1.4. LEADERSHIP AND TEAM BUILDING
Leadership can greatly affect an organization, both by determining its success in the market and by defining the corporate culture. Strong, ethical leadership is extremely important in today’s business climate. Although there are several different leadership styles, some of the most effective leaders are able to tailor their management practices to suit employee needs. Leadership is not only about being a great speaker or politician; it is about having a vision and being able to make that vision a reality.
Team building is another important aspect of business. Many companies use teams to complete projects, and building an effective team is necessary to complete a project. Teams are most successful when they have a “coach” who is able to help see them through some of the more difficult stages of the team-building process.
Leadership is a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.
Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. —Dwight D. Eisenhower
What Makes a Leader?
It was Daniel Goleman who first brought the term “emotional intelligence” to a wide audience with his 1995 book of that name, and it was Goleman who first applied the concept to business with his 1998 HBR article, reprinted here. In his research at nearly 200 large, global companies, Goleman found that while the qualities traditionally associated with leadership—such as intelligence, toughness, determination, and vision—are required for success, they are insufficient. Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.
These qualities may sound “soft” and unbusinesslike, but Goleman found direct ties between emotional intelligence and measurable business results. While emotional intelligence’s relevance to business has continued to spark debate, Goleman’s article remains the definitive reference on the subject, with a description of each component of emotional intelligence and a detailed discussion of how to recognize it in potential leaders, how and why it connects to performance, and how it can be learned.
Every businessperson knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly skilled executive who was promoted into a leadership position only to fail at the job. And they also know a story about someone with solid—but not extraordinary—intellectual abilities and technical skills who was promoted into a similar position and then soared.
Such anecdotes support the widespread belief that identifying individuals with the “right stuff” to be leaders is more art than science. After all, the personal styles of superb leaders vary: Some leaders are subdued and analytical; others shout their manifestos from the mountaintops. And just as important, different situations call for different types of leadership. Most mergers need a sensitive negotiator at the helm, whereas many turnarounds require a more forceful authority.
That the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but mainly as “threshold capabilities”; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions. Many recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.
1.4.A.1. SEVEN TRAITS ASSOCIATED WITH LEADERSHIP
DRIVE: leaders exhibit high effort level.
DESIRE TO LEAD: they should have strong desire to influence and lead others.
HONESTY AND INTEGRITY: they should build trust relations with their team mates.
SELF CONFIDENCE: they need to be self confident and firm
INTELLIGENCE: leaders need to be intelligent enough to gather, synthesize and interpret information.
JOB-RELEVENT KNOWLEDGE: leaders should have a high degree of knowledge which helps them to make well informed decisions and to understand the implications of those decisions.
EXTRAVERSION: Leaders are energetic, lively people. They are sociable, assertive and rarely silent or withdrawn.
1.4.A.2. LEADERSHIP STYLES
Different situations call for different leadership styles. In an emergency when there is little time to converge on an agreement and where a designated authority has significantly more experience or expertise than the rest of the team, an autocratic leadership style may be most effective; however, in a highly motivated and aligned team with a homogeneous level of expertise, a more democratic or laissez-faire style may be more effective. The style adopted should be the one that most effectively achieves the objectives of the group while balancing the interests of its individual members.
Engaging as part of leadership style has been mentioned in various literature earlier. Dr. Stephen L. Cohen, the Senior Vice President for Right Management’s Leadership Development Center of Excellence, has in his article Four Key Leadership Practices for Leading in Tough Times has mentioned Engagement as the fourth Key practice. He writes, "these initiatives do for the organization is engage both leaders and employees in understanding the existing conditions and how they can collectively assist in addressing them. Reaching out to employees during difficult times to better understand their concerns and interests by openly and honestly conveying the impact of the downturn on them and their organizations can provide a solid foundation for not only engaging them but retaining them when things do turn around.
Engagement as the key to Collaborative Leadership is also emphasized in several original research papers and programs. Becoming an agile has long been associated with Engaging leaders - rather than leadership with an hands off approach.
Autocratic or authoritarian style
Under the autocratic leadership style, all decision-making powers are centralized in the leader, as with dictators.
Leaders do not entertain any suggestions or initiatives from subordinates. The autocratic management has been successful as it provides strong motivation to the manager. It permits quick decision-making, as only one person decides for the whole group and keeps each decision to him/herself until he/she feels it needs to be shared with the rest of the group.
Participative or democratic style
The democratic leadership style consists of the leader sharing the decision-making abilities with group members by promoting the interests of the group members and by practicing social equality. This has also been called shared leadership.
Laissez-faire or free-rein style
A person may be in a leadership position without providing leadership, leaving the group to fend for itself. Subordinates are given a free hand in deciding their own policies and methods. The subordinates are motivated to be creative and innovative.
It is a common leadership style. The narcissism may range from anywhere between healthy and destructive.
A toxic leader is someone who has responsibility over a group of people or an organization, and who abuses the leader–follower relationship by leaving the group or organization in a worse-off condition than when he/she joined it.
Task-oriented and relationship-oriented leadership
Task-oriented leadership is a style in which the leader is focused on the tasks that need to be performed in order to meet a certain production goal. Task-oriented leaders are generally more concerned with producing a step-by-step solution for given problem or goal, strictly making sure these deadlines are met, results and reaching target outcomes.
Relationship-oriented leadership is a contrasting style in which the leader is more focused on the relationships amongst the group and is generally more concerned with the overall well-being and satisfaction of group members. Relationship-oriented leaders emphasize communication within the group, shows trust and confidence in group members, and shows appreciation for work done.
Task-oriented leaders are typically less concerned with the idea of catering to group members, and more concerned with acquiring a certain solution to meet a production goal. For this reason, they typically are able to make sure that deadlines are met, yet their group members' well-being may suffer. Relationship-oriented leaders are focused on developing the team and the relationships in it. The positives to having this kind of environment are that team members are more motivated and have support, however, the emphasis on relations as opposed to getting a job done might make productivity suffer.
1.4.A.3. LEADERSHIP TRAITS
Most theories in the 20th century argued that great leaders were born, not made. Current studies have indicated that leadership is much more complex and cannot be boiled down to a few key traits of an individual. Years of observation and study have indicated that one such trait or a set of traits does not make an extraordinary leader. What scholars have been able to arrive at is that leadership traits of an individual do not change from situation to situation; such traits include intelligence, assertiveness, or physical attractiveness. However, each key trait may be applied to situations differently, depending on the circumstances. The following summarizes the main leadership traits found in research by Jon P. Howell, business professor at New Mexico State University and author of the book Snapshots of Great Leadership.
Determination and drive include traits such as initiative, energy, assertiveness, perseverance, masculinity, and sometimes dominance. People with these traits often tend to wholeheartedly peruse their goals, work long hours, are ambitious, and often are very competitive with others. Cognitive capacity includes intelligence, analytical and verbal ability, behavioral flexibility, and good judgment. Individuals with these traits are able to formulate solutions to difficult problems, work well under stress or deadlines, adapt to changing situations, and create well-thought-out plans for the future. Howell provides examples of Steve Jobs and Abraham Lincoln as encompassing the traits of determination and drive as well as possessing cognitive capacity, demonstrated by their ability to adapt to their continuously changing environments.
