Showing posts with label leadership skill. Show all posts
Showing posts with label leadership skill. Show all posts

Friday, February 21, 2014

Developing the Next Wave of Leaders

Leadership in the military is an important concept that helps to push the envelope to achieve higher objectives. According to the author Douglas Crissman, leadership includes enhancing decision-making skills, confidence and problem solving to reach new heights. Without developing these skills leaders may have limited ability to handle difficult problems. 

The Center for Army Leadership Annual Survey of Army Leadership (CASAL) assesses the attitudes and perceptions of leadership development. The lowest rated competence for the fifth year in the row is developing others. A total of 59% of Army leaders were regarded as effective at developing their subordinates. A quarter of all units indicated a low or very low priority on leadership development activities. 

Improving consistency and ability of unit level leadership includes:

-Increased awareness about leadership development as a process versus a single event. Training should be seen as the totality of its program versus individual stand alone elements. As each element is mastered it creates a sequence of learning that leads to higher level learning. 

-Enhance current leadership at the battalion and brigade level to ensure that they are focused on developing future leaders. Each higher level position should be developing the people below to create a funnel of leadership development. 

-Expand current senior administration accountability to include leadership development programs. Refocusing on leadership development in each of the unit level positions creates better grooming grounds. 

The goal is to create instructional operated leadership that develops a lifelong synthesis of education, training and experience.  It is helpful to connect all the leadership development activities together to create a flowing and ongoing process of development that allows people to reach their highest state of development.  Experiences can be linked and reinforced to create developmental opportunities that eventually impact behavior. Training occurs primarily on the job and should ensure leadership learning occurs simultaneously with skill development. Leaders should learn more about how to think rather than indoctrination into what to think. Future leaders will need these abilities to overcome new challenges that are yet unseen.

Crissman, D. (2013). Improving the leader development experience in army units. Military Review, 93 (3)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Listening Develops Leadership Skills-A Path to People

Listening to employees may be one of the most important fundamental aspects of developing strong leadership skills. Without the ability to listen it is also unlikely that a person will be able to gain enough environmental awareness to effectively lead others to new heights. According to a study conducted by Kluger and Zaidel (2013), leaders develop from their listening skills and different kinds of leader’s emphasis what they are listening for.

It has been argued that only leaders who are willing to listen will be able to create enough candid discussion to develop and grow their businesses. It is through understand the essential roots of messages that it is possible for leaders to understand their environments and ensure that their messages are being received appropriately. Without appropriate reception mistakes, misunderstandings, and conflicts can occur. 

The development of leadership requires a level of listening (Avolio, 2011). Without listening it is hard for people to understand their environments, the needs of people, and their abilities to influence those environments. Listening ensures that the leader is receiving a level of feedback to help them assess appropriate courses of action. 

Listening can also lead to social power (Cheng, et. al., 2013). From an evolutionary perspective one can gain power by intimidating others or by gaining prestige and respect. Listening gains a level of respect but in and of itself does not lead to dominance. However, the information one gains from listening may lead to dominance of when decisions are more influential.

Of course listening is not a single sort of concept. Some leaders have developed skills in listening for interpersonal information while others are better at listing for technical content (Bodie & Worthington, 2010). In many ways this relates to the approach of people based or action based approaches to influence. 

The researchers used 238 Israeli employees from the age of 21-54. They found that perceptions of employee were broken down into constructive and destructive listening. A focus on listening to facts only appears to be correlated highly with destructive listening and this was associated more with leaders who rely on structure. Listening to the needs of the person was more associated with personal influence. The results also further lend support that those with strong listening skills are more likely to develop effective leadership skills. 

Listening is the root of all social skills. Without listening it is hard to understand others, their needs, their desires, their cravings, and their wants. Of course, if you do not understand the nature of people you cannot possibly lead effectively. One can be limited by a lack of social awareness and understanding. Those who seek only facts from listening are often perceived as destructive and heavy users of social structure while those who listen to the person’s needs are considered more constructive. Effective listening requires the ability to empathize with the person while not ignoring the facts of the conversation. Both needs and facts can create an effective way of encouraging others to perform at a higher level.

Avolio, B.  (2011). Full range leadership development (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Bodie, G., & Worthington, D. (2010). Revisiting the Listening Styles Profile (LSP-16): A confirmatory factor analytic approach to scale validation and reliability estimation. International Journal of Listening, 24, 69–88.

Cheng, et. al. (2013). Two ways to the top: Evidence that dominance and prestige are distinct yet viable avenues to social rank and influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 103–125.

Cluger, A. & Zaidel, K. (2013). Are listeners perceived as leaders? International Journal of Listening, 27 (2).

Monday, January 28, 2013

Leadership Communication Abilities Leads to Trust and Performance

Communication between employee and employers can have a compelling impact on the nature of business and the overall success of employee trust. Through these positive relationships between managers and employees higher levels of shared interest and commitment to organizational principles can be formed. The development of such benefits rests in how managers communicate their expectations and the openness of the employee to hearing those messages.

Managerial communication can take the form of downward, horizontal, or upward momentum through both formal and informal communication methods (Bell and Martin, 2008). The openness to share ideas, needs, and values allows for a stronger depth of mutual experiences. It is through these relationships and shared experiences that organizations can develop higher levels of positive affectivity toward the business imperatives.

Such concepts are set in the underlining premises of the employee and management group understandings.  Communication is the lifeblood of employee and organizational performance. According to Katz and Kahn (1966) it is communication that is fundamental to the forming of any group, organization, or society. A group is based upon the trust of shared understandings that define collective action and its benefits to the organization.

Before effective communication can be developed it should be understood that the authority to communicate does not necessarily rely in the person doing the talking. According to Barnard (1968) the authority of the communication doesn’t lay in with the person of authority but with the person who is being addressed.  People make the fundamental choice to give or take the authority away from their manager (Drucker, 1974). Testy labor issues are often a result of internal noise that blocks alternative and positive messages of managers.

It is the personal management style of the person in authority that can help limit the distracting aspects of this internal noise and variance of perspective. The success or failure of transferring attitudes and values is a byproduct of the leadership style that seeks the ability to foster the change (Appelbaum, Berke, Taylor & Vazquez, 2008). Such leaders are seen as positive, humanistic, empathetic, and have a wider range of concern beyond oneself. It is through this genuine positive approach that employee begin to see the managers issues, concerns, and messages as worth listening to, interpreting, and implementing.

The advantages of creating trust through positive communication approaches cannot be underestimated. The loyalty that can be fostered through open communication has been known to increase productivity across an organization by 11% (Mayfield, 2002). This financial incentive should prompt organizational leaders to consider the positive benefits of training their management team in developing positive relationships that further strengthen underlining premises of positive group behavior that leads to higher overall performance.

Appelbaum, S., Berke, J., Taylor, J., & Vazquez, A. (2008). The role of leadership during large scale organizational transitions: Lessons from six empirical studies. Journal of American Academy of Business, 13(1), 16-24.

Barnard, C. (1968). The functions of the executive. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.

Bell, R. & Martin, J. (2008). The promise of managerial communication as a field of research. International Journal of Business and Public Administration, 5(2), 125-142.

Drucker, P. (1974). Management: Tasks, responsibilities and practices. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers.

Katz, D. & Kahn, R. (1966). The social psychology of organizations. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Mayfield, J., & Mayfield, M. (2002). Leader Communication Strategies Critical Paths to Improving Employee Commitment. American Business Review, 20(2), 89-93.

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