Thursday, August 21, 2014

To lead people

Leadership and followers
Have you heard of many great managers of the past? Probably much less than about great leaders. That is why “to manage” and “to lead” are two distinguishing roles. They are both needed in society and organizations.

The verb “to lead” has a great history down to the philosophical writings from Plato's Republic to Plutarch's Lives in which he explored the question “What qualities distinguish an individual as a leader?” In one of my previous posts “China’s history and culture impacting Leadership – 1 (and following ) I've written about the Far East’ perception on leadership. And what internet has to say about the verb “to lead”?

  • To show the way to by going in advance
  • To go first as a guide.

  • To direct on a course or in a direction
  • To guide someone or something along a way.

  • To go before or with to show the way; conduct or escort: to lead a group on a cross-country hike
  • To take the initiative; begin.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

To manage people

Manage tools
I've learned that the verb “to manage” comes from the Italian maneggiare (to handle, especially tools), which derives from the Latin word manus (hand). So I've searched dictionaries and Internet and come with broader definitions of the meaning of the word:

The Free dictionary:

  • To direct or control the use of; handle: manage a complex machine tool 
  • To direct the affairs or interests of: manage a company; an agency that manages performers

The Merriam Webster:

  • To have control of (something, such as a business, department, sports team, etc.)

The :

  • To dominate or influence (a person) by tact, flattery, or artifice: He manages the child with exemplary skill.
  • To handle, direct, govern, or control in action or use: She managed the boat efficiently.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Martial arts solution to conflict

Martial artsIn previous post Leadership and conflict I've explained what conflict is, the types of conflict and how to resolve them as a leader. In this post I would add my additional thoughts on the subject from a different angle of view.

Martial arts are mostly thought of as being violent. At the beginning of each enrolment year there come those that want to fight. They see martial arts as a solution to their way of solving conflicts on streets, in bars or other locations. They feel that they will be “equipped” with better tooling and can turn the outcome of the conflict in their favor.

The main question is: “Is that so?”

There are two ways to answer this question that may mislead the answer to just one direction: the direction in which one is able only to fight back.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Leadership and conflict

Searching for a good definition of a conflict I found on Internet:
  • a conflict is a serious disagreement or argument, typically a protracted one,
  • a state of mind in which a person experiences a clash of opposing feelings or needs,
  • a fight, battle or war, or struggle, especially a prolonged struggle; strife
  • a psychic struggle, often unconscious, resulting from the opposition or simultaneous functioning of mutually exclusive impulses, desires, or tendencies,
  • a state of opposition between ideas, interests, etc; disagreement or controversy.
Therefore, a conflict is inevitable natural occurrence; it is a part of our experience demonstrating that we all have our respective ideas. Also at workplace a conflict is an integral part of leadership and management process. Definitively, if all conflicts were erased from the workplace, there would be a feeling of unease, because the atmosphere might appear a bit too sterile and unrealistic. In literature there are different types of conflict(s):
  • Intrapersonal conflict occurs within an individual,
  • Interpersonal conflict refers to a conflict between two individuals,
  • Intragroup conflict is a type of conflict that happens among individuals within a team and
  • Intergroup conflict takes place when a misunderstanding arises among different teams within an organization.
  • Grouping them, literature suggests that at workplace there are (only) two types of conflict: healthy and un-constructive. So, it is said that a healthy conflict can benefit a business and leads to a more innovative, inclusive and learning mind-set around disputes.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Tai chi in the leadership world – 2

In the previous post (Tai chi in the leadership world – 1) I've written about basics and fundamentals of the wide and profound wisdom of Tai Chi. By the end I have indicated some ways to use it in leadership. In this post I would like to expose some essentials of Tai Chi that may be an advantage also in leadership.

Body energy redirectingTo empirically learn so-called internal martial art aspects of Tai Chi one begins with Tui shou or pushing hands (see post: Pushing hands and Virtue). Pushing hands is a distinctive Tai Chi practice very similar to Chi shou (sticking hands) used in Wing Chun (see post: Wing Chun basics and Wing Chun and leadership). The latter is more combative while pushing hands is less aggressive and more oriented to using opponent’s energy. With pushing hands the endurance needed in a contest is developed. The method softens stances, movements, and stiffness of a whole body. You need to be perceptive of your partner. Pushing hands diminish your natural instinct of resisting force with force enabling to correctly respond to the external stimuli: your body simply yields to force and redirects it. It is a Yin and Yang or strong and soft principle that governs pushing hands. With age we tend to become inflexible and our reactions jerky, as often obvious when (if) we slip and plunge to the floor. Kids are still much more natural in the same situations just collapse softly or roll, like usually lucky drunk person.

Pushing hands method is extremely good for a person with a big ego too (see post: Ego and Leadership) as it covers our senses and therefore conceals our reactions. A person should be very relaxed, stable in the proper stance that allows moving back and front, left and right, up and down. All thoughts should be wiped and nothing expected. When opponent’s action comes, you react naturally.