The demands on leaders can be many and they are often pulled in multiple directions at once. Having employees that work for you helps you to get things done and takes some of the burden off, but it also brings with it a great responsibility and new set of expectations and needs. Employees need things from their leaders and it is not just more work.
Here are six things that I believe all employees need their leaders to be.
Everyone wants to know where they stand and how they are doing. If things are great sing their praises; if things aren’t great let them know. No one likes surprises and or wants to have to guess. Feedback is an ongoing activity not just a once a year activity that occurs with annual reviews or when there are complaints.
You may not be able to tell your employees everything but be as honest and transparent as you can and if you can’t share information let them know why. Why goes a long way.
Going hand in hand with honesty you need to be a communicator and able to provide feedback, information and direction. Employees want to know what is going on, what is coming up, what to expect and what is expected of them. Information is everything and no one wants to feel like they are in the dark.
Obviously you have to be committed to the business and organizations goals but it doesn’t end there; you have to be committed to your team and people individually.
You have to set the direction for your team and be committed to it while balancing the goals of the organization and aspirations of your team members all while being committed to helping them achieve them.
The workplace can easily become negative. Remember we spend more time with the people we work with than our own family so there is bound to be some strife. Work can also be hard, that is why it is called work.
Deadlines, demands and sheer volume will take its toll. You need to remember that your employees are people; they have lives outside of the office and no matter how we all try to separate the two, when things are hard in our personal lives it makes it hard in our professional life as well. Try to know and understand what your employees are faced with and potentially going through.
The key is to be able to take a positive approach to working through things and not letting negativity permeate the workplace.
Employees want you to be confident; even if you don’t feel confident you need to project confidence. Knowing that the person at the helm can steer the ship or at least believes they can, instills confidence in the crew. Everyone knows leaders don’t have all the answers and can’t solve all the problems but if they know you have the confidence to try and find the answers and help solve the problems it will instill confidence in them. This leads us to the last thing on my list.
We all want to be inspired but inspiration does not always come easy; a fire needs a spark. We all have to do those things that we would rather not do, but what makes that easier knowing you get to do the things you really enjoy.
Find out what your employee’s strengths are then leverage them. Also find out what their goals and aspirations are, encourage them and help them however you can. Take a genuine interest in them beyond just being their boss. No one wants to feel like they are just a means to an end.
Finally remember that your employees are always looking at the way you handle things and how you lead. Let your leadership be inspirational because you may be helping to create future leaders.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
The demands on leaders can be many and they are often pulled in multiple directions at once. Having employees that work for you helps you to get things done and takes some of the burden off, but it also brings with it a great responsibility and new set of expectations and needs. Employees need things from their leaders and it is not just more work. Here are six thingsAnthony T. Eaton Articles
In my many interactions with business owners and senior managers over the years I would maintain that the single greatest challenge facing most of us tasked with the oversight of a business or organization is leadership and specifically, our understanding how to motivate our people. Getting them to do the things we want done, how we want them done and when we want them done is always a challenge. Most of us hate this part of our role as leaders and are very creative in finding ways to avoid it. Of course this might be why morale and retention are such major issues in the American workplace and why turnover and job dissatisfaction are at all time highs. I am strongly of the opinion that people can amaze and astound you with what they can accomplish, but this never happens by accident and never happens in an environment where we are discouraging innovation and where we withhold our trust. Expecting our people to soar when we dissuade them from spreading their wings seems like an expectation just waiting to go unfulfilled. People, our staff in other words, can take us anywhere we choose to go but only if we encourage them to push the limits, only if we promote initiative and only in an environment of trust.
One of the most common complaints I hear from business owners and from senior managers is that our people have no initiative and have to be constantly pushed and prodded to do the things we ask. Initiative is one of those incredible behaviors that we just never get enough of but it is also one of those things that has to be nurtured so when I hear a business owner or senior manager within an organization complain about a lack of initiative from his or her staff members, I immediately want to understand why this is the case and what are we doing as leaders to cause it. As leaders we are entirely responsible for the work environment and if our staff members are unwilling to go that extra mile and unwilling to challenge convention and reach a rung or two higher, then we as leaders have done or said something (much more than once) to discourage this most desirable of human behaviors. Only people who are confident and who have been encouraged will expose themselves by pushing beyond our expectations or by suggesting a better path. If the majority of our staff is unwilling to take that leap, then we as leaders have failed.
As leaders, tasked with delivering the broad expectations of the organization, it is certainly reasonable for us to approach our job, our every effort, with a sense of urgency. Very literally, we are responsible for each task, every procedure and all efforts that make up our areas of responsibility. The pressure that comes with this accountability is significant. Trusting others to complete these tasks is a frightening prospect for many of us but the impracticality of our doing everything ourselves requires and in fact demands that we bite that operational bullet and delegate effectively. This is the very essence of leadership; our moving the masses toward the accomplishment of our goals and hopefully beyond. To whatever degree we are able to do this will determine our effectiveness and success as a leader.
Human beings are a challenge. They are unpredictable, they suffer mood swings and it is difficult knowing what you will get from individual to individual, from day to day. They are tough to understand and with so much on the line in our own efforts, it is difficult to trust them to do the things you ask them to do. As difficult as it might seem, trusting in your people is exactly what I am going to ask you to do.
That initiative we had talked about earlier is an indication of confidence and I can promise you that if you have not created an environment of trust and empowerment, your people are not going to think about showing much initiative. It is never about you actually coming out and saying you don’t trust your people but your micromanaging them and monitoring their every action, step and inclination will communicate that lack of trust just as surely as you bellowing it at your people at a weekly staff meeting. People who feel under a microscope never feel trusted, never feel confident, and as a very direct result, rarely show initiative. A lack of initiative is a sure sign of a leadership structure that is stifling, repressive, hostile, and untrusting or any combination of these. A work environment that is lacking in trust is one that will always underachieve, always suffer turnover, and one that is dysfunctional at the top. The saddest aspect in this is that many of us will defend our position and our lack of trust by blaming our staff members. “They just don’t get it” or “This is so important that I just can’t trust them to deliver the results I am looking for”. No matter how you wrap that, it is wrong and like a coach blaming his team for the loss, you are blaming your people for your failure as a leader. Your micromanagement is destructive to your team and denies your team members the growth that comes with ownership and success. If your people are lacking the skills to succeed, then I would suggest that you train them but denying them the opportunity to grow and improve and get in the game is a sure-fire way to develop a culture of underachievement, low morale and lack of initiative. Unfortunately, some will fail, but when appropriately trained and armed with our reasonable expectations, most will succeed and strive to exceed our expectations. Showing faith in our people (even if we don’t really feel it) is a great way of showing confidence in them and encouraging their very best effort in every undertaking.
I recall a situation in a large organization I was working with, where the senior manager was blessed with a highly experienced and capable staff. This particular manager came from an unrelated field and I am guessing as a result, felt insecure in his ability to properly manage the areas with which he was tasked. His approach was to question, double check and re-verify the minutia of the things his staff did on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It is certainly commendable for any manager to approach their areas of responsibility with a sense of urgency but in this case the manager’s insecurity and intense attention to the details was perceived as a lack of trust. Senior staff, with from ten to fifteen years on the job, are not used to being audited and double checked on a daily basis and the actions of this manager took a highly motivated and capable team and turned them into a defensive rabble, more concerned with their own ‘i’s’ being dotted and their own “t’s” being crossed than with the broad organizational priorities and goals as well as being more concerned about making mistakes than with innovation or initiative. Trust is a very powerful thing that gives our people the confidence to move forward and to grow. A lack of trust makes most of us unconcerned with what is going on in the next cubicle and wondering about what we have done wrong.
Leading is tough, there is no doubt about that, but in any business, in any organization there is nothing more powerful, nothing more cost effective or reliable than motivated, appropriately trained staff, who are well led and encouraged toward success.
