Five Important Life-Lessons for Leaders

Leadership is a skill that we can learn throughout our lifetime; it never stops. In the same way that other professions require some form of continuous learning, being a professional leader also means that we have to keep an open-mind and a thirst for learning. No one can claim that they already know everything there is to know about it. As people change and as new generations get introduced to the workforce, getting a new perspective in leadership is always a good idea.

For business leaders, the task of leadership becomes extra challenging because of the need to juggle your ability to manage people and company resources. You need a mix of creative leadership as well as adherence to processes and procedures. You also need to be aware of the business, legal, and psychological impacts of your actions.

In this article, we have collated five items that are important lessons for leaders so you may reflect on how you can improve in these different areas regardless of your tenure and experience.

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Inspire Teamwork. Effective leaders are not those who always speak in terms “me.”  This is not because he avoids using the first-person pronoun when he speaks. Inspiring team work is about influencing people to think in terms of “we” – the team. It is about making the team understand the function that everyone needs to fulfill. When a leader inspires team work, the members do not dodge accountability. They feel answerable to their actions and lack thereof. To achieve this, a leader must be able to give credits to the members for their accomplishments. Leaders who are credit grabbers will never be able to inspire teams. Instead they will breed distrust and resentment among their members.

Build Self-Esteem. As a leader, you set the intensity for your employees’ attitude at work. Employees usually build a positive work attitude when they are happy with what they do. This happiness can be closely associated with their self-esteem. In business, your clients, previous and current employees, competitors, family, and even friends may give you dozens of criticisms. This goes the same to each of your employees. More often than not, criticisms are very stressful to hear. Sam Walton, the founder of Wal Mart says that employees need to have a good self-esteem in order to be effective at work. Constantly criticizing and pointing out their flaws and short-comings is a guaranteed way to lower their morale and performance. Even Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Group of Companies, says that leaders should always “look for the best in people”. This is easier said than done. While it is helpful to provide feedback to employees, make sure that you do not exclusively about short-comings. Little achievements need to be celebrated, too. When you do this, you reciprocate your employees’ trust. When you give trust to your employees, you teach them to have trust in their own abilities, too. This builds their self-esteem and inculcates a sense of “i-can-make-a-difference” in them, allowing them to become more driven and results-oriented.  

Encourage Other’s Development. Leaders should aim for their employees’ success. They should encourage them to be the best they can be. True leaders help their direct reports get promoted. Looking out for people’s best interest and growth helps you build a more positive relationship with them. The moment that a leader feels scared that their employees can get better than them is the moment they fail as a leader. True leaders don’t create more followers; they create more leaders. This is because true leaders are hard to find. The more leaders you have in your company, the better equipped your company will be for growth. The more growth your company has, the better opportunities you create for yourself and your employees, too. Employees are like seedlings; it is the leader’s job to nurture them, water them, cultivate them, and watch them grow. As a leader, you need to mentor people: coach them, help them make decisions, allow them to learn from mistakes, guide them to reflect on their actions, and help them celebrate their little successes.

Learn to Effectively Communicate. Needless to say, none of the things a leader must do can be accomplished without communication. Getting people onboard and aligning them to the goals are essential in accomplishing anything. As you go through the journey, you also need to ensure that everyone is in the loop with what is going on. Understanding and discussing your milestones and challenges as a group is truly very crucial. Making everyone understand the big picture also greatly impacts the results of any given task. As a leader, you should allow an avenue for open-communication, sharing of suggestions, and brainstorming. Efficient means of communication using different technologies is a vital part of this process. Sometimes, leaders do not even step out of their comfort zone to adjust to the new workforce. The Millenials and Generation Z workers, a huge part of our workforce now, are fond of technology. As leaders, we should be able to make use of this available means of communications. Using a mode of communication that people understand, people can relate to, and people are passionate about is truly very effective.

Listen. Many leaders claim that they listen, however, they truly don’t. They only listen to respond rather than to understand. As Stephen Covey shared in his book, “Seek first to understand then be understood…” This is a very powerful way of getting the best out of people. Great ideas can come from the most unlikely employees. In order to tap into these, a leader must learn to genuinely listen. If a leader fails to listen, then you will be surrounded by people who have nothing to say. Many experienced leaders feel that there is not much to hear as they think that they have already heard everything. But one thing is sure; there is always room for learning when you listen. Listening builds a good relationship with your employees; it helps them feel empowered and it helps you as the leader become more influential to them.

