Express Pharma (Vol. 12, No. 13) May 1-15, 2017

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‘Leaders today need to learn the Art of Persuasion’ Sangbreeta Moitra is a motivational speaker based in The Netherlands, specialising in leadership communication, corporate storytelling and public speaking. With her background in global management in the pharma industry, she has unique insights on today’s dynamic leadership needs. Lakshmipriya Nair caught up with her at a conference in Mumbai to understand more about the secrets of leadership communication What are the three common communication mistakes made by leaders? How can they be avoided? There is no formula for leadership. Everyone, including you and me, has a distinct leadership style that is influenced heavily by our experiences, our personality and how they shape us. However, working with corporates across different industries on inspirational leadership communication, I noticed some elements that needed reinforcing, despite the difference in the industry, cultural background or experience. Here are my top three: ◗Ignoring personal values. Working in a large corporate environment, it is very easy to lose yourself. When you walk through the doors of your company, immediately you’re a manager in a sea of managers with very similar skill-sets, working on very similar projects and with overlapping career graphs and aspirations. It becomes very difficult to retain your identity, your ‘uniqueness’ in such an ambience. Thus, it’s important to discover your own personal core values that drive and define you. It is these values that influence the kind of leader you will be, and the legacy you leave behind. ◗Authoritative vs Persuasive. The image of a leader has changed drastically through history. Look at the earliest leaders of civilisation: the kings. Kings were feared leaders back in

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the day. Ivan the Terrible. Vlad the Impaler. Attila the Hun. The leadership style then was straightforward and clear. One man. One decision. One outcome. And dare you not agree... off you go to the prison dungeons. Fast forward to the 20th century, leaders had a more authoritative style of communication. Sure, employees wouldn’t have their heads chopped off for disagreeing with decisions made by their leaders (well, not all), but their opinion and feedback wasn’t taken into account. “Deal with it” was the mantra in the workplace. Today however, times have changed. Drastically. Authoritative leadership is unwelcome; it is considered unhealthy for the employees and the company to have an inflexible honcho forcing decisions without discussions. Thus leaders today need to learn the art of persuasion. Instead of telling people what should be done, persuade them. Accept their questions and address them by showing the benefits and reasons behind the decision. Persuasion is your friend; it will ensure that your team sees you as a trustable leader. A beautiful quote by Brian Tracy comes to mind. “Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you had no title or position.” ◗Harsh criticism. This is one of the biggest issues in people management. You will find promising and driven employees quitting their jobs due to harsh feedback by their superiors. As leaders, we need to be aware of

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