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Articles | Leadership

7 MUST-HAVE Leadership Competencies

Wondering what you need to succeed as a leader? Here are some MUST-HAVE leadership competencies you need to know about.

Everyone in middle or senior management rungs of their corporate career think a LOT about how to be a good and effective leader! As you rise higher you WILL have individuals and teams reporting to you and managing them will be the MOST important part of your job!

So, no wonder leadership dilemmas keep many awake at night! How do you know if you are a good leader? What makes a good leader and what do you need to do to become one?

So, let’s start at the beginning with a list of some leadership competencies that most agree are absolutely critical for a leader.

1. Long-term Vision and the ability to reach these goals

These are two competencies rolled into one! A leader must be able to see the big picture and plan for it. It’s almost like a game of chess. You have to predict at least 7 moves ahead to cover all contingencies and get to your final goal!

But that’s not enough – all this strategy has to be executed as well. So, a good leader should also know how to get his/her hands dirty. They need to ensure that an actionable plan is created and people are put in place to carry out the whole thing. AND they need to able to step in when things go south.

2. Trustworthy, fair and consistent

The biggest job of a leader is to create an environment where his/her team feels safe and well cared for. When you, as the boss, ensure that everyone follows the same rules, you instil a sense of fairness. An employee knows what to expect, and this gives them the stability to relax and focus on performing well rather than cover their backside.

3. Delegate with confidence

With seniority, workload increases and becomes more complex, and at this point, it becomes obvious that the most successful leaders are the ones who can empower others around them to do their work. Delegation can be difficult for managers stepping into new leadership roles  - but finding the right person and then giving them the freedom and the power to do their work is one the key competencies of a leader.

4. Courage

Leaders are role models and its vital that their team sees them sticking up for what’s right! To succeed as a leader, you cannot be someone who doesn’t stand up for what you believe in. Not standing by your principals, is a sure-fire way of losing the respect of your team.

5. Promote growth

A confident leader nurtures his/her team. They have a growth mindset which allows team members to develop both personally and professionally. Listening to what they say, letting them take ownership of projects and providing them with valuable L&D training opportunities are some of the things a leader should promote.

6. Self-Awareness

A leader may not have all the answers all the time, and yet they are expected to lead others towards the corporate goals. This requires being able to understand themselves better and manage their own emotions. Understanding what drives them, how they react in various situations and how to keep themselves motivated in all situations are some of the key things leaders need to know about themselves. Unless they are able to do this with themselves, how can they be expected to manage others?

7. Influencing Skills

At its core, leadership is about influencing others, so a good leader needs to be a master of social influence. Especially in this age, throwing your weight around or being bossy will not get you the desired results. Seeing things from another's perspective can help you understand what they want and allows you to focus on win-win situations and present your points in a way that it is well accepted.

Naturally, there are many more qualities that a leader needs to have – highly developed social skills is one – but the ones listed above are some of the most essential. As you can see, they are connected to developing a mindset, not a skill so, if you are wondering if these competencies can be developed then yes it's possible.

Coaching and training are ways to ensure that individuals become successful leaders. The most successful training interventions are the ones that give the manager/leader actual opportunities to implement what they have learned and to get regular feedback on how they are doing.

A failure to invest in this training and development means that most companies will struggle with leadership issues, as they continue to place unprepared managers into leadership roles.

Interested? Want to know more? Click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Leadership

How To Choose A Leadership Development Programme

Congratulations! You are off to a great start. The first and the biggest step towards improving your team’s performance is to recognize that it needs help. So, if you are already thinking of offering a leadership training programme to some of your employees, then you are in a good spot – you have promising employees who might benefit from a leadership programme, AND you are willing to help them.

The next step is equally crucial – selecting a leadership programme that works for you and your employees. There is no one-size-fits-all PERFECT training session for leadership; this training is personal and must factor in the unique needs of your organization and your team.

Here are a few pointers to help you find the right programme –

1. Map your Goals

It is vital to have complete clarity regarding who, why and what of your leadership training –

  • who are the people participating
  • what skills do they need
  • what do you hope the organization and the participants will gain from the training
  • why do you feel the need to organize this training for your organization

You also need to know how you will assess the programme and most importantly how you will keep the momentum going after the programme is over!

