Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Is 40 the new 20?

I was having a conversation with my husband the other day, as I turned 40 recently. I was going to divulge in that.... its some feeling you see!! I asked him if 40 was the new 20, to which he laughed saying, "If you are asking me how you look then I would say 20, mentally may be 15!"

On a serious note it made me think. Looking back at our own lives as well, we are in our 40s and we feel pretty settled, read it as at peace and nothing more! As I believe just like the 1+ phone tagline,'Never Settle'. One must never settle for complacency, mediocrity, lethargy, procrastination etc... the list can be really long.
Not all will feel 20 in their 40s. By the way I wonder who coined this phrase and how many actually believe in it or how many non believers are out there. 
There are different stages in life, I remember having read in school Sanskrit that there were four stages or ashramas in life. An Ashrama in Hinduism is one of the four age-based life stages. They are Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sanyasa (renunciation). 

In each stage there are a set of rules and disciplines are meant to be followed. If done correctly and as per principles one leads a much fulfilling life. We may not be living in the medieval era but it holds good even today as the basic principle cannot change. It can be improvised but the thumb rule remains the same. Each life stage lays the foundation for the things to come, good, bad or ugly.
During the student phase one needs to focus on studies, sports and all things that'll help the person to handle life well. Now this phase is up to 25 years of one's life. People study till post graduation some going up to doctoral degrees. They then become a part of the work force, valuable human resources and human capital. All those who have been focused, consistent, and had the right attitudes land up with great job offers.  They are the ones who make successful careers, more than that, they have choices! Choices to accept or reject something. I believe having a choice is a lot of power. Enjoyment and merry making can be in limited doses at this stage, the focus being more on making a career. Career can be in anything; corporate world, media, fine arts, sports or anything that one fancies. I tell this to my children as well as students that there should be at least one thing that they love doing and that they are the best in it. It can be absolutely anything under the sun.

In the Grihastha Ashram, an individual feels settled, married or not depending on the personal choice. I was talking about how powerful a choice can be, it truly empowers an individual. If you have diligently worked and planned things ahead then this stage in life is going to be smooth. There are challenges that an individual faces at both professional and personal life. Building up a career, climbing up the ladders and reaching the heights that we plan and work on. On the personal front, if married then bringing up children, facilitating their growth and progress. Seeing them move from school to college and then may be embark on their professional journeys too. A stage that makes you more of a provider. Its challenging but if the foundation was set right then it certainly becomes a cake walk. 

A person is at this stage in life is in the mid or top management level at work, has school or college going children. When thinking of  40 being the new 20. One can feel like it, if the 20s were spent well ,focused on what was to come. But if life was a party then, it'll certainly be a struggle at this stage, definitely the statement, 40 is the new 20 doesn't hold any ground then . The individual in question took it very easy, had a lax attitude, was enjoying life in the 20s. He must have lost much more, may be the partner didn't want to continue the association, read it as the girlfriend leaving him. He struggled to find a suitable job. Struggled to cope with the culture at work place. Changed jobs, got married to someone who might have been in similar situation like him. It must have become a bigger struggle for both. There may not have been harmony either at professional or personal lives.

Can such person every feel 20?

The next two stages in life are the retirement and renunciation. If life has been a struggle in the Grihastha ashrama  then there is certainly no feeling of retirement, in fact it could be more as retired from life! When there is no satisfaction can life ever be that of renunciation?

40 can certainly be the new 20 if you managed your 20s well. So when you are at 40, you have the energy and the enthusiasm of a 20 year old. Also can fulfill dreams, aspirations and lead a more meaningful life.

PS: Pictures are taken from google with due credits

Friday, 5 August 2016

Should you be a leader or a boss?

A leader is admired, a boss is feared.~Vicente del Bosque

Should you be a leader or a boss? Choose what you like! 

In today's times there is a need of good leaders, there are many to just boss around anyway! By virtue of working in the corporate companies where the tenure of work is not long,we get to associate with different bosses (read it as superiors). You yourself might be one, already heading the role. Have you done any introspection or taken a stock of what you do? Ultimately its not just your work profile and designation that makes you a person its the totality of all. You on a personal and professional level. There is so much spoken about work life balance and stress management. That clearly means that there is a deeper connection to your personality not just the chair that you occupy at work and the power that you possess because of that chair. There is also an equally important part of you that's outside that chair.... your lounger at home! 
What makes me take up this topic today?  I was talking to the new batch of students joining our college, today's youth and the topic was managing their lives and becoming aware of their role in the society. How they needed to have strong values that define them. I asked them to do a SWOT analysis. It was a great session and we had very interesting and stimulating discussion. Coming back to my office, a student of mine who is doing her internship at a reputed hotel had come to see me. After exchanging pleasantries she expressed her concerns. There was a supervisor she was working under who she felt was being too difficult and she felt that the lady didn't like her and was taking personal grudges against her.I know the girl well and the efforts that she is putting in. One of the best in her batch. We had a chat and when I felt that she was fine and understood how to better handle training; especially dealing with such supervisors, we bid good bye. As I sat on my chair many thoughts crossed my mind and I too started looking at people around me  - colleagues, friends and people who just exchanged thoughts with me. I felt there is so much stress just because of a particular superior that they have. As a counsellor I have heard so many people and it does have an impact on me. I am just putting those thoughts here in my blog.

