Some from my professional diary, some from my heart, some from my perspective, some from good reads, some from observation, some from life's stories, some from imagination, some from sweet nothings of life...
Feedback, the word itself gives a beautiful understanding of the concept. Feed means to give and back means from furthest from the front. If you combine the two, it means giving from a point where you are not into it but far away to be able to see the whole picture. Feedback means to give back a critical information that would add value to the overall intent & goal achievement in a positive way. But the question is, do we really give the feedback or we impose our believes & views on to it? This reflection will make a great shift in the way the feedback is perceived, received & eventually holds the capacity to improve & excel. Sadly, we don't give feedback but we give our point of view only and want this to be accepted. Any good feedback holds the power to transform the course of actions, thereby enabling it to move towards the direction of the goal. You can pick any instance from your experience at work or generally. Whenever you feel that your feedback is not creating any ripple effect as it should, take a pause to see where you are faltering, where is the loophole, where are you missing out, what's the missing piece that will enable the feedback to be powerful enough to be accepted & taken into account.
Here I am quoting an instance where an executive came to me & shared the inability to give critical feedback and about its futility since the receiver hasn't shown any improvement in behaviour, productivity nor any concrete positive result as expected despite of the numerous feedback that was given. And what happens in such a scenario? We get defensive and try to prove our points and in this attempt, our intent of giving the feedback gets lost altogether. Well, here goes the conversation.
Me: Do you really want to see positive results?
Executive: Yes, of course. That's why I am bringing this up to you.
Me: Will you be willing to accept & adopt ways that may not be the usual ones but different from what you have been doing so far?
Executive: Hesitantly, "Yes, if that helps."
Food for thought: We all want to adopt short-cuts. We have no time to reflect on something that might be useful for us in the long run. We fail to see that these short-cuts are creating nothing but putting us back to our challenges again and again just taking longer time & leaving us in the illusion of creating results. Time we wake up!
Me: Great then. You have tried to do it in ways you thought was appropriate, but you didn't get the desired results. I would like you to reflect on these questions and come to me again with the answers, insights that you will have upon reflection.
Executive: Sure. But I don't want to waste time. I want this to be fast.
Me: You have already wasted much time giving numerous feedback which didn't work out. Will you take responsibility for that and the impact it had on your work & that of the team's? Can you just slow down a bit to be able to pace up soon?
Executive: Yes, I know that and understand what you are saying. Please tell me what I need to reflect upon.
This happened more in a conversational way but I am just laying out in the form of questions.So, here they are:
There were lot many questions like this and finally to my pleasant surprise (which actually is not a surprise because I had faith in the Executive's potential, wisdom & ability) the executive came up with some beautiful revelations that I am going to share with you in the form of some tips that will help you to give feedback that is well received, elicit actions & brings about positive transformation.
And as an outcome of all these, the executive could make that shift and evoke desired response from the team member that led to increased productivity & performance.
Next time you blame someone for not receiving your feedback, look within; reflect what you can do to change that. By doing this you regain the power to transform and not by holding another responsible for the outcome that you are unable to create. To be in this space, lot of awareness & openness is required. And great leaders cultivate that and so they hold the capacity to bring about change & live a life that looks impossible & daunting to many.
What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make and what kind of leader you want to be. The choice is absolutely yours. Whenever you are ready & willing, I will be happy to have a conversation to support you to be that leader that you wish to be.
Believing in you,
"I don't fix problems, I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves." - Louise Hay
Yesterday was indeed a day of self-discovery! For the past couple of days, I was becoming more aware of my patterns and blind spots. And after attending a webinar by one of the master coaches on the topic, discovering your sweet spot; I became more aware of a part hidden in me that I wasn't aware of. This webinar acted like a catalyst to uncovering that. Sometimes you need your own sweet time to discover things. That discovery is joyful because then the insight becomes too powerful to resist converting it into action. As coaches too, we have our blind spots. If we aren't mindful of that, if we aren't looking within, there are chances of us sabotaging our own growth & so the growth of our clients & people whom we serve.
SELF-DISCOVERY IS BEAUTIFUL
Self-discovery is beautiful because then you get to decide what you want to do about it. You have the power within to control the outcomes and not the other way around. I realized that I had a mindset of fixing everyone's problems. I wanted to fix things. This I did consciously & many a times unconsciously too. My mind looked for cues to fix people, fix things, situations. After having been into HR for more than a decade, I developed this attitude in me strongly and so I behaved exactly the same way in every aspect of my life. I wanted to fix things not working in my relationship, I wanted to fix things in my son, I wanted to fix things in my career etc. etc. And amusingly, I looked at this from an absolutely different angle. I gave it the name of being a giver. I was considering myself to be profound giver giving away my advice, my ideas, my tips, my suggestions trying to fix what was wrong in the other person. Sometimes, I did this without even the person asking for it. I mean unconsciously, I just exuded that energy and so I sabotaged many connections & relationships. Many a times I offended people too. Most importantly, I was harming myself and sabotaging my peace of mind & happiness. This attitude of fixing never works out for good. The only thing that would really be empowering for me would be to fix this mindset of mine. Something inside of me needed to be fixed and so I decided to dive into it deep.
