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    Leadership,  Success Strategy

    The Essential Qualities of Leadership – Examples from My Grandmother and Other Situational Leaders

    What are the most common traits among successful leaders? What process did they all go through? What’s the must-have quality of a successful leader? How my grandmother became a leader? Leadership training doesn’t make leaders. But still, such training programs are quite common in the corporate world. Perhaps this is how they ensure a continuous supply of loyal managers, in the same way as the British colonialist power introduced English in India to create a new class of clerks. Genghis Khan, Ho Chi Minh, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, or my late grandmother, were all extremely successful leaders who crossed insurmountable barriers in leading those around them. They were successful in…

  • EQ,  Leadership,  Personal Brand,  Success Strategy

    You were given Feedback to Improve your Executive Presence – What do you do now?

    The other day a senior leader contacted me to hire as his coach. His LinkedIn Profile was immaculate – multiple graduate degrees from top-notch schools, a strong track record of professional work in his relevant field. He was given feedback to improve his Executive Presence (EP). He didn’t know what that entitles. After further conversation, we found out that in meetings with senior leadership, his challenge was thinking on his feet and being clear and concise in his delivery. Here is an example from another client, let us call him Joe. Joe was doing a presentation on the next direction of their product. Towards the middle, his VP comes in…

  • EQ,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Take The Fear Out Of Feedback

    Imagine your boss is saying, “I have some feedback for you” – notice what reaction you get. Very often it feels like a threat, as “We have a problem”! According to this article by David Rock of NeuroLeadership Institute (NLI), “Feedback conversations, as they exist today, activate this social threat response. In West and Thorson’s study, participants’ heart rates jumped as much as 50 percent during feedback conversations. (Equivalent spikes have been found during some of the most anxiety-producing tasks, such as public speaking.) In their self-assessments, participants reported feelings that mirror what just about everyone has experienced personally: nerves, uncertainty, and anxiety. All this physiological stress has the unfortunate…

  • EQ,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Why EQ Matters And How To Be Better At It

    Do you often wonder why people behave negatively (rude, mean, unpredictable)? Do you often stress a lot? Do you want to improve professional and personal relationships? Do you want to increase your impact and influence? If you answered “yes” to any of these, you may want to invest in your EQ. Thanks to the thought leaders, Daniel Goleman, Travis Bradberry, Richard Boyatzis and many others,   EQ, EI or “Emotional Intelligence” is a ubiquitous term in the leadership world. Goleman has this explainer video for the beginners.  Despite all the resources,  when it comes to applying it in a day to day life, we often feel lost. “I know I…

  • Happiness,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    Decisions, Decisions | How I planned and survived my family vacation

    “How can we make good decisions when there is not enough data”? During my seminar a few weeks back, I got this question from a gentleman in the audience. As someone giving the seminar I guess I was supposed to be an “expert” on this! Alas, I could not act as the know-all expert, inspired by Brene Brown, I chose to be a human instead – showed them how sub-optimal my own decision-making process is!  I told them this story. My parents were visiting me; this was their first time in the US so I wanted to show them some landmark. On the same token, I thought that if my…

  • Leadership,  productivity,  Success Strategy

    The Pen is Luxurious Than the Keyboard

    This year I have made a commitment – I will be more accountable to myself. I found a paper notebook is helping me in this regard. Every day/week I am jotting down what I want to focus on, what my intention is and how I am doing.  A paper and pen is definitely not the state of the art personal productivity tool but surprisingly enough it is helping me to be more mindful about my time. I now have more clarity about where I am with respect to my bigger goals (also written/drawn on a paper).  I wonder, what is the point on going back to a non-tech solution when I…

  • Leadership,  Success Strategy

    The Power Of Yes – Leadership Lessons from My Car Dealership

    I was in the waiting area of the dealership while my car was getting an oil change. Tony, one of the service reps saw me and asked if I had been helped. As I nodded positively,  he seemed to recognize me and said, “You have the grey Forester, right? What brought you in today?”. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me from my last visit three months ago. In today’s data/AI driven world, Tony’s apparent simple human conversation felt like a rare treat! I have already been a happy customer for the past several years of this local dealership.  As a coach helping leaders and teams harness their fuller potential,…

  • Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Success Strategy

    How Coaching Can Increase Employee Engagement

    I have worked within the high tech industry for over a decade and I have always wondered why a large number of the great hires end up disengaged, identified as below average performers so soon after hire! First as a manager and now as a coach, my observation is the raw potential the employees bring often gets underutilized because of the chaos in the workplace. Despite the relative maturity in the high tech industry we still depend on Darwin’s “Survival of the fittest” theory. I believe a coach can be a catalyst to increase the odds for each employee to be of the “fittest” species in the corporate jungle. Below are the stories of two…

  • Career satisfaction,  Leadership,  Success Strategy,  Time Management

    Want to Take your Career to the Next Level? Manage Your Attention Wisely

    “I don’t have the time to pause and think, my days are filled with back to back meetings. When someone asks me a question, I just tell them what I know and I go to my next meeting. I feel like I am fire-fighting”. Adriana, a senior director of a fortune 100 company was telling me this during our recent conversation. She is not alone. If you are even moderately successful, back to back meetings is a sad reality of your life. The more damaging part is, this kind of constant demand on our attention reduces our ability of deep thinking. We end up exhausted creating the same old results…