These five may not be exhaustive of all the important life lessons a leader must learn, but we feel that these are most important. If you are able to learn these lessons, it can truly take you a long way into your leadership journey.

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For more information about enriching your leadership stay tuned for more of our articles. You may also attend one of our training or workshop. Please check our calendar for more information. You can also contact us directly. 

Holy Week Thoughts: Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

The Holy week, also known as semana santa, is definitely an event Filipinos look forward to. Even weeks ahead, many Filipinos take time to plan activities for it. Some take advantage of the holy week to go on a well-deserved vacation while others go for reflection and prayer. As majority of the country’s population comprises of Roman Catholics, visiting different churches to pray is definitely part of the tradition. Our team members took part in visiting a church last week. We went to Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in Sta.Maria- Tungkong-Mangga Road, San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan. As expected, legions of devotees and followers were at the site; so many that you will have to stay under the scorching heat of the sun for a long time of queuing at the gate. Once in, you will be able to see even more people in the front grounds and along the pavement as you come closer to the church. While there, we devoted a few prayers and went on to quickly join a procession that celebrated the Stations of the Cross. We thanked God for all the blessings and challenges he has brought to us in the past year.

Grotto Edited

The church ground was far from the celebrated serene landmark we were expecting. Sure there were still people praying. A mass was also being held when we arrived, but the crowd was definitely noisy. Outside the church, children were running around; horse-playing on sacred grounds. There were a lot of vendors parading logos of the products they were selling in different colors: Mineral water, beverages, candles, food, toys, religious items, oils, and many others; name it and it is there. Of course, with all these comes all the rubbish. Without any intent of generalizing, Filipinos are not well-known for their discipline in managing trash. This made the team very sad. With the lack, or maybe only lack of visibility, of garbage cans in the area, people littered all over the place. Our team members had some trash, too, but we kept it in our bags until we found a bin to throw it into.

As students, most Filipinos have had their share of repetitive values education lessons emphasizing the importance of a clean environment. I am sure that our teachers, to the point of being redundant, has told us that we need to avoid littering, even when no one is looking. But how has this affected us as we grew older? Was there any fault in our educational system that we seem to not have retained this important piece of information?

I could not tell what goes wrong in this scenario. People go to a place of worship to give thanks and praise their God for the sacrifices He has made for them. In return, these same people trash his sacred grounds. In a sermon by John Wesley, an English cleric and theologian, in 1778, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” While the bible never really directly or literally said this, it does make sense. How can we expect to have our soul cleansed when we cannot even keep our physical surroundings clean? Even the Israelites and other religions were all concerned with the concept of “clean” or “unclean.”

Trash Grotto (2)

So maybe let us take it out of the context of religious reasoning and be a bit more practical. When you visit your friend’s house, would you throw your food’s plastic packaging in their yard? Would you do the same when you visit an old teacher’s house? Not normally, right? It is but a common practice of courtesy to keep the place as clean as possible when you visit the place of someone you care for or respect. It makes you wonder why these devotees cannot do the same when they are visiting the place of God.

A friend of ours commented that Filipinos may not have remembered this lesson in school because we are taught by our teachers to pass the exams, not to keep the lessons in mind. This truly is very sad. I could not even tell if our friend is right; he might as well be. One thing is true: education was only there to help us make a living; but our decision become educated throughout our lifetime defines whether we do what is right rather than just what everyone else is doing.

We may not be able to change everyone, but we hope we can reach out and impact the few who are able to read this. Our hope is that more Filipinos can decide to become educated in the next Holy week, or maybe more regularly, so that cleanliness would be something they can consider to always keep in mind. If you agree, please share this article and together, let us reach out to more Filipinos.   

Understanding Adult Learning

When it comes to seminars and workshop, people often ask what adult learning is. Seldom do people realize that the way we learn as children and adolescents is very different from how we do as adults. This is because as adults, we are usually able to make our own decisions independently and we can be responsible to our own success. We use the information we have in order to make these decisions and choices.

Adult Learning

In 1985, Malcom Knowles who pioneered in adult learning has observed that adults learn better given certain conditions. He also made assumptions that learning in adults is based on 5 assumptions. First, he mentioned that as an adult matures, he moves from a dependent personality to being a self-directed human being. Second, the person’s experience becomes a very healthy source of valuable information that grows over time. Third, the adult learner becomes more oriented toward developing and learning things that are relevant to their role in the society. Fourth, the adult learner wants to immediately apply what they learned rather than delay its application. Fifth, that the person’s interest and motivation toward learning is innate.  