OUR PROJECTIONS ARE OUR DEEPER INTRINSIC NEEDS
What we project onto others is exactly what we need to give ourselves. As an Enneagram style 4 person, I had this believe around myself being defective. My coach, Clarence Thompson did tell me about this. I viewed myself from that space and so my urge to fix things in others. You fix when you think that what you are seeing, experiencing is not right. So, you try to make it better. You try to fix it to be able to fit that into your idea of being good. I realized I had high ideals in my mind and I was never satisfied being who I was. I always had this habit of comparing self with someone whom I looked up to.This can be even imaginary ideals, the perfect being. So, I wanted to fix every part of me to be able to be that ideal person. And when I do this what happens, I loose out my uniqueness, my originality and become just a mere copy of the ideal & a vacuum persist. I had nourished this demon inside me for years and this was one of the major blind spots that was holding me back from experiencing myself in my truest form, liberating myself to my next level of growth. Ah! Every time I think this is the big one, I encounter another big one. But this uncovering is amazing!
NO FIXING NO REPAIRING, JUST THE WAY IT IS
I then realized that this needs to be fixed in me. Rather, than fixing, it needs acknowledgment. I acknowledged this side of me and embraced it fully. I gave approval to myself for who I am. As Byron Katie says, "Loving what it is." So, I decided to love what it is. No fixing, no repairing; just the way it is. If I want to live with this imperfection, so be it. And if I want to fix it, so be it. But now there's a huge difference in the way I operate. I don't fix because I want to make things better; but because I want to accept the imperfection & embrace the next level to experience another side of me and so in other people; not to escape from the imperfections but to experience myself & others more profoundly. More than fixing, which comes from a place of scarcity, fear; now I operate from a space of love and abundance. There's scope for improvement, if you want, embrace it; if not let it be how it is because that is what is needed exactly at this point, at this moment. So, givers & people who love fixing; do look deep within: "What's that which needs fixing inside of you? What is it that you need to give to yourself that you have been giving others?"
Last but not the least, when you fix others problems, you take away their ability to find their own solutions. All you got to do is, just support them in finding their solutions and answers. They know best what needs to be done, you just be with them while they solve/fix their problems. That is powerful! We don't see this power because we haven't realized it's power yet. And coaching is all about that, no fixing but inspiring, eliciting, nurturing & leading forward.
Love, light & gratitude,
Corporate is a place where a professional spends much of his/her time. He/she contributes an enormous portion of his/her life in this space. An organization is formed by the employees; it's growth depends on the employees. They sweat and toil to give their best for helping it grow. You can't deny that. Like a family, all members in their own ways contribute towards achieving the bigger vision. But, when days aren't good, when things start falling, the same employees are laid off, terminated? Why? Who will take the responsibility? Is termination the solution? Do you think it is an emotionally responsible decision to terminate employees or even laying them off? Do you really know what do they go through? Have you been in their shoes? Imagine your job is suddenly taken away from you. Your world crushes down. Even if you give them severance package, that won't suffice the contribution that they made while they were a part of your company's growth. The answer that I get is,"This is how the corporate world functions. We are here to do business and not social service." Really? Then why talk of employee progression, engagement, CSR activity, training & development, employee wellness programs, retreats, emotional development etc? Why the band aid, why the reactive reaction and why not be more sensible & proactive to where the slag is? Who will take responsibility and ensure that not any employee have to go through such dilemma?
We only see the numbers, profits. That's all! Why not see the employees as human beings, that they also have a life beyond being a professional. That they are someone's child, someone's spouse, a parent and not meant just to serve you & your intentions. They are the resource through which you get your mission accomplished. They are the means through which your hopes are being fulfilled. With no jobs around, with the market being gloom, unemployment all around, what will these laid off employees do? Where will they go? Whom will they reach out to? Will a wellness program serve them? Will coaching help them then? Will money for few months help? NO. It won't.
