Paayel Sengupta, Senior Account Manager, Hanmer MSL:
A managerial post is a much sought after destination among career-oriented individuals. What happens if one has already achieved that? The next step is to assume the role of a leader.
The training, ‘Leadership skills: Transforming Managers into Leaders’ took us through an intensive curriculum, hands-on training, role plays and various activities over a span of three days in Mumbai last week. Jaideep Shergill, our CEO kickstarted the training by introducing us to the trainer and making it mandatory that we deposit our cell phones on a separate table and refrain from using it during the session. A difficult proposition for a communications professional, but necessary for learning!
To begin with, twenty managers from across India shuffled amongst themselves to pair up with a colleague from another office. Later on, the same group was engaged to differentiate between leaders and managers. The elements of transition from being an individual contributor to a manager and from a manager to a manager of managers were well demonstrated by our trainer Mr. Ajit Kamath. While explaining this, Ajit wonderfully drew the likeness of managers to balloons, as “ the lighter you become, the higher you fly”. We also learnt two basic focuses of a leader as ‘the business’ and ‘the people’ and that a good leader strikes a balance between these two. At this stage, we the aspiring leaders were offered an application tool that taught us how to control oneself, to influence others and to address areas of concern.
Ajit quoted Ken Blanchard, the famous Management Guru and presented to us a unique model of matching a leadership style with the developmental level of a colleague – “different strokes for different folks” and “different strokes for same folks”. While we learnt different directing styles and coaching styles, we also mapped the abilities of our team members through a very engaging activity. Trust is the sole important factor while leading a team, and on the basis of shared trust, a team can function healthily and perform its best. To help us understand how to build trust, we were taught character building traits and competence building traits. Types of listening were also taught as a useful component of effective communication. Sharing feedback always helps a person to understand his/her position, performance and standard.
Our trainer also talked us through the importance of effective time management and reinforced the difference between identifying an urgent task versus an important task – something that we as communications professionals have to do on a daily basis. The types of delegation came next, where we were made aware of the type of delegation we were practicing, whether it was delegation of ideas or delegation of authority.
Ajit made the entire session an interesting mix of concepts, theories and application tools. The lively three-day session drew out the quieter among us, and even created more enthusiasm from the livelier colleagues in our group.
This session was memorable as he used role-plays to impart lessons to us – the concept of managing conflict within a team was demonstrated so well by Ajit and Keyur that we were under the impression that a real fight had broken out between them!
We closed the enlightening session by sharing our 5-year vision and goals and with a firm belief that best leaders believe in their ability to manage themselves and others.