Thursday, April 17, 2014

Leadership and succession

“A person who does not worry about the future will shortly start to worry about the present” is an ancient Chinese proverb.

leadership successionUnfortunately, still rare occurrence is leadership succession which is and should be too important to ignore.

A company CEO is irrevocably gone. Who will take his position? Or, the top executive is attracted by your competition. Is there anyone new ready to fill the role? What would you do: you may end up with an empty C-suite or, even worse, get an under qualified person to fill the job because simply there is no one better to take it over.

Transition period in the top management position may present quite hazardous times for companies. If the previous CEO has had significant and sound results a worry about his successor’s ability to maintain the same momentum will inevitably arise. To avoid a future crisis in leadership succession there should be developed and implemented plan for leadership succession beforehand. This should cover planned process of leadership transition but also the unplanned ones. Important functions will thusly in large amount continue uninterrupted.

Increasingly large and globally integrated companies take leadership development and CEO succession extremely seriously. In one study of more than 200 CEO successions the researchers found out that in contender succession turnover among senior executives has a positive effect on a company’s profitability but in an outsider succession it has a negative impact. So, companies face two ways to fill the empty position: with internal process of development of a specific candidate or hire externally and choose the best free one on the market.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Leaders and Self confidence

Why, if self-confidence is so important in nearly all aspects of our lives, do so many people struggle with it?

child playing with the fatherA child playing with the father who throws him in the air: does a child laugh and ask for more? Then, when a child is high above your head you ask him “Would you be a star fighter pilot?”  Child won't hesitate to say yes! However, why then most adults are so fearful of choosing a career that could provide them a professional satisfaction and leave those they are not satisfied with? Is it because of a vicious circle in which people who lack self-confidence can find it difficult to become successful and consequently self-confident?

self-confidenceIn martial arts, when you face the opponent your level of self-confidence is shown in many ways: by your posture, your movements, your reactions, your behavior during the combat, your body language and your verbal language (if you speak, what you say etc.). Everything reflects your (lack of) confidence. If you hesitate, you lose. A well-known truth is that self-confident people inspire confidence and/or respect in others.

Inspiring the confidence in others is one of the key ways in which a leadership process perpetuates. A leadership is all about having the confidence to make decisions, to show to your followers the vision, to communicate good and bad news, to inspire others. If someone is afraid to make and commit to a decision, all of the communication and empowerment in the world won't make any good to get confident.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Are Leaders Born or Made?

the chicken and the eggA timeless debate like the age-old controversy about “a chicken and an egg” is more or less applicable also to the question whether leaders are born or made. In the most texts I've so far read the prevalent answer is: a leader is born.

Personally, I’m more for a kind of the in-between position: early genetics shown in childhood is an imprint that is hard to undo. Later, learning and practice bring new qualities and dimensions to leadership. Statistically, leadership capability will definitively fall along the Gaussian distribution.  Some people are, indeed, born leaders but they still need a lot of work and learning to become true leaders and to get even better as they go along. At the bottom of the curve there are others who, no matter how hard they try, simply aren't ever going to be leaders.  They just don’t have the innate wiring. All in between start out with a very good prerequisites and are hard workers and learners but mostly never become outstanding leaders.

geneticsIt may be true that some people feel more inclined and are better prepared to take on leadership roles and then consequently learn and develop the necessary skills to become a superior leader. Certain basics of good leadership can be self-taught, but a number of useful skills will be acquired through experience developed over a time. Understanding leadership functions is important to develop skills and capabilities to then achieve a successful leadership style matching one’s own character and talents. Therefore, modern theories about leadership involve a combination of personality traits and also specific skills, capabilities learned over time and gained through experience. It is rather a life learning process and not a semester at an MBA school.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

My Writing Process

I was invited by Regina Puckett to take part in the Writing Process blog tour. Its purpose is to showcase different author methods all over the world. Charity is an amazing lady and it is wonderful to participate in a chain of it. It was started by Victoria that is an amazing lady and a wonderful author with Ellora's Cave Publishing and Liquid Silver Books.

My tour questions

What am I working on?

Professionally I teach social informatics at University of Ljubljana. On the other hand as an author I’m interested and do research about a different approaches to outstanding leadership.

How does my work differ from others of the same genre?

It is a work that merges Western and Fareast mentality and is based on approach coming from martial arts (Wing Chun, Tai Chi) Philosophy aiming to a personal growth in order to become an exceptional leader.

Why do I write what I do?

Leadership of multicultural teams is today very much subjected to different cultural values, norms, ethics or, what I have named as “the cultural background noise” (the environment we grow up in has a great impact and influence our values, ethics and morals, mentally and subconsciously). With the globalization process the occurrence of multicultural teams are even more frequent and this is why I aimed my research toward the leadership that can bridge this “noise” and connect West and East, Internal and External.

How does your writing process work?

At the beginning mine writing process takes quite a while as I do frame it, I do read a lot about the subject, but when started the words just flew.

Be sure to check out the next two authors next week:

Coleman Weeks’s blog
Ed Gellock’s blog
LaRae Parry’s blog

Thursday, March 20, 2014

IQ & EQ for Leaders

Human beings are complex integrated systems. It is hard to define them by some theoretical calculations as hard as it is to quantify demanding processor’s unquantifiable actions. Nevertheless I teach my students two measures commonly used to explain humans and their roles in leadership.

IQ (intelligence quotient) is representing a person’s reasoning ability (measured using problem-solving tests) calculated by a mathematical formula that is supposed to be a measure of a person's intelligence. The quotient is traditionally derived by dividing an individual's mental age by his chronological age and then multiplied by 100 (thus IQ = MA/CA x 100) to get the statistical norm or average taken as 100. The most direct ancestor of today's intelligence tests was developed by Alfred Binet. He did it due to a request of an education commission in France in order to distinguish some intellectually impaired children from other intellectually normal ones. Later on Binet’s intelligence test was revised extensively to get the today's version of IQ by Lewis Terman.

EQEQ (emotional intelligence) is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them. It is a combination of: Self-awareness - the ability to recognize an emotion as it happens; Self-regulation – having a control when one experiences emotions; Motivation - one achievement that requires clear goals and a positive attitude; Empathy - the ability to recognize how people feel which is important to success in your life and career; Social skills - the development of good interpersonal skills which is as well tantamount to success in your life and career.