A Manager’s job is making sure Employees have a life outside Work

The form of work that is often appreciated in Silicon Valley corporations may be termed as “martyr capitalism” where employees are expected to be committed to work with everything else being deemed as unnecessary. Under such tenets, employees cannot evaluate their own ROIs as that would be unimportant. However, business research conducted by some academicians from Stanford and the Georgetown School of Business, has confirmed that a good work-life balance leads to creativity at work emanating from those employees. Good managers must encourage their subordinates to actively explore activities outside work so that they are fresh at the workplace. Employees must not work under a cloud of fear.



How to manage Managers

Management of managers is a very tricky task. It has some elements common to managing any individual contributors but some that are crucially different. Managers need specific management training but instead of focusing on results, seniors need to evaluate how their relationships with team members are working out. A right behaviour model for managers must be etched out and all existing or potential managers must be evaluated against that scale. The best of managers must be complimented in public so that their team members can recognize the importance of their leaders. An apprenticeship model must also be implemented where certain tasks the manager works directly with their seniors. Those seniors must also make the effort to get to know their team members.



How shared Leadership changes our Relationships at Work

The concept of leadership has undergone a world of change over the past few years. While earlier, it was all very hierarchical and top to bottom, now leadership is a shared concept. All members of the team need to pitch in to take the right decisions. Relationships between team members change. At the same level, extra efforts in collaboration may lead to each hiding feedback in front of the top management. Similarly, the relationship with the top management may change as the latter will no longer oversee all activities. This is a major test of talent management as the leader will need to continue being the spearhead but now without the constant supervision. This balance has to be maintained. The junior levels however may need handholding and this collaborative leadership must not interfere with their development. Thus the leadership must retain a sense of connect with the junior levels.



Cultivating the learning leader



Social Entrepreneur’s 5 Insights on Corporate Volunteering

Talent recruitment firms or teams nowadays look at volunteering assignments as one of the key credentials to evaluate aspirants. A social entrepreneur has now provided us with some key insights on how corporate volunteering can be leveraged for the right purpose for all stakeholders by the employees. First of all, volunteering just because it appears good on the CV does not actually work as it reflects during performance. Rather one must volunteer only when there is the genuine conviction to do so. Similarly, the volunteer must realize that the poor do not need fixing but are part of the human chain. A volunteer can often face attacks but must remain resilient to such. In order to gain an experience out of volunteering, one must opt for a programme which he /she is not comfortable with. Finally, a potential volunteer must not stretch oneself so much that not going for the same induces guilt.



Why do we spend so much developing senior leaders and so little training new managers?Source:


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Managing with a Soul

Ever since Fredrick Winslow Taylor published his work on scientific management in the year 1911, most corporations have become obsessed with efficiency. This has created the demand for mechanical perfection and an almost robotic dedication rather than any emphasis on creativity or business innovation. Organizations though must rather remain loyal towards their mission statements the way IBM has. IBM has it enshrined in the mission that it must work towards creating cutting edge technology which is something it continues to honour till today. While talent recruitment may be tricky, the opposite that is sacking an employee is possibly the worst part. Unless there is a requirement for a specialized skill like those possessed by Navy SEALs or heart surgeons, organizations must persevere with existing staff till possible. Dignity is something that has been spoken a lot since the idea was floated by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. Unfortunately, not all of those ideas have actually been implemented, but it is time now to deliver on those.



The Leadership Quality that truly separates Disney’s Bob Iger from his Peers

Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger says that while innovators thrive, innovative leaders are very few. He laments the situation of his own organization which will stall if new things are not developed and only age old characters such as Mickey Mouse or theme parks are leveraged. Instead Pixar has thrived as has Apple as they were both led by Steve Jobs, one of the most innovative ever. A genuine passion for business innovation drives such leaders. They think long term corporate strategy not just short term gains. Such leaders learn from their failures, laying the foundation for future successes. They engage thoroughly with innovators. These leaders ensure mavericks do not get bogged down by the bureaucracy of the middle management, instead continue to deliver in their own way. They create periods during the work week for activities such as brainstorming. Most importantly they are aware of their own skills so work accordingly.



