All 14 entries tagged Leadership

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March 23, 2014

Followship, greatest asset of a Leader

Belbin is probably one of the most well known for identifying attributes of teams, almost hand-picking up based on different characters. But reality isn't like that. That does not mean, however, that we cannot mold the followship into the style we want them to be.

This is actually controlling the variable/situation into a favorbale one for the leader, which I believe is every leader's dream to have their own dream team, but I believe this is often misunderstood by choosing people to join the team, instead of molding the team you have into your style. I really believe the latter is harder but more rewarding, because you, the leader get to develop others through your own coaching/leadership style.

If you can accomplish this, then you can have a very effective team, but it doesn't mean it is only about the leader but ignoring the subordinates, it's actually about putting much more emphasis in the development of the subordinates in a particular style. This style does not mean it has to be pleasing to the leader, but it is in the same direction as everyone else

March 22, 2014

Can we create our own situations in leadership

Reading theories such as the contingency, path-goal, and situational theories, all seems to suggest one situation or another. But if you take a step back, the theories themsleves should be chosen based on the correct situation as well, right?

The fact that we have to choose the best theory to help WaveRider succeed again is in iteself, making us choose which theory best suits the situation, which IS what situational theory is. Because of this, i'm getting the idea that situaitonal theory is self-evident and every decision we make is based on what situaiton we are in, so the situational theory does not only apply to choosing the theory for WaveRiders or possibly using it for WaveRider's executvies, but applies to all circumstances in life.

A straightforward example would be 'what should I have for dinner?' If I just had chicken for lunch, I don't want to have chicken for dinner, but if I didn't have chicken for lunch, I would want to have chickenf or dinner. Therefore, the situation I am in is not wanting to repeat the choice of my meal and I make a decision based on that situaiton.

Bringing this further to the leadership context, Hersey & Blanchard suggests us to either be director or supportive depending on the situation, and breaks these 2 options down into 4 categories for us to choose from for each style (S1-S4, D1-D4). But exploring this idea, it seems that this is only confining the situations and reactions to the situation to what’s being proposed, but is it really possible to act within the scope of just D1-D4/S1-S4 for all the situations this world can shoot at us?

Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t agree more with the director Hersey & Blanchard is taking, but it certainly is just the tip of the iceberg for the bigger picture of leadership styles, which is truly all encompassing.

March 21, 2014

Contingency Theory – position of authority

Studying the contingency theory more and more, it seems to me that Fiedler tries to make the 'position of authority' a crieteria that a leader should be aware of, making it something they should acquire.

However, I firmly believe that the authority is more than just a title, but the result of one exerting knowledge, wisdom, valuable inputs, performance, and recieving respect.

These cannot be simply acquired by the leader themselves, but recognized by others (in a higher, equal, or lower position). I believe this form of authority, respect, is more reliable and effective because people are willing to listen to people they respect, but oftenly only act like they're listening to those who they are required to show respect to (superficially).

Position of authority can be gained in many straightforward ways, such as achieving targets, being old enough, knowing the right people at the right time, etc.

But gaining respect, I believe, is a different league of difficulty and can only happen if you first start by showing the respect, then gaining it from others who voluntarily respect you.

A leader who has respect from others is what we should aim for, not becoming a leader doing whatever it takes.

March 18, 2014

Signs of a failed leadership (con't)

Continuing from my last blog about indicators of leadership.

This time I want to mention an indicator that I believe means failure.

I recently discussed with my peer the roles of consultant firms. I personally felt that consultants are called in to solve problems. Problems that apparently cannot be solved by the experts working in the company who knows the people, culture, process, system, etc. best. So outsiders are called and paid monumental sums to help fix a problem in a company that cannot be solved. Who should be responsible for this? I point to the leadership, because generally only leaders can be the ones calling in outside help, which is seen as an option in improving performance or reducing problems.

So in perspective, the leader(s) failed to solve a problem, individuall or collectively, and decided to frantically seek help from strangers who clearly are not working full-time in this company but are paid large sums to come in and try to evaluable and apply a solution.