Self-confidence encompasses the traits of high self-esteem, assertiveness, emotional stability, and self-assurance. Individuals that are self-confident do not doubt themselves or their abilities and decisions; they also have the ability to project this self-confidence onto others, building their trust and commitment. Integrity is demonstrated in individuals who are truthful, trustworthy, principled, consistent, dependent, loyal, and not deceptive. Leaders with integrity often share these values with their followers, as this trait is mainly an ethics issue. It is often said that these leaders keep their word and are honest and open with their cohorts. Sociability describes individuals who are friendly, extroverted, tactful, flexible, and interpersonally competent. Such a trait enables leaders to be accepted well by the public, use diplomatic measures to solve issues, as well as hold the ability to adapt their social persona to the situation at hand. According to Howell, Mother Teresa is an exceptional example that embodies integrity, assertiveness, and social abilities in her diplomatic dealings with the leaders of the world.
Few great leaders encompass all of the traits listed above, but many have the ability to apply a number of them to succeed as front-runners of their organization or situation.
1.4.A.4. LEADERSHIP MYTHS
Leadership, although largely talked about, has been described as one of the least understood concepts across all cultures and civilizations. Over the years, many researchers have stressed the prevalence of this misunderstanding, stating that the existence of several flawed assumptions, or myths, concerning leadership often interferes with individuals’ conception of what leadership is all about (Gardner, 1965; Bennis, 1975).
Leadership is innate
According to some, leadership is determined by distinctive dispositional characteristics present at birth (e.g., extraversion; intelligence; ingenuity). However, it is important to note that leadership also develops through hard work and careful observation. Thus, effective leadership can result from nature (i.e., innate talents) as well as nurture (i.e., acquired skills).
Leadership is possessing power over others
Although leadership is certainly a form of power, it is not demarcated by power over people – rather, it is a power with people that exists as a reciprocal relationship between a leader and his/her followers (Forsyth, 2009). Despite popular belief, the use of manipulation, coercion, and domination to influence others is not a requirement for leadership. In actuality, individuals who seek group consent and strive to act in the best interests of others can also become effective leaders (e.g., class president; court judge).
Leaders are positively influential
The validity of the assertion that groups flourish when guided by effective leaders can be illustrated using several examples. For instance, according to Baumeister et al. (1988), the bystander effect (failure to respond or offer assistance) that tends to develop within groups faced with an emergency is significantly reduced in groups guided by a leader. Moreover, it has been documented that group performance, creativity, and efficiency all tend to climb in businesses with designated managers or CEOs. However, the difference leaders make is not always positive in nature. Leaders sometimes focus on fulfilling their own agendas at the expense of others, including his/her own followers (e.g., Pol Pot; Josef Stalin). Leaders who focus on personal gain by employing stringent and manipulative leadership styles often make a difference, but usually do so through negative means.
Leaders entirely control group outcomes
In Western cultures it is generally assumed that group leaders make all the difference when it comes to group influence and overall goal-attainment. Although common, this romanticized view of leadership (i.e., the tendency to overestimate the degree of control leaders have over their groups and their groups’ outcomes) ignores the existence of many other factors that influence group dynamics. For example, group cohesion, communication patterns among members, individual personality traits, group context, the nature or orientation of the work, as well as behavioral norms and established standards influence group functionality in varying capacities. For this reason, it is unwarranted to assume that all leaders are in complete control of their groups' achievements.
All Groups Have A Designated Leader
Despite preconceived notions, not all groups need have a designated leader. Groups that are primarily composed of women, are limited in size, are free from stressful decision-making, or only exist for a short period of time (e.g., student work groups; pub quiz/trivia teams) often undergo a diffusion of responsibility, where leadership tasks and roles are shared amongst members (Schmid Mast, 2002; Berdahl & Anderson, 2007; Guastello, 2007).
Group Members Resist Leaders
Although research has indicated that group members’ dependence on group leaders can lead to reduced self-reliance and overall group strength, most people actually prefer to be led than to be without a leader (Berkowitz, 1953). This "need for a leader" becomes especially strong in troubled groups that are experiencing some sort of conflict. Group members tend to be more contented and productive when they have a leader to guide them. Although individuals filling leadership roles can be a direct source of resentment for followers, most people appreciate the contributions that leaders make to their groups and consequently welcome the guidance of a leader (Stewart & Manz, 1995).
1.4.A.5. NEW DEMANDS LEADERS HAVE TO MEET
Leaders now need to manage and lead an "empowered" workforce and go beyond the consultative, co-operative and democratic styles of today. These new demands include:
- consultation and involvement - but leaders still get criticised for not having and communicating a compelling vision and purpose
- autonomy and freedom - but leaders are still expected to take full responsibility when things go wrong
- opportunities for growth, challenge and glory - but leaders must be on hand to coach and mentor us so that we develop our potential
- inclusion and team spirit - but we still want our leaders to give us individual recognition and acknowledgement.
However, there are not enough talented (ie: super-human) individuals who can meet all these demands.
1.4.A.6. LEADERSHIP WITH HEART
High self-esteem and high emotional intelligence is demonstrated by the effective response that is informative and assertive. That requires the correct thought, appropriate relationship and wisdom. Rational intelligence determines thinking and emotional intelligence determines the relationship between the self and others; spiritual intelligence enables wisdom during times of rapid change. If rational intelligence and emotional intelligence are sufficient under conditions of relative stability, spiritual intelligence is the essential component in times of paradigm shift and chaos.
Individuals with high spiritual intelligence see the holistic patterns and they have the capacity to question, think creatively, change the rules, and work effectively in changing situations by playing with the boundaries, break through obstacles and being innovative. They are instrumental in improving the world (Cairns, 1998).
Outstanding performers have high rational intelligence, high emotional intelligence and
high spiritual intelligence. They choose a workplace that encourages risk taking where they can be alive, dynamic, sociable and innovative. This may explain why traditional hierarchical organizations find it difficult to attract exceptional talent.
1.4.A.7. WHY EI IS NEEDED IN LEADERSHIP
Emotional Intelligence does not fit the classic historical models of leadership. The latter are usually associated with great figures of military history and conjure up charismatic and sometimes despotic images. However, people often use the same language for leadership today - bold, brave and tough with a strong sense of purpose and resolve. However, this does not fit today's needs, because:
- today's workforce does not accept the autocratic style often adopted by leaders following historical models of leadership.
- leadership has had to evolve to match a growing sense of democracy and independence in the workforce
- employees now have far more options and choices than the foot soldiers of yesterday
1.4.A.8. HOW TO USE EI IN DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP
There are now a number of models and questionnaires aimed at measuring Emotional Intelligence, often based on self-report questionnaires. However, this approach has obvious limitations in identifying levels of self-awareness - how can you be aware of what you are not aware of!
So, whilst questionnaires can play a part, better approaches also involve:
- experiential exercises
- 360 feedback processes These provide much more effective and comprehensive ways of identifying possible strengths and weaknesses in Emotional Intelligence terms. When the self-assessment and 360 is undertaken online, and results processed by someone independent, it assures confidentiality to the extent that achieves a much higher level of honesty in the feedback and assessment. This approach challenges complacency and can enable people to grow and develop.
1.4.A.9. LEADERSHIP AND MOTIVATION
An important role for a leader is motivating employees to do the best job possible. There are many ways a leader can motivate employees, and many of them do not require additional monetary compensation.
