All entries for January 2010

January 21, 2010

Leadership vs. Positional power

From my own experience I know it is really not easy to make people follow you without positional power. I used to be a leader of student organization in university, when people work not for money, no one pays them, but they work on their pure enthusiasm and it is task and really challenge for leader to maintain this enthusiasm and make people work and follow you. You need a set of different skills and one of the important skills, in my opinion and my experience, for the leader is ability to speak, and by doing so influence and inspire people.

Now after having know more about leadership I think if I was in that situation again I could have change my leadership st I would have change this and that, but I will be never again in that particular situation and if I will be in leader position again in some company in the future I need to make sure that I learned from mistakes I have made and use the knowledge I gained from LE and in particular lead not relying on positional power, but the power of leadership.

Coffee time

The important skill which leader should have is ability to be assertive, because sometimes teams could have an influence on the leader and the task of the leader not to bend under the opinion of majority, which could be direct opposite of the opinion of leader. Leader should be a good listener, carefully and with respect take into account all opinions, however if leader strongly believe that is not what he wants, he has to be confident in his opinion and convincing. He needs to show employees why he thinks its right and by doing so influence and make people think in the way he wants. It’s something which deals with the power, but not positional power, a power of influencing and shaping thoughts of other people.



The important thing I learned from coaching session is that leader should not give direct answers to his employees, giving direct answers means that employee become dependent on his leader or manager, it could lead to situation where employees could not solve the problems themselves and come to ask their leader to provide answers. If leaders want their team members be more independent in problem solving leaders need to guide their employees towards right answers rather than give immediate responses to problems. Leader need to lead towards right answers at the same time do it in a way employees feel that they themselves find answer to their problem, when they feel that they find it themselves they will be more willing to cope with this problem. Often psychologists use this method to help their patients and it is true that leader should be indeed a psychologist, should know the people, their thinking, and their feelings. I think it is very important learning point regarding leadership at work as well as daily life. Sometimes when friends ask help to solve different problems, we try to give them advises and our experience, (we should never give employees answers from our own experience, its their problem, not ours), instead we should try to show them a way to find answer, make them think about their problems. It’s really important skill for a leader to be a coach and as Paul said we need to practice it on our peers; parents and I definitely want to learn and develop this skill.

Salvage the Black Swan exercise

What I learned from today’s exercise is that leader and team are interdependent. Leader needs team. In order to achieve goals leader use the skills and expertise, energy of the members and this synergy of different skills and abilities joined with leadership could produce significant results. At the same time team needs leader, who effectively could organize and direct the team in a right way. The role of leader is to think and see things strategically, that is to say able to see things in a big picture, be attentive to important things and details, which team members likely to miss, keep team focused, not allow them to sway in different directions. Leader should not be necessarily clever than his employees, he need to be able to assess skills of team members and use them in right way.

January 18, 2010

Leadership :–(

There are so many things I learned and discovered about leadership, about myself and teamwork during this module. A lot of information and ideas coming and my brain could hardly cope and digest and structure all of them, it requires time and understanding and assessment against myself. I do not know but as more I learn about leadership the more I become aware that it is really not so easy to be an effective leader and by trying to assess myself against those things I learned I am confusing could I really be a leader? Could I really to devote myself and keep an eye on all of these things, which so important to leadership…..

           The thing I consider in leadership as one of the most important is coping with that balance between task and people. As far as task is concerned it is fine, I am really a task oriented person. But when it comes to people… its really hard to me, I always try to care about, but in the actual process I could forget about people and just listen to myself. Leadership as I understand is more about relationships between people and leader.

           One of the problems I encountered in teamwork of mini-projects that when we actually gather often I am a person who take imitative and say “ok guys lets start o lets try this”. Because sometimes people hardly could make a start or just do not know where to start I just try to push them and do things in fast and efficient way. But some people in our group as I feel think that I imposing my views and opinions on them. In that situations I want to be just quiet follower, “living dead precisely”. I do not want to be a leader in teamwork, I am not presenting and pushing myself as a leader but I do not want at same time spend too much time on things that could be done in more efficient way. The second issue that there are strong personalities in our group and it some times hard to understand each other. A am sorry guys if I made something wrong I am just used to be disciplined and focused in everything I do and often it is my great weakness.

