Leadership skills

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“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails”

The immediate visual that pops up at the mention of the world ‘leader’ is a person with a group of followers. But a leader is not just about power or control. Any person who can inspire, motivate and bring about a positive change in people’s minds is a leader. And a leader leads by example and not by force. A leader does not necessarily feature in CNN interviews and appear on the cover of Forbes magazine to qualify as one. Your next door neighbor who funds her maid’s children’s education is also a leader. A leader does not do great things but does small things in a great way.

What are the leadership qualities that we come across in such people in everyday life and how do we inculcate those in our children?

  1. The primary and most common characteristic of all leaders is confidence and faith in his ideologies and practices. Going that extra mile to make things happen with the broader goals in mind is true leadership quality. A leader makes things happen because the focus is on making the RIGHT things happen and not the EASY things. Children start observing the world around them very early in life and it is important to help them distinguish between right and wrong and stand up for the right values by exposing them rather than just give them tips on scoring high in Moral Education exams.
  2. The ultimate goal should be of prime focus and a true leader does not deviate from this come what may. The path to glory will certainly not be a bed of roses but true leadership quality comes from teaching them how to develop strategies to overcome hurdles and not get worn out by the challenges. As parents, motivation and inspiration are the only support we can lend by sidestepping and cheering our offspring. The taste of success is sweet and achieving the little goals by itself is an encouragement to aim for the next and bigger step towards success. Our role is very small compared to their efforts, but a very significant and mandatory one in their lives.
  3. Values: No person in this world is infallible and a leader is no exception to this. But what make him worthy of looking up to for inspiration are his beliefs and ethics; and the readiness to accept his faults and shortcomings with sincere apologies. A leader is a brand by himself irrespective of the organization he represents. By exposing children to situations that involve team work, we hone their cooperation and communication skills and enhance their decision making skills. Inculcating proper humility in dignity of labor, sharing and empathy make them better human beings.

Some are born leaders while some are made. While not every parent can be a leader, they can certainly be a mentor to their children to become one. It’s the training and education that makes all the difference.

A small word of caution though; while leadership skills and qualities are most sought after, it becomes imperative here to emphasize that a leader also can be someone’s follower whom he derives his influence from. While I write this article, I realize all thoughts being penned are a result of years of learning from various sources; hence, no one is ever born great; it takes a society to make one a great person and a true leader aims to give back a portion of what he has attained.

Humility

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“Pride is concerned with WHO is right and humility is concerned with WHAT is right”

Before learning how to be it is important to know how not to be. Though poles apart, there is a very thin line that divides arrogance and humility. That line is called confidence. While arrogance is a result of deep rooted insecurity and fears, humility is the mind to accept one’s faults.

If we could stop for a moment and make a list of people whom we like, the ones most likely to top the list would be those who make us feel important, feel good and create a feeling of comfort with their approach – they are the humble people. Not just our near and dear ones, even the leaders we emulate and look for inspiration are those with a humble disposition. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to take it a step further to say that it is this attribute which made them leaders in the first place. So what makes humility so important for a leadership position, or rather a leadership quality?

  • Self-realization: A humble leader knows his strengths and weaknesses and has the courage to accept and agree publicly. This makes him more human and approachable as people immediately tend to have an instant connect.
  • Humane leader or just a human? : No one in their right sense would want to work under an egomaniac who achieves success with threats, shaming and intimidation. Power is not an authority to abuse but to encourage, motivate and bring out the best in his employees. An employee should perform out of his self-will and motivation and not out of fear. A humble leader acknowledges the skills and hard work and creates an environment of collaboration and not of competition among his employees.

The first step towards instilling this leadership quality in our own children is of course by being a role model ourselves. But beyond this, there are certain attributes we need to develop in us parents to ensure they learn it right.

Appreciation and motivation for well-deserved achievements is certainly vital, but at the same time, let us also soak up this feeling in them that while their feats are certainly cherished and valued, our love does not stem from these. Our love is a result of what they are and not for what they have. This would sink into them the conviction that love and compassion is for humanity and not for our skills, materialistic possessions or looks.

Humans always have this inherent quality to desire what we lack. While it’s all good to be able to afford, let us realize and make our children also understand that there are many out there who are deprived of the basic necessities of human survival. Exposing children to such realities and making them experience the joy of giving instills compassion alongside.

Words have the power to make or break and the choice of words also creates associated attributes. Teaching them the basics of courtesy like Thank You and Sorry imbibes humility with practice; because there is nothing better than gratitude for our gifts from God and accepting our faults with apologies that makes one a better person and consequently a better leader.

