The Leadership Edge!

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Daniel Coleman writes,’Emotional competence is particularly central to leadership, a role whose essence is getting others to do their jobs more effectively. Interpersonal ineptitude in leaders lowers everyone’s performance.It wastes time, creates acrimony, corrodes motivation and commitment’.

Organizations that are progressive know well …that a leader can serve to be a leverage in helping others to perform well. And a leader identifies an opportunity in each problem…

Business plan can be worked and implemented..

Eminence India, a start up company based in Chennai ( India), needed a leadership edge to set the ball rolling and revenue from business coming in. All that was required – to think effectively and arrive at business option that was workable.

I had to coordinate with the HR agency to get marketing force in place after looking for company office premises. Develop certain daily reporting formats, sign a distributorship agreement with the Korean Multi national Suprema for biometric devices’ sales. We already had the distributorship with American manufacturer Zebra smart card printers. Channel marketing initiative was formulated for the first time.

Within three months, the business was up and running!!

‘8th Habit – From Effectiveness to Greatness’ – Dr Stephen R Covey – Book review!

8th habit

“The world has changed dramatically since the classic, internationally bestselling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was published, influencing tens of millions. The challenges and complexity we all face in our relationships, families, professional lives and communities are of an entirely new order of magnitude. In order to thrive, innovate, excel and lead in what Covey calls the new Knowledge Worker Age, we must build on and move beyond effectiveness…to greatness. Accessing the higher levels of human genius and motivation in today’s new reality requires a sea change of new thinking — a new mind-set, a new skill-set, a new tool-set — in short, a whole new habit.” ( Source: Amazon.com)

The crucial challenge is finding your voice in the surroundings you are placed in. Leadership is about finding your voice to motivate others to find their voice. Intriguing? How do we get there? That’s what ‘8th Habit’ of Dr Stephen Covey is all about. We spoke about ‘Quiet Leadership’ (by David Rock) in the last post I wrote. Quiet leadership is about helping others to think effectively. Wherein the leader brings out the best performance from the team he leads.

8th Habit is about a ‘win-win situation’ and Dr Covey says, its about suspending your interests long enough so as to understand what the other person wants in order to arrive at a collaborative solution. This is quite similar to the ‘Indian Talking Stick model’ he talks about through the famed videos on his training.

How do we increase our influence? –

(In his video on 8th Habit, He talks about the role of Body (to live), Mind (to learn), Heart (to love) and Spirit (to leave a legacy) in leadership style, that’s very inspiring to watch. He also talks about the role of light-house principles and the laws of nature. Most effective leaders have these qualities or they are working on the right path to acquire them)

He says, ‘find out how to work on three dimensions of yourself’ – they are

1. Ethos – your ethical nature, personal credibility and trust – that others have in your integrity and competence
2. Pathos – your empathy – knowing how others feel and how they see things
3. Logos – the power and persuasion of your presentation and thinking

‘The very top leaders in truly great organizations are ‘servant leaders’ – for example, Mahatma Gandhi was a truly servant leader – ego less, constant learner, compassionate, physically well-disciplined, truly committed to his work, and a visionary.

8th Habit is about finding your voice and help others find their voice. 8th Habit leader has a mind set and skill set to constantly look for potential in others to help them succeed. His style of leadership is to communicate to others the true sense of their potential or self-worth.

Emotional competence matters in career development!

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Daniel Goleman writes in his book on ‘Working with Emotional intelligence’ about the role of emotional competence in building a successful career of aspiring professionals in the field of Sales & Marketing.

I quote Daniel Goleman, “I am a hothead,” Sharmayne Williams, a financial advisor at the American Express’s Chicago Office, confides.”I was extremely emotional – I’d take everything to heart and react strongly. It badly affected my relationships with people in the office. If they did not see things my way, I would get mad. It was my way or no way. I could not see it from their perspective and I would not compromise.” The lack of emotional self-control worked against Williams. “It prevented me from moving up; it got in the way of making decisions,” she told me. ” If I was upset about something, I could not move on to the next project.”

