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May 02, 2011

leadership or not?

Follow-up to leadership dillema from Marcin's blog

A follow-up for my entry - I asked if leading friends when we were childern was really leadership.

I came across a view that 'leadership is a relationship' and it's defined as a cooperation based on communication between leaders and followers in a specific situation (Northouse, 2009, p. 3). In this case leaders are not formally assigned and the authority and influence are shared. This seems very like what I remember from my childhood - just having a good time with some friends. And it was noticed by the author that this kind of leadership is available to everyone.

Northouse, P. G. (2009). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

April 24, 2011

leadership dillema

I read one article which was related to leadership and I found one thing which was interesting. The authors mentioned at least 3 times a question:

why are there so few leaders?

the first thing that came to my mind was when Paul said that all of us are leaders as we lead others (i.e. friends, siblings etc) in our lifes. Going back to it, I must say I'm not sure if it was leadership or not. Well yes, we did it voluntary, we had a goal and led others to achieve it. But then, let's say 10 years ago, even if I was in charge I'm sure I had no proper strategy (or even a plan) to achieve the 'vision'. I'm sure it all happedned just because we had some will to act. However, if this was leadership, why was it so simple back then and now it's not that easy to lead friends anymore?

Referring to the article again they noticed something else. In a company, if we have one CEO who is our leader, he gets money for doing it. How can we check if s/he is doing it voluntarily or not? Does 'voluntary' bit matter or not as much as it is described in theory?

February 25, 2011

learning from being a follower

A great last day of the great module. Sadly though 'last' opportunity to lead. I wasn't lucky enough to lead so I had this sneaky plan to act as a 'Walking Dead' follower. I wanted to try something else but it wasn't an appropriate simulation to try even more tricky idea so I though I'll give it a try.

I'm always very active and cannot stop from speaking my 'brilliant' solutions and ideas (at this stage I must say you haven't experienced it fully yet, as my language is not that fluent yet and I have to pick up some slang - but trust me, in Poland I keep talking, most of the things are rubbish so I my stay in the UK is really beneficial as now I speak roughly only things that matter).

So how did it go? Well for the first our (out of 2 xD) I said nothing and I was just waiting till Awal is not clear or confused so that I could become an Urban Terrorist and ask tough questions. To be honest she was so clear that I sat there for an hour saying nothing - as I couldn't ask for more info. I feel that after 40 min we were ready to start working but if she wanted to carry on, that's fine (especially for Walking Dead person). Having such a great brief all that was left to plan and act.

So after this hour I was 'bored' enough and started contributing (she asked me to join earlier but I didn't, to make her put more effort ;). Later on we kept working till finish (that's too much to write about and we gave a feedback on that to her; plus that's not the point of the blog).

The point is that I learnt sth from Walking Dead approach and surprisingly it seemed to have a little benefit for the team - because I stepped back I wasn't making too much of a choas. Imagine all of us 'fighting' for a pen to write sth, this is very likely to happen if ppl really want to contribute. Sometimes it goes unnoticible and sometimes leader has to bring things to track. So my passive approach contributed to a more steady environment.

I know there are more issues with that approach than benefits but still a good lesson for other approaches - be aware when to step back - you don't have to do everything on your own to show you're a star!

February 24, 2011

coaching – enlightning session!!!

Coaching session was nearly excellent, why not excellent? The amount of time spent there just wasn't enough :]

It was the first time I came across it for real (for more than 20 second I mean ;). There were many interesting issues there and with 2 or 3 really important for me but that's a different story.

What was really enlightning (as I suggested in the topic) was that I found out the reason for poor time management which is a real issue for some managers at the place I work. Have a look at that:

if you give solutions (in opposition to suggestions for others to deal with the problems themself) you make people dependant on you = they keep coming back with every single case = they destroy your schedule = no time management at all (it's not possible)!!!!!!!!

Of course it's ok to help (regardless to schedule) but if you seem to be running the company on your own it's not how it supposed to be and you'll have no rest. Now I need some more insight at coaching :D:D

This does not seem like a rocket science, but you have no idea how important to understand the issue of time management was for me!! Knowing that at the beginning of my career is priceless!!
Lesson for whole my life that I'll remember, wow :D

Thank you for the session Graeme, cheers!!

February 21, 2011

tower exercise

'Tower exercise' - our leader was a laissez faire leader and she did a good job ;)

We were given complete freedom in action. What were the results? Quite ok, but it was most probably thanks to our good teamwork.

Some conclusions:

- not having the leader around is not good. why? In this way leader cannot establish connections with the team and in the long term we won't be able to develop any trust!

- no leader = no decision, as none of us wasn't sure what we were aiming for, was it height or creativity or what is the design we are going to build? No one could really say. In the end we came second in both areas but that was due to the fact that someone suggested doing an Eiffell Tower which everyone liked so the decision bit was sorted. But the first issue was still there. Our team dealt with that (thanks to some luck) as well - some were thinking about creative aspect, I kept thinking about height (altought their efforts were fine for me, and vice versa, so in the end if we had a nice design and no height at all I would still be happy for our achievement) so our tower was being developed in a twofold way (and in I wasn't stupid as I am and added third sheet of paper instead of two at the top we would have won; plus if other teams recognised it's an Eiffell Tower they would probably vote for our design, as indisputably it's a great design itself :P).

