Thursday, May 21, 2015

Coach-ability?

Being a teacher and author of the book on leadership my interest was picked up by the article 'Why Leaders Are Easier to Coach than Followers?' published in HBR.  I believe that learning or coaching is something that anybody would like to do. Acquiring new knowledge, learn or improve oneself is something that stipulates survival in the Nature.
Coaching
The article says “Recent research from PsychTests, however, reveals that followers may not be as compliant as we assume. In a study that measured individuals’ openness to coaching, PsychTests discovered that people who identify as followers are actually less open to coaching than people who identify as either leaders or adapters”. There is a graph within the supporting the claim that in all measured aspects followers performed the worst.

AdapterIn the research three groups were studied: adapters, leaders and followers. I recognized last two groups but had a problem with the first one – adapters. In the article I’ve learnt that adapters are employees who are versatile, can both lead and follow, and are open to feedback and learning. This is a surprise: what are adapters if they cover both other groups. I cannot see leaders that cannot adapt to environment and change due to required situation (I wrote about this in Sun Tzu wisdom and Leadership). What about followers? Do they not adapt to work, rules and leaders? Both, leaders and followers, are usually most of the time outside their comfort zone when performing their ‘day-to-day’ work, so adaptation is crucial to them.

Why, then, there is another (the third) group?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Sun Tzu wisdom and Leadership

The Seven Military ClassicsIn my previous posts I have deliberately omitted any connection to well-known book The Art of War by Sun Tzu. This book is one of the seven fundamental Chinese military books: from general Wei Liao Tzu, then Wu Tzu, The Methods of the Sima, Six Secret Teachings, the Three Strategies of Huang Shi Gong San Lue, and finally Questions and Replies (Wen Dui) between Tang Taizong and Li Wei Gong. These seven important military texts of ancient China are called Wu Jing Qi Shu or The Seven Military Classics. The texts were canonized under this name during the eleventh century, and past the Song Dynasty were included in most military encyclopedias.

The Art of War was created in sixth century before our era and contains the rules of warfare, which are grouped into different aspects and collected in 13 chapters. Each chapter is devoted to one aspect of warfare. Outside of China this book has long been regarded as the book of ‘the ultimate’ military wisdom and as the oldest and the most famous product of military strategy and tactics.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Leadership and perfectionism

Perfection
Perfection!

A word that bursts our imagination in all life areas - business, private, leisure, recreational etc.
What is ‘perfection’? Why do we strive for it?

At the beginning of our Universe, the timeline back 13.7 billion years, the expansion begun from ‘Big Bang’. Some 380.000 years later huge clouds of hydrogen and helium atoms were formed but they had no structure. This sort of cosmic mush, as recent studies show, had some imperfection built in. Because of them we are able to measure just tiny differences in cosmic background temperature today. And tiny differences were enough for the Universe to move on to the next stage of building complexity. First, the stars were born …

Big Bang
It seems that it is the imperfection that generates complexity and change as David Christian describes in his TED talk: “And where you have slightly more complex things, you can get slightly more complex things. And in this way, complexity builds stage by stage”.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Who is the greatest leader of all time and why?

If you ask the question publicly expect nothing less than argumentative and disagreeable discussions.
the greatest leader
We may consider leadership politically, historically, from the business prospective and many more aspects and settings.

This topic has been rolling in my mind for a long time now because I am looking for the best leadership practices and also the people performing them. I was amazed by people’s approach to this question on the internet. It has almost nothing to do with leadership but rather about personalities that important people have or had.  You may find ‘answers’ under the titles like ‘XYZ Things the greatest leaders all have in common’,  ‘Who are the greatest leaders of all time?’ or ‘The greatest leader of all’ and similar.

Are they describing basic leadership methodology and then, based on it, show who the great leaders were (are)? No, they are not! Do these articles have anything in common then? Absolutely yes!

Most of the researches are listing what a leader should not lack. See what I wrote in the blog Added value of leadership names or labels: “Is it all about different behaviors, different styles, or just to give a new label in front of the word leadership?” Those articles just state the “names” (mostly applied in western societies while forgetting the other parts of the world) and what those leaders were great for. Some go deeper and explain what leaders contributed to their societies.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

How can I change my personality for the better???

In the post Leadership and Charisma I stated that leadership is all about personality. What exactly did I mean?
Personality

Merriam-webster dictionary offers a definition of ‘personality’ as:

  • the set of emotional qualities, ways of behaving, etc., that makes a person different from other people;
  • the condition or fact of relating to a particular person;
  • a set of distinctive traits and characteristics.

American Psychological Associations offers a ‘personality’ definition as it refers to individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. The study of personality focuses on two broad areas – first, understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability and second, understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.