December 9

Said No One About Their Leader, Ever.

first_img“My leader helped me turn in my most mediocre performance ever.”A leader is someone who helps you to turn in your best performance ever. You remember them because they pushed, prodded, persuaded, coaxed, and convinced you to become the bigger, better you that they could see inside you.You won’t remember a leader who let you skate by with a mediocre performance.“My leader never challenged me. He thought that would be micromanaging me. He left me alone.”A leader challenges you. They don’t tell you what to do. They remind you of the outcome you are trying to produce. They don’t stand over your shoulder and watch, but they do require that you report on your progress, and they hold you accountable.You won’t remember anything about a leader who neglects you, other than the fact that you were neglected.“Of all the people I have worked for, I won’t remember this person having any effect on my life.”If you have ever worked for a great leader, you will be able to easily recount the lessons they taught you. You will be able to recount the way that they helped you transcend who you were, and how you were transformed. You will always remember being part of their team, and how much it meant to you.Leaders who you won’t remember this way aren’t good leaders.“My leader never bothered me by communicating with me about who we were and what difference we were making. We were too busy working trying to improve shareholder value.”Leaders communicate mission, vision, and values. Leaders remind you of why you are doing what you are doing. They remind you of where you are going. And they remind you who you need to be. They don’t focus their communication on things like “shareholder value,” because they know those ideas are impotent when it comes to moving all but a few people (namely, shareholders).Great leaders know that you don’t improve the Profit and Loss statements by focusing on the Profit and Loss statements. You focus on your people first, and your customers second. The score takes care of itself.“When I was faced with a real, personal challenge, my leader was nice enough to let me call human resources to see what my options were.”Leaders are there for you when you need them. They will be there when you are personally challenged because they care about you as a human being, not as another cog in their wheel. They will listen. And, they will try to provide the help you need.Reverting to policy is the act of not caring.“I have no idea what was going on behind my leader’s always-closed door, but it must have been really important.”Leaders have muddy boots. They are engaged in the work their company does. They are the first to deal with the biggest challenges their people face, and they lead by example, not by decree.Hiding behind a closed door is an abdication of leadership.“My leader was so smart that he never had to listen to anyone else’s ideas or get input about the real challenges we were facing in executing our jobs. He was always making changes.”Leaders make decisions. They make choices based on the information they have available to them. They know that they need new and better ideas. They know that they don’t have a monopoly on ideas, and their job isn’t to be the smartest person in the room. A great leader seeks ideas, listens to different points of view, broadens their choices, and then decides based on their goals, values, and competing priorities.A leader who doesn’t seek information, ideas, and input isn’t a strong leader.“My leader was great at using his authority. He would remind you that he was the boss and that you worked for him. He was inspiring that way.”The best leaders rely on an authority higher than their title. They rely on a moral authority, and they persuade people to take up the charge. Good leaders only rarely use force, and only when something or someone threatens the culture they are charged with protecting, or to prevent people from doing something illegal or immoral.A poor leader believes his title is what gives him authority, not recognizing that the title provides him with no real power. Get the Free eBook! Want to master cold calling? Download my free eBook! Many would have you believe that cold calling is dead, but the successful have no fear of the phone; they use it to outproduce their competitors. Download Nowlast_img read more

