All 8 entries tagged Excellence

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March 21, 2014

Goal Setting theory, is it useful?

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Goals setting theory is a motivational theory that helps in sustaining and improving performance. Assigning of goals would direct attention of your team towards what needs to be accomplished. Goals would help in boosting the energy levels of the employees. High energy levels would result in greater motivation levels and increased persistence to achieve the assigned goals. Goals may encourage strategy development and action plans being prepared and implemented within the teams.

It is very important to note that specific goals are more efficient compared to general goals. Goals that are hard but accepted by the team may result in the team accomplishing them. But it must be noted that if the goals are not realistic then it may so happen that the task is not completed. In order for goals to be effective they need to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, result oriented and time bound). If goals are measurable, then only can the performance be evaluated. When employees know that their performance will be evaluated against their goals, the effect of goals increases. Another important fact about goal setting is feedback not just when the task is completed but also during. This allows the person to understand the areas of improvement and strengths resulting in improved performance. Upon completion of goals, rewards and recognition is needed to keep the employees motivated to achieve more demanding goals in the future.

In order to foster teamwork, team goals must be assigned rather than individual goals. This will allow the individuals to work together as teams rather than compete against each other. Team results will start showing improvements. Sometimes making the teams compete each other for rewards may also be helpful but the employees should always be reminded of the fact that only healthy competition is favorable.

But goal setting has a downside to it. Goal setting is a technique that is known to be very dangerous for organizations in the past and it may cause unethical behavior, inhibited learning and decreased intrinsic motivation. It is essential for the leaderto specify exactly how he expects his team to achieve the goals. The leader has to put special emphasis on ethical behavior.

In order to avoid situations where teams could do anything to achieve their aims, teams that are not successful in achieving their goals should not be punished. Rather, it would be better if feedback were provided on their performance. In addition, it will be great if the reason behind the team not achieving the task is investigated and lesson is learnt from their failure.

For instance, if the goal was not achieved due to the goal being unrealistic, then goals could be set again based on what the team thinks is achievable. If they still fail to achieve the goal, then there must be something else that is going wrong, as they were the ones who set the goals for themselves. This means proper investigation of the reason behind unsuccessful tasks must be done in order to understand why the teams failed.


March 20, 2014

Manager and Leader… Different or the same

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Is leadership very different than management? There are conflicting views about this. Some authors believe a manager can never become a good leader as he would not know how to inspire and influence his team. Moreover, a leader has the ability to create a vision whereas a manager is responsible to implement the vision.

According to Harvard business review article that I read today, a manager was made a leader of a business department and he was heading 3000 employees. He had a lot of difficulties heading the department as he was focusing on the areas that he was comfortable with and was ignoring areas that he was not a specialist in. The article proves that a manager needs to transform himself to become an effective leader.

Quote from the article

“They must learn to move from specialist to generalist, analyst to integrator, tactician to strategist, bricklayer to architect, problem solver to agenda setter, warrior to diplomat, and supporting cast member to lead role.”

This clearly shows the difference between the two roles, i.e. leadership and management.

However in my opinion in order to become a good manager, one should be an effective leader, as he is the one who is leading his own department. I agree that heading a department and leading an organization is very different. But if a manager is taken from the department and asked to lead the organization he would be able to do it. Why I say this is because he knows how to lead, it is just that the role is very different. Tapping into the role will take him some time, but if he was an effective manager, he will be a good leader. He will just have to go through the transformation that is mentioned in the article. If he successful in the transformation, it will be very easy for him to lead the organization.

Thus I end by saying that a manager is a leader of his own department. Leadership is a function of the leader, group members and situational variables. A manager is in a very different situation compared to the leader, this does not mean he will not be an effective leader. It just means that if the situation changes he will need to adapt to the new situation. He will be a great leader if he adapts quickly.

What does everyone think?


February 21, 2014

Should a leader take all the stress?

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

The position of a leader is one of the most stressful one in any setting. A leader is under constant stress of meeting deadlines, accomplishing the tasks, resolving conflicts within the team and keeping the team motivated. As a leader of one of the student’s society in my university, I experienced that stressful position. Not only your team members but others around you expect a lot from a leader. The spotlight on the leader sometimes puts the leader in a very stressful situation.

