Thursday, August 30, 2012

ReTHINK : What makes you think you can teach us to lead?

It was a perfect morning weather with clear sky. Here i am to start off with a new leadership training. Just as i about to start Kelvin's hand went up unexpectedly. I had barely begun introducing the leadership course. " Sir, I have a question." I gave him the floor.
And then he came out with a question." What makes you think you can teach us to lead?" I looked around. Roomful managers looked back. Barely 3 minutes into the first class, i was asked on the leadership. Nevertheless it was a good question. Undoubtly as managers flock to courses that promise to transform them into leaders, Kelvin's question lingers in many business school classrooms and corporate world.
I am not the founder of e-bay, amazon or some politician.Some lecturer or spreaker pre-empt it by emphasizing their corporate experience or casually dropping names of CEOs they have met.
The first thing that cross our mind is that leading means occupying a senior managerial position. The fallacy of this equation is apparent when you look back to managers or executives you have met. Were they all leaders? Were they all leaders who could teach, and that you would eagerly learn from? Leaders are not in the title but in your attitude. This is when Robin Sharma struck my mind. You need not title to be a leader: Success (business and personal) is something that’s consciously created. To lead without a title “you will have to be unrealistically persistent and wildly courageous.”
Point i'm trying to make is, " Everyone is a leader and i'm not here to teach you leadership. It's already in there, I'm trying bring the leadership in you. Cause the reason is simple," You are paralysed by your fear. Fear of admitting you are GOOD. You are a LEADER."

It doesnt matter what you do within your organization and the current circumstances of your life, the single most important fact is that you have the power to show leadership where you are planted and play at peak in all you do.
Robin Sharma, one of the top leadership experts in the world and the author of global bestsellers The Leader Who Had No Title. Leadership isn't just for CEOs, heads of state or millionaires. Taxi drivers can lead. Teachers can lead. Farmers can lead. True leader won't need title. I picked it up as a book to explain on leadership and yet while it definitely provides tools and attitude shifts that will lead to better leadership in the workplace, the lessons in this book are about taking ownership of your life. 
These are some of the great works by Robin Sharma which had been always part of my reference.
All those things we believed were so important, things like titles, net worth and social position turn out to be so very unimportant.
And once we all truly get that-no matter what we do, we can step into leadership, the whole game will change. We need you to lead without a title. More than ever before, the world needs real leaders. "If everyone would only sweep their own doorstep, the whole world would be clean," said one of the greatest leaders without a title, Mother Teresa.
“The time to think about your legacy and how you want to be remembered is not on your last day, but now. That way you can live your life backward and make certain that you have a good ending.”.....The Leader Who Had No Title
If you’re like most people, you rarely think about the day you’ll die. In fact it’s a topic most of us take great pains to avoid, and for good reason. Who wants to think about “the end”? Well, Sharma suggests, those who want to do great things with their lives think about the end. But, rather than a point of worry or negativity, they use it as a starting point.

Think about it – if you were to jump in your car and head out on the open road with a full tank of gas, who would be responsible for where you ended up when the tank finally ran dry? The car? The road? Maybe the other drivers? The example is simple for a reason – I doubt anyone could argue that anyone other than you is responsible for where you ended up. So how is it any different in the journey you call life?

There’s an old saying that most people spend more time planning their vacations than planning their lives. I propose that you at least get a feel for your life destination, if not the route to get there. Think about how you want to be remembered, and the legacy you want to leave. Regardless of the details, chances are you share the virtually universal ambition of wanting your life to count for something; to have made a positive impact on those who crossed your path. This is leadership – a positive influence on those around you, inspiring them to live just a little better than they did before they met you. Leadership – true leadership – has nothing to do with title, stature or wealth. It has to do with being a person that people want to look up to. In The Leader Who Had No Title, Sharma shares some very practical tools on how to be that person.

“They don’t gossip. They don’t complain. They don’t condemn. And they never swear. The only words they try their best to use each day are those that inspire, engage, and elevate.” .............The Leader Who Had No Title
I love this part.
How many people in your life do you respect or want to follow who gossip, complain or swear? We all do it – we let the cracks in our armor show through frustrated venting or verbalized worry.
Leaders though – those we look up to – consciously work at limiting the number of such occurrences. Complaining and negative speak provide no value. And leaders are all about providing value. As often as they can, with whomever they can, leaders inspire, engage and elevate. What percentage of your “outbound communication” (verbal or written) is having positive change? How much of it is negative?
A sales professional friend of mine once told me that “everything you say in front of a prospect is taking you one step closer to, or further from a sale.” I would argue the same is true with leadership. Every word that comes out of your mouth is impacting the people around you. It’s up to you to choose the words and messages for which you’re remembered.
What the society thinks is of no interest to me. All that's important is how I see myself. I know who who I am. I know the value of my work.”
― Robin S. Sharma

Here are some great quotes that i include in my training for my explaination to the group.

“Be so good that people cannot ignore you” – Steve Martin
“Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations” – Ralph Charell
“We need to be reminded more than we need to be instructed” – G. K. Chesterton
“…become more connected to those moments where your natural genius most fully presents itself. Live for those moments and you’ll begin to experience more of them.” (pg 69) – see Marcus Buckingham for lots more on Playing To Your Strengths.

“He never caught a glimpse of the leader he could have been. So he kept on working and living exactly the same way. No reaching. No venturing. No expanding….All because he just wouldn’t dare to leave his comfort zone.” (pg 100)

“…spending even five minutes during that first hour of your day celebrating all the good things in your life will put you into an acute state of happiness.” (pg 183)

"......The deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership: “Leave every single person who intersects your path better, happier, and more engaged than you found them.” Time spent forming deep relationships–in all aspects of life–will pay dividends down the road.

"....To be a great leader, first become a great person: Training and strengthening your inner leader will help you perform at extraordinary levels. The key is learning to lead yourself. In our world we define success by the things we have, not by the people we’ve become. The more self-awareness we develop the more likely we are to grow and help others."

Thank you, Robin, for such a life changing work.