All entries for March 2014
March 30, 2014
After reading the book ''Leadership 101'' about how to be an organizational leader, I went through all the tips and found that most of them matched ''transformational leadership'' regarding the culture, engaging the audience, ethical organization...etc, which indicates transfomational leadership suits the current trend and organizational structure. However, the book offered some different tips.
One is celebrating success and another is generating fun at work. They seemed really easy tips but we often ignore. While I was working, the supervisor often arrangeed meeting because what we did wrong instead of what we did right which made us frustrated, and it seemed not appropriate laughing in the office. What I learned from leadership book is we try to inspire and motivate others to get more than expected. Praising followers and create a happy and open environment sounds easy, but if a leader really pay attention and listen to what followers want, they will feel inspired and motivated, I believe the relationship and performance will be improved. The survey also proved that happy employees will be more creative and have better performance.
However, if leaders don't walk the talk, inspiration and motivation will be two meaningless words on the book. Therefore, I believe the essence of leadership is psychology of how to change people.
The leadership theory started from one dimention-leader's personality and behaviour and turned to multidimention-leader, follwers, and the situatin. The process became from top-dowm to bottom-up which also indicates the develpment of the leader and follower relationship. With the evolving of the leadership theroies shows that the former theory is not adequate, therefore, we should view leadership in more integrative perspectives as leadership is more complex, interactive process, including internal leader-follower interaction and external situational environment, finally, instead of extrinsic rewarding system, intrinsic motivation are encouraged to improve expectation.
The leadership future may call the Integrative Era in which we should face and cope with the current trend-organizational structure, new technology, fast-paced change, multi-decision making, multicultural context, and intensive political activities.
Since we face the above complex internal and external environment, therefore leadership theory should be more adaptive, and integrative. Again, there is NO one comprehensive theory and approach, we can only integrate theories for different variables to achieve the effectiveness of leadership.
March 27, 2014
The current one of the most popular leadership theories ''transformational leadership'' seems beeter than transactional leadership in nature since it stresses the intrinsic motivation not extrinsic motivation such as exchanging rewards.
Transactional leadership doesn't focus on individual needs and personal development, transactional leaders trade things with followers to get expected outcomes. Two major factors are contigent rewards and management-by-exception. Contingent rewards refers to leaders exchange specified rewards that followers want in order to get efforts of followers. Management-by-exception refers to leaders use both active and passive forms to watch followers closely for mistakes and rule broken, and intervene followers when they failed to met the standards. Both active and passive involve negative feedback amd reinforcement, which often create fear climate and culture in organization, so the leaders can only exachnge rewards to followers to get expected outcomes without surprise.
In the other hand, transformational leadership focuses on creating a vision which shared by individual's needs in organization, leaders involve themselves in the culture and they engage and motivated followers to get greater outcomes. The leadership book introduced some Taiwanese companies perform transformational leadership theory and related to organizational innovation which is not surprising since once leaders create free environment for discussion, followers will feel more engaged and inspire new thinking and things that may be more innovative than expected.
March 26, 2014
The growing organizational teams have increased the interest in team leadership, team leadership focuses on the team performance effectiveness, and team leadership model provides a framework for leader to diagnose team problems, take appropriate actions and finally examine team performance.
The team leadership model provides a metal road map for leaders, although this theory is not leader-centered approach, if a leader is competent, he can response problems very fast whether to monitor or take actions, and take wide variety actions to meet team member's diverse expectation and needs. Therefore, even leaders may distribute leadership to other team members to accommodate today's complex environment, their abilities still contribute a lot to themselves and the whole organization, so leadership nowadays is not an easy task. Only through continually learning can leaders keep their competitive edge for themselves and their organizations.
What I like about this theory is team leadership shares leadership to team members, everyone in the team can be a leader if they are willing to and cometent, this can be an intrinsic motivation, this may even entice a working dead to wake up to become a star.
When preparing for leadership PMA, I read some books in order to find general, grand and unified theory for leadership. There are many matrics and perspectives to categorize leadership theories according to different scholars by their different bias and perspectives, the most coomom theory is Mark Walker's perspective, leadership theory includes ''Great man'' or trait-based leadership theory, Behavioral leadership theory, Contingency leadership theory, Cognitive leadership theory, Moral leadership theory, and Strategic/Transsactional leadership theory. This leadership evolved from leader-centered to leader-follower relationship which just like the modern society development for politics and business, when the internal and external environment becomes more complicated, it's highly unlikely to listen to one person to reach organizational goal without trying to motivating followers to exceed the expectation and get higher performance.
Unfortunately, after reading 20 pages, the answer is NO such theory since the scope of leadership is too big, perhaps Niels Bohr's worsd describe this situation the best: ''Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true''.
I think it's so difficult to come up with one generial, grand and unified theory for leadership is because there is barely 1 discipline like leadership involving wide variety from communication, coaching, motivating, psychology, culture, gender, ethics...etc, fom the trait and skills of leaders themselves to the relation between leaders and followes, it's not surprising that there is no ONE universal answer to this query, what I am sure about is to find one or more leaddership theories to fit the situation we faced.