Why not treat them like human beings and enable them to grow while things are good? Why not prepare for unseen situations beforehand? Why not set their growth path and help them walk it? Why focus only on numbers and not on coaching them while they are growing? If you cannot lead, why not learn how to lead? If you cannot inspire, why not learn to do so? If you cannot hire the right fitment, why not learn to do so? Why crush people's aspirations in the name of ignorance, economic slowdown, profitability etc.? The support that is given during the time an employee is going through a difficult time is what true care & concern is.
I don't know what could be the best answer to : What's the alternative to lay offs & termination? But, all I know is if we all sit in inquiry of this question, we will definitely arrive at a much better solution. We will be able to create better ways and not just go with the most easy way: i.e. termination or lay off. If we can find ways to create wealth, generate business, we surely can find ways to this too. But, the question is, are we & the decision makers ready to take the challenging route to finding solutions that not only benefit them but the employees too? A severance package is not an answer to this. What if all the employees stand together and give away their bonus to help retain the laid off employees? What if all employees not get increment but give away that to help these employees under scrutiny? What if a portion of the CSR is utilized to retain them? What if you do away with luxury to help them? This sounds funny or may be ridiculous for some, but trust me you cannot do this with a fear based & self-centered mindset. You need to have depth, maturity & compassion to give from your share to fill another. It's just a suggestion, looking into the bigger picture. The number of cases of depression, anxiety, trauma is on the rise. What if we do something differently? Something graceful, something for others and not just for us. Why not take responsibility for our actions now, at this moment?
I read somewhere: Only when you are truly invested in the happiness of the other person, you are actually giving them a gift. Otherwise it is not a gift but your hidden agenda & intention underlying it. So, before you launch a wellness program, an employee scheme, do ask what's the hidden agenda there. Employee development truly or something else?
"Peace & joy happen neither in the quietness of the forest nor out of the accomplishments of the marketplace, but only from within." - Sadhguru
Deep inner work comes from a lifetime commitment. It doesn't end with few degrees, certifications, titles, positions, accolades and awards. If you are really looking for fulfillment, meaning and purpose; then what is important is an inner commitment to a pursuit beyond self; for the larger cause of the community.
I have been interviewing people leaders and have asked them to quote one thing that they think is crucial to be true people leaders. The answer that I commonly get is having empathy & having a strong understanding of human dynamics. Now the question is how will you empathize and have this understanding of human dynamics without yourself doing the deep inner work on self-transformation & continuous development?! Is it even possible?! The deeper you have gone with your self, the more empowered you will be able to take your employees to that depth of transformation, growth & self-discovery which will eventually lead the employees to becoming their best versions. This will automatically contribute to Organizational excellence.
As I look back at my own journey as an HR professional, I see so many blind spots in me that now I realize that had I moved into this path of surrendering to deep inner work earlier,I could have contributed massively as a people leader. I had the passion, empathy, knowledge but I lacked in the ability to lead myself to mastery; to deep work within. It's not just about being liked by your employees or being known as the people's person, or being just a good people leader. The real courage lies in taking the responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and having the courage to develop that potential. That's who a true people leader is. To move to this space, you must first travel the journey of self-discovery & transformation. Only when you can spot the potential in you, you can develop it, master it and then use this wisdom to enable the growth for others. Once you move on this path, you don't care about anything else but focus on making a difference to the lives of people that you touch. You may not have all the solutions, answers but that you are ready to walk this path itself speaks of your commitment. And this shift in energy will give you the access to inner creativity and abundance.
Travelling the journey of a professional Coach, I understand how important it is to know and belief that every human being is whole, complete & resourceful. Every individual has potential and that the right person can inspire them to move towards their growth path. Likewise, the right people leader will be able to inspire the people he/she leads and not just motivate which is temporary. Organizational excellence shall take place through HR transformation: transformation in the way you think, you show up, the way you lead, the way you express and the way you inspire others & elicit the greatness.
Deep inner work involves lot of things like:
1. Knowing your blind spots and your improvement areas.
2. Acceptance of self and commitment to embrace growth.
3. Being open to seeing the mirror and work towards leveraging one's inner strengths.
4. Walking on the transformative journey of developing the four bodies: mind, emotion, body & spirit.
5. Working on improving one's leadership depth and truly understanding the essence of leadership.
6. Mastering the craft for better understanding of our work and the deeper meaning of it.
7. Improving the agility of mind to be able to widen the perspectives.
8. Developing empathy, compassion, limitless belief and dropping the limiting ones that hold us from exponential growth.
9. Understanding and knowing ones' behaviour patterns.
10. Unwinding those things that triggers you to really understand the power behind one's thoughts.
11. Connecting with the highest source to fill self with positive energies.
12. Refueling & replenishing self.
13. Embodying & generating deep inquiry.
14.Skillfully channeling energy, sensation & emotion.