Sometimes motivation is brought about through creative means. The Container Store, a Dallas-based retailer, offers its employees free yoga classes, a personalized online nutrition diary, and a free monthly chair massage. These techniques help relieve employee stress and make workers feel appreciated. The company has ranked near the top of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For since 2000.
Open communication is also a key to motivating employees. When employees feel that they will be listened to and managers openly discuss matters with employees, a trusting relationship is created. At Harley-Davidson’s headquarters executives don’t have doors on their offices, creating an open, trusting environment.
Another method to motivate is to ensure that employees are matched up with the right job. It is the leader’s job to learn what employees’ abilities and preferences are and match them accordingly to tasks that utilize their skills and when possible match with their preferences.
If a leader is a good role model, showing enthusiasm for his or her work and pride in the company, this will positively affect employee motivation.
1.4.B. TEAM BUILDING
Team building is a philosophy of job design in which employees are viewed as members of interdependent teams instead of as individual workers. Team building refers to a wide range of activities, presented to businesses, schools, sports teams, religious or nonprofit organizations designed for improving team performance.
Team building is pursued via a variety of practices, and can range from simple bonding exercises to complex simulations and multi-day team building retreats designed to develop a team (including group assessment and group-dynamic games), usually falling somewhere in between. It generally sits within the theory and practice of organizational development, but can also be applied to sports teams, school groups, and other contexts.
Team building is not to be confused with "team recreation" that consists of activities for teams that are strictly recreational. Team building can also be seen in day-to-day operations of an organization and team dynamic can be improved through successful leadership. Team building is an important factor in any environment, its focus is to specialize in bringing out the best in a team to ensure self development, positive communication, leadership skills and the ability to work closely together as a team to problem solve.
Work environments tend to focus on individuals and personal goals, with reward & recognition singling out the achievements of individual employees. Team building can also refer to the process of selecting or creating a team from scratch.
“Teamwork” is defined as a group of people working together to achieve a common goal. Team members are mutually responsible for reaching the goal toward which they are working. Team building is a process meant to improve the performance of the team and involves activities designed to foster communication and encourage cooperation. Additionally, the objective is to avoid potential disputes and problems and to keep the morale of team members high.
Many different industries and organizations use teams to accomplish goals, because people working together can often achieve more than they could individually. How do you know if you need a team to complete a project? Ask yourself the following questions: Can I achieve this goal by myself? Do I have the resources and time to undertake this project? Can other people or a team of other people be more effective than I would be in achieving this goal? If your answers favor the involvement of others, it’s time to consider forming a team.
In an increasingly complex environment, organizations are using a team approach to bring a diverse set of skills and perspectives into play. An effective use of teams often draws upon a creative approach of bringing together specialists who combine their efforts and develop intra-team synergies to meet the challenges of their often complex organizational environment.
An example of an industry that often uses teamwork is the construction industry. A successful construction project cannot take place without the formation of teams. A design team will be formed at the beginning of the project and is made up of architects, engineers, and project consultants. The design team alone, however, will not be able to complete the project. They will also need to form a team with the owner of the project and the contractor.
1.4.B.1. TEAM DYNAMIC
When assembling a team it is very important to consider the overall dynamic of the team. According to Frank LaFasto, when building a team, five dynamics are fundamental to team success:
1. The team member: Successful teams are made up of a collection of effective individuals. These are people who are experienced, have problem solving ability, openness to addressing the problem, action oriented.
2. Team relationships: For a team to be successful the members of the team must be able to give and receive feedback.
3. Team problem solving: An effective team depends on how focused and clear the goal of the team is. A relaxed, comfortable and accepting environment and finally, open and honest communication.
4. Team leadership: Effective team leadership depends on leadership competencies. A competent leader is: focused on the goal, ensures a collaborative climate, builds confidence of team members, sets priorities, demonstrates sufficient “know-how” and manages performance through feedback.
5. Organizational environment: The climate and culture of the organization must be conductive to team behavior.
The overall goals of team building are to increase the teams understanding of team dynamics and improve how the team works together. Unlike working as a group, working as a team incorporates group accountability rather than individual accountability and results in a collective work product. Team building encourages the team approach to working on a project. There are many advantages to this approach. These advantages include the following:
- Increased flexibility in skills and abilities
- More productive than work groups with individual mindset
- More beneficial in times of organizational change
- Encourage both individual and team development and improvement
- Focuses on group goals to accomplish more beneficial tasks
1.4.B.3. LEADERSHIP ROLES
Successful team leaders frequently contain six of the same leadership abilities:
1. A team leader is usually goal-oriented to keep the team on track.
2. They must promote a safe environment where members can openly discuss issues.
3. A leader must build confidence amongst members by building and maintaining trust and offering the members responsibilities.
4. A leader should be technically competent in matters relating to team tasks and goals.
5. It is important for a team leader to set a manageable list of priorities for the team to keep members focused.
6. Finally, leaders should offer clear performance expectations by recognizing and rewarding excellent performance, and provide feedback to others.
Carl Larson and Frank LaFasto conducted a three year study of over 75 diverse teams. By interviewing key members of each team, Larson & LaFasto identified eight effective strategies a leader should employ to enhance team building:
1. Establish clear and inspiring team goals
2. Maintain a results-oriented team structure
3. Assemble competent team members
4. Strive for unified commitment
5. Provide a collaborative climate
6. Encourage standards of excellence
7. Furnish external support and recognition
8. Apply principled leadership
1.4.B.4. TEAM BUILDING EXERCISES
Team building exercises consist of a variety of tasks designed to develop group members and their ability to work together effectively. There are many types of team building activities that range from games for kids to games and challenges that involve novel and complex tasks that are designed for improving group performance by addressing specific needs.
Team building can range from simple social activities - to encourage team members to spend time together- to team development activities -designed to help individuals discover how they approach a problem, how the team works together, and discover better methods of communication.
Team interaction involves "soft" interpersonal skills including communication, negotiation, leadership, and motivation - in contrast to technical skills directly involved with the job at hand. Depending on the type of team building, the novel tasks can encourage or specifically teach interpersonal team skills to increase team performance.
Whether indoor or outdoor, the purpose of team building exercises is to assist teams in becoming cohesive units of individuals that can effectively work together to complete tasks.
Communication exercise: This type of team building exercise is exactly what it sounds like. Communications exercises are problem solving activities that are geared towards improving communication skills. The issues teams encounter in these exercises are solved by communicating effectively with each other.
- Goal: Create an activity which highlights the importance of good communication in team performance and/or potential problems with communication.
Problem-solving/decision-making exercise: Problem-solving/decision-making exercises focus specifically on groups working together to solve difficult problems or make complex decisions. These exercises are some of the most common as they appear to have the most direct link to what employers want their teams to be able to do.
- Goal: Give team a problem in which the solution is not easily apparent or requires the team to come up with a creative solution
Planning/adaptability exercise: These exercises focus on aspects of planning and being adaptable to change. These are important things for teams to be able to do when they are assigned complex tasks or decisions.
- Goal: Show the importance of planning before implementing a solution
Trust exercise: A trust exercise involves engaging team members in a way that will induce trust between them. They are sometimes difficult exercises to implement as there are varying degrees of trust between individuals and varying degrees of individual comfort trusting others in general.