March 21, 2014
During the past two weeks group work to make team decisions, I learned group decision making process is sometimes easier but also more difficult. It’s earlier to see the circumstances thoroughly when team members have their own perspectives, but it’s also more difficult to incorporate everyone’s opinions to come up conclusions that everyone agreed. What we decided to do was to use various tools, came up with the suitable tools for every question and supported every decision we made.
We tried total 10 tools-SWOT, Decision Tree, AHP, PARETO, Risk Analysis, Grid Analysis, SMART, Soft system, Scenario Analysis, and PMI, after discussion, we decided every tool for each question.
Question 1-to continue or not producing the new product.
Tool-Risk Analysis. We conducted PESTLE-political, economic, social, technological, legal and environment to anticipate all external factors and came up with decisions.
Question 2-Which location to choose.
Tool-PMI. We summed up all scores of the plus, minus and implications to get our decisions.
Question 3-Is an advertisement campaign is essential or not.
Tool-Scenario Analysis. We predicted importance and uncertainty to come up with scenarios and made decisions.
Finally, we used Decision Trees analysis to justifying all the decisions we made. Decision trees are a graphical representation of a decision, each tree has arms which represent the choices and a value associated with it. It clearly depicts all possibilities and values for us to choose and it provides a holistic view.
As Jeff said during class today, we can’t avoid bias completely which means there is no 100% objective decisions existing, tool itself may be scientific and objective but we can’t avoid our personal preference and judgement when we are using it, since we have different backgrounds, beliefs, emotions, cultures and values…etc that will led us to different points of view. Therefore, I think the most important thing is that we listen to others opinions to examine if there is any aspect we ignore, choose suitable tools based on information available, timescale, decision complexity, participant numbers in decision, factors in the decisions, and test various tools to come up with the most rational and logical conclusion to support our decisions.
March 13, 2014
The previous two days lectures were quite intensive and it seems that there is a lot information for us to absorb, what I learned from the course is that we tend to make decisions by our preference which are system 0 instinctive and system 1 intuitive, and therefore there are lots of bias affecting our decision toward correct and effective decisions. For important and complex decisions, we may use system 2 process based system to make better decisions.
Moreover, this course taught me decision making processes,methodologies and tools, we should follow the processes and search for suitable methodologies and tools to help us making robust decisions. Since we may face time limitation, resources constraints, ever-changing environment...etc, that's why we need to learn all the processes, methodologies and tools for us to figure out the best decision under all aforementioned constraints which suit the situations. During all the tools, I like decision tree the most, maybe it's because we actually got the chance to make one, to draw all the possibilities and count the values and it depicts all possibilities and values for us to choose, it is really logical. Moreover, the soft system thinking provided some thought about human factors not just technique for us to understand better for poorly defined problems, this is another food for thought. Besides, how to get the data and information we need and analyze them properly are also crucial, if we can not get data and information and if they are not accurate, the following processes and all tools and methodologies will all go wrong directions.
This course is mainly about how to change my or peopl's behaviors to make robust decisions. Only when I learned and can apply all the methodologies and tools for my personal life and future jobs, I think that's what critical and logical thinking is.
March 02, 2014
In real life, organizations often promote their employees with high performance to management. I agree the expertise for leaders is essential, cause when I was working, if leaders can provide expertise and experiences to solve problems we had, we can learn a lot from them. Even if the leaders should equip with expertise and experiences or not is arguable, from my past experience, I will say if a leader with expertize and experience will benefit a lot. However, what makes management become a leader can not only rely on expertise and experiences, since effective leader requires more such as passion, commitment, willing to understand and listen, adaptation, communication...personality trait, and among all of them, willingness is the most important factors. If management is willing to become a leader, they can meet the requirements of a leader through training and other approaches then eventually transform to be a leader.
As a successful leader, effective communication with his/her folloers is one of the crucial elements. Communication refers to convey information by exchanging thoughts and information between people. Communication is not only one side that leaders who would like to leverage their position power to command their followers, the effective communication should be double-sided, both leaders and followers. When we were in PIUSS module, Graeme told us communication composed by talking and listening, if everyone only tries to persuade each other with his/her thoughts without listening to other's opinion, the communication will not work. In real life, leaders who don't spend time on understanding and listening to their followers may inevitably turn their followers to working dead, then the cost may be incredibly high due to low working efficiency, In contrast, the leaders only need to understand and listen thier followers, try to involve and motivate them, the result may be completely different.
The leadership challange exercise on Friday as per Paul was the most close to real life experience which I felt the same. Leaders will face limited time, money...resources and unknow situation and environment in real life, how to cope with the pressure, and lead the team toward success was not easy at all. I think at that time, we can not do all the works all together, leaders should based on each team member's ability to allocate work to save time, and make sure works done just in time, so the preliminary assessment is very important. However, I haven't work with any leaders within this week who actually did this, or we may work more efficiently. The leaders nowadays face limited resources and time pressure, I think efficiency and effectiveness is more important than persuing the best way to work.