All 12 entries tagged Leadership
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January 19, 2009
Do you know what is an Anarchist? It is somebody that does not believe in having organised systems governing societies, political organisations and that actually fights against it. He likes the idea that people should rule themselves instead of living under an organised political process.
Relating that to leadership. Are Anarchists actually advocating that each one should govern oneself, therefore stimulating people to be leaders or actually saying leaders, at least formal institutionalised ones, are not needed? Or they are doing both? Are they pro or against leaders? Formally thinking they are against because all leadership theory is built based on the idea that one to be a leader must have followers, that is exactly what the anarchists are against (again, at least on the political/institutional level, my very limited knowledge about it does not know if the say applies to other kinds of leadership...).
Anyway, I`ve became more curious about them...Will try to find sometime to read and learn about.
Ps. Sue, I really like your opinions even realising that you are kind of bored with all the posts about leadership, but believe me is an act of discipline because since I`m not crazy about the subject but it is part of my master degree to understand a bit more about it, therefore as an exercise of discipline I`m trying, with my limited knowledge, to reflect on the matter. By the way, being yourself such a mythical figure you should enlighten us with an address to your own blog or some informations about yourself, but I must say that I, for one, like very much your comments!
January 18, 2009
Back from the arts centre. Went to see the movie about Che Guevara (quite nice movie, recommended) . Che was a very good example of a charismatic leader (I`m not saying that based on the movie, that is a work of fiction of course). There is a moment in the movie where there is a dialogue in which a reporter asks Che why he follows Fidel and why the Cuban people followed them. And he says because Fidel was able to share his vision. Well it is much easier to share a vision if you are good at communication and charisma, but and if you are not? We could get again in the discussion about born and made and decide that one could be trained to improve in bith communication and charisma, but the movie (again, the movie, not necessarily the real character) provides onde answer in which I believe. Example.
On the movie, Che did not have any privileges, fought desperately against his breathing difficulties (he had ashtma), and besides that someone who graduates in a medical school and voluntarily decides to joining that movement had some authority based on the example. So, its the old story, to be respected you have got to set example, have got to walk the talk.
January 15, 2009
More and more about leadership.
Writing it today I kind of realised the obvious. The best definition of leadership will always depend on what it is made for. Reading on Bass guide about it and it just pop up on me. But the more I read about it the more I think that the main thing a leader has to do is helping to build the future. THe leader should only be concerned about every day matters if by not doing so he is jeopardising his vision for the future. That is why like Jack Welch frequently says, his most important activity on GE was cultivating people, was human resources management. Because developing people is building the future.
So Leaders of the world, think about the future as much as you can, and manage the everyday matters as little as necessary...
January 08, 2009
I was reading Time magazine the other day, the edition in which they elected Obama man of the year. There`s a hell lot material about him and as I was reading two contradictory feelings came to me. First I got a bit emotional, because of all the people that got so happy and so full of hope because of him. That is beautiful and specially needed in harsh and violent times like now. Second I`ve got worried because I though that his challenges are so big and people have such high hopes that frustration will probably come, and that will be something to get worried, because people frustrated in times like these can have some very unhealthy behaviours.
But them, right in the middle of the magazine there`s a interview with him. I must say I got impressed. I was amazed about how transparent and sometimes humble but not in a artificial way he was. He was always very objective and direct. He talks about leadership, about what are his qualities as a leader and I was amazed that all he said was so similar to what we have been discussing, and what I think is important.
Some post ago I wrote about the important of honest, transparent communication even when you have bad news and that is exaclty what he did. I was very impressed and I will use that material on my PMA.
Now I`m under the impression that even not delivering all that is expected he will still be popular and a source of hope because of those ability to communicate clearly, directly and honestly. That is real leadership, a real talented leader.
December 22, 2008
About leaders. Thinking about some people I know that are really great leaders. Just real people I deal with, colleagues, friends, bosses. Trying not to confound managers with leader, people I liked with leaders. Using as a criteria people that somehow seemed to inspire other people. If being very strict when using the criteria, can`t find many. But all that I thought have one common characteristic. They all seem to have a brave way of taking their ideas forward. They all have personality, they are not afraid of thinking differently and assuming it. They have independent thinking.
