All entries for Sunday 28 February 2016
February 28, 2016
On Friday, I learnt 4 new things. Firstly, the importance of mission and vision, my leading style, the importance of reflection and last but not least learning from my peers.
Mission and Vision
A firm or organisation needs to be clear on its vision and mission. Its vision and mission also have to short, succint and clear for all its employees to know. The mission and vision should be written down to allow all employess to be able to refer to them easily and understand the company's vision and mission better.
My leading style
I learnt that I tend to give too much power to the people and under time constraints, they expect me to be decisive and come up with a direction to lead the team. Thus, from the feedback from my fellow peers and after reflecting upon my actions, I felt that I need to be more assertive and perhaps allocate time for brainstorming and once its over, a decision has to be made based on the situation and my gut feeling.
Being a leader is not easy. Leaders are paid highly due to the high risks they take daily and the complexity of running an organisation. A leader has to have great soft skills, be able to have envision the future and produce results. People are drawn to great organisations, such as the Big 4 and big banks, as these organisations are known to produce quality employees due to their strong organisation structure and leadership skills. At the end of the day, everyone wants to be taught by a great leader as we can gain a lot from them. Thus, to be a great leader, I must ensure I brush up my leadership skills and though I may be paralysed by fear I have to continue practising to lead in various other modules and in life as practice makes perfect. Perseverance and courage is key to success.
Importance of reflection
I have never known the power of reflections to be so great until this module. I am glad I chose this module as Mr Roberts was a great leader and I certainly gained alot of skills and knowledge that I did not see coming. Mr Roberts tends to make me think deeper and more critically like I have never done before. I'm sure everyone has been a leader or heard of leadership at some point in their life but I have never delved into intrinsic, extrinsic motivation, psychological contracts and found myself thinking of deeper and deeper questions.
Reflections allows me to recap my learning and as a result store them in my long term memory. I remember things better and learn more through reflections as I mull over the day's events. I played out what had happend during the day and sometimes I wonder if I spoken, acted or done something differently whether the results would have been different.
Learning from my peers
Whenever I do a group work or team challenge, I always tend to scrutinise the leader more. I guess these is inherent in all of us. I check for signs such as whether the leader involves everyone in the task, whether the leader makes eye-contact with everyone in the group, as I believe having eye contact with everyone and not just one person in the group shows that everyone is important. I always ensure that when I talk to my group I am conscious about making eye-contact with every single person as I want them to feel part of the team and feel that I value them and their opinions. After attending 6 modules including Leadership and Excellence (L&E), I must say that this group of students are the most professional bunch I have ever come across in WMG. When speaking, a majority tend to have eye contact with everyone and many a times, a leader despite being under time pressure takes the time to ensure that everyone understood what was happening and if 1 person did not, the leader will take the time to explain the whole situation to the member again.
In this class, on numerous occasions during team exercises, I have realised that those students whose command of English are better, are patient to listen to their members whose command of English may not be as good and may take awhile to get their point across. This scenario played daily for 2 weeks and was deeply etched in my mind. While many may take such an incident lightly, I am sure that the member whose English may not be as good felt deeply valued and appreciated and those bystanders who are watching this scene play out (like myself!) have a new grown respect for the leader like never before. Being patient boost the employees morale and provide a warmer environment for people to work in.
I also learnt that the students in this class have gotten along very well and are respectful towards each other. Everyone greets everyone every morning and gather after classes to have meals and drinks. I have never worked full-time in an organisation before, but when I start a company, this is a culture that I would like to adopt. This is because whether we like it or not, how well staff members get along with each other affects a company's performance. The word I am referring to here is synergy. Synergy is defined as the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of individual elements. United we stand, divided we fall.
I want to work or create a company with a dynamic environment and thus upon joining this class, I learnt that while it is important to be a leader, we must not neglect to create the suitable environment for people to interact with one another. The environment to work in, is one of the pull factors for many in joining and staying in a firm. On top of creating open offices which is a physical structure, one needs to invest in the environment as well, such as creating activities that promote camaraderie and hiring the right people who not only can get the job done, but have the right attitudes and values.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I truly learnt a lot from this class and they have not only become my colleagues but are also my friends that I cherish. Mr Roberts had indeed taught me a lot of skills that I will put to good use once I graduate and this is not the end but merely the beginning. Till we meet again:)
Friday was the big day, the day of the Leadership Challenge. I raised my hand to volunteer to lead faster than my brain had processed the information. I was relieved when everyone decided to lead as more names meant a lower chance of me getting picked from a group of 17 people.
But I guess, I was wrong. I was chosen as 1 of the 3 chosen to lead. While I felt I was lucky and blessed to be given the opportunity to work with my team, the other half of me wanted to withdraw at the last minute. Leading a team in an especially challenging task is not easy and my fear of failure and getting blamed really made me contemplate my decision. The great battle within myself made me felt uneasy.
I decided to push forth and ensured that I take down every single detail of the task to relay the message to my team members later on. I was given up to 30 mins in advanced to read the briefing before returning to class. Once the challenge had begun I made sure all my instructions were relayed correctly to my members.
It was extremely nerve-wracking when you are under time pressure and have to deliver as you do not want to let your team down. Various team members were asking me for decisions to be made which made me felt a huge sense of responsibility. I realised that giving the power to the people is not easy in a time crunch. Sometimes certain decisions have to be carried out to speed up the process rather than getting everyone to come to a consensus. Our team had quite a number of disagreements and after much deliberation and contemplation, I as the leader at times have to decide on what I feel is best for the team.
For instance, back to my e.g. on Singapore, we did not progress from a 3rd world to a 1st world country in a span of 35 years by being indecisive and reaching a consensus. At the end of the day, we were lucky to have a decisive leader with ethics and values that wanted to bring our country forward. To proceed forward, a single leader is more effective in getting things done quickly and progressing quickly compared to a few different parties. For instance, when President Obama proposed the healthcare reform in 2009, it faced much opposition from the Republicans (Cohn, 2010) and the reform was only able to be up and running in 2014. Thus, having a single party in a country certainly allows policies to be passed on quickly and effectively, with less opposition, unlike in a multi-party government.
However, on the other side of the coin, on numerous occasions, a single party government has been known to abuse its power to amass its fortune for its own benefit, neglecting the people. This can be seen in Libya under the leadership of the former Muammar Gaddafi.
Thus, in my opinion, there is a trade-off between giving the power to the people and progress. Giving complete power to the people may take a longer time to come to a decision or no decision might be made at all. On the other hand, being too authoritarian may or may not bring progress to a country or organisation. I believe there should be a balance between one being decisive and one giving the power to the people for an organisation to move forward and progress swiftly. Ethics and values ingrained in a leader are of utmost importance as a leader leads its people. A leader who is blinded by greed and has no morals will certainly bring its people down and not last long. As we lead, we must never forget our conscious, ethics and values. I strongly believe in reading up and building up these areas throughout my life as a leader, so that I will always keep in touch with what is right for the people and the organisation and think of others before myself.
reference : Jonathan Cohn. 2010. What Defunding Health Reform Would Do. [ONLINE]. Available at : https://newrepublic.com/article/80411/what-defunding-health-reform-would-do. [Accessed 23 December 13]