Emotional competence or Emotional intelligence have become most commonly used words in today’s training environment. Today, there are ‘career counselling’ specialists who specialize in development of emotional competence among several bright sales professionals who are otherwise lacking in emotional quotient. Tailor made training schedules are being drafted to meet specific requirement of attending training participants. The participants are being programmed in their mind to meet the stringent requirements so as to succeed in challenging globalized market conditions.

One’s behavior plays a vital role in his career development. Your mind controls your behavior knowingly as well as unknowingly. Current generation in the job market are much smarter and are beginning to lead managed lives. Most of the tasks in sales achievement are team oriented and emotional quotient plays a critical role in leading a team or building a team or even to remain as part of the team. Then, you may ask me .. how do marketing mavericks survive or even succeed in such changed situations? A Maverick is an independent individual who does not go along with a group or party. To be honest, A maverick leader does not achieve the group targets in the present times. Though there are exceptions to prove the general rule .. wherein we do find leaders, despite being a maverick, have inspired the team members to achieve unrealistic group goals. But, they are few and numbered.

Another staring reality makes emotional intelligence ever more crucial: As organizations shrink through waves of downsizing to be more effective several teams .. mid-level employees who are hot tempered or even too shy or lacking in communication cannot hide any more under the guise of group performance or group achievement. ‘Head count’ matters a lot in sales oriented organizations whether they are small or big in their size. Each salesperson is a profit center by himself and is expected to deliver as a result of his own merit and efforts. Now, competencies such as managing one’s emotions and moods have become very important in order to continue in the sales job. Most of the sales’ efforts have become largely team oriented and every member is expected to meet the cross-selling sales numbers besides individual targets.

While recruiting sales-force, especially for the mid-level sales positions, I insist on ’emotional competence’ as an important parameter to be necessarily considered. Similarly, during my training assignments that cover behavioral skills & development – more focus is laid upon the emotional quotient of participants.

How does empathy play a role in my recruitment practice?

empathy in recruitment

Empathy is the capacity to understand what another person is experiencing from within the other person’s frame of reference, ie, the capacity to place oneself in another’s shoes.

‘Empathy has many different definitions that encompass a broad range of emotional states, including caring for other people and having a desire to help them; experiencing emotions that match another person’s emotions; discerning what another person is thinking or feeling; and making less distinct the differences between the self and the other.

It also is the ability to feel and share another person’s emotions. Some believe that empathy involves the ability to match another’s emotions, while others believe that empathy involves being tenderhearted toward another person. Compassion and sympathy are two terms that many associate with empathy, but all three of these terms are unique. Compassion is an emotion we feel when others are in need, which motivates us to help them. Sympathy is a feeling of care and understanding for someone in need. It can also be understood as having the separateness of defining oneself and another blur ‘.. states Wikipedia.

I believe it is absolutely essential to realize the importance of empathy when I am acting as an adviser or a qualified recruitment consultant. Job Applicants come to me with the fervent hope of getting a career opportunity. Client companies seek a solution from me to solve their recruitment problems.

When I am talking to a shortlisted job applicant, I probe further to discuss and understand why does he need a change of job at this moment? What does he expect to achieve from the new role, if he is selected? How can I help him in meeting his career development needs? Why should he accept the job offer at a lower CTC or at a different job location from his original plan?

While when I am talking to the HR Recruiter or the HR Manager from my client company .. I insist to get a clear job description sheet to start with. I am keen to know in advance when the said job position is likely to be closed. I am also interested to understand if they are flexible enough to think ‘out of the box’ along with me to arrive at a recruitment solution.