Leadership Development for Millennials not seen as a Priority

The generation classified as ‘millennial’ has created this impression of not being loyal to their organizations and indulging in job hopping. That is one reason why corporate training provided towards millennials does not aim at leadership programmes. The underlying belief is that these people will not last long enough at one organization. However, in order to get the best out of millennials it is important to understand this segment. First of all, the growth periods that they encounter are expected to be fewer than those experienced by Baby Boomers or Generation Y-ers as those people went through bubbles such as dot com boom, real estate and social. A more steady approach needs to be adopted for the present generation which understands that leadership does not only depend on seizing the opportunity when the markets are doing well, but also to maintain momentum at fallow times. Also digitization and globalization have exponentially increased competition. Thus instead of unfairly maligning this group, efforts must be made to get the best out of available talent. 



Great Leader: Bought, Made or Neither?

As per conventional logic, leaders ought to be promoted on the basis of performance metrics. Yet a study conducted to gauge the relation between objective and subjective metrics, found that the equation did not usually pan out that way. Instead leadership is a totally different ball game to operational performances. True talent management teams need differentiate this fine line between quality of work and indicators prime for promotion to leadership positions. Selection procedures for leaders then alter as conventional ideas based on performances do not exactly apply.


The Power of Mindful leadership

In the modern digital age, work stress has cut into professionals’ daily routines. Emails clog the inbox from early morning onwards and work-life balance is fast turning into a myth. This impacts decisions making skills. A doze of mindfulness thus becomes necessary as proven through the highly fruitful experiences of thought leaders such as Arianna Huffington and Steve Jobs. Mediation becomes an ideal tool to inculcate mindfulness. Business research conducted by the Duke University has clearly identified mediation as being responsible for reducing stress levels, improvement in sleep quality and most importantly improved productivity at the workplace. Even the WHO says that stress costs American business hundreds of billions of dollars worth each year.


The CEO of a Global Management Consulting Firm explains the secret to being an effective Leader

The CEO of management consulting heavy weight AT Kearney says that unlike conventional wisdom, professional and personal life cannot be separated easily. All the more in the world of consulting where one gets paid for the advice it is important to have complete trust with the team. Thus it is alright to open up and share personal problems with reliable office colleagues. In case personal problems are holding a professional back from success at workplace, he/ she must be transparent enough to admit the same.


19 Essential Skills and Traits for Thought Leaders

Highly respected publication Forbes has come up with a list of nineteen skills and characteristics thought leaders ought to possess. Obviously the person has to be thorough with business research. He / she must possess good writing skills but should be able to demonstrate that by typing. The person must have journalistic skills on storytelling and stories can spin positives about respective brand. A happy smiling face can make work much easier. The person must be able to connect with others and present matters in cohesive manner. It is very important that the thought leader looks at matters from objective angle. He / she must be accessible to all, responsible to one’s work and empathetic to others’ needs. The thought leader must be creative enough to generate business innovation. The person must be able of conducting critical analysis and present genuine results of work. He / she must never lose focus on the actual work. Above all, the person must be generous and remain humble.


Managing by Influence: How to lead in the new Workforce

The present day workforce has moved away from the top –down approach where leaders make team members work by instructing. This is because the workspace has become flat and globalization has penetrated deep into our fabric. Also people have lost respect for hierarchy due to the advent of BigData which all realize is much bigger than us. Due to this flat structure, there is need for more of communication. The mode has to change though from instructive to persuasive. Here, persuasion does not refer to soft selling as eventually that mode lacks authenticity. It basically means that leaders need to use their influence to manage people and to get best results out of them.


How Leadership and Creativity go hand in Hand

Business leadership is considered an orderly and logical disciple while creativity is apparently unrestrained and untamable. The two seem unlike each other yet creativity is at the very heart of business innovation which is a critical ingredient in leadership. Great leaders such as Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs and Henry Ford have all been creative people. They may not always themselves develop something new, but they provide the platform for innovations to take place. Creative leaders are by nature intuitive and can make out good business ideas versus those that will not. Once they are convinced that an idea is set to disrupt the existing market, they will back the decision. While innovating, speed is of the essence thus the best of leaders understand that the first version may not be perfect, yet they go ahead as they want to be the first to showcase the idea to the market.

