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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

8 qualities to be a truly inspirational leader!

Everyone wants to be a leader. In a traditional sense, you are only a leader when someone follows you! But why should anyone follow you? What qualities, values do you radiate, that inspire others to be influenced by you? It is easier to  think of the power, position and perks that come with leadership positions, than to think of the immense responsibility and accountability they bring along. Normally leaders think of the former more than the latter. The small percentage that thinks of the latter get counted and quoted in the league of inspirational leaders. Such leaders become folk lore. Their countrymen, their teams and their stakeholders remember and recount their examples, memories and countless instances of exceptional behaviour for years on end. Such leaders are a gift to humanity.

Surely all of us in leadership positions have met at least one such leader in our life. At least I hope so! And surely all of us aspire to be an inspiring example of leadership for our people! Learning more from the leaders who have not been inspiring, here's a short list of  qualities that make a truly inspiring leader. At the end of each quality there is a short personal reflection exercise and action plan for you to use. Reflection is a powerful tool that enables you to step back and assess your own behaviour. Writing down the action plan, solidifies the intention for improvement. This is your appointment with yourself . Be brutally honest and real. Follow the action plan for 21 days and see the result!

1) Walk the talk

Common sense and obvious but quite uncommon! So many leaders just don't do this. Wouldn't we like to follow leaders who do what they say and practice what they preach? Then we have to demonstrate exactly that. Nothing inspires more confidence and trust in a team, than to have a leader who  walks the talk. Try it consciously for a few days and see the result

Personal Reflection Exercise

A) i) List down 3 areas/instances where you feel you may NOT be walking the talk in your leadership role.

ii) Write down how you felt in those moments

PAUSE for a moment

B) i)  List down 3 instances where you ARE walking the talk.

ii) Write down the emotions you remember/associate with those instances

21 day action plan

A)  For the above 3 where you are NOT walking the talk  write down what you will change to ensure you will walk the talk and how you will implement it.

PAUSE for a moment

B) For areas where you are walking the talk, identify ways in which you can make this behaviour more consistent.

2) No double standards

One rule for all. No differentiation and no discrimination. Requires great balance and dispassion. Also keen awareness, personal integrity and courage. Sometimes costs personal gain. When practiced sincerely, earns incredible respect and trust, not to mention a good nights sleep for the leader! Easy to do if the leader is solid, extremely difficult otherwise.

Personal Reflection Exercise

A) i) Make a list of upto 3 areas where you feel you may have knowingly or unknowingly exhibited double standards to your team
ii) Write down how you felt in those moments.

PAUSE for a moment

B) i) List down  3 instances where you have NOT exhibited double standards
ii) Write down the emotions / feelings you remember of those instances

21 day action plan-

A)  For the above 3 where you feel you exhibited double standards, write down what you will change to ensure that you correct the situation.

PAUSE for a moment

B) Identify ways you can enhance consistency in behaviour to ensure you don't exhibit double standards.

3) Own up

Nothing inspires more than a leader who takes responsibility, especially for failure. A leader who doesn't pass the buck, who backs her team and who stands by them in times of crises is truly inspiring. Isn't it? Think of a time when you didn't achieve something or made a mistake and your boss/ leader owned up for you! Will you ever forget the incident? No! Will that leader have left a deep positive mark on your heart? Yes !

Personal Reflection Exercise

 A) i) Make a list of 3 instances where DID NOT own up

ii) Write down how you felt in those moments

PAUSE for a moment

B) i) Write down 3 instances where you DID own up and take responsibility for your teams actions and results.

ii) Write down the emotions you remember of those instances

21 day action plan

A) Identify what you need to change in yourself to have the courage to own up.

PAUSE for a moment

B) How can you enhance the positive behaviour ?

There are 5 more qualities I would like to share, but I know that those of you who will do the exercises will hopefully find it helpful already. Would like to hear from you- does this help you ? How is the reflection ? What answers did it throw up ?

Will write about the next qualities in the upcoming blogs over the next weeks.

Reflecting and planning while reading can help make tangible , sustainable changes for the future.

