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Posts Tagged “Leadership”

via Huffington PostThe Future Of Leadership In The Workplace

When it comes to the future of the workplace, the only safe prediction is to say that it will be different from today—more different than most of us can imagine. Fundamental forces are compelling organisations to rethink what they need from their leaders:

The future workplace is transparent

Information and expertise are being captured and shared in new ways. Sites such as GlassDoor and Indeed tip prospective employees off to the true culture of an organisation before they even apply.

“There is no time to waste in supporting the high talent employees you hope will one day lead your organisation.”

Communication no longer flows solely through the lines on the organisational chart, and with the increase of direct exchanges between senior leadership and workers at every level, via internal social media networks and town hall meetings, workers decide for themselves whether they can trust senior leaders and have confidence in the direction they are taking their organisation.

Teams matter more than ever

The work of the future is being accomplished by teams—composites of humans, machines and artificial intelligence—that form and disband as needed. Effective, trust-based, working relationships must form quickly to enable a team to be effective. The hierarchy is supplanted by a network of teams, enabled to take risks. This type of agile collaboration requires a special kind of environment to thrive, and leaders at every level of an organisation have important roles in creating it.

Individual employees expect to advance rapidly, too

Young employees are driven to learn and achieve, and they want to do so with organisations they can be proud of, whose principles and values align with their own. And if they don’t find the opportunities they’re seeking with one company, they’ll look elsewhere—more than 70% of respondents from India in our recent survey expect to be looking for a new job within the year.

At the intersection of these forces lie leadership teams, which must successfully manage the business of today and position their organisations for tomorrow. They must increasingly be willing to step aside and let younger workers acquire and exercise their own leadership skills—or risk losing them.

That means a shift in focus for today’s leadership development. There is no time to waste in supporting the high talent employees you hope will one day lead your organisation. Plan now to help them gain the insight and skills they need to learn to create positive and productive work environments, in addition to their technical, innovative and strategic abilities.

The future is happening fast. It’s time to accelerate the development of tomorrow’s leaders.

via Eyewitness News : Take the lead: Leadership styles in the workplace

According to Professor Jon Maner some leaders base their style of management on ‘prestige’ while others rely on ‘dominance’.

Machiavelli said that we are driven by two main impulses, love and fear.

Researchers have now shown how this dynamic translates in the workplace, by outlining two fundamental leadership styles.

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Professor Jon Maner from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in the US, maps out how some leaders base their style of management on ‘prestige’ while others rely on ‘dominance’.

Leading in a primal way

Dominance, Maner and his co-author say in their original paper, can be traced back through evolutionary history and is also found in primates, including chimpanzees. High-ranking chimps – who are almost always male – command respect and deference, and enforce their dominance through intimidation.

Humans use similar tactics when it comes to exerting influence, such as coercion, aggression, punishment and reward. Typically, there are steep hierarchies and power is largely held by the most dominant people. Dominance-driven leadership methods lend themselves to narcissistic individuals, the researchers say.

Rallying your team

Prestige strategies, however, are unique to humans and only emerged as early humans started forming small communities. Here, team members defer freely to their leader because they respect and admire his or her knowledge and skills, and use them as a role model.

Hierarchies tend to be flat; leaders feel the need to affiliate with others, and do not necessarily seek a high profile for themselves.

How to spot a dominant or a prestige leader

Dominant business leaders are likely to monitor closely team members they perceive as a threat, and eventually ostracise them if they become too ‘dangerous’.

They do this by assigning them tasks that do not match their skill sets, to prevent them from excelling. They are also more likely to discourage their team from forming close bonds.

Conversely, prestige-driven leaders will embrace high-flying employees and recruit them as allies rather than turn them into enemies. They will give their team the freedom to excel in roles that match their talents and encourage team bonding.

Dominant leaders know that ‘knowledge is power’ and therefore withhold information to maintain their status, while prestige leaders believe in information sharing.

Horses for courses

While some leaders may fall squarely into either the dominance or prestige category, the researchers are clear that selecting which strategy to use often depends on the situation.

Dominance, it appears, works best when teams need to get aligned and move into the same direction quickly. For instance, a crisis may require a quick, concerted response without much debate. Another scenario is when a leader needs different departments that do not always work in harmony to pull together to achieve a common goal.

In these cases strong, fast decision-making is required without worrying too much about the emotional impact on individuals who may not appreciate being ‘bossed’ around.

