As we enter the 21st century there is a growing awareness of the importance and need for leadership. A wide recognition of the critical need for leadership is so prevalent that many universities now offer graduate programs in its study. It appears that the study of leadership has come of age and is finally receiving its proper recognition. There are literally dozens of various definitions of leadership. We will simply provide one that we feel effectively defines organizational leadership in virtually all situations.
Leadership is the ability to articulate a vision, to embrace the values of that vision, and nurture an environment where everyone can reach the organizations goals and their own personal needs.
Effective modern leadership is a skill comprised of many different traits or qualities. Some of these qualities include vision, a mission, values, commitment, motivation, and consensus building. The lack of any of these important traits or qualities may greatly reduce the effectiveness of a leader. Here is a very brief definition of these qualities. Each one will be individually covered in greater detail in future weLEAD "leadership tips" in this section of leadingtoday.org.
Vision: This is the meaningful articulation of the mission of the organization in such an appealing and intuitive picture that it vividly conveys what the organization can be in the future. Vision instills a common purpose, self-esteem and a sense of membership within the organization. Traditionally, vision has come from the top management of the organization. Many leaders are now also beginning to see the value of creating the vision with those who are closer to the work environment and the customer.
Mission or Mission Statement: This typically describes the purpose of the organization and outlines the types of activities to be performed for constituents and customers. It should also mention what unique value or services the organization offers as a byproduct of its work. Mission statements typically contain at least three components. First, a statement of the overall purpose or mission of the company is declared. Secondly, a statement that indicates the values that employees are expected to maintain and commit to in the decision-making process. Third, a declaration of the major goals that management believes is essential to attain the mission. These goals should be consistent with the philosophical values that employees are expected to maintain.
Values: These are the guiding principles that state how the employees, beginning with management, intend to conduct their business and their behavior. These values will determine what kind of an organization develops and they become the foundation of the organizations culture.
Commitment: This is an employee's emotional investment to extend great effort toward the implementation of a decision, outcome or goal. Successful leaders need to be committed individuals and to solicit the commitment of others to achieve established goals, and the mission.
Motivation: This is the ability to provide an incentive or reason to compel others into action or a commitment. Since all individuals are different, successful leaders know that diverse people respond to different motivators. A wise leader also knows that money is not the strongest long-term motivator and cultivating an environment of fear is the least effective long-term motivator.
Consensus Building: This is the ability of a leader to build an agreement among differing individuals within a group. A consensus usually occurs when various members of a group agree that a particular alternative is acceptable though it may not be the first choice of each member. Consensus building can create a greater degree of commitment among group members than a decision make by a simple majority. However, consensus building requires additional discussion time and sometimes may not be possible. Eventually the leader may need to take the initiative and affirm that the group decision has been made to begin implementation.
A valuable purpose of leadership in our modern age is to provide vision, direction and motivation for a team of individuals to accomplish a task or mission that otherwise could not be accomplished by a single individual. Other members of the group, team or organization are called "followers." Followers are those who subscribe to the vision and guidance of the leader. The study of followership is also of growing interest. However, don't be confused by the term followers or followership. This term should never be used in a derogatory or negative setting. Followers may also exhibit leadership qualities in order to achieve their own tasks and individual roles. Followership is such an important responsibility that a great many of today's most effective leaders first learned to be good followers before they acquired the skills, opportunity and experience to lead others. In other words, learning and appreciating the skills of followership are often the reason an individual has gained the experience and necessary knowledge to become a leader.
Wise leaders are beginning to understand that it is their responsibility to develop followership by encouraging the followers participation in goal setting and objectives. Modern leaders are viewing followers as partners in the enterprise who should be encouraged to pursue innovation and given the ability to do their job.
There is very little evidence that the so-called "naturally born" leader really exists. Continuing and ongoing studies are showing that the concept of a "natural born" leader has little merit. One reason for this error may be that people often mistake charisma for leadership. It is true that some leaders possess a great amount of charisma. However, many leaders do not. In reality leaders are not born, they are forged by many factors. Some factors that often forge effective leadership traits are education, preparation, experience and opportunity.
