Chapter 9 and 10 of Kouzes & Posner’s The Leadership Challenge
The topic of chapter 9 is all about fostering collaboration. Basically, anything that you are trying to accomplish as a leader, needs to become a joint effort. Anything can be done better with multiple capable people, instead of just one. Or like the saying goes, “two heads are better than one” and beyond that, five heads are better than one, etc etc. Teamwork needs to be emphasized and relationships need to be built and cultivated. From what I understand of the reading, the main component to fostering collaboration is trust. To be a good leader one must create an environment of trust and in order to do that, you must be the first to go for it. You have to trust, then other people can follow and trust you. If you don’t trust others, others won’t trust you! This requires being vulnerable and open, something that can often be hard for leaders. I agree that trust is an important part of good leadership, and also to any relationship in general. Not only is trust the most significant predictor of people’s satisfaction with their organization, but it is also claimed that people that are more trusting are shown to be psychologically happier and better off in life. So it makes sense that that would be true in the corporate and business world as well. >Have many of you found this to be true? Do you think if you were more trusting in both your personal and professional lives that you would be happier and better off? Chapter 10’s topic is about strengthening others. One way to strengthen others comes from building up their self confidence; which can be done by giving them more responsibility and adequate training. I honestly can’t even count the times where I felt my training wasn’t sufficient. To be in that situation is extremely frustrating, but it makes me more careful to always do a better job when I am the one training someone else. This is one way I think every organization could be improved, by butting more emphasis and resources into training. This is something that the Author’s bring up too; they say that organizations that have the most money going into training are often the most successful. One quote that was particularly thought provoking for me was “you become more powerful when you give your own power away.” I hadn’t ever heard that or thought about it that way, but I think it is helpful for remembering how to be an effective leader. Do you agree or disagree with this statement and why? Another thing to think about; in one study, level of confidence was a stronger predictor of job performance than actual level of skill or training they had before being hired. So confidence is obviously a huge factor. What are some things that you can do to foster self confidence in the people around you?These two concepts, fostering collaboration and strengthening others really go hand in hand, because to give someone self confidence you must trust in them, and to collaborate you must build strong relationships. In other words, it’s hard to have one without the other. I think most people can think of examples of when people in leadership positions around then tried to hoard their power and information, but in the long run, it made them less effective as leaders. One example I have of that is when I worked at a restaurant under a not so great manager. After not being trained very well, my manager would make a point ask if I and other employees knew how to do things, and when we said no he would just get mad at us and then walk away. But he would never take the time to show or teach us. Therefore we continued to be unknowledgeable about things. So we would be forced to try and learn these things on our own, which usually didn’t go as smoothly, as if we had an experienced person showing us. Anyway, in the long run this made his staff less effective and not as well trained as we could have been, which reflected poorly on his management skills, and his supervisors took notice. It would have been pretty easy to try and make sure we were adequately trained from the beginning then make sure to help show us anything we didn’t know that came up a long the way. He should have also made an effort to help us build trust and relationships with him and each other, which would have been much better leadership. This is an example of when empowerment could have been used to his advantage, but it wasn’t. Does anyone else have examples of empowerment either being used in an effective way, or not being used when it should have been?