In today’s world of cut throat competition among Management Graduates, it is extremely crucial for one to stand out to be noticed. It is not only about the outstanding grades, it is also about the personality of an individual that decides his fate in the corporate world. It is about an understanding and entry into this world of personality. The focus should be on three major aspects of developing a personality that stands out from the crowd – Looks, Actions and Words (LAW). Efforts should be made in enhancing the looks of an individual in terms of Presentability and Basic Grooming along with Dressing Etiquette for different occasions. Body Language, Behavior and Mannerisms make up for 93% of an effective personality and hence a lot of importance should be given on our Actions (Body Language, Para Language, Behaviors, Mannerisms and Kinesics). A Strong focus on developing knowledge is an equally important requirement. There are lots of benefit for having a well-rounded Personality from an Individual as well as an Institute’s perspective and hence it becomes all the more important to focus on building good all-round personalities.
As the age old adage goes ‘First impression is the last impression’, the way you look, talk and feel makes a difference. Keeping this context in mind,Grooming and Etiquettes form a very important role in any Personality Development Program. Institutes have the responsibility of training their students on various aspects of grooming. Students hail from a varied background. While they may be adept with the nuances of their regional and cultural etiquettes, they may or may not be familiar with the universally or internationally accepted norms in behavior and etiquettes. An intelligent and capable student should not feel like a social misfit when such situations arise.
Grooming includes the clothes they wear, Personal Hygiene, conduct and the way they present themselves. Etiquette involves Social and Dining manners at various types of formal occasions. Considering the trend in placements, some institutes have included Corporate / Social Etiquette as part of their course. A student now is taught how to dress up, learn the appropriate grooming techniques, enhance Non-Verbal Communication, Dining and Table manners, Presentation Skills, Interview Techniques, and develop Leadership and Inter-personnel Skills. All this equips every single student with the requisite universally accepted Life Skills irrespective of their individual background.
A well-groomed individual with the ability to express effectively as well as the ability to demonstrate the right set of behaviors and mannerisms with the right blend of Knowledge, Skills and Attitude is the toast of the Corporate World and thus it becomes all the more important to inculcate an effective Personality Trait among the students, who will be the future torch bearers of the Corporate world.
This quote by Buddha is extremely relevant in today’s context of the competitive world, where work profile includes a sedentary lifestyle and lots of mental and physical stress. This sums up the need to include Lifestyle / Wellness components in the overall personality development of the student community who will soon be entering the workspace.
In most of the workplace related surveys conducted, stress has been rated as the topmost reasons for health concerns along with sedentary lifestyle related diseases. Some of the common source for stress being ineffective work-life balance, rise in job insecurity, work related pressure, cut – throat competition, unhealthy competition at workplace etc. Corporates have been deeply concerned by these problems and realises the negative impact it has in the long run. Most of the reputed companies have instituted their own wellness programs which mutually benefit the organizations as well as the employees. Keeping these requirements in mind some educational institutions have incorporated wellness and lifestyle in their curriculum. This is more relevant to Management and Business Schools,the majority source of recruitment for the organisations.
Focus is to be led on developing a good physical structure and a healthy lifestyle by enhancing the levels of endurance, strength and flexibility among the students. It is importance to spread awareness about the lifestyle related diseases as well as the consequences of bad habits like smoking, alcoholism, etc. Addictions of these kinds are always detrimental to the overall Personality Development and hence it is crucial for the students to be aware of the same as well. It is also important to expose the students to different kinds of physical activities, each focusing on a particular aspect of a healthy lifestyle.
If we can recollect, Ancient India had a vibrant Gurukul system which imparted holistic education to the children who were entrusted under the care of the Gurus by the family at a very early age. A healthy body, mind and soul lead to the making of an ideal citizen of the world. Meditation has been India’s gift to the world along with Yoga. Institutes have to keep this in mind when developing wellness programs. Our traditional martial arts like Kalarippayattu can be a great combo of exercise as well as defense techniques.Keeping in mind the increasing instances of attacks on girls and women, some form of self-defense techniques or martial art (contemporary or traditional) could also be introduced instead of exercises. This will add more value to the wellness programs.