Why is leadership important to you? It is important because the development of positive leadership skills can have a beneficial and powerful impact in virtually every area of your life! Acquiring, understanding and exhibiting leadership skills can have a constructive influence within your workplace environment, within your community and in your personal relationships with others. We encourage you to take advantage of the vast amount of knowledge now available within the growing study of leadership.
For weLEAD, this is Greg Thomas reminding you that it was Harry S. Truman, who once said,
"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."
As we enter the 21st century there is a growing awareness of the importance and need for leadership. A wide recognition of the critical need for leadership is so prevalent that many universities now offer graduate programs in its study. It appears that the study of leadership has come of age and is finally receiving its proper recognition. There are literally dozens of various definitions of lGreg L.Thomas Other Tips
In the forward of this book Tom Peters says, “If you take time to read only one business book this year, I strongly encourage you to read NUTS!” We wholeheartedly agree! Between the covers of this entertaining book Kevin and Jackie Freiberg have captured the essence of the “Southwest Spirit” that has made Southwest Airlines one of the top companies in America. Although Southwest served over 90 million bags of peanuts in 1999, there is nothing “nuts” about the way they run their company. Southwest topped the list of Fortune magazine’s Best Companies To Work For in 1998, and since then has been in one of the top four slots every year.
This book is a must read for anyone who wants to see how the concepts of servant leadership are actually put into practice in a real company of over 30,000 employees. You will learn about a company that practices the golden rule as corporate policy—and has paid quarterly dividends for 97 consecutive quarters doing it! The “Southwest culture” described at length in the book gives this company its strategic advantage. This culture genuinely cares about the welfare of the Southwest employees—which are approximately 82% unionized. Southwest Airlines has turned a profit every year since 1973, yet it maintains the lowest fares in a highly competitive industry. It is one of the most admired airlines in the world, regularly ranks best in customer service, and has a consistently high safety record. Southwest was the first airline to establish a home page on the Internet, and was named by BusinessWeek as a “Web Smart 50” company.
Some of the book’s statistics about the airline are now out of date due to incredible growth. More recent statistics are readily available at Southwest’s web site (www.southwest.com). However, the principles discussed in this book that are used to guide this most admired airline are timeless.
NUTS! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success
Bard Press, October 1996 (363 pages in hardbound)
Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub, March 1998 (362 pages paperback reprint edition)
Authors: Kevin and Jackie Freiberg
weLEAD rating highly recommended.
In the forward of this book Tom Peters says, “If you take time to read only one business book this year, I strongly encourage you to read NUTS!” We wholeheartedly agree! Between the covers of this entertaining book Kevin and Jackie Freiberg have captured the essence of the “Southwest Spirit” that hasGreg L.Thomas Book Review Other
Mick Yates is an innovative leadership researcher, teacher and author. With an extensive background in corporate management, Mick passionately advocates Innovation and Value Systems with a particular expertise in Asian culture. He has lived in Asia, Western Europe and the United States. This experience has given Mick a unique comprehension of both Western and Asian cultures. He is the founder of Leader Values-http://www.leader-values.com, a prominent web site that promotes the value synthesis of West and East. In 2001, Mick was elected to Save the Children’s US Board of Trustees.
Your web site http://www.leader-values.com/ is considered one of the most extensive sites on the subject of leadership and values to be found on the web. It is typically rated high on many search engines. How long has it been posted and what inspired you to create Leader-values?
Leader-values was first posted in 1996, although only really got going late 1997 and morphed into its current form in 1999. I try to update it fairly regularly.
The original inspiration was to try to share some of my own learning about Leadership of Multinational and Multicultural organizations, and also create a venue for the sharing of ideas from others. At that time there was little on the ‘net except “consultants” sites selling their services, and there was almost nothing on the “east meets west” aspects of Leadership which I believe both critical and most illuminating.
It has grown a lot since then, especially in attracting many high quality guest writers, although it still remains a non-profit, “one man band” site.
Your site has a heavy emphasis on the importance of “values” in the field of leadership. How do you define these values?
Studying cultures from around the world, Geert Hofstede demonstrated that there are differences, yet many similarities in the hierarchy of values. These build from a common cultural background (i.e. community of birth and education), through narrower peer group structures (e.g. corporations, clubs etc.), and leading upwards to individually specific (i.e. personal) value systems.
