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Posts Tagged ‘Book’

 

  1. Mahatma Gandhi held that “To remake ourselves as human beings, our greatness lies not so much in remaking the world – which is the myth of atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
  2. Jacquelyn Small, the French psychologist, stated, “We are not small human beings trying to be spiritual, we are spiritual beings practicing to be human”.
  3. Proust: We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.
  4. Johann Goethe: Self-knowledge is best learned not by contemplation, but by action. Strive to do your duty and you will soon discover what stuff you are made of.
  5. Albert Einstein: The only source of knowledge is experience.
  6. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr: A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.

(Yours truly has contributed some of the chapters in the book and has also edited it.)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/some-quotable-quotes-which-appear-in-the-book-on-leader-mindsets-part-2)

 

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Here are some more gems of wisdom from the book:

  1. I am what I am.
  2. Samuel Johnson: There lurks, perhaps, in every human heart a desire of distinction, which inclines every man, first to hope, and then to believe, that Nature has given him something peculiar to himself.
  3. ‘I Am Something’ mindset believes that I am neither above you, nor below you. I am neither in front of you, nor behind you. I am neither away from you, nor near to you. I am along with you. I am however different and distinct. So are you.
  4. Mukesh Ambani, Indian industrialist: In the journey of an entrepreneur, the most important thing is self belief and the ability to convert that belief into reality.
  5. Maxwell Maltz: Low esteem is like driving through life with your hand brake on.
  6. The significance of being insignificant.
  7. Ravi Thilagan, Management Educator: ‘I Am Something’ is assertion. ‘I Am Everything’ is aggression and ‘I Am Nothing’ leads to submission. ‘I Am Something’ perhaps leads to courage and humility in right proportion?

(Yours truly has contributed some of the chapters in the book and has also edited it.)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/some-quotable-quotes-which-appear-in-the-book-on-leader-mindsets)

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  1. Dr S Radhakrishnan, former President of India: Man is the cause of the problem, as also its solution.
  1. Sri Aurobindo, the great thinker: Mastery means the knowledge of handling certain vibrations; if you know how to handle these vibrations you have the mastery. 
  1. Jean-Paul Sartre: Everything has been figured, except how to live. 
  1. Confucius: It’s better to light a small candle than to curse the darkness in our lives.
  1. Ekanath Easwaran: M K Gandhi’s faith in the power of the individual formed the foundation for his extremely compassionate view of the industrial era’s large scale problems as well as of the smaller but no less urgent troubles we find in our lives. One person can make a difference. 
  1. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India: What matters is this/That there must be expanse with height /So that a man /Is not fixed and dead as a stump /But blends in and belongs with others. 
  1. Dr Ananda Reddy, Director, Sri Aurobindo Centre for Advanced Research, Pondicherry, India: The mindset of ‘I Am Something’ presents a judicial combination of management and philosophy.
  1. Marcel Proust (French Novelist, 1871- 1922): Love is space and time measured by the heart.

(Yours truly has contributed some of the chapters in the book and has also edited it.)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/02/04/a-brand-new-way-of-increasing-leadership-effectiveness

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/02/10/a-word-about-the-book-on-leadership

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/02/19/key-takeaways-from-the-book-on-leader-mindsets

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/02/26/of-leadership-and-its-myriad-lenses)

 

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The fascinating process we call Leadership can be viewed through several lenses. Each lens offers a unique perspective. Some are more comprehensive, others less so. But almost all reveal a facet which is distinctive in its own way.

Some of the lenses which management theorists and practitioners have used over the last 150 years to view the enigma called leadership are discussed in brief here.

The Trait Lens

The lens of the Trait theories makes us notice the kind of personality traits of a leader which make him effective. Domain knowledge, self-confidence, interpersonal skills and charisma are some of the critical components here. However, these presume that the environment and the followers have no role to play when it comes to assessing the effectiveness of a leader. With such a uni-dimensional approach, where the personality traits of the leader alone count, it is neither practical nor desirable to compare this approach to that of the three mindsets under discussion here.

