All entries for February 2011
February 20, 2011
Through the leadership module I got to lead people during some activity. I got learn about leadership through that and specially my own style of leadership. The way I led my team was kind of laid back type of leadership and I have always thought that this would be the case if I ever lead in my life and I experienced that during that task. I think a person’s natural style and behavior is reflected even through his leadership style and because I am laid back by nature so that showed as well in my leadership. I still tried to fit in my style which I was asked to follow which was the transformational style. I was supposed to motivate, engage, influence people which is so not me. I am not that gregarious so I can’t be so energetic among people and all. I learned that one needs to transform during leadership roles. Sometimes you have to say that this is the way to go and sometimes you just let things flow but the biggest learning point was that you can’t just be quite, shy and motivating and engaging at the same time. You need to communicate and involve people in the task and because I had worked with all of them before therefore it worked well and I didn’t have to do that much.
So, for leadership you have to take different styles at different situations and it’s good that I naturally don’t posses that autocrat style and so I can’t dictate people but still you can’t be so much relaxed and laid back at the same time as well, you have to create a balance and adopt the required style at the time when its needed. This practice will definitely help me in my future and I will try to engage and motivate people when its required of me but definitely that transformation and development of skills will require some time.
Although this leadership module was among the most long and activity filled modules so far in MBE and thoroughly enjoyable too but the question is that are two weeks training or session enough for becoming a champion leader in the future. Well, I think that leadership polishes with experience for instance what I learned out of my own experience leading a group of people in one of the simulations was the most vital learning for me throughout the two weeks because I experienced that how it feels to be a real leader and how to handle people, it’s not a piece of cake for sure. So, I don’t think that two or maybe even three weeks are enough for learning about leadership and specially you can’t learn from just reading text what leadership is and how can you become a successful leader. As you’ll enter the real life you’ll experience and learn day by day and that can’t be done only through books. These two weeks learning and practice was just an opportunity to think about leadership and experience how it is like to be a real life leader and it has somehow provided basis for future learning and experience. It was just an initiating point and there is still a long way to go for becoming a good leader.
Although I found this module really helpful but still there is a lot to be learned and experienced. When I enter my own business and get the chance to handle 40 odd people, that would definitely be a big challenge for me and with that experience and day to day learning I’ll be able to polish my skills but through this current learning I’ll at least have a starting point.
In today’s world, it is not possible to overlook the environmental, social and legal aspects of the business and carryout your business activities because people these days expect organization to be responsible on social, environmental, legal grounds. All of these obligations fall under the CSR. Organizations should make sure that all of its activities are in accordance with the law and should not have a bad impact on any of its stakeholders. It should be responsible towards the society. It encourages organizations to produce environmental friendly products, meet the needs of their employees like the safety needs; health needs etc, do charity work I possible and obey the law at all costs.
Corporate social responsibility is a very vital part of every company especially multinational these days because this makes a company stand as an environmental friendly, socially responsible firm and brings good name for it in the eye of the people. So we should try to be socially responsible and have a win win relationship with all of our stake holders because it is a need of the time and it is a very important step on the path to excellence.
There is no specific or right answer for what qualities a good leader should possess or which attributes are a must for a leader to have but below are a few qualities which I think a good leader should have:
- He is a good listener and should listen to the ideas of his people and does not just speak himself.
- A good leader is one who also tries to develop more leaders alongside him.
- He treats people equally without any personal grudges and does not bring his personal life at work.
- He understands his people and not just interacts with them just for the sake of work.
- It is not necessary that he is a jack of all trades but he knows how to bring the best out of others.
- He influences others, motivates them, provides them guidance and does not dictate.
- He creates a vision for the people to give them direction and helps them achieve that vision through his support.
- He takes responsibility for his people and does not lead by fear but leads by example.
All of these points above are a few of the important qualities that a great leader has these are the traits that one can develop and polish his leadership skills. Because for leadership, human aspect is as important as the management aspect both of them are inseparable.
Motivation is a very important feature of leadership skills. A leader should know how to motivate people and engage them in their work. There are two types of motivation that we came across intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation has to do with monetary rewards, bonuses etc whereas intrinsic motivation has to do with one’s own satisfaction and pride in his or her job and being motivated to perform well at work. I think that extrinsic motivation is counter-productive because if a person expects to get rewards for performance, system thinking goes away because he wants to get his reward and wants to outshine others, cooperation becomes less and one only works for bonus or monetary rewards which is not good for the organization whereas intrinsic motivation makes a person love his or her job and do well because it is something that he or she enjoys doing and he indulges himself in his work and gives his 110 percent which is excellent for the company.
So, it is very important to concentrate on intrinsic motivation and motivate people in a way that they love their job as suggested by the gurus as well rather make them work only for monetary gains.
So, we can try to minimize these monetary rewards and make our employees work for experience, learning and indulge them in work through right type of motivation. It will be very beneficial for our future.