Leaders lead with a stubborn insistence toward accomplishment and an undying faith in their people. You can trust me on that.
About the author:
Brian Canning is a regular contributor to weLEAD and a business analyst working in the federal sector. For the past thirty years he has worked in the automotive repair industry, most recently as a leadership and management coach with the Automotive Training Institute in Savage, Maryland. After serving as a tank commander with the 1st Armored Division in Europe, he started his career as a Goodyear service manager in suburban Washington D.C., moving on to oversee several stores and later a sales region. He also has been a retail sales manager for a large auto parts distributor, run a large fleet operation and headed a large multi-state sales territory for an independent manufacturer of auto parts. His passions are history, leadership and writing.
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
In my many interactions with business owners and senior managers over the years I would maintain that the single greatest challenge facing most of us tasked with the oversight of a business or organization is leadership and specifically, our understanding how to motivate our people. Getting them to do the things we want done, how we want them done and when we want them done is always a challengBrian Canning Articles
"For what we've discovered, and rediscovered, is that leadership isn't the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women. It's a process ordinary people use when they're bringing forth the best from themselves and others. Liberate the leader in everyone, and extraordinary things happen." — James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations
Leadership is a verb, not a noun. Leadership is action, not a position. Leadership is defined by what we do, not the role we are in. Some people in "leadership roles" are excellent leaders. But too many are bosses, "snoopervisors," technocrats, bureaucrats, managers, commanders, chiefs, and the like. Conversely, many people who have no formal leadership role are excellent leaders. In today's fast changing world, we all need to be leaders.
To lead is to show the way by going in advance. To lead is to guide or direct a course of action. To lead is to influence the behavior or opinion of others. We all need to be leaders, regardless of our formal title or role. This starts with inner self-leadership and moves outward to influence, guide, support, and lead others. The process of becoming a leader is the same as the process of becoming a highly effective human being. Leadership development is personal development. Leadership ultimately shows itself in what we do "out there." But it starts "in here."
It would be easy if we could all become leaders by following a simple set of steps. But the journey of personal growth means finding our own way. There are, however, critical areas of personal development based on timeless principles. The distance we need to grow along each leadership dimension will differ for each of us, but defining and continually growing along each of these paths is the way of the leader.
Strong leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal leadership across these key areas:
*Choose Not to Lose. Whether we choose to focus on our problems or our possibilities is a key leadership issue. When we are faced with obstacles and failure, those who can overcome adversity and learn from their experiences, turning them into opportunities, are the ones who will be truly successful.
*Focus and Context. THE CORE OF MY BEING: This is central to our growth along all the other dimensions. Our Focus and Context is shaped by three vital questions: Where am I going? (my vision); What do I believe in? (my principles and values) and; Why do I exist? (my purpose or mission).
*Responsibility For Choices. IF IT'S TO BE, IT'S UP TO ME: Leadership means accepting responsibility for our choices in life. Leaders realize that life accumulates, that choice more than chance determines their circumstances. They refuse to succumb to the "Victimitus Virus" ("it's all their fault" and "there's nothing I can do").
*Authenticity. GETTING REAL: Leadership isn't just what we do, it's something that we are, which then drives what we do. Genuine leadership comes from within. It's authentic, and based on honesty, integrity, and trust. We must ring true to ourselves by exploring our inner space, gathering feedback on our personal behavior, and ensuring consistency with our stated values and principles.
*Passion and Commitment. BEYOND NEAR-LIFE EXPERIENCES: Successful people are energized by a love for what they do because it brings them ever closer to who they are. They overcome apathy and cynicism, develop a burning commitment to their cause, and with discipline achieve their dreams and desires.
*Spirit and Meaning. WITH ALL MY HEART AND SOUL: What is the purpose of our work? Of our lives? Material success alone is not enough. Leaders seek within — and find something more. In what is too often a mad dash from cradle to grave, we need to take time — in work and life — to nourish our inner selves.
*Growing and Developing. FROM PHASE OF LIFE TO WAY OF LIFE: The popular goals of security, stability, and predictability are deadly. The closer we get to these dangerous goals, the more our growth is stunted. True and lasting security comes from constant growth and development, based on regular R&R (reflection and renewal).
*Mobilizing and Energizing. PUTTING EMOTIONS IN MOTION: Leaders don't motivate with rewards and punishments. Whether at home or in the workplace, they energize people to motivate themselves. Highly effective leaders boost the energy of others with their passion and appreciation. They engage people's hearts as well as their minds. They get them involved and participating. They actively nurture the "being" or culture of the group, not just the "doing."
The more the world changes, the more leadership principles stay the same. Leadership principles are timeless. And they apply to all of us, no matter what role we play in society or organizations.
About the author:
Jim Clemmer's practical leadership & personal growth books, workshops, and team retreats have helped hundreds of thousands of people worldwide improve personal, team, and organizational performance. Jim's web site, JimClemmer.com, has over 300 articles and dozens of video clips covering a broad range of topics on change, organization improvement, self-leadership, and leading others.
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
"For what we've discovered, and rediscovered, is that leadership isn't the private reserve of a few charismatic men and women. It's a process ordinary people use when they're bringing forth the best from themselves and others. Liberate the leader in everyone, and extraordinary things happen." — James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge: How to KeeJim Clemmer Articles
For management writer Peter Drucker, leadership is having followers who "do the right thing". For political historian James MacGregor Burns, leadership is a "calling". For US president Abraham Lincoln, leadership is appealing to the "better angels of our nature". Leadership is also a matter of making a difference. It entails changing a failed strategy or revamping a languishing organisation. It requires us to make an active choice among many plausible alternatives, and it depends on bringing others along, on mobilising them to get the job done.
Leadership is at its best when the vision is strategic, the voice persuasive and the results tangible.
In the study of leadership, an exact definition is not essential; but guiding concepts are needed. The concepts should be general enough to apply to many situations, but specific enough to have tangible implications for what we do. Four frameworks are particularly valuable for company leadership. Their focus is on the individual capacities that have the greatest impact in the broadest circumstances.
The three-part story
Leaders such as Martin Luther King, Margaret Thatcher, Pope John XXIII, Eleanor Roosevelt, Alfred Sloan and Nelson Mandela had an immense affect on society. Our experience in the present century will long reflect what they achieved in the past century. What is the common thread that explains their legacy?
For academic Howard Gardner, the answer lies in their consistent use of a three-part account. Whether with a few supporters or in front of a nation, great leaders consistently offer their vision of both what should be and how it should be achieved. Moreover, they always include a third element: all honour to the people who will build that future. Nelson Mandela, for instance, demonstrated this kind of leadership by declaring that the people of South Africa would create a multi-racial, democratic nation; they would do so through the peaceful transformation of South Africa; and both the black and white people of South Africa would get them there.
The teachable point of view
During nearly two decades at the helm of General Electric, Jack Welch has built one of the leading producers of everything from toaster ovens and jet engines to television programmes and financial services. He transformed a company worth Dollars 12bn in 1981 to one valued at Dollars 560bn today.
When asked to reveal the secret of his success, Welch says it is certainly not knowing which alloys to use in engines nor which shows to broadcast on Mondays. It is, rather, knowing how to pick the right leaders for making those products and then ensuring that the chosen ones master their growing responsibilities and changing markets. And for this, argues academic Noel Tichy, you must have a "teachable point of view", a message that defines what you want the company to achieve and how it will do so, and both must be conveyed in a form that others can readily learn and teach in turn.
The other intellect
Many managers will have known brilliant colleagues who had every answer but no respect. Cognitive intelligence is a prerequisite for most responsible positions, whether a Nasa flight director or an investment bank manager. What distinguishes those who move up to those positions is a capacity that writer Daniel Goleman has called emotional intelligence. It amounts to the following: if you are self-aware and self-regulating, empathetic and compassionate, and skilled at bringing out the best in people around you, you will hear what you need to know and inspire what they need to do.
