All entries for February 2016

February 26, 2016

Some reflections

- Leadership is hard. It needs special characteristics, skills, styles, phylosophy, knowledge, values, principles and so on in order to work effectively.

- Everything starts from the vision. Vision is over the horizon. The vision needs to be set from the beginning to show the right direction and the goals, where the team needs to go to achieve that vision.

- Sometimes it is better to step back. And just watch. Observe people, observe the process. If we see people's behaviours from outside, conflicts between people, ect., we can have some suggestions or ideas how to improve.

- Time management is crucial.

- Leaders should know how to deal with failures. Leaders should never blame the team members but only himself/herself.

- It takes time to assess the skills of the team members.

- Giving and getting feedback is important in order to see our strengths and our areas of improvements.

- Leaders should take attention to every details accurately.

- The success of a project is based on the team members.

- It is significant to give space to the team members to come up with new, creative, innovative ideas.

- We should treat others in a way we would like to be treated.

- A good leader disposes of honesty, integrity, transparency and authenticity.

- Leadership without ego. Leaders need to put their ego on the side if they would like to gain support from the team members.

- The leadership style depends on the situation, followers and on the characteristics of the leader.

- Effective leaders can achieve the voluntary work of the employees.

- Good leaders are continuously learning and they are grown to become leaders.


Coaching

Coaching is about unlocking someone's potential. Coaching is not about you, but about the coachee. Coaching is NOT about giving direction or setting up goals or telling people what to do. But it is more about making people take their own responsibility about their problems or issues. Coaching is about helping. Helping people to open up to the coach, to gain trust and build a relationship between the coach and the coachee. It is about helping others to solve their own problems by questioning them about when? what? where? how?. It is also important to emphasize the avoidance of why questions, because they are challenging. Coaching is not giving guidance but getting the coachee to realise his/her own solution to the problem. We should never give examples from our own experience. Coaching is about gaining commitment and making sure that there are available resources to be able to solve the problems.

Before the coaching sessions, I thought that a coach should have some similar characteristics as a leader but coaching and leading are two different approaches.


February 23, 2016

Hotel Simulation

Firstly, I have been given a task to be the observer of my team which means that I wasn't able to contribute to their decision making, I couldn't suggest any ideas, I just had to sit back letting them doing their tasks, observe and listen. It was very difficult for me, because I like to express my thoughts on different tasks and give suggestions how various problems can be solved. However, I have learned a lot by observing their behaviour and their way of thinking. Sometimes in life we need to step back and see what's going on without our contribution. Sometimes we also need to step back to move forward.

Secondly, because my role was a deputy manager, when the general manager had to travel abroad, I had to take his role, but there was a twist in this exercise, I had to leave my team and join to another one as their general manager, when their hotel was already running and producing a huge loss. This was a challenging situation, especially, because I didn't know what was going on and I had to ask all the details from the team members. The first decision wasn't great and we produced even more loss. Then I realized that we need to have a drastic change in order to develop and get back to the right path. I tried to encourage this team that we can do better, we need a different way to get out from this situation and we are able to improve our occupancy level. In the last three quarters, we have made the right decisions, we reduced our loss from like -$168.000 to -$32.000 which was an incredible change and we also increased our occupancy level from 31% up to 80%. We didn't win the game, but I think we have won much more - inspiration, motivation, teamwork, collaboration, enthusiasm and "can do" attitude. Nothing is impossible. I am very grateful for all the feedback I have got, I know I still need to improve on some areas, but this life is a continuous learning process. And I am learning new things every day. :) Thank you very much team. Everybody has done a very good job.


Leadership in the jungle

The lessons learned from the jungle exercise:

- Leaders should follow their values and principles.

- Leaders should be more persuasive about their decisions.

- We need to get rid of the "blaming culture".

- Honesty and integrity highly contributes to the morale of the team.

- Leaders are making decisions for a greater good.

- Leaders should engage all the creativity of the team members.

- Voting is not always the best solution to make a decision.


Leadership style

It was very interesting to observe different leadership styles yesterday. Especially, when someone had to play a role what he/she didn't prefer or not even close to his/her personality.

In terms of an autocratic leadership style, the leader has total authority and takes control over all decisions and his choices are typically made based on his point of views or judgments. Personally, I believe that in some situations when control is necessary, this is can be an effective leadership style in order to make sure that the job is done in time and correctly.

I think the most effective leadership style is democratic, because it allows the individual team members to express their own opinions and suggestions freely and discuss the tasks openly in a team. The leader can encourage the team members to share their own ideas and the decision is made based on everyone's contribution. This leadership style can bring out the best from the team members.

Laissez-faire is the opposite of authoritarian leadership style which means that the leader steps back and leave the team members to do their tasks in their own way. In our group exercise, the team with this leadership style won the most creative castle prize, although according to some researchers, this leadership style leads to the lowest productivity of the members. The power is handed over to followers and the team members are expected to solve their tasks on their own. This leadership style can also be effective if the team members are highly-skilled, motivated and having the right knowledge. However, in some situations people need to be led by the leader and they need to receive guidance in order to know what are the requirements from them.

In case of a charismatic leadership style, the leader is able to inspire and engage people through his/her vision without authority or power. Charisma is conceptualised as a personal characteristics of the leader that helps the leader to gain trust from the team members and influence and persuade them to follow by motivating them and by communicating the vision effectively.

All the above mentioned leadership styles have got advantages and disadvantages and their application depends on different situations, followers and leaders.