January 15, 2010

Leaders are people who work with the nature not against it

What I have learned so far from LE module is that leader is a person, not necessarily manager who influence thoughts (I think primarily thoughts and then behavior changes itself) of other people and who make them follow towards the purpose people and overall organization could benefit from. Leader is a person who respects followers, who hold them in their arms and inspire them to follow alongside him; it is the person, who lead the change not manage it. Leader is person who understands people and their motives and makes them to be pride in their job and have a joy at work. How could I be leader, what qualities I already have to be an effective leader and what qualities and skills I lack? How I make people follow me and trust me? First of all I need to understand that people regardless their education have big natural potential and each person want to be respected and to have pride in himself. How can I ensure that with a help of the work people doing they will develop and open their abilities? When such opportunity will be open to them they will be more willing to contribute and work better. It is interesting that how we sometimes act against the nature. Managers want better results and performance; buy best resources and equipment without paying attention that big potential is in people, in their minds, in their abilities, not in best technologies. They force people to do their job and not to interfere with other activities not related to them. But people are by nature have a desire to be involved, to be important, to be heard. People want to develop it a natural desire. When people work for 20, 10, or even 2 years without any development, personal as well as professional they become bored and indifferent and do not like Sundays, because they now that the Sunday is day before Monday, when five day in the dark will start.

January 14, 2010

I do not agree with L = (L, gm,s)

I am a little bit confused of my thoughts in my first blog entry of LE and what Paul’s said yesterday about leadership function. As I wrote earlier I thought that leadership is not dependent on situation, that leadership should be applicable to all situations. I am still not believe that leadership is linked to situation, despite that Paul said that it just my assumption. But in my opinion, if a person has leadership skills he wants to take a lead in every situation. If this function of leadership L = (L, gm, s) is right, then it is saying to us that for example, CEO of the company and leader as well could not be effective in every situation and we should not expect him to be leader in every situation, he could not be effective in another organization with different group members and in other environment. This function telling to me that leadership skills are not transferable, that they stick to a particular situationI do not believe that. When companies recruit people they search for leadership skills which are transferable, don’t they?

January 12, 2010

Leadership vs. Management

Which I definitely understood from the exercise we were involved yesterday that leadership are not linked with situation, that is to say truly leader is a person who regardless the situation, emergency or daily life could bring people together, inspire and make them follow. I always have question in my mind when it comes to leadership theme. You could be effective manager, but at the same time ineffective leader. Leader vs. Manager. If leadership qualities could be transferable, manager qualities are not necessarily? For example, you are educated to be a business or manufacturing manager, could you be effective hospital manager or manager in specialized industry, where you do not have even an idea how it works. In this case comes leadership. If you are a leader and manager you could adapt, could contribute and change, but if you are manager, with weak leadership skills I doubt if someone could make significant contribution or change something. I think you could be educated to be a manager but you could not to be educated to be a leader. Leadership, in my opinion is something in nature of person, you could read numerous of books on leadership, but if you do not feel inside of you that something drive you forward, something force you not to agree with current situation or current circumstances, regardless the fact that you well educated and you no in theory know how to be a leader, it is not the case that you could be a leader in real life. So the conclusion is that leadership could survive regardless any situation and management is not always. That is just my way of thinking and I could be wrong and I will try to find answer during LE module.

January 10, 2010

Developing from shop–floor to strategic level

Interesting thing in both lean and six sigma that they have many things in common and most obvious are their origin and evolution. Six sigma and lean are two practices which initially originated from Japanese quality methodologies and tools. Despite they became most popular in the West; both of them are combination of tools used in Japan. Among different improvement Japanese tools six sigma and lean was organized so that to target particular problem, faced at different times by the West and Japan (poor quality vs. deficit of resources). The second issue is their evolution. Nowadays six sigma and lean are presented as mature methodologies, which developed beyond their origins, initially they regarded as operational level improvement tools and today they regarded by many as business strategies and even organizational philosophies.

Improving the same process from different angles

Six sigma and lean today could be seen as most popular improvement methodologies with many followers across different industries. Both methodologies proved their effectiveness and ability to work and be successful on their own. As they develop scholars and companies realize their strengths and limitations and try to combine them with other quality initiatives, which could eliminate those benefits and support strengths. However sometimes attempts fail because of contradictory or conflict nature of combined approaches. As far as six sigma and lean are concerned combination of both is seen as successful in both literature and practice. Their combination, in general, is easy to implement. There is no rigid structure both in lean and six sigma and there is no barriers for their combination as they just themselves a combination of different tools and techniques. Both lean and six sigma are organization of different tools to solve particular and different from each other problems, but the problems, which could occur in the same process, therefore six sigma and lean do not contradict each other as they see and cure the same process from different, non-conflict angles and aspects.

January 2010

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  • Hi, Albina, I agree with your points. Organization has right culture is very important for people. I… by on this entry
  • Hey Albina, I personally believe that you making the start and saying OK guys lets do this, because … by on this entry
  • cheers albina=] i feel the same that we have learned so much about leadership these 2 weeks and it's… by on this entry
  • A good question that you have here. In my opinion; if we can manage solve this problem of implementi… by on this entry
  • A nice reflection Albina in which you recognize that a system is as strong as its weakest part and t… by Paul Roberts on this entry

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