The 70 percent solution
Some institutions are notorious for deplorable leadership; others are legendary for their excellence at the top. The US Marine Corps is renowned for its leadership abilities and offers insights into what is essential in business. The Marine Corps prepares is commanders to:
* seek a "70-per-cent" solution rather than a 100-per-cent consensus;
* avoid indecisiveness, a fatal flaw that is worse than no decision;
* clearly explain a decision's objectives and then allow subordinates to work out the details;
* tolerate and even encourage mistakes when they generate better performance next time;
* prepare everybody to lead, including those in the front line.
Business writer David Freedman and former McKinsey consultantsJon Katzenbach and Jason Santamaria argue that although companies march to different drummers, their leaders will do well to adapt the best of what the Marines have already discovered.
Without John F. Kennedy's persuasively articulated vision, human beings would not have walked on the moon in 1969. A powerful vision is a precondition for leading a company or country at any time. It is a persuasive picture of where you want to go, how you want to get there and why anybody should follow.
Herb Kelleher formed Southwest Airlines in 1971 to make flying affordable and the company profitable, and that vision has guided the company ever since. The airline still has some of the lowest ticket rates and highest profit rates in the business, reporting a net income of Dollars 474m in 1999 on revenue of Dollars 4.7bn.
Not only should chief executives articulate a strong vision, but they must do so in the face of new pressures: intensified competition and less time in which to achieve goals. Before AT&T's deregulation in 1984, for example, the chief executive was virtually assured of last year's earnings plus six per cent in the following year. The current chief executive, Michael Armstrong, is not even assured of his job next year. Professional investors and stock analysts are turning up the heat and the internet is requiring rapid-fire action. Wall Street and the City expect people at the top to understand where the market is going, pick a strategy for succeeding in it, and rally a reluctant workforce to master it. Michael Armstrong has to reduce costs and create innovation, but money managers and stock analysts also expect him to divine and shape his future better and faster than anybody else in business.
Vision and strategy are therefore essential, but they have been joined by new critical capabilities:
Leading out: As companies increasingly outsource services, use joint ventures and construct strategic alliances, they require managers who can lead out, not just down. In other words, the skill of sending work downward to subordinates is being supplemented by a talent for arranging work with partners. Such lateral leadership is essential for achieving results when you have no authority to guarantee them. And managers are requiring more of that every year: recent surveys of managers report annual outsourcing expenditures growing by 15 per cent or more.
Consider a senior US manager in a telecommunications company who was responsible for developing outsourcing contracts worth Dollars 1bn for information services. Company executives told him that cutting service costs and reducing management distraction were the purpose and left him to identify which services could be outsourced. He then had to contract the right outside partners to provide the services and convince sceptical internal managers that the deal would deliver what they wanted.
Lateral leadership requires strategic thinking to understand when and how to collaborate for competitive advantage; deal-making to secure the right arrangements with outside companies and ensure they provide quality service; partnership governing to oversee and develop the collaborative contract; and change management to spearhead new ways of doing business despite internal resistance.
Leading up: As companies have decentralised authority, they have put a premium on a manager's capacity to muster support from above as well as below. Managers must be able to lead their own bosses. If superiors lack data, managers should ensure they receives what's needed.
Consider a brokerage manager who could see the potential of the internet, but whose boss and board remained sceptical. He laboured to persuade them that online trading would come to dominate the trading market, even though it meant cannibalising their existing franchise and incurring momentary losses. He prevailed, and his company became one of the industry's largest.
Upward leadership depends upon followers who are ready to speak out, solve problems and fill the breach. But it must also be executed with subtlety and verve. If done in an unsubtle way, it may prove little more than a career-shortening move for those who try it. Yet the middle manager who fails to handle things firmly may never be noticed by the very senior managers who are most in need of help.
Moving fast: The widespread adoption of the web has increased the availability of information to buyers and sellers and reduced the costs of transactions between them. Whether building a new internet company or an online capacity in an established enterprise, acting decisively can be essential in quickly changing markets. So too is an ability to revamp the business model and redeploy assets to take advantage of competitive changes before others do.
Consider eBay, the world's largest online auction site. It was the first mover in its market, and when Amazon.com and others subsequently began competing in the auction market, chief executive Meg Whitman incorporated some of their features - such as password retrieval and fraud insurance - on eBay's website. She also added new features, such a way for buyers to look for items in their own city and to be notified when an item they desired became available for bid. EBay today has attracted 16m registered users and holds 90 per cent of the online auction market. Whitman's swift actions helped create a market valuation of Dollars 14bn.
How to build leadership
Some managers have a head start in acquiring leadership capacities, but everyone can improve. It is a learned capacity, albeit one that for many proves very difficult to master.
A first step for building leadership is to identify those whose leadership skills will need to be developed during the years ahead. Senior executives may decide it is only the managers of major operations who should be included, but they may conclude instead that it should be virtually everybody with responsibility. Middle managers will probably want to involve anyone reporting to them.
Managers can begin by engaging those closest to them in a leadership debate, and asking them to do the same with their associates. They can discuss their moments of both success and setback; ask them to synthesise lessons from their own leadership experiences; provide them with personal coaching and individual mentoring; and change the business culture so they can make decisions without acute fear of failure.
An explicit leadership development programme may also help. Abbott Laboratories, a Dollars 13bn revenue US healthcare manufacturer with 57,000 employees, brings groups of 35 high-performing, high-potential directors and vice presidents together for three weeks of leadership development over nine months. Participants examine the leader's role and responsibilities at Abbott, they consider alternative leadership approaches and they receive feedback on their own leadership style and impact.
DuPont, with revenue of Dollars 27bn and 94,000 employees, has created its own "knowledge intensity university", a set of programmes for training managers in how to identify expansion strategies, create a culture of urgency and allocate resources to encourage rapid growth.
One programme for top executives of product divisions and global businesses is designed to help them identify the best methods for bolstering business. A second programme for top management teams helps them specify, test and implement the best "growth engines" for business. Both programmes include week-long learning events with an intensive focus on strategic alliances, e-commerce and change leadership.
Ford Motor Company has annual sales of Dollars 162bn and employs 365,000 people. To accelerate the formation of its future leaders, it runs a "new business leader" programme for 2,000 managers every year. Participant teams identify ideas that could help transform the company's way of doing business, design a course of action for implementing the best proposals and develop a "teachable point of view" for advocating them.
One of the most effective ways of instilling leadership in such programmes is to examine what other leaders have done in times of crisis. By looking at others' experiences, managers can better anticipate what they should do when faced with leadership challenges. It teaches strategic thinking and how to act decisively.
It can be particularly powerful to walk historic battlefields or recall critical decisions. Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air, for example, describes how two climbing groups, simultaneously nearing the summit of Everest, were hit by a violent storm. It is useful to ask what went right - and why so many things went so terribly wrong - for the leaders of the two teams as they desperately sought safety.
Eight climbers (including both team leaders) never found shelter. In asking how their decisions might have gone differently, how their leadership mattered, and what we might do to reach our own summits more safely, we can deepen our own commitment to preparing ahead and instilling responsibility for when it is really needed.
The British explorer Ernest Shackleton's journey to the Antarctic presents another useful illustration of leadership in a crisis. Shackleton set out in December 1914 with a team of 28. His ship became trapped in ice and although it appeared that everyone was doomed, Shackleton's exceptional perseverance, ingenuity and leadership led them all to be rescued 21 months later. In Leading at the Edge, Dennis Perkins suggests several enduring lessons to be taken from Shackleton's saga:
* Keep sight of the ultimate goal but focus on interim objectives. Shackleton was driven by the safety and survival of his men. When morale plummeted at one point, Shackleton organised a trek to cross 314 miles of ice floe to an old food cache. The trek failed, but the collective endeavour restored the crew's life-sustaining spirits.