- Goal: Create trust between team members
Assessment and feedback
In the organizational development context, a team may embark on a process of self-assessment to gauge its effectiveness and improve its performance. To assess itself, a team seeks feedback from group members to find out both its current strengths and weakness.
To improve its current performance, feedback from the team assessment can be used to identify gaps between the desired state and the current state, and to design a gap-closure strategy. Team development can be the greater term containing this assessment and improvement actions, or as a component of organizational development.
Another way is to allow for personality assessment amongst the team members, so that they will have a better understanding of their working style, as well as their fellow team mates.
A structured team building plan is a good tool to implement team bonding and thus, team awareness. These may be introduced by companies that specialize in executing team building sessions, or done internally by the human resource department.
The major risk of team building is that a team member may become cynical of the organization. This could happen as a result of the organization holding team building events outside of the normal context in which the organization usually functions under. For example, if an organization hosts team building events when individual goals and efforts are the norm with the organizational culture, the team building event will have no lasting impact.
It is crucial to follow up a team building event with meaningful workplace practice. If the team members do not see an improvement within an organization as a result of team building events, members may view such events as a waste of time. This may lead to loss of trust in the organization, harm motivation, as well as decrease employee morale and production.
1.4.B.5. TYPES OF TEAMS
Throughout different organizations there are different types of teams that are used to accomplish goals. Two of the most common team varieties are problem-solving and cross-functional teams.
These teams are formed for a temporary period until a problem is solved, and then they disband. Team members often consist of one level of management. Let’s say XYZ Corporation has lost 10 percent of its North American market share to MNO Widgets. XYZ wants to get this back by increasing sales across North America. All of XYZ’s regional salespeople will be called in to form a team to regain that market share. Although their regional focus will remain, they will have to work together to solve the problem of regaining that market share, and when they achieve that goal, they will individually work on maintaining their hold in their market.
This type of team is made up of members from different areas of the business and often from a common managerial level. If a shampoo company wants to bring a new conditioner to market, a team will be formed and its members will consist of managers from different departments such as brand management, product development, market research, and finance. It is also likely that there will be involvement by marketing, communications, and design when the product comes closer to being launched.
1.4.B.6. STAGES OF TEAM DEVELOPMENT
Team development has been broken into four stages: form, storm, norm, and perform.
Forming the Team
The first stage involves assembling the team and defining the goals, which should provide focus and be attainable. It is important that the team leadership understands the strengths of each of the team members in order to assemble a cohesive team. Often in the forming stage, team members will be extremely polite to one another; they will be feeling each other out.
An example of a goal that the team may set would be the project schedule. For a construction team, for example, there are many stages of the project that should be completed in a certain time frame to ensure that the project is completed on time for the owner. The design team designates the appropriate amount of time for the construction phase in which the builder will make a profit. It is important to agree upon and set this schedule from the beginning.
Storming Stage of Team Development
The second phase involves coordinating efforts and solving problems. If the teamwork starts to slip because of a difficult problem, it is necessary for the team members to get the project back on track. Team members should be conscious of the team’s health and whether the team is taking steps in the right direction to reach the goals. It may be necessary to think creatively about approaches to solving a problem.
Communication is extremely important to effective team performance in the storming stage. Effective teams communicate clearly and openly about problems. Ineffective communication can cause unnecessary tension and stress to team members. It is important that communication be relevant and responsive. Relevant communication is task-oriented and focused. Responsive communication involves the willingness of team members to gather information, to actively listen, and to build on the ideas and views of other team members.
Establishing Team Norms
The project norms are an informal standard of conduct that guides the behavior of team members. This stage involves defining team roles, rights, and responsibilities. It is important to establish these norms at the beginning of the team-building process in order to avoid problems along the way. In addition to allocating responsibilities, it may also be necessary to allocate the risk that is to be undertaken by each team member. Each member of the team should have a sense of ownership of the project.
Allocating responsibility also means establishing a team leader. Team leadership should not be a top-down effort, but should be more of a coaching role. The team leader must act as a cheerleader, encouraging the team members to work together, providing ideas, and serving as a role model.
There is often a period after the team has been formed when a
conflict of personalities or ideas will arise. Team members begin to show their own styles; they are no longer worried about being polite.
At this stage, there will be pessimism on the part of team members in relation to the project and there may also be confusion.
Team Performance Stage
By this stage, the team is working together effectively, problems have been smoothed out, and achievements begin to become evident. A great deal of work will be accomplished at this stage. The team will be able to tackle new tasks easily and confidently. They will be comfortable using creative means. It is essential at this point to evaluate and report on progress that has been made.
Project Completion and Team Disbanding Stage
The last phase of the project is completion. Often at this time the team will evaluate the results, debrief, and take time to learn and improve its processes for use in future team-based projects.
1.4.B.7. TEAM MANAGEMENT
Team management refers to techniques, processes and tools for organizing and coordinating a group of individuals working towards a common goal—i.e. a team.
Several well-known approaches to team management have come out of academic work. Examples include the Belbin Team Inventory by Meredith Belbin, a method to identify the different types of personalities within teams, and Ken Blanchard's description of "High Performing Teams".
The 'Team Development Model', identified by Bruce Tuckman, offers a foundational definition of the stages teams go through during their lifecycle. Those stages are labeled Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing.
While the activities of team management are not new, many of the tools used by team managers are. The more Organizational Development-oriented practitioners often use interview-based analysis and provide reportage and insights that team leaders and their management may use to adapt team practices for higher performance. Teams can also be developed through team building activities - which can also be used simply to build relationships where team members lack cohesion due to organizational structure or physical distance. Project managers may approach team management with a focus on structure, communications and standardized practices.
With the growing need to integrate the efforts of teams composed of members from different companies and geographies, organizations are increasingly turning to a new class of Internet software for team management. These tools combine planning and collaboration with features that provide a structure for team relationships and behaviors. In addition, there are tools that facilitate the forming of highly productive teams through analysis of personality and skills profiles.
1.4.B.8. SIX DEADLY SINS OF TEAM BUILDING
To create effective teams, managers need to avoid the following six deadly sins of team building:
1. Lack of a model. A team leader often focuses on a single aspect of team functioning, such as communication practices. But many other elements are critical to team success and effectiveness, and a team is only as strong as its weakest component. A single-dimensional team-building process may cause frustration and destroy the credibility of the process.
Fix: A model of how teams function is needed to address all the factors that result in reduced team effectiveness. At a minimum, the following must be considered for team effectiveness:
o Clearly stated and commonly held vision and goals
o Talent and skills required to meet the goals
o Clear understanding of team members' roles and functions
o Efficient and shared understanding of procedures and norms
o Effective and skilled interpersonal relations
o A system of reinforcement and celebration
o Clear understanding of the team's relationship to the organization
2. Lack of diagnosis. Each team has distinct strengths and weaknesses, which team building must take into account. The team leader must be aware of these strengths and weaknesses.
Fix: The leader must assess his team's strength and weaknesses. Although assessment and diagnostic instruments can be purchased, hiring an outside consultant to complete a thorough team assessment is advisable.
3. Short-term intervention. Some managers think that a one-day retreat or team-building exercise will resolve issues causing tension and frustration. One day, no matter how good it is, is not going to make much of a change in the norms, culture, or practices of a team. A one-day retreat may bring to light issues that cannot be solved during that day and are left to fester, resulting in team members mistrusting the process.
