The first issue of 2017 carried Prof. Vasanthi Srinivasan’s (IIMB) pointers towards What Future Ready Leadership Means –
*Capacity to anticipate unintended changes
*Prognosis-diagnosis, Proscribe-prescribe and Diagnose-derisk
*One thing you will acquire that you didn’t last year
We are at the close of 2017. A good time to reflect and ponder over which of the above we did as leaders. Each one of us is a leader in our own way in our lives. I don’t believe a leader is one who is appointed as such, elected as such and occupies a certain position in an organisation. Leadership means taking ownership. Taking responsibility. Being accountable. Taking risks. Taking the team along. Taking a stand. Walking the talk. Walking the untrodden path. Listening. Learning. Letting go. Empowering. Empathising and many more……..A leader could be in the world (may be space in future!). In a nation. In a company. In a club. In a community. In a group. In a family. In an event or even in a specific situation. Of course each of these requires different leadership abilities, qualities and styles.
Alliance Building is one of the bedrocks of a strong leadership. The key to it is creating and nurturing lasting relationships. The real key lies in giving. Giving without expectations. It is an universal truth that Givers Gain. Give by empathising with the other person. Give after understanding his needs. Give before he/she asks. Give anticipating what would be best for him/her. The joy in such Giving is immeasurable. Deeply enriching. Soulfully satisfying. Highly transformational…….to the Giver !!
I found this when I referred many clients to my business associates without a referral fee, with the sole aim of ensuring that my client gets the best service and the business associate gets to grow his business. I found this when I connected a Life Coach to a promising startup couple that required a growth mentor. A seeding done years ago is now blossoming. I felt deeply gratified when I could offer some work opportunity to one of my close family members who was going through personal grief. It was a second innings at work and a corporate-comeback of sorts for this person. I felt elated when rest of my team members took this to a new high by voluntarily training this new employee and readying her as a key contributor. I had empowered them and they were now empowering her. What better joy than this ? I felt satisfied that one of my team members could achieve her personal goals of acquiring an asset and I had a small role to play in that. I experienced the joy of giving right advice (of what they needed rather than what they wanted) to some of our sincere customers who are doing wonderfully well now. Many a times, I gave time and space to family members in their own time of highs and lows. It did wonders too for the relationship.
I am getting back all of this and more right from my housemaid to driver to the dhobhiwallah to the shopkeeper to family members to friends to associates. Small gestures. Poignant moments that make life worth living. If all this is not alliance building for life, what else is ?
Unfortunately I am not an avid Kannada reader but as the famous Kannada poet, Rashtrakavi Kuvempu’s 113th birthday is being celebrated today, I would like to leave you with his famous words “O Nanna Chethana, Aagu Nee Anikethana” meaning “Be unhoused O my soul, only the Infinite is your goal”.
Wishing you all an inspiring, fulfilling & joyful 2018 !
Mother’s Day is far away but this seems to be a Season for Mothers ! While Manushi Chillar, current Miss World 2017 from India paid her tribute to her mother saying “Mother’s job deserves the highest respect and highest salary”, I heard a young man all of 22 give a talk about his mother as his role model. He won the Best Speaker recognition at a Speaking club recently when he recalled the various moments in his life about how his mother ‘put up’ with all his mischief and tantrums, managed her career and cared for the family with no complaints nor demand for ‘incentives’. It was touching to hear that during demonetisation, as a bank employee this mother would travel every day 180 kms up and down to her posting in a remote village and be back home late night, just to serve healthy food to the family. The boy shared with pride that his mother never felt this was an ordeal since she said she was ‘In the service of the Nation’ ! A lay, unsung patriot !! He said “I don’t need a bigger inspiration in my life”.
Another talk I heard from a slightly older gentleman and my good friend was also in praise of his mother. In about 6 minutes, he was able to pack in various anecdotes about how his mother, an uneducated, simple woman is an epitome of patience, care, love, will power, resilience & broad-mindedness. A senior management employee in an MNC, he said his mother is his role model and he has grown to respect and love her for her ‘quiet but assertive’ style of communication which has no jargons, no admonition, no pampering words – but just an assurance that she trusts him. It was moving to hear him say that he felt guilty he isn’t spending enough time with her.
I am sure each one of us has similar experiences and memories to share about a Mother. Why, as if to read our minds, I received a whatsapp message quantifying how much a home-bound mum should hypothetically be earning. Well, her role cannot be measured. Cannot be quantified. Cannot be replaced. Cannot be outsourced. It is invaluable to the individual, family and the society at large. I think rather than saying it is the Mother, let’s say it is the motherly attributes. In today’s world, there are many men staying put at home and taking on the responsibility of raising children or stepping back in their careers so that the woman can move on at some points. These ‘male home-makers’ too deserve equal applause though they may be in smaller numbers.
I recall a couple of years ago, I had written about the attributes of a Leader which goes something like this ….
*Skin of a rhino
*Courage of a soldier
*Compassion of a mother
*Understanding of a friend
*Patience of a saint
Whether a Mother is paid or not, valued or not, recognised or not she is a Leader no doubt who shapes many a lives.
Having said this, as our newsletter enters the 9th year (yes, we have successfully completed 8 years !) I am grateful to all the contributors and patrons over the years. No doubt this news-letter is a women-run initiative. Yet the support from the other-half is no less significant. Again amaatra – cannot be measured.