So I thought to myself, leadership is a higher responsibility compared to followership. As a follower, you are mostly likely not going to experience the same pressure the leader does. Except the leader is very good at transferring pressure to his/her followers, which I believe would hinder creativity. So ability to manage pressure is a plus. While I was typing this, I thought of myself, I am so poor at handling pressure. But sadly pressure will always come especially when you have bosses to report to and deadlines to meet. Life isn't so smooth. All things are not always equal. All systems have signal and noise etc. So I think its just good to know/prepare for these things so that when we experience them we can find a way to respond to them better.
February 25, 2014
'The meaning of communication is the response that we get' I totally agree with the comment made by Paul today. " The way leadership communicates with the people could turn them into walking dead" Sometime last week I blogged about the possible connection between leadership and communication and really the discussions in class this week has made me to understand that communication is vital in leadership. I am so glad my questions ahve been answered.
So here are the thoughts that came to my mind.
Firstly, because communication is a two-way think, both leadership and followership performance can be influenced by this. And it is interesting to know that even when we are not talking (verbal communication) we could still be communicating (non-verbal communication) and sometimes, people around could feel these non verbal expressions and if they are negative, that could make them repel.
Another thing that came to mind is the idea that it is SAFER and more professional if we focus on the performance of individuals rather than their person, you know because these things are sensitive. when we begin to judge people,we make them feel uncomfortable. No one wants to be judged. But it quite easy to deviate from the main issue which is the performance and focus on the individual. Again this is where I will add that it is not bad to carry out leadership the way we want to experience it. For example. If I dont want to be judged, shutdown on, or ignored as a follower then I should make sure I don't do it to my followers. It is being the leader you would want to have. not necessarily in the type of leadership but in the interaction between leadership and followership.
February 20, 2014
In the end its a personal journey...
So I was just thinking, how have I improved or should I say worked on myself since we began the course and taken in some lessons learned?
Here is one thing I discovered as very vital in any relationship; communication. So why communication? Now for me, I am some times very very slow to speak, but busy processing stuffs in my head and most times I need to remind myself okay now say something. All those stuffs you are processing its time to say it. So I am abit confused if thats an okay thing to do. I mean I doubt because sometimes you need to speak up, but as I always tell myself and so I was thought, its better to be quiet than say something not meaningful. I know this has positive sides but not sure of the negative impact it has.
So that was just by the way.
Again one of the arm of leadership is communication, I believe it is our duty to make sure that we are well understood as leaders, If a leader is often misunderstood then there is something wrong. And its not completely about who we are but also about what we want to achieve in end. After a brief discussion with a friend on how important communication is in any relationship not just leadership/followership relationship we came to the realization that there were several times we thought someone meant one thing meanwhile he or she meant the other. So then asked, how can we communcate effectively with the people we are leading? I am not sure we came up with tangible solutions but this is something I would like to ponder upon.
February 14, 2014
"Some people are just natural Coaches" yes, I agree with Graeme. But can everybody be a coach? well I believe sometime in life we are placed in a situation that warrants us playing the part of Coaches to some degree but we might not be concious of it. I don't mean football coaches, like sometimes when our friends ask for our advice on something we are not familiar with we are not quick to profer solution, we are slow and then try to push it back to them subtlely to see if there is a part of them that has the solution lying in. I thought of the stuffs Graeme taught us about Coaching; the do's and don't's; are huge task because naturally we want to help the other fellow and so we are quick to suggest solutions that help alleviate the issue maybe by using our experiences or that of the people around us. But this method was said to be inefficient because it will only make the person dependent. So its about helping someone find a way out of a dark maze by lighting the bulb in the maze. Or guiding the thoughts of someone to help him/her find answers/solution to the undelying challenges. So those are the thoughts I came up with after the coaching excericse. And Roma was my Coach I thought she did a good job.
So again I was wondering what the connection with coaching and leadership was? I remember Helen adding that a Coach should be a able to create a comfortable environment for the Coachee so that the Coachee will be comfortable to share. I think its same with Leaders. Ability to create a comforable working environment so that followers will be productive.
In all I will say somehow it's about Personal mastery and Autonomy!
Thanks to Miriam for initiating the day off and Thanks to Paul for accepting our request.
.....Happy valentine's day!......
February 13, 2014
So today was another day in the leadership class. But left the class still thinking what does it reallly mean to be a good leader. I mean in a world where people find it very fast and easy to step on toes. I mean do I have to be patient with every one? How long does my patience have to last for? Well truth is we all aint perfect and we all don't know every thing so at least like Paul Said yesterday respecting the unique capabilities of people their values and beliefe is what a leader should do. I have been in leadership positions before and there are somethings I felt I didnt do well having gained this new knowledge and hope to improve in the future. I believe leaders like Mandela went the extra mile. He loved the people and it was that passion that kept him going and made him a Hero. But Heros like that are few. Love in the sense of leadership I mean compassion, kindness, care and regard as illustrated below in example of definition.