In situations where the team needs to be empowered, prestige strategies work much better. When a creative team needs to brainstorm a new campaign, they are best given space and encouraged to discuss and develop ideas together. Here, the leader should provide a framework and guidance while acting as an ordinary group member.

Based on their studies, the researchers conclude that experienced leaders know which style they lean towards naturally, and can switch between the two to suit the situation.

Via Forbes : How To Lead A Team When You’re Not The Boss: 10 Tips That Won’t Alienate Your Coworkers

If you work at a startup or any company that values collaboration, then this may be a familiar scenario: Your boss asks you to take the lead on a project and suddenly you are managing the work of colleagues who are peers — people over whom you have no authority. Maybe you’re even more junior to some of the team members. But your boss expects you to run meetings, build consensus, develop the project plan, etc., and of course, deliver a great finished product.

Leading without authority can be tricky to do without your coworkers feeling like you’re overstepping boundaries.

“Startups rely on people to work autonomously and to work with each other to get things done without clear policies and procedures,” says Rasheen Carbin, co-founder and chief marketing officer for nsphire.com, a job-matching site for employers and employees. “That means at times you lead and at other times you defer to others, regardless of your title.”

Your manager might have put you in charge of the team because you have the expertise or this might be a stretch assignment and your manager wants to see how you operate, says Danielle Beauparlant Moser, managing partner at Blended Learning Team LLC, and coauthor of FOCUS: Creating Career & Brand Clarity. Or, she says, it could just be that you have the bandwidth to take on an additional assignment and your coworkers don’t.

Whatever the case, you don’t want to alienate your colleagues, so here are 10 ways to lead a team regardless of your title or seniority.

Don’t assume everyone agrees on what the end product should be or even knows what the group has been asked to deliver. The team’s first meeting should be a conversation about the group’s purpose, potential impact and ultimate goals. “Letting everyone participate in that discussion creates a vision that everyone owns and a goal line you’ve all agreed to,” Moser says. By inviting colleagues to help define the purpose and goals, you get buy-in on how to define success and how the group will get there.

Kill the elephant in the room

Nothing frustrates coworkers more than having their core area of expertise ignored, says Carbin. “Don’t try to convince someone that you have skills that you don’t have because people will sniff that out pretty quickly,” he says. Identifying a colleague as an expert and asking them to share their knowledge doesn’t undermine your authority. It shows confidence and encourages collaboration.

Allow people to choose what they’ll work on

Rather than assigning roles, ask team members what they want to work on. In most cases, colleagues will gravitate to the task that best fits their skills, plus they’ll be more vested in completing their assignments. If there’s undesirable task no one wants to take on, pair it with something more desirable and ask a colleague to take on both. If the task can be divided among members, such as taking notes during meetings, ask if everyone can take a turn. Keep in mind, though, that if your suggestions are turned you down, it may fall on you, as the group leader, to pick up the slack, she says.

Be specific

Streamline meetings by researching best practices for achieving your goal ahead of time and bringing that information to the group, inviting others to add their own suggestions and ideas, says executive coach Jody Fosnough. This not only demonstrates leadership, but also saves time by providing team members with something specific to react to. “People are always more inclined to answer when they are asked a specific question,” she says.

Watch your body language

Nothing gives away your true feelings like body language. As the group’s leader, it’s up to you to set the tone and demonstrate a positive environment that welcomes everyone’s ideas and input. That means don’t roll your eyes, cross your arms or fidget when a colleague makes an unpopular suggestion. Thank them for their contribution and move on.

Give voice to differences

Recognize that not everyone will agree all the time. As a leader, you will need to hear out those differences and possibly make a tough decision about how to move forward. You might want to schedule a separate meeting or call with the disagreeing parties so you can hear them out without taking up the group’s time, Moser says. Just be transparent about it. The next time the group meets provide an update, explain the process you took and acknowledge that not everyone is in agreement but this is the direction the group needs to take to accomplish its goal. While your colleagues won’t need a rehash of the disagreement, they will want to know how the issue was resolved and that the resolution was based on the group’s shared goal, not your personal preferences, so quickly summarize your decision, how you came to it and move forward.

Be truthful, but tactful

The team won’t deliver a great product if members aren’t given an honest assessment of their work, so if someone’s work doesn’t meet expectations tell them in a truthful, yet tactful way. Point out where they are on the right track and then tell them what they need to rework and why, Moser says. Rather than just critiquing their work and saddling them a new deadline, offer to help by asking if they need additional resources or more time to complete the project.

