Week 10

This week's definition: Leadership can be viewed positionally, though it also incorporates the ability to dynamically blend a mixture of leadership styles to address each unique situation. Leadership involves serving others, and it can be an extenuation of the leader's personhood. A leader will be a decision-maker when the group reaches a democratic impasse.

Last week's definition: Leadership can be viewed positionally, though it also incorporates the ability to dynamically blend a mixture of leadership styles to address each unique situation. Leadership involves serving others, and it can be an extenuation of the leader's personhood.

Analysis: When a group is in a deadlock, a true leader will be able to use their judgment to make a decision and allow the group to move forward in continued collaboration. If the leader has garnered sufficient honor & respect, their judgment will be respected and the team will escape its argumentative standoff. An impasse is usually the result of being at the crossroads of two (or more) seemingly proper paths to take. Their are advantages & disadvantages of both, and a decision needs to be made. I liked what Kidder stated: "The point, here, is not to perform three tests and then vote to score a three-to-nothing or two-to-one victory. The point is to reason." (p.26). Ultimately, it will be the reasoning of the leader that will determine the path of the group when the reasoning of the members fails to reconcile the group together.

Kidder, Rushworth M. (1995). "The Ethics of Right vs. Right," in How Good People Make Tough Choices: Resolving the dilemmas of ethical living. New York: Harper Colins.

Week 9

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Last week's definition: Leadership can be viewed positionally, though it also incorporates the ability to dynamically blend a mixture of leadership styles to address each unique situation. Leadership involves serving others, and it can be an extenuation of the leader's personhood.

This week's definition: (same)

Analysis: Conflict resolution is a key element of excelling as a leader. Being able to resolve disputes is something that can make, or break, a leader's effectiveness. Properly dealt with, a leader can emerge with higher satisfaction and more trust than before the conflict. Dealt with poorly, a conflict can dissolve not only a team but even an entire corporation or a country!

One key sentence, that "failing to clarify and act on other people's needs as they perceive them creates conflicts and damages all parties involved in the relationship" (p.37). Thus, it is important to recognize not only the actual situation, but also how it is being perceived. If a leader is unable to do so, he/she will be unable to effectively address the conflict.


Weeks, Dudley (1992). "The Ingredients of Conflict," in The Eight Essential Steps to Conflict Resolution: Preserving relationships at work, at home, and in the community. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc.

Week 8

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Last week's definition: Leadership can be viewed positionally, though it also incorporates the ability to dynamically blend a mixture of leadership styles to address each unique situation. Leadership involves serving others, and it can be an extenuation of the leader's personhood.

This week's definition: (Same)

Analysis: While the readings this week definitely proved to be interesting perspectives, there was not anything in the readings that caused me to redefine leadership. One of the skills essential to leadership would be facilitating group cohesion and even (in some scenarios) administering justice. Both of those skills could potentially relate to race, though not necessarily. That is, if race were not a basis for conflict.

In regards to the structure, I brainstormed different compositions that would encompass my current definition, but I found none more favorable. The first clause of the first sentence is meant to be a qualifier, not a foundation for expounding upon.

[This week I have my final for Econ 4721, so I will keep my analysis brief.]

Week 7

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My definition last week: Leadership can be viewed positionally, though it also incorporates the ability to dynamically blend a mixture of leadership styles to address each unique situation. Leadership involves serving others, and it can be an extenuation of the leader's personhood.

This week's definition: (Same)

Analysis: Unfortunately, I did not find anything in the reading that compels me to adjust my current definition of leadership. I agree with what was mentioned in the lecture regarding the distinction between "team" and "group." I would propose that there does not exist a clear, universally applicable rubric for determining if a set of people is a "group" or a "team." In contrast, I would focus on defining characteristics of a given group in relation to other groups; and avoid debating about semantics altogether.

I agree with the "components" narrowing the focus by going from environment, to industry, organization, group formation and finally "the team" (as seen in Figure 10.1). However, I think the "variables" are misrepresented by unidirectional arrows, because reality would dictate that the variables are dynamic and interact with one another.

I will also note that Figures 10.2-10.6 were difficult to read, so if this reading in used in future semesters it may be beneficial to have the copymaster select a lighter setting for this reading. Cheers!

Week 6

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My definition last week: Leadership can be viewed positionally, though it also incorporates the ability to dynamically blend a mixture of leadership styles to address each unique situation. Leadership involves serving others, and it can be an extenuation of the leader's personhood.

