Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Starting from the beginning

Starting from the beginning isn’t as bad as many may think. Starting from the beginning may provide a lot of insight to a person’s role in an organization. When one starts from the beginning, there are several advantages and disadvantages attached to doing it. The advantages include reconnection with the purpose of the organization; shaping and molding the future of the company, and leaving a personal mark on the organization. On the other hand, some disadvantages of starting from the beginning is the amount of work needed to involve everyone in the process, a necessary period of perceived unproductive work to reacquaint others with the vision, mission and goals of the organization; and potential resistance from those who don’t understand the broad approach of the process.

The advantages of starting from the beginning include reconnecting with the purpose of the organization, shaping and molding the future of the company, and leaving a personal mark on the organization. Reconnecting oneself to the purpose of the organization is important when leading any organization. Many times leaders either forget or ignore the original purpose of the organization and turn the course of the company into the unintended direction. Researching and embracing the original purposes may provide some guidance into the effective leading of the company. Shaping and molding the organization is another benefit of starting from the beginning. When a leader starts from the beginning, there is a high sense of ability to shape and mold the organization into a representation of the leader due to the possible newness of the organization. Furthermore, a leader can leave their mark on the company. With more established companies, it is harder for leaders to leave a mark that suggest that they were there. Leaders need to be able to leave a mark in that integrates with a greater calling and purpose. Within present day society, it is very important for leaders to be able to create and/or develop an organization that is not only revenue generating, but also environmentally conscience in regards to human life, psychologically and physically. These particular aspects may be helpful for new leaders coming into an organization where there is a lot of informal communication about the current condition of the company.

Some of the disadvantages of starting from the beginning could be the amount of work need to be completed to get everything and everyone to a fluent understanding of the beginning of the organization, a period of unproductive to reacquaint others with the vision, mission and goals of the organization; and potential resistance from individuals within the organization. The amount of work it may take for someone to start from the beginning could be more than creating something new. However, in most cases, it is more effective to revisit the beginning of a company before continuing as a new leader. A period of perceived unproductive might occur because of the level of research that may need to be conducted in order to obtain a high sense of understanding of the beginning of the organization. Lastly, the amount of resistance that a leader may receive within the organization may be detrimental if not controlled and properly handled.

All in all, leadership is about continuing the mission, vision and goals of the organization considering the changing times. In order to do so, the leader must be familiar with the beginning of the organization. Starting at the beginning may prove to beneficial to the leader as well as the organization in the long and short term.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Leadership: Being an agent of change.

Leadership means being who you are regardless of outside beliefs. Sometimes others may feel that they have the answer to every problem, which turns into another problem,. Individuals rarely provide solutions that brings more good than bad. This is common within small towns and cities that refuses to grow because of unforeseen and unequivocal reasoning. So how does a leader sharpen their skills within such an environment? Simply, change the way that one think and others will inevitably follow. It may take time for others to understand the things that a person is doing, but as long as a leader believe in the change that is needed, the change will happen, eventually. Of course, there is a moral aspect of the decision to engage in change, providing that the need is positive and ethical.

The challenges that leaders face while engaging in a positive and ethical change are dormant mindsets, behavioral and cognitive support, a belief for change and the procedure to change. Dormant mindsets can be defined as a group of individuals who have a thinking process that is limited to the world around them and most of the time is short sighted. One of the major issues with a dormant mindset is that there is little to no change without a high sense of external motivation. Next, behavioral and cognitive support is another element that may hinder a leader from engaging in a level of change. Behavioral support can be defined as the physical present, effort and energy that a leader receives from an group or organization. On the other hand, cognitive support is defined as mental agreeability, sponsorship and collaboration from others. Depending on the behavioral and cognitive support, a leader can engage a change that is not only needed, but healthy for the organization or community at all levels e.g. neighborhoods, corporate business, business owners, etc. Another aspect of being an effective leader is having a belief for change. Many may want others to change; however, until others believe there is a need for change, there is a low probability of change. Finally, the method of engaging in change is important. Talking about change only gets a leader to a certain point. There needs to be a formal and informal plan for change.

Being a successful leader irregardless of the environment takes one being an agent of change. Overcoming challenges such as dormant mindsets, behavioral and cognitive support, a belief for change and the procedure to change can provide to be a great asset in developing an organization, group and/or community. So go out and have a positive and ethical change on the world.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Leadership: Integrity and purpose

In leadership, one can view two characteristics of a person to make a safe assumption of the type of leader they will be: integrity and purpose. Addressing these components of a person character will allow for others, leaders and followers, to develop an effective and successful organization, regardless of the industry. This post will seek to identify and develop these characteristics of the leader.

In regards to integrity, it may be hard for one to judge one’s personality off appearance alone. However, a person can discover the leader’s integrity by observing the fruits bore within the leader’s life. Leaders have a tendency to breed success and high levels of productivity in almost every area of their life. For example, a small business owner develops their customers, business partners and competitors by leading with high integrity. The owner develops the customers by providing the best service and/or product with given resources to ensure that the customer has a pleasant experience with the company. In turn, this may prompt the customer to display the same customer service to others whether professional and/or personal relationships. Business partners become motivated to be more productive within the company when a leader of high integrity is observed engaging in a healthy level of work and pride within the company. Also, competitors may notice the success of the business; and develop better and effective strategies of doing business. All in all, a leader that operates with a high level of integrity does not wait for someone to tell them to be better, but they simply engage in a healthy level of self-leadership. In turn, the leader’s behavior has a domino effect on others around them.

