Ever wondered what kind of a leader are you?

Inspiring Stories

15 February 2019

Ever wondered what kind of a leader are you?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Most of us have our favourite leaders, either direct managers or more famous people, who we admire and look up to. As is wont to happen, we instinctively pick up traits (hopefully, all positive) from each of the leaders that we come across, and that often defines what kind of managers we become.

If you thought that most leaders get lumped under two categories – good or bad, with an average thrown in – you’ll be surprised to know that you are mistaken.

Yes, leaders can be good or bad, and mediocre, but the type of leadership they display is often determined by the role they have to play, the people that they lead and the demands of the situation. Yes, leadership styles often change and the same person may be found donning more than one type of leadership hat.

The list is quite exhaustive, so let’s plunge into it right away, shall we?

#1 Democratic Leadership

Here the leader actively involves subordinates in the decision making process. Of course, the final responsibility lies with the leader, but there is greater delegation of authority and autonomy. The most interesting aspect of such a leadership style is that communication flows both ways. This is the ideal form of leadership and it is identified as fair, creative, courageous, intelligent, competent, and honest.

The only flipside to this type of leadership is that its processes are slower and it might not be the most effective in organisations where quick decisions are needed.

#2 Transformational Leadership

As the title suggests, this leadership style entails bringing about change – be it in the organization, teams, individuals, and in oneself as well. A transformational leader looks for ways to motivate others to exceed their expectations and their abilities too. They set more challenging goals and often even obtain greater performance by creating an environment that is intellectually stimulating. Since transformational leaders empower their followers, this type of leadership sees deep commitment and more satisfied employees.

#3 Transactional Leadership

In this form of leadership, roles and expectations are clearly defined. The leader outlines a process in which followers get immediate, tangible rewards for implementing the leader’s instructions. This type of leadership might sound rather rudimentary, or transactional, and in a manner of speaking it does have a clear chain of command. However, in any form of leadership it is important to state expectations clearly, give directions, share feedback and allocate rewards.

While many believe this to be an effective method to achieve targets and complete short-term goals, it often doesn’t allow employees to reach their full creative potential.

#4 Team Leadership

This leadership requires presenting a powerful image of the team’s future, what it will achieve and what it stands for. The idea is to inspire and impart a strong sense of purpose. Team leadership means working with the hearts and the minds of the team members. This is a slightly risky leadership and it may not always succeed as it mainly depends upon how effective the top leadership is.

#5 Coaching Leadership

Coaching leadership requires teaching and guiding followers. This type of leadership is useful in settings where there is a need for quick results or to see an improvement in performance. In this leadership style, followers are guided on improving their skills. Coaching leadership motivates its followers; it inspires and encourages them. To perform effectively, a coaching leadership requires continuous monitoring of group dynamics, offering process recommendations and bringing timely interventions to keep the group on track.

#6 Strategic Leadership Style

This style of leadership needs the input of a leader who is the head of the organization but isn’t limited to the top of the organization alone. It caters to a much larger audience, across all levels, who are aiming to create a high performance team or organization. The role of a strategic leader is to close the gap between new possibilities and practicality by coming up with a new set of ideas and habits.  If the organisation is to see a change, it requires strategic thinking through effective leadership.

#7 Laissez-faire Leadership

Here departments and employees are given the authority to work as they wish to, with minimal or zero interference. This leads to reduced accountability and has been shown to be the least satisfying and least effective management style of all.

#8 Cross-Cultural Leadership

This leadership is mostly found in organisations where the business works in a global market and has various cultures within its society. Such organisations are often international ones who require leaders with the skills to tweak their leadership approach to suit different cultures.

Conclusion

These are the many ways that an individual can lead an organization or a group of people. Not all the styles are perfect for all the situations mentioned. It is up to you, eventually, to see which one fits your personality, your organisation and mainly the situation that requires you to take up the leadership mantle in the first place.

 

Image Source: Google Image Search (lancersglobal)

How the lockdown taught us collaboration & other management lessons

Inspiring Stories

07 July 2020

How the lockdown taught us collaboration & other management lessons

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Unlock 1 has seen many get back to their office spaces and adapt to the new normal of masks and social distancing. It’s a good time to reflect on the many lessons we’ve learnt during the lockdown and how we can apply it to our corporate lives. Sometimes, all it takes for change to take effect is the lack of choice. As we grappled with being locked at home, we geared up to learn new skills, find new ways of entertainment and we collectively managed to remote work effectively. Here’s a look at some lessons we can take back to work with us:

Are we all Digital yet?