15. Have an access to multiple ways of knowing & understanding.
This list is massive and it will continue as we chose to walk the path. My journey is on and I invite you all to take this journey too. You will be transformed for better and will hold the power to create, transform & inspire others.
Abhishek Mishra is an HR Leader par excellence & a whistle-blower of the MW case. Undoubtedly, he is a man of character and ethics. The path that he has chosen is very less trodden and that makes him stand out from the crowd. And hence my curiosity to know more about the person behind the scene & bring it to light. Here’s the link to the recent news article that was published in The Wire, about his battle as a whistle-blower & the details about the ongoing case.
Also, find the links to the previous articles published in HR Katha & Hindustan Times.
Enclosed below is the interview excerpts that I had with him. The intend of publishing this excerpt is to help the budding & aspiring HR professionals to get inspired & walk the talk like a true HR professional, embodying the essence of the role & be powerful leaders with a commitment to making a huge difference to the community that they intend to serve.
As I started our conversation with Abhishek, I made it clear to him that I wanted to know that authentic Abhishek which led him to where he is. I wanted to know that HR hero who decided to take on the challenging path & the triggers inside him that made him do the impossible. Many advised him not to walk this path fearing consequences, but he chose to because somewhere his believe in himself & the cause was much stronger than the fears. The people for whom he had been fighting & a commitment to be a true Indian made all the difference. All these reminds me of a quote by Robert Frost: “I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference.”
The interview follows:
Me: How do you perceive your journey till now as an HR professional? What are your biggest insights about this experience so far?
Abhishek: I consider myself to be successful. At a young age, I reached a pinnacle where many people aspire to be. I scaled up to the position of a Head HR, worked with Business leaders managing multi bullion dollar corporations, earned a gracious lifestyle and everything that “success” would be defined in this societal world. However, to me success is contentment & peace. Success is the work that I do which brings about transformation & massive change in the way professionals operate.
My biggest insights from all these are:
Me: What according to you are the must-haves in an HR professional?
Abhishek: TRUTH and COURAGE are indispensable.
1. HR should have a basic understanding of the business of the organization. Since HR is an enabler, it is important to know what business management is all about. This knowledge will empower HR professionals & will be in a better position to influence decision-making.
2. Understanding of basic law is important.
3. Have an intent to contribute bigger than self.
4. Must have a high level of persistence.
5. Ability to articulate things.
6. Have aspirations & embrace the fact that HR too has developmental needs.
7. There is no HR to take care of HR. So, HR needs to take care of themselves & seek support from reliable sources. Ability to put across your needs clearly is an important skill.
8. Persistence, having an analytical bent of mind, ability to read & assimilate are all great skills to have & develop.
Me: In this game of life, going forward, which role would you like to play?(onlooker or player)
Abhishek: Undoubtedly the role of a player because that gives me contentment.
Me: Why did you continue to remain in a situation that is challenging & stressful?
Abhishek: Before I set my mind to fight this battle, I questioned my determination. I asked myself these questions: Would I be really keen on walking this path? What could deter me? What could be the consequences? When I found the answers to all these, I choose to plunge in. Once I decide to do something, I don’t give up. And if I give up, I would break the trust of the people that I am committed to serving. No denying that the path of a whistle-blower is stressful, but to me stress acts as a motivating factor. Unless you are sure of yourself & your commitment, never jump into anything for that matter. I was looking for authorities to take it up once the scandal was proven, or media could have played its part so that I can go back to a normal life, but no one took the step. So, I had to move on & not give up. I am an Indian who is not up for sale. I serve my country and the citizens therein by not giving up.
I always knew that even if I get killed in this battle then also there are some people in Government who would finish what I could not do. I knew my family will take it to conclusion.
Me: Did you ever regret your decision of choosing to walk this path?
Abhishek: Never. Whatever I felt is right, I did. I was told by many to give up this battle. I listened to their advice but always followed my heart after due analysis. I asked one question to those who asked me to give up: “ Did you dare to travel this path before? If not, then why let fear stop you from even trying?” When you let fear inhibit you from doing what you want, you let the same fear overpower you. You are more than your fear. You need to confront your fears and check if these are real or conditioned.
Me: When was the time in your life you felt most alive? What were you doing?
Abhishek: The time when I trekked. Playing badminton & even walking fills me with positive energy, makes me alive.
Me: What do you attribute your massive success to? You stood up against corruption, you fought your own case, you made an impact that not many even dreamt of doing? How did you do that?
