Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Dr Sangeetha Madhu - Women & Leadership

Women on Top - Lean in and Lead 

"Successful people become great leaders when they learn to shift the focus from themselves to others."- Marshall Goldsmith

A 2011 study by Zenger Folk man, a leadership consultancy, using 450,000 feedback instruments pertaining to about 45,000 leaders, indicates women not only excel at nurturing competencies such as developing others, inspiring and motivating others, relationship building, collaboration, and teamwork; competencies such as taking initiative, displaying integrity and honesty, and driving for results; women were seen as effective in getting things done, being role models and delivering results. However at the CEO level, worldwide, there are only 3% to 4% who are women. Statistics, research, and current trends point toward women’s leadership capabilities.

Pepsi-Co CEO, Indra Nooyi ‘s advice to leaders is to be a' lifelong learner, help others and be passionate about work as your true calling'. Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg’ s video titled 'Lean In' based on her book by the same name, makes one realize that utilizing our strengths and collectively achieving our dreams and goals can become a reality.

In my leadership coaching experience, we need to delegate when necessary, seek opportunities, ask for help, build strong networks to bring more visibility to build a strong, vibrant, and robust team. In our leadership journey may our sons and daughters inherit an equitable planet, wherein the yin and the yang work collaboratively. We need to support and nurture future leaders to benefit the organization and community through building harmonious relationships both at work and at home.

Monday, July 13, 2020

Dr Sangeetha Madhu - Mind over matter

Exercise, Energy, and Euphoria

The energy of the mind is the essence of life .- Aristotle.

At a leadership workshop, a team of seafarers was really excited to share with us, their journey of beating loneliness on board by encouraging team sports. They resonated with the idea that sport and exercise can be beneficial for bonding, enhancing positive emotions, fostering a sense of well-being, and ultimately leading to teamwork. Pursuing exercise and training has helped me gain a deeper understanding of mind-body connections.

The benefits of exercise for expanding human potential are infinite. Research indicates that when we exercise, we enjoy a better quality of sleep, our immune system functions better, positive emotions endure, increases energy levels, and produces happy hormones ( endorphins ). In fact, exercise is equivalent to medication in alleviating negative emotions; bringing sharper focus, better memory, and greater resilience.

Regular physical activity can boost brain functions, reduce inflammation, prevent cognitive decline, lead to neurogenesis, and BDNF, a brain-derived protein. The key realization is that we need to enjoy, savor, work at our own pace, find a partner/group, be a positive role model for our family, inspire our colleagues and involve our neighborhood in our journey towards wellness. Being too focused on results and goals seems to be counterproductive.

Being mindful of the mutual benefits, we can enjoy through physical exercise, team sports, family time, and fun at work through play. Playfulness and sport bring people together and helps us bring our collective energy to achieve group goals effortlessly. Keep calm and exercise.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Dr Sangeetha Madhu - Leadership Coaching

Coaching and leadership - Journey Within 

‘Leadership is a journey, not a destination, marathon not a sprint, the process not an outcome’. - John Fitzgerald.

Leadership coaching is a challenging and fulfilling journey which is a collaborative partnership between the coach and leader. It helps in personal transformation and leads to building a healthy organization. Building trust, empowering through positive emotions, enhancing self-awareness, communication skills, and empathy helps a leader to unlock his/ her potential, improve performance, tap energy, seek purpose, shape vision, and achieve desired results through competence and commitment.

A study of 4000 corporates indicates that leadership coaching can enhance performance, improve client service, relationships, increase profits, employee retention.LEAD survey of 2300 business leaders who underwent coaching was proactive in making policies, had engaged employees, focused on strengths and respect across the organisation ;97%found it to be beneficial .’ Harvard Business Review article reveals that coaches are mostly engaged to address derailing behavior, facilitate the transition, develop high potential or act as a sounding board.

According to the center for creative leadership, the six principles of leadership coaching are creating a safe and challenging environment, working with the coachee’s agenda, facilitating and collaborating, advocating self -awareness, learning through experience, and being a role model coach. Personally, leadership coaching has helped me focus on my own leadership style, positive emotions, personal strengths, developmental areas, goals, values, and vision for the future .“When we do what we choose to do, we are committed. When we do what we have to do, we are compliant... Successful people focus on what they choose to do.”-Marshall Goldsmith

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Dr Sangeetha Madhu - Mindful Memoirs

Positive Psychology – wellness within

Positive psychology deals with past subjective well-being, happiness in the present moment and flow, hope, and optimism in the future. Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of Positive psychology, refers to flourishing (as opposed to surviving) as happiness, optimism, personal growth, strengths, flow, wisdom, authenticity, creativity, and imagination. Western research statistics indicate that 18 % of the population is flourishing, 17 % are languishing and 65% are moderately mentally healthy. The benefits of flourishing are mastery, goal setting, achievement and perseverance

John Stuart Mill, William James, and other philosophers have been on a pursuit of happiness. How do we flourish and build a shared vision in bringing the good life to achieve ‘authentic happiness’. We can enrich our lives by seeking positive experiences( not in a hedonistic way ), enhancing positive character traits such as love, courage, forgiveness, originality, perseverance, future mindedness, and honoring institutions that deliberate on citizenship, responsibility, altruism, civility, tolerance and work ethic.

We can build happiness into our daily lives through positive emotions, random acts of kindness, meaningful relationships, writing a gratitude journal, or practicing forgiveness consciously. We have a choice of making minor progress towards a good life of being positive, engaged, and deriving purpose and meaning with a sense of accomplishment at work and home. When professionals from the scientific community, technology, art and creativity, health, and well-being join hands in creating new neural pathways, we can establish collective well-being for future generations.