The way I dealt with stressful position was that I would try to deal with stress alone and not tell any of my team members. Some students had just joined the society as executive VPs in order to show it on their CVs. They were not interested in working for the society, and would work very half-heartedly. I had told each member to keep themselves free every week on one specific day and time. One week everyone forgot about the meeting, as it was thanksgiving, even the person who was supposed to remind everyone of the meeting. I called that person and reminded her about the meeting, only to find out that she had kept a thanksgiving dinner at her house and completely forgot about the meeting. I called other team members and found out that they all had other commitments for the evening. I was a bit irritated by the fact that everyone forgot about the meeting since we had to take very important decisions during that meeting. I had to cancel that meeting and so no decisions were taken as a group. I took the decision about the next event and planned it out myself. Unfortunately the event had to be canceled due to rain. In the next meeting, my co-president got into a heated argument with one of the team members. I had to get involved to stop the argument. The meeting continued but once I left I got a phone call from that particular team member that she was resigning. I tried to stop her but she was very adamant so I stopped convincing her to stay. As soon as she left there was a little tension in the group. Some members lost their motivation and one of them stopped attending meetings. There was one more resignation from another team member later during the year. I would just like to add that I was friends with all the team members before I started working with them, which is why we sometimes had very informal meetings. During the year, I went through all these rough times, but I refrained from discussing the issues with my team members who were still motivated. I had stopped delegating work to the members who were not interested and started taking care of that myself along with other members who still showed some interest. We managed to pull of a great year, ending with a great end year party and a large sum of money was donated to a charitable organization. It would not have been possible without my team member who were with me till the end. If I look back at that year, it was a tough time for me, but I would say I handled the pressure well. Even though I seemed under pressure I would do my best to not show my team how stressed I was.

When this topic came up in class, I wondered whether I should have shared my state of pressure with my team or not. And after our discussion I can say that it is the urgency of tasks that needs to be shared within the team and not the stress. There are some people who don’t handle stress well, hence they must be told how important the task is and its urgency. A cool leader can get the most creativity out of his team whereas a stressed leader would only result in fearful team members who would be afraid of the consequences of their actions.


February 20, 2014

Is there a solution for office politics

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Politics, why would someone indulge in such a dirty game, be it in an office, family or any other setting. The answer to this is very simple, to gain power over a group or against a certain individual. Next question would be, why would someone want power!? Another simple answer, because of human nature and psychology. Yes it is not true for all human beings, but every group of individuals may have one particular person who indulges or get his hands dirty with politics. He is the one who spreads this disease in the group and influences others to get involved as well. This particular action results in many conflicts within groups and between different people. So what is the solution for this, how must a leader deal with politics within his team members?

This was our topic of discussion during the seminar. This particular discussion led to another question in everyone’s mind in class, can politics be eliminated or not? Some held the views that politics is inevitable whereas a few people thought that elimination of politics is very much possible. The reason for the first view was that, since it is believed that it is human psychology to indulge in politics, it is very hard to get rid of politics. However, they believed that promoting equity within a group could definitely mitigate politics.

The top management develops every office culture. This means that if politics exists within the office it has started from the top management and then transferred down the prism of hierarchy until it reaches the lowest level employees. This results in every employee to get involved in office politics. Top management starting with the CEO must try to refrain from politics. This would suggest that none of the top management is power hungry. As a culture of harmony is developed at the top level, it would certainly be seen as a culture through out the office resulting in zero politics within the organization.

Both views are correct as both are backed by their own justification and reasoning. I personally believe there is definitely a solution for politics. CEO must keep an open mind for everyone; he must refrain from favoritism or talking behind any other employees back. He must act as a role model for his top management to follow. As the top management is the immediate team of the CEO, it is the CEO responsibility to ensure none of the senior managers are power hungry. Only then will the office be free from politics. However, these are my views and are open for discussion.


February 19, 2014

Coaching: A tool of leadership

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Coaching is a very important aspect of leadership. A leader must know how to coach in order to lead his team effectively. It can be said that coaching is a tool that a person could apply in order to practice effective leadership. Two important abilities of a good coach are listening and communication skills.

Coaching is not about training or teaching. It is in fact a process through which a coachee generates a solution to a problem he feels that he faces. Coachee owns the concept, as he knows the answer to the difficulty he encounters. But in order to share a problem with the coach, the coach must create a safe environment in which anything could be discussed. This is done through the development of trust between the coach and the coachee. Coaching is a process through which the coach empowers the coachee with the independence of being his own coach. The process of discovering and exploring that the coachee goes through during the period he is being coached enables him to be his own coach. This would allow him to not return to be coached again if he encounters a similar difficulty.

A coach must put himself in the shoes of the coachee and feel the bit of their pain, in other words empathize with the coachee in order to deeply understand the difficulty he faces. In addition, a coach must ask questions in order to lead the coachee to explore his options. The process of coaching is about solution generation but only from the coachee and that he only must explore the situations. The consequences of their decision, allow them to play with their solution.

A few important steps of coaching and aspects of behaviour of the coach and the coachee.