This week's definition: [Same, with a caveat.]

Analysis: Though I believe that both of the readings for this week presented important concepts in the realm of leadership development, I had a particular fondness for Spears' reflections. For example, Spears states that "true leadership emerges from those whose primary motivation is a deep desire to help others" (pp.33). I must add however, my dissatisfaction with his use of the word "true." While it is easy to construct idealistic paradigms, reality dictates that any skill (including leadership) does not always correlate with underlying passion. A person may be infatuated with vocal music, yet have the voice of an 80-year-old chain-smoker. Nevertheless, if servant-leadership were not already a component of my definition, I would have added it this week.

The Helgesen article seemed to be a reiteration of the increasingly cliché 'leadership is not a position' argument. While that position does deserve a its niche in the sphere of discussion, I did not feel like Helgesen presented any novel corollaries or transformations to this well-known proposition.

Spears, Larry (1996). "Reflections on Robert K. Greenleaf and servant-leadership," Leadership & Organization Development Journal 17(7), 33-35.

Week 5

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My definition last week: Leadership can be viewed positionally, though it also incorporates the ability to dynamically blend a mixture of leadership styles to address each unique situation. Leadership involves serving others, and it can be an extenuation of the leader's personhood.

This week's definition: [Same]

Analysis: Though some interesting concepts were proposed this week, I did not feel like there was ever a "Eureka" moment where I came to see something I had previously glossed over through a new paradigm.
Yes, the efficacy of a leader is partially dependent upon the responsiveness of the followers. And yes, the interactions between the values of an individual, group, and community contribute to determining the dynamics of the situation. However, there was not a new-found dimension that was brought to light in the readings this week.

I will, however, note a couple of sentences that interested me. Kouzes and Posner stated that "in every survey we conducted, honesty was selected more often than any other leadership characteristic" (pp.233). This leads me to speculate that many of the people surveyed may have been wounded by a dishonest leader at some point in their past.

Also, I believe the assertion made by Kouzes and Posner that "it might not seem right to be judged so harshly, but followers perceive leadership in their own terms, and those terms are not always fair" (pp. 239) is quite astute. It is important to always remember that regardless of the operational framework, we are all people who are biased by our own unique experiences. Therefore, our analysis of any situation will undoubtedly be imperfect.

Kouzes, James M. and Barry Z. Posner (1989). "Leadership is in the Eye of the Follower," The 1989 Annual: Developing Human Resources. New York: Pfeiffer and Company

Week 4

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My definition last week:  Leadership applies to those in a position and it is a quality that anyone can posses or lack; part of being a leader is being a servant.

This week's definition:  Leadership can be viewed positionally, though it also incorporates the ability to dynamically blend a mixture of leadership styles to address each unique situation. Leadership involves serving others, and it can be an extenuation of the leader's personhood.

Analysis:  My new definition clarifies the concept I discussed last week regarding the ability to utilize a specific set of leadership styles based upon the leader's judgment of the situation. In this week's definition, I also gave reference to what the reading discussed regarding how personal vision can influence a leader.  According to Lee & King (2001), the ability "to articulate a personal vision can increase [a leader's] ability to articulate a leadership  vision" (p. 33).  This is especially true of younger leaders, when a person has experienced fewer opportunities to fully discover their identity and modus operandi as a leader.  Lee & King (2001) also argue that with age, "leadership may become so integral to [a leader's] life that [they] don't need to draw a clear distinction between personal vision and leadership vision" (p. 34).  Therefore, more experienced leaders may have completely blended how they lead and how they live to a point where each component is indistinguishable.  I would concur with this suggestion, noting that in personal experience, I have observed myself intuitively adapting my actions in response to a shift in the current state of affairs.  For example:  one day when I was in high school, the class I was in was watching a movie (during which I was demonstrating very little leadership).  Yet when a classmate unexpectedly had a seizure, I instantly began manifesting a greater degree of leadership than even the teacher  (I'll omit details due to privacy and brevity of blog post).  This is just one example in which personal  experience supports the authors' claims about joint vision.

 

Lee, Robert J. and Sara N. King (2001). "Ground Your Leadership Vision in Personal Vision," in Discovering the Leader in You: A guide to realizing your personal leadership potential. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, Inc.

I think the current definition is pretty good. I would like to also note that leadership is not simply a singular quality or attribute, but rather it is a collection of different qualities and skills that are blended together and often have some overlap in between each component.

