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What makes a good 'Leader'?

 
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Mikey_
Life is good. Be inspired.
Life is good. Be inspired.


Joined: 04 Oct 2003
Posts: 1322
Location: Fountain Valley, California (USA)

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 8:57 pm    Post subject: What makes a good 'Leader'? Reply with quote

If you want to become a better leader, this thread may be of use to you. Here I am sharing some of the things I have been reading about.

There are several models for effective leadership. Here's the Kouzes and Posner model, as outlined in their book, "The Leadership Challenge".

The Leadership Challenge Model

Five Practices of Leadership
- Model the Way
- Inspire a Shared Vision
- Challenge the Process
- Enable Others to Act
- Encourage the Heart

These five practices come with 10 Commitments as follows:

Model the Way
- Find your voice by clarifying your personal values.
- Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.

Inspire a Shared Vision
- Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
- Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.

Challenge the Process
- Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow, and improve.
- Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.

Enable Others to Act
- Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
- Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.

Encourage the Heart
- Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
- Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.

And Steven Covey's model. He also has a book, titled "The 7 Habits of Effective Families."

The 7 Habits of Effective Leaders

- Habit 1: Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Vision
- Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Leadership
- Habit 3: Put First Things First: Principles of Personal Management
- Habit 4: Think Win/Win: Principles of Interpersonal Leadership
- Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood
- Habit 6: Synergize: Principles of Creative Communication
- Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal


Last edited by Mikey_ on Wed May 10, 2006 9:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Mikey_
Life is good. Be inspired.
Life is good. Be inspired.


Joined: 04 Oct 2003
Posts: 1322
Location: Fountain Valley, California (USA)

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find Kouzes and Posner's model very, very useful. It's definitely worth checking out and with sufficient practice, many of the commitments can become a habit. Leadership skills can also help you get the confidence to be a stronger person. Try it smile
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Lexi
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a HUGE crush on one of my teacher's in high school and I can remember reading that Steven Covey book in a futile attempt to impress him. Ha! I won't even go into my lame schemes to get a 28 year old man to notice a geeky, 14 year old me. Very Happy

I'll post more some other time about what I thought about the book but I am glad that you are reading it. These days I would read that books simply for pleasure. I highly recommend it. bye! c
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Mikey_
Life is good. Be inspired.
Life is good. Be inspired.


Joined: 04 Oct 2003
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Location: Fountain Valley, California (USA)

PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2006 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sleep well. You've been up for 20 hours today, no?

Michael

EDIT: I had a crush on some professors/teachers in the past too wink It's only natural...
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Lexi
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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2006 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Mikey. The way you say that makes me feel as if you are tucking me into bed or something. Wouldn't that be nice? smile

Anyway, I can't sleep, my friend. Not tonight anyway. I have a lot on my mind and I had way too much fun this evening. I'm usually in bed by now since I tend to wake up so early to do homework or read work related material or exercise. I'm just kind of wide awake this evening.

I like the leadership challenge model that you posted. It's actually very factual and I agree with it whole heartedly. Some of the five practices are really hard to implement. Wouldn't you agree? Other factors come into play and kind of muddy the waters.

I really believe in the practice of challenging the process and I see the value in enabling others to act. Those two principals, in particular, have received quite a bit of attention in the world of management.

See ya later!
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Mikey_
Life is good. Be inspired.
Life is good. Be inspired.


Joined: 04 Oct 2003
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Location: Fountain Valley, California (USA)

PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2006 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being tucked in is always nice, but for an odd reason, I personally prefer NOT to be tucked in (well, maybe once in a while.) Cuddling and listening to your significant other's peaceful breathing is nicer (as long as the weather isn't too hot) smile

So, what do you do when you can't sleep? I couldn't sleep well last night either -- quite a lot of things on my mind as well, but it's been taken care of smile

As my professor said about "knowledge is power" -- many managers make the mistake of hogging all the information to themselves. This has many disadvantages:

1. Doesn't give the workers enough information to do their job right.
2. Doesn't give the workers enough information to do proper decisions or make their own decisions.
3. Doesn't allow the workers to grow and learn from past decisions they may have made.

Managers often feel that the more information you withhold, the more important you become and the more secure your position will be. It's also a simple power play (with men usually.) Our professor pointed out that no matter what happens in your team, the manager will always get the credit or blame. So, by sharing the information with your team, they can make better decisions, grow professionally and personally, and in turn complete projects more successfully. And who would still get the credit? The manager. So, why withhold information? If you play the cards right, your team will not grow to the point where they would surpass your management position. I absolutely agree with that. I believe that a manager should be a mentor.

