“Soft leadership can be defined as the process of setting goals; influencing people through persuasion; building strong teams; negotiating them with a win-win attitude; respecting their failures; handholding them; motivating them constantly; aligning their energies and efforts; recognizing and appreciating their contribution in accomplishing organizational goals and objectives with an emphasis on soft skills. It is based on the right mindset, skillset, and toolset.” ―Professor M.S. Rao
The title of this article appears impossible right! Abraham Lincoln is my inspiration since my childhood. It is a coincidence that I also encountered several failures in my life since childhood. Additionally, I have been struggling since my childhood for my survival and success. I am optimistic that one day will be my day when I will be remembered for my contributions globally. When I was reading a book recently, I came across Lincoln’s quote of destroying enemies. To experiment, I phoned one of my friends who became an enemy for the last 5 years. We stopped our communication due to some reasons. Initially, he did not reciprocate my telephone calls. I phoned him many times to talk to him. Finally, he responded to my telephone call and we communicated. I reminded him of our childhood where we studied and traveled life journeys together for more than four decades. He was slightly moved by our childhood memories and opened up gradually. I dedicated one of my 50 books but I have not informed him about it. I wanted to gift the book to him at an appropriate time.
Tools to Convert Your Enemies into Friends
“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?” ―Abraham Lincoln
Be simple and humble. Create common ground. Outline the shared interests. Step into their shoes to empathize with them. If there is any miscommunication, talk straight to clear it. Identify if anybody was involved in the miscommunication. Clear everything when you want to build the bridges. To maintain healthy relations, always verify the facts before jumping to conclusions. If you feel that you have made a mistake, apologize sincerely. We, humans, are emotional animals and get carried away by emotions rather than logic. So, check your emotions, think logically about where things went wrong to reconnect with your enemies. Remember that emotions can be used for positive and negative things. Here are some tools to convert your enemies into friends. Don’t talk about the unpleasant past. Emphasize recalling positive aspects of life. Remind the past highlighting the sweet memories. The best way to visit the past is to talk to your friends from the past about your past pleasant life. Be a giver. Don’t expect anything from your friends. Enquire about the well-being of their parents and the present challenges. Remind how life has transformed quickly. Bond with them. Talk about the rapid changes in society and the value system that has changed. Remind how technology connected people despite living in far distant places. Emphasize commonalities, ignore differences. Express your gratitude. Be thankful for the great things done to you. Look at the door that is opened, not the closed one.
Understand the fact that all your enemies don’t treat you as your enemy. Some people respect enemies for their strategies and capabilities. In my personal life, I respect some of my competitors and enemies for their attitudes and approaches. So, initiate conversation, see the positive aspects, and show the light in them and lead from the front.
Adopt Soft Leadership
Adopt soft leadership to turn your enemies into friends. Soft leadership is leading through soft skills and people skills. It blends soft skills, hard skills, and leadership. It helps in managing the emotions, egos, and feelings of the people successfully. It focuses on the personality, attitude, and behavior of the people, and calls for making others feel more important. It is an integrative, participative, relationship, and behavioral leadership model adopting tools such as persuasion, negotiation, recognition, appreciation, motivation, and collaboration to accomplish the tasks effectively. Succinctly, soft leadership is an innovative leadership style that can be defined as the process of setting goals; influencing people through persuasion; building strong teams; negotiating them with a win-win attitude; respecting their failures; handholding them; motivating them constantly; aligning their energies and efforts; recognizing and appreciating their contribution in accomplishing organizational goals and objectives with an emphasis on soft skills. It is based on the right mindset, skillset, and toolset.
Leadership depends on three aspects—how you communicate with others; how you make decisions; and how you take action. When you can execute these three activities effectively you become a successful leader. However, to excel as a soft leader, you must communicate with an emphasis on soft skills; make decisions by blending your head, heart, gut, and intuition; and take action keeping the ground realities and goals in your view without compromising task-orientation. There are 11 Cs that constitute soft leadership—character, charisma, conscience, conviction, courage, communication, compassion, commitment, consistency, consideration, and contribution.
Remember that the past cannot be brought back and the future cannot be predicted. So, learn to live in the present. Enjoy the journey of your life. Life is short. Therefore, make it sweet. Nobody knows what happens next. Life is a gift from God. You can never travel the same path twice at the same time. So, convert your enemies into friends by forgetting the unpleasant past and forgiving their mistakes to avoid any regrets on your deathbed. Hence, adopt soft leadership to convert your enemies into friends. Remember that we all make mistakes in life. To conclude, make your life great by converting your enemies into friends.
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