Be Leader

Leadership is the process of influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task. The most important quality in a leader is that of being acknowledged as such. All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership. There is a difference between boss and leader. People ask it. The leader works in the open, and the boss in covert. The leader leads, and the boss drives. The quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization.

The person wishing to be leader should cultivate in himself, “If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.” You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. The real leader has no need to lead – he is content to point the way.

We can say, “Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen.” It is one of the most relevant aspects of the modern life. Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing. Leadership is the desire and ability to inspire individual achievement, while a leader is just a guy at the top of the heap worried about his own.

Generally, it is assumed that leaders must fulfill three functions: the leader must provide for the well-being of the led, provide a social organization in which people feel relatively secure, and provide a set of beliefs. Leadership can be perceived as a particularly emotion-laden process, with emotions entwined with the social influence process. In an organization, the leaders’ mood has some effects on his group. These effects can be described in 3 levels:

1. The mood of individual group members.

Group members with leaders in a positive mood experience more positive mood than do group members with leaders in a negative mood. The leaders transmit their moods to other group members through the mechanism of emotional contagion. Mood contagion may be one of the psychological mechanisms by which charismatic leaders influence followers. In organizations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles, and positions.

2. The affective tone of the group.

Group affective tone represents the consistent or homogeneous affective reactions within a group. Group affective tone is an aggregate of the moods of the individual members of the group and refers to mood at the group level of analysis. Groups with leaders in a positive mood have a more positive affective tone than do groups with leaders in a negative mood. There is no contest between the company that buys the grudging compliance of its work force and the company that enjoys the enterprising participation of its employees

3. Group processes like coordination, effort expenditure, and task strategy.

Public expressions of mood impact how group members think and act. When people experience and express mood, they send signals to others. Leaders signal their goals, intentions, and attitudes through their expressions of moods. For example, expressions of positive moods by leaders signal that leaders deem progress toward goals to be good. The group members respond to those signals cognitively and behaviourally in ways that are reflected in the group processes.
Leadership is leadership by example. The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. Leadership is a quality which is back bone for success in every activity. Every task should be taken like we are going to win a war. In war, effective leadership is required to win. There every soldier is taught to observe that:

1. He will always place the mission first.
2. He will never accept defeat and he will never quit.
3. He will never leave a fallen soldier.

He will always place the mission first.

Missions are basically an organization’s means of living out its visions. In 1982, Johnson & Johnson was confronted with a crisis when seven people died after ingesting Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide. News traveled quickly and caused a nationwide panic. “I don’t think they can ever sell another product under that name. There may be an advertising person who thinks he can solve this and if they find him, I want to hire him, because then I want him to turn our water cooler into a wine cooler.” – Advertising genius, Jerry Della Femina as told to the New York Times right after the crises.

However, Johnson & Johnson won the public’s heart and trust with its commitment to protecting its customers during the Tylenol poisoning crises. They dealt with the crises by living their corporate business philosophy — Our Credo (similar to an ethos in that it defines one’s system of values and beliefs). It was written in the 1940’s by Robert Wood Johnson. Johnson believed that businesses have responsibilities to society. The credo stressed that it was important for them to be responsible in working for the public interest. Thus, they approached the crises by living their “Credo.” From the start of the crises they:

• informed the public and medical community
• established relations with the Chicago Police, FBI, and the Food and Drug Administration
• stopped production of Tylenol
• recalled all Tylenol capsules from the market
• immediately put up a reward of $100,000 for the killer

In turn, the media did much of the company’s work by praising Johnson & Johnson’s socially responsible actions. Johnson & Johnson’s top management put customer safety first, NOT their company’s profit or other financial concerns. In other words, they did the right thing. At first, it is easy to believe that such a move was against the best interest of the company’s stockholders, but when you put customers and employees first, it actually benefits the stockholders in the long run. “Johnson & Johnson has effectively demonstrated how a major business ought to handle a disaster. This is no Three Mile Island accident in which the company’s response did more damage than the original incident. What Johnson & Johnson executives have done is communicating the message that the company is candid, contrite, and compassionate, committed to solving the murders and protecting the public.” – Jerry Knight, The Washington Post on October 11, 1982.

Once the crises ended, they started actions to put their organization back on track:
• new Tylenol capsules were introduced in November with triple-seal tamper resistant packaging
• provided $2.50 coupons that were good towards the purchase of any Tylenol product
• over 2,250 sales people made presentations to people in the medical community

Johnson & Johnson could have disclaimed any possible link between Tylenol and the seven sudden deaths. Discover your vision, set your mission, and then live by it.

He will never accept defeat and he will never quit.