Clarity on these points will help you while shortlisting a programme and a trainer.

2. Due Diligence of the Facilitator or the Executive Coach

In a leadership programme, everything rests on the shoulders of the facilitator/coach leading the sessions. You will naturally meet with several before finalizing your pick. It's important to check the references of the people involved in the training.

You need to check –

  • The facilitator’s / coach’s understanding of your unique requirements
  • Their prior experience of conducting similar sessions
  • References provided
  • Online presence, blogs or reviews
  • Their educational qualifications, certifications, etc.

The most important thing is to interact with the facilitator/coach and assess how they would approach the leadership programme and how they would make the learning stick.

Be careful not to get swayed by just someone’s big name – they may be great at marketing themselves but may not be great facilitators. After all, you want results – not a one-off motivational talk by someone high profile.

3. Trust and Rapport

Take the time to get to know the facilitator or the coach; you need to discuss your expectations in detail and understand how they plan to personalize and approach your specific requirements.

During your conversations, you will also build a rapport with the coach, and this is a crucial deciding factor - a facilitator-led training rests largely on the likability and social skills of the person conducting these sessions.

4. Session details

A good way to judge whether a particular programme will work for your team or not is to study the details of the various modules. It pays to get an understanding of how the sessions plan to tackle your goals.

5. Follow through

One of the biggest limitations of a leadership programme is that people tend to lose steam once the programme is over. Most participants come away enthused and full of energy to implement the learnings of the training but most never get around to doing it. A programme that leaves participants with a roadmap for implementing new skills and has a follow-up plan to keep them motivated in the long run is definitely worth considering.

Building and maintaining a leadership pipeline is absolutely vital for the continued growth of any business – it makes complete business sense to invest in future leaders. But you have to do it wisely – the goals of your organization has to align with the personal needs of the participants. Ultimately you need a programme that doesn’t just inspire but also imparts critical skills that leaders need!

Don’t guess your way to a leadership training program; it's just too important for that! Bring in the experts to get your team the best. Request a free consultation by clicking the button above.

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Articles | Insight

3 Ways To Develop A Customer-Oriented Mindset

Have you ever held a job that required you to interact with customers all day long? Chances are that before you hit the floor, you underwent extensive training about the “how to” deal with customers.

You would have been trained in how to deal with angry customers, how to communicate fluently with your customers. You may have also been told to act cheerful around your customers. However what happens when a particular client need exceeds the limits of your training?

Customer orientedness is going beyond the call of duty to take care of the needs of your customers. It goes beyond all the technical skills you may have picked up. It is not just about remaining calm and positive in front of the client.

Customer orientedness stems from a deep desire to understand and help the customer. While everyone can be good at customer service, what sets some people apart is the mindset with which they interact with their customers.

Improving Customer Orientation

Here are a few tips on how we can improve our customer orientedness.

1. Recognizing the responsibility

When an employee recognizes that irrespective of whether they could actually fix the problem for the customer or not, they need to go above and beyond to make sure the customer has a great experience while interacting with them.

2. Always learning

The best of the best are continuous learners – and not just about their own products and services. They learn about competitors, what’s the latest and greatest in the industry, and general knowledge about many things.

They continuously seek to upgrade their skills and grab every opportunity to learn. Every customer interaction for them is a learning opportunity and they continuously strive to become better with every customer.

3. The desire to care

Not every employee has that mindset coming in. Even after basic customer service training, they may still not get it. Sure, they may understand the techniques to deliver service, but don’t get the essence. A customer-focused mindset includes the desire to serve.

It includes the desire to put oneself in the position of their customers and then take actions.  Great customer-oriented professionals can empathize with their customers and often feel the need to go beyond their call of duty and feel responsible for their customer’s experience.

To conclude, customer service is not an easy job and it’s not particularly easy to get everything right on the first go. However, creating a positive mindset is important and critical, and to do this, it’s necessary to put the right training in place and to ensure that the employees are happy overall.

A happy employee is one that’s much more inclined to show the empathy that good customer service needs. After all, its very rightfully said that when a business takes care of its employees, the employees take care of the customers.

Speak to us if you want your employees to develop customer orientation that results in superior customer experience. 