* Engender optimism. As a way of maintaining morale, Shackleton openly planned the team's next expedition - to Alaska.
* Minimise your perquisites. Ten of the 28 castaways were forced to use inadequate sleeping bags after the ship sank. Shackleton assigned these bags by lottery, except for one that he assigned to himself.
* Risk nothing needlessly, bet everything when essential. When Shackleton's marooned crew finally reached an inhospitable island at the edge of the Antarctic, they stood on land for the first time in 497 days. Yet the island offered no respite. The nearest help, South Georgia Island, still lay 800 miles across one of the most daunting oceans in the world. With few navigational aids, Shackleton set out with five others in a 22-foot craft. Eighteen days later, in one of the greatest feats of steerage and survival ever, he landed their tiny boat on South Georgia. L
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
About the author:
Michael Useem is professor of management and director of the Center for Leadership and Change at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
He is the recipient of the Helen Kardon Moss Anvil Award for Teaching Excellence in the Graduate Division, 1992; Graduate Division Award for excellence in teaching, 1992-95, 1998; and the Miller-Sherrerd MBA Core Teaching Award, 1993-99. He has served as consulting editor for Leadership Quarterly, 1992-98; corresponding editor for Theory and Society from 1981 to the present; on the advisory board of Liberal Education (Journal of the Association of American Universities and Colleges) from 1990 to 1998; and on the editorial Board, IRQ: A Quarterly Journal of Investor Relations and Corporate Value, 1997-present.
Professor Useem also serves as a consultant for companies such as Astra/Merck; Bell Atlantic Corporation; CARE; National Policy Association; National Research Council; United Nations; World Education, and many other organizations. His research areas include organizations and management; leadership and governance; corporate change and restructuring; institutional investors; company social and political programs; education and employment; and the organization of development programs. Current projects include work on company leadership in a globalizing equity market; leading organizational change and restructuring; and the lessons of leadership during periods of challenge, stress, and uncertainty.
Representative publications include "The Leadership Moment: Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster and Their Lessons for Us All," "Investor Capitalism: How Money Managers are Changing the Face of Corporate America," and "Executive Defense: Shareholder Power and Corporate Reorganization."
* Freedman, D.H. (2000) Corps Business, New York: HarperBusiness.
* Gardner, H. (1995) Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership, New York: Basic Books.
* Goleman, D.P. (1997) Emotional Intelligence, New York: Bantam.
* Gardner, J. (1993) On Leadership, New York: Free Press.
* Katzenbach, J.R. and Santamaria, J.A. (1999) "Firing Up the Front Line", Harvard Business Review, May-June.
* Krakauer, J. (1997) Into Thin Air, New York: Villard/Random House.
* Perkins, D.N.T., with Holtman, M.P., Kessler, P.R. and McCarty, C. (2000) Leading at the Edge, New York: American Management Association.
* Tichy, N.M. (1997) The Leadership Engine, New York: HarperBusiness.
* Useem, M. (1998) The Leadership Moment, New York: Times Books/Random House.
Article Copyright: The Financial Times Limited
Reprinted by permission of the Financial Times
Permission received by weLEAD Incorporated
For management writer Peter Drucker, leadership is having followers who "do the right thing". For political historian James MacGregor Burns, leadership is a "calling". For US president Abraham Lincoln, leadership is appealing to the "better angels of our nature". Leadership is also a matter of making a difference. It entails changing a failed strategy or revamping a languishing organisation. ItMichael Useem Articles
Leaders not only challenge us but also inspire us to take action. Some leaders post quotes in their office as reminders to inspire themselves and others. Here are a few examples.
“Make It a WOW Experience!”—Sign in the office of Kate T. Labor, Vice President-Customer Support, Systems, and Software.
“I will change one life today!” —In the article, “Understanding the Importance of Rituals,” author Justin W. Carter said that this sign was in the front office of a small company. As employees entered the office, they tapped the sign with their hand. This ritual instantly reminded them of the importance of their mission.
“Bring Energy!” —Sign on the desk of Maxine Clark, Founder and Chief Executive Bear, Build-A-Bear Workshop.
“Prove Your Groove.”—Sign on the office wall of Peter H. Reynolds CEO/Owner, FableVision Enterprises.
“The Buck Starts Here!”—Sign on the desk of Donald Trump.
Leaders inspire us by what they say, how they say it, and what they do. You must believe in yourself, your employees, and your message.
What Leaders Say
Leaders speak the truth about what is—current reality and about what’s possible—their vision. They keep it real but also identify opportunities for a better future. Leaders use words that are positive, affirming, uplifting, and encouraging. They inspire us by making us feel good about ourselves.
We all want to feel respected, valued, useful, and part of something important and successful. Package your message in a way that connects to these universal feelings. In addition, you can inspire people by tapping into their core values. Emotions and values are the spark that get us excited and energized.
The words leaders say that inspire us include:
*Telling Stories. Stories that describe setbacks, great struggle, hard work, perseverance, and eventual success inspire us to press on and achieve demanding goals.
What’s your inspiring story?
*Affirming Statements. Leaders inspire us by telling us we have the ability and talent to be successful. Doug Conant former President and CEO of Campbell’s Soups said that in graduate school his grades started to slide. He was working two jobs and taking a full course load. His favorite professor pulled him into his office and said, “You can do better.” Those four words touched him, affirmed him, and inspired him.
Who have you affirmed in the last two days?
*Planting Seeds. Leaders inspire us by getting us to see ourselves performing a bigger role. They plant seeds with comments such as, “I can see you leading our international marketing campaign.”
*Encouraging People. One of my mentors always encouraged me to pursue bigger goals. Whether I was applying for a new job, considering graduate school, or starting my own business, her consistent response was: “Now’s your time. Believe in yourself and your goals. I’m confident you can do it.”
Who are you encouraging to pursue loftier goals?
*Empowering People. Ralph Stayer, former CEO of Johnsonville Foods, inspired his employees and built their confidence by empowering them. He gave people power and authority to get things done. When leaders empower us, they’re saying, “I have confidence in you.”
How Leaders Say It
Leaders deliver their message with passion and conviction. Check out some of the YouTube videos of Tom Peters, Pat Summit, Colin Powell, and Tony Blair. Observe how animated and passionate they are. If you don’t have enthusiasm for your ideas, who will? A passionate speaker gets the audience to sit up, open up, and fully consider the key points. You must have great conviction for what you’re advocating. Leaders have no doubts, no hesitation, and no questions about the correctness of their ideas and recommendations. If you’re not fully committed to what you’re doing, why should anyone else?
Do you deliver your message with passion and conviction?
What Leaders Do
They set the example. When change is taking place all eyes are on the leader. Setting an example is a powerful way of inspiring people. People can’t ignore what you do. Leaders are often the first to take action. Their actions are strong and decisive. You increase your influence exponentially by adding highly visible examples to your words. Author and Artist, Susan Conroy said that the best example of leadership she got was from Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Susan states, “I made my first trip to work with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in 1986. Mother Teresa inspired us by her example.” Every day she was a consistent role model of humble service.
What example are you setting for your people?
Problems Related to Inspiring People
1) Some leaders lack optimism. Others are too optimistic and are thought to be out of touch with reality.
2) Some leaders aren’t inspiring because they are flat in their delivery. They lack energy and conviction when presenting their message.
3) Some leaders don’t create a sense of urgency. There is no burning platform so people are reluctant to jump into the water.
4) Some leaders talk a good game, but don’t back it up with action.
What Can You Do?
First, inspire yourself. Discover what gets you excited. Second, think about your life stories. What challenges and obstacles have you faced and overcome? Craft your own personal stories that you can use to inspire others. Third, build your vocabulary. Ed Zimmer, Founder and President, Zimmer Foundation says that a large vocabulary helps you select the best words to sell your ideas and inspire people to change.
