Monthly Archives: April 2012
Reading this chapter, felt more like it was still focused more on learning how to “know ourselves” rather than learn the world. In a sense, I understand that to know the world you must first know yourself. And I guess that since we never fully understand ourselves we could also never fully understand the world, but it is something that grows over time and is ever-changing. With that said, to know the world, from what I understand from this chapter, is to know how to learn and not necessarily adapt to conventional ways of thinking and learning. In the beginning, Bennis discusses learning and he quotes Walter Wriston when he says “things that matter cannot be taught in a formal classroom setting.” What he meant by this is that we are shaped by our experiences and that is how we truly learn. Sitting in a classroom, memorizing information to later regurgitate it on an exam or when asked a question by the teacher is not really learning. Bennis calls this type of learning “acceptance of conventional wisdom.” People tell you this is the way things are or ought to be and this is what you need to know and you forget to listen to your “self.” Intuition, gut feelings, what you feel is the right path or thing to do, is often pushed to the side because someone else told you “this is the way to do it.” Bennis goes on to say that innovative learning is the best and most realistic form of learning. Being active, imaginative, listening to others, listening to yourself (impulses and such), and participating are all a part of innovative learning. I recently read an article where it says you should drink alcoholic beverages at work, not to get drunk but because it liberates the mind of conventional thinking and allows one to be more creative. You may not be able to solve an intense math problem but when they did their research they found that moderate alcohol consumption can reduce people’s ability to pay attention (as anyone who’s ever been drunk can attest), which frees them up for creative problem-solving tasks. In essence the alcohol served as a stepping stone to get the participants to think innovatively. They were not worried about what they thought the right answers were or trying to recall a memory of when they learned the solution back in a classroom setting, instead they acted on impulse and as a result they performed better than the sober control group. I thought the article was rather interesting in how it connected to Bennis’ “innovative thinking” discussion.
In terms of leadership styles, women are more democratics than men. We also use more transformational styles than men. Even though, there are still some prejudices about women leadership, women have been demostrating that have the same intellectual factors in terms of work experience as men do. Some differences between males and females mentioned on the book are women are no less effective at leadeship, comitted to their work, or motivated to attain leadership roles than men.
However, women are less likely to self promote than men are, and we are less likely to initate negotiation, an important tool that all leaders need in order to access high oportunities and resources, in both domestic and professional atmospheres; but, in my personal experience, I dont believe the statement that we are less likely to initiate negotations because for example, In my job, on my department, we are 2 women and 2 men, and based on the numbers written, the ones that have the highest numbers in production of that department are the women. Moreover, most of our tasks are negotiations with our clients. Also, Im personally, the one who is always giving initiatives to move foward wuth new ideas, which is a way of self promoting myself.
One true point that the book mentioned was that we tend to perceive more negatively than men, and therefore, we tend to react faster when things are wrong than them. Lately, women have been reaching more top professional positions than before. I think that all these differences and characteristics dont apply to all of us, and they should not been a pattern for women leadership type.
Recently, the secret service has been plagued with a scandal. Secret Service Officers were caught with prostitutes in Colombia the day before President Obama was to arrive there. This is obviously really bad press for the President during such a critical political time period. The way he handles it could really impact his efforts to be re-elected. But, this is not the main discussion of this post. What I really want to bring up is Leadership changes and question their effectiveness.
Watching the news these last couple days, I heard one of the anchors mention a possible leadership change at the top of the Secret Service to combat this scandal. In my opinion wouldn’t you want the person at the head to stay and remain accountable for this situation. Just because something goes wrong, doesn’t mean that the wrong people are leading. Quite frankly, during these situations is when a leader is proven. If things are always good, you can’t really determine if the current leader is good or if everything is just going well.
Replacing leadership during difficult situations also seems like an overreaction and a short term solution, which I cannot stand. So many decisions on leadership are made based on the present and never the future. In my opinion if we want to remain on top, we should always think long term and look at difficult situations as bumps in the road.
If you are not yet familiar with the Secret Service scandal, I have included a link to give you some insight on the situation.
Can Charisma be taught? Do all leaders have Charisma? What is Charisma? All these questions are very important when a leader is trying to get people on his/her side. Charisma is a personal attractiveness or charm that inspires others. Most of leaders have Charisma, and leaders who have it are more successful. Charisma comes with trust!
