Fostering Team Camaraderie – It’s NOT always about the mission!


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Fostering team camaraderie is no easy task. For many, the team leader-member relationship is that of someone who leads and directs and others who follow. Nothing can be farther from truth than that. You can argue that a good leader leads from the front, is empathetic and so on and so forth. But, that’s not what I am here to discuss today.

I am here to discuss how to invigorate, spread and share the same essence of doer ship and direction across the team, to do one’s best to ensure that each team member is touched by it and dwells in that spirit, so that ultimately, the whole team moves in one direction toward one mission. That’s the stuff great teams’ and great organizations are made of. It takes them over and above individual needs and wants, the organizational benefits and aspirations and toward pure execution to attain a unified mission as one team. It’s an experience par any for the proud members of that team which they cherish forever.

Like I said, getting everyone on the team to think like one is not an easy task. Not easy, but definitely possible! While all individuals have different hot buttons that motivate them and it’s the job of the leader to ensure that they are being actively responded to, its these individuals that come together as a team, to act on one unified objective. The leader and the team members have shared responsibility in helping each other align closer with that mission. And that comes about in several forms of interactions from group to individual settings. Not everyone needs to see the big picture but everyone does need to see the picture from where they stand and understand very clearly their part in fulfilling it. At the same time, team dynamics play a crucial part in how effectively a team performs. This is where the unique differentiator between teams lies. Team dynamics is not strengthened, just by focused concentration on the work at hand. It gets stronger and more effective when the team interacts socially and participates in activities besides work. I am not talking about hitting the bar and sharing silly jokes. For some, that might work to an extent. I am talking about doing things besides work that strengthens their bond and fosters mutual respect and awe for each other. This could mean, sharing hobbies and other skills, connecting to discuss and act on social and volunteer projects, opening each other to new avenues and opportunities, thus fostering learning and cultivating new horizons for the team.

This goes a long way in forming true friendships and bonds between teammates. It takes the relationship to the next level where they draw inspiration from each other. It helps members recognize new strengths and skills in each other, allowing them new found respect for their peers. All of this comes through eventually, when the team acts as one and takes on a challenge head on, in not just successful accomplishments, but accomplishments of a greater quality and higher caliber. This elevates their professional interactions to a new level, helps them find better and more capable personalities within themselves, and most important of all, true happiness in what they do and who they work with everyday.

Image Courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Build your brand or risk getting branded!


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Millions of us that work, very closely adhere our self-image to our work. It’s debatable whether that’s fortunate or not. We tend to closely associate our recognition by the position and company we keep. You are either a Software Developer or a Sales guy at Google, Apple or Yahoo or somewhere else.

Hence, when someone leaves a job, they are kind of lost until they find their image back at a new role. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

I believe, everyone should craft their unique identity and brand based on who they really are, what they like and are passionate about, and how their uniqueness comes across as an advantage to a position or an organization they associate themselves with.

Let me enlighten you with an example that many will understand. There are several skilled and stellar actors in our movie world. Some are known for a single role or certain kind of roles they play. They are branded for that role and/or movie or for that stream of roles they play. Their work in specific movies and roles tends to brand them. While, there are others who have crafted their own unique image and play multiple roles in a variety of movies, yet hold their own. You watch a certain movie because that particular actor starred in it. Some movies, you go to watch for the movie and others, you watch because of the actor. That’s the difference.

Not everyone is fortunate to have that range of visibility for their work, yet with a bit of smarts, you can differentiate yourself from the multitude that work in a similar line as you, and put your own stamp on the work you perform. Not only does it distinguish you but also attracts better and unique opportunities your way that can propel you way beyond your wildest imagination.

Take on the challenges you are faced with by the horns and put your best foot forward, and always give that little bit extra of yourself to make your mark!

Reinventing Yourself!


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They say, you grow when you learn. Give up learning and you have stalled. There are many who deem that their learning days are behind them and that they can fare relatively well in life, using the skills they have learnt so far. Nothing wrong with that except that nowadays no such luxury exists to say that you will get through your earning years on skills you acquired years ago.

Ever evolving technology has sped up the way we have known organizational structures, roles and responsibilities and they, tend to evolve as well. It’s not changes occurring over decades or even years that I am talking about. Now, it’s down to months and days. Keeping abreast of what’s trending in your line of work is the only thing that allows you to survive and be viable, much less excel.

Let’s look at this through another lens that is more personal to you than just the environment around you. You are best served when you are intensely curious, have a sense of wonderment and in the true sense of the word, enjoy what you do. For some of us, our ambition and end goals are crystal clear early on. For others, it takes a little bit of soul-searching, a bit of trial and error before we figure out what we actually aspire to do. For yet others, they simply have no idea and end up doing something and then, learn to accept it. Better yet, they should learn to fall in love with what they are bestowed with and that love opens the door for their aspiration to get better at what they do; not just get better, in fact excel.

