All entries for February 2014
February 28, 2014
"We spend only 27% of our life working". Therefore, it is important to find a job which will make you feel happy everyday. I am sure we all know people who are happy when the holidays begin and then extremely unhappy when they realize they have to go to work in a day or two. But I also know another group of people (even though they are a minority) who love what they do and enthusiastic when they talk about their job. I think those people are the blessed ones. We live only once, why shouldn't we do something we admire? Obviously, if you don't like your job, you will not fully contribute in it. All you will think about is the end of the working day. So it is not beneficious for anyone, neither for the company nor for you. It can take years until a you understand what you want to do, and then find the strength to quit a job you hate, although you are highly paid. Our demands make often make us think about money, but is that worth it?
During this week we had a number of simulations where everytime we had new team member and new leaders. All of them were informative and useful for making us to think about the roles of both followers and leaders. I was a deputy leader in Hotel exercise, and honestly, I didnt know that my role would be to keep silence and observe what others do. However several times I failed to do so and joined a discussion. We had a great team and great leader; they were coming to a commin decisions very quickly and that resulted in great performance. However, I didn't know at that time that I would have to leave my team and become a leader in a "company" with situation that was absolutely unclear for me. It also happens in a real life, when people enter new organizations with already established teams and rules. It can take long time to adapt. But it also can take only a short period to establish a contact with all team members and become familiar with current situation, and that is what happened to me. I think, it only depends on your followers and the way you treat them. For example, my team members were willing to help me to understand everything and were involved in the process. Without followers the leader cannot achieve anything, and now I know- that's true!
Of course, teams sometimes had the opposite situation during this week, when leaders couldnt involve "walking deads". Very often leaders blaim that person or don't even try to motivate him. But the only one who is blaimed in this case is the leader himself.
I think, without these exercises we couldn't have understood the leadership concept so deeply. Now I realize, I knew almost nothing about it. And I also realized that I started to avoid the mistakes I made during the very first days of the module as coping with stress and time management, and, I hope, that is only beginning of my journey!
February 26, 2014
"When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.”
-Steve Jobs, 2006.
Today we have had a seminar when we discussed the circumstances which may a leader to give up. All of the teams came up with their own ideas, but what I was thinking about all class long is about word "give up". I think it is such a strong term, because giving up means you accept that you are weak. I think there are a lot of people which were faced with a situation when they stopped believing in what they do. Moreover, all of us at least once have seen no other option but giving up. But I think, giving up is the easiest alternative when you face a barrier you think you cannot overcome. It doesn't matter, either in your work or in your personal life, you should fight for what you believe in. As it was mentioned several times during the class, you are never constrained by one option. For example, our team said that a leader can give up if he did all his best in order to motivate and revive "walking dead", but got no results and no desire for interaction. However, firing him would be the easiest solution. The LEADER should never give up, instead it may be a sign to reconsider the approach to that "walking dead", and probably the leader can realize that he missed something very important.
I personnaly don't want to believe that there are barriers we cannot overcome. Of course, some may be very-very challenging, some can require very long time (this may force some people to give up halfway), however if you really believe in your target and your strength, if you wise enough and can continuously learn from your mistakes, you will never lose. It may seem too idealistically, but I say that from my experience. One quote that changed my whole attitude to the life(I dont remmeber exact words and the person who said that), was stating that if the great people from the history had never fallen, they would never achieved what they had done. I know that objectives which are really worthy, never come easy in the beginning, and ,indeed, if most of them were not challenging we would probably never tried our best and achieved the results we aimed for.
February 25, 2014
We had a seminar during which we discussed why leaders fail, given that they TRIED to lead. First of all, I concluded for myself, that failure doesn't always mean that a leader was bad or ineffective. There can be dozens of circumstances influencing the outcome.
But is failure bad? In my opinion, failure should not be perceived as disaster. Sometimes failures can teach and show you your weak points, so you can work on it next time. Nobody is born with skills and knowledge, you should work hard in order to be effective in any field.
However, we all observed people who seem to have all the skills and experience, but fail to lead people. Why does it occur? The main point that was mentioned with all of the teams, is lack of good relationships. And also followers should LOVE and RESPECT the leader, instead of fear. And this is a leader only who can create such environment, by continuosly listening and communicating with others. I believe that leader is effective in that case when he acts naturally, when all of the discussed comes from his heart, rather than a person trying to fit characteristics of a successful leader just because he has to do so for not failing.
Today we had a first day for module week. In the morning we played a game, when new leaders were chosen and each of them was supposed to play a particular leadership style. Yet we did not know what is a role. What I observed immediately after our leader introduced an objective, is that she doesn't listen much to others' opinion. I realized it authoritarian role she is playing.
This leadership style is very popular among majority of organizations worldwide. And I suppose 90% of the organizations in my country have experience this style. I can say that managers use their power and authority to make decisions. Employees in this case are not allowed to show their creativity, and as they feel that nobody needs their suggestions, they do nothing but following like sheep. It kills both motivation and creativity. I can say that from my todays experience, because when I realized that whatever I say is percieved as unvalued, I stopped giving any solutions.
