Tag Archives: Martin Luther King Jr

The Myth of Leadership Development

Developing leaders is a major strategic action for most large organizations and a multi-million dollar industry for training firms, consultants and universities. But if we have got the meaning of leadership badly wrong, much of this investment could be wasted. There are at least 3 problems with contemporary leadership theory:

1. Leaders are portrayed as occupying positions of authority over others which means that you can’t show leadership until you are in charge of people.

2. The idea that leadership is a learnable skill set fosters the impression that you can’t be a leader without training.

3. By associating leadership with emotional intelligence, what Daniel Goleman himself said is another word for maturity, the impression is created that you cannot lead until you grow up.

The bottom line is that leadership, as currently conceived, is an exclusive club for management level employees, something that those at the front line can only aspire to once they develop the relevant skills and maturity. This is a colossal waste of talent.

Dispersed Leadership and Employee Engagement

A different vision of leadership portrays it as something all employees can do. Certainly, the claim “not everyone can be a leader” is most definitely true when the focus is on what it takes to be a senior executive or even a front line manager. However, when leadership is defined simply as promoting a better way, then all employees who take a stand on any job-related issue, even in a very local, small scale manner, can show leadership to their colleagues and upward to their bosses. Because being a leader is glamorous, all employees can feel more engaged and motivated if they can see themselves as leaders even if they don’t manage anyone. So-called informal leadership means something different – informally taking charge of a group. Simply promoting new directions has nothing to do with being in charge, formally or otherwise, of a group of people.

Examples of Leadership Re-defined

” When Martin Luther King Jr. influenced the U.S. Supreme Court to rule segregation on buses unconstitutional, he had no managerial authority over that organization.

” When the Sony employee who influenced top management to adopt his proposal for PlayStation, they did not report to him.

” A new customer service employee might set an example of a better way of serving customers without being in charge of anyone.

” Whenever you influence your boss to think differently you have had a leadership impact on that person.

None of these examples entails managing the people on whom the leadership impact was felt. The leader sells the tickets for the journey and we need to upgrade our concept of management to take

care of driving the bus to the destination. Of course, further injections of leadership might be required enroute to resell the merits of the journey, but the bulk of the work in getting there requires good management skills. Management needs to be reconfigured as a nurturing, empowering and facilitative function, not just a mechanically controlling one.

Executive Development

What really gets developed in so-called leadership development programs are rounded executives. The truth is that leadership, conceived as challenging the status quo and promoting new directions, is based on youthful rebelliousness, something that is not a learnable skill set. When front line employees with no subordinates stand up for their ideas, they are showing leadership to the broader organization. So-called leadership development programs actually turn employees who are already leaders into managers. This is no bad thing. Organizations need good managers.

This view stands the conventional picture on its head: it is the front line knowledge workers who are the real leaders in organizations, not their managers. Of course, executives can also show leadership, whenever they too promote a better way.

The Benefits of Redefining Leadership

The main benefit is making it clear that all employees can be leaders and that, to do so, you don’t need all the skills associated with being in charge of people. You just need a good idea and the courage to defend it. Further potential benefits include better motivation and engagement of all employees, more innovation and front line ownership, better talent retention and less pressure on senior executives to show all the leadership a complex organization needs.

Why Make the Shift?

Leadership is based on power, traditionally the power of personality to dominate a group. This may still work in politics and public sector organizations but in businesses that compete through rapid innovation, the important power is the ability to generate new products and processes. In a war of ideas, leadership should mean the ability to successfully promote new ideas. So, the reason for making the shift in how leadership is defined is simply that the world is changing from one of stable, physical work to one of dymanic mental work.

See http://www.leadersdirect.com for more information on this and related topics. Mitch McCrimmon’s latest book, Burn! 7 Leadership Myths in Ashes was published in 2006. He is a business psychologist with over 30 years experience of leadership assessment and executive coaching.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mitch_McCrimmon/79532


Leadership Makes the Difference

John Maxwell has a saying that everything rises and falls on leadership. There are various definitions of leadership. A simple definition says that leadership is “the position or function of a leader, a person who guides and directs a group” (Dictionary.com). We can add that leadership helps an organization to accomplish its strategic goals. The quality of leadership determines the success of an organization. Weak leadership can potentially undermine and destroy organizations while strong leadership can facilitate the success of organizations. There are numerous characteristics of weak leadership, which must be avoided.

Weak leadership lacks vision and purpose. Vision is a picture of where the organization needs to go and in some instances a picture of where the organization must go. Leaders must be forward looking while realistically assessing the status of the organization. The 21st century is a fast paced, rapidly changing period; everything seems to be in fluid motion. This is the context in which leaders have to operate. While there may be various ways to develop vision-such as reflection, praying, meditation, talking to others, assessing trends-leaders must find that vision. Likewise, leaders must have a strong sense of purpose. They must know why they are in the organization; they must know their role; they must know why the organization exists. Weak leaders’ struggle to find vision and purpose has a detrimental impact on an organization.

Weak leadership is characterized by poor relationships with others. The old adage says, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” A model of leadership that is totalitarian and treats people indifferently will not be successful over the long term. People are not commodities to be readily discarded when leaders feel they have outlived their usefulness. Strong leaders value people and invest in building win-win relationships that are mutually affirming and empowering. When people are treated well, they will generally be more productive and are more likely to be committed to their tasks and to the organization.