Fix: Plan a long-term strategy for team building. One year is a good time frame for this plan.
4. No evaluation of progress. Because team building is a long-term process, both management and team members need to know whether it is succeeding. A mechanism for regular evaluation of team functioning needs to be in place so that the team leader can identify barriers and eliminate them.
Fix: Plan regular evaluations of team progress. The diagnostic instrument used initially can be used at regular intervals to gauge progress.
5. Leadership detachment. The detached manager looks at team development as something that will help others change so that the team will function more effectively. However, the most influential person in most teams is the formal leader or manager who sets the tone for the team, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Fix: A manager must be willing to hear from employees about how his or her behavior impacts the team, whether negatively or positively. The worst thing that an organization can do is to start the process and refuse to acknowledge that a manager is a key player in the process.
Addressing all problems internally. Team building cannot succeed unless conflicts and problems are brought into the open and dealt with properly. Poorly functioning teams are characterized by climates of blame, defensiveness, and a lack of ability to deal with conflict. These teams cannot improve themselves.
1.4.B.9. RESOLVING TEAM CONFLICT
Building Stronger Teams by Facing Your Differences
Conflict can be pretty much inevitable when you work with others. People have different viewpoints and under the right set of circumstances, those differences escalate to conflict. How you handle that conflict determines whether it works to the team's advantage or contributes to its demise.
You can choose to ignore it, complain about it, blame someone for it, or try to deal with it through hints and suggestions; or you can be direct, clarify what is going on, and attempt to reach a resolution through common techniques like negotiation or compromise. It's clear that conflict has to be dealt with, but the question is how: It has to be dealt with constructively and with a plan, otherwise it's too easy to get pulled into the argument and create an even larger mess.
Conflict isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Healthy and constructive conflict is a component of high functioning teams. Conflict arises from differences between people; the same differences that often make diverse teams more effective than those made up of people with similar experience. When people with varying viewpoints, experiences, skills, and opinions are tasked with a project or challenge, the combined effort can far surpass what any group of similar individual could achieve. Team members must be open to these differences and not let them rise into full-blown disputes.
Understanding and appreciating the various viewpoints involved in conflict are key factors in its resolution. These are key skills for all team members to develop. The important thing is to maintain a healthy balance of constructive difference of opinion, and avoid negative conflict that's destructive and disruptive.
Getting to, and maintaining, that balance requires well-developed team skills, particularly the ability to resolve conflict when it does happens, and the ability to keep it healthy and avoid conflict in the day-to-day course of team working. Let's look at conflict resolution first, then at preventing it.
When a team oversteps the mark of healthy difference of opinion, resolving conflict requires respect and patience. The human experience of conflict involves our emotions, perceptions, and actions; we experience it on all three levels, and we need to address all three levels to resolve it. We must replace the negative experiences with positive ones.
The three-stage process below is a form of mediation process, which helps team members to do this:
Step 1: Prepare for Resolution
- Acknowledge the conflict – The conflict has to be acknowledged before it can be managed and resolved. The tendency is for people to ignore the first signs of conflict, perhaps as it seems trivial, or is difficult to differentiate from the normal, healthy debate that teams can thrive on. If you are concerned about the conflict in your team, discuss it with other members. Once the team recognizes the issue, it can start the process of resolution.
- Discuss the impact – As a team, discuss the impact the conflict is having on team dynamics and performance.
- Agree to a cooperative process – Everyone involved must agree to cooperate in to resolve the conflict. This means putting the team first, and may involve setting aside your opinion or ideas for the time being. If someone wants to win more than he or she wants to resolve the conflict, you may find yourself at a stalemate.
- Agree to communicate – The most important thing throughout the resolution process is for everyone to keep communications open. The people involved need to talk about the issue and discuss their strong feelings. Active listening is essential here because to move on you need to really understand where the other person is coming from.
Step 2: Understand the Situation
Once the team is ready to resolve the conflict, the next stage is to understand the situation, and each team member's point of view. Take time to make sure that each person's position is heard and understood. Remember that strong emotions are at work here so you have to get through the emotion and reveal the true nature of the conflict.
- Clarify positions – Whatever the conflict or disagreement, it's important to clarify people's positions. Whether there are obvious factions within the team who support a particular option, approach or idea, or each team member holds their own unique view, each position needs to be clearly identified and articulated by those involved.
- This step alone can go a long way to resolve the conflict, as it helps the team see the facts more objectively and with less emotion.
Sally and Tom believe the best way to market the new product is through a TV campaign. Mary and Beth are adamant that internet advertising is the way to go; whilst Josh supports a store-lead campaign.
- List facts, assumptions and beliefs underlying each position – What does each group or person believe? What do they value? What information are they using as a basis for these beliefs? What decision-making criteria and processes have they employed?
Sally and Tom believe that TV advertising is best because it has worked very well in the past. They are motivated by the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Mary and Beth are very tuned-in to the latest in technology and believe that to stay ahead in the market, the company has to continue to try new things. They seek challenges and find change exhilarating and motivating. Josh believes a store-lead campaign is the most cost-effective. He's cautious, and feels this is the best way to test the market at launch, before committing the marketing spend.
- Analyze in smaller groups – Break the team into smaller groups, separating people who are in alliance. In these smaller groups, analyze and dissect each position, and the associated facts, assumptions and beliefs.
- Which facts and assumptions are true? Which are the more important to the outcome? Is there additional, objective information that needs to be brought into the discussion to clarify points of uncertainly or contention? Is additional analysis or evaluation required?
Consider using formal evaluation and decision-making processes where appropriate. Techniques such as PMI, Force Field Analysis, Paired Comparison Analysis and Cost/Benefit Analysis are among those that could help.
Consider using formal evaluation and decision-making processes where appropriate. Techniques such as PMI, Force Field Analysis, Paired Comparison Analysis and Cost/Benefit Analysis are among those that could help.
If such techniques have not been used already, they may help make a much more objective decision or evaluation. Gain agreement within the team about which techniques to use, and how to go about the further analysis and evaluation.
- By considering the facts, assumptions, beliefs and decision making that lead to other people's positions, the group will gain a better understanding of those positions. Not only can this reveal new areas of agreement, it can also reveal new ideas and solutions that make the best of each position and perspective.
- Take care to remain open, rather than criticize or judge the perceptions and assumptions of other people. Listen to all solutions and ideas presented by the various sides of the conflict. Everyone needs to feel heard and acknowledged if a workable solution is to be reached.
- Convene back as a team – After the group dialogue, each side is likely to be much closer to reaching agreement. The process of uncovering facts and assumptions allows people to step away from their emotional attachments and see the issue more objectively. When you separate alliances, the fire of conflict can burn out quickly, and it is much easier to see the issue and facts laid bare.
Step 3: Reach Agreement
Now that all parties understand the others' positions, the team must decide what decision or course of action to take. With the facts and assumptions considered, it's easier to see the best of action and reach agreement.
In our example, the team agrees that TV advertising is the best approach. It has had undeniably great results in the past and there is no data to show that will change. The message of the advertising will promote the website and direct consumers there. This meets Mary and Beth's concern about using the website for promotions: they assumed that TV advertising would disregard it.