I believe in challenging the process big-time as well. In fact, I have been doing that quite a bit at work. Nobody else in the team really bothers to because they are either too busy, are too afraid to lose their jobs (they all are married), or because the manager wouldn't listen or would even retaliate. Me? I don't have a family yet. So, I'll keep on pushing until things improve smile

Sleep well, if you haven't already.

Michael
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Lexi
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PostPosted: Sat May 13, 2006 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

I am a restless sleeper most of the time and though I enjoy being tucked in, I usually don't stay tucked in for long. And yes, cuddling is the best, especially if you can stay the whole evening and wake up in the morning next to your partner. I love that.

Hot weather does but a damper on things. During the summer months, I can not exist without the AC on full blast. smile

When I can't sleep, I usually go outside for a walk. Fresh air does wonders for me. Sometimes I will put my running shoes on and go for a jog on my treadmill or around the block. Othertimes, I will simply turn on the television. Sometimes taking another quick shower helps me to fall asleep. To be perfectly honest, I don't really sleep much to begin with. I can get away with 3-6 hours of sleep a day. There are days however, like a few nights ago, that sleep escapes me completely. I usually make up for it a few days later by being really tired and sleeping for 10 hours straight.

I have to say that I have been guilty of hogging information to myself before. I know that this is not good but sometimes sharing information is not that easy either. Sometimes giving instructions and sharing information falls on deaf ears. Have you ever had that happen? Where it's kind of like, "Forget it, I'll do it myself". I do know that this is not the best way to handle things and I am learning about strategies to cope with that. But my work requires me to have a great deal of deadlines and sometimes time for teaching is not written in my schedule.

I actually was home for about a week to take midterms, look into some repairs that I had made to my house, and just take care of some things that I needed to. I dropped by my OC office. I had gotten a little fed up with some things that were going on there and I drafted and gave a copy of my resignation letter to my boss. I also placed a copy of my letter in our director's mailbox. My director saw my letter before my boss did (he was out sick...again) and she came running to my office to tell me that we needed to talk. We went out to lunch to discuss my reasons for leaving. That's the first time that I have ever done something like that. My director and I talked and she asked me to reconsider. We talked at length at some of the things that were bothering me. She seemed to understand where I was coming from.

You know Michael, I can understand if a person does not know how to perform a certain task. I've been there. Heck, I'm still there. There are plenty of things in my job that I still don't have down 100%. I love to learn and I am enjoying learning those things that I don't know.

What I can't understand is if you don't understand something and you are not doing your job well, why you wouldn't do everything in your power to fix that. I have people that I work with who just don't want to help me make things go smoothly.

Anyway, my director (my boss's boss) spoke candidly to me about what she perceived to be the problem. She acknowledged some things that I was surprised to hear that she knew about but that I knew were true.

All in all, we had a good chat. I withdrew my resignation. I didn't tell her this but in my heart I knew that not even she was capable of changing some of the behaviors of certain individuals in our office. My temp promotion in Sacramento is still good for now but I am now aggressively looking for a new job in the OC or LA county or city governments. Particularly in LA county if in December (when I graduate with my master's) UCLA accepts me to the Ph.D. program.

UCLA has conditionally accepted me to their program. I'm still waiting to hear from UCI. All of that is still a BIG maybe. If I can't complete the Ph.D program while maintaining my job and/or it interferes with work and disrupts my life too much, I won't do it. I am happy with simply earning my master's and being done with the education thing. At this point in my life, a Ph.D would be nice to have for personnel reasons but I feel that I have enough education under my belt and I am more interested in cementing my career. I also want to relax, enjoy and have a personnel life. Go to the beach, take a vacation, eat... yumm, I love to eat. Smile

So yeah, even though I would live to be called Dr. Aguirre, the Ph.D. thing is a big maybe. smile

I plan to dedicate my whole summer to interviewing for other positions.
I hope that I didn't make my work environment sound too bad cause it's not. Just like in any organization it has its pros and cons. I still like my job or perhaps I should say I like the field that I am in. I love my job. There are simply mitigating factors that I am looking to change about my job and I have come to the conclusion that I would like to start from scratch some place else. I am not running just looking for a change.

Leadership-I enjoy learning about how to be a good leader. I know that personnally, I have a lot to learn and could benefit from more leadership training. One of my classes is about organizational management and leadership skills that managers should acquire. I've picked up a few tips from this class. Management. Fascinating stuff, isn't it?