People find value in many places - in work, in religion, in sports, in relationships, in public service, in achievement, in travel. But people can only find their own values in one place - inside themselves. Values are with us all, every minute, and our values are apparent to others, every minute.
I have personally been inspired most by the writing of John Gardner on Leadership, and he brings a strong “values” perspective to his work. I’d be happy to talk more about this.
Yes, please do expand on this. Of course John Gardner is a highly respected leadership thinker and consultant who has served a number of American presidents and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civil honor in the United States.
John Gardner wrote a series of papers “On Leadership” which later became a book. In it he stresses the importance of values in the Leadership role, and defines the purpose of Leadership in ethical terms. That seems to me the way he lived, too. He notes that Leaders can still have a “bad” ethical system, but that congruence between a Leader’s and Follower’s values is essential if the two are to go forward together. He stressed the value of teaching, the critical importance of building trust, and the importance of affirming values in the organization as a whole. Gardner also spent some time explaining the role of Leaders as “symbols”. All of these ideas are pivotal, in my view, and have never been better stated.
Why are these values important for leaders?
Values are at the centre of all Leadership activities. On Leader-values, there are two quotes which may help illustrate what I mean.
“Leadership comes from within us, in the sense that deeply held values and principles provide the road map for the way we lead, and the way other people respond. Whether the Leader is a person of impeccable moral fiber, or quite disreputable, it is always their personal value system that sustains them in their quest”.
Every individual’s value system is slightly different from everyone else’s. Understanding one’s own system, as well as seeing how it fits with the systems of others around us, seems to be a pre-requisite for getting an organization to pull together.
“One of the first jobs of a Leader is to figure out what succeeding means (including the role of the followers). He or she must then lead agreement amongst the potential followers and constituencies to be able to act, and thus to succeed. On the negative side, without a clear sense of his or her own personal values, the Leader could get hopelessly lost, falling foul of inconsistency and insincerity as he struggles to handle the constituents”.
Are there certain values you believe are universal and cross all multicultural and transnational boundaries?
Today business has several main constituencies in every corner of the world: customers, employees, shareholders and society at large, and a fifth, if one includes the immediate Family of the employees. Each of these constituencies has its own values, beliefs and needs - they may be rooted in a similar political, religious or ethnic value system, but each will have its own variations of values. Nevertheless, it is my contention that we all have more in common with each other than we have different, and it is the Leader’s job to find this common ground.
As to specific common values – try “macro level” issues like “having a peaceful and prosperous community”, and “micro level” personal issues like “the ability to give my children the education they need”. In other words, common ground is everywhere, and globalization is a positive force.
What do you see as the biggest challenge that leaders face today in the western world and why does it exist?
Successfully integrating the pieces of the jig saw puzzle – constituencies, “east and west”, profit and society, local and global etc. etc. Put another way, “Managing Complexity” via “facilitating the work of others” seems to be critical.
On a political note, what do your think is the biggest role the western world can play to help the struggling nation and people of Afghanistan?
First, take time to understand the Afghan people, their religion, culture and their needs. Make no assumptions, but draw up a comprehensive post-Taliban plan. Second, make available humanitarian aid as quickly as possible, with no strings attached. Focus on the women and children. Third, provide effective security (via an international peace keeping arrangement) whilst the people progress towards self-determination. “Trust but verify”, especially given the terrible human rights records of many of the parties involved on both sides. The Cambodian model (UNTAC – early 1990’s) which provided for the first free elections post the Vietnamese withdrawal could be a good model. Fourth, provide mechanisms to get Afghanistan quickly back into the family of nations – trade deals, political groupings etc. Expect no quid pro quo. Fifth, stick with it – this is not just a “cause of the day”, over when bin Laden is brought to Justice. It concerns 25+ million people who have had decades of war – again, like Cambodia in many ways.
Thank You Mick!
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:
Mick was Company Group Chairman of Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer business in Asia-Pacific from 1996 to 2001. He led innovative strategic and organizational changes in Marketing, Human Resources, IT, and Manufacturing that capitalized on the Asian “crisis”. Mick was also responsible for one of J&J’s Worldwide Franchises, and was a member of the Global Operating Committee.