All people that came to my mind are people that are not afraid of expressing different opinios from the majority when that is relevant. They are not stubborn or want to be different just for the sake of it, they are able to listen and to change their minds if convinced that they might be wrong, but they don`t do so just for the sake of doing or for being afraid of not belonging to the majority and being accepted. They also don`t stick by their ideas out or proudness, but because they have put some thought on it and they have a set of values in place, therefore their ideas are usually backed up by a lot of effort and reflective thinking. I think that is the best criteria I`ve found so far to qualify someone as a leader.
If you want to be a leader, you first have to be able to lead yourself, to think independently and that (as pretty much everything else in life) does not come for free, it comes with effort, hard work.
December 07, 2008
Last Friday we had the leadership challenge in the morning. I was very happy the Ally offered herself to lead us, that was a very nice evolution and demonstration of courage.
We did very well ending with a very high punctuation. However a small thing happened, few people noticed but our team noticed, and it was a learning experience.
When there were only1 or 2 minutes left I realised that we had to input our results in the computer. There was another team using the computer so I got quite anxious. Half of our work was finished, we had one route defined but not the other. Ally and Luis were working on it.
With about 30 seconds left I set in the computer and input my numbers. Them Paul said we had only 10 seconds. I shouted to my team and told them to bring whatever they had. Better something them nothing. They brought me their route, but in a paper, not in the template. They gave the numbers, I typd them. I guess that by that time the 10 seconds were gone. I still had to input 2 other information, if they had gone through Kyle and how many points they had. None of those information was clear and I was to make a decision in seconds. I remember perfectly what came to my mind. For the points I know we had at least 500, probably more, but I could not be sure. Since we had 700 in the other route I decided to input 1200 and be honest, no try to put more them I thought we had (even though we probably had more). Second I also decided no tu put the lighthouse, for the same reason. Being honest, if I was not sure, best assume that we did not. Of course being honest was a driver, but there was another driver that was the fact that we could have some trouble if we had any kind of testing, if we had to prove and we could not prove it (and I did not know if we could!). So I take the safe route.
Ally got quite angry with me, because she thought we were trowing points away. I understand her, but reflecting on it, if I had to make the same decision again pressured by time and not having all needed information I`d have done the same. I think I took the right decision given the conditions. My only mistake on that specific situation is that I could have made an exta effort to explain it after. But things soon got clear and this was not needed.
But that`s a good example of how hard it is to make a decision under pressure, no time, not having full information and representing a group. In the specific situation I`m glad I made the right one and I think that what helped me do it was the fact that I have built in me a set of criteria, ready to be used when facing a decision . That`s good, but has got to be treated with care because can also became a barrier to taking different an new decisions.
December 04, 2008
Reflecting on what we discussed today and in some learnings that I`m taking from my readings for the CBE PMA, I`ll make two changes on the mission (none in the vision):
Include one mission:
- Being an active member of the society I`m living on, doing my part to help it improve through volunteer work, political participation or any other mean that I uderstand possible and necessary
"Make my best to help my colleagues to achieve their objectives. Always share knowledge."
Always have a cooperative approach and not a competitive one with my colleagues. Always share knowledge
It`s going to be improved.
December 03, 2008
3 different discussions came together in my mind today. First the whole mission/vision definition thing. It`s hard to create missions and visions that are effective, realistic and at the same time are not just "comon sense". We had quite a few discussions about that the last few days/weeks therefore is quite clear in my mind.
Second, the other day I was discussing BSC with Smiley and Luis on the computer lab and I talked a litlle about the bit of experience I had with BSC in my life. I can`t remember how but I ended up talking about some plans I have for my future.
The next day, I was talking with Mariana about the project choice, and we were thinking about were we want to be in 5 tears, how hard is to define it.
Well, I put all of this together and thought. I`ll create a Mission and a Vision for myself, and perhaps as an exercise I`ll build a BSC later with it, to "deploy"it. Actually I`ve already done it in my mind, but not formalized.