Let us attempt to understand these conditions so that we can see how we can create better training programs for our adult learners.  

Adults need to understand the importance of learning the information. Adults tend to retain information which they see as valuable to the things they do on a daily basis. During learning events, it is important to discuss how the new information can be used in practically at work. By discussing these, it motivates the adult learner to remember the information that is shared. It also helps them make an active decision to learn.

Adults need to learn using a method that is appropriate to them. There are different types of learners and you need to create a program that can touch base with most of these learners. Most learners are either Kinesthetic, Visual, or auditory. But there are many other learning styles for adults.

Experiential learning is always more powerful. Experiential learning is when adults apply what they have learned. You will notice that workshops allow adults to have an opportunity to test out what they learned through exercises. Sometimes, it even requires role-playing activities to experience the learning firsthand. The application is usually immediate so that the adult learner is able to retain the lessons longer and more effectively.

Timely learning. You need to allow the participants to learn something that is appropriate to their needs. Timing is important. When you schedule the learning session, put it at a time that they are thinking actively. If you have a choice between morning and evening after work hours, the former may be the better option as they are not yet tired. This gives more readiness for them to learn. Lessons related to recent life events also prove to be learned faster.

Positive Encouragements. It is very important for adults to feel encouraged to do the task. Boosting their confidence always works better than shaming them in class. You need to make adults realize that they have the power to apply change because most of them rely on habits. Validating that they have done the task successfully based on standards help them feel ease in getting out of their comfort zone and trying new things. 

Adult learners are never to be treated like the younger students. They should be given some level of autonomy. To see the contrast, we should realize that teacher-centred learning is never applicable. Adult learners cannot just be quiet listeners who will do what they are told; they have to be involved, encouraged, and motivated so that they can comprehend and retain information long-term.   

COMPETAD Launches Communications for HR Workshop

23 March 2019, COMPETAD Training and Professional Development Services has conducted its very first-Quarterly HR Learning Session this 2019 at the 2nd Floor Marsk Building in Aurora Boulevard. The workshop was entitled, “Communications for HR” which was attended by thirty HR participants from different industries. The session was facilitated by our very own, Mr. Philip Nucleus Sia I, a Certified Human Resource Professional by the International Federation of Professional Managers (IFPM).

Communications for HR Event

Topics during the half-day session included a quick review on the Common Grammar errors for the HR professionals make, Email Usage for HR, Body Language, and Vocal Communications. It was a fun-filled session that was jam-packed with learning. The session was very interactive with activities geared toward engaging the participants while illustrating the learning points being shared. One of the highlights of the session was a quick demonstration and exercise for vocal communications. The participants were able to practice proper breathing exercises to help them project a fuller, more audible voice tone that they can use when public speaking. The audience also had their share of pronunciation exercises to help them sound more natural and neutral when speaking in English. Another highlight is the sharing of the concept of postural feedback, where the participants were made aware that their actions not only affect others but it also has an impact to their own body chemistry, hormonal constitution, mood, and confidence. The crowd was very engaged as they did power poses to help boost confidence and focus.

The 1st Quarterly Learning Session was an overall success. The participants enjoyed learning during the session, with a few of them even saying that there was no dull moment during the workshop.

More About Our Quarterly Learning Sessions.

COMPETAD’s Quarterly learning sessions are tailored to the needs of HR professionals, focusing on things that HRs should know but often times overlook. The sessions are great as they are interesting, tailored to the HR profession, and very friendly to the budget-conscious learner. The sessions are only Php 799 per participant, which is also offered at Php 599 to those who take advantage of the early-bird rates. COMPETAD developed these programs in order to provide the community with an alternative way for continuous professional development for those who are new and a bit more experienced in the profession.

COMPETAD Secretariat for the Quarterly Learning Sessions, Mr. Michael Natividad, mentioned that he still feels that there is a lot of room for improvement in reaching out within the HR Community so the organization is still bringing forth more topics in the coming months. He said that with a more aggressive awareness-building effort for these value-conscious programs must be in place so they could appeal to a larger community and make the learning available to anyone, even the start-up professionals.

This year, there are four topics identified for our Quarterly sessions, which we felt are good start-off points for HR development. Communications for HR has already been completed but we still have three topics to offer: Etiquette for HR, Labor Relations Basics, and HR Professional Image. We shall release more information to you as we move forward in the coming months regarding these programs.

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