November 28

The bonding

first_imgPreksha had grown up to be a rebel, refusing to eat her mother Maya’s homemade buttery parathas or share anything about her life with Maya anymore. But, as Maya eventually realised, Preksha would always remain her little daughter at heart… By Anwesha Bhattacharya’Parathas, again?’ Preksha grimaced as Maya put down the plates in front of Preksha and Suraj. ‘Don’t make such faces. They’re not live toads!’ Maya’s voice betrayed restrained irritation. Suraj’s stifled little chuckle behind his newspaper wasn’t lost on Maya. She would deal with him later. ‘Didn’t I tell you I can have parathas once a month? M-A-X.’ Preksha’s voice had the same exasperation that Maya’s did seconds ago. ‘Eww, look at the way they are dripping with butter.”Preksha,’ Maya’s voice rose three octaves, ‘Don’t talk like that about food. I’ve had enough of this. Do you know people in India don’t get one square?’ ‘Give them my share. And? maybe some of yours too,’ Preksha pushed away her plate, deliberately gazing up and down Maya’s well-padded figure, ‘And if you are not giving me cornflakes – with double skimmed milk – right this moment, I am leaving. I am getting late for college. I have a term test.’Maya and Preksha glared at each other long enough to allow the grandfather clock in the drawing room to chime nine times. Then Preksha pulled her trump card – she started getting up from the table in slow motion.advertisement’SIT,’ Maya bellowed and stormed off towards the kitchen. Preksha grinned triumphantly. She knew much too well Maya would never let her leave the house without having breakfast. Presently, Maya stormed back and put a bowl of cornflakes on the table.Over the next seven minutes, the only sounds were that of spoon against bowl, an occasional slurp and hurried munching. The “almost silence” was broken by Preksha pushing her chair back, which grated against the floor with a screech that made Maya feel sick every time. She could have betted that was the precise reason Preksha repeated it day after day, in spite of Maya screaming at her. Today was one of the days Maya felt too exhausted.Preksha was almost out when Maya’s shock overrode her exhaustion. ‘What on earth are you wearing?’ Maya’s voice was shrill, eyes popping out as they travelled up Preksha’s legs for what seemed to her to be like miles before they finally met the skirt hem. Preksha leaned back against the door, looking at the ceiling with a bored expression on her face, arms folded. ‘You’re going out in that?”Of course not, mom, I just wanted to walk till the door, and then go back and change into your red sequinned salwar, finish the parathas and go to college so that I can have the entire college label me a moti behenji, which you want!’ Maya sat there, at a loss for words. Preksha had spoken so fast she didn’t catch half of what she said.Preksha rolled her eyes at the blank expression on Maya’s face. ‘Never mind. By the way, I will go straight to gym from college.’ Before Maya could find her voice, the door had banged shut behind Preksha. With Preksha gone, Maya’s irritation found an easy target in Suraj. ‘It’s all your fault. You always let her get her way. All you can do is sit there and pretend everything is fine. Don’t you have eyes? Can’t you see how strange Preksha is getting??’ Suraj gulped down the rest of his tea in one swig and got up. ‘Maya,’ he said softly, ‘Don’t worry so much. Preksha is fine. She will grow out of it.”That is all you have to say. Mrs Mehra’s daughter is Preksha’s age. She’s not like this. I’ve never seen her in anything except salwars ever… it’s all my fault. I haven’t been able to bring her up well?,’ Maya’s voice trembled. Suraj whispered in Maya’s ear, ‘I saw Mrs Mehra’s daughter smoking the other day? with two boys, near that coffee place at the corner.’ ‘Really?’ Maya gasped. Suraj nodded gravely and by the time Maya had let this information sink in, Suraj was gone, shutting the door behind him to what was just another morning at the Saxenas.As Maya cleared up, she remembered the time when Preksha would demand parathas with dollops of butter. And now, all she would have would be these cornflakes, chapattis, chicken stew – chicken stew! – the whole of Maya’s extended family swore by her chicken butter masala, and her own daughter would pucker up her face at it? she was getting so thin? she looked so much better when she was a little? chubby. And it was not just food. Preksha had changed so much that Maya often wondered whether she was the same little girl of hers of a few years ago. Maya had always cooked Preksha’s birthday dinner. Year after year, the early hours of 11th December would find Maya in the kitchen, and the entire house would be enveloped in a warm, tantalising aroma throughout the day.advertisementIn the evenings, Maya’s day’s labour would be enthusiastically savoured and gushed over by Preksha’s friends from school – 5, 6, sometimes 10 of them. Preksha would announce, her fair face pink with pride, that her Mummy – she had taken to calling Maya Mom one fine morning when she was 17 – was the best cook in the world. Before her 19th birthday, Preksha had casually announced that she was taking her friends out for pizza on her birthday. ‘It’s too much work for you, mom,’ she had said, ‘don’t bother this time.’Did she really not know how much Maya enjoyed it? Preksha had brought back pizza for Maya and Suraj. Maya would never understand what’s so great about a few scraps of chicken and cheese on bread and why anybody would prefer