Thursday, March 26, 2015

Leading a team

What comes to mind at the term “team leading?”

team leading
If what comes to mind is: define and articulate the objectives and measures; get the right people on — and off — the bus; demonstrate to the team that you are invested in the success; make decisions; if you aren't asking people to do something, they won’t do it - you definitely  come from MBA program.

Ask notable innovation leaders what they think about traditional management practices (those taught in a typical MBA program) and you’ll likely get some pretty strong reactions. Intuit co-founder Scott Cook “When MBAs come to us, we have to retrain them fundamentally -nothing they've learned will help them succeed at innovation” wrote Nathan Furr and Jeffrey H. Dyer in their HBR December 2014 issue article “LEADING YOUR TEAM INTO THE UnKNOWN.”

TeamIn my previous blogs I've already proved several times over that leadership is not an easy task. It takes all of your personality and more. Team members need to have a sense of who you are. As a leader you are building relationships with your team members. That means you should behave “appropriately” and show your values, the way you think, how you make decisions, what your definition of success is, how you measure performance, how you expect them to work, and you have to gain their trust in your leading. Yes, you need to gain authority, but it is also important to trust the team with control over their work. A leader who gives his power to others can be more influential and motivating than the one that doesn't. When you empower someone, you're actually demonstrating that you trust.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Leadership and Mindset

Does a leader need a special mindset to lead?

Gap International consulting firm conducted in-depth interviews with more than 500 global executives to get a sense of a leader's mindset. These interviews revealed that leaders accomplished great things when they envisioned a larger sense of purpose they contribute to. They become more energized and could better motivate followers to keep pushing for results.
Leadership, unlike management, cannot be reduced to a set of skills although many contemporary authors are just doing that (see Labeled leadership). But, while styles of a leader may vary, successful leaders share very similar mindsets. A personality radiating a proper mindset is then a defining factor for an exceptional leadership. Lacking it the leader’s chances of being effective aren't very good. Without a proper mindset a leader could be as well seen as powerful dictator but hardly a well-regarded or accepted person in charge.

The next issue in mindset research is represented by work of Warren Bennis who interviewed great leaders and found out that they all agreed in that leaders are made, not born. But they are made more by themselves than by any external means. This shows that mindset has to be properly attuned.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Pushing hands

What could pushing hands in Tai Chi and leadership have in common?

Pushing hands’ or ‘tui shou’ is a two-person training routines in T'ai Chi Ch'uan, one of Chinese martial arts (described in: Tai chi in the leadership world -1. It is a routine where both partners improve sensitivity, psychical and physical abilities.

pushing handsThe exercise comprises of “cooperative” moves of two practitioners, their arms, waist and legs combined are in a circular pattern. During movements each player attempts to be in light contact with the other practitioner’s arms while at the same time remaining in perfect balance. Practitioners are permitted to use their hands to attempt to unbalance the opponent. A practitioner who is pushed or pulled off balance will usually stumbles out of  stable position and has “to reset” the stance to resume the practice. If a balance is lost and the stability could not be immediately regained, a practitioner may be pushed, pulled, thrown or even hit.
pushed or pulled off balance
In most cases this kind of practice is only a gentle way to ‘compete’ with one another without risk of injury. This “combat” is typically used by beginners who normally exhibit strong egos which should be curbed.  The advanced practitioners know when they’ve lost and what may occur – they have already pasted the threshold of egoism - so they just keep continuing the circular movements even after recognizing ‘the gain’. Pushing hands practice improves relaxation, flexibility, timing, balance, self-control and numerous other qualities. Although there is also a sportier, a more competitive version with much more force used, but we’ll leave it for another story.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Added value of leadership names or labels

different leadership stylesIn my previous post Labeled leadership I described some name labeled styles of leadership and argued that there should  always be more than one style used when leading. In this post I’d like to summarize my quest of different names, i.e. labels, given to leadership and my point of view why this is happening.

Let me wrap up my thoughts on the subject of ‘leadership naming/labeling’, i.e. different leadership styles that keep up coming in last couple of decades.

To better understand my points, allow me to present some important “ingredients” that remarkable leaders should possess. In previous posts on the topic I've described some examples of different constituents of leadership: Leadership and Charisma, EGO and Leadership?, Leadership and influence, Leadership and emotions, Inspiring others. All these frame the whole plethora of important views on leadership process. I have separately portrayed different “substances” necessary in leadership.

What then is a good leadership? Is it all about different behavior, different styles, or how to name label in front of leadership? Could it be that a good leadership is just one of those qualities that you recognize when you see it, but is so difficult to describe?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Labeled leadership

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare).

Leader vs. managerGiving names or labels to differentiate leadership styles today is a huge business of how to invent and make up names and buzzwords from what should be part of normal human relationships between leaders and followers.

In my search for different leadership styles I was astounded by the fact that most of the times there is a unification of two important, but different, roles: management and leadership. In my blogs: Leader vs. manager, To manage people, To lead people I have already explained the issue and am not going to repeat it here again.

leadership stylesI am astonished that there are more than 20 different styles for just naming ‘different’ leadership approaches. Of some of them I have written in previous posts (Servant leadership, Authentic leadership, Charismatic Leadership, Transformational Leadership, Participative Leadership, Humble or Agile Leadership so here I’d like just to mention some more “styles” that are floating around: autocratic, coaching, laissez faire, quiet, situational, visionary, transactional.

Well, do we need so many of them?