April 28, 2013

KBAM: Awareness Workshop

The KBAM workshop we had on Monday afternoon on information, knowledge, and awareness was very insightful; it was an eye-opener to be honest as I have to admit that it was quite shocking to see how situations we refer to as “accidents” could be avoided provided we take some simple and necessary precautions. Often things we take for granted could be the line between safety and well-being, and hazardous incidents even resulting in serious injuries and loss of lives. The workshop reinforced the responsibility a manager or supervisor has in ensuring that an environment is provided where individuals acknowledge, understand, and implement the necessary steps to work effectively and put safety first and foremost. On the personal front, the workshop made me recognize the different stages and errors, and the importance to make conscientious decisions. This would definitely be very helpful in everyday life situations, and precisely when I enter the practical work environment. I will ensure that I take the time out to observe, monitor and understand the organizational processes first before I take the responsibility to carry them out, and emphasise the significance of safety at every level.

KBAM: Knowledge Sharing

I believe that knowledge management constitutes of all the activities which help create an environment in which individuals can learn, share, and develop knowledge. This is also in conjunction with EFQM’s definition of knowledge management. The emphasis on learning and then sharing is especially important because sharing knowledge constitutes a great deal to knowledge development at both an individual and collective level. As Dalai Lama said, “share your knowledge, it’s a way to achieve immortality”. From both an organizational perspective, and the world in general, the importance of learning and then sharing that knowledge for the wider good cannot be reiterated enough, and this is why knowledge management is such a significant topic.

KBAM: Wisdom, and how it is developed

When Maureen raised the topic on wisdom for the seminar, and how it is developed, we knew we were going to have an interesting seminar – and we certainly were not wrong.

It was apparent in the seminar that wisdom meant different things to different people. Some people attributed wisdom to God, with reference to religious texts, in that wisdom comes from God, and from knowing Him, whilst some suggested that wisdom constitutes of emotional and intellectual intelligence. Albeit we heard a variety of different perceptions and beliefs from individuals where wisdom had connections with both the emotional and practical realms, the overall consensus connoted wisdom as a positive thing. For me, wisdom is being morally, spiritually, socially, politically, and intellectually thoughtful of yourself and the world. Acquiring wisdom is something which does not happen overnight. It requires patience and lifelong reflection. It is something which is constantly developed and nourished throughout life, because being wise in one aspect of life does not make you wholly wise. However, once one understands the concept, it becomes a life changing process to make you the best possible version of yourself. Being wise does not mean one becomes infallible; we are humans: fallible beings, and therefore prone to error and mistakes. Whilst we must try our utmost best to ensure we take the necessary steps to avoid pitfalls and wrong decisions, we end up making mistakes at times. The essence here is the lessons learned from those mistakes. The difference in being wise and being unwise here would be whether one takes accountability of their actions and decides to not only learn from them, but also implement that learning, or whether one decides to stay ignorant throughout.

Practically speaking, developing wisdom, in my opinion, is a cyclical process which is applicable to any situation in life:

Plan – Check – Act – Reflect – Learn - Implement

April 22, 2013

Assumptions resulting in decision bias

Whilst it is difficult to have an open mind when one has already been provided with sufficient information, it is important to not form assumptions or speculations, whether positive or negative, because these could have an impact on our ability to make reasonable and robust decisions. This could, therefore, result in a decision bias, and hence a flawed decision leading to negative consequences associated with bad decisions.

Critical Thinking Skills

The ability to think logically, critically and rationally is known as critical thinking. It also encompasses the capability to engage in reflective thinking, which is a fundamental personal attribute and competency to have. To make robust decisions, it is substantial to acknowledge, understand and demonstrate the following prerequisites:

- Identifying the rationality in ideas, and making logical connections

- Identifying, formulating and critically evaluating arguments

- Detecting inconsistencies and incoherencies in arguments

- Solving problems systematically and strategically

- Identifying relevant and key information

- Critically reflecting on the justification of personal values and beliefs

The emphasis given to thinking logically cannot be reiterated enough.

