Monthly Archives: February 2012
Bennis speaks for a breif moment in chapter two on the idea that people will accept the vision of a leader regardless of their own convictions (or belief in the falsehood of the leader’s claims) based upon how adamant and sincere the leader states their case for their vision. This reminds me of Bryan Caplin’s The Myth of the Rational Voter, where he discusses this quirk of humans the one Bennis discuses being just one of them and how it plays out in the political landscape of a democracy. For the less reading inclined here is a video ofCaplin summing up the main points of his book.
Another idea that Bennis gets into that struck a cord is discussed at the end of the chapter when he discusses the study done on regret retarding pursuing ones dreams. Sumed up the study found that men who pursued their dream even if that dream failed, were happier later in life than those who never tried at all, for having the self-satisfaction of knowing that they tried. I personally found this the most powerful idea in the entire chapter and would have prefferd he spent more time discussing it.
Bennis starts off chapter 2 saying “leaders come in every size, shape, and disposition– short, tall, neat, sloppy, young, old, male, and female.” While we may all read this and agree, I can’t help but question its authenticity. Are all leaders accepted despite the very things that make them who they are? I would have to argue no. The most prevalent case being the presidency. Since the US independence from England there has been not one single female president to date, or vice president for that matter. If anyone can be a leader, given that they’ve acquired the basic ingredients of a guiding vision, passion, integrity, trust, curiosity, and daring, as mentioned in the text… why are we still questioning our readiness for a female president now in 2012 where women have come a long way from the stereotypical housewife. Women have become CEO’s, Oprah has her own television network, and many more are venturing into entrepreneurial start ups. I wonder how long it will be before the nation is ready for a female leader. I guess it is “as Norman Lear puts it ‘on the one hand, we’re a society that seems to be proud of individuality. On the other hand, we don’t really tolerate real individuality. We want to homogenize it,’” as quoted by Bennis.
Bennis, Chapter 2, writes that the basic elements leadership include a guiding vision, passion and integrity; and that integrity involves self knowledge, candor and maturity. He goes on to quote Sydney Pollack as stating, “I don’t know what I think until I read what I said.” Metacognition is defined (Wikipedia) as knowing about knowing, or, I paraphrase, thinking about thinking. Your blog is the writing about your thinking or knowing.
I thoroughly enjoyed the blog entries to date.
This is the start to a self-discovery journey in the matter of leadership. The goal is to discern our leadership style and find out how it can be enhanced at a personal and hopefully professional level.
I believe that leadership is first of all a trait and that each and every one of us is born with. We learn to master and expand the context with time by developing and reinventing ourselves along the way. But, create the right situation and a leader will emerge and rise to the occasion. So, leadership is first innate and situational. But, what is leadership?
Bennis tells us that regardless how painful a situation is, a leader is never broken but uses the situation for self-transformation and grows stronger and open to more experiences. Leaders are visionaries who can persuade others to share their vision and make it a reality; they have emotional intelligence which gives them a distinctive voice, a strong sense of morality. Their integrity make them believable and trustworthy and, adaptive capacity will allow them to respond quickly and intelligently to whatever situation is thrown at them.
An authentic leader is a complete person who has character, possesses empathy, heart and courage. It is a package that more than one can aspire to. Different situation make different leaders. Being a leader means being able to make a difference. That is why I believe that one doesn’t have to be in a professional or political position to be a leader. Each and every one of us has the opportunity to become a leader starting in the basic cell: our home, into our community, our work environment whatever our position. You can grow from there , expand the context in order to be able to add more content, more substance.
It appears that leadership is M.I.A in our world. Our society has become full of wandering sheeps in quest of shepherds. And we know what can happen when the first is missing the latter. A quick look around painfully evidenced by the media shows that the corporate and political world is crooked. Unfortunately, several of the people in prominent positions and most of the ones who present themselves as leaders only think about themselves and how they can benefit from human stupidity. Most forgot about the greater good nowadays. Unfortunately it is the “me, myself and I” era. Such a sad situation! What can we do about it? Actually, can we really do something except trying to be the best we can and try to rise to the occasion and be true to ourselves while trying not to forget that there is another human next to us?
We need authentic leaders to live peacefully together, leaders who can guide us and help us not self destruct. The usual basic guides such as religion, morality, respect of others, integrity and the likes are pushed aside a little further every day. To me, these things are like compasses and serve as reminders of what we should and should not do. They don’t have to be followed to the dot, but they should still be thought and instilled into the minds of future generations for them to grow with a little more adequate baggage. Maybe more leaders could emerge. Unfortunately, our society has decided that we are better off and without these compasses, without great leaders, what kind of future will be offered and passed on to the next generation?
This past weeks reading assignment and discussion were pretty interesting. In regards to Northouse, the chapter on skills approach has taught me how to evaluate a leader objectively and how they can improve. Robert Katz stated that a leader must have technical skill, human skill and conceptual skill to be successful. The level of importance varies for technical skills and conceptual skills depending on a manager’s role, but human skill is always extremely important. This is a very interesting observation, because not all successful leaders have great human skill.
There are leaders who completely disregard the people around them and still “make it to the top”. This is apparent in business and community. Does human skill make you a better leader? Of course it does, but it may not be relevant to all leaders.
During class discussion this part Thursday, the class talked about mastering the context. Bennis does a great job of highlighting a lack of leadership today. On the other hand, Bennis seems to have this irrational notion that the U.S. will always be on top.
Although the U.S. will remain a big player for years to come, I’m not certain it will dominate in the 21st century like it has for the past 200 years.
Welcome to the Course Blog of Leadership Development and Entrepreneurial Application (Mgt 4965, Spr 2012). The course is designed to have students develop their understanding of and facility for leadership in the context of entrepreneurism.
4965 Spr 2012 is a hybrid course with half of the instruction face-to-face and half done online. It will explore the descriptive aspects of leadership-traits, style, skills, and the expressive aspects of leadership-what is a leader and how do leaders act. We are using Leadership, Theory and Practice, Peter Northouse for the descriptive part, and On Becoming a Leader, Warren Bennis for the expressive aspect.
Jack Welch is attributed to having said that the two tools of a leader are conversation and action. The class will, in the face-to-face portion, be discussing On Becoming a Leader to have students develop their understanding of the complexity and nuisances of leadership through conversation. For the action part, students will complete a leadership project, such as the CUNY IVE Smart Pitch Challenge. Through Leadership, Theory and Practice students will develop their understanding of the descriptive aspects of leadership.
In addition, to facilitate the expressive part, students will participate in an Entrepreneurial Leadership Blog (through the Baruch Blogs website).
Specifically students are to post 100-200 words weekly about their observations, awareness, gained knowledge, interpretations, and evolving thoughts related to both their own leadership and leadership in general as a result of the class. It is recommended that their writing each week reflect the weekly assignments and reading. Recognizing, though, that a new perspective may come from a collective learning over the course rather than a specific theme, the blog entry may reflect a multiple sources.