The Behavioural Lens

The lens of the Behavioural theories of leadership leads us to such operating styles as dictatorial, autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, and the like. In the spectrum of direct authority exercised, if the dictatorial style implies maximum control, the laissez-faire style would relate to minimum control, though not amounting to abdication.

The Contingency Lens

Yet another lens which we use to view the phenomenon of leadership is that of the Contingency theories. These posit that the effectiveness of a leader is determined by the interplay of several factors – personality traits, behavioural patterns, nature of the task at hand, the composition of the group being led, and the kind of situation at hand.

An example is that of Fred Fiedler’s theory. It proposes that in extremely favourable or unfavourable situations, task-oriented leaders fare better, whereas in moderate situations, relationship-oriented leaders deliver better results. As a logical corollary, in a business situation which is changing rapidly, a new leader with a more appropriate operating style needs to be brought in.

The Situational Lens

The Hersey-Blanchard Situational model is yet another lens with which one may view leadership. This one proposes that effective leadership rests on two fundamental concepts: Leadership Style and the group’s Performance Readiness level.

It follows that there is no single ‘best’ style of leadership. Effectiveness of a leader varies not only with the characteristics of the group being led; it also depends on the goal to be achieved.

The level of maturity of the followers determines the leadership style which would work the best. While dealing with new entrants to the organization, a leader would do well to follow a Directing Style. While dealing with seasoned professionals, a Delegation Style would yield better results. The other two styles envisaged are Coaching and Supporting.

The Transactional Lens

Then we have the lens of the Transactional theories of viewing leadership. These are characterized by a transaction made between the leader and the followers. By implication, these place a higher premium on positive and mutually beneficial relationships between leaders and their respective followers. The effectiveness of leadership is thus believed to be dependent on the alignment between individual and organizational goals.

These theories propose that a system of reward and punishment alone works. A well-defined hierarchy, where everyone knows who the leader is and who is following, is a sine qua non. In a way, this is a premise which subjugates people, reducing them to mere cogs in the wheel, with no concern for social or human values. The adage ‘my way or the highway’ readily comes to one’s minds.

The Transformational Lens

The Transformational theories provide yet another lens with which one may view leadership. Transformational leaders inspire their followers by their vision, by setting examples which are worthy of emulation, and by the sheer force of their own personality. In the process, they themselves develop as leaders. They are also able to groom leaders out of their more competent followers.

Four components of this model happen to be:

  1. Intellectual stimulation.
  2. Consideration for individual team members.
  3. Inspirational motivation.
  4. Idealized influence.

Transformational leadership theories work on the premise that people are motivated by the task that must be performed. This implies that the culture of the organization is such as to act as a key enabler for such leaders to be effective. There is an emphasis on cooperation, collective action and healthy competition. Tasks are designed to be challenging and desirous. The whole system is geared towards placing the community above individual egos.

The lens of Three Mindsets

Yes-Men

Prof G P Rao, an eminent authority in the field of Organizational Behaviour, has recently proposed a new approach to viewing leadership.

This approach proposes three kinds of leadership mindsets: “I Am Everything’, ‘I Am Nothing’ and ‘I Am Something’. These are not mutually exclusive but co-exist, much like the three traits (Gunas) mentioned in Indian scriptures: Saatvik, Rajasik and Tamasik. Time and business environment play key roles in determining the dominant mode of mindset a business leader has at a given point in time.

In a highly favourable business climate, a leader is apt to have an ‘I Am Everything’ mindset. In an unfavourable setting, a leader may end up having an ‘I Am Nothing’ mindset. In a moderate situation, an ‘I Am Something’ mindset is likely to prevail.

The approach is based on an empirical study and has been implemented in an IT organization in India. It has been discussed in detail in the book on Leader Mindsets.

The composite lens of Results, People and Ethics

This proposition is based on my own managerial experience of over four decades in the private sector. The basic premise here is that decisions are based not only on commercial considerations but also on sound ethics and values. Decisions which would serve the strategic interests of the organization and would never lead it to a situation of public disgrace and compromise.