If further analysis and evaluation is required, agree what needs to be done, by when and by whom, and so plan to reach agreement within a particular timescale. If appropriate, define which decision making and evaluation tools are to be employed.
If such additional work is required, the agreement at this stage is to the approach itself: Make sure the team is committed to work with the outcome of the proposed analysis and evaluation.
If the team is still not able to reach agreement, you may need to use a techniques like Win-Win Negotiation, Nominal Group Technique or Multi-Voting to find a solution that everyone is happy to move the team ahead.
If the team is still not able to reach agreement, you may need to use a techniques like Win-Win Negotiation, Nominal Group Technique or Multi-Voting to find a solution that everyone is happy to move the team ahead.
When conflict is resolved take time to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions everyone made toward reaching a solution. This can build team cohesion and confidence in their problem solving skills, and can help avert further conflict.
This three-step process can help solve team conflict efficiently and effectively. The basis of the approach is gaining understanding of the different perspectives and using that understanding to expand your own thoughts and beliefs about the issue.
As well as being able to handle conflict when it arises, teams need to develop ways of preventing conflict from becoming damaging. Team members can learn skills and behavior to help this. Here are some of the key ones to work on:
- Dealing with conflict immediately – avoid the temptation to ignore it.
- Being open – if people have issues, they need to be expressed immediately and not allowed to fester.
- Practicing clear communication – articulate thoughts and ideas clearly.
- Practicing active listening – paraphrasing, clarifying, questioning.
- Practicing identifying assumptions – asking yourself "why" on a regular basis.
- Not letting conflict get personal – stick to facts and issues, not personalities.
- Focusing on actionable solutions – don't belabor what can't be changed.
- Encouraging different points of view – insist on honest dialogue and expressing feelings.
- Not looking for blame – encourage ownership of the problem and solution.
- Demonstrating respect – if the situation escalates, take a break and wait for emotions to subside.
- Keeping team issues within the team – talking outside allows conflict to build and fester, without being dealt with directly.
To explore the process of conflict resolution in more depth, take our Bite-Sized Training session on Dealing with Conflict.
Conflict can be constructive as long as it is managed and dealt with directly and quickly. By respecting differences between people, being able to resolve conflict when it does happen, and also working to prevent it, you will be able to maintain a healthy and creative team atmosphere. The key is to remain open to other people's ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. When team members learn to see issues from the other side, it opens up new ways of thinking, which can lead to new and innovative solutions, and healthy team performance.
1.4.C. LEADERSHIP AND TEAM BUILDING
What are the qualities of good leaders? What makes them successful? Think of some of the greatest leaders of all time. What made them stand out from others? We may think of adjectives such as “heroic,” “charismatic,” and “strategic.” These are all leadership qualities, but what really makes for a strong and successful leader?
Successful leaders are able to influence others. They use their innate qualities to inspire a workforce, a team, or a nation to achieve goals. Leaders can see beyond themselves and beyond the task at hand to look at achieving long-term goals by utilizing their strengths combined with the strengths of others. Effective leaders are able to manage relationships with others and create positive outcomes.
Winston Churchill often comes to mind as one of the greatest leaders in history. He was a talented orator and politician, but what made Churchill a phenomenal leader was his ability to mobilize and strengthen the will of his people through his words and policies. Although his strategic actions were often criticized at the time for being impulsive, Churchill allowed his belief in democracy and his intolerance for fascism to dictate his wartime policies. It was not only his passion for the policies but his ability to carry out his plans that made him a successful leader.
Leadership, such as that demonstrated by Churchill, is about inspiring others and doing the right thing. Leaders make change happen, but their values remain steady and unchanging. Most leaders not only have a long-term perspective on goals, but they also have innovative ways of achieving their goals.
World leaders and business leaders alike can create triumph from disasters. Leaders learn from failure and have a steadfastness of purpose that keeps them focused on a goal or objective in spite of near-term setbacks or adverse conditions. Leaders are flexible in their execution and will make midcourse corrections and iterative improvements-leaders “bend but don’t break.” They inspire those around
them to stretch and do their best to fulfill the organizational mission. Leaders are able to energize those around them in order to create desired results without compromising their ethical standards.
An organization that is established as an instrument or means for achieving defined objectives has been referred to as a formal organization. Its design specifies how goals are subdivided and reflected in subdivisions of the organization. Divisions, departments, sections, positions, jobs, and tasks make up this work structure. Thus, the formal organization is expected to behave impersonally in regard to relationships with clients or with its members. According to Weber's definition, entry and subsequent advancement is by merit or seniority. Employees receive a salary and enjoy a degree of tenure that safeguards them from the arbitrary influence of superiors or of powerful clients. The higher one's position in the hierarchy, the greater one's presumed expertise in adjudicating problems that may arise in the course of the work carried out at lower levels of the organization. It is this bureaucratic structure that forms the basis for the appointment of heads or chiefs of administrative subdivisions in the organization and endows them with the authority attached to their position.
In contrast to the appointed head or chief of an administrative unit, a leader emerges within the context of the informal organization that underlies the formal structure. The informal organization expresses the personal objectives and goals of the individual membership. Their objectives and goals may or may not coincide with those of the formal organization. The informal organization represents an extension of the social structures that generally characterize human life — the spontaneous emergence of groups and organizations as ends in themselves.
In prehistoric times, humanity was preoccupied with personal security, maintenance, protection, and survival. Now humanity spends a major portion of waking hours working for organizations. The need to identify with a community that provides security, protection, maintenance, and a feeling of belonging has continued unchanged from prehistoric times. This need is met by the informal organization and its emergent, or unofficial, leaders.
Leaders emerge from within the structure of the informal organization. Their personal qualities, the demands of the situation, or a combination of these and other factors attract followers who accept their leadership within one or several overlay structures. Instead of the authority of position held by an appointed head or chief, the emergent leader wields influence or power. Influence is the ability of a person to gain co-operation from others by means of persuasion or control over rewards. Power is a stronger form of influence because it reflects a person's ability to enforce action through the control of a means of punishment.
A leader is a person who influences a group of people towards a specific result. It is not dependent on title or formal authority. (Elevos, paraphrased from Leaders, Bennis, and Leadership Presence, Halpern & Lubar.) Ogbonnia (2007) defines an effective leader "as an individual with the capacity to consistently succeed in a given condition and be viewed as meeting the expectations of an organization or society." Leaders are recognized by their capacity for caring for others, clear communication, and a commitment to persist. An individual who is appointed to a managerial position has the right to command and enforce obedience by virtue of the authority of their position. However, she or he must possess adequate personal attributes to match this authority, because authority is only potentially available to him/her. In the absence of sufficient personal competence, a manager may be confronted by an emergent leader who can challenge her/his role in the organization and reduce it to that of a figurehead. However, only authority of position has the backing of formal sanctions. It follows that whoever wields personal influence and power can legitimize this only by gaining a formal position in the hierarchy, with commensurate authority. Leadership can be defined as one's ability to get others to willingly follow. Every organization needs leaders at every level.
Over the years the philosophical terminology of "management" and "leadership" have, in the organizational context, been used both as synonyms and with clearly differentiated meanings. Debate is fairly common about whether the use of these terms should be restricted, and generally reflects an awareness of the distinction made by Burns (1978) between "transactional" leadership (characterized by e.g. emphasis on procedures, contingent reward, management by exception) and "transformational" leadership (characterized by e.g. charisma, personal relationships, creativity).