it to her elaborate spread. But she eventually got used to it, as Preksha took her friends out for pizza every year since then, and sometimes even ordered pizza at home, taking it to her room and eating it for dinner while she studied.Maya always dreamt that Preksha would grow up to be a doctor. She did not believe in pushing her daughter like Mrs Reddy or Mrs Varma did. She had hoped Preksha would want to be a doctor, and in spite of herself, had allowed that hope to solidify into a snug assumption. And Preksha had excitedly discussed her career plans with Maya and Suraj the day her board results came out, when Maya was still giddy from the pride and joy she felt holding the marksheet – 96 percent! Maya was sure her ears were playing tricks when Preksha announced she was going to take up Humanities and later Journalism. This was what she had wanted since she was in the sixth grade, Preksha shared. Suraj, on whom some of Maya’s dream had rubbed off, had recovered amazingly fast.’That’s great, Preksha,’ he had gushed. Maya had skipped dinner that night, feigning a throbbing headache, which, again, was not completely a lie. She had then fallen into a troubled sleep trying to decide what distressed her more, the realisation that what she had assumed was never meant to be in the first place or the fact that Preksha had not only been so sure of her decision, but had not shared it with her till it was time to implement it. Once during the second year of graduate studies, Preksha had come back from college, flung her backpack onto the couch, marched into her room and banged the door shut loud enough for Maya to drop the television remote. When Preksha’s door didn’t open till dinner time, Maya had timidly ventured into her room. She’d found Preksha sobbing into her pillow, still in the clothes she had worn to college. Each of Maya’s questions and pleadings had been met with silence or a muffled “leave me alone”. Preksha hadn’t come out for a week, didn’t go to college, left untouched most of her meals which Maya carried to her room. ‘Be her friend,’ Mrs Varma had suggested over tea at Mrs Reddy’s. ‘Medha tells me everything,’ she had added smugly.advertisement’Mothers are friends, Prekshu, you can tell me anything, you know?,’ Maya had ventured around two weeks after Preksha had gone back to college and was eating her meals with them again. ‘Good try, mom,’ Preksha had cut her short, ‘You can’t suddenly decide to be my friend because you want to know what’s going on in my life.’Maya never tried again. She never found out what had stormed Preksha’s 19-year-old life and where she found the strength, behind the locked door of her messy room, to tame the storm and get on with life. ‘I am glad she can make her own decisions, handle things herself? solve her own problems, Maya,’ Suraj had asserted, ‘you should too.’How could she? Suraj would never understand. It had never been him that Preksha had run to for years to share little secrets, have tears kissed away, bruised knees nursed, ruffled feathers smoothed? Preksha now made Maya feel she was trying desperately to hold on to a dream a moment after waking up, as it slipped elusively away? ‘Let’s all go out for dinner,’ Preksha chirped, bouncing around the room. ‘It’s been ages. I’m so glad my exams are over. I can finally start working?’ It was over chocochip icecream that Preksha told them about Akash. Her best friend Ritwika’s brother. He was a brilliant student, did his engineering from one of the top colleges in the country – Preksha told them proudly – working at one of those few huge companies Maya knew by name.Preksha waited till the table had been cleared away before continuing. ‘Mom, Dad, Akash is going to the States for a project around November end. It would take at least four years? maybe longer. We have decided to get married before that? sometime in October end? so I can go with him?’ Back home, as Suraj playfully teased Preksha and both of them sat together giggling, suddenly buddies, Maya remembered her own marriage with Suraj. She’d met Suraj for the second time the day of their wedding, if sitting with a bowed head among 12 relatives counted as a meeting?The next few months passed in a frenzy of arrangements. And it seemed that even before Maya had stopped to catch her breath, it was the last night before Preksha’s wedding. Preksha had gone to bed early. Maya and Suraj sat on their beds, going over the details for the millionth time. Knock. Knock. ‘Preksha?? The door’s open?’ The door opened noiselessly. Preksha stood at the door in her white and pink floral pyjamas and braided hair, her hand still on the doorknob, looking down at her shuffling bare feet. Maya’s heart gave a leap. She didn’t dare ask what was wrong. Millions of scary thoughts raced across her mind at a blinding speed, freezing all her questions. It was Suraj who spoke.’Preksha, what’s the matter, baby?’ Preksha stood motionless for another moment, before racing forward and flinging herself on the bed over the quilt between Maya and Suraj, and broke out into sobs. A panic-stricken Maya clutched Suraj’s fingers with vehement force. Suraj patted her hand assuredly, and as she waited, numb, he put a hand on Preksha’s shoulders. ‘Preksha, what’s wrong?’ Preksha pushed her face deeper into Maya’s pillow, her sobs louder. ‘Preksha,’ Maya whispered, bracing herself, ‘What is it? Have you had a fight with Akash?’The muffled “no” did nothing to comfort Maya. Her heart was pounding so hard she felt it would burst out of her. Just as she was going to ask again what the matter was, this time more impatiently, Suraj gently touched Maya’s shoulder and signalled for her to be quiet. They just lay there with Preksha between them, sobbing, while Suraj patted her and Maya caressed her hair. After a while, the sobs grew softer, and eventually stopped, and Preksha lay absolutely still with her face still hidden in the pillow.’Tell us what’s wrong, princess,’ Suraj spoke in her ear, still patting her back. Preksha rolled over to lie on her back. Her face was red and blotchy, her eyes puffy. Maya bent over to gently kiss away the tears that were still smeared across her smooth cheeks. ‘I am scared,’ Preksha sniffed. ‘Scared? Of what, baby?”I don’t know? of getting married? going away? leaving you? I can’t live without you two?,’ and her eyes welled up with fresh tears. Relief swept through Maya and spilled over in the form of a torrent of tears. The tears of apprehension, of her own fear of losing Preksha, of already missing her when she wasn’t even gone? gushed out; she clasped Preksha to her bosom. Suraj smiled, sighed and dropped his head on his pillow. ‘You are not going anywhere, baby,’ Maya whispered into her daughter’s hair, choking on her words. ‘You will always remain our little girl. And this will always remain your home. Your room? your things? everything will be there always? waiting for you.”Remember when you were a little girl, Preksha? You used to sneak into our bed every night and hide between us because there would be “monsters” under your bed? “I am scared”, you used to say, remember?’ Suraj asked, his voice growing soft with emotion.Preksha smiled through her tears. And once again, after many, many years, the three of them snuggled close together, with Preksha between them under the cocoon of the warm quilt. And they talked. Preksha listened with rapt attention, as Maya and Suraj took turns reminiscing about the day Preksha was born, a beautiful baby that all the nurses fussed over, and Maya and Suraj spent hours looking at, marvelling at the miracle of creation; the pink frock Granny had sewed for her, the one she used to look like an angel in; her first step clinging Suraj’s thumb; the pop song she had picked up from TV and would sing day in and day out when she was three; her first birthday party, the second and the third…On an impulse, Maya brought down a thick brown velvet-covered album from the top shelf of her cupboard, that had been her companion on many a lonely, endless afternoon. The three of them pored over each photo as if they were looking at them for the first time rather than the millionth. There was Preksha, eyeing the stack of gifts on her third birthday; a four-year-old Preksha sitting beside the family Alsatian looking hilariously intimidated; Preksha punched Suraj as he teased her over a photo where a five-year-old terrified Preksha was clinging to him at a Kanyakumari beach; and eventually, Preksha’s journey through school – prize distributions, cultural programs, sports? the photos showed what all three of them had missed – Preksha growing up bit by bit? funny, Maya and Suraj had always felt she grew up overnight… Each photo had a story to tell, the story of a girl who was doted on and loved to bits, who grew up but managed to remain the little girl whose parents would never believe didn’t need looking after; each photo told the story of change, how certain things grow better with time and the things which don’t change at all.Some of the photographs were a bit frayed at the edges, some tinted with the yellow hue of time, but they still managed to bring back memories that shone like new, and together, they were no less than a saga, of the phase of a life that was to be cherished, reminisced, looked back upon and smiled at throughout life. The impenetrable darkness of the eastern sky was already dissolving into a faint pink as the last leaf of the album was turned. The first ray of the sun peeked in through the cream lace curtains to find Preksha in a peaceful slumber, snuggled cozily between her parents, who were smiling quietly at each other with eyes that lovingly and painfully whispered, ‘Our little girl isn?ft lost?c she is right here…’last_img read more

July 31

MIKE Rush said Saints lacked a little composure at

first_imgMIKE Rush said Saints lacked a little composure at key times during their loss to Warrington last night.His side went down 22-12 at Langtree Park and ended a run of victories stretching back to May.“I thought the effort was good and I couldn’t fault the guys defensively at times,” the Acting Head Coach said. “We dug in in the first half when we had no possession and we have to look at the reasons why we didn’t have that.“In the second half we gave away two penalties on the fourth tackle. We spoke about that after the Catalans game and said we can’t do that against the good teams as you will get punished… and guess what, that happened tonight.“They played the field position better all night with Mickey Higham, Lee Briers and Michael Monaghan all influential. They got good ball sets and looked threatening. We lacked composure and didn’t get the repeat sets we should have.“We didn’t force drop outs and that is unlike us. Perhaps we worked too hard to score off a big play or a big pass; we should have built pressure and worked harder to win field position.“It’s out of our hands to finish second. We know if we win our games we will finish third so we know what we have to do. We still want to finish as high up the ladder as we can.”last_img read more