Thursday, November 20, 2014

Yin & Yang in Leadership

Yin and Yang is a brilliant symbol and a superb allegory approach to describe excellence in leadership. Let me point out some of the possible applications already posted in my blogs. In the post “IQ & EQ for Leaders” I've written about the importance of “intelligence and emotional quotients” to the leadership. For a leader it is crucial to find a proper mixture of EQ and IQ substances to achieve correct methods/processes that deliver desired results. It is not enough to possess one or the other, the same as in Yin and Yang concept. Another blog “Virtue – Morality – Ethics and leadership” I claimed that virtue motivates, morals and ethics constrain. The last two represent an ego which could be one of the biggest barriers for people to work together effectively (EGO and Leadership?) in multicultural organizations that are spread around the globe. Again here we have two opposite things in leadership that “conflict” with each other.

But Yin and Yang is much more than mere opposites.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Servant leadership

ServantThe servant leadership philosophy and/or a set of leadership practices have been expressed and described in many ways. There is a notion that a servant leadership is an age-old concept, a term loosely used to suggest that a leader’s primary role is to “serve” employees. On the other instances the notion is around the concept of an imaginary inverted pyramid organization in which top executives ‘report’ downward to lower levels.

The author of the term is Robert Greenleaf.  He described it in his paper ‘The Servant as Leader’ (1970): “The servant leader is a servant first … It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve and serve first. Then a conscious choice brings the aspiration to lead …”

Most authors in favor of servant leadership today explain the term as one of the best approaches to leading. They describe it as a method that consists of some activities and qualities a leader should possess or do: he/she values everyone’s contributions; listens; cultivates a culture of trust; understands and empathizes with others; helps people with a life and not only work issues; encourages; thinks and behaves as ‘you’ and not ‘me’; relies on persuasion (seeks to convince others), rather than authority; builds community; focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people / employees and the communities to which they belong.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Loyalty at work

In working environment have you ever wondered about:

  • Does a mutual feeling of trust within the organization increase productivity and commitment to set goals?
  • Why can’t you handle an employee that frequently appears to undermine your authority or sabotage your projects?
  • What is wrong when you entrust to employee and still, because of him, in team there is no teamwork attitude?


Most of the times the answer to the above questions is about loyalty: the quality of “faithfulness” to you as a leader or your principles, your country, organization, work, your vision, your superiors and subordinates.

Loyalty is a two-way street. Majority understands it as being loyal to those above forgetting those below. But, a leader depends on team. All of them should be committed, productive and reliable so that the entire department, company or country could be successful.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Does a leader need to have entrepreneurship knowledge and/or attitude?

In my times I was an entrepreneur as well as a leader. It didn't take much to figure that those two roles have both: differences and similarities which are evident from the behaviors, in the strategies and achievements across a wide range of settings.

Summarizing the differences they fall into some of the categories:
  • an entrepreneur builds a vehicle; a leader builds a superhighway on which it travels;
  • an entrepreneur gets excited about innovative ideas; a leader creates creative work environments and supports brilliant ways to get things done;
  • a leader keeps promises; an entrepreneur is excited by opportunities and may not always consider the time and effort it takes to follow through on their promises;
  • a leader values and develops personal relationships at all levels; an entrepreneurs often tends to jeopardize important relationships for an idea to come through;
  • an entrepreneur dances with failure; a leader with vision, strategy and policy tries to avoid failures;
  • an entrepreneur mostly feels comfortable being alone in his/her mission; a leader attracts and develops the followers to lead.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Does holacracy need leadership?

Though it's been around for a decade, the holacracy doesn't have much of a track record... it is pushed by tech companies like Tony Hsieh Zappos as ‘the hot management trend for 2014’.

holacracyA noun ‘-ocracy’ or ‘-cracy’ means a government / governance by a particular sort of people or according to a particular principle: democracy (by the people); meritocracy (by people with the most ability) and a ‘holo-’ is a prefix added to the start of a word meaning ‘whole’, ‘entire’. In the book The Ghost in the Machine Arthur Koestler argued that literally everything in our world, from chemistry to biology (atoms to molecules to cells to organisms), life forms, or even our cells that form an organ and organs form our body and society are nested hierarchies of entities, which, for lack of any existing word, he called ‘holons’.

atoms to moleculesIn organization holacracy is the concept of self-directed work teams. In business environment it is a rather new management practice that is floating around like ‘lean (manufacturing) organization’, ‘distributed authority’, ‘agile organization’, ‘Six Sigma excellence’ in times organizations need different structures and governance to get top competitive advantages. It differentiates from other practices by being perceived as (new) ‘open allocation’ management structures that (mostly) eliminate bosses.

Unfortunately, the notion that holacracy is non-hierarchical proved as a nonsense. Brian Robertson (Ternary Software) introduced holacracy to the world through a 2007 article as the idea how to put a lot of emphasis on consensual, democratic decision-making and getting everyone’s opinion. He defined it as a set of inward-looking hierarchical mechanisms that connect the teams or work circles. Then, a vertical hierarchy between those circles is still required within the organization. Instructions, information, decisions and guidance on how something has to be done should correspond to the purpose of doing business and is passed from above circle to the below one. Hence a hierarchy stands.