April 02, 2013

Relationship with personnel

Whilst researching leadership, I came across an interesting and insightful quote, which I would share here:

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club

This instantly reminded and reinforced the fundamentals of transformational leadership, which elevates the aspirations of individuals and the organization as a whole by showing a genuine care about people and their development. Fostering the relationship with employees and/or followers has a positive influence on their values and corresponding behaviour resulting in increased motivation and, in effect, productivity.

The difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness

“The basic difference between being assertive and being aggressive is how our words and behaviour affect the rights and well being of others.” – Sharon Anthony Bower

A moment to reflect: We encounter certain situations in our everyday lives where we are held back from saying something because we fear that we might hurt someone’s feelings. Due to this fear, lack of confidence and perceived notion, many people have a problem being assertive. However, if people find it difficult to be assertive, it could be implied that other people are taking advantage of them in some way whether that is their personal or professional life. At times people assign us to do their grunt work even though it is neither our responsibility, nor are we their assistants. Helping someone is a different thing altogether, but if people are relying on you or because they know you will do the work, it would perhaps be important to reflect and learn how to be assertive. Being assertive and aggressive are two different things. Whilst aggressiveness is associated with negative connotations, assertiveness is a personal leadership skills that should be developed since it is imperative in today’s world.

April 01, 2013

The charismatic leader VS the transformational leader

Albeit on the surface it might appear that charismatic and transformational leaders have many similarities in common and the transformational leader may be regarded as a charismatic leader, they, however, have a fundamental difference with respect to their basic objective. Whilst the transformational leader emphasises change and has a foundational focus of transforming the organization, and perhaps the followers, the charismatic leader may not even intend to change anything at all.

Irrespective of the charm associated with charismatic leaders, it can be suggested that they may well only have personal self-interest and be concerned with themselves more than the followers. Charismatic leaders depict warmth and a pleasant persona which is very convincing and effective. However, underneath that outwardly magic and charm, there might not be anything that could bring substantial value. In addition to this, it is important to consider the values of the charismatic leader. If they are positive and well-intended towards the members involved, they have the ability to elevate and transform the organization. On the other hand, if they are motivated by self-interest, they can have a negative impact on the whole organization. Therefore, it can be argued that although they might be effective, it does not necessarily suggest that they are good leaders, which could imply they may really not be successors in the long run, especially once they have left. In contrast, transformational leaders believe in bringing about positive and sustained change.

Transformational leadership and impact on performance

Transformational leadership is generally associated with higher levels of performance. This is because transformational leaders depict a positive attitude by holding positive expectations for followers and entrusting and believing in them. This develops a relationship of respect and trust between leaders and followers and leads to higher levels of satisfaction, which in effect results in higher performance. Transformational leaders empower and stimulate followers by inspiring them to exceed their own goals and performance by acting as role models. Most importantly, the fact that they emphasise the attention and care to their followers with respect to personal needs and development make them all the more influential and successful.

The components of transformational leadership

The aim of transformational leadership is to transform groups and organizations by focusing on followers, and influencing and instilling motivation in them to achieve high levels of performance, and, in effect, develop personal leadership potential.

The four components of transformational leadership summarize the leadership theory. The leader acts as an ‘idealized influence’ by serving as a role model for the followers by practising what he preaches. Moreover, the leader is looked up to as an ‘inspirational motivation’. Transformational leaders have the charisma and ability to inspire and positively influence and motivate followers. Furthermore, transformational leaders give ‘individual consideration’ to the followers by demonstrating a genuine interest and concern in their personal work, contributions and needs. The personal connection with individuals and the attention given to them motivates them to work to perform to their full potential and brings out their best efforts. In addition, the final component of transformational leadership, ‘intellectual stimulation’, suggests that the leader challenges the followers to be creative and innovative. Thus, followers are constantly challenged to adapt to change and competition by surpassing expectations through performing to higher levels.

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