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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.

Transformational Leadership

A transformational leader takes control of a situation by providing a clear agenda and vision with regards to the goals and objectives. The leader demonstrates a remarkable passion for the work and possesses the ability and charisma to involve all members of the group, and transfer the same energy and passion in them to drive collective success. Transformational leadership is renowned for instilling positive changes in the followers. Transformational leaders are regarded as charismatic, passionate and driven. These leaders go beyond being involved in the process by connecting with every member of the group to ensure they succeed on both a personal and collective level. Due to the all-encompassing nature of this leadership approach, I believed it to be the best and most suitable and appropriate choice applicable for the current situation of WaveRiders, and transforming it into a successful company.

February 17, 2013

Leading your team

The ability to lead is vital to leadership success. Some people may seem born leaders, whilst some may have the potential to develop and polish the skills of planning, organizing, time management, setting goals and objectives, making decisions, solving problems, communicating effectively, along with being an all encompassing supervisor and a good negotiator. Amongst other vital qualities, it is not debatable that there is a need for good negotiating skills - that is, for a negotiator to influence others in positive and constructive ways, especially when you are a leading a team of different individuals. Leaders must work with their team by using the team's collective strength as well as exercising their own personal vision's strength, along with continuously reflecting. All of the above attributes, along with the self explanatory characteristics, such as honesty, integrity, and enthusiasm must be substantiated and demonstrated consistently so that followers believe in them and respect them.

The Bad and Evil: Dangerous Cult Leaders

Came across an interesting article on the dangerous traits of cult leaders, so thought I'd share.

Here's the link:

Is being an effective leader enough to be a good leader?

We all know from history that Hitler was a very effective leader. He had a vision and purpose, and he accomplished it masterfully. However, does that imply that he was a good leader? In my opinion, whilst being effective is important for a leader, it does not necessarily suggest that effective leaders are good leaders.

While most people define leadership as directing a group of a people towards a common goal, simply attaining the objectives makes one an effective leader, and not necessarily a good leader.

In my belief, the following are some of the qualities that distinguish good leaders from simply being effective leaders:

Good leaders think about the purpose and the creation of sustainable value, and not just emphasise the accomplishment of goals.

They are also responsible and ethical leaders. They believe in dignity, morals, values, principles, integrity, and in being just and fair.

Furthermore, good leaders believe in limiting collateral damage by creating a positive spirit and morale amongst followers. They do not leave followers demoralized and exhausted once outcomes have been achieved.

Moreover, good leaders place emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility. They use resources wisely and do not waste them, and they ensure that they are not causing environmental damage.

Good leaders do not just lead; they create a learning environment in which they share their learning experiences with their followers, and promote the same good values and practices in their followers. They are free from hypocrisy and practice what they preach first and foremost. They build the talents and skills of their followers and transfer good leadership attributes to their followers.

Therefore, being effective is not enough. Good leaders believe in sustainability and ensure their words and actions would result in their positive trajectory to uphold even after they leave.

February 11, 2013

CSR: Child Labour?

The topic of Corporate Social Responsibility, in particular our perceived definition of ‘responsibility’ seems to generate quite a lot of controversy. With respect to child labour, in reference to CSR, it is not arguable that it is morally reprehensible and often formidable. It not only keeps the youth away from education and schools, it also decreases their lifetime opportunities. By reducing the perceived worth of education, especially for young girls, it has corroding impacts on social cohesion. In my belief, there is no justification for child labour. Does a diamond ring not lose its beauty and charm if it is made at the cost of stopping a young child from going to school? While I would not disagree that some initiatives have been taken by governments and authorities as far as this issue is concerned, mainly in the form of speeches, it would be interesting to see some actual measures taken to eliminate (reduce to be on the realistic side) child labour prevalent in countries where much of the population exists at a subsistence level, and the economic and intellectual value of an educated population needs to be realised in order to hope for any positive growth.

Some would argue that many countries fail to offer much hope to an educated youth in terms of employment. This could be one reason behind individuals taking such route to employment at an early age, albeit I firmly believe that education, at least to a basic level, is always an investment; the costs are minor in comparison to the long term benefits. However, the existence of corrupt governments who prevent LEDCs from ever becoming a competitive threat by ensuring their children never receive a formal education sustain the market for child labour. It is similar to economic battery farming; keeping another nation alive with a standard of living only as high enough to be able to produce. Unfortunately, this will not change as long as there are customers for child labour produce and there is a dependence on being able to import cheap goods, although this seems to be a very short term solution, which potentially leads to longer term issue of secondary sector unemployment. These short term goals at the expense of deteriorating innocence and youth exploit more than they could ever provide.

The irony of this world baffles me because we are dismayed when catastrophes befall us, and gaze in awe when once prosperous nations become perished due to corrupt governments and citizens. Such is the tragedy of the world we live in, and we wonder why education is doomed to failure when the real world does not allow dreams to come to fruition. Only when we can afford to, or perhaps are willing to, eschew the economic contributions of these children, both at the importing and exporting fronts of child labour, we will be able to foster the investment in educating this population. Whether such a proposition is likely to be implemented, or "allowed" to be made possible in this case, is questionable.

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