1.4.c.3. GROUP LEADERSHIP
In contrast to individual leadership, some organizations have adopted group leadership. In this situation, more than one person provides direction to the group as a whole. Some organizations have taken this approach in hopes of increasing creativity, reducing costs, or downsizing. Others may see the traditional leadership of a boss as costing too much in team performance. In some situations, the team members best able to handle any given phase of the project become the temporary leaders. Additionally, as each team member has the opportunity to experience the elevated level of empowerment, it energizes staff and feeds the cycle of success.
Leaders who demonstrate persistence, tenacity, determination, and synergistic communication skills will bring out the same qualities in their groups. Good leaders use their own inner mentors to energize their team and organizations and lead a team to achieve success.
These Group Leaderships or Leadership Teams have specific characteristics:
Characteristics Of A Group Leadership
- There must be an awareness of unity on the part of all its members.
- There must be interpersonal relationship. Members must have a chance to contribute, and learn from and work with others.
- The members must have the ability to act together toward a common goal.
Ten characteristics of well-functioning teams:
- Purpose: Members proudly share a sense of why the team exists and are invested in accomplishing its mission and goals.
- Priorities: Members know what needs to be done next, by whom, and by when to achieve team goals.
- Roles: Members know their roles in getting tasks done and when to allow a more skillful member to do a certain task.
- Decisions: Authority and decision-making lines are clearly understood.
- Conflict: Conflict is dealt with openly and is considered important to decision-making and personal growth.
- Personal traits: members feel their unique personalities are appreciated and well utilized.
- Norms: Group norms for working together are set and seen as standards for every one in the groups.
- Effectiveness: Members find team meetings efficient and productive and look forward to this time together.
- Success: Members know clearly when the team has met with success and share in this equally and proudly.
- Training: Opportunities for feedback and updating skills are provided and taken advantage of by team members.
In the past, some researchers have argued that the actual influence of leaders on organizational outcomes is overrated and romanticized as a result of biased attributions about leaders (Meindl & Ehrlich, 1987). Despite these assertions, however, it is largely recognized and accepted by practitioners and researchers that leadership is important, and research supports the notion that leaders do contribute to key organizational outcomes (Day & Lord, 1988; Kaiser, Hogan, & Craig, 2008). To facilitate successful performance it is important to understand and accurately measure leadership performance.
Job performance generally refers to behavior that is expected to contribute to organizational success (Campbell, 1990). Campbell identified a number of specific types of performance dimensions; leadership was one of the dimensions that he identified. There is no consistent, overall definition of leadership performance (Yukl, 2006). Many distinct conceptualizations are often lumped together under the umbrella of leadership performance, including outcomes such as leader effectiveness, leader advancement, and leader emergence (Kaiser et al., 2008). For instance, leadership performance may be used to refer to the career success of the individual leader, performance of the group or organization, or even leader emergence. Each of these measures can be considered conceptually distinct. While these aspects may be related, they are different outcomes and their inclusion should depend on the applied or research focus.
1.4.C.5. LEADERSHIP AND CULTURE
Leadership style is extremely important in an organization, as it often affects the organization’s culture. Which style of management is right? It depends greatly on the type of organization and on the top management
within the organization.
If managers are strong leaders, their style of leadership often predominates throughout the different levels of management within the organization. The leadership style is then responsible for creating the culture of the organization. There are good and bad hallmarks for leadership within an organization. If the corporate leadership style is deceptive, then often the management culture within the organization will be deceptive. The same would hold true if the leadership was ethical.
It takes a strong leader to create a lasting culture within an organization. For ordinary leaders it can take years to shape the attitudes and environment; only an extraordinary leader is capable of making revolutionary change.
1.4.C.6. CORPORATE CULTURE
A corporate culture is the system of beliefs, goals, and values that an organization possesses. Many aspects of an organization influence the corporate culture including workplace environments, communications networks, and managerial philosophies.
Strong cultures cause employees to march to the same beat and create high levels of employee motivation and loyalty. Corporate culture also provides control and structure to the company.
Having a strong corporate culture is not always the key to an organization’s success. If the corporate culture is an obstacle to change, it can hinder a company’s performance and ultimately its success. A misdirected culture can lead employees to strive for the wrong goals.
Characteristics Of Successful Corporate Cultures
Here are some examples of characteristics of successful corporate cultures. By no means is this list exhaustive.
Caring. This involves employees taking responsibility for their actions, caring about both the customer and the good of the company. It creates high-quality customer service and a positive atmosphere in which to work.
Challenge. If the CEO of a company states that employees should “think outside the box,” but then squashes ideas because of their perceived chance of failure, a contradictory environment is created. In this type of situation, a challenge to conventional thinking and performing causes employees to fear losing their jobs; creative employees will leave and a culture of yes-men will be created.
Risk. A successful company will be able to manage risk and even turn it into a strategic and profitable advantage. It involves paying attention to reputation and earnings. Employees must anticipate the consequences
of their decisions and actions. This type of risk management can add significant shareholder value.
Ethics. Often ethics can be the glue that holds the culture of an organization together. An effective leader should create a written ethical
code for the organization. This code of ethics should not only be enforced but continuously reinforced. The employee’s ethics should serve as a standard by which performance is evaluated.
Focus. There is a saying, “If you don’t know where you are going, then any road will take you there.” A leader has done his or her job well if the managers have a sense of continuity, if they know where the company or organization is heading. If managers feel that the direction of the organization is decided on by which way the wind is blowing that day, goals will not be met. It is important for employees to know where they are going and what they should be achieving, and it is the job of the leader to define this for them. The leader should always know where he or she is going at all times.
However, this does not mean that a leader should not be willing to change. In fact, a leader should be an agent for change, because stagnation does not often lead to success. It is important that while being
accepting to change a leader is able to align employees with goals.
Trust. Mutual trust is an important hallmark of effective leadership. Management should trust the leader and the leader should trust management. It is important to note that micromanaging can kill the trusting culture. When employees come to trust one another, it creates a
team environment, where everyone is working for the common goals of the organization.
Merit. Organizations often meet their goals by rewarding employee performance based on merit. Merit systems create fairness and help to further foster a team environment.
1.4.C.7. LEADERSHIP TRENDS
In today’s competitive environment, leaders are continually searching for new ideas and approaches to improving their understanding of leadership. Here are thumbnail descriptions of current leadership trends.
A new trend in effective leadership, coaching, has become extremely popular throughout different organizations. This style of leadership involves guiding employees in their decision-making process. When coaching, management provides employees with ideas, feedback, and consultation, but decisions will ultimately be left in the hands of the employees. Coaching prepares employees for the challenges they will face. The lower an employee’s skill and experience level, the more coaching the worker will require. The interactions that an employee has with the manager are the best opportunities they have for enhancing their respective skills. Coaching enables the employees to excel at their tasks. Instilling confidence in employees is extremely important. If management conveys the belief that employees will exceed expectations, it helps them do so.
A good coach will draw out the strengths of each employee and focus on how those strengths can be directed most effectively to achieve the organization’s purpose and objectives. A good coach will also facilitate personal development and an improvement process through which the employee will be able to play a more effective role in achieving the organization’s purpose and objectives. An effective coach also realizes that each employee is unique, with different strengths and weaknesses, and that a coaching strategy must reflect this individualistic approach.