I hope you have a great weekend! I hope you and your mom have a great Mother's Day!

Ciao!
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Mikey_
Life is good. Be inspired.
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Joined: 04 Oct 2003
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Location: Fountain Valley, California (USA)

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The AC definitely is nice, but I tend to leave it off and use a fan instead. Topless is the way to go Stick out tongue Just drink lots of ice-cold water...

I can see the frustration in giving out instructions and they not being followed. From the person RECEIVING the instructions' point of view, I often am inclined to verify with the person that I understood his/her request correctly (particularly with my IT Director... he's got a lousy communication problem.) This can help ensure that you will carry out whatever the supervisor wants you to do. It also allows you to clarify what exactly he/she wants.

The "Forget it, I'll do it myself" attitude isn't the best approach in terms of leadership. It puts the trust AWAY from your constituents, thus negating the "Encourage the Heart" and "Enable Others to Act" portions of the Leadership Challenge model. One approach you may be able to try is to ask them to verify that they understood your instructions correctly and by when they estimate that they could be completed by. Then hold them accountable for missing the deadline. It's important that you don't micro-manage. Most people hate being micro-managed or constantly looked-over-the-shoulder with (I hate it myself!)

Of course, time is always an important factor. Deadlines sometimes dictate that you take a more serious approach, but what can be done to encourage employees to meet those deadlines? Incentives. Why SHOULD they meet those deadlines? Inspire a Shared Vision (Leadership Challenge Model) and Encourage the Heart (Rewards/"genuine" Recognition -- note that I added "genuine".)

If they don't share the same vision as you, then they'd just be automatons. You can usually inspire a shared vision by discussing with them what your vision and values are and getting their input. Perhaps formulate a new, modified vision that everybody agrees on. After all of that is done, what's important is that you be CONSISTENT with actions and words to follow that vision/those values... inconsistency brings upon confusion and ill thoughts. A noble cause tends to help with the vision as well AND encourages the heart.

If people aren't meeting deadlines, you may also want to evaluate YOURSELF. What can YOU do to improve yourself? Better planning? Better communication? Often, leaders think they are doing a GOOD job when in fact their constituents are thinking the total opposite (as in my IT department's case -- manager thinks he's the BEST leader possible, but everybody in the department thinks he's a LOUSY, LOUSY manager.)

Taking the time to teach people, though time consuming, can have positive, long-term results. For example, by them doing their jobs better, you'll have an easier time. Your department will also look better. And as their leader, guess who'll still get the credit? Be careful though. As a Chinese saying goes, the master will never teach the student everything he/she knows. There'll always be one thing the master will keep to himself in case the student turns against him.

Wow, it's been that bad in the OC office huh? I'm glad the director knows about the issues and is trying to work on them. Perhaps it's not such a bad idea to stick around for a while longer.

Some people will not help you do your job better for many reasons. One of which you already mentioned: "I'm not getting paid to teach her."

- Do they have the time and/or energy to teach you?
- Are they afraid that your talents could become a threat to them?
- Do they like you?
- Are you some little "punk" kid who thinks she knows or wants to know everything? If yes, why? Is she trying to show off? Take over our jobs? Perceptions can sometimes be different from reality.
- Are they letting you learn it the hard way?

I prefer learning it the hard way rather than people showing me how to do something -- that is, if there's sufficient time available. Learning things this way will allow you to go through the positives and negatives of that journey, thus helping you learn other things along the way.

If I don't know how to start at all, then yes, I'd appreciate someone showing me the basics. I tend to take it to new heights from there if it's something I'm interested in.

A Ph.D. can be intimidating to some guys. It's a macho thing. Some are put off by a woman being perceived as "smarter" than they are, though a degree simply means that you took an educational path rather than the other paths that are available. To me, it still comes down to how you USE that education. I could care less if you are a Ph.D. if you don't know how to put that knowledge into good, practical use.

Management definitely is fascinating (one of the reasons for my taking the MBA.) There's soooo much to learn, but it's definitely interesting. I still regret not having paid so much attention in college, but then again: my goal at that time was to just graduate and make lots of money. The priorities have changed since.

Have an excellent week!

Michael
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Lexi
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PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are so funny! Yeah, I guess you are right. Topless is the way to go. smile

My roomie sometimes complains that I like to keep the condo too cold and so oftentimes I just turn off the AC and compensate for the loss of cool air by sleeping in nothing but a t-shirt.