Because I believe my role as a Recruitment consultant, is helping organizations to improve their performance, and I operate primarily through the analysis of existing organizational problems and the development of tested plans for improvement. It is not just only matching resumes word by word .. to the job description sheet given by the client. As a consultant, I may offer a solution by thinking ‘out of the box’. It is mostly an advisory role aimed at solving problems with long term and short term business goals of the client in mind. My past work experience of more than 20 years in the Niche segments I cater to .. enables me to arrive at a right practical solution.

‘Great vision without great people is irrelevant!’

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Every business — even the most recognized brands in the world starts small. No matter what your growth plans, the number one thing you can do to succeed is hire the right talent.

But being small is tough. Compared to bigger competitors, small businesses have tiny recruiting budgets and little or no name recognition, so it’s hard to recruit top people. One individual recruit has a big impact on a small workforce too, so hiring mistakes hurt you. And if you’re really small, one important hire can make or break the success of your company.

We recruit for Small as well as Big (Multi-national companies) Clients in the following Industry types:

– Office Equipment / Automation
– Consumer Durable / Electronics
– Education / Training sector
– IT Hardware / Software sector / Networking/ Cloud solutions
– AV Solutions / Lighting Controls / Security Solutions / CCTV / Access Control
– EPABX Telecom / Mobile Phones (GSM Service providers)
– Retail / FMCG Sector / Media and Entertainment

Overseas recruitment are restricted to Middle East and African countries.

We focus on recruiting for Sales & Marketing positions – Mid-Senior levels – and 9 out of 10 times, we get the right candidates. Whenever we have not closed a sales position .. most likely, the reason is not meeting the salary expectations of a deserving candidate. Yes. Just like you, I am not in favor of paying unrealistic high salary to a wrong candidate. But, I believe that sales force/ talented people make a difference in fulfilling the company vision or in meeting business goals in tough market conditions.

Do Call me at +91 9819309564 to discuss more on right recruitment and about meeting your recruiting requirements!

Ask the right questions while Interviewing Sales Professionals!

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It is important to implement an effective recruiting process with strict timelines and guidelines that set the foundation for a ‘successful’ recruiting assignment. Inordinate delay in recruiting only demotivates the candidate who is shortlisted for an additional round of interview or who is likely to be appointed for the job.

The hiring or functional manager, internal corporate recruiter and the rest of the interview panel need to be well trained in asking the right questions. The issue usually is that the interviewer talks too much. In addition, they do not ask the questions that can help getting the right candidate on board. Such questions like ‘how would you describe yourself ?’ or ‘what is your greatest weakness ?’ have been asked so often that candidates have answers already prepared.

So, what kind of probing questions should be asked while interviewing sales professionals? Here are some examples I can suggest –
1. In your current role, what was one thing you did that motivated you to go the extra mile?
2. How do you determine what motivates each member of your sales team?
3. How do you handle rejection that are caused due to market conditions or due to factors within your company?
4. How do you develop a strategic vision to meet your business targets through Sales achievement?
5. If you left your present employer tomorrow, what is one thing you wish you had accomplished that you did not?
6. How do you work under pressure caused due to market conditions?
7. How do you handle conflict with your boss or other colleagues in your work environment?
8. What is one characteristic that you admire about the different colleagues that you work with?
9. How would you describe your ideal or right boss?
10.What type of work environment do you excel in?

Recruiting today is more of an art than a science .. so companies need to not only educate their hiring managers about the right questions to ask .. but also train them on being sensitive to the requirements of the candidate. By spending more time on the well-deserving subject which is in context, more effective hires will occur which not only helps the bottom line in sales achievement, but also boosts the employee morale and builds your company’s reputation within the niche market you are in.

Last but not the least – please ‘leave your prejudices at the door’ while interviewing your candidates. Every candidate has few plus as well as few negative points about himself and no candidate is absolutely perfect. No candidate is ‘absolutely ready’ right at the start. Kindly set realistic expectations so that the major objective is not lost (due to delay in recruitment).. which should be primarily bagging the ‘valued’ sales orders from the market before your competing company or business rival does !