Leading and Motivating People
“You cannot grow professionally if you don’t grow personally”, said Pranayna KC, Head of marketing at Daraz. On April 11, 2022 "Leading and Motivating People" was a session taken by Hivelaya, Nepal's first 360-degree digital skills marketplace where students were familiarized with the idea of what being a leader means and how to be the best one.
The session began where students were asked to separate themselves into groups according to their personality types; introverts, extroverts and ambiverts. Then the groups were shuffled and final 3 groups of 6 students were made where each group was asked to come up with a team name. Excited yet nervous, all the students instantly started to engage as it was announced that the winning team would win a daraz gift card. The three groups were Sunshine, Brave and Bypass.
It was interesting to see that Brave and Bypass selected introverts as their leader while Sunshine selected an extrovert. Then Pranayna went on to explain how we stereotype introverts as ones who’d rather be led or ones who are quieter. She went on to give examples of top leaders like Google CEO, Sundar Pichai and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla motors and said both of them are introverts. “Being a certain personality type does not limit you or your capabilities”, she said.
To be empathetic, you have to be understanding and to be understanding, you have to ask questions. Empathy, to understand another by trying to see things from their point of view. She highlighted the problem with how we perceive empathy with an example. In a scenario where there is a rich person looking at a beggar and thinking why the beggar instead of begging can’t simply find a job, here we can see that the rich person is thinking what he would do if he were in the beggar's shoes. This does not consider the beggar's situation mentally, emotionally or physically as the rich person isn’t aware about the problems the beggar is facing. A leader must be empathetic, someone who tries to understand others point of view and not someone who thinks what they would do if they were in the same situation.
Likability was another idea Pranayna brought up. She explained how there are two versions of likability, one verson where we follow the idea of “us/we” and care about people and not what people may think of us. On the contrary, the second version where we try too hard to please others to ensure a positive image of ourselves in their eyes. Here, she says that Version 1 of likability is the one we should be professionally because that is what will gain us respect, loyalty and success.
Talking about random moments of inspiration, Pranyna shared, “I was in Mumbai during the Covid-19 lockdown and I had stayed isolated for 7 months in my apartment until I came back to Nepal and met people again. During this time it randomly hit me that people like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama breathe the same air as I do! I was so happy and excited, I felt invincible like I could do anything”. She went on to say, all the famous successful people we know use the same platform as we do like instagram, facebook, twitter. When we focus too much on what makes them different from us, we forget to see what makes them similar to us. If we don’t dream big then we won’t think about how to make it big and so we will never. Dreams are a start.
To be an effective leader, one needs to be a problem solver and not be the one who just points out the problem. In Nepal, Pranayama mentions how people often don’t respect boundaries. Being friends and colleagues or being friendly does not mean you let others walk all over you. The idea of professionalism as she points out is if you and your colleagues/bosses go for a night out, have fun then you should not take that friendship as an excuse for slacking at work. Even if you are bestfriends with the CEO of a company, at work you come in on time, you submit your work on time and be the best colleague first. “Leaders lead by examples, remember that”, she said.
Happiness is what we should strive for. Pranayama shared the idea of “BHAG”, a selfmade acronym which stands for Bald Hairy Audacious Goal. She asked us to imagine a beach in Australia and think of a bald, extremely overweight and abnormally hairy guy walking on the beach wearing nothing but a super tight red speedo. She asked us to imagine him with a big smile, a smile that is so bright and happy. This is what she says happiness should be, not worrying about what others think but doing what makes you happy and pulling it off with confidence. The idea of ‘self love’ before doing things to make others happy; to love yourself first because you can’t give something that you don’t have.