If one were to take the liberty of modifying the Blake Mouton Grid, the leadership style of such a CEO would qualify for either a 9,9,9 or a 5,5,5 classification.

The modified grid leads us to 9 different styles which we have already discussed elsewhere in detail.

An evolutionary thought process

Human thoughts forever keep evolving. Newer experiences come about. Refined paradigms surface. But each succeeding step is like a stepping stone. It is built upon the success achieved by, as well as upon the deficiencies noticed in, the previous ones. The different lenses of viewing leadership we have discussed here are no exception.

What we have attempted here is merely indicative and not exhaustive. Many more interpretations of leadership exist. Many more models and theories would emerge in the times to come. As businesses hurtle forward, armed with newer and smarter technologies, the need for humane leaders would only become more acute.

This would surely lead to newer lenses which would be more comprehensive and elaborate, and would better serve the needs of commercial enterprises better in future.

(A version of this article appears as one of the chapters of the book ‘I Am Something: Developing a New Leader Mindset’.)

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/12/24/looking-for-ceos-inspired-by-the-yuletide-spirit)

 

 

 

 

 

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The Spandan (Heartbeat) perspective

   

  • Innate divinity, intrinsic altruism and basic goodness of human beings are determinants of human existence and growth.
  • Spandan (Heartbeat, vibration, pulsation, echo) is the binding element of the entire universe and its living organisms.
  • A Maternalistic style of Management: The Mother as a symbol of – among others – (a)  Nurturing – caring, sharing and compassionate; (b) Faith in basic goodness of others; and (c) Empathy of the highest order.
  • Spandan approach, with emphasis on a high degree of sensitivity towards others’ needs (like a mother) as the quality of a leader.
  • Spandan Spectrum of Human Values 2013.
  • Spandan 3D Process of Diagnosis, Discovery and Development; Inculcation of Human Values in Organisations for sustained success.
  • Functionally Humane Leadership (FHL).
  • Functionally Humane Organisation (FHO).

 

‘I Am Something’ leader mindset

 

  • Leaders operate in three kinds of mindsets: ‘I Am Everything’; ‘I Am Nothing’; ‘I Am Something’.
  • ‘I Am Something’ believes that I am neither above you, nor below you. I am neither in front of you, nor behind you. I am neither away from you, nor near to you. I am along with you. I am however different and distinct. So are you.
  • Self is the pivot: For any meaningful change to take place, leaders themselves have to take the initiative.
  • The process of transformation involves three steps:  Remaking the Self to adopt the ‘I Am Something’ mindset; Facilitating others remake themselves along similar lines; Initiating a mindset change across an organisation.
  • An empirical study done by the author found that as many as 75.55% of those who participated was operating as per the ‘I Am Something’ mindset.
  • A practical roll out of the ‘I Am Something’ mindset is already underway at a company in India.
  • Globally, several businesses show a tendency to veer around the ‘I Am Something’ mindset. Some of the existing theories of leadership match the concept of this mindset.
  • Teachings of Gautama Buddha and Ramana Maharishi relate to the ‘I Am Something’ mindset.
  • With the onset of such technologies as AI, Robotics, Machine Learning, and the like, the importance of human values and ethics in management is bound to go up in the times to come. ‘I Am Something’ is a mindset concept of which the time has already arrived. Leaders of tomorrow need to hone their skills and attitudes in tandem with the impending changes.

 

 

 

 

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You are a leader in any realm of human endeavour, whether managerial, social, political or cultural. You could be an entrepreneur, an institution builder, a Chief Executive Officer, a policy maker or a related functionary, either in the private sector, or in the public sector. You could be serving as a senior officer in a government department. You could even be heading the operations at a non-governmental organization.

You are perceived to be a successful leader. However, somewhere deep within, you carry within you a sense of creative dissatisfaction; a yearning to discover a practical way to transport yourself, your team and your organization into a happier and contented frame of mind. You are keen on going beyond your own professional and personal interests and in getting involved in humanizing your organization.

