Saturday, March 8, 2014

Leadership, Communication & Motivation

I usually prefer to not write anything on leadership, management, motivation and the other similar topics as I wanted to keep myself as a person who absolutely has nothing to do with these things, however, the time has come to tell you:) what I think about these overrated L-word and the other cooperate holy words. I don’t know whether it's my friends; or the fact that ever since I started "ACTIV" with my friends, I’m on a constant look-out for successful organizations, leaders and many other related things; or the fact that we are being bombarded with the L-word by the corporate culture we all are voluntarily subscribed to; or the recent extreme attention to American MBAs and its managerial teachings in Sri Lanka; or the fact that most political, religious and corporate people use too often these cool words to make people actually believe that there is a hell of a lot they know... I just don’t know why I think about these things :). I have heard enough of these words, influenced enough by the people/education that talk about these worlds, watched videos on it and read enough LinkedIn articles on these things, now I actually want to develop these skills and quickly let you know what I think about Leadership, Communication & Motivation in this post.

A leader needs the guts to stand alone and look ridiculous. The key is he/she must be easy to follow! Leader needs followers. Following is more difficult than leading when the leader is not very capable of leading.  They publicly shows everyone how to follow. Notice the leader embraces him/her as an equal, so it's not about the leader anymore - it's about being a follower first. All the good leaders I had the pleasure working with use friendship as a tool to bridge the gap between leading and following and add real value to leadership. Notice he's calling to his friends to join in. It takes guts to be a first follower! You stand out and brave ridicule, yourself. Being a first follower is an under-appreciated form of leadership. The first follower transforms a lone nut into a leader. I read somewhere - If the leader is the flint, the first follower is the spark that makes the fire. You might be a person who's not so comfortable with the word follower, it's because people don't like to use the word follower(s) in the cooperate world. We like to use the word team, almost in every-places we want to use followers and we managed to make the word cooler. As I must have mentioned earlier, Leadership is over-glorified; so is team. So, leadership happens when you find a lone nut doing something great about something the nut really cares about(vision), have the guts to be the first person to stand up and join in. 1) have the vision 2) be public 3) be easy to follow 4) make some sense and be compact (Communication) 5) Have passion - make impossible possible ( Motivation ).

It's really a border subject and way over my head to talk about, yet I'm going to continue. I had issues clearly telling my ideas to my friends at ACTIV. I can vividly remember telling my friend "It's clear in my head, but I don't know how I'm going to make you understand as exactly as is in my mind." I must have offended him saying so as his response was not very polite. Also, when the HR has nothing to avoid promoting you, they often magically make the word appear out of thin air and say "You need to develop your communication skills to get the promotion in the next cycle" - it wouldn't be a breach of the confidentially clause I signed, if I say that it really happened to me by an HR individual who had no knowledge what so ever of what I was doing in the company nor had the capacity to measure my skill sets. Most often, ideas has context, dependencies and a million related things you should know about to understand. When we try to communicate someone, it's really hard to assume that the person whom you're trying to communicate understand the context and he has the dependency knowledge. It's even harder, if we try to communicate to a person whom we don't know or we have to communicate to a group instead of one person. Some of the ideas take months even years to unconsciously build up and make sense. There will be a million small nuances that matter associated with our idea and when we try to tell others, it's almost always impossible and stressful. The purpose of communication is to get your message across to others clearly and unambiguously. Doing this involves effort from both the sender of the message and the receiver. And it's a process that can be fraught with error, with messages often misinterpreted by the recipient. When this isn't detected, it can cause tremendous confusion, wasted effort and missed opportunity. In fact, communication is only successful when both the sender and the receiver understand the same exact information as a result of the communication. By successfully getting your message across, you convey your thoughts and ideas effectively. When not successful, the thoughts and ideas that you convey do not necessarily reflect your own, causing a communications breakdown and creating roadblocks that stand in the way of your goals – both personally and professionally. Create and environment where everyone feel save to express ideas, opinion,  and feelings, or plan or problem solving in creative ways.

Its very true that most of what we communicate is not through by talking. Body language and our facial expressions carry a lot more than we think we do. There was a presentation given a us at the British Council Colombo and they had professionals to show us the ways an idea could be expressed differently. In my blog, I prefer to write my personal experience and my own view about the things I write rather than a general idea, so It would only be fair, if I tell you what makes me challenged/makes it difficult when it comes to communication. My experience is that when I work on codes(technical things/logical) too long and suddenly want to speak to somebody or speak about the code I was working on, I often struggle to talk. Even the most frequently spoken words will slip away from my mind for a while. May be it's just that my left brain was constantly getting the resources allocated and suddenly when I try to wake my right brain, it crashes or something.. :) I have no scientific facts to back me up on this, yet I have convinced myself with my theory on this.

