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Personal Leadership: Using my strengths to achieve peak performance

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In the corporate world the word “Personal Leadership” is a new lingo to use. Personal leadership is growing the leader within YOU. When you practice personal leadership traits, you lead from inside out. Therefore, I thought of penning down some real life practices of an Icon who rewrote the game of boxing, which earned him the name of “The Greatest”.

Muhammad Ali  was crowned “Sportsman of the Century” by Sports Illustrated and “Sports Personality of the Century” by the BBC. Ali began training when he was just 12 years old and at the age of 22, he already had won the world heavyweight championship in 1964. Ali remains the only three-time lineal World Heavyweight Champion.

Ali’s golden principle for personal leadership: Identify-Attain Mastery-Reinvent

  • Identifying your personal boxing style:

Corporate world is a world of cut throat competition and it is a world where you need to know what you are good at. What is your strength, your own boxing style and how to use this strength repeatedly in your battles?

Ali did it very efficiently in his entire professional career; he had an unorthodox boxing style for a heavyweight, his catchphrase “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee,” won him many laurels. Ali relied early in his career on his superior hand speed, superb reflexes and constant movement, dancing and circling opponents, lashing out with quick unpredictable angles. His footwork was so strong that it was extremely difficult for opponents to cut down the ring and corner Ali against the ropes. You too identify your personal style and fight your battle in your own way.

  • Attain Mastery

Today the world is looking for a combination of “Jack of all trades and Master of ONE”. It is very important to grow and attain self-mastery or signature style.

Darrell Foster, who trained Will Smith for the movie Ali, said: “Ali’s signature punches were the left jab and the overhand right. But there were at least six different ways Ali used to jab. Most popularly known as ‘snake lick,’ – a jab like a cobra striking and rapid-fire jab – three to five jabs in succession rapidly fired at opponents’ eyes to create a blur in his face.” He attained mastery in his style and pinned his opponents. Hence, it is important to focus and strengthen your strength to attain mastery.

  • Reinvent your style

Reinvent your style and use it again to be relevant. Ali became a different fighter after the three and half year layoff. This physical change led to the “rope-a-dope” strategy, where Ali would lie back on the ropes, cover up to protect himself and conserve energy, and tempt opponents to punch themselves out. Of his later career, Arthur Mercante said: “Ali knew all the tricks. He was the best fighter I ever saw in terms of clinching. Most guys are just in there fighting, but Ali had a sense of everything that was happening, almost as though he was sitting at ringside analyzing the fight while he fought it.” This helped him stay on the top of his league throughout.

Now, introspect what is your personal style? Are you focusing and strengthening enough, because Personal Leadership is not a training it’s a trait that has to be acquired and used over a period of time to attain mastery.

By Sharat Paul

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Changing Paradigms of Leadership

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Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_JohanSwan’>JohanSwan / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

In the recent Leadership summit organized by MCCIA in Pune, we had eminent speakers share their thoughts on the current business environment and structure of the organisations. They also shared various tips to lead the business to success.

We are living in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and ambiguous) world where today becomes yesterday and we can be taken by surprise. There is a complete paradigm shift, and hence it is quite possible for the organisations to lose relevance if they don’t adapt fast enough.  Following are the key pointers that were touched upon in the summit:

  • Current Business Environment:

Today’s business environment has changed from complicated to complex. A complicated environment can be correlated to a game of chess where we have limited opening moves. As the game unfolds, the possibilities of potential moves increase. Hence, the players gradually get prepared for the future uncertainties.

However, a complex environment is like a game of snooker where every stroke is full of uncertainties and innumerable probabilities right from the start. Hence, a leader needs to address this disruptive world with a more comprehensive approach.

Aftermath of recent surgical strike operation on the Line of Control is another example of VUCA. Once the strike was carried out, it was difficult to predict the possible counter moves from the opponent, leaving no scope for planning a programmed response.

  • Proposed Organisational Structure:

Now the question arises, what should then be the structure of today’s organisations?  The earlier organisational structure had a committee approach with no intermeshing of departments or key groups. An organisation with compartments will soon lose its relevance. The old businesses with a conventional approach have either vanished or are finding it difficult to survive in today’s world of disruption. Models of the past like reductionism, super specialization and core competence may not work in future. Thus, need of the hour is to have shared awareness within various groups of the organisation and a fluid understanding.  Role of a leader is to lubricate the system to reduce friction.

  • New Leadership Styles:

Following are the leadership styles that were recommended by the speakers in the summit:

  • Tenacious: Flying against the storms will help overcome any situation.
  • Nurturing: Nurture one person at a time to make future leaders not followers.
  • High flyer: The ability to fly high and swiftly come down will help leaders be adaptive.
  • Wholesome Leadership: A combination of connecting with the inner self and expanding the leadership context outwards to embrace the whole planet. A model of Shubh Sankalp (good intentions) and Shubh Laabh (successful end results) is recommended.
  • Leaders should have the ability to see things differently, be imaginative, build the culture of speed and trust, know behavioural science and have tolerance for ambiguity.

Such leaders will sail the organisation through all the uncertainties and lead it to new heights.

  • In a nut shell:

In the VUCA world, leaders need to be able to take fresh and divergent perspectives and yet be able to reach a shared understanding. Remember, it is a complex world; we need to choose our battles carefully and take up one thing at a time. Recruit the best pilots and trust them to fly your best plane. Connect to inner self to draw the positive energy. Build bridges to people through emotional trust and lead with prudent balance of empowerment and governance.

By Vivek Yatnalkar

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