There is no leadership without followership. In order to establish yourself as a successful leader, one has to have active followers. While learning about followership we came across 4 types of followers that a leader might have to handle these are urban terrorists, walking dead, fans and stars. Urban terrorists are the ones which are very active but have negative energy; the walking dead are the ones with low energy and also negative attitude so they are like walking dead. The fans are the ones with low energy and positive attitude and the stars are the ones with positive energy and positive attitude. So among these, the stars are the ones that are most preferred by leaders whereas urban terrorists are the least preferred because they are negative in nature. Through effective leadership these followers can be transformed into fans and then stars but that requires motivation and effort from the leader.
It is very important to know which kind of followers you are dealing with in order to come up with the proper plan to handle them. The leadership should try to make their followers as active and as energized as possible.
So, if we can definitely try to make our people stars through proper attention, motivation, training and guidance. We should also try to equip urban terrorists and walking dead with positive attitude so that they can perform better for the company and improve gradually.
Is it the responsibility of the leader to make a vision for the people? Well, I think people need to have a vision in order to work in a proper direction and work as a team towards a common goal/aim. Leadership is responsible to create a vision but it is obviously not supposed to be a one man vision, he has to take all the people onboard. Leadership comes up with a better alternative for future in the organization and it is their responsibility to win people’s trust. The vision should be a shared vision, set by the leader and the followers then follow that vision together as a team as a ladder to success or excellence. Leadership’s role is not only creating a vision but also show the way how to achieve that vision and provide motivation and guidance for that as well.
A vision is very important for organizations whether it be any as it helps them to set short-term goals, medium-term goals, prioritize goals according to that long-term vision. It is a way of setting up a direction for the organization which is inevitable on the journey to excellence.
So, we need to consider the ways how we can make our organization successful and create a vision according to that. But it should be a shared vision and should be communicated across the organization so that everyone works for the common goal.
Today Gram conducted a coaching exercise. We had to coach our group members and then share our experience at the end of the session. Coaching is also something very important because if you are good at coaching you can certainly help other people, colleagues who are indifferent about their issues. It seems like a very easy job but it actually is very technical in nature. You need to follow a certain set of rules when you are coaching someone like for instance never use the word ‘Why’ while posing questions to others they might feel offended. If someone comes up to you for help never give them your solution before hearing them out and understanding their situation and their own solutions. Once you take a note of their solutions to the issues, suggest them your proposals. It is not necessary to know the solution for the problem; you need to suggest your best possible way of tackling the issue.
It is very important to know how to tackle a situation where someone comes up to you for help because you might easily end up suggesting a vague solution to a problem making it more complex.
So, now that we know the basic rules that should be followed while conducting a one to one coaching session, it will be far easier for us to tackle this kind of a situation in the future if we ever find someone needing our help.
The Leadership module was all about simulations, experience and learning. There were a lot of simulations during the module. All of these exercises are a good way to explore your leadership skills and identifying your areas for improvement when it comes to leading people. Almost all of us had the chance to lead people during this module, which was a very good learning experience. I had the opportunity to lead a group of 4 during one simulation which was thoroughly an enjoyable experience and very lucrative as well. There were many important points of learning and I did an ok job with that most surprisingly. We were supposed to build a tower either high or creative in design and the team with the most creative or high tower would be declared as winners. All the leaders were supposed to follow a particular style of leadership. Our resources were a bunch of cups, scissors and tape. We as a team decided to go for creativity. First of all I was under real pressure since I was leading for the first time but with the passage of time it all went very well. We came up with a very creative design and our team was voted as winners. It was a big surprise for me because I never thought my team would win specially because of my leadership skills.
These simulations were very important as they helped us judge our leadership skills and work for improvement. I learned about my leadership style that I was a very laidback kind of a leader and not very vocal.
So, this will definitely help me in the future as now I have an idea about the areas for improvement. I need to create a balance between becoming a very quiet or a vocal leader. Sometimes you have to be vocal and sometimes you just need to be inspirational, motivating and influencing. A leader has to change roles according to the situation.
This is a practice that is being done throughout the world but is not a good technique to handle your people. Management by fear is not just a practice, it’s a mindset. Many of the managers use this approach to make their people work as they want them to considering this as a lucrative technique. I think this technique is very counterproductive since it is based on fear. Mostly in SMEs back in my country, this approach is being adopted because the owners think that it is their investment and so the employees are bound to follow their orders and leave their brains at home if they want to work and so that results in them yelling at employees often when something goes wrong, basically there is no such thing as mutual respect. The bosses are considered as symbol of fear and so employees only respect them when they are around and shirk work and take everything for granted when they are away. They don’t like their job at all. I think this style of management is not the right way to handle the business because people only do certain amount of work just to meet ends and there is no such thing as innovation, creativity etc.
It is important to change this style of management because you only get 70 % of output from your employees. If you treat people politely, engage them, motivate them and appreciate employee participation you can get very good results.
Fear is counterproductive and people don’t participate because of that. So we need to change this management approach if it is being practiced in our organization when we enter. There is a relationship of respect that should be there between the manager/owner and the employee, which is totally shattered by the element of fear.