Take ownership of mistakes

Regardless of whether you’re to blame, take ownership for the group’s mistakes, Moser says. Not only will it build trust, she says, but, when you take the blame yourself, it takes the power to blame you away from others.

Ask for feedback

This is an opportunity for you to learn from others, particularly the senior-level colleagues on your team. Ask all team members to offer feedback on how the project went as well as your management style, either anonymously through an online survey like SurveyMonkey or in a monthly one-on-one meeting, says Melissa Hook Shahbazian, an innovation coach and graphic facilitator at LIME.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If you find yourself in a difficult position where the group is at an impasse and can’t move forward, you may have to ask senior leadership for help re-imaging the project or reassigning the team, Carbin says. “This will save you more time than just trying to push through and continue to knock heads,” he says. Organizational pressures to get something done quickly can lead to a mismatched team, he says. As the group’s leader, it’s up to you to let management know when that happens.

After your project is complete, don’t forget to evaluate how it went – who was helpful, who works together well, who contributed the most without being asked and how successful you were at motivating the team. This will help your manager determine who should work together on the next project and it might lead to a promotion, especially if you can show that your leadership skills helped the team to succeed.

Source : FORBES | How To Lead A Team When You’re Not The Boss: 10 Tips That Won’t Alienate Your Coworkers

Via Inc. : Put these habits in play to exercise influence like a boss.

We’ve all heard the John Maxwell saying “leadership is influence.” Easier said than done, right? The real challenge is figuring out how to do it! Well, here’s a clue: Get others to respond emphatically to your leadership. When you do, you’re influencing.

OK, Mr. Smarty Pants, just how exactly do you do that? Start by first reminding yourself that leadership is not dictating, commanding, or imposing. It is being of service to others (yes, to your customers but especially to your employees).
The Clear Path of Influence

Let’s get practical. It is empowering others to achieve their goals, bringing out the best in people, putting their needs ahead of your own (as a leader), and helping them develop. Think of the multiple ways these things can be done every day.

We call this servant leadership–one of the highest platforms to launch you toward influencing others. And it’s great for your bottom line too, says a bunch of research.

The behaviors that lead to influence, as written about by thought-leaders like Adam Grant, Dan Pink, and Simon Sinek, point back to character. It is who you are, not what you do. It is a choice, not a prescribed process or to-do list.

Are you looking for influence in leading and making decisions? I submit the following as your road map for success:

1. Gain the trust of others.

The foundation for everything related to your leadership has to be built on trust. In his phenomenal book The Speed Of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey says that a team with high trust will produce results faster and at lower cost. Conventional thinking says that people have to earn trust first, right? But it has been found that, in healthy organizations, leaders with a servant mindset are willing to give trust to their followers first, and they give it as a gift even before it’s earned.

2. Let go of your ego.

An unhealthy ego can be a liability on the performance of the business. Ask the late Kenneth Lay, former CEO of Enron. A leader with a healthy ego is one who has mastered the paradoxical balance of personal humility with confidence and fierce resolve. This is a leader (in a Jim Collins “Level 5” way) you want to follow because he or she is safe.

3. Demonstrate competence.

Sure, a strong character in service to others is crucial to get people from the neck up. But trust goes out the proverbial window if you can’t demonstrate knowledge and expertise in your particular field or industry that will carry the vision forward. That includes the ability to communicate that vision, so followers are actively engaged in pursuing it. Competence builds confidence in your people. And their confidence in you, the leader, will ultimately deliver excellence.

4. Inspire others to find their voice.

In traditional, top-down hierarchies, bosses at the top of the food chain will lay out a vision, then use power and control to move people to carry out the vision. In today’s social economy, leaders will cast a company vision and enroll their followers to express their voice as co-creators and co-contributors to the vision. The fear is pumped out of the room and people are liberated and empowered to collaborate, innovate, and engage.

5. Develop a cultural identity.

Companies like Google, Zappos, TDIndustries, and HubSpot have distinctive corporate identities that attract great employees. You’ll find these corporate cultures usually centered around giving employees ownership over decisions (shared leadership), authenticity (open communication, expression of thoughts, ideas, and perspectives) and the building of community (collaboration, diversity, inclusion).
Parting Thoughts

We’ve reached an age of globalization that demands that companies hire and promote leaders high on organizational transparency and trustworthiness. As we head into 2017, start thinking about identifying and developing influential leaders to build into the DNA of your company culture.