‘Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit quietly on your shoulders ‘

Henry Thoreau 

Being grateful has immense benefits in improving our overall sense of well-being. Find out your gratitude quotient and wishing you well to take the journey of self- discovery and reaching your highest potential by tapping into the deepest resources of your mind.

 The Gratitude Questionnaire-Six Item Form (GQ-6) (McCullough, Emmons and Tsang, 2002) Directions Using the scale below as a guide, write a number on the line preceding each statement to indicate how much you agree with it.

1 strongly disagree

2 disagree

 3 slightly disagree

4 neutral

 5 slightly agree

 6 agree

7 strongly agree on ____

1. I have so much in life to be thankful for. ____

2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list. ____

 3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much to be grateful for. ____

 4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people. ____

5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history. ____

6. Long periods can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.


Add together your scores for items 1, 2, 4, and 5. Reverse your scores for items 3 and 6. Add the reversed scores for items 3 and 6 to those for items 1, 2, 4, and 5. This is your total GQ-6 score. This number should be between 6 and 42. Interpretation If you scored 35 you scored higher than 25 percent of the 1224 individuals who took the GQ-6 on the Spirituality and Health website. If you scored 38 out of 42, you scored higher than 50 percent of them. If you scored 41 out of 42, you scored higher than 75 percent. If you scored 42 or higher, you scored among the top 13 percent.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Dr Sangeetha Madhu - Self Awareness

Leader - know thy self!

‘Mastering others is strength; mastering ourselves is true power ‘- Lao Tzu . Self-awareness is the ability to introspect and recognize oneself and understanding our needs, desires, habits, and motives. Knowing ourselves helps in mastering our lives resonated with a Buddhist, on our recent trip to Bhutan. Being self-aware can be a difficult process as Daniel Kanehman reveals that we tend to have biases in our memories which are inaccurate.

In order to become more self-aware, we can start by maintaining a journal, have a more objective view of ourselves (turning the camera onto ourselves- introspect ! ), use self-reflection exercises, savoring new experiences, unravel the alternate story about ourselves ( not the dominant narrative told to us) that will help us take the road less traveled. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex forms the neural basis of self-awareness, cognitive scientists report begins in infancy and is a life long process.

Personally, having started the process of self-discovery through suffering personal loss led to immense feelings of vulnerability; one needs to trust one’s instinct, make sense of one’s life through strong connections, purposeful living by focusing on the present moment and realizing the transient nature of our lives. Becoming more aware of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors help us to face life’s challenges and difficulties.It also helps in opening new possibilities, making better choices and decisions, significant changes in dealing with our emotions, behavior patterns. ‘Wisdom can be achieved through imitation which is the easiest, experience which is the bitterest or reflection which is the noblest ‘- Confucius

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Published by
Sangeetha Madhu
Director at Global Leadership, Eisenhower Fellow (2017)
Published • 3y

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Dr Sangeetha Madhu - The 3 R's

3 R's to harmony Relationships, Resilience, Reflections

’No significant learning can take place without a significant relationship ‘–James Corner.

An overwhelming need to achieve peace and harmony, left me looking for a suitable definition of mind and its components. I chanced upon Dr. Dan Siegel who describes the word mindsight as a part of interpersonal neurobiology. Mindsight is defined as our capacity to perceive ourselves and others, to understand our inner lives with clarity, integrate the brain, enhance relationships, and bring harmony. He enumerates in his TED talk on the 3 R’s – relationships, resilience, and reflection. 

Research evidence points out that sense of belongingness leads to internal motivation, and the ability to take risks and be resilient in the face of setbacks. Reflection is related to mindfulness, Metacognitive skills, emotional regulation, and flexibility. The ability to reflect leads to a sense of control/autonomy, more clarity, increased problem-solving ability, self-efficacy, task completion, and higher levels of engagement. Follow effective action with quiet reflection, then quiet reflection with more effective action -Peter Drucker. 

Healthy relationships and self-reflective exercises have immense benefits in improving resilience which is the capacity to face obstacles and still persevere, moving beyond the comfort zone, persistence, grit, determination, and tenacity. Building resilience means to celebrate efforts, look at failures as learning experiences, flexible thinking, inspiring, scaffolding, providing emotional support, motivation, feedback, learning through trial, and error. ‘I am not what happens to me , I am what I choose to become ‘- Carl Jung 

Friday, July 3, 2020

Dr Sangeetha Madhu - Leading from within

Empathy - Winning Hearts and Engaging Minds

'I call him religious one who can understand the suffering of others’ – Mahatma Gandhi.

A client, who observed our long working hours, asked whether our team had finished our lunch. We felt very grateful for he exhibited emotional reciprocity and genuine concern towards us. Empathy is intuitive but is also something you can work on intellectually –Tim Minchin.

Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s condition through their perspective leading to pro-social behavior. In fact, according to the theory of mind, Simon barren Cohen explains that it is the capacity to infer the full range of mental state of beliefs, desires, intention, imagination, emotions of ours as well as others that cause action.

Empathy helps us to understand someone better, to resolve interpersonal problems, and to manage difficult emotions. Paul Ekman in roots of empathy and compassion talks about emotional recognition and resonance, followed by familial and global compassion as noted by Dalai Lama. .Developing empathy leads to successful relationships and is beneficial in many ways – improves marital harmony, reduces prejudice/racism, stops bullying in schools, removes inequality, improves relationships at work. It can be enhanced through active listening, shared identity, focusing attention on others, not jumping to conclusions or making assumptions, practicing mindfulness. Ashoka foundation ‘s start empathy initiative and Play works are organizations dedicated to teaching and practicing empathy in the community.