Prior to this, Mick was Regional Vice President for Procter & Gamble, based in Hong Kong and Japan. He has spent 11 years in Asia, having also lived and worked across most of Western Europe and the United States. Mick has just left J&J to pursue his own business interests, and is now based in the UK.
Mick researches, writes and teaches on Leadership, Innovation and Value Systems. He runs a website featuring a Western/Asian synthesis (http://www.leader-values.com). Most recently he chaired the session on “Corporate Social Responsibility” at the Pacific Rim Forum in Sydney. He was also a speaker at the APEC CEO’s meeting on “Globalization” in Brunei.
Reflecting a long-term interest in children’s issues, the Yates family supports a Cambodian school development program, in a remote “reconciliation area” of the Country. Details are athttp://www.yatesweb.com/Cambodia/Cambodia.htm.
Mick Yates is an innovative leadership researcher, teacher and author. With an extensive background in corporate management, Mick passionately advocates Innovation and Value Systems with a particular expertise in Asian culture. He has lived in Asia, Western Europe and the United States. This experience has given Mick a unique comprehension of both Western and Asian cultures. He is thGreg L.Thomas Other
Peter Senge, MIT professor and author of The Fifth Discipline, said:
“No one in the past 30 years has had a more profound impact on thinking about leadership than Robert Greenleaf.”
Robert Greenleaf, author of the classic series of essays on the theme “the servant as leader,” was a powerful advocate of mentoring. In The Power of Servant Leadership, edited by Larry Spears, Robert Greenleaf proposed that there are psychic rewards to be gained by oldsters who take the time and trouble to mentor the young to become servant-leaders.
He stated, “What could bring more satisfaction to oldsters than helping some of the young to become servant-leaders?” (page 54)
As an oldster himself at the time of his writing, he saw the need for a more caring society, but had little confidence that many of the leaders of his generation would actually meet the challenge. He was definitely not persuaded that much progress toward a caring society would “be initiated by those who are now established as leaders.” He stated that he did “not expect much” from his contemporaries. (page 53)
Robert Greenleaf saw that once an individual rose to a position of power and influence with a nonservant mindset, it would probably take a metanoia (a profound transformation or conversion) to change such a leader into a true servant-leader. He stated:
“For the older ones among us who are ‘in charge,’ nothing short of a ‘peak’ experience, like religious conversion…seems to have much chance of converting a confirmed nonservant into an affirmative servant.” (page 23)
Although many influential leaders consider themselves effective mentors and servant-leaders, the fruits often do not bear this out. Often the person who is energized and inspired to be an able mentor of the young is not a person of great formal power and influence. In fact, a very successful mentor is likely to be one who has not risen to the top within his or her organization, but has remained in a lower level position in order to have greater access to young people.
Superiors may consider these effective mentors as oddballs. This is because such persons may not want to conform to the organization’s culture and rise to a position of prominence. Many organizational cultures place little value on truly growing people and helping young people internalize a lifestyle of service. You can see this in academia, where senior faculty may pay lip service to mentoring junior faculty and students, but in reality there is a spirit of competition and a “scarcity mentality” driven by self-interest. Institutional rewards often go to those most driven by such self-interest, rather than recognizing and rewarding those who are highly effective mentors.
Able mentors often prefer to spend their time and energy preparing and inspiring the next generation to become effective mentors and servant-leaders. They see their mentees as those who will become the builders of more serving institutions in the future. These visionary mentors are often very talented at growing people. They are driven by a vision of the future. They believe that there is tremendous psychic reward in giving themselves to make a difference in the lives of others.
Robert Greenleaf provided this striking example in an address he made to a gathering of university students: (page 102– The Power of Servant Leadership)
“Thomas Jefferson had such a mentor in George Wythe, the Williamsburg lawyer under whom Jefferson apprenticed. Without the influence of George Wythe, there might not have been a Jefferson to write The Declaration of Independence or draft the statutes in Virginia that shaped the Constitution. He might have settled for the role of eccentric Virginia scholar. Find such a mentor if you can.”