Somewhere between forgetting to switch on the mute button and switching off the camera, we all grew up to be digital. The world before the lockdown was divided between the Digital Natives and the Digital not-quite-there-yet. What stopped us from adopting technology which existed to make our lives simpler and help us work more efficiently? And yet, how come when it came to personal usage, we easily figured out Firestick/Chromecast streaming and the latest cell phones? Learning happens out of interest or necessity; and at a company level the interest must trickle top down. The leadership team and managers need to bring in a culture of systemic learning and that begins with them upskilling to lead by example. This serves a dual purpose – one that accepts not knowing everything is normal and second that it’s never too late to learn.

The Key Takeout: For organisations to innovate and evolve, there needs to be a culture of learning. The ‘why fix it if it ain’t broke’ philosophy is the biggest roadblock to innovation.  

Workload equals loads of work?

It’s fascinating how we seamlessly divided house tasks based on innate ability – the younger ones for physically-intense housecleaning, the ones who knew cooking took up kitchen work and the rest did dishes and groceries. Some people rotated duties but each family found its own rhythm. Each person was accountable for their work, knew the others’ tasks and trusted them to do it. Of course, things work differently in the corporate world with its clearly demarcated job profiles and associated qualifications; however, we can take a leaf out of this and relook at how we can assign work beyond qualifications. Align teams to a short-term common goal, clearly define how they’re contributing to it individually and collectively, and acknowledge that effort and result.

The Key Takeout: Working collaboratively by its very nature takes away the sense of ‘it’s not my job’ and builds a system where each one is aware and thus appreciative of the work the others are doing.

Time: Too much of a good thing?

Humans are creatures of habit which is why when faced with what seemed like infinite time, we used it exactly the way we are accustomed to spending it. The workaholics worked, the fitness freaks worked out, TV addicts binged and almost everyone learned to bake! But at some point we got a sense of too much, even if it was something we enjoyed, we started missing the office, the routine. How does this apply in the corporate world? If you let people chill and do what they love for some time, you’ll get them more refreshed and charged up to work rather than restricting them to strictly work during work hours. By forbidding things, we make them more appealing. This is not a carte blanche to slack off but a more lenient work style where half an hour on YouTube or a game of Scrabble is acceptable and doesn’t have to be done behind the boss’ back.

The Key Takeout: If work is no more restricted from 9 to 5, why should fun have set timings? Set boundaries but don’t make work and life mutually exclusive.

Focusing vs flexibility?

The easily distracted, and that’s pretty much all of us, will find a distraction worth their time. Pets and children replaced colleagues, chores replaced coffee breaks and SOs replaced bosses. On the other hand, we were saved from focusing on what to wear, what is she wearing, where to go after work, the meeting that should’ve been an email etc. The lockdown brought home the truth on how much time and energy is wasted on things of little or no significance. Despite the increase in daily chores, the lack of an office environment, and distractions at home; most people reported being more productive while working from home. Should this mean an end to office as we know it? Yes and no. The office as we knew it – singular location, fixed timings, everyone & everyday reporting – needs to give way to a more flexible, work from home and work near home approach. The flexibility may differ between industries, organisations but the core approach needs to evolve.

The Key Takeout: Focus on what’s essential and become a more outcome/goal-oriented workplace. Does it really matter if the person delivers an exceptional presentation wearing trousers or pyjamas?

When the lines between office and home are getting increasingly blurred, there’s merit to introspect and apply learnings from home and family to help teams work better.   The lockdown tested and demonstrated our potential to trust, collaborate and handle a crisis; and it would be a shame to not carry some of this back with us as we head back to office.

Why do Leaders Swear by Thinking Fast and Slow?

Inspiring Stories

27 April 2020

Why do Leaders Swear by Thinking Fast and Slow?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

According to Daniel Kahneman, human beings have fractional thinking – System 1 and System 2; where System 1 is the gut, intuitive thinking, and System 2 is analytical, problem-solving and reflective decision making. Overall, both aid our judgement, where for some situations system 1 (fast thinking) provides the foundation for System 2 (slow thinking). But in many conditions, these work independently – for example, first impressions are formed solely by fast thinking. However, best decisions are made when both these methods are running simultaneously.