Weak leadership can often be attributed to insecurity. Weak leaders are plagued by self-doubt. They question their competence to get the job done. Unfortunately, they try to disguise this by pretending to be confident: a false sense of bravado that masks the fear inside. They tend to hinder the development and potential of others because they feel threatened by the success of others. Weak leaders are often afraid to take the risks that are essential to growth. They readily maintain the status quo because they are intimidated by and afraid of change. Strong leaders know who they are and are comfortable with who they are. They approach their responsibilities from a perspective of confidence without giving into the vice of arrogance.

Weak leadership is evident in the inability to resolve problems and conflicts. Weak leaders often have poorly developed problem-solving skills. Much innovation in organizations is due to attempting to solve a problem. Leaders who can’t come up with creative solutions to challenges are going to be unable to propel an organization forward. Organizations involve a complex of relationships, which makes conflict inevitable. Strong leaders are not people pleasers, but they implement strategies to deal with and eliminate conflict. They foster healthy give and take relationships that keep the organization vibrant and productive. Morale is high in environments where conflicts are resolved. High morale is one of the critical factors in a high producing environment.

Weak leadership is marked by the lack of integrity. Dictionary.com defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” The scandals in various sectors-government, church, business, education-reveal the damage that is caused by a lack of integrity. Morality has become a highly subjective matter and it is those damning shades of gray that put us in trouble. However, the rule of thumb is to do to others what you would have them do to you and don’t do to others what you won’t want them to do to you. Taking unethical shortcuts will always return to bite you in the derriere.

Weak leadership is seen in a lack of organizational skills. Leaders may not be first rate administrators but they must still have the ability to organize themselves and their tasks. Without such organizational acumen, leaders will be inefficient and ineffective. The triple constraints in project management are time, cost and quality. Any imbalance in these three areas will affect the viability of a project. Project managers as do other types of leaders must be able to organize. Weak leaders “fly by the seat of their pants” and land very painfully. A key component of organization is planning. A cliché states that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Weak leadership is evident in the lack of solid core values. Core values are those values that leaders strongly believe in and practice. Martin Luther King Jr. stood for the value of racial equality and he was willing to and did die for this value. Leaders must be passionate about their core values. A passionless leader without strong convictions will not motivate persons with any substance. Core values are more caught than taught, so leaders must get inspired by other leaders who are having an impact in their sphere of influence.

There are many things that characterize weak leadership. However, the good news is that leaders can improve – the lid of your leadership can be raised. Leadership is about ongoing development – the more I learn and apply, the more I grow. Weak leaders must recognize their deficiency, be willing to do something about it and do something about it. There are numerous, excellent resources that can help struggling leaders to improve from books to articles, to mentors, to conferences, to coaching; the resources are limitless. Invest in your leadership development; you will feel better about yourself and your organization will thrive.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Edison_D_Bynoe/1404290


Management Versus Leadership

Manager or leader, which are you? How to distinguish between leadership and management is a never ending question. One problem is that some writers don’t separate them at all. Also, we have too many concepts of leadership. Finally, management is seen in a negative light.

Why Identify Leadership and Management?

Those who refuse to differentiate the two concepts envisage a senior executive in a role with power over a group. For them, it is the same person who does both roles and the two roles are at best a slight difference in emphasis. When you throw in style differences, it is argued, that there is no way to tell them apart.

Confusion About the Meaning of Leadership

Most of our thinking about leadership focuses on the person at the head of a group – the president of a country. the chief executive of a company, the chairperson of a committee or the chief of a tribe. But what about the leadership of Al Gore. He is showing leadership to people around the world who don’t report to him. Whatever groups he might be heading, the main impact of his leadership is outside any particular group. The same is true of Martin Luther King Jr. who showed leadership to the US government when the Supreme Court ruled segregation on buses unconstitutional. This was without being in a member of the government let alone the head of it.

We also use the term leadership in some casual ways that adds to the confusion. We talk about someone leading us in song, leading us to safety through a swamp, or leading a tour. Organizational writers used to say that leaders or managers were those people who provided direction. Now, admitting that direction is to hard for any one person to determine, they have switched to saying that leaders facilitate the identification of new directions in others by being catalysts.

Then there is what might be called thought leadership, where employees with good ideas for new products or better ways of working convince their bosses to adopt their proposals.

The Real Meaning of Leadership

The truth is that our concept of leadership is evolving. It is changing faster in high tech businesses that are driven by innovation than it is in slower changing organizations like charities, communities and stable public sector organizations. What is happening is that the power upon which leadership used to be based is melting away. At one time you had to be physically strong to get to the top, then it was a matter of having a powerful personality. But now we have a war of ideas and it is the power of innovation that determines organizational direction. Thought leadership is the new power. As they say: content is king. Thought leadership is not about holding a position of power over people, which means that all employees can show leadership even if for a moment.

Leadership vs Management

Management is really a role, leadership is an activity. Think of a mother teaching her young child to count to 10. Being a mother means occupying a role, one you will have for life. But teaching is just something the mother does occasionally. Similarly, managers occupy roles in organizations and they occasionally show leadership. But showing leadership now means promoting new directions. It is managers who manage, develop and coach people, because it is their role to get things done as efficiently as possible.

See http://www.leadersdirect.com for more information on this and related topics. Mitch McCrimmon’s latest book, Burn! 7 Leadership Myths in Ashes was published in 2006. He is a business psychologist with over 30 years experience of leadership assessment and executive coaching.

Article Source: https://EzineArticles.com/expert/Mitch_McCrimmon/79532

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