About the author:
Paul B. Thornton, MBA, M.Ed., is an author, trainer, and professor of business administration at Springfield Technical Community College in Springfield, Massachusetts. He has provided leadership training for over 10,000 supervisors and managers. This article is an excerpt from his new e-book, WHAT I TEACH ABOUT…LEADERSHIP. His e-mail address is PThornton@stcc.edu
This material is copyright protected. No part of this document may be reproduced, in any form or by any means without permission from weLEAD Incorporated. Copyright waiver may be acquired from the weLEAD website.
Leaders not only challenge us but also inspire us to take action. Some leaders post quotes in their office as reminders to inspire themselves and others. Here are a few examples. “Make It a WOW Experience!”—Sign in the office of Kate T. Labor, Vice President-Customer Support, Systems, and Software. “I willPaul B. Thornton Articles
Leadership is a wonderful opportunity. You have your hands on the controls of your organization. If you don’t like what is going on, then look in the mirror. You are setting the standard on what is expected, what is acceptable, and what is possible. If you ask for it, you can get valuable feedback from your employees, customers, and owners that just might change your perspective.
People are your organization’s most valuable resource. Many leaders say it, but too few leaders act like it. People are street smart. You can’t fool them very long. People don’t forget what you do or how you act, but they will quickly forget what you say unless it is contrary to your actions. The old saying is true – ‘Talk talks, walk talks, but walk talks louder than talk talks’!
You become isolated from the realities of working in your organization. People filter what they tell you. But, in a very short period of time you can get valuable input from all of your employees to recalibrate your perspective. This input will help you get a picture of how people view working in your organization compared to what you think or how you might want things to be. It is difficult for you to get straight-forward, objective feedback through the normal chain of command. Getting feedback that is politically correct or feedback that your people think you want to hear only serves to build your ego, not your business. Time is money. Any process, any practice, or any behavior that wastes your people’s time or contributes to non-productive energy wastes your money.
If you want to get a quick feel for what your people think, what frustrates your people, and what is being filtered in the communication to you, then commit to do a few simple exercises. The time it takes is minor compared to the insight you will gain.
Answer each the following questions with one of three choices -- good enough, needs improvement, or hurting us:
1) In the customer’s eyes we are leading all competition in understanding and addressing their future needs.
2) Our customers choose our products and services because we provide more value and higher quality than our competition does.
3) We are keeping our resources focused on the important things because we have very few distractions that divert key manager’s time.
4) I know that our processes are effectively aligned to support our vision, mission, key values, key business objectives, and results measures.
5) Our processes effectively integrate to get maximum, focused value from our resources.
6) We aggressively seek to compare and to learn what other organizations may do better than we do.
7) We put considerable effort into developing and retaining a skilled, motivated, productive, and happy workforce to achieve extraordinary results.
8) We routinely achieve results that meet or exceed our strategic and tactical business objectives.
Now ask yourself ‘how do I know’ for each question. What process do you have in place that measures and supports your answer to the above? How do you collect the information, validate the information, analyze the information, process the information, and manage by the information? Too many leaders have to admit that they do not have the key measures or processes to really support their perceptions to these questions. This is your first look in the mirror.
Next, go out to your people – all of your people. Give them a presentation and interact with them on a topic that is of interest to them. Ask each person attending to give you two suggestions right then on something they would do or change to make things better if they could take that action right now. You do not need to know who provided the recommendations unless your people elect to put their name on the paper. Collect the suggestions before they leave the meeting area. Read every suggestion and summarize them. You will gain tremendous insight on areas within which you need to think, reflect, and dig further. These suggestions will hit right in the heart of your organization’s culture, processes, people, and alignment. This is your second quick look in the mirror.
Make some changes immediately based on the input. Show your people you listen and changes can happen quickly.
Go out and ask all of your managers, supervisors, professionals, and as many employees as possible to list for you in writing the following. You may have to let the people submit this anonymously if there is questionable trust in your organization.
1) the top five roadblocks and barriers to getting things done
2) the first 3 changes they should make in their department
3) the first 3 changes they would make someplace else in the organization
4) the 2 things they would do immediately if they were king for a day in your organization and their action could not be undone
5) the top 3 concerns they have as an employee of your organization
6) a list of any perceived sacred cows or things that cannot be changed or touched
7) a list of any perceived double standards in the organization where people are not treated the same
Read and summarize all of the above. Categorize the input into culture, process, people, or alignment areas. This is your third quick look in the mirror.
Makes some changes immediately based on the input. Again show your people that you listen and changes can happen quickly.
Now you are armed with information to conduct a fast-paced, simulation exercise with a good cross section of your organization’s leaders, natural leaders, hourly employees, bargaining employees, and professionals. You will not personally participate in the exercise but will engage a facilitator that has run an organization at least as large as yours to challenge and drive your people out of their comfort zone during the exercise. Your focus during this exercise will be to watch the group dynamics, thought processes, contributions, and basic skills to address a difficult problem. In less than 2 days you will gain tremendous additional insight into keys of what makes your organization tick or sputter...
The purpose of the simulation exercise is to quickly be able to determine how well your people understand your environment, products, customers, processes, bureaucracy, capabilities, barriers to progress, and what it takes to get something done. Many times people will see and understand only a small percentage of what must be done to take on something challenging. Time is a crutch. Normally meetings are scheduled days or weeks apart but no new, substantive information is obtained. Precious time is lost. In the simulation exercise your people must make decisions and sequentially act on those decisions. They quickly learn that you may not have all the information you maybe need or want but that is reality. People will soon learn the value of teamwork, diversity, and collaboration when they are accountable for making something happen in less than a perfect situation.
Pick a problem that could be real to the group and one that they have not tried to address. For example, the price on an item must be reduced at the actual cost level by 30% within 4 years. Your people can reduce cost by cutting cost, increasing revenues upon which overheads are charged, or other permeations and combinations. An agenda should be developed to challenge their skills and their business knowledge. Divide your people up into small working groups. Each group will provide answers to each exercise. Then all participants will discuss the input received and explained from each group and agree upon one response that best represents their collective knowledge and thinking. Your people will quickly see that not everyone sees things the same and that collaboration is a powerful tool to move forward.
You should answer questions like the following first and then compare your answers to the answers your simulation participants agreed upon. Set specific times for the working groups to answer within the group, discuss with all participants, and then collaborate to agree on their best response to tasks like the following:
1) Describe your competitive environment and its impact upon your organization.
2) List the three most important competitive variables for your organization to increase revenue. Rank the variables in highest to lowest order of importance. Determine key milestones. State in months how quickly these significant milestones can be achieved for each variable.
3) List the three most important specific actions that need to happen for each of the top four ranked competitive variables to increase revenue. Rank the actions in highest to lowest order of importance.
4) Using the collectively agreed upon top four ranked specific actions, give two examples that demonstrate your organization has accomplished such actions in the past 12 months.
5) Grade your organization using school grades (A,B, C, D, F) on each of the following:
a. Having the knowledge of what it takes and the competency to execute to compete and beat the best
b. Focus and knowledge-based strategy to increase revenues
c. Energized commitment to total quality excellence
d. Timely, aggressive, and consistent challenge to status quo that delivers results
e. Enthusiasm for rapid change
f. Total team orientation and absence of different functional or personal agendas
g. Communication with understanding on needs, strategy, and plan
h. Management leads by example and eliminates behavior inconsistent with performing at customer-acknowledged excellence levels
i. Sense of urgency and ability to get results for competitive variable #1
j. Sense of urgency and ability to get results for competitive variable #2
k. Sense of urgency and ability to get results for competitive variable #3
6) Describe in five bullet points or less, each bullet point six words or less, the specific challenge to your organization presented in this simulation.
