Manish Bundhun is a Business Leader, Coach, Facilitator, Author, amongst others, who recently published “Shots of Insights: 101 Inspirations to Live, Learn and Lead Better” a book about living, learning and leadership. He talks to Investor’s Mag about what defines a leader, especially in a fast-moving world, where Covid-19 disruptions and climate change are of growing concern.
What is your book “Shots of Insights: 101 Inspirations to Live, Learn and Lead Better” all about?
As human beings, we live life in shots, as much as we learn in shots. Shots are short bursts of experiences, ideas and lessons that defy us, define us, and develop us.
Shots of Insights explores and advocates living, learning, and leading better through shots. Part inspirational manifesto, part experiential lessons, the book shares simple tips, tools, and techniques to grow, perform and thrive in one’s life (www.shotsofinsights.com).
Packed with 101 shots of ideas, inspirations, and illustrations, Shots of Insights distills and delivers impactful personal lessons on how to enhance the quality of our life. My aim is to share: simple and easy-to-remember ideas, short and bite-sized lessons to apply, sensible practices to improve your life and strategies to become a better leader.
Why did you decide to write this book?
Renowned author and speaker Wayne Dyer shared that everyone has a music inside of them, which is meant to be shared to the world. Likewise, writing this book is a way for me to share my music. I have always liked to write. It allows me to structure my thoughts and express myself clearly. I also chose to write this book to share the lessons I have learnt, my insights and the experiences I have acquired over time. I am grateful for what I have learned, achieved, and acquired in my life, and I hope that what I have learned can benefit people. For me, it is a way to give back to society while living my purpose – to ignite the spark of growth and transformation in people.
You say that you are a corporate monk on your Linkedin profile. What is it like to be a corporate monk?
For me, being a ‘corporate monk’ means being a professional who is grounded (calm, centered and mindful), practices gratitude (and cultivates a positive mindset), focuses on growth (keen and agile learner) and is a giving person (generous and kind to others). It is about the being before the doing. This means as a human being, nurturing these resourceful qualities which allow us to be at our best before taking meaningful actions.
John Kotter, a New York Times bestselling author and retired Harvard Business School professor, explained that “what leaders really do is prepare organisations for change and help them cope as they struggle through it”. Is this a good definition of what leadership is?
This is certainly one dimension of leadership. In my view, leadership is simply the art of influence. To lead is to influence. And this can take multiple forms. We influence ourselves first (Self-leadership), we influence change (Change leadership), we influence thoughts, ideas, and perspectives (Thought leadership), we influence by serving (Service leadership), we influence teams towards outcomes (Team leadership). In essence, leaders influence themselves and others to create a positive impact around them.
Can you compare Mauritian leaders with European and American ones?
In my view, the point is not to compare as comparison breeds criticism, complaints and controversy. The point is to highlight what we can learn from each of them. Each has a different context to manage, a different cultural landscape to navigate and a different value system that drives them. Each has a set of attributes that we can learn from, be it the European, American, or Asian leader. The key is to identify the strengths of each style, adopt and adapt it to our context.
For example, the Asian leader is more focused on leading his team like a family, the European leader is more competency-driven, while the American leader is more entrepreneurial and agile to change. I believe the Mauritian leader can learn from all three and apply these strong attributes to fit our unique context.
In essence, leaders influence themselves and others to create a positive impact around themManish Bundhun | Business Leader | Coach | Facilitator | Author
Mauritius being an island with specificities that cannot be found anywhere else, what are the qualities needed for a leader to succeed in the country?
Mauritius is a cultural melting pot at the crossroads of Africa, Asia and Europe. It certainly harbors an exciting environment for a leader to achieve, grow and thrive. To succeed as a leader in our country, I believe one has to be Aware, Agile and Action focused. By Aware, I mean possessing high self-awareness as well as awareness of the environment, the evolving situation, and the people around us. By Agile, I mean being able to anticipate changes proactively and adapt swiftly to outperform the context. By Action-focused, I mean focusing one’s energy on what matters and taking meaningful action to make things happen.
The age of the alpha might be over as more and more people are talking a lot more about collaborative styles of leadership. Could you talk about that?
Indeed, the Alpha leadership style refers more to the autocratic leader, who used to command and control people around. This was relevant in older times. But today’s world is driven by the information economy and is shaped by technological disruptions, climate change and a more educated workforce. This requires a more collaborative, knowledge-focused and heart-centered approach to leading people. One, where people feel the leader is authentic, empathetic and leads by example.
Hence, we are increasingly witnessing a shift from Alpha to Omega Leaders. Omega Leaders are service-oriented, collaborative, and relationship-focused people who grow team members as well as pursue the goal of creating positive impact and value for others.
As we look ahead to the next decade of global recovery after Covid, what kind of leaders does the world need now?
First, we must accept that Covid is going to be around for quite some time. I believe that we will see a shift from Covid being a pandemic to being an endemic disease. This means we will have to remain vigilant, agile, and resilient at the same time as the situation keeps evolving. To this end, the world will require leaders who are resilient and, at the same time, agile and flexible.
In addition, climate change is the main debate which we should focus on for future generations. Embedding sustainable practices and inclusive development in everything we do is the way forward. This will require leaders who care about the planet, have a strong focus on sustainability and are ready to accelerate the transition to green energy and ecological practices.
Finally, with the increasing rate of technological disruption and digital transformation, the world will need leaders with a wider range of capabilities and experience. This means a shift from being an I-shaped to T-shaped leader. The I-shaped model is where one is specialised in a field with a depth of expertise. The T-shaped model requires us to have a broader range of competencies as well as depth of expertise in a few areas. For example, you can be a finance professional with an exposure to other areas such as web design or big data.
In my view, the leader of the future shall be agile, sustainable and trans-disciplinary.