Comments to: email@example.com
About the author:
Dr. Howard Baker is Director of Education for INSPIRE! Learning Systems. He holds a B.S. in Management from Samford University, a Master of Accounting (MAcc) from the University of Southern California and a Ph.D. in Information Systems from the University of Texas at Arlington. He has been a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) since 1989. He is an adjunct professor in both Business Administration and Public Administration at the University of Texas at Tyler. Dr. Baker is a lifetime charter member of weLEAD and the founding editor of the weLEADInLearning web site’s E-Journal of Organizational Learning and Leadership located atwww.weleadinlearning.org. His weLEAD email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter Senge, MIT professor and author of The Fifth Discipline, said: “No one in the past 30 years has had a more profound impact on thinking about leadership than Robert Greenleaf.” Robert Greenleaf, author of the classic series of essays on the theme “the servant as leader,” was a powerful advocate of mentoring. In The Power of Servant LeadBy Dr. Howard Baker Articles Other
Leadership Unbound is a unusual book because of its format and the diversity of its two authors. Larry Corbett is a pastor and religious leader with experience serving in 6 congregations. His experience working in a nonprofit organization gives him a distinctive perspective of leadership. Jerre Stead has experience as a CEO and board member.
Previously he served in executive positions with the Square D Company, AT&T’s Global Business Communications, the Legent Corporation and Ingram Micro. His experience working in the free market business environment also gives him a distinctive perspective of leadership. Together these two authors from different backgrounds and business cultures have written a book to compare and expound on their experiences.
The purpose of the book is to guide the reader to “Begin a successful enterprise, whether in business or the church, to guide success”. In eight chapters, Leadership Unbound attempts to take the reader through the steps a leader must navigate, beginning with a vision, values, planning, building and maintaining. It also outlines how the role of leadership changes as the organization grows.
The format of the book is simply a series of statements or ideas presented to initiate discussion. Each statement is answered individually by Larry and Jerre. Often the discussion goes back and forth as they build on each other’s personal examples and career perspective. Each chapter and discourse ends with a group of planning questions designed to stimulate your thinking and strategy. It is interesting to note that not only do they have some different approaches to successful leadership; they also share some common practices and principles. One of these is the knowledge that everyorganization needs superior leadership to flourish and grow strong. Leadership Unbound is a solid publication that looks at leading from a different angle. Sometimes the interaction between the authors on certain subjects seems disconnected. However, if you have a special interest in the distinctions between for profit and nonprofit leaders (or secular and religious), this may be the book you are looking for.
Five Star Publications - 2005 (185 pages in paperback)
weLEAD rating – recommended
Leadership Unbound is a unusual book because of its format and the diversity of its two authors. Larry Corbett is a pastor and religious leader with experience serving in 6 congregations. His experience working in a nonprofit organization gives him a distinctive perspective of leadership. Jerre SteadAuthors Lawrence W. Corbett and Jerre L. Stead Book Review Other
- Overcoming the Ideology of Comfort and the Tyranny of Custom
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1995 (282 pages in hardback)
Author James O’Toole
Author James O’Toole is definitely not afraid of creating controversy. His book is a refreshing approach to leadership in many ways. Stylistically and philosophically, Leading Change is a different kind of book about leaders and the natural resistance of the change process. O’Toole left a comfortable 20 year university chair in academia to begin working with the Aspen Institute. This experience was a major inspiration in writing this enterprising book.
Perhaps the most daring aspect of Leading Change is O’Toole’s clear repudiation of the contingency theories so prevalent today in leadership research and coaching programs. He obviously did not come to this conclusion frivolously. This work includes his observations and experience from over two decades of working with both corporate leaders and with respected mentors such as Bennis, Drucker, Gardner, DePree and others! O’Toole loudly proclaims that the contingency theories so revered today simply don’t work in the long run. He maintains that by their very design they typically destroy trust between leaders and followers. He then offers a values-based alternative, which is a primary focus of the book.
Leading Change begins with O’Toole drawing a number of deep analogies from a painting by James Ensor. He immediately draws you into the books theme by probing a number of profound leadership questions and scenarios analogous to paintings theme. As an author, he seeks to answer three related questions:
1. What are the major causes of resistance to change?
2. How can leaders effectively and morally overcome that resistance?
3. Why is the dominant philosophy of leadership, based on contingency theory, neither an effective nor a moral guide for people who wish to lead change?