For one to operate in a high level of integrity, the leader must know and operate within their purpose. Many organizations have objectives, vision, mission and goals. Why shouldn’t a leader? Organizations are made of people. So it is safe to assume that the same principles that drive a successful organization can drive an individual. One can find their purpose by simply assessing their longing, desire and passions. Also, others around can assist a person in identifying their purpose. Others can be colleagues, coworkers, supervisors or friends. Others can explore activities that a person is perceived as being a great leader. These individuals should explain activities they think a leader performs well in daily life.  Colleagues should give thoughts on activities they think the leader have displayed a high sense of excellence and passion. Next, a leader is to operate in that purpose. No matter the field, one should constantly seek to intertwine their purpose within their daily lives. This may be done in small and gradual increments; or large and radical proportions.

In conclusion, there are two points of leadership that should always be addressed when dealing with leaders: integrity and purpose. Having integrity, searching for purpose, and engaging in purpose may assist in a leader’s development. Furthermore, one should not settle with having a bad and negative outlook on a purpose. A leader has to be someone who can be encouraged to do better, but at the same time be welling to strive to become a better person regardless of being encouraged. Also, being a leader can have unethical consequences. So, it is important to understand and realize the amount of power one has on others’ lives. A high sense of integrity and purpose may assist in the continued success of a leader in many aspects of their life.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Being a leader means knowing and following your passions

Leadership means following your predestined passion. Whether it is leading a non-profit organization or running a Fortune 500 company, follow your passion. When life gets closer to the end, you might find yourself asking the question, “why am I on this earth?” Answering this question may take a systematic approach of self-leadership behaviors. During a recent doctoral assignment, I was asked to speak on the topic of interviewing Donald Trump, Warren Buffett, and Lee Iacocca. This was a complex assignment because no one thinks about interviewing such high profile individuals within a doctorate program. However, it got me thinking, what would I ask? My current program of research popped in my mind: self-leadership. Address the issues of self-leadership? Many consider Trump, Buffett, and Iacocca as great leaders. However, few think of them in terms of improving oneself as leader. For some reason, many associate business and money as being an effective leader. One can have both, but lean on others to lead an organization without any direction from the owner. So what’s this talk about self-leadership? Watson (2004) defines it as one’s leadership development based on self-assessment. Watson provides four components of self-leadership: intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual. An individual can reflect on each of these aspects while responding to a Leadership Development Self-assessment (LDSA). A basic LDSA can have four questions: what personal/ leadership values are most important to you; personal strengths; personal weaknesses and detrimental behaviors (Watson, 2004). The LDSA is the first step of a four-part process that includes assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating (Watson, 2004). These steps are a continuous cycle. Furthermore, a Self-leadership Action Plan (SLAP) can be created that includes life goal statement; obstacles to overcome; leadership domain (intellectual, emotional, physical, and spiritual); short-term goal statement; strengths to use; goal achieved or revised; and life goal accomplished date (Watson, 2004). A SLAP is important in life because this can assist one in achieving goals whether academic, relationship oriented or financially driven. One of the most popular reasons for many not achieving their goals as a leader is because they fail to assess, plan, implement and evaluate. Following your passion should not be a matter of not having the ability, but not having a SLAP to see it through.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Strength-based Leadership

Anyone who has served in a leadership role knows serving in it means being strong mentally, physically and emotionally. Basically, being an effective leader means being tough. Being a leader means being strong in more ways than physically as well. One has to be welling to withstand adverse situations and changes within the organizations. One could study organization development and leadership for years while remaining ill prepared as a leader. Leaders have to withstand bad forms of communications. Being a strong leader means being able to hold one’s vision, goals, and objectives when others (followers and colleagues) may want to give up on the idea. It is essential for leaders to have enough strength to see the future of themselves and the organization when others may be in doubt. Also, it is advantageous for one to have the strength to act from a high level of integrity and character. Many of the world’s greatest leaders have dealt with turmoil and negative statements made by others. However, those leaders due to strong levels of integrity and character provided great contributions to society. One can see that strength is a major component of great leaders. A few questions some may be asking. How does one know if they need to become a stronger leader? How does one become a stronger leader? Linely, Govindji, and West (2007) provide a significant explanation of strength-based leadership. A response to the first question is being honest with oneself while evaluating one’s leadership styles. A leader may not be knowledgeable of the potential negative behaviors they are displaying. Furthermore, those behaviors could be hindering them from becoming a stronger leader. It is essential for leaders to check their motives as well. Being a stronger leader crosses discipline and professions. Business executives, singers, and civil employees should have a focus on becoming a stronger leader. Being a stronger leader in any of these fields may be one of the few determinants of one continued success. Being a leader in an organization or a field is not about gaining significant amounts of fame or financial stability. It is about helping others achieve success as well as achieving the goals of the organization one may represent.