7) Provide the top three summary solutions (six words or less) of what needs to be done in order to meet the specific challenges.
8) List the top three barriers to these solutions
9) List the top five specific cost reduction opportunities and estimate the total dollar savings for each of the five opportunities. Rank the opportunities in importance from most important to least important.
10) To realize each opportunity, list the top three changes that must take place. Rank the changes in order of importance from most important to least important.
11) Make a pie chart to summarize the percentage of total cost reduction that would come from the special cost reduction opportunities. The initiatives must add up to meet the 30% reduction target and pie chart slices must add up to 100%.
12) Using the two biggest slices from the pie chart, prepare a top level project plan and time line, in three-month increments, beginning today, and indicate how much of your savings will be realized in each three-month period. The total savings must add up to the total saving projected on the pie chart for these two slices.
13) Group discussion on what was learned, what you did right, what you could improve, and action assignments.
This is your fourth look in the mirror. In an exercise like this, you would like more facts and more time. You will never have all the facts and you could always use more time. What is more important though is learning what and how your people think with what they know today. That is why all answers are short and concise. You get the point without the usual accompanying explanation, clarification, and caveats.
Don’t be surprised if the discussions get lively. Don’t be surprised to see suppressed feelings rise to the surface. Don’t be surprised to see a lack of knowledge, skill, and basic understanding of issues and solutions. Don’t be surprised to see right in the room some of your fundamental roadblocks and barriers to progress.
Seldom does a group of people get to work together on such a challenging and mentally stimulating exercise. Seldom do people at all levels of your organization get to appreciate what you do and the decisions you have to make as a leader. Seldom do you get the opportunity to get so much non-routine information and see your people under fire when decisions must be made and positions negotiated within short time periods.
It is time to reflect. Compare your answers to the simulation exercise with the answers of your people. What have you learned? Take time to think. Pull out your strategic and tactical objectives. Where do you have gaps in your processes? Where do you have alignment challenges? What do you need to adjust to address fundamental capability, training, hiring, behaviors, procedures, processes, systems, or approach? What performance measures do you need to put in place? What is your next step?
Take the challenge. The steps forward with your new information and perspective are fun and invigorating. Now you can see why it must be you. You have your hands on all the controls. Open up communication. Stop, look, listen, and learn together. Your people will be more ready to work together to get the important things done. You will be better able to lead and remove the roadblocks and barriers in their way. Your metrics will show your progress and encourage everyone. These and future looks in the mirror will pay tremendous benefits. Try it!
Comments to: email@example.com
About the author:
Rick Loghry is President of Actions Speak, LLC, a firm providing custom, affordable education and training focused on aligning culture, processes, and people to improve operating results. Rick has 30+ years experience working as a change agent to improve operations. Prior to starting Actions Speak, LLC, he was President of a Forbes top 500 privately held company. He holds a B.S. in Science and MBA from Rollins College.
Leadership is a wonderful opportunity. You have your hands on the controls of your organization. If you don’t like what is going on, then look in the mirror. You are setting the standard on what is expected, what is acceptable, and what is possible. If you ask for it, you can get valuable feedback from your employees, customers, and owners that just might change your perspective.Rick Loghry Articles
Despite the hundreds of books, programs and websites devoted to leadership, the truth is that leaders can't be trained. Leaders need to be developed. Hopefully this doesn't seem like a simple matter of semantics, because it isn't.
Let me illustrate this distinction. Leadership is more about WHO you are than about what you do or what you know. Two executives can do and say the same things but get very different results - even when they do and say those things to the very same person! Although what you say and what you do are important, effective leadership is even more dependent on HOW you do or say those things. This explains why the actions of those two executives can elicit such different responses.
You can train people about what to say. You can train people about what to do. You can even show someone how to do and say those things. But getting them to change how they go about doing things and getting them to change how they go about saying things is a whole other story.
Leadership is about who we are, and it's this "how" of doing, saying, and being that defines who we are. I think a good deal of "who we are" is captured within the competencies of Emotional Intelligence, developed and made popular by Daniel Goleman. There are 12 EI competencies, with five of them being the one's that ultimately affect our effectiveness as leader. These five competencies are:
1) Coaching and Mentoring - The ability to develop others
2) Inspirational Leadership - The ability to develop a compelling vision and to lead with it
3) Influence - The ability to utilize persuasion
4) Conflict Management - The ability to resolve disagreements
5) Teamwork and Collaboration - The ability to build and guide teams
Let's briefly examine each one of these competencies with respect to training vs. development as it pertains to leadership.
Coaching and Mentoring
As a professional coach, I know many professionally trained coaches. They've gone through a curriculum of coach training from an accredited coaching school. And yet, although they have the necessary skills and knowledge to be a good coach, a number of them are really rather poor at coaching. Conversely, I've come across associates who are reasonably good at coaching, yet have never had any formal coach training.
How is this possible? How is it that someone with great coaching skills is mediocre at coaching? And how is it that someone without any formal training is very effective at coaching?
The answer of course, is in HOW they apply their coaching knowledge and skills. In order to be effective as a coach, one must, at the very least, be aware of one's own emotions, have control of one's emotions, be empathetic, and have good judgment. The reality is that each of those traits must either be developed or be natural to a person. They just aren't things that can be "trained".
Leaders need to be inspiring. They need to instill pride, they need to hold and communicate a vision, and they need to inspire an organization and its people to aspire to excellence.
Here's the challenge… People aren't simply inspired by the right words. The right words spoken by the "wrong" person will have only a minimal effect. In order for a leader to move others to action, he or she needs to be someone who others admire and respect.
How does someone garner the respect of others? It's obviously through our words and actions, but once again, "how" we say what we say and do what we do determine the impact those words and actions will have. "Who we are" is something that can be shifted and developed, but it cannot be "trained".
Effective leaders are influential. We influence people by our words and actions, but of course, it comes back to how we're viewed by others and how we do and say the things we do. Honing and improving those abilities comes down to development and not training.
Conflict and challenges are inevitable in business, and a good leader has the ability to diffuse and resolve situations as they arise. In order to be effective in this effort, a leader needs to have the respect and trust of those involved. How we conduct ourselves during these times is important, but even more critical is how we've conducted ourselves in the past. Establishing "who we are" takes time and is not something that can be trained - only nurtured and refined.
In order for a leader to successfully foster an atmosphere of collaboration, he or she must be good at the previous competencies - coaching, inspiring, influencing, and resolving. Clearly this ability once more rests on things best developed and not trained.
Now that we've made a case for leadership development and one against "leadership training", we need to address how this development occurs. Here's what has to happen:
1. An objective assessment of one's competencies needs to take place. Since "how" we do and say things is habitual, we're generally blind to our shortcomings.
2. No one needs to be excellent in every competency in order to be an effective leader. Based on the objective assessment of our leadership skills, we need to focus on one or two areas to target for improvement.
3. Enlist the help of one or two trusted associates to help point out (in a loving fashion, of course!) when we fall back into old patterns.
By being mindful of your words and actions, and being persistent in your efforts to improve, you'll find that over time - there is no "quick fix" for what we're achieving - your effectiveness and impact as a leader will increase. Not only should we strive to develop ourselves as leaders, but need to work to develop those around us. Ultimately, a great leader is someone who develops other leaders.
About the author:
Michael Beck is a Business Strategist and Executive Coach. For more articles on leadership, personal effectiveness and personal productivity, please visit www.michaeljbeck.com.
Despite the hundreds of books, programs and websites devoted to leadership, the truth is that leaders can't be trained. Leaders need to be developed. Hopefully this doesn't seem like a simple matter of semantics, because it isn't. Let me illustrate this distinction. Leadership is more about WHO you are than about what you do or what you know. Two executMichael Beck Articles
To better comprehend the association between Leadership, Spirituality and Sense of Happiness or satisfaction with regards to the working environment, I propose the concept of visionary leadership which is broadly utilized as a part of contemporary discourse of leadership. Visionary Leadership can be identified as an inclination to see higher spiritual powers behind the occurrence of every other event. Visionary leaders look for a relationship of events with these spiritual forces. They may or may not find themselves to be involved in such events but they may believe in the idea of alignment of events with the transcendent forces.