Motivation - Motivation is literally the desire to do things. More than half of the morning emails I read on this and Google plus posts should make me an expert on this subject. When I have a clear reason to do something or inner desire to want something, I'm so motivated - It's just that simple. To motivate myself, I just need to convince myself with some reasoning or I need a prove of; if I do this, I'll get this. Of cause, that the common reasoning process of a human mind consciously. And there is more..

Motivation is defined as the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. Motivation is what causes us to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. It involves the biological, emotional, social and cognitive forces that activate behavior. 

The above is the extract of the first five links for a Google search. Further the articles read that a number of different theories of motivation, including drive theory, instinct theory and humanistic theory. There are three major components to motivation: activation, persistence and intensity. Different types of motivation are frequently described as being either extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic motivations are those that arise from outside of the individual and often involve rewards such as trophies, money, social recognition or praise. Intrinsic motivations are those that arise from within the individual, such as doing a complicated cross-word puzzle purely for the personal gratification of solving a problem.

Who needs forced motivation? Someone who does something he/she doesn't like. I'm talking about the motivational trainings motivational speaks do. I can speak for myself here as I, myself have attended few trainings, that they actually do work/help us get motivated. They help us find the reasons and help us figure out why we do what we do.  Research shows you can influence your own levels of motivation and self-control. So figure out what you want, power through the pain period, and start being who you want to be. Goal Setting is extremely important to motivation and success.  Certainly, we need some intelligence, knowledge base, study skills, and time management skills, but if we don't have motivation, I don't think we will go get far.

Motivation is the force that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is what causes us to take action, whether to grab a snack to reduce hunger or enroll in college to earn a degree. The forces that lie beneath motivation can be biological, social, emotional or cognitive in nature.

I find the blow very useful and is from

William James has created a list of human instincts that included such things as attachment, play, shame, anger, fear, shyness, modesty and love. The main problem with this theory is that it did not really explain behavior, it just described it. By the 1920s, instinct theories were pushed aside in favor of other motivational theories, but contemporary evolutionary psychologists still study the influence of genetics and heredity on human behavior.
Incentive Theory of Motivation
The incentive theory suggests that people are motivated to do things because of external rewards. For example, you might be motivated to go to work each day for the monetary reward of being paid. Behavioral learning concepts such as association and reinforcement play an important role in this theory of motivation.
Drive Theory of Motivation
According to the drive theory of motivation, people are motivated to take certain actions in order to reduce the internal tension that is caused by unmet needs. For example, you might be motivated to drink a glass of water in order to reduce the internal state of thirst. This theory is useful in explaining behaviors that have a strong biological component, such as hunger or thirst. The problem with the drive theory of motivation is that these behaviors are not always motivated purely by physiological needs. For example, people often eat even when they are not really hungry.
Arousal Theory of Motivation
The arousal theory of motivation suggests that people take certain actions to either decrease or increase levels of arousal. When arousal levels get too low, for example, a person might watch and exciting movie or go for a jog. When arousal levels get too high, on the other hand, a person would probably look for ways to relax such as meditating or reading a book. According to this theory, we are motivated to maintain an optimal level of arousal, although this level can vary based on the individual or the situation.
Humanistic Theory of Motivation
Humanistic theories of motivation are based on the idea that people also have strong cognitive reasons to perform various actions. This is famously illustrated in Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which presents different motivations at different levels. First, people are motivated to fulfill basic biological needs for food and shelter, as well as those of safety, love and esteem. Once the lower-level needs have been met, the primary motivator becomes the need for self-actualization, or the desire to fulfill one's individual potential.

Also, personal preferences and circumstances have a huge impact on motivational levels. I believe prioritizing and having a plan is as important as being motivated to do something to succeed. A fun example, I want to go to gym badly and I'm motivated, yet I couldn't go as there are other important things I had to take care time-to-time (I can hear u say: poooh, like what? :p anyways) there are days I really do have things stopping me to go to the gym and that irregularity demotivates me to go to gym.


There are many more similar things I would like to write and share with you - like, what is the deference between going to a five-star hotel wearing a suit to spend a hundred rupees and going with a dirty t-shirt and spending a few grands; the psychology behind it and my experience on that. But I just ran out of motivation to write more, so let me power-up my motivational level and write on the next post. FAREWELL 'TIL NEXT TIME.