Trust is a very important factor when leaders want to convince or persuave others. If a leader does not reflect trust , noone will follow him/her. It comes together with Inspiration. Leaders have the power of Inspiration or Persuasion. Being persuasive is trying to convince people of something, but not giving orders directly.
I dont think that we can learn how to be leaders, but in the other hand, we can definetly lead in a way that someone will want to follow. As Bennis stated on the chapter:
” Getting people on your side has a lot to do with Spirit, a lot to do with team atmosphere. It has a lot to do with not putting people in direct competition with each other, something that is not a universally held philosophy”.
There are four factors leaders have that generate and sustain trust:
Constancy, Congruity, Reliability, and Integrity. When a leader follows and mantains these 4 key factors, they will get people on their side. These elements can be learned through experiences but not be taught.
Empathy is also important when leading. “Leading from the inner voice is necessary for movement leadership”, as Bennis stated. Empathy is a common element on Women. Women tend to react faster on organizational problems than Men. They mostly use their inner voice to make decisions.
“Leading through voice, inspiring through trust and empathy,” I believe is the core statement that this chapter is about. Just like with my previous blog posts I first would like to post quotes and phrases from this chapter that I found valuable and full of important meaning.
“If we had a problem or complaint, we dealt with it openly and immediately” – In my opinion immediate action is the best solution, because the longer you wait the deeper would someone’s insult of pain would become, and the harder it would be to fix it
“Getting people on your side has a lot to do with spirit, a lot to do with team atmosphere”
“You can lead people out of fear and intimidations, as awful as it sounds” “Movement leadership requires persuasion, not giving orders” – a good comparison to both of these quotes was a Marine bootcamp
Four ingredients leaders have that generate and sustain trust:
- “Constancy. Whatever surprises leasers themselves may face, they don’t create any for that group. Leaders are all a piece; they staty the course”
- Congruity. Leaders walk their talk. In true leaders, there is no gap between the theories they espouse and the life they practice”
- Reliability. Leaders are there when it counts; they are ready to support their co-workers in the moments that matter”
- Integrity. Leaders honor their commitments and promises”
“When these four factors are in place, people will be on your side”
“Ability to inspire and persuade through empathy and trust can be and should be present in all organizations.”
“You have to be absolutely straight with people, not clever or curte, and you can’t think that you can manipulate them.”
“Endlessly expressing, explaining, extending, expanding, and when necessary revising the organization’s mission”
To lead in the current global world a leader needs “a different set of skills, based on ideas, people skills and values”
“The first thing one must have to do in setting out to change the culture is get people on one’s side and show them where you want to take the company”
“People trust you when you don’t play games with them”
“The freer the organization is, the more heterogeneity there is in the system, the more leaders will emerge”
“You should reserve the ability to say ‘Shove it,’ and go your own way. That really frees you”
I often feel obligated to people and situations and have always had hard time saying ‘No’, but I think that this answer will evolve itself when your heart or ‘gut’ will REALLY call for it.
This is yet, another great chapter with knowledge and wisdom that I will learn and practice.
This weeks post will revolve around leadership in a family and the impact it has on the household and extending even to the community and expanded families. Recently there was death in my family that although we expected still was shocking to hear, as expected. This person lived overseas and so my family and I, including aunts, uncles and cousins stayed in their house in the mean time. This event although tragic has provided a lot of insight into a situation in which we don’t focus on in class. With this person’s death, the household lost a lot of direction and although there was someone who seemed to be an obvious leader, some one else rose to the occasion to make sure all decisions were made with care. This new leader was able to control their emotions and act as anchor for the whole family. They were able to sit down with members of the family critical decisions on what the next steps are. Although this person didn’t have a clear vision of what would happen, their confidence when speaking was inspiring. This allowed the leader to gain the trust of the other family members, followers, to make sure everything was tied up before leaving again overseas. I don’t know that I would have noticed this if I had not been taking this class, but I’m glad I did. Seeing leadership in this setting was insightful and refreshing since most leadership is talked about in a business context.
“Become yourself, use yourself completely – all your skills, gifts and energies – in order to make your vision manifest.” This quote is probably the concept goal of Bennis’ Chapter 5. Bennis took majority of the chapter discussing the importance of listening to personal instinct, which eventually leads to fully becoming yourself.
