Posts Tagged 'Empathy'

Indian Leaders are short on Emotional Intelligence! (says Management Next)

  lshape MNJohn Knights finds Indian leaders to be on par or even better than many global leaders in most aspects of leadership, yet, according to ManagementNext’s interpretation of his article there’s something amiss which make them behave the way they do – centralize decision-making, don’t respect other’s time, hence don’t confirm schedules, among a few. If Indian leaders were to invest in acquiring emotional intelligence, they have the opportunity to maximise their potential.

EACH TIME I LAND in Mumbai or Delhi or elsewhere in India, I feel a rush of adrenalin. I am here again to meet business leaders ranging from elite companies to start- ups – but they all have one thing in common; they are interested in how ‘leadership development’ can improve their business performance.

As I
 drive to my hotel to get some shut-eye before the first meeting I reflect on
the fact that only 30% of my agenda is confirmed but I know from experience that it will all work out and I will have a number of interesting meetings I
am not yet aware of. The mood that engulfs me is immediately optimistic, enthusiastic, friendly, open-minded and can-do. That is the effect India has on me – and these are all important characteristics for a nation on the up
– and also necessary to overcome the many serious challenges it faces.

So what about leadership in Indian businesses? And critically, what about its impact on sustainability? I see three themes that are particularly important for India at this point in time. They relate to ‘structure’, ‘process’ and, most important of all, ‘behaviour.’

Continue reading ‘Indian Leaders are short on Emotional Intelligence! (says Management Next)’

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Can Mindfulness Increase Productivity?

Having drawn us away from our blackberry-addicted inattentive selves we were asked to focus on the day ahead, to be mindful of what we intended and what was involved.  We were quietly led away from immediate distractions into a deeper reality where we focused first on the simple physical realities like our breathing and then into reflection on what was important and joyful in our lives. What I feel was special about Rohan’s approach was that it was balanced between the calming and the purposeful..” Mark Goyder, Founder, Tomorrow’s Company

Can mindfulness increase productivity?

Businesses are being asked to do more for less. Many organisations are reducing staff numbers, whilst expecting remaining staff to provide the same or a better level of service. The mindful workplace is gaining popularity in leadership development and executive coaching with forward-thinking public and private sector firms such as Transport for London, Google, Harvard Business School, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the Home Office and Toyota. It has even engendered discussions in the Daily Telegraph.

Mindfulness offers new ways of thinking and working to help meet the demands of the 21st century workplace. It can help people learn to manage their own minds, to improve workplace resilience, focus and concentration, leading to improved performance and productivity. It’s like training a muscle – training attention to where you want it to be.  A large volume of research and the new body of neuroscience support its use in finding space in a frantic world.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness has been shown to have significant effects in dealing with challenging situations through creating a specific mental and physical state. Increasingly it is being used in companies to improve communication, reduce stress and aid creativity.  A route to this outcome is through a continuous practice of carefully paying attention, in a particular way and on purpose. Practitioners may learn to slow down or stop brain chatter and automatic or habitual reactions.

The science

Mindfulness is at the heart of authoritative clinical approaches to stress reduction and the treatment of depression.  Known as  MBCT,  Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy is part of a UK national template set out by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE.)   Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) follows similar principles and practices.  Other scientific evidence shows proven impacts on the mind and body, following a range of mindfulness processes.

Read more about the neuroscience and how we can learn to regulate our actions by controlling the Pre-Frontal cortex (PFC).

 

What does the programme in business involve?

Find out how mindfulness training might work within your organisation incorporating:

  • Short mindfulness session as part of a coaching or workshop session to help focus and to leave unhelpful distractions behind.
  • A programme enabling individuals to identify their own preferred mindful practices and supporting development into a positive habit
  • Longer mindfulness sessions or workshops to help embed mindful practices in a department or organisation.

Contact LeaderShape to discuss the expertise we can bring to you in this area.

Engage Staff to Survive.

Consultants PWC state that involvement is essential in managing change successfully. They identified that nine out of ten barriers to change relate to people.

Greg Young, Managing Director, LeaderShapeLeaderShape’s Managing Director, Greg Young, agrees: “Engaged people are up to 40% more productive, developing solutions to improve productivity that no top-down approach can ever identify. They bring innovation to the way they and their organisations work. It is leadership, at all levels, that determines the level of engagement in an organisation, its productivity, its agility and therefore its long term sustainability of performance.”

Staff engagement is seen as one of the biggest keys to success.  A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit identifies more than 80% of top company executives across Europe and the Middle East airing this concern.  Yet almost half (43%) admit that issues like motivation, identification with company goals or willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ – are only ‘occasionally’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ discussed at board level. Moreover, almost 90% say their organisations fail to take action to tackle continually low staff engagement.

Continue reading ‘Engage Staff to Survive.’

Are we all hard-wired to be selfish and is ‘survival of the fittest’ our true default?

Neuroscience contradicts this mantra and shows that the empathy we feel for others can drive our understanding of leadership. When the boss gets angry, the whole workforce reacts to the tension in the room. But leaders can motivate when they connect better with staff, using collaboration as a tool for success. It’s the opposite of our belief that business only wants ‘profit at any cost,’ a view that is wrecking our social structures and our world economy.

Continue reading ‘Are we all hard-wired to be selfish and is ‘survival of the fittest’ our true default?’

Who will get the Empathy Vote?

Which leader will get your vote?It’s Party conference season.  The Lib Dems kicked it off, followed by Labour and now it’s the Conservatives turn in the spotlight.  These occasions are now aimed less at the party faithful themselves and more a showcase for the wider audience.  This is especially so this year with a General Election not that far away. 

So it has become a bit of a beauty parade for the leaders; Nick Clegg seeking to establish credibility that the Lib Dems are not a wasted vote, Gordon Brown focusing on policy substance and this week David Cameron will want to appear as PM in waiting.

In order to be successful, all three leaders will have to connect with ordinary people, demonstrate that they really do understand their issues in a way that isn’t politically patronising but authentic and heartfelt.  In short they need to demonstrate empathy in bucket loads.  Easier said than done, especially for Gordon Brown who has been living in the Government bubble for over a decade, and perhaps David Cameron with his privileged background shared with a number of colleagues in the Shadow Cabinet.

Empathy is an essential ingredient of excellent leadership and anyone in any walk of life politics aside, will not gain followers without this attribute.  See the four key ways you can develop your own empathy by visiting http://www.leadershape.biz/empathy.aspx