As organizations and companies become increasingly borderless, employee empowerment becomes ever more important. This trend in leadership has allowed employees to participate in the decision-making
processes. Employee empowerment is also a method for building employee self-esteem and can also improve customer satisfaction. It also ties them more closely to the company goals and will serve to increase their pride in their work and loyalty to the organization.
As corporations become increasingly international in scope, there is a growing demand for global leaders. Although many of the qualities that make a successful domestic leader will make a successful global leader, the differences lie in the abilities of the leader to take on a global perspective. Global leaders are often entrepreneurial; they will have the ambition to take their ideas and strategies across borders. They will also have to develop cultural understanding; global leaders must be sensitive to the cultures of those working under them, no matter where they are based. Global leaders must also be adaptable; this is part of accepting the cultural norms of different countries in which they are operating. They must know when to adapt the operational structure of the organization or adjust their leadership styles in order to relate to those around them. However, as adaptable as they must be, the global leader should not adapt his or her ethics or values to suit local tastes. Global leaders must also serve as role models, fighting corruption, not giving in to it.
An important trend in leadership is the equitable treatment of employees.
This does not mean that each employee will be treated the same; it means that every employee will be given the amount of individual attention they require, and it will involve leadership knowing his or her employees. A good leader will get to know employees well enough to give them what they need in order to best perform. For some employees that may mean more structure; for others it may mean more freedom. Some employees may need to be monitored more carefully, while others may work better independently. Leaders must know how to bring out the best in employees and how to build solid relationships with them; the most effective way of doing this is by getting to know them individually.
PURSUING A LEADERSHIP ROLE
When pursuing a leadership role in an organization, it is important to gain insight into effective leadership.
Draw upon your firsthand experience in leadership roles; think of the lessons you have learned from leading clubs, teams, or other groups.
It is also important to read about other leaders. Most world leaders read books about leaders whom they admire. The books provide important insights into what it takes to be a leader and how to make decisions.
Find a Mentor
Learning from an accomplished leader is a great way to improve your own leadership abilities; find someone in your organization or community
whose leadership you admire and ask this person to serve as your mentor; they will probably be flattered and happy to help.
It is important to research management and leadership trends and to learn skills and techniques that are relevant to the particular field in which you are working so that you can then implement them.
1.4.C.8. EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOR LEADERSHIP AND TEAM RELATION
Leadership abilities vary according to rater perspective and level of emotional intelligence. In general, co-workers seem to appreciate managers’ abilities to control their impulses and anger, to withstand adverse events and stressful situations, to be happy with life, and to be a cooperative member of the group. These leaders are more likely to be seen as participative, self-aware, composed, and balanced.
Higher levels of emotional intelligence are associated with better performance in the following areas:
Putting People at Ease
Balance Between Personal Life and Work
Straightforwardness and Composure
Building and Mending Relationships
Doing Whatever it Takes
Confronting Problem Employees
Participative Management reflects the importance of getting buy-in at the beginning of an initiative. It is an extremely important relationship-building skill in today’s management climate in which organizations value interdependency within and between groups. Of all the skills and perspectives measures on Benchmarks, participative management had the largest number of meaningful correlations with measures of emotional intelligence. In other words, managers who are seen as good at listening to others and gaining their input before
implementing change are likely to be assessed as good at cooperating with others, able to find pleasure in life, able to foster relationships, control impulses, and understand their own emotions and the emotions of others.
Putting People at Ease gets at the heart of making others relaxed and comfortable in your presence. From the perspective of direct reports, putting people at ease was related to impulse control, which is defined as the ability to resist or delay the impulse to act. This finding suggests that being able to behaviorally put people at ease has to do with controlling your own impulses with regard to anger or other emotions. Boss ratings of putting people at ease are related to happiness, suggesting that your disposition is related to how comfortable others are in your presence.
Self-Awareness describes those managers who have an accurate understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Ratings on self-awareness were related to impulse control and stress tolerance. If you find that you explode into anger easily, it is likely that others don’t see you as very self-aware. In addition, it appears that others may draw conclusions about your self-awareness from how you handle difficult and challenging situations. If you get anxious, others may interpret this as a lack of self-awareness.
Balance Between Personal Life and Work
measures the degree to which work and personal life activities are prioritized so that neither is neglected. High ratings from bosses on these behaviors were associated with the emotional intelligence measures of social responsibility, impulse control, and empathy. Giving your bosses the impression that you are balanced is connected with your feelings of being able to contribute to a group, controlling your impulses, and understanding the emotions of others. High ratings from direct reports are also associated with impulse control.
Straightforwardness and Composure, which refers to the skill of remaining calm in a crisis and recovering from mistakes, is related to several emotional intelligence measures. Not surprisingly, ratings from bosses, peers, and direct reports on this scale are related to impulse control. Direct report ratings are also associated with stress tolerance, optimism, and social responsibility. Boss ratings are related to happiness. Thus it appears that being rated highly on straightforwardness and composure has to do with controlling impulses during difficult times, being responsible toward others, and having a satisfied disposition.
Building and Mending Relationships is the ability to develop and maintain working relationships with various internal and external parties. Ratings from bosses on this scale were related to only one measure of emotional intelligence: impulse control. This is not surprising because poor impulse control manifests itself as an inability to control hostility and explosive behavior. Obviously, this tendency will not translate into strong relationships with bosses.
Boss ratings on Doing Whatever It Takes, which has to do with persevering in the face of obstacles as well as taking charge and standing alone when necessary were related to two of the emotional intelligence scales: independence and assertiveness. People who are high on independence tend to be self-reliant and autonomous. Although they may ask for input from others, they are not dependent on it. Assertiveness has to do with expressing feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in a nondestructive manner. People high on this scale are not shy about letting
others know what they want. Direct report ratings are associated with independence and optimism. Optimism has to do with looking at the brighter side of life. This constellation of relationships suggests that doing whatever it takes requires emotional intelligence in the sense of being able to go after what you want, being able to persevere in getting what you want, and seeing that a bright future is possible.
Direct report ratings of Decisiveness are related to assessments of independence. Decisiveness has to do with a preference for quick and approximate actions over slow and approximate ones. Independence has to do with the ability to be self-directed and self-controlled in one’s thinking. It does not seem at all surprising that people who rate themselves as independent thinkers would be viewed by their direct reports as decisive.
Another interesting relationship has to do with peer ratings of Confronting Problem Employees, the degree to which a manager acts decisively and fairly when dealing with problem employees, and the emotional intelligence
measure of assertiveness. Assertive people are able to express their beliefs and feelings in a nondestructive manner. These results suggest that being able to do this is helpful when it comes to dealing with problematic performance situations.
Change Management is the final Benchmarks scale to be connected with emotional intelligence. This skill has to do with the effectiveness of the strategies used to facilitate change initiatives. Ratings from direct reports are associated with measures of social responsibility. In other words, the ability to be a cooperative member of one’s social group is associated with perceptions of effectiveness in introducing change. Peer ratings of change management are related to interpersonal relationship abilities. Apparently, the ability to establish satisfying relationships has a connection to how well peers judge your ability to institute change.