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March 21, 2012

Manage or Lead?

Manage or Lead?

During the management of change module I've realised that trying only to lead might not make the company succesful. Because if for example you have a vision of being an innovating company and keep investing in R&D for inventing new products this doesn't mean you will be succesfull company.. You might be.... You might find really good and innovative products for examlpe but while you are trying to achieve the vision you don't control your expenses and income... And we all know that most of the products at their early stage of product-lifecycle they have low volume of sales and also the profits might be low (from the learning curve and economies of scale).... so the company might fail because they spend all the money for inventing new technologies and the cash is late to come....

Thus, I'm coming at Dubrin's words “effective leaders have to be good managers themselves or be supported by effective managers”.

March 19, 2012

Real business world

Is coaching a manager or a CEO to a leadership theory an easy job?

I don't think so Imagine how hard it will be if you just go to an organisation and tell the manager to change his leadership style while he is working there for more than 10 years. Do you think he is going to listen to you? Do you think he is going to apply whatever you say and be effective?

If you manage to make him listen to you be prepared on what you are going to say and how you are going to support your opinion because he will challenge your view and opinion based on his personal experience in working with people. And if you do not have an experience in working as a leader, try to benefit from the conversation as well.

While you think of leadership theories try to imagine real facts and companies and how this theories could help.

Why is that important?

Because everything we study, learn and build knowledge on, they may, if not for sure, apply and work differently in real business world.

So what we can do is to try and put our knowledge in a real business framework with all the problems and challenges this contains because that's reality.

March 10, 2012

Effective leadership theory!!

There are so many leadership theories that have been identified among many scholars but which of those theories is the best to adapt?

My opinion is that each of those theories can perform good and be effective for the employees for a group of situations and for particular group members. So if you choose a leadership theory and you want that theory to work you can build the situations and the characters in order to make it work.

But if you are a manager in a company what are you going to do? Are you going to adapt a particular theory and maintain it for all situations ang group members? Most of you might say no! Ok! Are you going to change leadership style for every single and different situation and every time that the group members change? Sounds hard...

I was trying to think what the leader should do in order to be effective every time! What I finally realised is that, the leader might not manage to be effective in every situation and for every employee. What he/she can do though is be aware of the various leadership theories and where those theories might work or not. Then he/she must identify who are the group members and what the situations are, and finally he/she should try to adapt the theory that he/she thinks will work best for his/her organisation! Bear in mind that there are many factors that might affect the effectiveness of a theory. For example if you had develop friendships with some of your employees and you was acting as a democrat and then the next day you change your style to an autocrat because you think it might work better, or because you want to try a different leadership style, this might affect the effectiveness of your leadership (and by saying effectiveness I mean whether the employees perform better or not)

February 17, 2012

Leadership & Excellence PMA

I started working on the Leadership & Excellence PMA where we had to choose one or more leadership theories to coach the CEO and one of the directors of WaveRiders company...

I have to admit (for those who didn't start working on it yet) that it is quite hard! The first difficulty is that there are so many leadership theories out there, and each author categorise them in a different way so that you don't know which one to choose and why. And the second difficulty is that you need to build the characters of the leaders, group members and situations for each leader in order to make it more real and make your leadership theory work best!

What I would suggest is that first build the characters, group members and situations, then get a basic understanding of leadership and leadership theories from BOOKS mainly, and then choose the leadership theory or theories and support how you are going to help your leader to adapt it (here you could use books but also articles from journals).

Despite its difficulty I found this PMA really interesting because it is getting us through a procedure that we might need to do in the future in our real jobs. For instance, imagine that you are working in a company and you want to suggest improvements! You can't suggest everything you have taught in the MBE course, but you need to choose. Then you need to support why you have chosen the particular theory or tool or approach and how this could help your company. At the end you have to present it to your boss in order to convince him to accept your suggestion. So from the endless chapter of knowledge you need to identify the elements or set of elements that will help you improve your organisation according to its environment, people, situations etc. In other words, it helps, somehow, to develop some leadership skills.

February 12, 2012

Forming teams

Do you think is easy for the leader to form a team? Do you think that when the high performing employees get all together in a team their performance will be the highest possible?

lh_volleyball_team_large.jpgIt might be yes, but let me explain my thought. We all know that sport teams (like football, basketball, volleyball etc.) are trying to collect the best players because in this way they will be the best. But how you identify a good player? The answer is by watching him playing in some matches, so you can see his team performance. However, that particular person might perform well in a particular match because either his teammates were performing well, or because the level of competitiveness was high, or because he/she was in a good mood etc. So, for making sure that the particular player is a really good player you need to see him in different matches and with different teams, competitors etc.

From this simple example it is essential for the leader to observe and examine the possible team members in different situations, with different group members and whether they are team-working types of employees or individual-working.

Do you think that the leader can identify every possible situation with different group members each time for analysing the performance of very employee?

I don’t think so. If you do think so I will ask you the following question: Have you been taught combinations at school? If yes, imagine how many different situations exist in an organization, how many different combinations of team members could be made (especially if the number of the team members is big) and identify how much time the leader should spend in observing in order to form the perfect team. If not then a simple problem is: From a group of 20 people, 3 people must be chosen to form a team. How many possible different teams could be formed? The answer is 1140 possible teams. Imagine if we consider also the different possible situations.

For a leader, forming a team might be an easy decision to make and not as complicated as I presented it to be, but the performance of the team might not be as high as the leader is expecting it to be.

What I would suggest, and correct me or comment if I’m wrong, is that a leader shouldn’t spend too much time in identifying the members of the team but how the selected team members will deliver the highest results possible (like team building activities, training etc.).

Team building

February 11, 2012

Thoughts and reflections

Leadership team

Leadership & Excellence module has come to its end, leaving me more confused than I was! For me that's not bad at all. It will make me challenge even more, ask, learn, try and so on.

There is nowhere a form who says how to lead, or let me correct, there is a form (like books etc.) who give advises of how to be an effective leader...........yes yes........ for stupids.

Leadership is not a specific process or a set of rules that everyone can follow and be effective. Since you have to deal with different people thus, different personalities and different attributes; and with different situations , the leading style and the why you handle it is different or at least is changeable. For example, even for a particular situation you might be an autocratic for a particular group of people, then you might see that you need to be more democratic and the opposite way around.

What you need to do? First ask yourself what do you do, in real life, in a situation that you are not familiar with and I'm not talking about leadership but for, let's say, family situations etc. For example, what did you do when you first came to UK for studies away from your family? I will tell you what I did! I was making assumptions before I come like: I will be depressed, it will rain everyday, I won't succeed etc. Guess what? All of them were fault! Or at least until now! What I had to do? A suggestion would be "wait and see"! But "wait and see" doesn't determine how you should react. Another suggestion is to identify possible things that might happened and prepared for them! But since you were still in your countries you could only be prepared emotionally. You could also make a research to make your future more predictable (e.g ask tutors, ask previous students etc.) but again the future is not completely clear for you because the way you face situations and the situations that you will face may, if not for sure, be different from other people. So, if something is new for you and you don't know what to do ask, try to understand but again don't rely on your research a 100%! Be ready and prepared to change and don't stop absorbing information and stimuli from the environment.

For future leaders: Are you prepared for it?

Is it a leadership issue?

On 11th of July 2011, 98 containers of explosives that were being stored for 2½ years in the sun on the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base near Zygi (Cyprus) self-detonated. In other words, they have been exploded because of a fire started near the containers.Fotini Savva

The Evangelos Florakis Naval Base explosion was the worst peacetime military accident ever recorded in Cyprus.

The resulting explosion killed 13 people, 12 of them immediately, including the Commander of the Navy (Cyprus's most senior naval officer), the base commander, four navy personnel and six firefighters, while a further 62 people were injured. The explosion severely damaged hundreds of nearby buildings including all of the buildings in Zygi the island's largest power station, responsible for supplying over half of Cyprus' electricity. As a result, much of Cyprus was without power in the immediate aftermath of the incident and rolling blackouts were initiated in order to conserve supplies.

