We live in a society where leaders are expected to lead, coach, guide, monitor, motivate and drive business but not be selfless and serve juniors or subordinates. Which is why, even though the concept of Servant Leadership is decades old, it has found renewed importance in todays age and post COVID times. A leader is somebody who leads by example and prioritizes self-growth before coaching other and a Servant Leader aspires to serve his/her team and the organization first, ahead of their personal goals. Here is my article on “Servant Leadership – an Important Leadership style in todays corporate world”. Being a servant leader is amazing, but it’s a huge commitment because you’re really going to have to take very intentional actions to be a servant leader. It’s really about truly walking that talk every day and the road often gets blurred. Do read, like and share your comments.

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Driving inclusion in black history month

Organizations are a sub-unit of the society at large and Diversity and Inclusion are at the heart, as a core value for many organizations. While we go all out on driving inclusion through diversity, what we often miss is Equality and Equity. A place where everybody feels valued, heard and taken care of. Black History Month is not just about being aware of the history of the Black community, recognizing their contribution and providing equal opportunities; it is also about sensitizing your employees on building empathy and overcoming the bias of diversity hiring. Here is my next article on how to create safe spaces for the community in organizations and accepting them for their talent and experience, for what they bring on the table. Do read and share your comments!

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The Big Quit – How to Handle the Great Resignation

An unexpected fallout of the pandemic has been the “Great Resignation”. While some said that the #trend was driven by #economicconditions, others said that it was led by the fact that #WorkfromHome and #Flexibility has become a way of life, and hence, coming back to work was not easy for employees. Some even said that Work from Home had #upskilled the employees and hence, they felt #underpaid! And as the #corporateworld tried to retain their employees, a deeper look at the problem in hand led to #structural and #workstyle changes for many.
Here is my article on The Big Quit – How to handle the Great Resignation! Do read, like and comment on your thoughts about #theBigQuit – Why, What and How of it.

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How women self sabotage their career and how to deal with it?

Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.” – Alyce Cornyn-Selby.   Self-sabotage is when you consciously or unconsciously do things that work against your own best interest. The biggest trigger of self sabotaging behavior is fear, fear of rejection, fear of failure or may be fear of criticism.    Here is my article on- How women self sabotage their career and how to deal with it.   Please share your views in the comments section.   Happy Reading!

Have you ever been self-doubting yourself and thinking you are not able enough to do something? Yes, it is a very common scenario for many women out there. We women are conditioned since our birth to be modest, to not boast about our success, our achievements, to be soft spoken and what not and this conditioning what an ideal women should be like plays a very vital role in our careers.

Because of this conditioning and the environmental pressures women usually self sabotage their career.Self-sabotaging behaviors can be both conscious and unconscious depending on how aware you are of them.

Ways in which women self-sabotage their career

1. The “Good Girl” trap: We as women always try to please everyone, we don’t want to say No and that is why we avoid having difficult conversations or we give up easily when someone doesn’t agree with us and this approach affects our career and work life in a negative manner.

To share an example, your approach towards an assignment might be different from your manager’s but you choose to follow the template provided because you don’t want to upset the apple cart or be labeled as someone who doesn’t accept the norms which are in practice for years.

There are so many instances where capable women work hard on projects, but at the first sign of challenging feedback, they withdraw, all to avoid conflict or confrontation.

2. Seeking perfection all the time:Author Julia Cameron wrote in The Artist’s Way, “Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. We all get to learn perfectionism from a very young age and if not checked,this tendency to chase perfection in everything starts sabotaging your success.

Attention to detail is one thing, but attempting to polish off every task on your to-do list with pure perfection is not realistic. Setting goals is a good thing, but it’s also important to remember that we’re all fallible. Accepting the imperfection of humanity is a liberating gift, and people will respond to you better once you become comfortable with any perceived flaws.

3. Selling yourself short: Women often sell themselves short in business, playing small to make others feel comfortable rather than acknowledging their strengths. While this may appear as innocent modesty, it can cripple your chances of getting that promotion or landing a dream job. Focus on your strengths and practice self love.

Own your accomplishments just as you celebrate the achievements of others.Even if we get an increment, we wonder if we are worth it. Often women work and deliver more than what is expected and don’t even seek recognition for it.

4. Seeking feedback or permission: Women, in general, tend to seek feedback or ask for ‘permission’ or validation, which is a form of resistance and denotes self-doubt. We do not want to be labelled as overpowering and want to get the approval of everyone concerned so that we fit in, which also results in women not holding leadership positions.

5. Not speaking up: “When we avoid speaking up and expressing how we feel or what we need, we are sabotaging our self-esteem and allowing negative feelings to build up internally,” says Emily Roberts.