Hence, leaders swear by thinking fast and slow because it provides multiple business advantages such as:

Error Minimisation: Leaders encourage employees to indulge in fast and slow thinking because it reduces errors. If a person applies any of the two independently, there is a higher chance of tilted decisions. For example, when a person thinks too fast, it leads to cognitive biases, leading to erroneous results. For example, A project demands the regional sales of X product. But an employee registers only ‘sale’, conducts a quick search and quotes global sales while providing no figure for region-wide sales.

Enhanced Productivity: When a person effectively balances both slow and fast thinking, productivity rises sharply. This promotes wise thinkers who analyse situations rather than rely on quick judgments. For example, in a team, two employees do not get along and indulge in ruthless competition. A leader, who applies fast and slow thinking, will adopt a sound strategy to form better relations between the two, such as joint mediations or a combined project. But alternatively, in a quick response, if a leader fires the underperformer, it will be a loss to the team.

Rational Decisions: Decision-making is the basis of management and hence, needs to be made rationally. For example, a team needs to vote for a leader. Some employees, instead of carefully assessing the candidates, might make an unreasonable judgement based on superficial qualities. This will lead to the selection of a wrong candidate, which could be avoided through balanced evaluation based on multiple factors, including appearance, attitude, career trajectory, team spirit, etc.

Quick, Calculated Response: Hasty decision making or slow thinking can both result in a disaster independently. Hence, employees need to be quick but also calculated in their responses. Assume a scenario where a client is angry, and the employee reciprocates with the same emotion or worse. In such situations, the employees should be prompt yet calculated with their replies, calm the client and ensure error rectification.

Better Negotiation: For leaders, negotiation is an everyday task. One of the most important factors that can help a leader win a negotiation is how well he/she understands the opponent. The principles of thinking fast and slow help one to better understand the opponent and ultimately win an argument.

Thinking fast and slow advocates a healthy balance of the gut and factual thinking.

How to Harness the Power of Lateral Thinking to Enhance Creativity?

Inspiring Stories

20 April 2020

How to Harness the Power of Lateral Thinking to Enhance Creativity?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

As working professionals, productivity and creativity come at the apex of keeping a business going. The world out there is competitive, the industry stops for no one, and innovation becomes the key. Therefore, it becomes vital to continually engage with unique techniques to produce out-of-the-box ideas. Lateral thinking can help you work those grey cells and keep the creativity flowing.

What is lateral thinking?
The term was first coined by the famous psychologist Edward de Bono. He summarized the need for lateral thinking by saying, “You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper.”
Once you are presented with a problem, how do you get to thinking about its solution? Lateral thinking can help you break the barrier of age-old solution-driven techniques that have become redundant in the modern age. While practising lateral thinking, the answer is searched in indirect and creative light. When your perception about the problem is tweaked, the solution-driven mind is forced to think of alternatives and come up with solutions that are unique to one’s experiences.
Steps to harness the power of lateral thinking
A few things that can help you execute lateral thinking perfectly are –
1. Stay curious. The only way one can look at the question/problem from a new perspective is when they are questioning everything enough. Ask yourself questions about the whole concept before working your mind towards solutions.
2. Since lateral thinking has only one rule, i.e. think outside the box, there are no restrictions on the order in which the thought must proceed. You could also ideate solutions first and then think backwards. It will help you garner creativity.
3. Switch personas. Sometimes thinking differently could be difficult. An effective technique would be to think of yourself as a different person and run your thoughts as if you were someone else.

Why should you practice lateral thinking?
There are many pros to this technique. Some of them include-
1. It pushes you towards alternatives. When you look at the problem in an unusual light, it naturally will invoke newer solutions, something that will be more creative and unique.
2. It boosts productivity. Eliminating redundancy and monotony, lateral thinking will drive impressive ideas, keeping you motivated enough to not give up and keep working.
3. It makes your solution/product a potential game-changer. Most start-ups or early-stage companies rely on products and solutions that can help them impress stakeholders, including investors and consumers. A novel and out-of-the-box idea is sure to grab eyeballs and get the ball rolling for you.
4. It can be used during interviews to test the creative potential of the candidates. A talent that can drive your business towards incredible heights must be screened well!