Visionary leaders have the vitality, drive and determination to get things going and lead others do likewise. They have an inner motivation and the ambition to achieve big. They believe in their motivation and their capacity to think for big goals.
Some of the great world leaders including President George Washington and Winston Churchill mentioned the assistance they got from a ‘guiding hand’.
Winston Churchill said: “... we have a guardian because we serve a great cause, and we shall have that guardian as long as we serve that cause faithfully.”
It is reported that the President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat had been visited by Mohammed who told him to maintain peace in the Middle East, which he sought after with determination.
Below are some of the quotes from famous business leaders regarding the idea of visionary leadership and its spiritual connection:
"A leader's role is to raise people's aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there." — David Gergen
"The companies that survive longest are the ones that work out what they uniquely can give to the world — not just growth or money, but their excellence, their respect for others or their ability to make people happy. Some call those things a soul." — Charles Handy
"A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done." — Ralph Lauren
Visionary leaders comprehend that spirituality in the work environment setting is tied in with discovering the reason and meaning, past one's self, through the opportunities related to the work. Uncovering these purposes would incite significant sentiments of prosperity, a satisfying conviction that one's work makes an extraordinary or potentially noteworthy contribution.
It might empower a feeling of association with others. Visionary leadership is more than coordinating and directing the followers or people under the effect of leadership. Driving from inside is a method for concentrating on our internal knowing and our natural qualities and strengths. One way of releasing this rich source of knowledge can be by a plan of action to our strengths. Times of emergency and crisis may likewise prove to be the times of enlightenment with the potential for change and development. It may prove to be the time when we start to scrutinize our deeds, needs and the way we live and work.
Major life occasions which may be painful at times, for example, the loss of a friend or family member, separation of one's family, sickness or injury, may be perceived as opportunities as much as difficulties. Events like these, have a tendency to deliver a need to incite meaning, and the bits of knowledge that develop after it are vital to how we rise up out of them. In the similar context, encounters like near-death experience or such revelations may likewise have that power of such transformation. Visionary leaders may comprehend that with the end goal for them to ingrain a sense of meaning and satisfaction.
Following are the three kinds to happiness that we can experience as proposed by Martin Seligman (credited as the father of Positive Psychology):
1) pleasure and gratification,
2) embodiment of strengths and virtues and
3) meaning and purpose.
The "pleasurable and gratification" is what we encounter when we work on activities that makes us feel enjoyable, for example, purchasing of new things, recreational activities with our family members, sharing quality time with friends and family members or going out on holidays. The life of commitment and engagement is tied in with utilizing our qualities and strengths in the everyday events.
It may come through profound commitment in any action that one may find challenging, which could be a part of one's professional or family life. A life with a meaning is developed when we start utilizing our qualities for the goal of achieving something that is bigger than one's self.
"Meaning and Purpose" originates from serving others and may incorporate taking care of the family, helping other individuals, volunteering works, etc. Visionary leaders can help their supporters to these ways of attaining happiness or satisfaction, however the first path that is provided by Seligman can be accomplished outside the work environment and we, normally, know how to achieve it, while the second path has been a part of the work plan for more than 50 years. It is, however, with the third kind (meaning and purpose) with which the leaders may experiment by opening the opportunities to significant and meaningful work.
A manuscript studying more than 150 studies demonstrates that there is a similarity in relationship between spiritual values and leadership efficiencies. Qualities that have for quite some time been viewed as spiritual ideals, for example, empathy, meditation and contemplation, have been shown to be identified with success in leadership.
In a similar way, the practices that are traditionally been associated with the concept of spirituality, and are practiced in everyday life, for example, offering of prayers, etc. have been proposed to be associated with the effectiveness in leadership. In many spiritual practices, emphasis has been put on the application of beliefs like prayers, and it has also been found to be a part of crucial leadership skills including, gesture of respect for others, exhibiting equal or fair treatment, expression of concern, listening and recognizing the work done by others, etc. Spirituality may be utilized as a model or framework for organizational values. In the model being proposed here, the spiritual values may not exhibit an immediate co-relation but it can be perceived as something that enable a channel through which, the other values may found to be aligned.
About the Author:
Vedang R. Vatsa is an initiator and the one who get things done. He developed his skills and worked with some eminent clients on his own. He likes to travel far up to the mountains and deep down to the beaches with an aim to explore the mighty possibilities of reality. He loves to discuss ideas with people and appreciate an honest feedback.
Connect with him on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vedangvatsa/
To better comprehend the association between Leadership, Spirituality and Sense of Happiness or satisfaction with regards to the working environment, I propose the concept of visionary leadership which is broadly utilized as a part of contemporary discourse of leadership. Visionary Leadership can be identified as an inclination to see higher spiritual powers behind the occurrence of every otherVedang R. Vatsa Articles
Leadership is the art of influencing people, which requires delegation to be effective. Delegation is the art or process of assigning specific duties and responsibilities to subordinates in an organization. Delegation comes in different forms and leaders must be familiar with these forms in order to make good delegation decisions.
One such form is what I call general delegation, which means leaders delegate responsibilities as a way of training the next generation of leaders in their organizations. This delegation is important because it helps preserve the mission and vision of the organization. Another form is crisis delegation, where the leaders delegate duties and responsibilities to subordinates when a crisis, such as when a leader is absent from the organization for a prolonged time (e.g hospitalized or attending to a sick relative). Therefore, leaders must delegate responsibilities and duties during times of crisis in order for the organization to continue operating. It is important to remember that, with the delegation of duties, the leader who delegates is still responsible and accountable for the delegated duties. Any mistakes or errors committed by subordinates when carrying out the delegated duties still rest with that leader.
When leaders delegate some of their responsibilities and duties, they benefit in some ways from the process. First, delegating tasks removes some of the duties from the leaders; subordinates perform these duties so leaders can concentrate in areas where the organization will benefit most, like the negotiation of contracts that benefit the whole organization. Second, by delegating tasks leaders can groom future leaders because subordinates will learn how the organization works at a higher level; when it is time for the subordinate to take over, they will have already learned the necessary skills for the positions. Third, delegation, when done properly, will raise the morale of subordinates in the organization because it will show them that the leadership believes that they can be trusted to do delegated work. Fourth, proper delegation also improves trust between subordinates and leadership which tends to lead to a cohesive organization. Fifth, when duties are delegated to subordinates, efficiency increases because duties are given to people whose skills match the delegated duties, thereby freeing time for the leader to concentrate on other important duties of the organization. For example, there is no reason for a leader to be keeping daily records of who is reporting to work when that work can be done by subordinates with expressed instructions to report the progress back to the leader.