But, life is not just about doing what you do best. It’s also about seeking to discover qualities in you that you never knew you had. On your journey to discover the best in you at what you do, you tend to discover a lot more about you. Pursue what you learn about yourself and that will lead to greater opportunities and more than that, a sense of fulfillment and pride for what you are, who you are. And these qualities, when revealed, help open a plethora of opportunities for you to pursue which you had never imagined were available to you and in fact, you are absolutely capable of their pursuit and achievement. That, my friends, is reinventing yourself.

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Leadership Today – From Command & Control to Being Inclusive


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Leaders are built, not born…..

Lead from the front…..

Yawn! This is old school.

Let’s look at leadership for what it is in the new age. Gone are the days of command and control. Today, there is an altogether different leadership that is expected.

Leadership, as we have understood it through the ages, stands for someone, being the champion of a cause and then, enlisting the help of others and influencing them in the realization of the same. It has also been seen as the act of leading others, directing them toward specific achievements through a means that is most effective.

However, leadership is not always about being at the forefront of a team and giving directions as to what they need to do next and how.

The entrepreneurial and corporate engines of today run with a different fuel, an altogether different steam. Nobody is directing anyone, people have the intellect and drive to choose and follow the paths they want to adventure onto 

Leadership is effectively sharing a compelling vision

What they need is a purposeful and meaningful vision, an articulation of how to get from point A to point B and finally, if you are someone who has been there and done that, there’s acknowledgement of what you’ve done and people want to listen to you. Mind you, I said listen. Today’s generation would love to listen to glean lessons from someone else’s experience. They do not care for direction. They will chart their path as long as they buy into the vision, the strategy laid to adopt and the results to be realized. They will chart their own path, a path that works for them to get there under the larger realm of the organizational vision and mission.

Leadership is being respectful of other’s intellect, skills and time

Everyone develops expertise over time at different things and then, can lead within that field, thanks to the skills they have accrued. Leaders are respectful of that. It’s often said that good leaders are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses and surround themselves with people better than themselves in areas they lack expertise in. It’s important that to effectuate strong leadership, leaders are respectful of those that work for them and with them. These helps nurture a mutually healthy relationship between leaders and followers and only then, do those that follow, do it willingly. Followers have the freedom, not to just follow blindly, but to question and opine before they follow. A leader’s recognition of every associate’s skills, role and contributions are critical to maximize productivity in any organization. 

Leadership is being transparent, showing strength of character and conviction

A leader is respected for who they are more than what they represent. People need to believe in a person before they decide to follow. A leader needs to ensure that more than having a charismatic personality; they are transparent, just in their dealings and have a high level of integrity and moral values. Trust is a key aspect of any relationship and nothing can establish it more than your true self, reflected in your words and actions. Another important aspect of reflecting true leadership is to show conviction in what you believe and stand for. Decisions that you take need to be solid and no matter what, you should be able to stand behind them. You should not take a decision without much forethought and facts to back it up. And when you do, stand behind it, no matter what. These qualities are vital in ensuring true followership that will stand behind you all the way.

Leadership is putting your shareholders, but first, your employees before you

Leaders focus on the big picture. Yet, they need to have a handle on the tactical stuff. Leaders focus on providing shareholder value, and will put their employees, those that are working on the realization of the articulated vision before everything else. Happy employees lead to satisfied clients and they, in turn lead to a thriving business, eventually ensuring shareholder approval. As long as you’ve got your people’s back, they will have yours.

Leadership is not about directing, but about listening and co-sharing direction

Leaders of this age are no longer the ones that can sit in their ivory towers, draw the shades down and call the shots from yonder. In this day and age of Internet, social media and fast paced actions and outcomes, its important for a leader to stay in absolute touch with their organization, the competition and the market. With rapidly shifting dynamics, it’s about effectively listening to what your people have to say to you. What are they seeing out there? What are they experiencing? What do they advise? All of this needs to be appraised constantly and decisions need to be made based on every input you can possibly get. Its shared leadership as to which direction the organization should take. This is the only way to remain relevant is a fast paced ever changing market.

Leadership is personal

Leadership is personal to every leader. Every leader is unique and to be effective, needs to be comfortable with their own style. You can be at your best as a leader when your leadership reflects your values, skills and life experiences. People seek to know you for who you are. They will look to you to be ethical, moral, righteous etc. before they follow you but eventually, your unique self will be a key aspect of why they would follow you.