Abhishek: As a child, I always wanted to get into Indian Armed forces. But due to my knock knee, I couldn’t qualify. I then wanted to be an IAS and I somehow dropped the idea after just an attempt. HR happened to me by accident and I was always inclined towards Business Management. One instance where I was told that since I did not belong to the Tier 1 Institutes , the salary that I was offered for a role would not justify what my counterparts from Tier 1 were earning. That’s when something inside of me triggered & I declined the offer. I decided to be graduate of world’s top ten Business school& finally IE Business Institute(top 10 globally acclaimed institute) became my alma mater. My learnings from IE helped me a lot. More than the learnings, it was the rigour & practicality that prepared me to deal with the realities of the professional world. There’s a diamond inside every person but the diamond needs to be cut and rubbed, allowed to go through a grilling process to shine out. My upbringing, experiences as a child, life-skills developed over time enabled me to do what I did. Growing up as an introvert, I learnt how to overcome my fears. I dropped anything that didn’t serve me. I kept learning, reading, developing myself always.
I fought cases against 8 – 10 lawyers in each of cases. These lawyers came from various cities having mastery in their own domain. I knew I cannot fight this legal battle with them so have studied thousands of judgements to at least understand what these lawyers were talking in court. I don’t remember how many nights I have not slept reading those cases to understand the legality. However truth has its own power & strength and army of highly paid lawyers could not defeat me even in a single case.
I am still here where I was, however people involved in this scandal are running here and there. Few have left India, some are not returning to India. Truth has become bitter for them.
I am hoping to get justice for those families who lost their men in the construction accident. Sad part is I don’t even know who these people are as this happened much before I joined MW. It’s not just my professional responsibility but it’s inhumane to dispose of bodies illegally for any reason.
Me: Is there a change in what Abhishek was then & who he is now?
Abhishek: I have evolved as a person & professional. Now I am clearer as to which Organizations I want to work for. I have dropped two offers that came to me recently because now I have a clear understanding of what I really want & where I want to contribute. I am more confident now & in a better position to influence. There was a time during my struggle period when people didn’t take action for various reasons. I was even told to leave all these and forget about people who died. Gradually people who were advising me to leave this, started supporting me. I am thankful to young IRS officers at Income Tax Hyderabad who were swift and incorruptible while discharging their duties.
The judges at Labour Court were so genuine that in spite of company putting lot of pressure through highly acclaimed army of lawyers , they still awarded justice.
Me: What is your success mantra?
Abhishek: Expose your weaknesses. People who love & support you will enable you to overcome your weaknesses. Make your weaknesses your strengths. This is simply being authentic & real.
Me: What is your dream workplace?
Abhishek: A place where we all work & don’t spend time massaging our egos, a place which is free from the culture of lobby bosses, a place where the suggestions & ideas of the lower strata of the employees are also given due weightages is my dream workplace.
Companies like Google, Facebook, InMobi, Practo, Flipkart , Tata etc. are the places if given a chance I would like to serve. Working for L&T’s great leader was also an experience for me and I will be glad to do that again. Even enterprising companies of Indian origin about to reach their break-even point appeals & intrigues me.
Me: What’s your message for the young HR professionals who want to become powerful HR leaders like you?
Abhishek: Cultivate a mindset that challenges the status quo.
Start challenging the notions & pre-conditioning if you really want to bring about a positive change.
Have the conviction of doing something bigger.
Do your groundwork thoroughly to lead.
Prepare, act & never stop learning
Having a backbone is important when you are practical enough to back up.
Go for something strong but do prepare for the same.
Organisations are made up of its employees and employees are responsibility of HR department. HR folks should have clarity on needs of the organisation so that business leaders can be guided on HR aspects. HR function nurtures people and people nurture business. We have bigger responsibility to ensure that companies have adequate profit so that all the families get their living, an EMI free house and car, best education to kids and health to everyone. If we fail then the system fails.
Me: What’s your challenge right now?
Abhishek: “Becoming a more lovable husband”, laughs Abhishek.
On serious note, to make appropriate people realize that despite of me having various evidences, I couldn’t get actions initiated. Things are happening at a snail’s pace. Certain legislations are formed in such a way that everyone knows things need to be corrected but rules prohibit actions. CBI can’t take cases from any. The only option available is “Suo Motu”. Suo Motu cognizance is when the court in India takes a case on its own.
Last but not the least, I want to get back to normal family life.
Me: How can we support you & help you?
Abhishek: Suo Motu way. When people collectively come together for the cause, sign a petition & submit it to the Govt., that’s when I would feel my struggle was worthwhile. HR professionals can come forward & render support to fellow professional like me fighting for a righteous cause. Having a common intent & courage to stand up is what I seek support for my cause.