I kept thinking to myself what makes great leadership? what makes good leadership? and what makes an effective leadership?
These were just my focus adjectives. Then I remembered Paul saying something about effective leadershiip having to do with delivering on the task effectively. and good leadership having to do with ethical grounds and great leadership I think maybe a combination of both. As leader so much is expected I just dont want to be found doing the norm. knowing the truth is one thing and actually doing it is another......
February 12, 2014
I realllly loved today's class. Still building on knowledge. Learnt from different groups definition of leadership.
Paul said in the first class, our values and beliefs would have an influence on what we perceive leadership to be. And this is definately the case in our unique inter-cultural class. Offcourse culture has an impact on our values and beliefs as people. Another thing that can shapen our thought towards this is our past experiences.
My Boss in the last organisation I worked for, would literally go around desks sometimes asking if we were fine and if nothing us bothering us especially when he notices a frown or not so cheerful look on a person's face. He was geniunely trying to make sure we were okay at least and because he knew that we being okay would make us contribute better. I used to think he was faking it until I started noticing how those little things affected our inputs positively. Sales were shooting up! And so this brings me back to what Paul said this morning in class What makes an organisation different from another is its people. Because the outcome is determined by behaviour and their behaviour is determined by their values and identities.
What comes next to my mind is EFQM. Leaders are right at the start of the criterions and their actions are indirectly or directly seen all the through to the influence on the society; thats the society results.
So its like gabbage in gabbage out?. GIGO. Hmmm where did that come from? that just flew into my head from no where. Yea not quite far from it. effective leaders produce nothing but effective results.
I know as a Nigerian, I had factors that guided my own definition of leadership this offcourse was also influenced by my culture. Back in Nigeria, there are some companies who have good leaders I must say, I have met some employees who make good feedbacks about their leaders but at the same time, there are some who just wished they didnt have to go to work the next day because of how bad they dreaded their managers or leaders. Its the norm really to have this kind of leaders back home. And some times not that the company does not have values and beliefs but maybe it is hung in a frame on the wall in the CEO's office or maybe stored some where in his head. Some times we get to meet the CEO and we are like "he is sure a good guy entirely different from what we thought and from our imediate boss who we tag with all sort of names". I usually ask myself why? Now I guess I have the answers. The CEO might be an effective leader in a sense but really is he influencing his area of interest (the board of directors) strongly enough to be able to grow to influence his area of concern(other departments and team heads). Being a CEO of a large organisation I know is not an easy task, making money is a sweet thing too so focus can be easily deviated I mean. But can the organisation survive without the people?
So taking this back to a country like mine, I mean honestly its like a near impossible task for me but I see where to starts; Area of interest.
February 11, 2014
Let's place values on that word Leadership...
Often times we mix up the roles of Managers with those of true Leaders. Yes one would expect that every manager, CEO, Director, etc should be a true leader but really that is fairly easy to come by.
True in this sense I mean good and effective.
The "Urban Terrorist" term really got me thinking. The truth is every organisation even in small teams have these sets of people. They could be found among top management like Paul mentioned and even among followers. But really how can I as a leader change/convert these people when I am not God? Urban Terrorists are set of people with high energy but negative attitudes. I see a connection with love and patience. Being a true leader you have to learn how to be selfless. Because sometime it takes love to sincerely lead and offcourse it will take love to convert such followers. It's going beyond what you normally do. No matter how tricky it seems, A leader who hates his team can not lead properly!
If we are the type person who can't control your temper then leading won't be quite easy,
If we are competitive, then we will find yourselves competiting with all our team mates and fellow leaders, we need to watch these; these are some of the things I believe steal our true identity, passion and values away from us. Because we spend time competiting and out smarting instead of building and working towards achieving the goals.
I believe on the journey to true leadership, training and self development can not be skipped.
I think its good to be the type of Leaders we would want to have.
......Now and beyond MBE
Leaders beget leaders. What type of leaders do you want and what type are developing yourself towards?
February 10, 2014
Today was quite interesting for me, especially with the fact that I had to work with completely new faces in sense and new characters except for Connie who was also moved from our group to group 1 on the new module; Leadership Excellence. Initially I thought of requesting a change, not because I am going to be engaged during the module week but because I just didnt like it in group 1 and my fiends and group mate didnt help it. They kept mentioning how they would miss me and how they were hoping I would be part of their sub group and all these made even want to change back the more. But speaking with Paul and another friend (Sandra) in the class, they both said the same thing "Its gonna be a whole new experience and I mean that's really what learning is about" Sandra added, Leave your comfort zone and see how you would respond out of it. And hmmm,really I must confess I initally thought about all those but I was not just ready to succumb to my thoughts.