Furthermore, I would even propose that leadership includes the skill of discerning which qualities/values/skills are most needed for one's current situation, and which should be avoided due to the given state of affairs regarding the current situation.
For example, a skilled leader would be able to discern if a situation is edgy and rebellion is on the verge of breaking out. Given the high tensions, trying to assert a coercive decision-making process may result in a deterioration of the group and working environment. This is especially true if there is animosity focused primarily on the acting leader. Thus, the leader may respond by emphasizing the objectivity of utilizing a secret ballot vote to democratically choose whatever decision is at hand.
Obviously, there are times when the situation may be completely opposite, etc.

I will defer discussing values this week, because I feel I will be able to better talk about the complexities of that issue after we have read more articles on that topic.

Week 2

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My post last week (here & on the discussion board) took the assumption of leadership in the positional sense. It concluded that as a position, a specific person is usually chosen to fill that office.

I would like to add to that the concept that a leader is or should be a servant. Though (some may say because) they are in a position of authority, they should willing to lay down/ sacrifice some of their own resources, ambitions, luxuries, etc. for the sake of the collective entity. This may be in the form of being "first there, last to leave" or it may mean- for example- being the first to take a pay cut. In the last couple years, there have been numerous CEO's of troubled firms that have worked for free in order to show their commitment to their company (e.g. GM, Ford, financial institutions). Another way you may see this, is in the captain of a sinking ship being the last to get off (e.g. "Titanic").

I would oppose the suggestion that a given leader can be classified into one of six broad categories. From personal experience, I have utilized all of the various approaches to leadership (Coercive, Authoritative, Affiliative, Democratic, Pacesetting, and Coaching). Rather than being styles of leadership, I would more readily classify them as techniques that can be employed in various combinations concurrently and consecutively. Having a blend of them in a given situation can take advantage of different strengths and at the same time avoid the pitfalls. You can even utilize different methods on multiple different coworkers/superiors/subordinates in the same situation.
While there is a tendency for people to desire to figure out a few, simple & easy categories with which a leader can be classified; that is usually just not possible.
Real world situations tend to be far more complex than we imagine. What seems to be reality for most people is sometimes actually far greater an illusion than it is anything else. The reality is that each person has a unique style that will have maximum benefit to the unique person they are, position they are in, time they are serving, and people they are serving with & for. Even comparing different people, with as close to the same position & time frame as is possible, will usually be a slippery slope that can lead an inquisitor to false or skewed conclusions. The fact remains, each person faces different challenges and has a different path that can lead them to their individual paradigm of success.

StrengthsFinder

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I would rate the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment as moderate in overall efficacy. Though the questions were insightful, one significant flaw was that instead of analyzing the strength of one statement independently, it pairs two statements at poles to one another. The shortcoming of this method of analysis is that it does not give weight to the degree of relevancy of each statement. For instance, if in question 1, I feel strongly about both statements (but equally so), the proper response would be to indicate neutral. Then on question 2, if I feel slightly more inclined to agree with one side, I would indicate that. However, the assessment does not evaluate the relevance of each statement independently, but vies one statement against a second (somewhat related) statement.

Additionally, the ability to suspend the assessment (take a break) while it is in progress, would have been most beneficial. The lack of such option can potentially result in some assessment subjects in expeditiously completing the assessment.

Furthermore, the report and guide that is presented after completion of the assessment is overly sanguine. While I believe that optimism is a wonderful quality, a subject would also benefit greatly by receiving a more succinct and straightforward analysis of potential pitfalls that each quality can accompany. The constructive criticism offered was, quite frankly, languid. I would conclude, nonetheless, that it is indeed better to err by relying too heavily on encouragement.

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Recent Comments

  • Colin McFadden: Good post Victor - that's certainly a key understanding. Even read more
  • Colin McFadden: Good response and justification. Grades: 10 out of 10 points read more
  • Colin McFadden: Nice post Victor - Not surprising that you didn't choose read more
  • Jude Higdon: Hi, Victor, Good thoughts this week. I'm not sure I read more
  • Colin McFadden: Solid analysis Victor. You're starting to explore the influences behind read more
  • Jude Higdon: Nicely done, Victor. I like what you've said here quite read more
  • black433: I'll try to make my analysis shorter in the following read more
  • Colin McFadden: Interesting response Victor - I gather your approach to dealing read more
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