I also wish for a stronger governmental support to everyone across country. The process has to be faster and effective. I am highly supportive of the idea of strong and ethical economic and business activities, however in this process we must not kill the weaker section of employees.
Business houses expect fair play by government and competitors so are the expectations of HR function, employees and their families from business houses.
As the interview concluded & as I was thanking Abhishek for his time & candid answers; I was also asking myself these questions which I even want all the readers to reflect upon:
I look forward to your feedback, suggestions & answers.
PS. This excerpt is published with due consent from Abhishek Mishra.
"Model the behaviour you wish more people would display. Lead first." Robin Sharma.
Modelling of behaviour simply means the act of showing how to do something & guiding through the process of imitating the modeled behaviour. This modelling of behaviour is many a times done unconsciously as leaders of the organization, as role models, as influencers, as parents and even as teams. Every action a leader takes is important. People generally pick that up that is modeled & is mirrored back. So, being in responsible positions not only mean leading only to grow the business and developing craftsmanship but equally important is the leadership depth of the leader & the display of the leadership behaviour that he/she wants his/her team, community members to model. Thus, the best leaders model the behaviour they want. They simply don't instruct, order but model it for the rest to follow.
Likewise, an HR leader also need to model the behaviours that are deemed fit to take the organization from good to great. In fact, HR leaders are the harbingers of the right behavior that need modelling & hence deep work on leadership depth need to be done to own this fact & lead from a space where there is no intellectual arrogance, no fear of consequences but simply love for the role, for the people that they are serving, the organization that they are making a difference to & in the larger context the society that they are living in.
Some powerful questions that need to be reflected upon are:
1. What needs to shift inside of me to enable others to be who they are supposed to be?
2. Who am I being in my role if the culture of my organization is not supporting innovation, creativity, growth, integrity, agility?
3. What needs to be communicated or given to the ecosystem so that I harness support in modelling the right behavior, the right culture & truly embody the essence of my role?
When you shift your thought process from a place of arrogance to receiving, when you open your minds to look for answers within, when you work towards focusing on your being rather than on the doing bit; deep transformation happens and you grow as a leader. You then model behaviours for others to follow. You then grow as a leader with greater velocity which then enables you to embrace other skills effortlessly. Leadership depth holds you not only at times when you flourish, but at times when things are challenging.
Today during a session with my coach, I witnessed a beautiful modelling of behaviour by my coach. Something that was modeled by my coach is not very frequently done by leaders. There was a moment when my coach realized that she was being judgmental about a certain thing that the client was sharing, she immediately got present to her thoughts, her emotions & expressed with humility about her judgmental attitude towards what is being presented. This I call as authenticity, vulnerability in true sense. This needs courage & leadership depth to even realize the blind spot in oneself & acknowledge it & let it go. My respect for her increased manifold during that moment as I saw her modeling a behaviour that she wanted us to follow. Today with great conviction, I will model this behaviour too & gift this to my clients & the community that I am committed to serving.
Yes, a leader is a coach & a parent too because a leader inspires, elicits & nurtures the person inside you. Many a times, we don't see our own blind spots. As leaders too we don't see the blind spots that hold us back from performing at 10X level. Not modelling the right behaviour is a blind spot too.
So, are you modelling the right behaviour? If not, what will enable that in you?
"Sometimes a change of perspective is all it takes to see the light."- Dan Brown.
In the picture above, do you see how the same animal is viewed differently by different people only because they are feeling different things owing to the position that they are at and accordingly forming their opinions based on their limited understanding of the entirety?!
This is a very basic & simple example of how we see things from our perspective. Perspective is our mental view or outlook. Sometimes, we tend to forget that there can be numerous perspectives to the same situation. We view things differently, we view our life's experiences differently. If we knew other's perspectives, we would know & understand them more. But here we falter. We get fixed and rigid in our mental views & hence the conflict arises. This then leads to getting defensive, protective about what we think, see & believe & eventually restrict ourselves from both convincing others & making our views accepted.
There is a very important correlation between understanding other's perspective & ability to convince others. The more you understand other's views, the more you will be able to convince them of your views. Many a times, I hear stuffs where people complain about not being able to convince their team of an idea or a boss about a campaign, a proposition etc. What could have been the underlying issues here? Why do you think successful companies take into consideration customer perspective before shelling out money in any ads, projects or investment? They consider & understand the perspective of the party that they are going to sell to and hence the convincing bit becomes easier for them.
This can be applied to anywhere. Understanding your employees', team's perspective can go a long way towards increasing productivity & happiness. Understanding other's perspective is a key leadership skill. Understanding other's perspectives will enable you to hear & react to things very differently.