Some may say outside perspective is needed. However, what is the point of proper brainstorming/reflection within the company then? Isn't the purpose of brainstorms and 360 degree reviews meant to bounce ideas off of each other and get valuable insights form each other on matters that cannot be solved by themselves? So by calling in outside perspective, the leader has failed to pull out the heavily invested intellect within the organization that can give different perspectives.

There is only one condition that I believe requires outside help, just like legal matters. When entering new ares or industries that the company intends to become involved, the current expertise of the company may not be ready for the new envrionment, therefore, consultants or outsiders in various forms are called in to advise on these specific, expert matters.

This is not an attack on the industry, but an observation that is being overseen: that the failure of the leadership is being covered up by further investment from outsiders.

March 17, 2014

Indicators of good leadership

The results of a leader's performnace is often seen from the targets/objectives set and if they are reached or not. No matter which industry, this is true one way or another. I'mnot arguing that, but what i'm more interested in is if some occurences are the direct result of the leadership's performance or not.

For instance, the leader (in this case a marketing manager) has 10 members in his team, and 4 of them gets promoted within a year beceause they are performing extremely well, both while they were in the leader's team, and also in theri new team. Should there be some recognition that the leader is responsible for the success of his subordinate?

Another example, if an organization suddenly has a group of employees who decide to form a union, is this the failure of the leader (in this case, the CEO) to keep his employees happy? Or is it just a natural phenomenon in organizations in particular cultures to have groups of individuals who see it as a requirement to create a group in an organization as a preemptive move to protect the rights and well-being of the employees.

It seems that many occurences in an organization is often attributed to the leader right away, but because the situation is almost more complicated than it seems, the leader is turned into a scapegoat position. Also, the company might perform well because of many factors, and likewise, the leader is praised for the results.

I'm not trying to conclude any theory here, just observation, worth a thought.

March 15, 2014

True intentions of leader

Figuring out if the leader is in the positoin to perform at the expense of their team, or actually believing in the the team which will subsequently provide them witht he results, these are important questions that needs to be answered very early on.

After reading the different leadership theories, each theory clearly has its positives and negatives, but when thinking about it in real life, it seems that some leadership theories are very one-sided, such as a leader only telling the subordinate what to do (such as a directive leadership style) and when you think about it in real life, it is as if a leader is ordering the subordinate to do something just to get it over with. This style can go quite far, even suggesting that leaders are just ordering their subordinates so that the leader (or the team, with the leader as the face) will recieve recognition from their performance.

However, there are also other theories or leadership approaches that suggest the leader to only be involved with the subordinates for specific things only. This can be categorised as the more distant and passive approach, which can be seen as the leader not having any ambitions or wanting to be active, or the leader actually believing in the power of their team only requiring minor tweaks here and there to achieve their performance.

In both cases, I believe that any approach can be right/wrong and the theory can be disregarded even, because when it boils down to the reason behind the leader choosing which approach/style/theory - the intentions of the leader is the important factor. In the end, if the leader intends for individuals to succeed which will make the team succeed and hopefully themselves as well, they are willing to take whichever approach necessary to reach that target. However, if the leader has the intention to fulfil their own agenda only, they are willing to use whichever approach/style as well, but the end result will only be intended for themselves.

I believe that being able to identify and distinguish these intentions, including figuring out our own intentions from the very beginning, will draw the blueprint of how we will be as a leader.

February 23, 2014

Academic Leadership Training

Since the leadership module began, I knew we were in for a lot of reflection, which now I know is an important part of being a leader, so I started keeping bits and pieces of reflections of my views and feelings of being in a leadership course throughout the 2 module weeks.

As my frist full leadership training, there are a lot of differences to how leadership is learned in real life.