- huge creativity and no barriers = lots of good ideas

- no leader = no contribution of his/her (so we had less people on board ;)

All in all we had a good insight into leadership.

PS There were lots of positive aspects as well, but that's too much to write :D

post–seminar 1 thoughts

During our first seminar, when we were wondering how to manage strong personalities, Paul (based on our diagrams) suggested trying to engage others to manage them.

This word, one word - engagement - kept coming back to my mind throught my whole lunch break.

Engagement, engagement, engagement, leave me alone - I was thinking - it won't work anyway, get out of my head; it can't work, not with one guy I came accross at work! He keeps complaining he has no time for anything, even for important issues. Why would he bother to find time for my questions???

Now I guess, he should care, as at the end of the day we are in one business. Even if my goals are not so important in his understanding I think that even with my position I may make him come to my meeting. Then at the meeting I should try to engage him and show him our goals are common.
So this engagement really has some power, right? That's why it kept coming back to me (sometimes being crazy is beneficial). At the end of the day, trying to engage him is better than doing nothing! Like I heard the other day in Poland - delaying the journey won't make it any shorter...

On the other hand, now I have got one more issue, the way in which we try to engage other will have the biggest impact on our result. So knowing what to do is fine, but how to do it, it's another question... but I'll get there in the end. I will try with setting up a meeting, it's better than no action at all like I said.

Leadership for Business Excellence ?

During one of the exercises my mind drifted for a while to a following subject:

If leadership is way beneficial than management shouldn't we strive for becoming leaders? As a result, how come our course is called MANAGEMENT for Busniess Excellence if there is something better than management? Why do we keep on trying and learning all of this good stuff if even our course name is excellent yet? Shouldn't it be LEADERSHIP for Business Excellence?

I know it's just a title but if we are supposed to become leaders our title name should be about leadership, shouldn't it? Well actually no, not really. Maybe it could be named like that if it was able to. Why aren't we able to call it this way? It's simple for me, it can't as leadership (according to literature) can't be taught! If we had this LBE name, than even the name would show that our course is of no value, you know what I mean.

At some point during the class, I asked Paul if we should become only leaders. You know what he said? That we should be both leaders and managers at the same time and search for balance between them, depending on the situation. For me this is a second reason why the name MBE is fine for us :)

seminar 2

What techniques are there for managing cultural and organizational diversity?

The level of diversity in the companies has arisen since the beginning of globalization of the companies. Researchers found a number of differences between individuals, with cultural differences being well defined. The diversity, however, is beneficial as the wide range of cultures and experiences can enhance the business (Jabbour, 2011, p. 59). Hence this subject needs to be managed to increase benefits.

The first thing that comes to my mind, when thinking of managing the organization with cultural diversity, is mutual cognition. According to Lumadi (2008), as cited in Jabbour et al. (2011, p. 59), cognition aspects like acknowledgement of differences, acceptance and respect can be achieved by efficient diversity management. This in turn can be achieved by often and honest communication in order to clarify potential issues, improve cooperation and commitment between employees.

Jabbour, C. J. C., et al. (2011). Diversity management: Challenges, benefits, and the role of human resource management in Brazilian organizations. Equality Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 30, (1), 58-74.

February 20, 2011

seminar 1

How do you manage other leaders/people with strong personalities?

The answer for the above most probably lies in assertiveness. I attended a workshop (at Warwick – check it out it’s worth!) about being assertive where the tutor taught us some simple (and some not ;) rules of how to be assertive:

- believe in yourself to develop high self-respect and self-esteem

- posture – always stand firmly, with feet few cm one from another, and stand straight (but naturally!)

- voice - this is hard to explain without presenting – speak calmly, clearly in steady tone, but at the end of the sentence lower the tone

- assertive person supports oneself with negotiation – if you cannot achieve what you wanted in the first place (someone is too stubborn) you can try negotiation (but do not give up your intentions!)

- if someone is very bossy and gives you no opportunity to ask a question or say your opinion, wait till he/she takes a breath and in this second speak what you wanted (again, be firm and clear and the best way to achieve that is to have your question practiced, if possible)

Plus according to Townend (2008, p. 4), assertive situations stimulate working environment by development of curiosity between individuals about each other’s opinions.

Townend, A. (2008). Identifying and managing bullying in the workplace. Human Resource Management International Digest, 16, (6), 3-5.

February 14, 2011

BPR – when is 'enough' enough?

In a company that is undergoing BPR - how do they know when to stop BPR practice? You cannot keep operating using this approach all the time, can you? And if you wanted to stop after some goals are achieved (maybe we broke even), why would you need to operate in this ‘emergency’ state until you hit the target - say 10kk of profit.

Maybe if we are close to the goal it’s worth stopping this BPR condition and let people work in a stable environment? Hence there is a need of developing and establishing (on time - meaning straight after BPR is ended) a new approach for a new, robust strategy...

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