What do I want? What am I scared of? These two questions will enable you to view your & other's perspectives. The fact that perspective is just a perspective & not the total reality is often ignored. How different our relationships, leadership acumen and understanding of people will be when we broaden our perspectives & enlarge the lens through which we view others & life?! What can you create in your professional & personal world with this insight? What actions are you willing to take from this moment?
Your zone of genius is your unique power. When you operate from your zone of genius, you are in a space from where you hold your unique power to transform to your highest potential effortlessly. Some people discover this zone at an early stage of their life & some do after experiencing certain things in life. Whatever it be, all these experiences are required because it adds up to your story, your unique story that is different, powerful & beautiful in its own way. Only when you embrace yourself, your being without worrying & comparing with what & how the rest is functioning, you are able to step into your zone of genius.
You come to this world with your uniqueness and as you live, you come across many things, experiences that enable you to make certain decisions for yourself; your beliefs are formed, you set your boundaries, your rules to protect you. Nothing is wrong or right in doing so; these all have served you to elevate you to the position that you are in today. However, when you feel that holding on to these conditions aren't helping you to grow to your highest potential, then you need to reconsider these beliefs, thoughts and check if you would like to keep these, twig these or altogether do away with these. The choice is yours. Once you find your zone of genius, you need to keep exploring as to what you are really really good at within that zone. That exploration only will happen when you take actions, do and not just think.
Being ready to try out, succeed, fail, get up and walk in your zone will enable you to get in touch with that treasure that resides in you. Nothing is constant, things change & so do we with time. We change, our skills get polished, we mature and hence growth lies in discovering, re-discovering, walking in that zone with an open mind of exploration & reflection.
We aren't here to prove anything to anyone, but discover that gold in us. We are shrouded by our own shadows. Our job is to keep striving towards discovering the gold in us. Remember if there is shadow, there is gold too. Sadly, without proper guidance, many a times we just tend to believe & see the shadow & give up eventually when we are very near to discovering the gold in us. Gold mine I would say. Yes, each one of you have that. Only if you are willing to explore & dig hard to get access to it.
I invite you to stretch your arms wide open and imagine you inside your zone of genius, your world of uniqueness and feel the goodness. Would you want to struggle for nothing or work towards your path, that zone that you got a feel of? During a mindful leadership program, I came across with this zone of genius phenomenon. I was wondering what was this all about. But, then slowly realized it's beauty. You will feel it when you are at your zone of genius. Trust me.
Discovering your zone of genius is very important for your success & overall happiness. How do you find that, is a great question? Answer is : Effortlessly.
Ask yourself are you really happy being who you are and do you get a sense of inner peace while you are at that space? Are you really happy or just comfortable? Did anyone tell you "wow" for what you did while you felt that you didn't put much effort in doing that? Did anything fall in place without much effort of yours? Then you should take note of that & explore further. That is a probable indication of you being in your zone of genius.
Do what you are great at and soar...
"When you know your worth, no one else can make you feel worthless."
As I look back on my journey as an HR professional, look past the path of both success and failure as an HR professional; I see times of both exhilaration & despair walking the path. There are times when you are appreciated, you get a thank you note; there are equal times of rejection, venting and cold feelings. While deeply analyzing the walk through, I have clearly realized that there are few things that HR professionals must embrace to truly own your power & essence of your role.
During this journey and while talking to many ex-colleagues, HR professionals; I saw some common patterns, thoughts that echoed in my ears and made me ponder: Do we even realize our worth or do we live in the mercy of the opinions that people hold for this profession? Are we responsible for all the feedback that our profession gets or are we responsible for not being able to work towards a better mindset, a culture of good values such as acceptance, gratitude & appreciation for what HR is about?
There can be two things for totally strong opposite reactions for all the work that the HR professionals do: either you are too good at what you do & don't realize your worth or you don't know the right way of creating impact & value in the eyes of your stakeholders for all the work that you do and hence the mismatch in expectations. Whatever it is, the bottom-line is, you hold the power, the key is in your hands; you can unlock it. When things are slack, often HR is seen as no-concrete-value function, but when market regains shape, when hiring is at it's peak, when appraisal times are nearing, sentiments change and HR practices becomes important. Many call HR as the puppets in the hands of the management, similar to a pendulum who sways from one side having employee views of things and on the other side having the employer's perspective.You juggle between different views, different thoughts, numerous takes and finally when the work gets done, the credit is definitely not graciously given to HR. Do you agree? Well, my point here is not to make you agree to any of the above thoughts but to enable HR professionals to use this power to their benefit and make them realize that you are already standing on top of the gold mine, you now just need to unleash your inner wisdom, reflect on everything and create the awesome HR that resides in you, for which you had chosen this profession and nothing else. Recall the essence your role and embrace it fully. Let's explore what makes a great HR professional. When I say this, I also emphasize on your well-being as human and your growth too. For you to take care of everyone else, you must first take care of yourself at the core.