Keys to successful Google teams and Managers

A researcher has recently developed a flowchart to depict best reasons which elicit business innovation in organizations. The chart closely resembles the reasons for the same that Google has identified. Not surprisingly it has emerged that organizations perform better when there are functional teams around rather than the mere presence of top individuals. Broadly speaking, psychological safety is the topmost reason for team members to perform well as they can take risks. Dependability is another major factor. Clarity on organizational structure is also needed. Team members must understand that the work they do carries some meaning in the broader world. Finally, they feel best when their work creates impact somewhere. Similarly, Google has also pinpointed a list of characteristics which great managers possess. A top manager is a good coach. He / she empowers the team rather than manage nitty-gritty affairs. The person must take interest in team members’ career development, be a good communicator and is results oriented. Most importantly, the great leader must be able to grasp the bigger picture and execute the corporate strategy.

How your boss is killing your Creativity at Work

Several firms globally are grappling with finding ways to somehow elicit business innovation. Academicians have often been at the forefront of such changes, however it has been understood that teams of people are usually better at it than lone geniuses. And that is why it is important to not hoard information within silos, and rather to keep it open to all. The legendary GE head Jack Welch used an approach to invite people from eclectic backgrounds or departments for meetings as this often initiated building of great ideas. Organizations must walk the talk and execute the plans. To ensure creativity, it is essential to develop a sense of freedom and flexibility at work. The opposite inhibits creativity as there then exists a culture of fear. To conclude, organizations must openly celebrate successes with employees as this builds team bonds.

Leaders make Connections, not Decisions

The best of business leaders are not those who dictate terms and make decisions. Instead they are those who develop teams by building connections between people. Collaboration at the workplace is necessary to make business innovation work. Too much expertise is not desirable as it often leads to a lack of patience. Such bosses tend to expect everyone to speak the same business language. This patience will also enable leaders to get new perspectives. Creativity emerges out of connecting people and things.

Leadership Development is crucial to Business Success

Business leadership was considered as something that was desired yet not necessary at most firms. Now however, the trend is shifting and it is being given equal weightage to marketing, finance or supply chain diligence. Business research conducted by Korn Ferry claims that about a third of employees surveyed across organizations claimed there to be a lack of support from seniors which hampered their growth. In fact most organizations feel that management training programmes conducted to instill leadership qualities have not generated desired results. Leadership strategies thus need to be aligned with overall company vision for upcoming times.

4 Ways to define trust in the New World of Work

Management consulting think tank Forbes has come up with a list of certain ways which must be followed to ensure trust at the present day workplace. The members at the firm must accept that business innovation will be made and some of it may disrupt existing practices. The autonomy of individual employees must be respected. Also it must be understood that humans have emotions and managing of that part is a component of work. Also within the workplace, employees need friends and thus trust needs to be built.

What is the ROI of Corporate Culture

Culture as a term often remains intangible. In fact, many consider culture as something that can only be felt and not quantified. Corporate culture is something similar to organizations. It is unknown what exactly must comprise within the same. Thus measuring its ROI becomes almost impossible. However, efforts are on to somehow define and assign numeric value to corporate culture. In a book title Corporate Culture and Performance the writers, Kotter and Heskett give evidence on how there was exponential rise in profits for organizations such as HP, Xerox and Nissan after this exercise was conducted. The benefits derived from corporate training programmes will increase manifold if there is clarity on the investment and returns expected.

Why Amazon’s culture works, not just for your Business

The New York Times in an article earlier this year ripped apart Amazon’s work culture as being harsh on employees and where professionals are expected to criticize their colleagues to gain benefits. The attrition rate is scary and work related stress is a constant. It sounds horrible, yet it is a culture that is working. Amazon ahs managed to disrupt the industry providing top class services to customers while executing their business innovation. It is a place where everyone is pushed hardest and thus like the military, once the employees leave the e-tailing giant, they are in demand across the industry. Entrepreneurs of startups often wish to develop a workforce which shares the exact same vision as the corporate strategy, yet that is often difficult to mesh. In an Amazon style workplace, executives do not necessarily believe in the work, yet they manage to deliver which ends up create a horde of brand evangelists.