I would say that learning to listen to your instinct is crucial to any decision making and to self awareness. After all, it is proven that your first multiple choice selection on a test is typically the correct one, and that is for a reason. A gut feeling is something that is really hard to describe, but that it is your inner voice that every growing leader should learn how to listen to and follow. Professor Raymond, I remember that during our class discussion you have given us an incredible exercise mentioning different words and self evaluating our response to them. Reasonable and true words or phrases call for a warm and fuzzy feeling somewhere around the stomach area, where nonsense words cause a reaction in the brain, which begins thinking about the word or a statement. This is a great exercise for training your instincts. I will remember it and try practicing it. Thank you.
Like with all other chapters I am very much inspired by Benni’s chapter 4 called “Knowing the world”. In this blog I will summarize and quote knowledge, lessons and valuable information I received.
Bennis starts out by mentioning Maintenance and Shock learning both of which I am familiar and had the “pleasure” of experiencing. Following these examples he moves into the values of Innovative learning that are Anticipation and being active, Learning by listening to others and Participation and shaping the events, rather than being shaped by them. “Innovative learning is a way of realizing a vision”, Bennis states. Further the author moves into describing the importance of liberal arts, social sciences and humanities and the ability of its graduates to be more successful in becoming effective leaders. Roger Smith’s paragraph from his book “Educating Managers” should be noted for future reference and personal growth. Another great quote from this chapter is about ambition and it states, “Ambition is the death of thought,” where the author warns about it being in the way of intellectual thought. “The only way to prevent ambition from killing your intellectual life is not to be afraid of loosing, or to say something people might think is wrong.”
Bennis also talks about the importance of travel and the value it brings in broadening one’s experience. A great quote I find useful states, “The stranger in the strange land sees more and sees fresh.” In the chapter’s Friends and Mentors section an important aspect of life that “everything is interrelated” is brought up, which I find very interesting. The following are a few valuable quotes that I’d like to note for my future reference:
“Study, travel, people, work, play, reflection, all are sources of knowledge and understanding”
“You have to get 80 or 85 percent of information and then then take your best shot, and go on to something else”
“Mistakes are not failures, and I don’t take them seriously. Its okay to make mistakes, as long as you make them in good conscience and you’re doing the best you can at the moment”
“If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried very hard”
“Experiences aren’t truly yours until you think about them, analyze them, examine them, question them, reflect on them, and finally understand them.”
“Compelling vision combined with a unique ability to manage risk is magic behind successful entrepreneurs.”
Learning from experience means:
1. Looking back at your childhood
2. Consciously seeking the kind of experiences in the present that improve and enlarge you
3. Taking risks as a matter of course
The following Blog post relates to Northouse chapter on Team Leadership. In the blog, I’d like to talk about my leadership initiative that took place during the organization of a Psychedelic Trance party called California Sunshine, which took place on March 31st in New York. A little pre-history: Psychedelic trance is a musical genre that emerged in early 90’s and has had a good niche following since. The music is often composed by very experienced musicians and sound engineers, as it requires a lot of attention to detail, high musical skills sound generation and development and is often considered “intelligent music.” The goals of this event was to bring quality event production and quality Psy trance artists to New York City, as it lacked it for the past 5-6 years, slowly fading away Psy following and local scene. I believe my event has managed to revive and inspire local audience, as the party’s Facebook wall has been bombarded with complements and thank you letters.
Acting as event’s executive producer and organizer I have faced numerous leadership challenges, acquired much experience and learned a few important lessons. The major problem I faced was hiring a Decoration artist, who was a much-disliked person by many, which was something that I learned later. I had act as a mediator to establish team cohesion, effective communication and joint work. This required personal conversations with various individuals, including a disciplinary communication with the Deco artist, who immediately has managed to offend one of my team members. A bigger problem came during the event setup one day before the party. During the time that I was not present at the location, running various event arrons, I received a call from one of my team members, saying that the Deco artist has badly offended the venue owner, whom I rented the space from. I had to take an immediate action, requiring no additional assessment, because the fate of the production was now at stake. I have yelled at the Deco artist, making him understand that he is not to talk to anyone except me, because I hired him and he works for me. I have managed to earn his respect of my authority by showing him where was his place in my event production. Following this action the remaining work of my crew has been smooth and the event became a great success. Here ais an example of the responses received after the event:
:))) Awesome Event! Thanks to the Red Marines crew for all of the hard work and attention to detail that made it so Amazing! The Artists were perfect, and it sounded Great! I hope to see you again very soon! (((: