All entries for February 2012

February 27, 2012

I can't make decisions!

historic-information-and-quick-decision-making-21603946.jpgStarting the new module called Robust Decision Making seems an exciting way to start the week. By the end of the first day though, you can't resist to question all the ways you use to make decisions from trivial to serious ones. Thus, I found myself doubting for so many choices that I've done up till now and wondering how many times I made decisions with some kind of bias, without even know and realizing it!

All of us have a way of thinking which we have developed for so many years. And now we face in front of our eyes that there's great chance that most of the decisions we have made weren't based on hard facts! How frustrating is that? If you think about it for a while, is like your whole world being shattered...

As Jeff mentioned today, the 'problem' is even worse when leaders make decisions with bias and not based on solid evidences. Therefore, is it likely that when we are in similar situations, to be able to understand these biases and be willing to make decision in the right way?

I need to think so...

February 23, 2012

Coaching the leader

The purpose of our PMA is mainly to coach the CEO and one director of the company. Hence, we need to act astraining coaches to make them develop a more effective leadership style. In other words, we offer them some sort of leadership development program.

In fact, leadership development programs (LDPs) are very popular among organisations, as leadership is seen as a competitive advantage. Thus, providing leadership development to mid or senior managers within the company seems as a way to prepare them for future challenges.

However, coaching these people usually is something that happens once and not in a regular basis, like in the case of WaveRiders. Therefore, it's possible that the learning generated during the LDP to last only for a short time period and the leaders who have been trained won't apply what they've learned in practice.

February 20, 2012

Leadership is personal

Exploring the literature on leadership theories and on leadership in general the more I am convinced that leadership is a personal matter in the first place. So, if you want to become an effective leader, in case you aren't, you need to understand the need for change. And it's you, no-one else, that can do this for you. Of course, friends, collegues, team mates, family, consultants and so on can tell you some areas for improvements (as we call them here in WMG), but if you don't realize that you can improve your skills, nothing will change.

Each one is the leader of oneself. In this respect, we determine our path to a great extent. In practice that means that we are responsible for many things that we may not realize. Accordingly, when we will be in leadership positions, we will determine the luck of a department, its people and even the luck of an entire company. Thus, if we aren't the effective leaders that the circumstances will demand, it's never too late to become one. Only, if we realize that leadership is personal and the change starts from inside us.

February 14, 2012

How many leadership theories can exist?

question.jpgStarting working on my PMA I felt bombared with information about the leaderhip theories. I think that leaderhip theories follow in a way the pattern of leadership definition: There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept (Bass, 1981).

And I'm pretty sure that most of you will suggest that there's a logic behind it, that of people's personality. I thought about it as well and it's a good and sound explanation. But, according to the field of psychology an individual's personality can be explained or rationalised with certain models like the Big 5 personality dimensions and so on.

Therefore, I'm not really sure if there's a need for all these theories (without challenging the contribution of all those academics and not in this field). And if so, why?

February 11, 2012

The perfect leader

Now that the module is over and I had some time to think about it, I focused on my experience as the leader of a team. I had the opportunity to led many times and I'm thankful for it.

I want to focus on the fact that when my team won their feedback had only positive comments and no areas for improvement. And I was particularly interested to seek less postive feedback in these cases. On the other hand, when my team didn't win there were suggestions about improvement. I know that all cases were different as the team members weren't the same, neither the situation. I also tried to justify my 'perfection' with the fact that in that particular situation as the leader I had what my rest team wanted, whereas in the rest cases my team members wanted or expected more.

But my question is that: when everything goes well and your team wins or achieve a goal, is always with a perfect leader who hasn't a single area for improvement?

February 10, 2012

Being ourselves or being leaders?

Having completed the last activity within the leadership module, I was wondering if we actually have shown our true leadership style. In other words, I mean that since we have a friendly relationship with most of our collegues, I'm not really sure if when we led that style was how we lead in fact. This also applies to me, as well.

I think when we are going to be managers and we will need to lead a team, maybe our style is not going to be that open-minded and democratic. Because it would be about our real job and real tasks. Now we knew that we are in a safe environment and maybe we didn't want to hurt other people feelings or aquire a certain reputation, like autocratic or bossy and hazard our social perception. As friends we have usually another attitude, but as leaders we have other traits, and people perceive us differently.

Thus, although I believe that we learned a lot of things about ourselves, our skills and abilities and definately we changed our perceptions about what leadership means, I think that we haven't explore ourselves as much as we could or would like.

February 09, 2012

Loosing sight…

As humans we can lose sight of the point quite often. Either because we haven't thought about something or we don't have the knowledge or skills. And this fact is absolutely understandable. That's why we study and read, have our eyes open to understand and improve ourselves.

Like us though, companies can lose sight of their strategy and vision as well. Either because the vision is focusing on the short-term (a year or less) or because of lack of communication and understanding. In other words, companies instead of having a long-term vision about where they want to go or how the company should be perceived, they function and make decisions in the short-term. Employees also, are not aware of that vision and the way to achive it and how their job relates and enhance the overall vision.

Therefore, it is important that the vision and the strategy of the company is communicated throughout the whole company, so that it's been embedded and people can relate to it. Thus, when we will be part of an organisation, let's make sure that we understand the vision and mission and try to relate our work with it. That's the only way that both we and the company will benefit. For us because we do something that adds value to the company and gives reason and meaning to our job. For the company because it has employees that care about the organisation's well-being and contribute with their performance to achieve its goals. It's a win-win situation either way...

February 06, 2012

Respect the leader!

After some really interesting activities of the leadership module today and the discussion followed, Paul mentioned that leaders are not to be liked, but to be respected. And actually this is true!

It doesn't matter if you like or not the person who leads. But, in order the leader to be effective he/she needs to be respected by the followers. And respect is difficulty earned and easily lost! That is why some leadership styles might be more appropriate than others. Nevertheless, the actions that leaders do to gain their followers play vital role too. Followers need to be respected as well, and think that their opinion has the same value of that of the leader.

Leaders need to always bare in mind that when people respect and not fear them, it's likely to do their best, give that extra voluntary effort and ultimetly 'serve' leaders' purpose...

February 01, 2012

Why leadership means something different to each one

Today, after the presentations of the definitions of leadership I really understood the meaning of the followingleadership.jpg quote:

"There are almost as many different definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept" (Bass, 1981).

Since this course is comprised of people from all walks of life who have different background, understanding, thinking and so on, it is completely logical that leadership is perceived differently. As there is no right or wrong answer, everyone can interpret it as he or she wants.

However, my personal point of view is that only after we have a lot of experience we can really understand what leadership means to us. For now we need to stay open minded and learn the most we can. But when we are going to be in a leading position, then I'm sure that we will really understand the true meaning of leadership and thus we will create our leadership brand (i.e. how people perceive us as leaders and what we want to be known for).

February 2012

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