At the upcoming Global Leadership Forum, truly inspiring leaders like H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji, Dr Arundhati Bhattacharya, Hon Mr Bondovik - Former Prime Minister of Norway among others will be sharing their secrets to inspirational leadership. Be there to inspire and be inspired!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Global Leadership Forum- The Paradox of Leadership

Being a leader is a tough job. Anyone who has been ( or is) in a leadership position will vouch for it.
You are on stage ALL the time. Your teams, customers, stakeholders are watching you, judging you, following you all the time. Its a skillful balance on a razor sharp edge. In addition, leadership is a paradox of sorts. I have  experienced this myself in my different leadership positions. You need to exhibit opposite values. Though they are complementary, the skill of a leader is knowing when to exhibit which value. This is what defines the successful ones.  I list my top 5 leadership paradoxes. I am still living these almost everyday !

1) Leader yet team player

As a leader you have to lead from the front. Take decisions, give direction. Stand up and take charge.
Yet in an increasingly flat world, you have to be a team player. Be at a level, where your team can relate to you.Today, knowledge is the biggest capital, and how good a team player you are, determines what best of the world you can attract.

2) Go getter yet ability to let go

A leader has to be a go getter. He has to have the ability to go for results, exceed his goals,  He needs to have passion for his work. Yet he needs to be able to let go from time to time, lest he should break down. As Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, you need to have both, passion and dispassion.
Letting go from time to time will help the leader get a fresh perspective to situations, not to mention save him from a burnout.

3) Dynamic yet reflective

A dynamic leader is a inspiration to his team. Enthusiasm, energy, commitment, creativity are all very important for a leader. A leader's dynamism is infectious and influences his team greatly.
Yet its important to have some quiet reflective time. Taking some time for silence ( at least once a year for a few days) is vital . It is the storehouse of intuition, innovation and inspiration.
The deeper his rest , the more dynamic a leader can be. I have experienced, that my own meditation and breathing practices have helped me become sharper and more dynamic in my leadership roles.
Thousands of leaders around the world who have undertaken the TLEX ( workshop have also shared how their leadership action has improved after learning and practicising Sudarshan Kriya and Meditation.

4) Long term vision yet short term execution

A leader needs to have long term vision. Thats the goal post for the team. The direction in which they should be headed. This is very important, else the team will be lost. Yet this is not enough. A leader has to be focussed to deliver short term results. These will add up to lead the team and the organization to the long term vision.I have seen many leaders fall into the trap of building huge plans on paper for the future and failing to deliver in the present. You have to succeed on both counts !

5) Proud yet humble

Pride in the organization, the team, the product is a hallmark of a good leader. A leader who is not proud of what he/she represents or does is so insipid.  I don't want to work for a leader who is not proud of what he/she does. Would you? Pride brings confidence and conviction. Yet a leader needs to be humble enough to accept criticism & feedback. He/she needs to know when to acknowledge failure and correct the situation. No humility, no long term success.

The list can be longer. To reflect on these and more, The World Forum for Ethics in Business and The Art of Living are hosting the Global Leadership Forum on 12-13 March in New Delhi India. It will be held under the aegis of the World Culture Festival that will see 3.5 million people from 155 countries coming together in a unique global confluence of unity,solidarity and respect for diversity.

The Global Leadership Forum will feature:

-A unique opportunity to get insights from renowned global leaders on their experiences of dealing with complex leadership situations, successes and failures.
-A global platform to network and build relationships with over 1000 delegates from diverse fields like business, academia, science, media, faith based organizations and more.
-A chance to get engaged in theme based peer to peer groups chaired by experts during and after the forum.
-Thought provoking discussions and debates to deepen and sharpen individual leadership skills for sustainable success.
-Interactive break-away and deep-dive sessions on the dilemmas and challenges of leadership.
- Celebrations of the World Culture Festival - 2016, a mesimerising extravaganza of music, dance and culture.

I personally look forward to hear the secrets that have made stalwarts like H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Dr Ram Charan, Mrs Arundhati Bhattacharya, Mr Michael Perlis, US Congressmen & women, Members of European Parliament, Former Prime Ministers, current ministers and more, successful in their life and enabled them to create such huge public value ! Such a once in a lifetime opportunity !

I welcome you to join in so you can be inspired in accelerating your journey to leadership excellence!

Find the list of speakers at

For online registrations as delegates visit or

For assistance, kindly contact or call +91 7676 550055.

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