” 3 ‘Ls’ of Life worthy of a Universal Resolution for Leader(s) ” – January 1, 2015
First, my best wishes to you and family for peace, progress & prosperity in 2015.
Year 2015 has commenced and ascended to fill us with good cheers and fresh memories. It is also time for ‘resolutions’ although I never make any. The exercise in my mind at this juncture is to propose a ‘ universal Resolution ‘ for a specific group – the “Leader(s)”.
Any ‘leader’ needs to have people following him; for people to follow one needs to get them to want to do things you are convinced should be done; and to have this effected the ‘leader’ needs to display 3 cardinal traits according to me – ” Laugh, Learn, and Listen “.
Here’s opening the screen with a few enduring words affirming my position :
1. Laughing : For a ‘leader’, laughter is more than managing stress or bringing greater happiness. I recall the words of Sri Narasimha Murthy, Laughter Club Secretary in the late eighties in Bangalore, in one of the workshops I had the privilege to organize and attend – ” Laughter – the best medicine in today’s world ” – ( a good 25 years ago ! ) exhorting the Chief Executives of Organizations with three points ; (a) Laughter helps to avoid distractions; (b) Laughter helps to gain a highly positive perspective of the challenges; and (c) Laughter helps connect with people better. Remember, those were days when neoteric Social Media tools like Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram, OR Smartphones were unknown, uncommon, unseen and even unthinkable in practice. Use of humorous anecdotes in lectures and speeches aptly linking the thematic content not just helped keep the audience live to the topic but made it contagious and compelling to look back and laugh again, long after the speech. I remember the times when management trainees and students would be too willing to sacrifice any other engagements or pleasures to attend these events if the list of speakers included names of a Sharu Rangnekar, or a N S Ramaswamy. The duo had the unique and excellent way of making a great impact in the most mirthful way possible. They were proficient and consummate exponents of the strategy of mixing humor with appropriate content to become an ” all-time favorite ” for many of us moulding our careers in Management during the period. That was also their ‘signature strategy’ as Leaders. They were great institutional leaders.
2. Learning : I vividly remember the occasion when my Chief entrusted me with the pleasant task of organizing an Executive Program when a couple of management experts from the U.K. and Germany spent a fortnight in the institute imparting new knowledge covering scope, trends and developments in the field of their expertise. The Chief also motivated and exhorted me with words of endearment implying the promise of a streak of ‘leadership’ in me overwhelming my task as manager of the event. It bolstered my morale profusely. At the end of the event, I sensed my learning curve accelerating in yet another new dimension. The experts during the program offered the valuable tip to lead effectively through learning. ‘ Walk to the front line to get a first hand picture of what is happening ‘ was the crux of their content. That was also the time when ‘management by walking around’ took roots as a phenomenon in Indian context. Coincidentally, I was reading about Sam Walton of Wal Mart then, who while making an unplanned and surprise visit to one of the stores in Arkansas was flummoxed to watch the sales people in the front line missing opportunities for lack of judicious use of connecting with customers even while listening to their views. We discussed the incident with the experts for 3 hours. It threw light on the worries and challenges that many leaders face and open vistas where they can do something to promote leads. It is far more important now than ever before with innovation and creativity flowing and flourishing from the front line. Learning can make one take better decisions; and the leader can gain command, esteem, goodwill, and honor among his people. To me, the program was a revelation in leading by learning/training.
3. Listening : For 23 years I spoke and people ‘listened’ ( they were to an extent compelled due to the fact that they did courses under me ). I became gracefully suitable as a speaker. For 23 years I wrote and people ‘read’ ( they were to an extent compelled due to the fact that the writings were based on work carried out live in work and social settings ). I bacame gracefully suitable as a writer. But, sad that I hardly ‘listened’ or to say mildly I listened very little. In retrospect, I wonder how I could have been so obmutescent all those years. I tried to untie and analyse the process from my knowledge of the structure and function of the ‘brain’ acquired through a Master’s in the early seventies. That, incidentally, was also my first Master’s. A sudden flash crossed my mind. We, as individuals, are always taught to ‘ speak and write ‘. But, rarely does anyone gets to listen by teaching – except perhaps some odd mention about it now and then or perhaps in a short training session in a cozy atmosphere more for mutual benefits than out of a serious concern. I realized that ‘listening’ is more important than speaking or writing. It is the key factor that can make an individual a ‘strong leader’. Great leaders spend more time ‘listening’ to others. Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Kennedy are listeners par excellence. That was also the source of their intellectual wealth. It is the proven best tool for social connections.
In sum, if I may say assertively, ” Yellow Gold may be priceless; Laughing, Learning, and Listening are even more priceless; specially for anyone aspiring to be a ‘Leader’ – be it in industry, institutions, commerce, sports, governance – in local, regional, national or international settings “. What of Resolution for 2015 and for life ? ” 3 Ls ? “
” Dieu avec nous “
Thursday, January 1, 2015 – 11. 29 p.m. ( IST )
Tidbit : ” No one is a great leader of men than a woman “.