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Articles | Self-awareness

How to Maintain a Positive Attitude at Work

Sometime or the other most of us have had a job where bringing yourself to work seemed like the hardest thing to do every morning. Most of us still dread Monday mornings and need to be reminded constantly to plaster a smile and act professionally.

Have you often felt unappreciated at work? Have you often felt that your boss and colleagues are trying to bring you down? Having a negative attitude not only robs us of our productivity, but it also affects our overall mental health and often has a long-lasting negative effect.

That brings us to the question, what is a positive attitude? How does one maintain a positive attitude?

Not every work comes with a great working atmosphere. So how do we cope with negativity around us? A positive attitude is something that goes above and beyond being cheerful.  A negative attitude is often a result of having a fixed mindset. No one should live in a constant state of “fight or flight”, but negative attitudes create exactly that scenario.

Here are some easy ways to help you change and imbibe a more positive attitude at work

1. Control your language

Be nice to others. It’s important to be mindful of the words we use. During conflicts, using “I” statements help us articulate our thoughts better. It takes the blame off the other person and allows for an explanation. Also, when we might be tempted to say something, it always a good thing to hold our tongue in cheek. The language we use every day has a great effect on how we think about ourselves, our work, and those around us.

2. Be nice to other people

There is a huge difference between criticism and constructive feedback. Try to give feedback about the behavior and less about the person. If you are being targeted mindlessly because of your membership to a particular age, race, gender, sexual orientation, language or region, do not stoop to the level of the others. Stay above and focus on the outcome of your work. Let your success make the noise.

You continue to stay in your own lane and keep up the great work. Choose your arguments wisely. Not every provocation requires a retaliation. Stay away from gossip. Maintaining a positive attitude at work means that you are a team player who treats all team members with respect. By refraining from joining a gossip circle, you can ensure that you maintain that level of respect. Stay away from the rumor mills and hold yourself back from passing that personal comment to someone you dislike.

3. Assume responsibility, and choose your response

How you respond to a situation depends on who you are. While it’s easier to get carried away with the situation and react strongly, it takes self-control to not react. Instead, respond to the situation with élan.

Every day is not a good day – but don’t let issues back home affect your work in the office. You may have been stuck in standstill traffic that morning or experienced a 45-minute delay on your train ride, but you can’t let those frustrations affect your work. If you are in a foul mood, ensure you walk it off before you get to the office. That way, instead of ranting to your colleagues about how terrible your morning was, you can poke fun at your bad luck and give everyone a chuckle. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances will keep the work environment positive, where ranting will add negativity.

4. Look to long-term instead of short-term

When the situation is difficult in the short-term, adjust your vision to the long-term. Short-term situations tend to be heavy on the emotion. Making decisions or taking action based on that is not only a bad idea, but tends to feed negative attitudes. Viewing things in the long-term, on the other hand, make the challenges of the now seem much less terrible because the bigger picture reveals an exciting outcome.

5. Express Gratitude

Despite the rough days, there's always something beneficial about holding a job, and it's important to remind yourself of that. Take time each day to write a list of what you are thankful for. Research shows that expressing gratitude each day helps rewire the brain to think of more positive thoughts and improves overall mental health.

Hence I would like to conclude by saying that while it’s true that we can’t choose our colleagues or our supervisors. We can definitely choose the attitude with which we approach each day. After all, we can’t choose the cards we are handed. However, it's our obligation to play our best game with what we have been dealt with.

For more information click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Communication

5 Ways To Become An Effective Communicator

We all know communication is an active ingredient for any kind of success in life – personal or professional. There is absolutely no doubting the power of good communication skills!

So the question is - how do you polish and sharpen your existing communication skills? How do you become a good communicator?

With thousands of man hours of teaching communication skills and interacting with hundreds of learners through our training sessions, we have narrowed down some proven ways that can help you become an effective communicator –

1. Use all your senses

Communication is more than just talk, so it’s important to use more than just your mouth; engage on several levels – listen attentively to understand what the other person is trying to communicate, look and feel for nonverbal cues and go beyond speech.

2. Be clear, be concise and be precise

Less is more is one of the unspoken golden rules of communication! To be an effective communicator, you need to keep things simple, straight and short – avoid jargon and long-winded sentences, speak slowly, remember to pause and wait for a response.