February 21, 2016

Employee loyalty

In this fast-paced, rapidly changing business environment that focuses on profitability and productivity, the HR has a crucial role to build loyalty in the employees. Kumar and Shekhar (2012) note that there is a connection between loyal employees and business success. The commitment of the employees drives to employee loyalty. According to Reichheld (2001), loyalty is "the willingness to make an investment or personal sacrifice to strengthen a relationship". Employee loyalty can be measured in the willingness to remain with the organisation, the productivity that exceeds normal expectations, the behaviour of the employees, and also the organisation's loyalty to the employee. However, organisations cannot expect long-term employment or a lifetime job, especially in case of the Millennials, when they are changing jobs every 1-3 years. Loyalty is a two way activity. Organisations need to earn employees' loyalty by creating a stable, fun and challenging workplace. Kumar and Shekhar (2012) describe 9 steps how to retain employee loyalty:

1. Offering more than just a job - career development, trainings, new learning, motivation, ect.

2. Compensations - competitive salary

3. Empowering employeer - promoting team spirit

4. Trainings and development programs - invest in the employees

5. Sharing the vision - communicating the company's vision, mission, goals, direction, decisions

6. Challenge employees - high expectations

7. Recognition and reward - positive feedback

8. Finding common ground - aligning employee's career development with the company goals

9. Get to know the employee as an individual - get to know employees' relationships with their colleagues and managers.

In order to keep employees, organisations need to align the career growth of the employees with the goals of the company, the work needs to be challenging and needs to offer autonomy, the employees' values need to be highlighted and linked with the organisation's mission and a competitive package needs to be offered by the organisation. In addition to this, employees need to feel that they are contributing to something significant to the organisation.


February 19, 2016

Promotions and firing policy

Jack Welch was the CEO of GE between 1981 and 2001 and during his career he made GE as one of the most valuable company in the world. Although, he also said that "the company that bets its future on its people must remove the lower 10% and keep removing it every year". Which means that GE introduced forced ranking (vitality curve) that differentiated people into three categories: the top 20% got promotions, the middle 70% were essential workers and the bottom 10% had to leave the company. If we take into account Deming's SOPK, forced ranking is totally against it. Forced ranking creates fear in the working environment, it creates competition instead of cooperation that kills teamwork, it can have negative effect on the individual performance. The psychology of getting fired will cause stress and worry amongst the employees and it will decrease the job satisfaction. It can also be detrimental to the morale because people won't be enjoying going to work anymore.

Although, according to researchers, force ranking creates a high performance culture in a company which can lead to better production and better profitability. Employees will get feedback about their performance and the most talented employees will be always selected. Furthermore, the best employees will receive rewards or bonuses.

I think forced ranking is good for the business, but not for the people. So Jack Welch is logical, that's for sure, but his statement is invalid.

Deming's theory is great, but real life is not based on theories. In real life people are differentiated according to their performance.


February 14, 2016

Men vs women leaders

Kip Tindell, the CEO of the Container Store in America stated three reasons why a woman is a better leader than a man. He suggested that women communicate better, they have got better empathy and emotional intelligence. He said that women are better in teamwork than their male counterparts, as well as, they hire the company's customers better than men.

Another American study shows that woman are better listeners than man, they are discussion oriented whilst men just want to take actions. Women know how to build cooperative relationships. They have strong business ethics and higher ethical standards. Women are far more patient with employees than men. Women are less likely to jump to immediate solutions or quick decisions than their male counterparts. Women also knows better how to activate passion in their employees, thus they can build loyalty, commitment and motivation better in their employees.

If we are looking into academic writings, Evans (2010) states that women has better interpersonal and democratic leadership style while men are more autocratic. Grossman et al (2015) note that women leaders are more cooperative than male leaders. Weidenfeller (2012) states that women are driven by a desire to control their destiny; they aspire to leadership positions with impact; they achieve influence through connection and collaboration; they initiate culture change while staying focusod on results; they apply slef-knowledge and resiliency to address challenges.


February 12, 2016

CG + CSR

Zoe's presentation was very interesting yesterday and highlighted some important points. For instance, corporate governance (CG) is unavoidable, it needs to be done for good business. The owners and the top management need to be aware of how the company's money is spent. We must take into account the legal compliances, the shareholders' obligations, risk management and the stakeholders' considerations for the public image of the company. CG is central to the business strategy and it can be found in a company's annual financial report.

However, corporate social responsibility (CSR) goes over and above the basic requirements of the business. CSR is the continuing commitment by business to positively contribute to the economic, environmental and social development of the resources. CSR can be strategic or value-led. It can be done in order to gain more profit, or companies can do it because they are believing in it regardless any financial benefit.

Sustainability can be good for the community and for the planet, but it can also contribute to the business success and the reputation of the company. We need to protect our environment, we need to be ethical but we also need to be profitable. We need to create a win-win situation where we can make a difference in the world.


Feedback

I think giving and getting feedback is an essential part in a development process of an individual. It is very important to start with positive thoughts when we are giving feedback for someone and our reflections need to be based on evidence(s). We need to be specific, objective, diplomatic, reasonable and polite by concluding the main points of the individual's performance. It is vital to gain the individual's engagement, so we can ask smart questions about how he/she felt about her contribution and where can he/she improve. I would also like to highlight the importance of confidence. We need to increase the confidence of the individual in order to be able to believe that he/she can do better. I believe that without an essential (high) degree of confidence, a very few people is successful in business.

In terms of accepting feedback, we need to listen to other people's opinion. We need to accept criticism and take notice of the areas of improvement. It is significant to use positive words to inspire people rather than deteriorating ones to emphasize weaknesses. Some of them can be the followings: achieving, appreciation, bright, brilliant, competent, confidence, determined, dynamic, efficient, engaging, excellent, fulfilled, generous, helpful, honest, intelligent....and so on until letter Z.


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