March 15, 2016

Effective leaders

Effective leaders know the people around them and their perceptions because they have got honest communication and understanding between them. Therefore, leaders will be able to get to know the needs and expectations of their people. It is easier to build a strong team when leaders know their people's values and goals. Effective leaders have vision and they know the strategy, purpose and goals of the company and they know how their people can fit into this picture. Effective leaders have excellent communication skills, they are inspiring, motivating and engaging people. Effective leaders take risks at the right time. Effective leaders know how to articulate their vision to their people in order to work towards the same direction. Effective leaders have values and principles such as integrity, optimism, transparency, honesty. Effective leaders are passionate, creative, confident and they are continuously learning.


March 12, 2016

Transformational leadership

Transformational leadership and visionary leadership relate to each other. Transformational leaders are energetic, passionate and enthusiastic to inspire their followers for positive changes and to work towards common goals according to their vision. Transformational leaders can gain admiration, trust and respect from their followers thanks to their characteristics such as charisma, passion, support, energy, determination and so on. There are four different components of transformational leadership:

- intellectual stimulation: to encourage creativity between the followers

- individualised consideration: thanks to open communications, followers can share their ideas and they can be recognised for their contribution

- inspirational motivation: according to the vision, leaders can motivate and inspire their followers by expressing them their passion towards the vision

- idealised influence: leaders can serve as role models thanks to the respect and trust from their followers.

I think that visionary leadership should work together with transformational leadership because in order to reach the vision, leaders need to make transformation in many areas: in themselves, in their followers, in their strategies, ect...


March 11, 2016

Robust Decision Making – Group Exercise

During this week, we as a group, have been given a case study to determine which location is better for WaveRiders for the production of inflatable boats, respectively, to choose which marketing channels we are going to use for the advertising campaign. Three important decisions had to be made: to decide whether or not continue with the new project, to choose between Lymington and Exmouth for the location and to choose between different marketing channels for advertisement. To address and analyse the problems, we as a group decided to do a SWOT analysis about the new product and decided to continue with the project. Another SWOT has been made for the two location to be able to compare their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. We knew that we had to use special decision making tools in order to make a robust decision. Therefore, we used a grid analysis, a cash flow analysis, a decision tree analysis and an AHP to decide between the locations and a SMART analysis to decide between the different marketing channels. Interestingly, our main concern was money related (costs) and maybe we should have taken into account other qualitative factors as well. Additionally, we could have done a better market research by using PESTLE to consider the economic, political, social, technological, legal and environmental factors as well that could help us in our decision.

I believe that robust decision making is more effective in a team where every individual can contribute to the brainstorming according to his/her capabilities and skills, especially when we have to make important decisions regarding to strategies, crucial change, investments, developments and so on. Every individual has his/her own point of you, suggestions, ideas that can be useful to make a robust decision. Our team has taken a democratic approach with open discussions by encouraging team members to share ideas, and then we synthesised all the available information about the case study in order to make the best decision. We all know, that everybody has got different thoughts, perceptions, ideas and judgements, but interestingly our team agreed and harmonised in everything without any doubts. Our group has been consistent in the decision making process, we were cooperative and flexible and our teamwork was very useful. We learnt a lot from each other, as everybody has got skills in different areas and we came up with some creative ideas, for instance 'a possible joint-venture with a Norwegian fisherman's company'.

Another important issue to mention is that we all decided about Lymington when we have got the case study at the first time according to our System 1 and our logic. And now, we had been able to prove the same decision with System 2 as well.

All in all, this study week provided me a framework how to make a robust decision systematically, effectively and comprehensively by taking into account various internal and external factors and by using different decision making tools in order to achieve the best outcome. However, we also need to consider anchoring and bias as well much better in the future.


Visionary leadership

A good vision which is realistic, attractive and credible can take a company to a better desired future (Nanus, 1995). A leader who has got passion about the vision, willingness and necessary knowledge to achieve this vision can inspire his team better towards common purpose and organisational goals. Some of the characteristics of a good visionary leader includes good communication skills, as he needs to communicate his vision effectively to his employees; charisma to help to engage employees towards the vision; optimism, because he can see opportunity everywhere in everything; good organisational skills; intelligent risk takers and strategic planners as strategies take the leader towards his vision. A visionary leader promotes organised learning, creativity and innovation, empower employees, respectively, creates a nice working atmosphere.

I believe that an effective leader needs to be visionary first, as everything starts from the vision. Employees need to know what is the goal of the company and the direction how this goal is going to be reached.


March 05, 2016

Leadership theories

There are a huge amount of leadership theories in the literature and their right application depends on many factors, for instance the experience, behaviour, knowledge, personality and characteristics of the leader, the actual business situation and the characteristics of the followers. I realised that someone can perceive and adopt a leadership theory in a totally different way than someone else because everybody expects something else from a leader.

I believe that in our case, one leadership theory is not enough to apply, as there are different theories that relate to power, style, traits, behaviour, and so on. I strongly believe that in order to be a successful and effective leader, different types of leadership theories need to be combined to achieve the best result.


March 03, 2016

Robust Decision Making

The first days of the RDM module helped me to realise that making a decision is much more complex than I thought. The judgement quiz showed me that our judgements are very poor and bias, because we normally rely on our senses and we do not see what we supposed to see. I normally listen to my system 0 and system 1 when I make decisions, because I am an emotional person, but in business and in other important cases I must use system 2 to make conscious, systematic and logical decisions. I got to know that there are different types of bias, for instance confirmation bias, representativeness bias, anchoring, social bias, ego based bias that all contribute to bad decisions. I also realised the importance of critical thinking before making decisions, because I need to understand the problem first, I need to take all the possible alternatives into account according to the information I have, and I also need to be aware of the potential effect of my decision.

However, there are different decision making tools that can help us to make the right decisions. For instance, the grid analysis can help us to choose the best possible alternative by weighting different factors. The risk analysis can help us to identify potential risks and ways how to eliminate or manage them. The decision tree analysis can give us a graphical picture about our decision and we can evaluate the best decision amongst the alternatives. Thanks to the SMART, we can identify alternatives and their attributes, the performance of each alternatives on each attributes by determining the weight of the attributes and make provisional decisions, then perform a sensitivity analysis. AHP is another powerful technique that derives priorities among criteria and alternatives by decomposing the problem into a hierarchy, by comparing and prioritising the criteria, by synthesising the results and by evaluating the consistency of our judgement. The soft system methodology takes into consideration human factors as different people interpret problems differently. These were just a couple of examples of many different decision making tools.

To sum up, it is significant to make decision using also our system 2 and to decide which is the right method to use in different problems and situations.


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.


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