Humility is NOT humiliation. Humility comes from practice and observation and humiliating a child only makes them meek; not modest.

Give your child enough confidence to hold the head up and enough humility to not look down upon others. But remember, the moment you acknowledge your humility, it ceases to exist.

Compassion

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Putting someone else’s interest before our own is a value which must be taught to children. Being kind, helpful and, generally, a good human being is something children will learn only if people around them practice the same. In a world where popular culture celebrates egocentric thoughts and centres around becoming successful no matter what, we need to make children believe that compassion will take them places.

In a workplace, being sensitive to others’ problems, helping each other in times of crisis, sharing workload etc,  are important values in order to encourage teamwork, and create a trusted, secure, happy and satisfying work environment. Success is but natural in such compassionate and affectionate workplaces. Nobody in the world is successful on their own, they will always have someone who has helped them in some way or the other to climb the success ladder.

In fact, compassion is what makes us different from wild animals in the forest, it is what makes us human.

We live in a society and not in isolation, and so, we must remember that we will need people sometime in our lives and those relationships can be built only if you truly love and care for them.

Integrity-Become a Good human Being Before a Successful One

 

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We live in a world where the destination is more important than the journey. In a bid to achieve success, we often forget honesty and morality. Dishonesty might help you today in a sales pitch but tomorrow if the customer /client isn’t satisfied, you will not only lose the customer but also get a bad name for your organisation. Children must be taught to value honesty and uphold ethical responsibility not only in their jobs but also in their life. Success when achieved fast, using immoral ways, will also leave you equally fast.

Simple things like owning up to one’s own mistakes, making genuine promises and not eluding people with exaggeration, being true to people and valuing their efforts, instead of taking advantage of them just to get your work done, appreciating other people’s work and not hogging the limelight for something you haven’t done. These values are very generic in nature and everyone knows their importance, but somewhere down the line power and success blinds them or they succumb to pressures and choose immoral means to succeed.

Integrity is not part of any book or curriculum, it is something children imbibe from family, school and friends.

The world will remember you not based on your success but the kind of human being you are, and values like integrity make you that human being.

Developing Right Attitudes to Prepare Children for the Corporate World

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Apart from skills and education, what will get children to shine in this competitive world is the attitude. Two people with similar education but with different attitudes will approach work or life differently. And this difference makes one more successful than the other. Today, we shall look certain types of attitudes that will help children reach great heights in the corporate world.

Curiosity: As children, curiosity is abundant in them, but we must make sure to keep sustaining curiosity and stimulating higher levels of curiosity by introducing them to books, documentaries, and other educational media. Today,  technology keeps them abreast with the world happenings; adequate exposure to it will keep them aware and also push them to know more!

Value For Time & Money: Time and money are two factors which the world runs on. People who value time and money, value the world and the world will value them. A routine or discipline needs to be instilled in their everyday lives. This will make it easier for them to get accustomed to a fast-paced business world. When they learn to respect money, they will automatically learn to respect hard-work. Also, one must learn to handle personal finances,  only then one earns credibility.

Ambition: Employers are looking for ambitious people, hungry to learn and eager to achieve greater heights. Those who are passionate about their work and are willing to continuously hone their skills to fit into the market are priceless to companies. Of course, there must a balance between one’s personal ambitions and the company’s interests. The kind of value an employee attaches to the company can make him an asset or a liability, one must learn to look at the bigger picture, and not just personal success.

Solution-Driven & Open : When children are taught to be solution driven, it heightens their innovating capacity, pushes them to strive for excellence and makes them open to different perspectives and possibilities-all of which are necessary to develop leadership and team-building skills. Children with such skills and attitudes will be more resourceful to organizations, making them almost indispensable and of course successful!

Most of all, children need to be true to their work and their learning processes. They must be able to harness the learning at home and school,  to the best of their potential, to face a cutthroat yet exciting corporate life.

 

Ganapathi Bappa Morya!

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It’s time to feast on laddoos and modaks and welcome Lord Ganesha into our homes. Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival predominantly celebrated in Maharashtra and Karnataka. So, who is Ganesha or Ganapathi? He is the son of Shiva and Parvathi and is often referred to as the elephant headed god. There many stories about how he got the elephant head, one of them is that when Parvati created a young boy and breathed life into him. She asked him to guard the door while she bathes. When Shiva comes home, the boy stops him and in his rage cuts the boy’s head. To appease Parvathi, he brought the boy back to life and replaced his head with an elephant’s head.

