All 2 entries tagged Leadership

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February 09, 2011

How can I do it better than my way?

By hearing what others think!

I want to start today, by talking about myself... I led my team in the Winning Strategy exercise. In the style of Vineet Nayar (who I find impressive, and a great example of an unconventional but brilliant-because-of-it leader) I wanted to post their feedback here, because I am interested in what other leaders were told, and I'm hoping you will post. I wonder where the common ground will be... I also wanted to be brave, and put this out there, so people can tell me in the future if they think I've improved or not. For the sake of not typing 5 sheets worth of comments, with differing opinions, I have tried to capture the sense of what was said while condensing. I feel I am being objective, but this may have introduced a degree of bias. If any of you feel I am being too generous, please say so! I can take it ;-)

I was told:


  • Introduced the task well.
  • Regularly got the opinions of others, and took these in/responded to/noted them. Quite receptive.
  • Kept a close eye on time, and managed the necessary tasks well within it. Reminded team of times regularly.
  • Was cool/calm under pressure. Showed he felt it, but also that the pressure was on the team, not just him.
  • Delivered a successful outcome.
  • Had the support and engagement of most followers.
  • Impressive style, with a very balanced, democratic approach.
  • Indirect leadership/He's a thought leader.

    Areas for Improvement

    • Needs to make sure everyone is engaged.
    • Should try to give more direction and a vision from the outset, and show the strategy to get there.
    • Make more effort to directly assess people's skills at the beginning, and make use of their strengths.
    • Easily swayed by arguments. Needs to be 'flexibly' firmer with decision-making and own opinion/vision.

    My own opinions on this? Well, I was reasonably happy with my performance. I think it was a very difficult task, but only because of the lack of time. I made the point that what we did in an hour and a half, you would probably have a few weeks to do in reality. One interesting thing: most of the group thought I was very calm. In reality, I was going a bit crazy in my head! I didn't enjoy having to try and pick one strategy over another, without having the time to fully understand any of them, and this was made harder as most of the team had conflicting views about what was the best way to go.

    Ultimately, I took everything in, and made the decision myself about two minutes before I had to present it. The time pressure forced me to lead instinctively rather than methodically. So, not much time to assess skills, or organise my own thoughts. It was uncomfortable, as I am a reflector, but I guess that was the point. From what I can gather from the above, I do some things quite well. BUT, I need to work on being more direct when the time calls for it, outlining my vision so others have something to follow, and being more decisive, while making sure that everyone contributes, in the way that they best can.

    Not bad for a few hours' learning, I think!

    February 08, 2011

    Why I like to lead

    I've been looking forward to the beginning of this module for some time now. Leadership is a topic that has begun to interest me more and more in the past few years, probably because I became more involved in roles that required it! It is one of the reasons I decided to embark on a postgraduate degree in management, having come from an engineering background.

    The Lifeboat task was very interesting. While we at no point elected a leader, or even discussed the matter, I think the fact that Paul gave me the pack was enough to make me the de facto 'facilitator', if not more. I was happy to take this role, I seem to actively pursue leadership opportunities - I always want to have my say... perhaps I do not have enough trust in others!

    However, it made me think about that fact that quite often, a lot of people don't want to be leaders, they are not interested in it, and relinquish the opportunity quickly! Why? I don't know... I think I used to be like that. There are many possible reasons people don't want to take charge, such as, but not limited to: lack of confidence in self, unwilling to be accountable/responsible, liking things how they are, would rather get on with their job and excel in it, etc.

    I think, for myself, the first reason was applicable. I never wanted to be in charge, as I didn't think I could do a good job, and I was worried of looking like a fool. I certainly no longer have that fear! ;-) For me, it was the experience of having to take charge, because no-one else would (or wanted to), that pushed me towards where I am today. My self-confidence was burgeoning at that point in my life, and I was ready to take that step. Now, my experiences feed my desire. In that sense, I think Surya made a valid point in the class discussion: having leadership experience IS necessary to be a leader, because you have to WANT to be a leader, and the only way to understand that desire is to have enjoyed previous leadership experience. However, that experience doesn't have to in any way be formal - I was an older brother, a reliable and persuasive friend, a hockey player demanding of my team mates, etc... and all long before I actually actively wanted to lead anyone, anywhere!

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