While the U.S. Army separates these two principles, for the purpose of this discussion, I will put them together since they are interrelated.
Going back to Johnson & Johnson, their executives wept not only out of grief, but some out of guilt. One top executive said, “It was like lending someone your car and seeing them killed in a traffic accident.” During the crises they performed a nation-wide recall of 31 million bottles of Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules. Many of their advisers told them that this was unnecessary as the tainted capsules had only been found in the Chicago area, thus it would be a waste of money.

Yet, not wanting to see even one more tragedy occur, the top executives stuck to their Credo. After seeing the media and public’s positive reaction, opposition within the company all but vanished.

In January 1993, tragedy struck when the deadly E.coli virus was traced to Jack in the Box’s Pacific Northwest restaurants. The 300 food poisoning cases were linked to undercooked beef in the hamburger chain. Jack in the Box initially did not handle the public relations crisis very well as it took two days before they removed all meat from its restaurants. Jack in the Box officials did not take immediate decisive action to shut down all the stores for a few days and teach employees how to properly grill hamburgers.

However, not too long after the incident, the company developed the most comprehensive and multi-dimensional food safety system in the fast-food industry. Called HACCP (hazard analysis critical control points), the program consisted of “farm to fork” procedures that included microbial meat testing by Jack in the Box suppliers and in-restaurant grilling procedures to ensure fully cooked hamburgers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has since called the program the industry model.

Once you are sure that a decision is morally correct, you stand by it. This does not mean you stand by mistakes. For example, after Jack in the Box’s saw that their wait-and-see attitude was taking extreme criticism by the media and public, they backed away from it and learned by it — this lesson helped them to become not only a stronger player in the fast food industry but also a leader in food safety. When you are sure that your decision is morally correct, stand by it. Do not only learn from your mistakes, but also grow yourself from them.

He will never leave a fallen soldier.

While this principle was aimed at the battlefield, the philosophy behind of it reaches far into the boardrooms of corporations. One of the favorite tactics of organizations to increase their value, especially in lean times, is to downsize. Organizations are famous for proclaiming that their workers are their most important asset, yet during a financial crises they turn 180 degrees and not only let “their most valued asset fall,” but also cause them to fall in the first place.

In a speech to the Academy of Management in 1996, Donald Hastings, CEO of Lincoln Electric, called downsizing and rightsizing “dumbsizing.” Note that Lincoln Electric is one of the leaders in its field and has not laid off since its inception in 1948. The company has been through all the hard times like everyone else, yet it chooses to redeploy people rather than lay them off, such as having factory workers selling products in the field. Another company, the Saturn Division of General Motors, did similar redeployments in the 1990s.

Why? Because innovations, productivity improvements, and other such measures are not likely to be sustained over time when workers fear that they will work themselves out of a job (Locke, 1995). Using the analogy of pruning, it is generally done to create new growth or to get rid of diseased parts. Yet, when organizations “prune,” they have no desire to create new growth (or they would train and redeploy) and they normally miss the diseased portions because the ones who got them into trouble in the first place (the executives and managers) are still there!

“The evidence indicates that downsizing is guaranteed to accomplish only one thing — it makes organizations smaller” (Pfeffer, 1998). In fact, the consequences of downsizing are:

• stock prices that lag 5 to 45% behind the competition (in more than 1/2 the cases they lagged 17% to 48%)
• it does not necessarily increase productivity or profits
• downsizing tends to be repetitive (2/3 of organizations repeat it soon after)
• it does not fix or improve core processes
• it can be readily copied so it offers no competitive advantage
• it has unanticipated costs that limit its benefits.

With all the negative connotations associated with downsizing, very few firms use other means to avoid downsizing (1994 American Management Association survey), such as:

• reducing work hours
• reducing pay
• taking outsourced work back
• building inventories
• freeze hiring and reshuffle workers
• do training, maintenance, etc.
• refrain from hiring during peak demands
• encourage people to innovate (product, services, & markets)
• transfer people to sales to build demand

One of the fads in management is forced ranking — managers reflect on how each team member is performing, relative to others, and are then ranked in order from the highest to the lowest performers. The ideal is to identify top-performers and weed out the bottom-ones. For example, the top 20 percent might be amply rewarded, while the bottom 10 percent are shown the door.

“It creates a zero-sum game, and so it tends to discourage cooperation,” says Steve Kerr, a managing director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Contrast the above with U.S. Marine Drill Sergeants, who are considered some of the toughest warriors on earth. Yet they hold one deeply held value on the human spirit — they will never give up on any recruits who do not give up on themselves (Katzenbach & Santamaria 1999). Their value-driven philosophy allows them to train some of the most effective warriors on the battlefield.

While Marine Drill Sergeants never give up on those who do not give up on themselves, forced ranking schemes often pits employees against each other, rather than fostering a climate of a collaborative work environment, which often leads to dysfunctional and hyper-competitive workplace. Thus these employees who have not given up on themselves may be shown the door, indeed, they might even be better performers than some of their competitors.