Assertiveness and effective communication is the key here. Stop trying to please everyone in each and every situation, if you do not agree, you don’t feel fit in, just say it out loud. Demand the respect you deserve.

7. The imposter syndrome: With imposter syndrome, it’s more than just self-doubt. It’s a condition of such deep-rooted insecurity that we are faking ourselves and we are not good enough. To sum it up you underestimate yourself and don’t understand your worth.

And hence this feeling affects your career, for example not striving for promotions simply because you  don’t believe that you deserve it, or you become intense micromanagers which can make you  susceptible to burning out quickly because you are constantly trying to overcompensate.

8. Not asking for help: “I can do it all”, “I don’t need any help”, these are few thoughts which are always there at our mind lest we be seen as vulnerable. We always try to be a superwomenand hence we do not ask for support.

We stop ourselves from communicating our needs in an authentic and effective manner. Repressing your needs is also another self-sabotage mechanism, that drives you to take on too much, grow resentful and miss out on being the person you’re truly meant to be and focusing on what matters most.

9. Relationship aggression: Relationship aggression is just one of the many ways women sabotage their careers.

A very common scenario is where one female employee gets a promotion and suddenly you see change in the behaviour of other female employees towards her. They start whispering whenever she walks by; they stopped inviting her to gatherings, there is workplace isolation etc.

These actions define relationship aggression at workplace. Sometimes women work against one another instead of working together as a team or allies. Women tend to fight over the throne instead of fixing each other’s crowns.


How to fix this

2 step process to stop self sabotage

1. Reflect and recognize your self-sabotaging habits: To stop this habit of self sabotaging for good, firstly you need to be aware of that, yes you are actually doing this to yourself. You need to understand the need these habits fill in your life and then act accordingly.

As we discussed above these can be very actions or behaviors like procrastination, thinking negative all the time, underselling yourself, being too tough on yourself, not owning your achievements and many more.

2. Work on the path for improvement: Once you recognize your habits you can start working on reversing them and in the way to convert self sabotaging with self empowerment.

You can beat self-sabotage by monitoring your behaviors, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs about yourself, and challenging them when they stand between you and your goals. Consider how failing to overcome certain behaviours could cost you professionally. Start building positive behaviour and create an affirmative, confident voice to guide you to keep you on the right track.

Fortunately none of these self sabotaging habits are chronic and can easily be rectified and even reversed if checked at the right time and the right actions are taken.Making conscious effort and some minor adjustments in your approach will put you back in control and get you on the track.

So if you are still struggling with these self sabotaging issues, start working on it today and don’t let anything keep you away from a positive, successful career.

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The importance of saying NO and how it helps you improve your workplace productivity

“The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes”- Tony Blair   As human beings we are hardwired to say “Yes” to each and everything that comes in our way. In a work environment, saying “No” can be hard but we really need to understand the importance of saying No at the right time, in the right way, for the right reasons and how it can help improve one’s productivity at work.   Here is my take on this. Please share your views in the comments section.

The modern workplace and work demands are moving at lightning speed and the fun fact is that we all get only 24 hours a day to match up to this.

Being productive at work is no rocket science but it requires serious hardwork and excellent time management skills. Especially after this COVID situation, as everything turned digital, it is very normal to hear from employees about feeling stressed and unproductive at the end of the day. In fact it is happening with the most productive and skilled professionals.

So let’s try to understand where are we going wrong? What’s the actual pain point? The answer to all of these questions is a single word “No”, yes you need to stop saying“Yes” to each and everything.

A very common scenario: You are up to ears in your assignments/tasks and your manager or colleague comes up with a new task or request and asks you for the assistance, and you will hear yourself saying a Yes immediately knowing very well that you are already packed. And that’s where your entire schedule goes haywire.

There are various reasons behind us fearing to saying No, because we don’t want to come across as non-cooperative, non-responsive, lazy or unprofessional. We’re social creatures that crave approval, and saying no feels like the easiest way to get on someone’s bad side. Also in a work environment, saying no can feel like you’re sabotaging someone else’s hard work.

But we really need to understand the importance of saying No at the right time, in the right way and obviously for the right reasons and how it can help improve one’s productivity at work.

Strategies to increase productivity in the workplace by saying NO

1. Say no to the idea of perfection

As human beings it is in our nature to chase perfection in everything we do. But we usually forget that nobody is perfect and one doesn’t even need to be.

Instead of chasing perfection one should focus on efficacy in each and every task we do. For instance, you have a presentation to submit in an hour, and even though you have revised it multiple times you still feel the need to read it one more time. You’re stressed and want to be on time, yet you want the presentation to be perfect. So, instead of submitting your presentation on time, you miss the deadline. Now not only are you stressed, you might have disappointed your manager/client as well.