However, as the outcomes of the game showed, authoritarian style was the most effective one in terms of objective initially pursued. Adversely, as I think, managers which are relaxed and not involved in the process, rarely can be effective. Because there are always people who need to feel that they have a leader. If they can do everything by themselves, why do they need him? Sooner or later, the level of motivation will fall and people can lose the sense of direction. And I hardly believe that such a team can be successful in reaching its objectives. If the members of team with such leader still wants to reach the target, then naturally there will be someone who will take a lead and direct the whole team towards the goal achievement, even though this person had not been assigned as a team leader initially.
Overal, I think that there should be a balance between authoritarian and laissez-faire styles, because both of them have its benefits, but when applied individually cannot be always effective.
February 20, 2014
Last week we had a class on coaching. When Graeme asked us what "coaching" means to us, I personally thought it is about training and directing people. When Graeme highighted that it is NOT training and the list of other NOT's, I was quite surprised. What does that mean then? How can we help without advising and giving solutions?
During the game we were divided into pairs, where one person was coacher and another coachee. Honestly, I thought it would not be difficult to me perform a coacher role, however I was soooo mistaken!!! I forgot about all the rules and started to show the direction and give advices. Suddenly then I remmembered that I should have avoided all of those, and tried to follow the rules. But I couldn't.. One another difficult part for me was to formulate a question that will help the coachee. I've understood that asking questions in the right manner requires from you to deeply understand the issue and,surely, to be a good psychologist.
I have been thinking why I failed this role, and I realized that too often we fall into saying and talking instead of listening. Because that is much easier. We tend to think that we see the problem from another perspective and give solutions to those who, as we think, cannot find it themselves. This thinking is partially right, but as a leader, you should guide people, not try to influence or give straightforward advices. Because you don't know how person feel about the issue himself. May be for you, the suggested option is the most suitable, but what does the "coachee" feel? They can follow your advice, even though it is not their way of thinking, and achieve good results. This creates dependence, and sooner or later those people stop solving problems and seeking solutions themselves. It is not good neither for a leader nor for the follower.
I realized that my role as a leader is not about saying people how they can act and react. Instead, I should try to learn how to help and show the direction in such way that they will feel all is achieved by themselves only. And that is right, nobody can help a person but he himself. You can help only if your "coachee" wants to find the way out, but not just you as a leader solving his problems. Moreover, I think, if person feels that he overcomes the challenges himself, he will be more self-confident and motivated in the future.
I think, that the class made me think about not only my behaviour in my future workplace, but also about the way I communicate in daily life. I believe, Leadership module will make me rethink the way I behave and communicate with people many times during the upcoming week.
February 10, 2014
Today have been a first day of new module: Leadership and Excellence. After introducing myself with moodle page of this course I already knew that we would have very interesting and exciting module! And today, after the short introduction given by Paul and exercise during the class I am sure I was right.
Honestly, if not taking into account the mini projects we should make, this course reminds me some kind of workshop where everybody has an opportunity to explore himself. For every project, new team and new leaders will be chosen. So, for example, today we have not agreed upon who would be a leader for the exercise. What I observed, was that all our team member had an opportunity to say their opinion and it was more collaborative work. Sometimes, one or two people were taking the situation in their hands, and it is natural, because during the process there is always someone who will emerge to lead, otherwise members can talk and discuss for a year without having any decision to announce.
The exercise made me think about what does the term "leader" mean for me? Which qualifications should he possess? We had 6 different people, most of them were born to be leaders, and more had many other skills. Some of them were good at cooking, others knew hot to save people when they are dying etc. But when looking at bad sides of those people, we decided that people which are agressive, impulsive and cannot support and ecourage others, cannot be a GOOD leader, even though they have many other useful skills. Therefore, I think, the personality and individual qualifications are the most important for the leader. During my life, I have been in the same team with many people, and what I observed, even though some of the people had all potential to be leaders, with high level of knowledge and responsibility, team members didn't follow. Or they did, but just because they should have.
Moreover, sometimes people don't say to you what they don't like about, and discuss it and how bad you are when you are not around. Surely, when there is such situation , the company hardly can be effective in all aspects: from economic to operating activities. Therefore, in my opinion, apart from other skills the ability to listen, observe, talk and communicate to the team members is the most important ones. And surely, some extent of innate skills, which serve as a basis, is vital. For me, as I think, the most suitable is the role of inderect leader. But I want to use this course to the maximum in order to try myself in different roles.
Also during this exercise we forgot about the time, thinking that 50 minutes is a very long period. It also made me understand that in order to be an effective leader it is important to allocate several tasks before the start of a project. Here I need to mention the benefits of MBE environment, because if I was told that during the lections, I would agree with that thinking how obvious it is. But, again, in practice we learn much more about the process and ourselves, observing how we can miss those "very obvious" things. Our mistakes are our best teachers.