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March 30, 2014

Leadership and Conciousness

From working on my PMA, part of the things I have understood is that for an effective result, leadership should be centred abround conciousness. You cannot always do it the way you knew before, and all the time you need to consider the values of the organisation , the team, and the people. Take instance the case of a situational leader, he is expected to be flexible and that definately requires conciousness and sensitivity. because he needs to be know when to switch to use each ledaership style ranging from directive, coaching, supporting to delegative. If this is said to be very efficient approach as claimed by most author, it means that such a leader should learn how to play those roles. I would want to believe that a leader is who was initially Authoritarian would find it hard to unconciously play the role of a Coach when the situation requires him except he is does it conciously. So switching between roles/styles does require a level a conciousness and I believe this can achieved by such a leader if he sets his mind to it.


March 20, 2014

Leaders–No superhuman –Skills acquisition.

So While reading for my PMA I came accross different things about leadership and leaders, example of one of the things I found is that it is good for leaders to build on some skills like interpersonal, conceptual, technical and administrative skills. interpersonal skills has to do with relating with people in general, conceptual skills has to do with working with concepts and ideas, they relate to the thinking ability of the leader. Whether the leader is able to think things through, break down tasks in constructive manner for followers, technical skills has to with on the jobs skills, whether the leader has the required skills for the job, and I think since he is not a superhuman, he should be teachable and also think his ability to recognize the gap and the need to be trained is very important. And also his ability to balance the skilled workforce and unskilled ones is key and finally, administrative skills has to do with managing the people, resources etc in the country or organisation depending on the context.





March 11, 2014

Confidence

Being confident is an important trait of an effective leader. That is understanding what is you need to do as leader. with Confidence a leader will feel self-assured and believing that he/she can achieve any task. This trait is important because without the ability to feel confident in themselves, the followers will be able sense this and so will not be able to have confidence in the leader too. Confidence in oneself I believe can be developed. A leader has to first be able to appreciate himself/herself and develop that sense of certainty that he/she is on the right track. This is very important for any project, team or task because it makes it easier followers to comply as exected since they are confident when they are confident in their leaders


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 train...business must continue!

Fourthly, It is important for a leader to be sensitive at alllll times...so 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

Pressure

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.


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