I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed reading this topic. My workplace in OC has really been a bad place to work lately. This is true for a variety of reasons. I do have to say that things are getting better. When I return full time to the OC, I am confident that some of my problems at work will be gone.

I know that I have a great deal to learn to become an effective leader. I know that there are strategies that I could adopt that would not only help me but my team as well. I am working on implementing things that I learned in business school and I know that I have a great deal to learn.

The deal at my work is that my immediate supervisor is a dingbat. I swear, it's true. Very Happy

He's impossible. He was promoted by a office politics fluke a few years ago. He is unqualified to do the actual work that we do. Unfortunately, in the public sector it is very difficult to fire or demote an employee for poor performance. It is one of the reasons why government workers get such a bad rap. We have very antiquated HR rules that are strongly supported by a very politically connected union. I get really frustrated at times with a whole skew of things.

I don't mean to be cruel, condesending or rude sounding but my supervisor is completly unsuitable. His expereince, his employment background if you will, is actually in construction. He would be more suited to be outdoors mixing cement or laying bricks than in an office environment. He knows it. I know it. Our director knows it. We all know it but there is precious little that we could do about it. He's worked for local government for 31 years and in government terms, he's untouchable. Public sector is not the same as private sector when it comes to things like this. We basically just have to wait for him to retire when he is ready. He can be transferred somewhere else but his reputation is so bad that no one will accept him. My director has already tried that strategy.

Anyway, I am not into dwelling on things that I can not change. It's not that I am unhappy at my OC job, it's just that it's time for me to go. Like I said, I am not into racking my brain trying to change impossible situations. I'd rather chalk this up as a learning experience and just kind of glean whatever useful information that I can from this.

I hate to sound gossipy. But I speak the truth on this. My boss is having an affair with his asssistant. His assistant has recently accepted a position at another government agency and so when I return, things will be a little bit better for me without her there. I always found his assistant to be difficult to work with. I think that she thought that my boss had a thing for me. He is sooOOooOoo gross and looks at anything in a skirt and so I don't entirely blame her for her fears. I always got the vibe that she resented me for having to spend so much time with her little loverboy. She also resented and rejected what I brought to the division with regards to professional research. She just hated me.

Little did she know (because I don't talk about my personal life with coworkers other than the general stuff) that up until 6 months or so, I was still grieving for Tim and would have never even so much as looked at her little loverboy's way. I also believe in information sharing and enabling others. If she had half a brain, Michael, I would have been willing to work with her on research projects rather than retreating into my office and simply churning out quality reports and grants as needed without her input. She and I could have been a good team but she was just too ridicules for me and our work relationship began to suffer almost from the very beginning.

So anyway, office politics... Don't you just love it?

I am not as unhappy as I sound at the OC office. I make a decent salary and for the most part, I am treated very well at my work. I am just looking for a change. I am applying for all kinds of stuff in city governments in and around OC. I have a couple of interviews next month. Wish me luck!! Very Happy

Some of the things that you mentioned in your last post are very true. I think that at times, I am seen as the young kid who wants to come in to "fix things taht are not broken."

There is still a great deal for me to learn and I am grateful for any chance that I get to learn and grasp new skills.

I actually have not mentioned to anyone at home or at work that I am trying to go for my Ph.D. At work, I won't mention it for the reasons that you stated. A Ph.D is intimidating to some and I feel that it would not be in my best interest to advertise my academic achievements at work. I will eventually tell my family, but not yet. I want to be fully accepted into the program first.

I will be persuing a Ph.D for personnel reasons. I've always wanted one. I know that it does not seem like it with some of my previous soul baring messages but I am a extremly private person. No, I won't be advertising my doctorate to anyone except when it is appropriate, for example, during a job interview.

Besides, I think the same way that you do in this topic. I could care less if someone has a Ph.D. I'd rather work with someone who was uneducated but yet capable than with someone who had received a great deal of training and was useless or lazy.

I'm sleepy, Mike. I have to be up early tomorrow. I'll come back in here some other time. Thanks for letting me vent. Very Happy

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!!

Cynthia
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Mikey_
Life is good. Be inspired.
Life is good. Be inspired.


Joined: 04 Oct 2003
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Location: Fountain Valley, California (USA)

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 1:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have heard that in governments, if you don't like someone, you could reassign that person to something where the person would eventually quit...

How have your interviews gone thus far?

Michael
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