  • Coachee must explore their issues.
  • A coach must let the coachees go if they do not feel like discussing.
  • A coach must ask the coachee if there is anything else he wants to talk about.
  • A coachee will eventually select the solution that they are happiest with.
  • The most important step of the process of coaching is to enable the coachee to develop detail about how to implement their solutions.

February 17, 2014

Does leadership style matter

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

It was very surprising to note one very important aspect of leadership. Each groups performance varied with the different styles of leadership. This means each and every leadership style plus the leader’s actions determine how well a team will perform. The exercise given to us today was that each team leader was given a specific role to play. There were a total of four roles, charismatic, lazy, autocratic and democratic. I was one of the team leaders who had to choose one style. I wanted to try and act as the lazy leader just to see what happens. Luckily, I was given the lazy role to play. During the activity, I did not give any input into the task. All I did was brief the group and then I left them on their own. When they asked me what I thought about their design of the tower they had to build, I replied by saying its up to you all, you are free to choose any design. They realized that I would not be their guide through the process of making the tower, thus they did not ask me for my opinion again. It was nice to see how dedicated my team was. They were working very hard, however they lacked one important thing; direction. They did not wait to choose whether to make a creative tower or a tall one, they rushed into making the tallest one. They started to make holes on one side of the cup, which later had to be destroyed, as their first design did not work. Then they finally decided to put one cup on top of the other and constructed the tower, which was reasonably tall.

The most important lesson that I learnt from this activity was that the leader is responsible for giving the team direction, keeping the team motivated and determined. The leaders behavior and attitude shapes the behavior and attitude of the team members. Every leadership style can play a role in influencing the performance of the team. But, this does not mean that a lazy leaders team will be the worst to perform. It could be that every member in the team is responsible enough to perform which is why leader faded away. The team could still perform the best without an active team leader. This means that every situation is different and every team leader must adapt to the different situations and change his style of leadership depending on his team members. If the team members do not like a lot of interference, then the leader must refrain from doing so, as too much interference may lead to poor performance.


Does leadership style matter

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

It was very surprising to note one very important aspect of leadership. Each groups performance varied with the different styles of leadership. This means each and every leadership style plus the leader’s actions determine how well a team will perform. The exercise given to us today was that each team leader was given a specific role to play. There were a total of four roles, charismatic, lazy, autocratic and democratic. I was one of the team leaders who had to choose one style. I wanted to try and act as the lazy leader just to see what happens. Luckily, I was given the lazy role to play. During the activity, I did not give any input into the task. All I did was brief the group and then I left them on their own. When they asked me what I thought about their design of the tower they had to build, I replied by saying its up to you all, you are free to choose any design. They realized that I would not be their guide through the process of making the tower, thus they did not ask me for my opinion again. It was nice to see how dedicated my team was. They were working very hard, however they lacked one important thing; direction. They did not wait to choose whether to make a creative tower or a tall one, they rushed into making the tallest one. They started to make holes on one side of the cup, which later had to be destroyed, as their first design did not work. Then they finally decided to put one cup on top of the other and constructed the tower, which was reasonably tall.

The most important lesson that I learnt from this activity was that the leader is responsible for giving the team direction, keeping the team motivated and determined. The leaders behavior and attitude shapes the behavior and attitude of the team members. Every leadership style can play a role in influencing the performance of the team. But, this does not mean that a lazy leaders team will be the worst to perform. It could be that every member in the team is responsible enough to perform which is why leader faded away. The team could still perform the best without an active team leader. This means that every situation is different and every team leader must adapt to the different situations and change his style of leadership depending on his team members. If the team members do not like a lot of interference, then the leader must refrain from doing so, as too much interference may lead to poor performance.


February 14, 2014

Why is a team leader important?

Writing about web page Leadership and Excellence

Having a leader in the group has changed the group dynamics a lot. The previous groups where there was no leader was very different as compared to the current group in which we have a leader. Following are the differences I have noticed while working in a team with a leader.

  •  Proper direction is chosen and given by the leader
  •  Leader tries to get all team members to participate
  •  The goals of each meeting are set before the meeting
  •  Every voice is heard and conflicts are reduced due to the leader creating a sense of harmony within the team
  •  Delegation of tasks is very effective
  •  Feedback given and received from team leader motivates the team as a whole

Prior to this when we worked without a leader, there were some members of the group who wanted to take the leaders position, however it was not possible since it could result in conflict. When the leader is chosen within a team, it signifies that one person is superior who has the ability to make decisions. This gives the team a sense of direction, but only if the leader has certain qualities. The most important one is to move with the team, not ahead of the team nor lag behind. It is the leaders responsibility to ensure each and every team member is keeping up with what is going on. In addition, each member must feel that they are valuable. If this is done, it will be very easy for the leader to tap into the inner person of the team member and get the most out of him.


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