Proof that Positive Work Cultures are more Productive

Business research conducted by Gallup Research along with MBA institute Queens School of Business shows the shocking loss of work time in the US every year due to job related stress. Disengaged workers on average had a higher rate of absenteeism by nearly two-fifths of a percentage, nearly half times more accidents and a whopping 60% more errors committed. The American Psychological Association claims that more than half a trillion workdays are lost in the USA alone due to work related stress. Thus positive work cultures are more productive in the long run rather than those which promote cut throat competition and high pressure. Genuine attempts must be made to foster positive social connections within workplace. Empathy must be displayed. Finally there must be uninhibited communications between employees within a firm. 

Leaders should Train to be ‘Business Athletes’

Certain characteristics of professional athletes need to be shared by business leaders in order to excel competitively at their jobs. First of all a complete commitment towards the cause of achieving the corporate strategy so envisioned must be ingrained among the leaders. They must be persistent enough to strive till they succeed, somewhat like a Michael Phelps. A Serena Williams like strong work ethic must follow them. They must be goal driven and like Tiger Woods, keep learning at every stage of life. Michael Jordan was known to experiment and that is an aspect leaders must share in order to implement business innovations. They must be passionate and entrepreneurial by nature. Payton Manning is the ideal embodiment of being a leader yet a team player, and business managers must also imbibe this quality. There must exist the focus on all physical, emotional, spiritual and mental capacities.

Leaders need to make Organizations the Places of workers’ Dreams

In the modern workplace, where employees’ demands have undergone a world of change, business leaders need to be extra cautious in order to deliver the best of talent management. This will also stem the flow of talent away from the organization. Typically, employees’ concerns can be summed up by a six letter abbreviation titled- DREAMS. The D in this mnemonic stands for Difference, where employees seek to know the difference their work is making to the organization at large. R stands for Radical honesty where professionals demand to know the exact working terms and the corporate strategy of the firm. E stands for Extra value where individuals gauge which activity is leading a growth in their respective career paths. The A stands for Authenticity which denotes employees’ wish to work for something they are passionate about and a product which stands for true value. There is the M, short for Meaningful and workers want their jobs to provide meaning. Finally employees are looking at Simple rules and not bureaucratic ones which hinder work or their progress.

We need a new Generation of Leaders 

There is a drastic need for a new type of business leaders. What is typically taking places at present is that due to shortages of talented personnel, the ones available are promoted hastily. This is all the more significant because due to fast altering business practices and digitization and work, younger people are getting the nod to higher positions. On the one hand, this is an attempt at talent management, yet on the other hand, these talented individuals may lack the emotional maturity to lead teams. Elsewhere, simply due to internal politics, long serving employees get promoted. These senior pros may be good at certain aspects, but may lack the holistic managerial skills to be counted as genuine leaders. Integrity is another aspect which needs to be looked into. A clear example of this aspect missing surfaced earlier this year at FIFA which has been rocked by terrible allegations of corruption and bribery.  Thus testing and experimentation remain important steps in the profiling of potential business leaders.

What kind of Thinker are You?

The Harvard Business Review has created a matrix which pits each individual’s orientation and focus areas to determine the person’s positioning as a thinker. The idea is to develop teams within organizations that are compatible not only in doing terms but also in terms of thinking. On the big picture or macro orientation, there exist four categories. The Explorer generates creative ideas and is good at business innovation. The Planner designs effective systems. The Energizer is good at mobilizing people to action. Then the Connector interlinks all by building and strengthening relationships. On the micro or detail orientation there exist four further cells. The Expert seeks objectivity and insight while the Optimizer is concerned about improving productivity and efficiency. The Producer wishes to achieve completion and momentum. Finally, the Coach wants to cultivate people and potential. Each of the employees in a firm will fall among either of the categories. 

Google has found its most successful teams have 5 traits in Common

Teams within corporates may be formed or divided in various ways of description. Commonly, grouping may be done on the basis of geography or work vertical. Global giant Google has just conducted internal business analysis to derive some interesting results on common aspects some of its best performing teams share. These teams share a sense of psychological safety amongst the members. The members can easily depend on each other during work. Such teams have clearly defined structure of work and clarity on individuals’ roles. Each member has certain importance which adds to their job satisfaction. Also the teams’ purposes go beyond simply satisfying the organization’s financial targets. The members feel a sense of passion towards their projects.

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