturbed. There is no doubt that the goals can be achieved only by remaining focused and taking all the actions which as per our plan are required. But keeping commonsense active is necessary. And when we don’t do it, the danger is that working out the plans in greater details than necessary, we may lose our path. Following picture even talks about our destiny depends on our ability to use commonsense all the time.


If we are too anxious to achieve something which is not practical, sometime, it may result in to a disaster. Bhagwad Gita has time and again emphasized the importance of detachment. We must not be emotionally attached to any person or any object as this leads to a constant fear of losing the same. Likewise, when we are extremely anxious of achieving our objective, the anxiety also misleads us.


Common sense according to a British Philosopher ‘is the best sense’. Oscar Wilde went a step further when he said, “now a day’s most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes.”

Further, it’s very interesting to note the following observation:

The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character’s attributes of New Yorkers, common sense clocked as low as number 79. They say more intelligent than anybody is ‘everybody’. The perception of everybody represents the commonsense that one should never ignore. In fact, nothing astonishes men/women as much as common sense and plain dealing. If an idea is worth having once it’s worth having twice too.


Whatever one may do one should always keep common sense in the forefront and always in view.

Thanks for reading.

Interpersonal skills


Good interpersonal skills form a basic requirement for an individual, today. If you are deficient in interpersonal skills, you meet road blocks everywhere. Life was never so interactive, never so social. We all depend on each other more than ever in the past. So it’s necessary not only to understand but consciously move forward to develop commendable interpersonal skills.

1. Simply said, the skills relate to your getting along with people around you. Since we are all individuals, so we think differently. This we must keep in mind all the time. We may present our point of view but if we try to impose on others we will never be excused. Such actions kill the possibility of developing good interpersonal skills. 


2. In order that we respect others, we must listen to them carefully and understand their perspective. It is only by understanding others that we will know how to deal with them. Even when we are talking with juniors, we cannot take them for granted. Everyone is conscious of their rights of holding on to their opinions. So, in case we want to convince them we may do so respecting their opinions and presenting politely our view point. If you are able to establish the mutual benefit, everyone will appreciate your moves. You will in the process improve your interpersonal skills.

 
3. We all have some hidden assumptions. These assumptions do determine our behavior. For example, if our views about a particular person are negative, we will assume that he/she will never help us. Here the negative assumption will act as a road block. Even if we had an unhappy experience, we should approach people with an open mind. Always assume positive intent and surely it will be helpful.

4. It is normal that the conflicts are likely to occur among people who work together. The best way to build harmonious relationship is to understand each of them, respect their personal views and beliefs and resolve any conflict, sooner than later. Unresolved conflicts become hurdles in developing and sustain good relations. One must remember that a team can be victorious only if they work in harmony. 


5. Language and speech play a very important role in the development of your interpersonal skills. In case of inadequacy of language you may end up communicating a message that may be considered as offensive even when you don’t intend any offence. Your body language is also of great consequence. Maintaining a positive body language and cordiality in tone are extremely helpful. Time spent on mastery of the language will never go unrewarded.

To conclude, I would like to say that developing interpersonal skills consciously cannot be ignored by any management professional. In fact, organizations are hiring experts to train their employees develop this very special art. Better interpersonal skills are conducive to improving efficiency of the organization and also its bottom line. Customer relations solely depend on your proficient interpersonal skills.

Thanks for reading.

Happiness is not expensive.

Today when there is so much information available on all human emotions and the reasons there of no one has any right or business to be unhappy. Actually there was never a reason for people to be unhappy. Abraham Lincoln said in the early 19th century that ‘most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.’ However at that time there was no internet, literature was scanty and hardly available. Today, with the internet all the information and the images that one may require to collect about happiness, are easily available.

Vikram a student of 6th standard volunteered to collect the relevant information and the images on ‘how to be happy’. I reproduce the material collected by Vikram in about half an hour. When I went through it, I found that anyone who would spend some time to read the knowledge collected by Vikram and see the pictures again collected by him should be never unhappy.

He informed me that he collected the pictures from Google images. Further he collected the entire written material from Wikipedia. Please spend some time to look at the pictures and also a few minutes on reading the text which he collected from Wikipedia.








  


A smiling Rebecca L. Felton

Research has produced many different views on causes of happiness, and on factors that correlate with happiness,[5] but no validated method has been found to substantially improve long-term happiness in a meaningful way for most people.

Sonja Lyubomirsky concludes in her book The How of Happiness that 50 percent of a given human’s happiness level is genetically determined (based on twin studies), 10 percent is affected by life circumstances and situation, and a remaining 40 percent of happiness is subject to self-control.

The results of the 75 year Grant study of Harvard undergraduates show a high correlation of loving relationship, especially with parents, with later life wellbeing
Psychologist Martin Seligman asserts that happiness is not solely derived from external, momentary pleasures,[11] and provides the acronym PERMA to summarize Positive Psychology’s correlational findings: humans seem happiest when they have
  1. Pleasure (tasty food, warm baths, etc.),
  2. Engagement (or flow, the absorption of an enjoyed yet challenging activity),
  3. Relationships (social ties have turned out to be extremely reliable indicator of happiness),
  4. Meaning (a perceived quest or belonging to something bigger), and
  5. Accomplishments (having realized tangible goals
  1. Abraham Harold Maslow, an American professor of psychology, founded humanistic psychology in the 1930s. A visual aid he created to explain his theory, which he called the hierarchy of needs, is a pyramid depicting the levels of human needs, psychological, and physical. When a human being ascends the steps of the pyramid, he reaches self-actualization. Beyond the routine of needs fulfillment, Maslow envisioned moments of extraordinary experience, known as peak experiences, profound moments of love, understanding, happiness, or rapture, during which a person feels more whole, alive, self-sufficient, and yet a part of the world. This is similar to the flow concept of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi.
  2. Self-determination theory relates intrinsic motivation to three needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness
HEALTH
  1. Richard Davidson‘s 2012 bestseller The Emotional Life of Your Brain argues that positive emotion and happiness benefit your long-term health. From a study conducted in 2005 by Andrew Steptow and Michael Marmot, findings have found that happiness is clearly related to biological markers that play an important role in health.
  2. At University College London, Steptow and Marmot collected health and well-being data from 116 men and 100 women. All 216 participants were middle-aged, British civil servants between the ages of 45 and 59. The researchers aimed to analyze whether there was any association between well-being and three biological markers: heart rate, cortisol levels, and plasma fibrinogen levels. Interestingly, the participants who rated themselves the least happy had cortisol levels that were 48% higher than those who rated themselves as the most happy. The least happy subjects also had a large plasma fibrinogen response to two stress-inducing tasks: the Stroop test, and tracing a star seen in a mirror image.
  3. In Happy People Live Longer,[42] Frey reports that happy people live 14% longer, increasing longevity 7.5 to 10 years.
  4. Steptow and Marmot furthered their studies by using their participants three years later to repeat the physiological measurements. They found that participants who scored high in positive emotion continued to have lower levels of cortisol and fibrinogen, as well as a lower heart rate.
Despite a large body of positive psychological research into the relationship between happiness and productivity,[43][44][45] happiness at work has traditionally been seen as a potential by-product of positive outcomes at work, rather than a pathway to success in business. However a growing number of scholars, including Boehm and Lyubomirsky, argue that it should be viewed as one of the major sources of positive outcomes in the workplace.

Thanks for reading.