Using NLP for Leadership Skills
Technical programmers and software developers of today are business leaders and managers of tomorrow. They need to be groomed in leadership and management skills so that they can take on higher positions and manage their own teams. Technical professionals need to exhibit leadership qualities in their day-to-day interactions, which will form the basis for their future promotions. Therefore, it is imperative to recognize and enhance these qualities, which become the lifeblood of the future leader.
Leadership qualities are a mix of inherent characteristics as well as qualities that can be learnt and developed over a period of time. Neuro-linguistic Programming provides quick and effective ways to develop these qualities for personal and business purposes, where other approaches might take a much longer time.
The Basic Leadership Skills
Neuro-linguistic courses help us reach our unconscious levels to manage the process of growth and development. Technical professionals of today no longer have fixed roles. In addition to contributing technically to a project, they are involved in a lot more activities as well. For example, programmers can be involved in mentoring a batch of fresh engineers, or organizing group meetings and presentations. They might be developing a schedule for the project, or involved in project strategy formation. Programmers of today interact with clients and handle disaster recovery plans. The roles of technical professionals is varied and changes over time.
As per Neuro-linguistic training, the basic leadership skill is to set a compelling outcome. The goal should be set not only for oneself but for the team as well, and he should strive to achieve the outcome consistently and within the set time limit. Each goal should be set and achieved at fixed intervals, and should provide a clear indicator of success. Using the Neuro-linguistic Programming concept of a well-formed outcome, a leader should be able to measure, assess, observe and change goals as per the day-to-day situation. For example, a successful leader knows the importance of setting goals for himself as well as for his team, ensuring that all resources are available in order to meet the goals within the specified deadlines.
As per Neuro-linguistic courses, a true leader has the ability to work with people from different cultures. In present times, the world has shrunk, and people from any part of the world are a phone call, email or video conference away. Modern day programmers work with client side programmers at the other end of the world. They can work with outsourcing companies of a different culture. In fact, their teams can contain members of multi ethnic backgrounds. Learning to interact and adjust to different cultures is the key quality of today’s leaders. Neuro-linguistic Programming teaches how to understand the internal map of others by recognizing the patterns in the language and behavior. This can help the programmers to understand the logic and emotions behind a particular action. For example, a team member of a different culture might have certain beliefs and values that determine his style of work. By understanding the underlying values, other members can learn to accept and adjust to the style of all members, modifying their own style and behavior in the process.
According to Neuro-linguistic Programming, a leader accepts others for what they are. A leader understands that people make the best choices as per the information available to them. By observing and respecting the uniqueness of each person, a leader can choose his own behavior. The Neuro-linguistic Programming techniques can increase his flexibility and scope of choices, by eliminating unnecessary misjudgments, presumptions and misunderstandings.
Another important aspect stressed by Neuro-linguistic courses is the ability to build strong rapport. Neuro-linguistic training offers several techniques to build rapport with other members using matching and mirroring. A leader realizes the importance of building rapport with his team, clients and people of different cultures across the globe. When a rapport is established, an effective communication can take place between two parties that is devoid of misunderstandings. Rapport creates an open, honest, frank and fair communication, which can break the initial awkwardness and make the parties feel comfortable and relaxed. Only then can true conversation take place, making profitable deals and bringing success to the business.
Neuro-linguistic training teaches the importance of objective analysis. Successful leaders analyze situations from an objective point of view. They are able to look at a situation ‘as is’, without bringing the burden of preconceived notions and opinions to the table. A leader is able to skillfully dissociate himself from the problem at hand. Neuro-linguistic courses explain how to look at a situation, issue, experience or conversation from different perspectives. This can be used by technical programmers to learn to stand back from a problem and look at the connections of the system as a whole. A leader is able to look at the bigger picture. Neuro-linguistic training teaches how to observe the situation from a system point of view, where a person becomes the observer or the third person. Leaders are able to observe themselves and others by dissociating themselves from all emotions of the situation. By doing this, the leaders can objectively see the impact any person has on the system as a whole. By developing this Neuro-linguistic skill, it is possible to effectively handle traumatic events, give and receive constructive feedback and negotiate win-win outcomes. Leaders with this Neuro-linguistic quality can find the connection between apparently unconnected matters, and help them view and solve issues using more creative and innovative solutions.
Another important Neuro-linguistic technique used by leaders is the ability of reframing. The reframing technique, provided in Neuro-linguistic training, helps them look at any situation with a whole new perspective and in turn brings a whole new meaning to life. Leaders can see benefit where others see conflict. Leaders can visualize an opportunity where others see a dead end. Leaders choose a meaning of a situation that works for them by modifying the internal representation of any situation. For example, a company was undergoing a crisis situation, with increasing losses. The managers were frustrates and unable to retain employees. The company future seemed grim. A leader, with Neuro-linguistic abilities, joined the company by reframing the situation as an opportunity to bring success. Using this new outlook, the leader was able to identify the processes that were at flaw, and then rectify them. By visualizing the opportunity and the desired outcome, the leader was able to turn around the company into a profitable, successful business.
The Values of a Leader
A leader has a strong set of values that guide him in all decisions that he makes. Neuro-linguistic courses provide a powerful set of presuppositions that can act as a driving force for a leader. A leader believes that there exists a solution to every problem. He accepts that people act the best way they can according to the situation at hand and resources available. The set of values a leader believes in are:
1) Commitment: A leader will not make false promises, or give high hopes. If he says he will perform a certain action, he will put in genuine efforts to accomplish the task and achieve the set goals.
2) Acceptance: A leader accepts that every person thinks and acts differently as per their Neuro-linguistic interpretations. Each person is unique and a leader respects this uniqueness.
3) Professionalism: A leader understands what is expected out of him and his team, and works towards achieving that expectation. The leader always acts in the best possible way he can, anything less than his best effort is unacceptable.
4) Trust: Trust is the implied commitment in a working relationship. A leader trusts the capabilities of his team, and can give them the freedom to achieve tasks on their own. If the trust is broken, it is difficult to maintain the relationship and achieve success as a team.
5) Customer focus: Leaders understand and anticipate the needs of the customer. Leaders make it visible to the team members how their role is important for the whole system to function and guarantee customer satisfaction.
6) Profitability: Leaders look at profit as a measure of success. Profits are important for a business to sustain in the present and the future. Profitability is important for the business to succeed in the future.
Leaders are able to take ownership of their own actions and take control of their own development. Leaders have control on their feelings and emotions, and can alter their behavior to suit the environment. Leaders have ethical beliefs and values, and abide by them for all situations. By developing Neuro-linguistic skills, technical programmers and software developers can hone their leadership skills. Leadership skills are required in all walks of life, for personal or professional lives. In order to grow professionally, technical professionals need to understand the mindset of other members and look at any issues from a different perspective. By developing leadership skills, technical professionals can achieve success and excellence in their field of choice.