Keep in my mind that this is just a draft (and for personal reasons I`ll say it in a way that makes sense only to me) that can and will be improved.
-To achieve the same professional level of X (a person that I have enormous admiration) in 8 years time while being able of building a healthy and happy family.
-Do that by using only my skills and efforts, never using any kind of "shortcut" or non-ethical alternative
-Working hard but striving to keep the best possible enviroment around me.
-Always allow time for family, friends and for healthy activities such as sports, trips and entertainment
-Make my best to help my colleagues to achieve their objectives. Always share knowledge.
-Build a family and share equally the responsibility with my future wife.
December 01, 2008
Few posts ago I wrote that I did not agree with having "situation"in the definition of leadership. A few people (Kang is the one I remember now, sorry about the ones I forgot ) disagreed. I reflected on it. I agree with them now. I think it makes sense to consider the situation thing. And is more a rational decision them an empiric one. It`s quite simple. If I believe that everyone can lead (and like it or not will have to do it someday, even if is just they`re lives they are going to lead), and I believe it, I must accept that not everyone leads every time. Therefore, some people lead in some situations, but not in others. And those who are usually seen as leaders are usually those who lead or visible or urgent situations (Churchill on WW2) or that like to take front and lead every time they can.
Therefore I believe, after reflecting, that evryone can lead if the situation is right.
November 27, 2008
I really liked the definition we achieved for leadership in the last few days. I believer each one of us would make smaller changes to it, but since it was done by a group we reached quite a good definition.
However, in one of the other definitions the word "situation" came up. The same happened last Monday, when the situation was also considered.
I do think the situation plays a very important part in HOW to lead in a specific moment. But I don`t think it should be IN the definition and I will say why.
We all agree that like dancing or writing leadership is a skill. Some people find it easier to lead then other, the same way some people find dancing much easier them others. Both can be learned and improved. Of course even with a lot of training I`ll never dance like Fred Astaire or Nureyev, but it can be improved. The same with leadership. You might not became a Gandhy or a Alexander the Great but you can improve it. And if that`s a skill it means that it can used or adapted for use in lot`s of situations. Some one who is a good dancer might be fantastic at Jazz or Waltz, but not so good Samba or Salsa. But this person is probably going to do much better them someone who simply can not dance anything (like myself, for instance). Of course you would be able to find someone who was good at dancing and was especially good in Samba and Salsa and that would be the most recommended person for that specific situation, but skill wise (dancing) it does not make this person better them the other dancer who is better in Waltz and Jazz. But if you had to define the skill of dancing, you should make both of them fit.
The example Paul presented on Monday to justify the situation part of the definition was Winston Churchill.Churchill has a very funny life story. A very aristocratic person, from a very traditional English family had a good education. He also had a very interesting and unusual life. When in the navy he planned what was to became one of the greatest defeats ever for the British navy, the Galipoli Battle. Late, as the chancellor of the exchequer (English version of ministry of finance), he conducted the transition of the pound back to the gold standard and did it in a awful away despite several warnings from very important people (notably Keynes, by them already one of the most important economists in history). He later admitted that he conducted it awfully. But in WW2 he played such an amazing part, he was the true leader of the British and one of the major leaders (alongside Roosevelt-US and Stalin-USSR) for the part of the world that did not support Germany-Italy-Japan. Even though separated by the channel, with almost all of continental Europe taken, he was able to keep the morale up and to find support for UK. A true leader in a very needed moment. Until nowadays he is probably the most famous English leader of the world, more then Queen Elizabeth I, or Queen Victoria. But as soon as the war was over, he failed to remain and prime-minister again. He was later to come back, but did not shine like he did during the war.
So I ask the question, considering that he failed many times but had a MAJOR success in a much needed time would we qualify him as a real leader only in a specific situation? Not sure I agree with that. I agre that some people, some styles do fit better in some situations, but when defining a leader I think that if someone is able to lead in a situation, he is a leader even if he has trouble in other kinds of situations. Like Churchill, or like a dancer who is good in Waltz and Jazz but not im Samba and Salsa is also a dancer.