All entries for February 2014

February 28, 2014

Engage the "know–it–all" followers

I believe sometimes it is hard to trust our followers because we think we are better than them or more competent than them, or maybe sometimes we try not let ourselves out so we dont get dissapoint..maybe like playing safe.

But really, what if we were leading a team of people who were experts in what they do. I would argue that we would trust them even before we saw them. LoL. We might on the other hand even feel incompetent and lose trust and confidence in ourselves to deliver as leaders. This was almost my case in today's task. I knew nothing about map reading...I mean I have the interest, finds it intriguing but I am completely a novis when it comes to that. But somehow I believed my team could help afterall we were 6 minds which is offcourse better than one.

I learnt first hand that the leader must not know everything about the task to be able to lead the people so I support the argument that says we do not necesasrily have to be technically competent to lead. But nevertheless, we will need to grow and get familiarized with the terms and concepts and with the way the business runs. The most important thing is how to effectively manage the people's heart and brain to achieve this task.

Things I learnt after today's task and reflections

Firstly, It is important for the leader to develop speed in gathering information at least to some level as this help him/her in creating the path for the followers to follow.

Secondly, Information is the key driver in any organisation and if the people carrying out the task are starved of the information, always depending on the leader for the next information then they will be limited in their contribution.

Thirdly, A leader must trust his/her followers to deliver the task whether they are competent or not! I mean if not competent then must continue!

Fourthly, It is important for a leader to be sensitive at alllll that he/she can sense whether the approach he/she is using is working in that situation or not. and when he/she finds out that the style he/she is using to lead isn't working he/she switches immediately to a more effective style for that situation. For example, when a leader discovers the pressure is much on the people from him/her and there's tension too, which might limit creativity He/she can make a way to create a more conducive working environment to aid creativity and innovation. Giving the followers freedom but still with a sense of purpose.

Lastly, see your team members as fellow humans who deserve more than your orders but also listening ears.

In conclusion, As a future leader, never feel you must know it all before you can lead. In reality out there, offcourse there would be some "know-it-all" followers who might try to intimidate you or make to you feel uncomfortable because they think they are more competent than you are, but stay calmed and never try to lead the team without a VISION, objectives and strategies. Identify the "know-it-all" followers (who might in some instances try to make you feel uncomfortable or become urban terriorist if not well managed) early enough and place them in a responsible position, give them engaging tasks, maximise their skills, they can be resourceful.

February 27, 2014

A limit to what can be accepted from a leader.

I remember Paul say if we cannot change the smaller thing then how can we change the bigger ethical issues which we discussed the previous day. And in this context the smaller issue was late coming as a leader while the bigger issues were for example, a leader accepting to fully engage in human trafficking to save his child or accepting money in exchange for something etc.

Even though I strongly agree that none of these are practices expected of a leader but I mean a leader who appears late at functions can be excused I think, but a leader who would engage in human trafficking and the likes for some selfish reasons...I am not sure can be excused. So I thought maybe these two issues were completely extremes and should not be compared.

From my perspective as a follower:

What if I had a very effective leader but comes LATE but does not accept the "bigger" unethical practices?

What if I am very effective leader who come in very comes EARLY but engages in the "bigger" unethical practices within the organisation for example?

I would honestly excuse the first leader but for the second I am not sure because this means that if he had the chance he would sell me to save himself.

From the leader's perspective:

What if I had stars as followers who come in LATE but do not accept the bigger unethical practices?

What if I had stars as followers who come in very come EARLY but engage in the "bigger" unethical practices within the organisation for example?

My response would be having the late followers whom I have recognised as stars coached and if after a week coaching they are still coming late, I place a penalty. which would be paying some moeny to the organisation at the end of month for days they came late. This would be my executive decision. I have seen this practiced and it was effective. Idea here is that for late days, the business suffered and lost some money so they pay for those days. And it shall be deducted from the salary at the end of the day rather than firing for lateness. I guess I choose this because I have seen it work.

But for the second situation. I guess the follower would earn the red card.

While typing this...what came to my mind was, it is good for an organisation to identify what their unethical grounds are. But again even after these are set, there should be measures set to manage these in situations where they are broken.

I worked for an organisation where bribery was not accepted for any contract or deal what so ever. We had worked out on deals worth thousands of dollars just because the managers from the organisation who wanted to offer us the contract asked us to give them 10% in order for them to help us win the deal by insisting to their top management that they wanted us to deliver that solution. And its was quite clear that we would have won this contract because they even confirmed this from all angles as we fortunately were the only recognised citrix virtualization platform partners in the whole of West Africa as at then. So we were quite competent and passed all the tests but for that one....Well I would say we passed it too because we did not heed.

I mean that is the common practice within that industry. But as an organistation, we decided to work away from such a large amount of money which we would have been so happy to earn at that time in the business just because we were asked to offer 10% for bribery of some sort.

Most of the people could not understand why the CEO chose to work away as we were already dancing to a raised salary and new official cars. But it clears he placed his values higher.

Personally, I think from the leader's perspective, the first can be worked on through self-development but the second situation needs a deeper reorientation.

The Law of Requisite Variety

The law of requisite flexibility states that the person with the most flexibility of behavior will either control or lead the situation. This is one of the lines I picked in class so I read a liitle about it and found out that since people's behaviors are not the same across the team and so are the tasks sometimes, in this case, for effective leadership, the leader's ability to manage the variety (individual differences and unique task) is called flexibility. I personally think this law will be useful in the future. So its being flexible in the way we behave in order to be able to lead the variety of behaviors in the team/department that we lead. Here we go again, FLEXIBILITY. I can remember blogging on flexibility in communication...Oh did I? Well if I didnt I must have forgotten because I did planned to. Yes we had a discussion in class centred around flexibility in communication. Paul says it helps a leader to build and revive rapport when necessary.

February 26, 2014

people and state

Quite interesting how L&E course has so far covered both leadership and followership.

So today Paul said that there's no such thing as unresourceful people only unresourceful state, which I quite agree. Because if someone is not resourceful in one situation, there is something or some other situation he is resourceful at. So the idea of thinking that followers are not resourceful is not right. They might just be locked up in their minds Or having an unclear purpose at that moment or not interested in the task. So the solution to this I think is in knowing or identifying by finding out from the followers what the leader can do to help them make their work/job easier.

Priorities Ranking

It has been an interesting time in Leadership and Excellence class so far. Everyday I learn something new and worth pondering upon.

...So because one of the purpose of leadership is leading the people to achieve the goals of the team. So there are two fators here; people and goals. the goals are the tasks. Now my question was...

which is more important?

the task or the people?

or are they both important?

How do you rank them in order of importance?

I think the common ranking is task first before people. why I say this is because we want to achieve the goals, we are more concerned about making sure we meet the targets. leadership here wants to avoid failure. So we are focused on task so much that we forget that these tasks are carried out by people, even though we work with these people and so it is not long before we get irritated by these people when we experience a little set back in the task. But thinking about the right ranking, I would say both go hand in hand. or maybe even people before task.

February 25, 2014


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.

communication style reflects on response style.

Follow-up to Just reflecting from Anne's blog

'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

Just reflecting

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

Coaching beyond the pitch.

"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

Still Learning

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 2014

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