Knowing when good enough is good enough, so you quit chasing perfectionand focus on efficacy, you will see results.

2. Clean up the digital clutter and Say No to the digital mess

We all like our workplaces to be clean but are we cleaning the digital office regularly? No, unread emails, spam messages, irrelevant email blasts, heavy unessential files, all of these things create unnecessary stress and distract you from focusing on important things.

Try clearing this digital clutter once in aweek, this will surely result in lower anxiety and higher productivity.

3. Say no to the unproductive/irrelevant meetings

How many times you find yourself stuck in a meeting and complaining about each minute getting wasted? If your answer is very often,that’s where you need to pause and look for a solution.

Arrange your meetings in a manner that it is beneficial and relevant for every participant. If you have the chance and option to opt out from a meeting which is not useful or relevant for you, do not shy away from speaking up and discussing this with your manager.

4. Be honest

Be honest to yourself and your work; don’t use this for your interest or benefits. Don’t make fake excuses.If the reason you are saying no is because you are being asked to do something you are bad at, admit it.If you are saying no because you are swamped or trying to preserve your work-life balance, say so and say what you are doing instead.

5. Be clear and support your approach with data

A “No” now is better than a “No” later.“Instead of saying ‘Yes’ now and disappointing the person later when you fail to fulfill the request, say ‘No’ now.

If you know that you really don’t have the bandwidth to help and hence you need to turn down the request, be honest and share your genuine reasons. Describe your workload and the projects on your plate.Support your ‘No’ with valid data and facts so that others can respect your decision. Letting people down at a later stage can damage your credibility.

6. Say no to unwanted interruptions

If you really want to be productive at your workplace, you will need to limit your distractions. Random chit chat sessions, multiple coffee breaks are small things which if not monitored effectively can impact productivity. In work from home scenarios, setting boundaries with people at home for ‘no interruptions’ during productive hours for mundane tasks will help improve productivity. Say yes to breaks, but be cautious of the frequency and the timings.

7. Be polite and offer a lifeline

While saying no is important, it must be delivered in an effective way for the other person to perceive and receive it well. Being watchful of your body language and tone is important to appear supportive even when you may be refusing the other person.

For refusing or not accepting something, you don’t need to be ruthless. Least you can do is to be polite and offer an alternative if you are not available. Soften your No, even the way you say this will have a great effect on the other person.

For example instead of saying “No, I will not be able to this” if you will convey it like “I really wish I could help but my bandwidth doesn’t allow this for now”, the whole feel of the conversation changes in a positive manner.

Frameworks for saying NO effectively

1. DOC Framework

D: Distraction: Next time you are faced with such a situation, first of all check if the request would be a distraction from your on- the plate tasks. Ask yourself whether the request might be a complement to tasks you’re already doing or a complete detour into another initiative.

O: Objectives: Ask yourself if the new request could fit into one of your objectives. If so, it might be worth taking on, even if it is a potential distraction from the day-to-day activities. If it doesn’t fit with an objective, give it the axe.

C: Consider the upside: If the request doesn’t fit an objective, is there another potential upside for doing it? Perhaps you are looking to transition to new responsibilities, and this new task will help demonstrate your capabilities.

2. BEST Framework

B: Because-Putting because after the No and validating it with facts and data.

E: Empathy- Show empathy. Convey your message softly and help with an alternative if you can.

S: Situation- Describe your situation, explain with genuine reasons.

T: Add timelines- Elaborate about your ongoing demands and the timelines for that.

As humans, we are hardwired to say yes to things. When there is a power dynamic involved, we are even more inclined to agree first and then think about it later.There’s nothing wrong with putting others first and helping those you care about when they need it. The problem comes when you say yes so often that it affects your own productivity.

When you say no, it shows that you understand your priorities and what’s important to you. Say it for the right reasons and in the right way, you’ll be much better off!

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Marching Sheep launches the “21 Marching“ campaign for People with disabilities.

According to WHO, Persons with Disabilities represent 15% of the world’s population. It has been observed that disabled employees working from home during #lockdown were more productive and took lesser number of leaves than when they were doing their jobs in office. In an effort to create and drive awareness about the 21 disabilities as stated in the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, Marching Sheep is proud to launch the “21 Marching” campaign.
Marching Sheep will hold a series of candid conversations to help understand lived realitieschallengessocietal biases, dreams and aspirations to live a life of dignity and be independent and self-sufficient. Do join us in this initiative and let us together #make a difference. Stay tuned for more details.
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Self love at work

“You carry so much love in your heart, give some to yourself”

#SelfLove is a wonderful thing and it is great that we are actually thinking and talking about this finally!. Here is an article by Prerna Arora from team Marching Sheep on Self Love.

Please share your views in the comment box if you enjoy reading this article.