So I did finally remain in group 1 subgroup A4, I remember my subgroup leader Miriam telling me, 'Anne don't worry you'll be fine' Okay then I smiled. Now here's the start of my journey....and I will define it as Beyond Leadership Excellence.
I want to say beyond what Paul is going to open our eye to sees during this 100hours on the module, I have embraced the switch from group 2 to group 1 for me as an added platform to learn.
So down to today excercise on Lifeboat. Hmm Paul gave us cards with 6 people's skills, experiences, qualifications, potentials and characters and then asked us to choose two people out of the 6 we would want on the boat to be the leader and the deputy if our boat were to experience some differenties onshore. We were done quite fast as a group and we came up with Roger and Anna respectively. Because we believed Roger had the leadership capabilities coupled with his qualifications and technical skills of navigation, his calmness, ability to listen and ability to be alert in the emergency situations were defintely added advantages. Anna on the other hand who was supportive and wasnt ready to take a direct leadership position but had a couple of leadership skills we believed was okay to be the deputy. Her sailing skills and Medical qualification was offcourse a plus in such a situation.
Well so after all these I thought Paul would give the class the right combination of leaders but he didnt but he did explain that we had different combination accross the room because we all saw leadership differently. which was true.
This explains why some countries do well because of their leaders and some don't because people have different definitions of leadership. Also explains why some industries florish and some don't, partially explains why some marriages hit the rock after a few years and some don't etc.
These among other reasons explains why this course and today's excercise is important to me.
One thing I look forward to achieving personally on this module is being able to identify what LEADER resides in me.
Direct or indirect Leader? ....hmm, Let me guess...Indirect! Well that's just a guess cos I believe being calm and still able to steer a team is a powerful attribute. You don't need to be forceful and well even though you should be heard but you should be able to build trust in team mate s which make them follow willfully/willingly. Well like I said its only a guess. I will dig further into this.
January 24, 2014
Writing about web page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xFI_MjtrbY
I was so touched by the video that was played by Jane in class today on the crash of Germany's ICE 884 train on June 3, 1998 so I decided to watch it again. I believe it was an eye opener to many Engineers and nations across the world. The version of the video I watched showed that some faults were earlier identified on the faulty wheel that led to the crash but they were neglected by the maintenance department which is so bad.
I particularly liked the way the investigators picked each evident one after the other and analysed it until all the causes were identified. I see a root cause analysis being used here. For example, after they saw the first metal that pierced through the floor of train from the wheel that was broken as a result of fatigue caused by load and wear and tear, they kept analysing further to find other causes. the from the gaurd rail that pierced through the
As I was watching I kept thinking and saying "okay that was cause so sad..." but before I knew it, they would find another evident, they did not conclude hastily but kept digging on to come out with a rich analysis and true causes which were a combination of so many factors. This is good case of FRACAS. Failure Reporting and Corrective action system. Where the failure of the wheel was reported after the investigation and corrective measures taken in the production of next batches and I also I am not wrong if I add that some level of fault tree analysis was used here.
This incident also makes it clear the imporatance of DFX, if the wheels were tested to understand what its limits are in terms of life cycle, how much load it can take over a period of time and also considering the speed limit (125miles per hour) of the train i believe a better design would have been made.
I would like to link this to the aerospace sector in Nigeria, We are seriously hoping for a turn around in the maintenance culture. We have recorded lots of plane crashes in the past 10years and near misses. just last december while in Dubai we got a phone call that a plane lost a tire while landing but fortunately no serious casualty was recorded. I want to add that it is not enough to design for reliability. "Maintainability" should always be a factor to support "Reliability" because even we human beings we sometimes need the expertise of our GPs (Doctors) to fix a part of us that needs to be fixed. (smiles).
May the lost souls continue to rest in peace.
January 21, 2014
No product is meant to last a life time, even human beings do die when they grow old. But it is the job of the manufacturers to make sure it last for the period of time it was produced for and serves rightly the purpose for which it was produced for. But in a case where the product begins to fail at midlife or earlier than it should then there is a question whether the design was really good or whether the maintenance is of standard. This and many more are the reasons why Design for X is imporatant
The importance of reliability cannot be overemphasized in the case of military devices and aerospaces, We do not want this machines to fail unexpectedly while in use.
The excercise in class yesterday on the UA232 plance crash did opened my mind to see to see how important it is to not to miss any aspect of the machine that needs to maintained while carrying out the maintenace jobs.