All entries for January 2009

January 20, 2009

Memories…(and leadership)

Just some quick thoughts I wanted to share...

As I mentioned in my previous blog I have been working on the transformational theory-actually I am thinking of combining it with the transactional theory-, anyway I found something that related to my first presentation here at MBE. Probably, you dont remember but my first presentation was on the comparison of the excellence models during CBE module.

I recall that when I was talking about how much does Deming, the EFQM model and the MBNQA emphasise leadership, I made a comment about leaders supporting non-leaders. When the presenation was over Paul asked me what I ment by this statement, and whether there is such a thing as non-leaders...To cut a long story sort the meaning was that most people can be leaders -in their own special thing- provided they are given such opportunity....

Quite surprisingly-or maybe not- during my research about transformational leadership I discovered that according to the academics a genuine transformational leader is supposed to create new leaders.... His duty is to empower and emancipate his followers in order for them to lead themselves....

Isn't that grand..??

I personally find it so altruistic, because its not about yourself anymore but about what you can do for others...Its beyond the common idea, where the staff works for the manager, it should be both ways the one working with the other and for the other.

I don't think any other way can really work.... 


January 16, 2009

Theories in the Mist…

I have been doing research about the leadership theories and the goals I have are two

1) understand more about the leadership theories and approaches the academics have introduced over the years

2) decide which theory/ies approach/es are suitable for Waveriders

Up to this point I have consulted books mainly  Theory and practice of leadership by Gill, R. (2006).. London, Sage, and  Management: concepts & practices by Hannagan T., & Bennet, R. (1998), London, Financial Times/Pitman Pub.

As far as the theories are concerned I believe that it is quite clear that there is a plethora of different models and approaches trying to explain leadership, this issue is probably conected with the difficulty to give leadership a single and unanimously agreed definition.Something we had discussed during the model.

Apart from this it appears that leadership models are a mirror of social economical and cultural circumstances which means that leadership perspectives adapt to the reality they exist in. I think the most credible example of what I am trying to say here, is trait theory since it evolved at a time when "natural" qualities where appreciated. By "natural" I mean characteristics one is born with such as height or even intelligence according to some academics....The point is that external or internal these traits obtained "naturally"are what make a leader according to trait theory -which has been curtsied emphatically

After reading about various other theories such as contigency leadership, emergency leadership and action learning leadership, I have to admit I felt a bit awkward because  I thought there was something missing, in terms on people empowerment or vision or even something else..... The theories just didnt seem enough to cover various elements....

This probably is happening because for OPP PMA I used a  book I had read during my undergraduate degree, by Handy called the "Elephant and the Flea" (2001). Among other things this book suggests that people’s professional aspirations are not the same any more. People are looking for occupations that go beyond simply making ends meet, they want to contribute and make a difference. I was very much influenced by this idea, probably because I feel this way....

Quite similar was the comment by Xerox guru John Seeley, Paul and I included in our CSR presentation during the model: A leader’s obligation is not to make money anymore, but to provide meaning. Anyway what I am trying to get at is that i feel that a leadership theory has to include all these...in order to guide the leader towards intrinsically motivating the employees and indicating  why the goals set are meaningful to the followers and show the way to accomplishment...

And that is when I read about the transformational leadership.... Its emphasis on internal motivation and empowerment, as well as leadership flexibility and morality impressed me. I feel that this leadership theory reflects the demands the employees of today and tomorrow have and will have. However, as Gill mentions in his book, transformational leadership needs to be supported by transactional leadership which being more management focused will provide some sort of reward (e.g. bonus or recognition) and as a result it will more controlling towards the employees, because they will know what is expected from them and try to deliver.

To one extent I understand why this controlling perspective is needed especially in a business like Waveriders which is seeking to improve its position in the market... Although control can have various meanings...-i think-

I will be back when I have a clearer picture about what leadership theory is suitable for Waveriders


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