All entries for February 2014
February 21, 2014
Of economy of actions
Of knowing when to step back
Can we develop a process for leadership?
Yesterday's discussion led me to reflect on whether it would be possible to actually formulate a process for assuming leadership that could encapsulate most of our reflections in class over the past two weeks. This does make assumptions of the nature of the task and of its relative simplicity and/or complexity however. However, I believe the idea itself can be developed with discussion among people. Comments and thoughts welcomed.
understanding the task
the group can be utilised to augment learning of the task
developing a vision
understanding the team
delegation of tasks
monitoring or reviewing progress
actively engaging team members
updating goals and vision in tune with progress
*Depends on the situation. For long term projects, team building exercises can be crucial in my opinion and should be practiced. A camaraderie or a chemistry and trust between team members could be crucial to a successful outcome in the long run.
February 20, 2014
I know this is off topic, just sharing an interesting thought with everyone. To add to this picture, $19b is more than the GDP of almost 90 countries.
Having your head in the future
The discussion today, added on to a discussion that happened last week, has emphasised on the importance of having a vision for the future. On a personal note, this is something I have never set much stock by, preferring generally to work towards achievable short-term goals. However, the importance of setting a target for the future, even if it is difficult to reach, has dawned on me.
The difference seems to be the very fact that having a view for the future motivates the people involved to move on from simply fulfilling short-term goals and push further for more. Now, equally important is the need to break the long term goal into short-term deliverables as well, in the absence of which there is the likelihood that people might be daunted by the long-term goals and fail to achieve anything. The role of a leader therefore is not restricted to just having a vision for the future but also in breaking it down into short term achievable goals that the team can work towards. However, he/she must also ensure that the team keeps sight of the bigger picture for the future. Tough ask, isn't it?
February 18, 2014
Ensuring an even footing
I have been off the blog for a while now because of other commitments, so apologies in advance if some of these views are rather dated.
The topic I would like to expand in this post is of a democratic style of leadership. It was pointed out to us in a reflective session last week that people respond to feeling valued. If their opinions are valued and if they get valid feedback on them, even if the ideas themselves are not implemented, everyone will contribute to their best abilities.
This probably has to do with a feeling of self-esteem which being able to contribute brings to the team members. I also have the idea in my head that this is possibly an effective way of managing discordant team members as well - give them space to express themselves in a way that is best for the team. So it is all making maximum use of the energy that makes every person function.
Thoughts and comments invited.
February 12, 2014
Will leadership emerge in our classroom exercises?
So day 2 of the Leadership and Excellence module is now over. We have had 3 occasions to work in groups, two of which had a leader who was selected beforehand. However, I feel that we should ask ourselves this question. Do we need to, given the nature of the team-exercises we are doing?
Let me explain further. The exercises we have done till now have had several things in common: (1) the time-frame; they have all been short exercises, the longest being almost an hour long. (2) they are all "safe" exercises as Paul pointed out in the first session as they are being conducted in a classroom environment (3) most of the teams do not know the capabilities of everyone in the teams.
In this context, how limited is selecting a leader? Does he/she make a huge difference to the performance of the team? How much value can he/she add? My take is that, even if left alone a team faced with such a short time-frame will have some person(s) emerging as a leader just to coordinate the efforts of team. To ensure that everyone's contributions are being taken into account and to ensure the team is progressing towards achieving their objectives. I say so because in all the exercises till now, the leader has been a rather nominal figure. Now I am not taking anything away from the people who led, but according to me, the team would have performed at a similar level even without a leader. The only difference that I can imagine right now is the few minutes at the start where a leader, if present, would divide work among the team quickly and efficiently. A leaderless team might consume more time over this initial allocation of duties.
Thoughts and comments invited.
How important is empathy to being an effective leader?
So this is my first warwick blog post. Hope this sets at least some of you thinking. So today's exercise (as a part of the Leadership & Excellence module in WMG) had us all trying to define what leadership is. To me, this was an opportunity to look into myself and examine what the term really means to me and then to reconcile my view with those of my team-members'. I hit upon (do forgive the expression) something interesting while doing this.
The question of empathy and how it is important to a leader. The definitions we were looking at concerned leadership that set and achieved goals, that garnered support and inspired performance over and above simple compliance from a group. That motivated a group to reach their goals and monitored their progress. None of the definitions explained how this might be done. By being an effective leader? Well, who is an effective leader?
Well I have some questions to pose. Is an effective leader emphatetic? Is it not important to understand those who are being led? To understand what each team-member is capable of and to unearth capabilities within them that might be latent/dormant. Does an effective leader empower one being led to find what they truly love, to develop themselves while contributing to the goals and aims of the team all this while? According to me, the answer is yes. I also believe that self-development can become a powerful incentive to the people in the team. Who wouldn't love to work for (with?) someone who will help you improve yourself?
That is all i have to share for now. I invite any comments and/or feedback.