What are the general perceptions?
I am not talking about the styles of leadership - Autocratic, democratic or laissez faire here, but purely based on how one conducts oneself within the organisation especially with subordinates. With the superiors, all are at their best anyway! How the subordinates perceive them, opinions that are formed through the way they are treated and the general culture within the organisation. Do these matter? Yes the employee morale and the general well being of the organisation is dependent on it. Why do you think there are best work place awards? Happy offices not only make happy customers or clients but also  positive, enthusiastic and productive environment. These are the places that grow in size and stature over the years. Where the work environment is not healthy, the entities anyway go into the sunset and may even vanish from there.
Work environments are generally directed by the leader, who is referred to as the boss in the more common parlance. All contribute to, but its the leader who decides what the personality of the organisation will be and how it is perceived. Lets talk about the main characters in the drama called organisations - The Boss! These are the categories that I can think of, my experience of 20 years tells me so.

The Tough -Some bosses are admired, they might be tough but they are the people who bring out the best in all. They take the organisation towards the path of growth, not settling for anything lesser. They are perfect leaders delivering results themselves what they expect from others, most of the times even more. They lead by example. They may not be sweet talkers but their work and result speak for themselves. They are on the shop floor always, just like the major in the army battlefield. They'll stand by their staff and support them when there is a need like a true warrior.

The Delegators -The second type are delegation leaders, They are best when it comes to delegation, this being the only virtue that they possess! Its certainly a great virtue. They themselves may not know anything as they have no hands on experience, but they pretend to be the 'know all'. As it is rightly said that empty vessels make a lot of noise. They keep everyone on their toes, someone drafting their emails and letters, someone working out their schedules, someone doing their routine work and they'll be busy passing others work as their own. They are truly the presentation experts. They lead by analysis ... results may go towards paralysis though. To put it in simple terms, it can be said that the operation was successful but the patient died. They thrive on what others do but they'll never have a word of appreciation for anyone as they know where they themselves stand. It might be difficult to praise someone else as they are under constant threat, knowing that they stand no ground as compared to some others within the organisation. Such people are loved by the management and they may not even leave the organisation for long.

The well wishers - They get the post by default but they have no intention, ambition or inclination for that. They are just being there doing things as routine till the responsibility is over and passed on to someone else. They are certainly not self starters, they need directions and guidance from the higher management. To put it simply, they need to work under a boss. They are great workers but lack the mindset, passion and ambition of a leader. Such people neither do good for themselves or the organisation and the organisation moves into the stage of lethargy. Parallely, a new leader starts to emerge from the team, who is good and has the mindset, ambition and all that it takes to be at the top. The well wishers are nice people but certainly not that nice for the organisation.

The schemers - They are purely bosses and posses no quality of leaders. They rule by using fear and that all should listen to them as they are the organisational heads. Such people work with personal agendas and maneuver organisational power and resources towards that. They know that their position is short lived so they make the most of all that can be done for their own good. Basically work on self growth, self development, may be higher studies, enhancing their social and community presence, networking with the right people as these are the things that'll come handy when they are asked to leave the organisation. The organisation is used purely as a spring board. They don't deliver positive results as they are always working on themselves and all energies are spent on that. They have nothing left to give to the organisation. They are fatigued, lethargic, unenthusiastic and fearful. They are negative talkers. They'll not do anything productive themselves and also ensure that others don't do it by telling them that its not possible to. The beauty is, the management may not even know about the goings on as the schemers know which side of the toast is buttered. They portray a sincere image to the management. Such people are like termites, they eat into the very fabric of the organisation without anyone knowing it. The knowledge comes only when the system collapses, undoubtedly such bosses are danger zones. God save the organisation then!

The great mentor - He is the boss who have taken upon himself to ensure that there is a progeny. The moment he spots someone with similar characteristics as his, he is automatically taken into the wings and ensured that the progeny is groomed into the next big thing. Basically the boss needs someone to give the assurance that alls well.The mentor and progeny become a team and all goes on as they wish. The others may refer to the progeny as the chamcha (in Hindi for obsequious person). Chamcha becomes the boss pleaser. No human being likes to be treated differently.Partiality is something thats condemned, especially from the people in power. Just like no one likes a partial teacher, that's true for a partial boss too.You could be mentoring someone favourably but not giving their dues to some. Power requires to be used with a lot of care and caution.
The ideal - An ideal boss is a mix of all of the above. He or she is the best as he/she is tactful and knows his/her craft well. Well balanced as a person. He is loved by all. People see in him or her a great mentor, guide and someone who is concerned about the wellbeing of the organisation and that of theirs. He gets support from all and people are willing to go out of their way to ensure that they stand by their leader the boss. There are a few bosses like that and the organisations and people in it are blessed to have them.

SWOT analysis is a must for everyone, even more so if you are in a position of authority. Are you putting yourself into such unfavorable category of leaders? If yes, its time to wake up and smell the coffee.  You won't have your coffee brought to your table always, you'll need to make one yourself someday.

I'm very determined, honest, open and definitely very energetic. I expect a lot as a boss and I'm very demanding, but I ask that of myself too~ Kimora Lee Simmons

PS: Pictures are taken from Google for illustrations, with due credits, if anyone has any objection, kindly let me know they'll be removed promptly.