If so, this book could prove to be a game changer in more ways than one. It makes you see the world around you in a new light, without the filters of your preconceived notions. By making you aware of the kind of mindsets which affect your decision making, it offers a new lens with which you can view the phenomenon we call leadership.  The book then goes on to capture the results of an empirical study done by the author, thereby demonstrating the practical wisdom of what it proposes. Eventually, it offers you a practical guide as to how to go about implementing the changes you wish to make, so as to become a happier and a contented leader.

This book is not about a new leadership theory which might leave you fuming after discovering that it merely offers the proverbial old wine in a new bottle. It provides a fresh perspective on leadership. The perspective it presents has already been tried and tested in real time. Much along the lines of the famous Hawthorne studies of the 1920s, the approach to leadership is being rolled out in a corporate entity in India even as you go through the book in your hands.

The book also presents divergent perspectives on the subject of leadership from different subject experts, touching upon globalization and a bird’s eye view of different theories of leadership through the recent history of management thought. There is an attempt to understand leadership through the basic tenets of Buddhism. It also endeavours to connect the key teachings of Raman Maharishi to the realm of leadership.

The Soul of the Book and Some Crystal Gazing

The soul of the book, however, lies in its unique approach of SPANDAN, or human vibrations. Around the nucleus of this concept, it builds a mighty edifice of propositions which offer the potential of making you a more effective leader.

In the times to come, just how serious would be the threat to human supremacy from machines? In our age of Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Machine Learning, Algorithm Analytics and Internet of Things, just how relevant would this new approach to leadership be?

The book proposes that in the impending man–machine conflict, human beings are not likely to suffer the same fate as that of the non-avian dinosaurs which went extinct some sixty-five million years ago. But the writing on the wall is clear. They need to roll up their sleeves and get down to the task of sharpening their soft skills. A humane approach to handling team members needs to be consciously developed.

Transforming Yourself and Others

To sum up, the book, through theoretical propositions and empirical evidence, presents a new way to look at the kind of a leader you could aspire to be, and the potential you have to grow further, making you a happier and contented person, exuding warmth and positivity to those whom you happen to lead.

It provides a fresh perspective which is not likely to lose its relevance in a future replete with technological advancements, environmental challenges and more potent uncertainties which leaders in any field of human endeavour would face in the decades to come.

Chapter-end Tasks on Introspection, Interaction and Initiation (3 Is)

To facilitate your learning process, the author has selected some themes and some quotes from mentors of repute. These are designed to enable you to Introspect at the individual level and also to Interact with others at a small group level. These could also motivate you to Initiate suitable steps at the collective/large group level, so members of your organisation could empower themselves and become more productive and responsible citizens over a period of time.

You will come across these suggestions at the end of some of the chapters. You can develop these themes further and convey the same to key individuals, small groups and large groups, in any form of communication – written, verbal, a group presentation and even a panel discussion. A final report based on collective feedback could assist you in measuring the effectiveness of this approach.

 

 

 

 

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The importance of human values in our lives – whether personal or professional – can never be overestimated. In a book about to hit the market, the author, Professor G P Rao, builds upon his considered belief that managements which choose to ignore this crucial aspect in their decision-making do so at their own risk and peril. Their market valuations take a hit. Their brand image gets dented. They fail to take a long-term view of things. Instead, they end up window dressing the key performance parameters till the time the proverbial bubble bursts. They simply live from one quarter to the next, focusing on immediate deliverables.

In the upcoming book, the author not only proposes a theoretical construct of Leader Mindsets but also takes you through the steps involved in practising the same. Whether by way of an empirical study or by the means of a practical roll-out of the Spandan approach in an organization, results have been gratifying, establishing the value of the ‘I Am Something’ mindset towards the goals of organizations.

As humanity cruises along and takes off on the path of an exponential growth in technology, the need for a Spandan kind of approach would come into a sharper focus. Human values alone have the potential of acting as a rudder, keeping the trajectory of our evolutionary path on the right track. Leaders of tomorrow would find better satisfaction and happiness by adopting the ‘I Am Something’ mindset. So would their team members, were the leader to decide to facilitate their developing along similar lines. A spread across organizations and then across societies would be a logical corollary.

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