Ganesh Chaturthi is a 10-day festival, wherein an idol of Ganesha is brought home and placed. He is surrounded by decorations and lights. Modaks, which look alike to momos, is a sweet made specially for the festival. It is said to be Ganesha’s favorite sweet. Friends and families gather together to perform pujas and sing bhajans. People are dressed in traditional attire.

Apart from Ganesh idols at home, there are public Ganesh idols too, on the streets. Generally seen in Mumbai and Bangalore, these public idols are of mammoth sizes and the entire street is lit. Maharashtrian crowds even perform a dance using an Indian instrument called Lazzim.

The number of days the idol is kept at home or in public varies. Some people keep the idol of one day some 5, some 9; after which the idol is taken to the sea or a nearby river for immersion. This immersion symbolises his journey back to heaven. Until recently,  the idols used to be made of plaster of paris (pop) which today has been banned in many parts of India, due to its toxic material. Today people have started buying idols made of clay or  mud which easily dissolve in the water, causing no harm to water based organisms.

There is a common saying in Marathi -’Ganapathi Bappa Morya, Pudcha Varshi Laukar ya!’ Which translates to - ‘long live Ganapathi,  come again soon next year!’ So kids, let us all welcome an eco-friendly Ganapathi, whole heartedly, as he blesses us for a bright future and a green world!

How do we prepare students to become leaders of the 21st Century!

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Our world is rapidly changing. How can we help our children keep up?

21st century skills are the new building blocks for learning. Our children will need to survive and thrive in an increasingly competitive world, and at the same time be able to collaborate with others. Creativity and innovation will be highly prized for solving challenges.

So how do we prepare our children for the jobs of the future?

What new skills will they need?

Our children will have to be equipped with a mixed skill set encompassing traditional academics, life skills such as collaboration, problem solving, creativity, and career skills such as innovation, technology, and global awareness.

While schools are beginning to make the shift toward 21st century standards, there’s a lot that you can do as a parent to foster these skills at home. It is always better to provide a good foundation at an early age.

Try these ideas as starters for supporting your child’s success.

  1. When children play together, offer them a collective set of play materials to encourage sharing, turn-taking, and social skills.
  2. Encourage out-of-the-box thinking by asking your child to come up with one or two new rules to a familiar game. This helps kids learn to evaluate their ideas, and solve problems in a group.
  3. Invite your child to help you solve common household problems by engineering new solutions. How can you get the back door not to stick? What’s a tidier way to bathe your new pooch?
  4. Encourage your child to participate in family decisions and problem solving, and then praise your child’s efforts to reason through different situations. If they seem hesitant, brainstorm together. Once your child understands that all ideas are welcome, they will feel more confident.

Together we shall prepare our kids to be the leaders of 21st Century!

Why should one value his/her own values?

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Personal values are the essence of who we are. They represent the core aspects of our self.

We all have little nuances that make us who we are. Discovering your personal values involves discovering what you’re passionate about and finding what’s really important to you. The more we understand ourselves, the more self-aware we become, and the easier it is to live a successful life.

In reality, most people coast through life without any consideration for what is truly important to them. If you’ve ever felt really frustrated or angry about something, it’s likely you were experiencing a ‘values conflict’. Sometimes – just understanding why we feel frustrated, can help us move forward.

A values conflict is often common among family members. For example, as a child, you may end up picking your parents values instead of your own. You may be pushed into becoming a lawyer by your father because he may have secretly wanted to be one. Law may have been important to your father,  but it doesn’t mean it is to you. And you can never be happy when caught in the middle of a values conflict.

If you take the time to identify your values they will become your own personal framework for a successful life. Because, once you know what’s important to you, you’ll never waste another second on things that don’t matter.

 As Mahatma Gandhi said, "Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny."

So here’s an exercise to help you discover your own values. Just grab a notebook. Give yourself quiet space, no distractions, and at least an hour to reflect on what your core values are.

 

Gray Matters

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Gray Matters in association with the Australian council for Educational Research (ACER) organizes diagnostic
student assessments as a competition to help students develop problem solving skills and to monitor growth in
their learning levels. This program called Assessment of critical thinking (ACT), rewards student for
performance and for demonstrating growth. Gray matters carries out comprehensive school assessments
including assessment of student learning outcome, teaching quality, parent satisfaction, school leadership and
learning infrastructure.