3. Be present

It’s impossible to feign interest beyond a few minutes - people always come to know when someone is not paying attention! To make sure you stay attentive you have to actually listen carefully and engage with the other person. Ask questions, offer suggestions and participate in the conversation fully – also please put your phone down and stop multi-tasking.

4. Be nice and be polite

A smile goes a long way - it smoothens out tense situations, starts you off on a good note, relaxes the other person and ensures cooperation. Be sure to always be polite and positive in your interactions.

5. Be genuine

Just like inattention, people can sniff out a fake pretty quickly. Don’t try to behave like someone else or put on an act – not only is it exhausting to keep up, there is a real chance that you will be perceived (or branded) as someone untrustworthy. Always make sure your actions match your words, follow up on your promises and be straight forward with your words.   

Communication is not rocket science, a lot of it are things that are already accepted as good manners and age-old social behaviours. So, you might ask – whats all this fuss about learning communication skills?

Well, we can tell you from the point of view of communication trainers!

Most people already have some communication skills – a training or a session would hone these, remind them about some dos and don’t and fix some obvious problems.

Some others are stuck in negative patterns of speech and body language – our programme can help them see their weaknesses and fix them too.

And then there are some skills like public speaking and presentations which you can learn really well with the help of experienced coaches and facilitators.

If you frequently feel that your communication skills are letting you down or if you feel you need to become a better communicator at work, then training will undoubtedly be beneficial!

Get in touch with us to find out more details by clicking on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Communication

What are Communication Skills and Why are they Important?

communication skills (noun)
The ability to convey or share ideas and feelings effectively.

To simplify, we have started the article with a universally accepted definition, but the word communication doesn’t need to be explained. From the first cry of a baby to the last look at the end of our lives – we communicate with our entire being! It’s a concept that is learnt, expressed and understood on a subconscious level.

No matter what we do, where we live and who we deal with – apart from the time we spend sleeping, our daily lives are full of different types of communication. Even when you are not speaking to someone directly, your physical presence can communicate a wealth of information.

For the sake of simplicity, let us start with breaking down communication into 4 broad categories –

Types of Communication

1. Verbal Communication

This is the most obvious form of communication – talking! Everything that involves the spoken word comes in this category – from phone calls to intimate one-on-one conversations to speaking to a crowd.

2. Non-verbal Communication

Apart from your words, people you talk to also pick up your message subconsciously from your body language, tone, eye contact, posture, and other non-verbal cues. Are you confident or are you lying or are you trying to be sarcastic – these are unuttered realities that can only be felt and not heard. But together with the spoken word, they are essential to understanding the real message!

3. Written Communication

As the name suggests, this refers to anything that involves the written word. Emails, letters, brochures, articles – all types of printed, handwritten and online writing convey the writer’s thoughts to his / her readers.

4. Visual Communication

This refers to everything that you see that conveys a message – from graphic designs to road signs to colours, everything has a meaning which usually sends out signals that come from cultural or historical significance. An example of this is the colour red which means danger in some situations but luck and fertility in others.

Why is it important to communicate well?

Reading our morning paper, navigating traffic, replying to emails, gossiping with colleagues, arguing with the boss, sitting down to dinner with loved ones or kissing goodnight to your children – every single act is a form of communication.

It’s no wonder that good communicators make better friends, colleagues, bosses, spouses, and parents – and overall success in life and at work!

This is especially true in a professional setting where, how you deal with peers, bosses and management, plays a huge role in making you successful. Because to communicate well at work ensures that you get your job done, achieving your goals and ultimately making more money!

Conclusion

There is no doubt that good communication abilities can be immensely helpful! However, you need to move beyond this and start thinking about polishing your skills.

This almost automatic nature of communication has given rise to the misconception that communication skills are inborn and cannot be learnt or improved upon. This is not correct! With the right training and some effort, it is entirely possible to become a better communicator.

This is exactly what we do at Soaring Eagles! We offer in-depth sessions to individuals and groups, which will help them understand their weak communication spots and gently hone their skills in an in-depth and result-oriented manner.

To find out more click on the Request Consultation button above.