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7 comments

To Lead or Not to Lead?

Posted July 27, 2011 6:00 AM

Even if you don't aspire to be a leader at work, it is fundamental for all companies to develop effective leadership. If you have the desire to lead, has your employer supported that effort? And if you don't think think leading is in the cards for you, do you see your employer bringing up other leaders to keep the company at peak performance?

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Kansas, USA
Posts: 614
Good Answers: 56
#1

Re: To Lead or Not to Lead?

07/28/2011 4:49 PM

There is very little that is done on our corporate scale. Therefore, it is up to me to seek to develop leadership skills in the people I work with; whether they are direct reports to me or people I interact with a regular basis.

Leadership development happens by example as well as by intentional teaching. I seek to accomplish this by communicating principles of leadership in my conversation with other managers and also with people in administration.

Asking questions is a good way to lead people to contemplate about how they think and act in their leadership positions.

I also loan out books on leadership, teamwork and people skills and then visit with them about what they learned as they read the books.

A book that deals with bringing people to perform at a higher level is Tribal Leadership. About anything by John Maxwell is highly valuable.

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One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. Ford, Henry
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Anonymous Poster #1
#3
In reply to #1

Re: To Lead or Not to Lead?

08/05/2011 10:19 PM

I'm quite sure you have too much lead in your diet

the brain damage becomes more evident with every post

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Kansas, USA
Posts: 614
Good Answers: 56
#4
In reply to #3

Re: To Lead or Not to Lead?

08/08/2011 9:41 AM

Are you so arrogant to believe that anyone who doesn't see things your way is ignorant?

At least I am willing to see things from more than one viewpoint and make a decision at that point about what fits principles we are to live by.

Ray Kroc (founder of the McDonalds franchise system) says, "are you green and growing or ripe and rotting?"

I would rather be; continually reading, learning from others, being intentional about putting into practice what I learn; than to be content to do things the way they have always been done and getting the expected substandard results.

Since when is learning about leadership, economics, history, mechanics, etc. bad for you? I guess only when you are content in your ignorance, with such a lack of conviction of your point of view that you won't acknowledge it with your name on the post!

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One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. Ford, Henry
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Anonymous Poster #1
#5
In reply to #4

Re: To Lead or Not to Lead?

08/08/2011 10:29 AM

A username is no more definitive than an AP number

my comments on this thread stand on their own & express one view I have

contrary to what you would like us to believe, your view of the world as evidenced by your posts here on this forum have remained static

you would have us ruled by a christan theocracy, justified by out of context quotes from seemingly reliable sources

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Guru

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Kansas, USA
Posts: 614
Good Answers: 56
#6
In reply to #5

Re: To Lead or Not to Lead?

08/08/2011 2:11 PM

"you would have us ruled by a christan theocracy".

That isn't what I or a great many other people want. We don't want a government by divine appointment or sanction. We simply want our country to operate according to the principles on which we were founded and what has made us great for many years. "Methods are many, principles are few, methods may change, principles never do." I am open to the change of the methods in how we operate in society, but the principles are static. We all have to stand for something or we wind up in a heap along the side of the road, bent, mangled and good for nothing because we didn't pay attention to the rules (principles).

The farther away we get from those principles of personal responsibility, accountability, freedom, personal character, Constitutional rule of law, the worse off we become. That is painfully clear in many facets of life here in the U.S.

People are willing to subject themselves to slavery by the government because that is where their next meal or perk is coming from. People don't realize that whatever the government gives, they can also take away.

We as a nation aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but we are the greatest country on earth. There was a Frenchman that was touring the country just after the War of Independence and he asked someone in leadership what made us great. The answer was "when Americans cease to be good, America will cease to be great." What makes we as Americans "great" are those principles we were founded upon. There's nothing bad in those principles. It is maybe in how they are carried out by fallible people.

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One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do. Ford, Henry
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Guru

Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Ottawa Canada
Posts: 1981
Good Answers: 118
#2

Re: To Lead or Not to Lead?

07/29/2011 11:00 AM

Leadership CAN be taught as a skill. To be really good at it, it seems you have to born to it. Most people are uncomfortable in a leadership role. The whole "science" of social engineering is VERY complex. It CAN be evalulated however, with enough time and effort, most anything can be measured and sorted. The latest big thing seems to be studies which can evaluate the desire to be a leader, the desire to be a follower, and the desire to demand that situations roll out in a certain fashion (the "we have always done it that way", and the whole concept of corporate culture, some of which can be truly toxic!) A good leader does not HAVE to be an authoritarian. However, I believe that an authoritarian leader can often destroy a company, and so it behooves anyone who comes into contact with one to know how to deal with one.

The best study I have read lately on these concepts is Bob Altemeyer's book "The Authoritarians". I especially liked it because he believes that "science" , even soft science like psychology, is not opinion, it is "repeatable", "predictable", and "testable". (unlike, say, the study of ghosts). The link is worth copying down and reading in small bites....although it is a seminal work, it is VERY important, though as far as soft science text books go, this is a really easy read. I would be really interested in other people's take on it. Here is the link.

The second best book on the subject is "Bullying Bosses a Survival Guide" by Meuler and the third best book I have ever found is at the other end of the pendulum swing, "Its Not My Department", by Peter Glen.

Many organizations like the idea of every member of the workforce being empowered enough to become the leader. The scuba dive training organization PADI demands that every person who takes the course will also be an instructor. (Thats what the I in PADI stands for") However, I would go out on a limb here and make a flat statement that NO heirarchial organization wants too many leaders. So NO heirarchial organization will train leaders if they can possibly help it. And in the interests of getting the job done, that is good. But it is a poor long term survival strategy. If the Captain has a heart attack, the ship ceases fishing and goes back to port. This phenomon is something all good militaries fight against, and in my 20 year career, they usually lost that fight.

I own a small business with only a few employees. Any of them could step into my shoes tomorrow. And many of them have gone on to run their own, using techniques learned here at the forge.

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Active Contributor

Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 16
Good Answers: 1
#7

Re: To Lead or Not to Lead?

09/09/2011 10:15 AM

Leadership at all levels is very important, from official management duties to day-to-day project tasks. Most companies expect employees to be leaders in the sense that they should be proactive. Job performance reviews and promotions are favorably influenced by leadership traits, at least in theory. So while many companies don't seem to actively encourage leadership among non-managers, they do have expectations.

You can run into problems when employees' proactive or leadership attempts butt heads with management agendas. Some managers feel threatened and squash it, often putting their own benefit ahead of the company's. Instead of nurturing and rewarding leadership they kill morale, hinder productivity and send talent out the door. Too many upper managers do not see what is going on beneath them. Many times they will hire new leaders from outside, without adequately evaluating the talent they already have in-house. Because of this I know several engineers and technicians who prefer to suppress their leadership talents because they're avoiding the repercussions.

Maybe I've just been unlucky. Maybe my good intentions have been poorly executed (although I'd like to have some positive mentoring then). But it really seems that opportunities for leadership and its rewards are reserved for certain connected people with certain backgrounds. Not whining, just saying.

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