Delegation is not always easy for some leaders; there are many reasons as to why they fear to do it. First, they are afraid of being outshined by the subordinates who performs the delegated work well. Because of this, leaders find it difficult to delegate. Second, some leaders fear that they will not be recognized for the work done by the subordinates and, thus, refuse to delegate. Recognition is important for moving up the leadership ladders in some organizations. Third, some leaders refuse to delegate because they fear that they will lose the trained subordinate to a rival organization that might use that subordinate to compete with the leader’s organization. Fourth, some leaders fear to delegate because they feel that something important has been removed from their responsibilities. As a result, they keep all their duties. Fifth, some leaders in organizations develop preconceived ideas about subordinates that prevents them from delegating duties and responsibilities to them. It is a sad situation, but it happens in some organizations and hinders the cohesiveness of the organization. In the long term, such thinking affects productivity. Sixth, the fear of being exposed as a leader who does not understand his/her job can cause a leader to limit the delegation of duties until he/she acquires the competence needed in the position. No leader wants to be exposed by subordinates for not understanding how the organization runs. Seventh, in some organizations, there is a shortage of staff shortage, so leaders keep all duties and responsibilities that pertain to their jobs. Eighth, some leaders fear that if they delegate responsibilities and duties to subordinates, they will lose control of them because they will know too much of what goes on in the organization, causing top leadership to ignores directives from the leader. What this kind of leader forgets is that those delegated duties eventually land on his/her desk for approval, which means such fear is unfounded. Ninth, in some organizations staff tend to be lazy, which makes leaders not want to delegate some of their responsibilities to them out of fear that they will not manage those duties well. Finally, inadequate training of staff also tends to make leaders fear delegating some responsibilities to subordinates because they think they will not do the delegated duties as per the instructions given.
To be effective in the delegation of duties and responsibilities leaders must do the following. First, they must give clear instructions on what should be done for the delegated duties and, when they are completed, to whom to report. Second, leaders must avoid over delegating their responsibilities because they might be perceived as over relying on the subordinates for the accomplishment of organizational duties. It might also affect the performance of subordinates. Third, leaders must always praise their subordinates when they successfully complete the delegated duties and tasks. Such praise tends to boost subordinates’ morale at the work place, thereby increasing productivity. Fourth, micro-managing the subordinates when duties and responsibilities have been delegated will increase mistrust because the subordinates will think that the leader does not have confidence in them to complete the assigned tasks. Therefore, leaders must at all times avoid micro-managing the subordinates to whom they delegate responsibilities and instead should monitor them from a far. Fifth, effective delegation requires leaders to provide adequate information on the duties and responsibilities of the delegated positions so that the subordinates will perform the duties efficiently. Sixth, when delegating duties, leaders must ensure that subordinates do not fear anything will happen to them if the delegated duties are not performed at an acceptable level. They must reassure subordinates that the failure to reach the acceptable level will be a teachable moment for them to improve as they repeat the same duties. Removing the fear will encourage subordinates to perform well without the fear of retribution. Seventh, for leaders to know how subordinates are doing in their delegated duties and responsibilities, they should always request feedback from them in order to monitor their progress. In requesting feedback, the leaders will know when corrections are needed or where more resources are required for better performance of the delegated duties and responsibilities. Finally, before duties are actually delegated, subordinates must be trained on them. Without proper training, subordinates will be hesitant to take up delegated responsibilities due to a fear of failure.
As a social function, delegation is based on the trust that leaders have in their subordinates that they will accomplish the delegated duties successfully. Yet it remains a calculated risk, as delegation does not guarantee success on the delegated duties. On the other hand, for leaders to be successful and effective in running organizations efficiently, delegation is necessary. Without delegation, leaders might be overwhelmed by duties that might be done well by subordinates’, thereby freeing time for them to concentrate on other duties that might benefit the organization.
*Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net
Leadership is the art of influencing people, which requires delegation to be effective. Delegation is the art or process of assigning specific duties and responsibilities to subordinates in an organization. Delegation comes in different forms and leaders must be familiar with these forms in order to make good delegation decisions. One such form is what I call gDr. Obed Nyaribo, DBA Articles
If the organization provides safety and security for employees, then employees will provide the organization with their brawn. But what about the brain? That is a different issue.
Money buys employees’ brawn: at least you can see them at their desk by 8:00 a.m. and see them leave at 5:00 p.m. You observe them walking the halls with papers in hand, working at their computers, talking on the telephone, and in other ways physically doing their jobs. They appear to be working hard and the employer pays for the fundamental tasks the employee was hired to do. But, is the employee’s brain engaged? Is he satisfied with his current level of production and on autopilot? Is she just going through the motions to get a paycheck?
In production jobs where people are hired for their brawn, brain engagement is not a major issue. However, it is a different story for people with information jobs. People who are paid to think need reasons to keep their brain engaged and keep it from wandering into La-La Land: thinking about the weekend, plotting how to get even with the person in the next cubicle, or surfing the Internet for wakeboards. Brain engagement of employees is a clear leadership challenge.
The brain has many levels of intellectual and emotional involvement and employees decide on an hourly basis how much of their brain they will share at work, how much creativity they will give to solving problems, and how much they will flex to get along with co-workers. The amount of brain effort they choose to give is called discretionary effort.
Some employees only engage their brains to do their jobs just to the level so they won’t get fired. Little if any discretionary effort comes from these employees and they may never choose to change their engagement preference. However, if an organization increases the invitation to be engaged, most employees will respond in a positive way.
To better engage employees, organizations can employ a variety of methods such as offering monetary rewards, giving opportunities for personal development and education, recognizing employees for outstanding accomplishments and achievements, extending the leadership of a team assigned to a plumb project, etc. The ideas for engagement are numerous and once the organization has matched their method with the employee, the level of an employee's intellectual engagement and the amount of discretionary effort they choose to give will increase.
Discretionary effort equates with energy at work. There is a difference in the level of effort and energy one is capable of bringing to an activity or a task, and the effort required only to get by or make do, which requires little discretionary effort. It is the difference between the minimum acceptable versus the maximum level of energy and discretionary effort an individual is capable of giving and is related to the integrity and trust between an employee and the organization.
This places the level of employee engagement and discretionary effort squarely on the shoulders of leadership. To engage your employees and earn discretionary effort, use this checklist:
Give your employees stimulating tasks. This gives them positive expectation and a sense of excitement to come to work. It engages their creativity, improves their brain activity and increases the pleasure of working.
Assign employees to find answers to tough problems. This honors them by showing you believe in them and their abilities. Human nature will make them knuckle-down and bring you solutions.
Make employees accountable with deadlines and midpoints. Just like a teenager secretly appreciates the enforcement of rules, deep inside people feel good when they meet deadlines with integrity.
Explain the organizational vision and mission and ask them if they can align personally with the objectives and goals. Just like in a sales process, you can uncover and overcome their objections to business strategy and in the process and discussions, make them a more loyal employee.
Take note of their completed tasks in their performance review and see if their completed responsibilities support the goals and objectives of the department. This audit will help you determine if they have inadvertently veered off target.
Provide team building activities and relationship training so employees can intelligently solve problems, resolve minor conflicts and understand how to collaborate.
Reward them and recognize them for their contributions. Rewards and recognition give employees a sense of self-esteem and individual pride increases when they are thanked for their contributions in front of their peers.
Teach managers how to be relevant to the employees. Relevance means you matter. Because some managers underperform, they do not matter to the employee and worse yet, get in the way of employees performing at high levels.
The fundamental building block to effective work production and customer satisfaction is employees who are engaged and excited about their jobs. Their brains are fully engaged and they willingly give discretionary effort. Their energy is directed toward task completion, solving complex problems in innovative ways, and ensuring happy customers.
They seldom visit La La Land.
About the author:
Karla Brandau is CEO of Workplace Power Institute. She offers keynotes, workshops, and retreats to move your organization forward in the chaotic environment of the 21st Century. You can contact Karla at firstname.lastname@example.org visit her blog at www.FromTheDeskofKarlaBrandau.com
*image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net
If the organization provides safety and security for employees, then employees will provide the organization with their brawn. But what about the brain? That is a different issue. Money buys employees’ brawn: at least you can see them at their desk by 8:00 a.m. and see them leave at 5:00 p.m. You observe them walking the halls with papers in hand, working atKarla Brandau Articles
- Employee engagement
- Employee motivation
- Leadership Development
- Leadership Principles
- Leadership Styles
- Leadership Tips
- Management development
- Organizational Culture
- Organizational Design
- Organizational leadership
- Personal leadership
- Sales Techniques
- Servant leadership
- Transformational leadership
- Workplace Challenges