The successful management of an organization can be measured by the people working for it and their level of satisfaction and happiness. The overall success of an organisation and happiness of the customer as well. In the business world, customer satisfaction is given top priority – the customer is always right, no matter what!

Much depends on the leader in an organisation, who must rise above limited views. He must carry in his mind the total vision, the complete panorama. If his idea of success is limited, then his success will also be limited. Ultimately, the vision of the totality that the CEO carries, determines the growth, development and success of his enterprise. True knowledge gives us humility. Humility leads to greater ability which in turn leads to higher prosperity. Prosperity if used for righteousness will lead to true happiness.

Every leader has some duties or responsibilities towards those working for him. A good leader must assume three basic responsibilities towards his employees:
1. He must give security to his employees.
2. He must design their job content appropriately.
3. Teach them what religion is. Explain to them the significance of ethics, and the importance of right values.

Of the three, the third aspect is most important. A leader must instil the right moral values in his employees and teach them the right way to live and work. Inspiration gained from the empirical world alone cannot give true fulfilment. People must understand that joy lies in inspired action and not in material gain. When happiness depends on the result, we postpone our experience of happiness to the future. There is contradiction here. We want happiness in the present but have, by depending on the result, delayed the experience of enjoyment to the future. The result that we look forward to with great anticipation also does not last. We often lose it and promptly return to squire one.

While grooming up your self as leader, you must care for your:

Abilities

Abilities or competencies are the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that the individuals presently have that allow them to perform their jobs. The capabilities that the organization chooses are initially determined through the selection process.

Before the rollout, it might help to break the project down into chunks, in order to make it more manageable. Fortunately, we have the help of the U.S. Army and the Defense Department who undertook a similar approach in the early 1990s with a project led by Mark Mumford. The goal was to explain the underlying elements of effective performance. The end product is known as a “capability model” (or skill model) that frames performance as the capabilities (skills and knowledge) that make effective performance possible.

So rather than just collecting a bunch of tasks that the performer should be able to do, the model helps you to lay them out in a more manageable framework in order to gain an understanding of what exactly makes an effective performer. The model has three components: Individual Attributes, Competencies, and Outcomes, which feed into each other.

Individual Attributes

The Individual Attributes are composed of four attributes:
• General Cognitive Ability — This can be thought of as intelligence, which is linked to biology, rather than experience . While the Army conducts general entrance exams to measure the intelligence levels of new recruits, the civilian world generally relies on other means, such as the applicant’s educational grade level to make a very rough guess on his or her intelligence .
• Crystallized Cognitive Ability — This is the intellectual ability that is learned or acquired over time. In most adults, this cognitive ability continuously grows and does not normally fall unless some sort of mental disease or illness sets in. It is composed of the ideas and mental abilities that we learn through experience.
• Motivation — This is the performer’s willingness to tackle problems, exert their influence, and advance the overall human good and value of the organization.
• Personality — These are any characteristics (traits?) that help the performers to cope with complex organizational situations.
Competencies
Competencies are the heart of the model. There are four major categories:
• Problem-Solving Skills — These are the performers’ creative abilities to solve unusual and normally ill-defined organizational problems.
• Social Judgment Skills — This is the capacity to understand people and social systems. They enable the performers to work with each other.
• Knowledge – This is the accumulation of information and the mental structures used to organize that information (schema). Knowledge results from developing an assortment of complex schemata for learning and organizing data (knowledge structure).
• Professional Skills and Knowledge — These are the knowledge and skills that are critical for producing key outputs.

Performer Outcome

This refers to the degree that the person has successfully performed his or her duties. It is measured by standard external criteria.

Implementing the framework

This framework will probably not fit your organization perfectly, but a little bit of tweaking should give you a basic roadmap to follow during your competency mapping project. During the rollout, do not get hung up with identify basic tasks, rather than competencies (unless of course this is one of your goals). A task is normally identified with a particular job, duty, or project; while a competency is a knowledge structure and/or related skill sets that will guide a person throughout a chosen career path.

For example, if one is in the training profession, then having a good knowledge base on ADDIE will help guide her throughout her career path, such as being a trainer, designer, consultant, or project manager. Within that competency, are basic tasks or concepts that are used in particular functions of training. For example, a learning objective is normally written by a designer, while the trainer uses it as a guide to ensure the end-results are met. In addition, a good consultant might never use the term in particular situations knowing it will only confuse the present clients.
A task basic fits in the third component of the capability model — performer outcome; while a competency, along with the attributes, allows ones to effectively perform the tasks.

The secret of enjoying life is to understand that joy lies in the very performance of the action. Action is always in the present and so too is happiness. When workers are happy, they are more productive. If they are disgruntled production figures fall. The higher or greater the level of inspiration, the more will be the output of the workforce. When people discover joy in the very execution of action, the quality of their performance changes. You must achieve the leadership with the qualities aforesaid. Be Happy – Be Leader in your life.


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