“Self-love, self-respect, self-worth: There’s a reason they all start with ‘self.’ You can’t find them in anyone else.”

Self Love is a wonderful thingand it is great that we are actually thinking and talking about this finally!

But what does self love actually mean and are we applying it in our professional lives… and if yes, then how?

Self-care comes in many different forms because each one of us sees care differently. Some may believe self-care is sleeping for the weekend; others may see self-care as a day at the spa or a day painting.

Self love at work can be defined as a series of making your own choices, prioritizing yourself, standing up for yourself, fulfilling your commitments, making a conscious effort for your growth every single day and never fear to share your opinion or ideas.

We usually struggle with sharing our accomplishments with our colleagues and other professional network because we do not want to be seen as boastful, arrogant, or as a person who is in need of praise.Self-love on the contrary makes us proud to share our achievements, our accomplishments, our progress without fear of what other people might think.

Why self love is important in workplace?

There are various benefits associated with the strong sense of self worth.

1. Self love makes you more confident in your abilities. Self love helps you recognize that you are worthy and good enough no matter what. It gives you the confidence to open the doors you were afraid to open earlier, be it starting a new business, taking up a new challenging project or explore a career change.

2.Self love helps reduce workplace stress and also helps us stop procrastinating. People with high self-esteem demonstrate extraordinary perseverance in succeeding in an activity they are passionate about. It helps you to take the failures positively and not give up.It will help you speak up for your needs and taking a stand for yourself whenever it starts affecting you.

3. Recognizing self-worth can increase your engagement at work, leading to higher productivity and improved relationships with coworkers. Employees who value their worth tend to experience better focus and can find work more fulfilling. Your sense of self-worth helps you to trust your own judgment and make better decisions, which are important leadership qualities that can help you advance in your career.

4. Self love makes you less concerned about other’s opinion about you. You will care less about what others think about you and more about what you can contribute and deliver and hence it will help you focus more on your betterment.

How to practice self love at work

1. Speak to yourself and define your value: You first have to recognize your worth. If you’re in a place today where you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to do that instantly. It is like building a muscle, the process will take time so why not start with today. Allow love to flow through you as often as possible. Focus on what you love about yourself. Focus on what you appreciate about yourself. Simply, adjust your body to positive emotions by finding as many things to love about yourself.Each morning, stand in front of the mirror and reinforce your positive qualities to yourself

2Don’t compare yourself: Just remember this; comparison is lethal for self love. We usually compare our flaws with someone else’s qualities and that starts affecting our mental and emotional health negatively. When we focus on other people, we lose the time which we can invest in ourselves. We don’t grow green grass by focusing on our neighbor’s garden; we do it by nurturing our own. So, instead of wasting time comparing your path to someone else’s, spend it investing, creating, and caring for your own.

3. Build positive affirmations: Affirmations are, essentially, self-fulfilling compliments. Others may praise us, but to build genuine self-love, we need to learn to praise ourselves. Daily self love affirmations are an amazing tool to help you on your journey of self love.  Being able to embrace our strengths and goodness without others’ approval is the first step towards fearless self-love, which will contribute to a more confident state of being at work.

The negative self talk has to stop first! If you tell yourself every single day that you are beautiful, strong and worthy, you will eventually start to believe that. 

4. Remember your successes and don’t forget to share it:We all have our own strengths and weakness, our success and failures as well. But I think it is in our nature to remember all the negative things and not the positive one. Choose to forgive yourself when things don’t go as planned. Remember it is ok to not to be perfect, to fail, to get stumped, to not perform well sometimes, it is all OK! And yes do not forget to celebrate your accomplishments.

5. Drop toxic people: There is this famous quote from Jim Rohn: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” This perfectly fits here. You need to be really cautious about the people surrounding you. Be picky about the people you spend time with. You need to check whether they inspire you, encourage you,enable you, and fill you in.

6. Adapt healthy habits: Create habits that cheer up your body emotionally, mentally and physically. Start paying attention to minor details like your eating habits, your workout schedule, how you spend your free time. The way could be different like sleeping for the weekend, shopping, playing your favorite game etc.  Whatever the way is, it is just about the contentment.Keep asking yourself-what makes ‘me’ happy and am I doing enough of it?

Always remember to ‘BE CONFIDENT’:

B: Be your own role model.

E: Express Yourself.

C: Challenge Yourself

O: Only your opinion about you matter.

N: No more negative self talk.

F: Forgive your mistakes.

I: I am awesome.

D: Do not waste your energy in comparison.

E: Excellence not perfection.

N: No part of you should be left behind.

T: Talents: Discover your talents and use them.

You are the incharge of your choices and hence you are solely responsible for the life you make for yourself. So start it today, show some love towards yourself and see the results.

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