Source : INC. | A Lesson in Leadership: How to Powerfully Influence Others by Doing These 5 Things Every Day

Via Entrepreneur : Managing expectations produces employee satisfaction. Aligning expectations produces loyalty.

We’ve heard this morsel of wisdom for decades — effective leaders are good at managing employee expectations. It feels right, or at least intuitive. It’s simple. It makes sense. But does this advice really hold true in today’s environment? Probably not. In our modern world of complex communication, much more is needed.

For decades, power was held squarely by the employers, simply because employees only had access to one or two employment options. That was it. An employer was able to set expectations for its employees and demand they be followed with exactness. Carrots did not exist, but sticks were abundant. After all, what else could the employees do? Where could they go?

With the internet explosion of the late 90s and early 2000s, however, the power dynamic between employers and employees shifted. For the first time on a large scale, employees had options, and the internet increased access to these possibilities exponentially. Now, it’s no longer good enough to simply manage expectations and demand compliance. You now have to do better when addressing expectations. After all, employees have a significant point of leverage within the relationship — they can always leave.

Not only do employees have the option to leave, they also have access to vast amounts of information that helps supports their cause and sway opinions. Employees know what is happening at rival companies, even if those companies are thousands of miles away. And thanks to social platforms like Instagram, they also know what is happening with their coworkers down the hall. Expectations are now formed by everyone, at any time, everywhere. Expectations come at you from every angle.

Here are some ways that expectations are created in today’s modern information economy
Implied promises from the work environment and company culture.

The everyday environment of an organization implies all sorts of promises. Perhaps a new account executive has heard from others that top sales reps often go on international business trips. He has been seeing success, but is never given the opportunity to travel. He now may feel cheated and resentful.
Rumors and stories from colleagues and peers.

One of the most common and dangerous ways expectations are formed is through rumors and gossip. For example, there is the “They’re going to lay people off” rumor, which can lead to everything from panic to workplace sabotage. On the other side of the coin, there is the “Management is talking to a venture capital firm, and we’re all going to be rich” rumor. Both types can be damaging, and employee behavior will reflect their beliefs about the future state.
News stories and other information from the broader culture.

It’s unrealistic to expect employees to see news coverage of IPOs, unemployment rates and other business events and not have that information affect their expectations. When employees hear the overall economy is booming, they are going to expect large pay raises, even if your particular location or market is still stagnant.
Employer brand.

Each organization has two brands, one with its customers and one with current, future and past employees — the employer brand. The employer brand comes with a host of expectations that will be picked up and carried by your employees, even if some of it is the stuff of urban legend.

Unexpressed or unclear employer expectations.

Do your employees know what you expect of them? Are your expectations realistic? Our research tell us that nearly half of line-level employees feel the boss’s expectations are often muddy or at least not clearly spelled out.

So, with all these expectations swirling around the workplace, successful leaders must do more than simply manage them. They have to clearly align them. How do we go about this? There are three key ways you can go about creating expectation alignment within your organization or team:
1. Know your audience.

You can’t possibly align every expectation in your role as a business leader, so your goal should be to focus on those relationships that really matter in achieving your business objectives and in building the right employee experience. I call this list of key relationships your “relationship network.”
2. Look for where expectation gaps exist or where they might arise.

An expectation gap is the chasm that exists between the expectations that are created on one side and how people believe those expectations have been met on the other. You should assume that every relationship in your relationship network has some gaps. Take the time to identify, on paper, the nature of these gaps, their causes, and, as will be discussed below, what you are going to do about these gaps.

3. Bridge those expectation gaps.

Expectation alignment is the process of defining the expectations that exist on both sides — both tacit and overt — and then seeking congruence. Alignment can occur through discussions, but it also takes place through training, employee brand management, individual development, performance reviews, establishing or amending policies, or even through better employee documentation.

Millennials might be the first to point out the need for stronger performance in this area of expectation alignment. They have grown up in an era of information overload. They appreciate the value of taking time to distill vast amounts of information into what is really important.

Failure to align expectations can be costly. If you align expectations, you will be rewarded with delight and loyalty. If you merely manage expectations, you may find employee satisfaction, but not much more. But, if you violate expectations you will be met with suspicion and anger, and in today’s modern world, that means losing the talent you desperately need to compete and win.

Source : ENTREPRENEUR | Great Leaders Do More Than Manage Expectations, They Align Them