This book- Leadership for Colonels and Business Managers (book cover attached), comes out of my strong conviction that middle level leaders of the army and similar managers of the business are not able to get as much out of their men as is easily possible. In my experience of 26 years with the army and 16 with the business world, I have seen numerous instances of reduced effectiveness and efficiency, merely because easily available knowledge and techniques were not used. So near and yet so far. With first-hand experience in the military and the business world, combined with three instructional tenures in top leadership academies, I found myself uniquely equipped to take up this dire need. Hence, this book.
Military and businesses both require the same competencies in their leaders. Both need their leaders, or managers, to get their teams to be effective in whatever they are tasked to do. Admittedly, these two domains are employed differently but that only calls for different equipment and functional skills, not different competencies of their leaders. There can be an odd one specific to the domain but mostly they are the same in both because both of them employ human beings. People are people everywhere, aren’t they?
What, then, do these leaders need more in order to jumpstart their teams? They need two things - Knowledge and Skills.
Knowledge is required of Organizational Behavior (OB), Organizational Development (OD), Group dynamics and Social & Organizational psychology, that answer the ‘Why’ questions of individual and organizational behavior. But this knowledge, by itself, is not adequate to bring in the results. One requires skills to operationalize them. These come in form of techniques which answer the ‘How to’ question of influencing behaviour in groups.
This book contains the knowledge and skills necessary for leaders and managers to get much more out of their teams than what most are achieving today.
Sample some topics of knowledge here- how does group structure affect its processes, effects of group cohesiveness on group dynamics, how do interpersonal relationships affect productivity and satisfaction, what really motivates people, what are the effects of too much consensus on quality of group decisions etc. Flowing directly from these knowledge points are ‘how to’ techniques e.g. how to praise reprimand and punish, how to use a leadership style that suits the followers, how not to let great team spirit or groupthink spoil your team, how to delegate, how not to end up doing the work of subordinates, how to integrate Game Theory in decisions under uncertainty etc.
It is laid out in 6 sections, each dealing with a natural grouping of chapters.
· Section 1 – 7 chapters dealing with One-to-One relationships in a group, and techniques derived mostly from Social and Organizational Psychology.
· Section 2 – 7 chapters dealing with One-to-Many relationships and techniques derived mostly from Group Dynamics.
· Section 3 – 8 chapters dealing with advice on Organizational Development.
· Section 4 – 7 chapters dealing with essentials of Leader behavior.
· Section 5 – 5 chapters dealing with techniques of better thinking and decision-making.
· Section 6 – 9 chapters dealing with topics of specific interest to combat forces.
Combat leaders will find all 6 sections to be of great relevance and utility. The business managers will find sections 1 through 5 to be extremely useful, even more than they are to the combat leaders, but some may have reservations about the applicability of section 6 to them. That would be more a pre-conceived idea than a reasoned argument. Why not read them and learn how the military manages to get even those tasks accomplished that seem impossible to you?
Having seen the real world, I have consciously worked to keep it useful for the practitioner, rather than the academic. The coverage focuses on the middle levels i.e. Captains to Colonels in the armed forces and the manager to departmental head in the business world. These are the levels that deal directly with soldiers and employees and interact closely with the organization. Unfortunately, these are also the very levels which get the minimum training on these important matters. In the army, they get practically none. Surprisingly, the very training is available in the army but is offered only to select Colonels, after they’ve finished their command tenure. Before that, it is all left to regimental grooming. As for the managers in business organizations, the situation differs from organization to organization. However, even in good ones, I’ve not seen much emphasis on specific techniques.
This serious anomaly kept gnawing at me for decades. In the army, I served in several command tenures from a Captain to a full Colonel, almost always in operational conditions. I was also fortunate to be tasked with raising a new combat unit, 8 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) in 3 months flat. Alongside, I also enjoyed 3 tenures as instructor at Class A training establishments of Indian army, including one at the Senior Command Wing of the Army War College. All along, it kept bothering me that we are just not training our officers in what matters most – leadership and man management. So, I kept notes of what I saw happening in units and with officers. My notes occupied three boxes – Army size. I also authored 16 articles on these topics in army journals.
Later, I joined the business world as Head OD & TA (Organizational Development & Training Academy) and then moved as Director – Executive Development. Here, I got further grounded in concepts of OB. OD, Group dynamics and organizational psychology and also closely observed the training needs of business managers.
It is here that I made the connection that most training needs of military leaders and business managers are the same.
Then after receiving some specialized training at the IIT Mumbai in innovation and TRIZ, I started my own consultancy in innovation and leadership (Innovators & Leaders | Innovation meets Management) which took me to train and consult companies like Tata Power SED, Blue Star, Thermax, Bharat Petroleum SKF, Asian Paints. Merck India, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, National Productivity Council, Tata Motors and Mahindras, to name a few. I also got to train Accenture in Philippines and Marico in Dubai.
Then I was requested by the Army Training Command (ARTRAC) of India to present to them as to how officers can be better trained to deal with complexity, fuzz and uncertainty. The presentation has since been made.
This sparked in me the desire to put it all together in order to ‘Pass it On.’ I opened my old trunks and dusted out the frayed notes, juxtaposed my experiences with my new knowledge and the result is this book. It is meant to meet a daily need, not be a monthly vitamin. Each chapter of the book is complete in itself, which should give you at least 5 recommendations on the topic concerned.
The book will hit the stands, print version and e-books, by the first week of March.
+91 9821677859, +91 22 25308265
Thane, Maharashtra, India
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