To answer these questions O’Toole divides the book into two halves. The first half deals with leaders and the second half with followers. The main theme of his work is to seriously question the validity of contingency theory and propose the alternative of value-based leadership behavior. O’Toole writes, “Instead, values-based leadership is an attitude about people, philosophy, and process. To overcome the resistance to change, one must be willing, for starters, to change oneself. In essence, then, values-based leadership is “unnatural.””
If you want to read and digest a book that will challenge both you and much present thinking about leadership, this book is definitely for you!
weLEAD rating highly recommended
Leading Change- Overcoming the Ideology of Comfort and the Tyranny of CustomJossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 1995 (282 pages in hardback)Author James O’TooleISBN 1-55542-608-5 Author James O’Toole is definitely not afraid of creating controversy. His book is a refreshing approach to leadership in many ways. Stylistically and phJames O'Toole Book Review Other
The Future of Leadership-A Book Review
Today's Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow's Leaders
Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 2001, (316 pages in hardback)
Edited by Warren Bennis, Thomas Cummings, and Gretchen Spreitzer
This interesting work is a collection of essays by some of the world’s most respected leadership thinkers. Contributors include Charles Handy, James O’Toole, Thomas Stewart, Tom Peters, Barry Posner and James Kouzes. These essays were first presented at a special conference held to honor Warren Bennis. Organizers labeled the conference a festschrift, a German word for a volume of essays assembled by colleagues to be a tribute to a renowned scholar. The essays were edited and divided into five parts:
1. Setting the Stage for the Future.
2. The Organization of the Future
3. The Leader of the Future.
4. How Leaders Stay on Top of Their Game.
5. Insights from Young Leaders.
The result is an insightful examination on the state of leadership today and the challenges it can expect to experience in the future. For example, Bennis writes the first essay and presents a number of challenging issues, including the widening disparity of talent among income levels, growing demographic changes between young and old and balancing the demands of work and home. James O’Toole looks at the organization of the future and remarks that leaders should view their tasks “as creating the systems under which others would be encouraged to do all the things that typically end up on the desk of the do-it-all leader.”
The Future of Leadership is a comprehensive examination of leadership today and tomorrow provided by a number of insightful modern day thinkers. It asks some judicious questions and dares to look into the future with assurance and confidence. Some essays are better written than others, but every reader will find some valuable material and learn a new perspective from its pages.
weLEAD rating recommended
The Future of Leadership-A Book Review Today's Top Leadership Thinkers Speak to Tomorrow's Leaders Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco, 2001, (316 pages in hardback) Edited by Warren Bennis, Thomas Cummings, and Gretchen Spreitzer ISBN 0787955671 This interesting work is a collection of essays by sCharles Handy, James O’Toole, Thomas Stewart, Tom Peters, Barry Posner and James Kouzes Book Review Other
Attached is part of a PowerPoint presentation presented by
weLEAD during a recent seminar in Akron, Ohio
This portion of the seminar program focused on 8 Traits of Effective
Leaders and some recommendations for leadership self-discovery.
It is provided in both PowerPoint and Rich Text format.
You may download the files for later offline viewing by pointing to the file
and "right clicking" your mouse. Chose the menu option "save target as"
and then choose the directory you want the file to be saved in. Click on
the "save" radio button and in a minute the file will be saved on your hard
drive for later viewing. Two different files are available below. One is a
PowerPoint file You will obviously need Microsoft PowerPoint to see the
program. The other file is the basic text Outline to the program in Rich
Text Format (RTF) and can be seen in most word processors.
Attached is part of a PowerPoint presentation presented byweLEAD during a recent seminar in Akron, OhioThis portion of the seminar program focused on 8 Traits of EffectiveLeaders and some recommendations for leadership self-discovery. It is provided in both PowerPoint and Rich Text format. You may download the files foGreg L. Thomas Other Presentations
- Employee engagement
- Employee motivation
- Leadership Development
- Leadership Principles
- Leadership Styles
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- Management development
- Organizational Culture
- Organizational Design
- Organizational leadership
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- Sales Techniques
- Servant leadership
- Transformational leadership
- Workplace Challenges