What makes a great HR professional?
1. The mindset that you hold about HR as a profession: It is imperative to have a positive mindset, how you see yourself as an HR and what you think you bring to the table. If you have a low self-esteem for yourself, if you feel stuck about the ways of working, if you feel that HR is just a support function; then you can't expect people to think any better than this. Ask yourself what is the deeper belief that you are holding about your profession? Do you consider yourself powerful enough to lead the pack or you want to follow? The choice is yours. The great HR professionals that I had come across during my stint believed in their work, led like a leader and chose not to succumb to unwanted pressure of being liked. They were there to serve people and not please. So, before you try to pick up any other attribute of being a great HR professional, do win the war within; that is very important for you to win the battle outside.
2. Being truly passionate about serving people: Do you consider people as resources which gets depleted over time or do you consider them to be an asset in which when you invest, grows? Passion is when you stand up for them when needed, when you influence decision making and enable stakeholders to see people as human capital and not commodity. Are you truly passionate?
3. Being aligned with the business objectives: At the end what is your broader goal? It isn't any ounce separate from where your organization wants to head to. HR strategies should be such that it promotes fulfillment of the broader vision of the organization. Every business has different goals, every HR practice must be tailored to those specific goals.
4. Being the leader & not just follower of instructions: If you fear losing your job, if you fear that if you speak up, chances are that you will loose being in the good books of your employer; then let me help you to recall what your role is all about. With such a mentality you will one day be no where. You are not doing justice to all those HR professionals who never appease top management to secure their job. They voice out and play a strategic role to bring about the desired change. They hold the power to influence and hence eventually leave a mark. Decide you want to see the big picture or play trivial. Only when you don't realize your worth, you will succumb to such scarcity mentality. As an HR professional, you are the people expert and you should be the one offering the strategic counsel & not the other way around.
5. Walk the talk, be the role model: Honoring commitments, promises, deadlines are important. You have to walk the talk & model, mirror the behaviour that you expect from others. When you design the policies, guidelines, it is important that before you make it public, you have to do that 10X times. Saying is not enough, you need to sense how it feels to actually do it.
6. Be a life-long learner: "Leadership & learning are indispensable to each other." - John F. Kennedy. Keep yourself updated. Do away with limiting behaviours, beliefs, old ways of workings. Be adaptable to new ones & open for exploration of your own gifts. Don't be limited to just one aspect of your function. Come out of your comfort zones.
Have a look at the graph below for more insights. Sourced from HBR.ORG
I would like to leave you with this task of looking at the picture above at the top, the title picture which says: I am ......... I invite you to fill up with what you feel about yourself and start practicing that daily.
Do feel free to add on more qualities of great HR professionals, or anything that came to your mind after reading this article. Let me know your way of thinking, your outlook.
Creativity is a skill that is going to be the buzzword in the coming years. The more creative you are, the more secured your job will be; the more productive the employee will be leading the organization from good to great. In a report published by World Economic Forum on the future of jobs, the skill sets that the workforce of 2020 will need are: complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment & decision making, service orientation, negotiation, cognitive flexibility. Creativity is at number 3 as the top skills.
We are innately born with the potential of a creative genius. This has been proven by NASA scientists as well. As we grow up, this tends to shift and we become less creative. Creativity is a skill that can be learned, honed & developed over a period of time. Let's look at the factors that generally kills creativity in a person:
3. The need to fit in & be liked
6. Fear of being wrong & ridiculed
All these lead to inaction & hence the loss of creativity. Employees are expected to be creative, think out of the box without realizing that they have been boxed by rules, policies, manuals, scripts etc. Let's see what kills creativity in our profession.
2. Restrictive job profiles
3.Lack of simplicity & over complication
4.Lack of resources
5. Approvals at various stages
6. Silo working
So what do you think needs to be done to help creativity flourish? If you look at the three components of creativity: expertise, creative thinking skills, motivation; you will find out that creativity can be influenced through workplace practices & conditions. A leader can influence his/her team's/team member's creativity by focusing on the motivation aspect, an organization can by enabling an environment where creative thinking skills can be nurtured & an individual can by developing a growth mindset.
"Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world."-Brene Brown
Life & Organizational Development Coach