As a result of the incident, the Cypriot Defence Minister and the Commander-in-Chief of the Cypriot National Guard both resigned. Angered by the government's failure to dispose of the munitions, which had been seized in 2009, several thousand citizens staged demonstrations in the capital Nicosia and other cities, every day in the week following the accident. The EU prognosticated that the cost of the explosion could be just over 10% of the country's economy.

Is it a leadership issue?

13 families were grieving because of a mistake??? Families

I heard that when they place the containers in the sun they’ve been told by the government that they were safe, nothing could happen to them. And who commanded the firefighters to go near the containers and try to cool them down since they knew that they were about to explode?

So if you ask me if it was a leadership issue then without a second thought I will say yes!! The problem is not whose fault was but, is justice attributed?

No not yet. And if you ask me will never be! Why? Because government was involved that’s why!! Not fair at all!

Dear government, Mr. President, you want a society without crimes and you perform a democracy thus, you contemn criminals and thugs; now that is your fault what will happen??? The lives of 13 people have been lost and you don’t undertake your responsibilities??? Why? Because you have the power in your hands?

I hope when I’ll become a leader I will be as fair, respectful and sincere as I want the others to be to me!! And I’m sure I will! It requires a lot of guts, comprehension and courage for achieving it, but I’m prepared for it!

For YOU future leaders: Are you prepared for it???

For the families: I hope it will be light the pain that burdens your soul!

February 09, 2012

Ownership is with the “Coachee”

Why is it better or more preferable to get the person find out the solution instead of giving the solution?

From what I've xperienced is that if the person gets through a procedure for identifying a solution he/she adopts and accepts it much more easier than if the solution is given to him/her.

The solution you find by yourself it convinces you more and is more likely to be achieved by you. That is because if a person advice you and give you a possible solution this might not be achieved since the third person might not know the situation better than you. Also, you might not try enough because if you won't solve your problem you might say "it was his/her fault for giving me wrong advices and solutions". In the other case, if it comes from you you can't say anything like that because it was you who suggested the solution. You acquire ownership on that solution!!

So if a leader manage to get his followers through a procedure like this it is more likely that they will improve their thinking and thus might improve their performance.

February 08, 2012


What about coaching?

Well I would like to talk about it because I found it quiet interesting. It makes you see life from a different view. Based on my understanding coaching is the procedure where a coach helps the coachee to analyse a problem, explore, and find solutions to it. However, behind that procedure too many lessons could be learnt from both sides (coach and coachee)!

Well, I don't want to discuss about what we've learnt from the exercise because we've already discussed it in the class. But I would like to share my thoughts.

The exercise we've experienced in class when the coach's job was only let's say to discuss and ask questions the coachee for making him understand the problem and find the solution, remind me another situation. Imagine when a friend asks for your help for a particular problem that he is facing. Then, you, as a good friend, start to ask questions to understand the problem and then you advice your friend what to do because you see the problem as a whole, you are calm and you can analyse the situation better...while when YOU are facing a problem you can't find a solution to it. And sometimes the solution it might be in front of you. It might be because you engage feelings on it, or maybe because you are living it and you are not getting in the procedure to ask questions to yourself and understand better the situation. You see it as a "mountain" but it is not a mountain at all.

So what do you think about it?

Not convinced yet!

I'm not convinced yet!

We've discussed today that for a leader to be an effective leader he/she first must have the WANT! I was thinking of a case that a leader might not have the WANT but again might be effective. So imagine in a real working environment the manager forms a team for performing a project. Then he picks a person for being a leader. The person might not want to lead but his a really passionate person and persisted with his work and he really wants to achieve the goal that the manger set him, for recognition or other personal reasons. Also, he believes in the power of the team.... This person might lead and be effective for personal reasons but it might be not because he wanted to lead!!!

Please feel free to comment and challenge my view!!! I'm really curious!

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