In real life, no one teaches you in such a methodological manner with such rich resources. It is fairly normal to have others who have been in the organization to coach you, but it will be mostly word of mouth and there is no credibility if the person intending to help you is saying what is actually true or correct. This is clealry different to the environment we were in, which all the resources are available, both literature and from each of us (from every reflection to the leader of each team, and at the beginning and end of each class). There is no agenda for these reflections and sharing of knowledge, while that may be different to the real life situation, which means the learning environment of leadership in real life is much more volatile and difficult to capture what is truly correct and can it be substantiated.

The opportunities we had to trial a type of leadership, such as being autocratic or being passive allowed us to see the different reactions and results of the type of leadership we can be (and possibly discover what suits us best). There is much more at stake when this is practiced in real life situations, because we might have a team we are responsible for and how we act will have a direct consequence, which may be temporary or may be permanent.

Lastly, being able to see the different types of leaderships from the leaders and deputy leaders switching between groups gave us a fresh style of leadership and really made a difference in our perspective of what we have been seeing from the same group for some time. This is one that can be very true in real life, because we are by no means in control all the time of what goes on around us, who we have to deal with, and if our bosses or subordinates change.

These are what I believe we can take from the leadership course experience, aside from the knowledge we recieved which is clearly just the tip of the iceberg.

Information Overload

Most of the leaderhsip exercises/simulations we did involved the leader taking in a lot of information in a very limited time, and having to get it all out as quick as possible, which means there's a lot of pressure involved.

This was most clearly seen on Friday's Leadership Exercise. The leaders were intentionally given an immense amount of information that they were expected to handle, and as it turned out for most groups, there were issues of the followship recieivng clear information and directoins.

I feel that even with all the software and devices to take note in the world, nothing is fast enough to handle the information but our brains. The key is how do we teach our brain to do so. I personally feel doing a quick mindmap to scatter the informaiton visually onto a paper and maybe color-coding it is one option. Another is writing checklist with and numbering according to the order of importance. I believe both of these will at least allow the leader some guidance when communicating the information, as its one of the most crucial points, as well as the first time the followship will hear any data that is relevant to them.

However, it's not correct to put all the burden on the leader, since we all clearly saw that if the teammates do not have an active role in pulling out the information from the leader, valuable data may be lost.

So the leadership role is never a one-man job, but always a team effort for a push and a pull coming from both sides.

Vision to be or as a leader

Many times througout the Leadership & Excellence course, vision came up.

Is having a vision an attribute of a leader or a vision should be set to become a leader? And if that vision is accomplished, waht's next?

I feel that this question always come in my head when I am thinking if I have a solid vision, and do they reflect my values.

One's for certain, my values do not change much, so my vision should not too. My values that I hold will either increase or remain constant I believe, because I might find new knowledge or new inspiration in certain things that I feel like it is my duty to pursue, so I can add that to my values as well. As a result, my vision can therefore increase as well I believe.

In my opinion, visions come and remain solid unless very strong values of the indivdual is added. Also, vision is definitely an attribute of a leader, and what better way is it to have your vision now, and make sure it remains constant, though not obligated to being locked down unless certain events or discovies occur to the individual to add to the vision that is set.

I must admit I do not have a fixed vision yet, only goals that I have set for myself, but the L&E class has definitely lead me to discover it, and in time, I hope I will soon.

I sincerely hope everyone already has or will have their own visions that they wholeheartedly believe in very soon.

February 22, 2014

Coaching is caring

ใจเขาใจเรา (Jai Khao Jai Rao) - is a saying in Thai that mean in a literal sense: "their heart is our heart".
It reflects the difference in perception that people have, such as the coach and coachee. Since there is an acceptance that at the conscious level you cannot find a solution, but at the unconscious level, we all know the answer. So the challenge that is faced is not just trying to guide them, but truly understanding them.
In other words, putting yourself in their shoes.

I personally think this takes a bit of acting skills, not in terms of faking your feelings, but being able to really put yourself into the heart and mind of the 'character' you're trying to understand. And by truly understanding what is going through the mind of the coachee, I believe we can really help the person.

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