Rational thinkers will be Assertive communicators

Assertive communication is becoming very important in today’s world. We need to recognize how we respond to any situation, analyse if that is how we want to respond. Is our response in line with the goals we have for our future. When I think back after 10 years, would I feel proud of my today’s response?

There are three types of communication

1. Passive

2. Aggressive

3. Assertive

There is a fourth – “Passive Aggressive”

An example:

The boss requests an employee to do some extra work over the weekend. The employee has already planned a family trip on the weekend. How does the employee  communicate his concern to the boss.

1. Passive – “Yes, Sir. Sure Sir. No problem.”

                     Accepts whatever is told. The problems he might face at home he thinks he will deal with later.

2. Aggressive – “No. I have other plans. I just cannot work on the weekend”

                      There is no room for discussion left. Employee is angry. Boss is angry.

3. Assertive – “If it is urgent, I would definitely do it. I have a family trip planned for the weekend. If it can wait till monday, I shall do that first thing on monday.”

                      There is room for discussion. The boss might as well accept for his request. Or might consider an other person to do the work.

4. Passive-Aggressive – “Yes Sir, No problem”.

                      Employee then goes to the rest room or to the tea point and starts talking negative or shouting or crying or complain continuously with colleagues, based on the type of person he is.

So, we can see that if I think rationally, I talk assertively. Because, I understand the following:

1. The boss is also human.

2. I am human. And the boss knows that I have my personal obligations.

3. If I accept the work, and not able to do it. It would be a problem for the organization.

4. If I refuse the work, It might be damaging to the organization if it is really urgent.

5. Instead of assuming the work is urgent.  I can confirm with the boss if it is urgent and take the next step.

6. Moreover, my boss is my boss. So he might very well come up with an alternative if he knows that I have genuine reason.

We all are leaders irrespective of our job role. And an Effective Leader is Assertive.

Wikipedia definition for Assertiveness is   ” a form of behavior characterized by a confident declaration or affirmation of a statement without need of proof; this affirms the person’s rights or point of view without either aggressively threatening the rights of another (assuming a position of dominance) or submissively permitting another to ignore or deny one’s rights or point of view.”

It takes time to develop assertive behavior. Let us start it today.

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The Extraordinary Boss

An interesting article by Geoffrey James on inc.com

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the “best of the best” tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.

 Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers … and even competitors.

2. A company is a community, not a machine.

Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and “steering the ship.”

 Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community–and company–at large.

3. Management is service, not control.

Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says” mentality.

 Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

 4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

 Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people. As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and (of course) know they’ll share in the rewards.

6. Change equals growth, not pain.

Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change … until it’s too late.

 Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

 Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

 Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable–and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is,  as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

Using Palmisano’s questions

Inspired by the 4 questions of the ex-CEO of IBM, Sam Palmisano. I wanted to see what questions an employee can ask himself to get what he/she wants from a job:

  1. Why would any organisation pay you?   so What is unique about you?
  2. What skills do you bring to the job to add value to your work?
  3. Why should the organisation carry you along in its growth path? In other words, what are you doing to make sure you evolve along with the organisation?
  4. What uniqueness are you adding to your skillset regularly so that you are entitled to hikes and promotions?

What do you say? Please share your thoughts.

Sam Palmisano’s 4 questions

During Sam Palmisano’s tenure, I.B.M. has been a textbook case of how to drive change in a big company — when so much of the study of business innovation focuses on start-ups and entrepreneurs.

Here is a glimpse of the thinking behind some of the major steps I.B.M. has taken under Mr. Palmisano’s leadership, based on interviews with him.

He says his guiding framework boils down to four questions:

• “Why would someone spend their money with you — so what is unique about you?”

• “Why would somebody work for you?”

• “Why would society allow you to operate in their defined geography — their country?”

• “And why would somebody invest their money with you?”

Mr. Palmisano formulated those questions in the months after he became C.E.O. in March 2002. His predecessor, Louis V. Gerstner Jr., recruited to I.B.M. in 1993, had already pulled the company out of a financial tailspin, first reducing the size of the work force and cutting costs, and then leading a remarkable recovery.

This info is extracted from a news article following change of CEO of IBM.

WorkPlace challenges – 4 simple ways to success

There are hundreds of challenges at workplace. Each one of them unique based on the situation, person, or management. Few examples are:

New employee acclimatization

Acclimatization to a newer, challenging role

Waiting for that most sought after promotion

Workplace politics

Coping with the change in management

Wanting a salary hike

The micro-managing boss

or The Never available boss

The irritating colleague who seems to have no responsibility

The colleague who does not share information

Or the one who thinks he is superior based on the previous accomplishments, but has no intention of performing now

The list can go on and on… These issues pose different challenges to employees in different roles or levels in the organisation. However, I think there are 4 simple steps which can resolve these issues to a great extent:

1. Be clear on what you want.

                  – Having a list of goals based on the life that we really want. And breaking them down to everyday tasks is very helpful.

2. Get clarity on what is bothering you.

                 – Often times, we are frustrated simply because of confusion. We need to analyse the situation and understand what is really bothering us. Generally, it is more than one reason that is bothering us. Once we know the exact reason, we can have a strategy to resolve each of this issue.

3. Focus on performing at your best each day without fail.

                  – As discussed above, everyday tasks will help in focusing on the important tasks. And keeps you from falling into the Urgent tasks quadrant all the time. Get the required motivation to do your job. Your Lead or the Manager are the best people to talk to. If you have not so healthy relationship with them, its time you build it. After all, what they want is you performing at peak everyday. Time management is also an area to look into and improve as required.

4. Be committed to the Organisations’ goals.

If you need help in any of these areas, feel free to seek help. There are people out there who would love to help you.

Please leave a comment and feel free to share your ideas.

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Leadership is within all of us!

We all are leaders of our lives. We acknowledge it or not. It is there right inside us..

Many a times, we are afraid to acknowledge that we have it in us…

  • to make the difference in the world
  • to make the difference in our lives
  • to make the difference in our loved ones’ life
  • to go live in the change that gives us satisfaction. As humans, we are afraid of change…

we need to learn to embrace change. And the change is continuously changing. Hence, the need to continually learn the new change and move through it arises for human beings. This has been the basis of evolution of mankind.

  1. John Adair said it well when he said “We all have it (Leadership) within us when the situation calls and the time comes.”                                                                                                                                                                                     Think about that one situation of crisis in your life when you rose up to the situation. That is why, panic is good sometimes. It triggers the life saving system in us and makes us do things we wouldn’t do normally.                                                                                                                                                                          What if we learn to take decisions and implement them without saving our energy only for crisis situations. Enable the leadership switch in us to work everyday, every moment of our lives, and yes, we have the life we always wanted…
  2. Robin Sharma said “Be a Leader without title”                                                                                                               Isn’t it one more reason why we stand back and watch. Because we donot have the title, and so it is not time for us to demonstrate leadership. Why dont we demonstrate leadership without waiting for the title to come, our life, and so to say, our work-Life would be totally different.
  3. We are afraid we would also become materialistic like our bosses?                                                                                                                             Are our bosses materialistic? Really? I dont think so. They are only more committed to organisation’s goals. We are feeling bad deep down that we are not as clear as they are about what they want from life and work. It is time to seek clarity in our lives, about our vision, our dreams and about every moment that we spend everyday. Once we are clear, we are the happy children of the universe continuously moving towards improving our life