The world around us is changing at a rapid pace and coping up with this is getting strenuous. Even the dynamics of the family unit, societal norms have undergone a drastic change. Today we see urbanization and migration to cities is on a constant rise. This in turn is diminishing the well-structured village or rural set up of yesteryears. In such a scenario the Educational Institutions are chipping in with a plethora of programs meant to help the students to cope up with the problems.
In many American Institutes, the focus is on holistic development along with the academic rigours.Physical fitness, Life Skills, Psychological Counselling, De-addiction therapy are all part of the Personality Development Programme. Some of the Indian Institutions are also adding such programs in addition to the academic syllabus but the main emphasis is only on Physical Fitness and Life Skills. Counselling and De-addiction should also be integrated into this program to make it more effective. Imparting coping skills is also very important as students are grappling with issues ranging from problems in the family,finance,peer pressure,pressure to perform,societal expectations, discriminations, prejudices and various forms of barriers. Having counselling centres will to a large extent address a lot of these issues along with reducing suicidal and juvenile tendencies.
Another phenomenon seen today is that the student profile in the Institutions offering higher education is demographically diverse. A large percentage of the students leave their hometowns and join institutes in other cities or places. The institutes can arrange for top class hostel facilities to keep these students under one roof, thus making it easier for implementation of Personality Development Programs.
While the body is groomed and the mind is sharpened, we would be producing machines if the soul is not nourished. It is here that the society is failing. The youth have no great role models to look up to. What they see around is money and power doing the talking. Winning by hook or crook seems to be the order of the day. Lack of empathy towards fellow beings, manipulation and going after the desired end results irrespective of the means is what the youth are learning.
Fortunately the world by and large has woken upto the nightmare of having individuals lacking in social responsibility and understanding of the surrounding. Keeping this in mind institutes have also taken on the onus of making socially responsible and continuously employable students, a student who has the ability to add value to the society at any given point of time. Setting up of NSS,tying up with NGO’s and incorporating social work as part of the curriculum is an attempt in socially integrating the youth of this digital age.Many institutions have nature clubs and environment friendly programs to make students take ownership of their environment and improve their civic sense. Institutions take up various Social Work and / or projects to sensitize the students towards the cause.
A well – rounded personality will benefit a student in numerous ways. Firstly, it is going to help each student to have an edge over the others during the placement season. Corporates look for a good personality, who they can recruit in their organization as the future leader and hence having a good, well – rounded Personality is definitely going to assist the students in getting placed. Secondly, it will also help the students to develop a feel-good factor about themselves which will result in an increase in their level of self-confidence and also it will boost their belief in themselves. Thirdly, it will also benefit the students by helping them to create a positive impression in their social as well as professional circles.
Well – rounded and attractive personalities will also benefit the Institution as well. Students are after all the real brand ambassadors of an Institution and also its finished products. Firstly, the image and goodwill of the Institution among the stakeholders will increase as students with good personalities will help to create a lasting impression. Secondly, it will help the organization to be a repetitive choice for the Corporates during various placement seasons. The impression created by the students will make them come back to recruit students year after year. Thirdly, it will assist the institution to improve upon their global as well as domestic rankings since it will affect some of the parameters in a very positive manner.
Institutes should aim to develop a curriculum that not only enriches the knowledge but it should also focus on developing well – rounded personalities by designing programs which focus on both aspects of Personality – Life Skills and Lifestyle. It will not only produce great students but also will give the Institute a definite competitive edge in this era of cut throat competition.
It is crucial that all the Educational Institutes should provide a cohesive package of academics, co-curricular, extra-curricular and overall Personality Development Programs as part of their curriculum. This is the need of the hour and institutes lacking in this will soon be out of reckoning.
The article has been co-authored by Col. Vijay Bakshi, Associate Professor and HOD, Prof. Binita Vartak, Associate Professor ,PEP, Prof. Rajarshi Chakraborty, Assistant Professor PEP, Prof. Bovina Sunath, Assistant Professor PEP of IFIM Business School.