Leadership To The Max Updated

Personal comments:

Leadership To The Max website has been updated a little, and leadership will continue to be the focus. I hope you find the changes to be helpful.



The update:

The Eagle has been the header for all my posts, but in order to broaden the leader focus I’m including a lighthouse  and a tree.

Why?  The Eagle is used to stress that leaders are not readily found, nor do they hang out together.

The lighthouse represents other characteristics of leaders.  Characteristics such as  strength, vigilance, the rock in a storm, and the “light” to lead the way.

The tree represents the ability to grow and prosper even in hard times.  The tree, starting as a seed, weathering storms, and drought, yet stands there magnificently as an example of survival and success even in difficult conditions.

Many of us have overcome and succeeded even with trying circumstances.  Succeeding as a leader, recognized as such by others, is an arduous task, but gaining that recognition is gratifying.

So with this introduction I will begin the pursuit of a new, refreshed look at leadership.  The idea is to add to what has been discussed in an informative way with common communication we all can relate to.

Am I expecting to much of what a leader is?  Maybe, but more importantly, do their employees expect it?

Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, EMPOWERMENT: THE DEPENDENT VARIABLE


This will be the last post from the Leaders book.  Stay tuned for what is next…

Authors quotes:

“The essential thing in organizational leadership is that the leader’s style PULLS rather than PUSHES people on.  A pull style of influence works by attracting and energizing people to an exciting vision of the future.  It motivates by identification, rather than through rewards and punishments.

Leading is a responsibility, and the effectiveness of this responsibility is reflected in the attitudes of the led.  We’ve come to discover that these attitudes consist of four critical dimensions of the work force, what we refer to as empowerment.

We discovered that the effective leader seemed able to create a vision that gave workers the feeling of being at the active centers of the social order (first component of empowerment).  Such ‘centers’ have nothing to do with geometry and nothing to do with pop management bromides.  What they do do is get the organization (and its work force) to concentrate on serious acts.  These serious acts consist of areas in society where its leading ideas and institutions come together to create an arena in which the events that most vitally affects people’s lives take place.  It is an involvement with such arenas and with the momentous events that occur in them that ‘translates intentions into reality.’  It is not popular appeal or inventive craziness we have in mind but being near the heart of things.

The  second component of empowerment is competence, meaning development and learning on the job.

Thirdly, workers experienced something akin to ‘family,’ or community.  They felt joined in some common purpose.  We’re not talking necessarily about a matter of ‘liking’ one another.  Rather it was a sense of reliance on one another toward a common cause that we have in mind.

The fourth aspect of empowerment, enjoyment or just plain fun.  This should put to rest all those speculations that one must lead through ever-imminent punishment or, just simply, with the carrot and stick.

Through empowerment, workers seem to get so immersed in their game of work that they forget basic needs for long periods of time.  That enjoyment does not depend on scarce resources.  Thus, empowerment ameliorates (make better) not only the quality of work life but life itself.”

Personal comments:

A simple, true story about empowerment:

When I worked for Dow in Indianapolis someone had the idea that we should help those in need by providing food stuffs, clothes, and pay heating and electricity bills at Christmas time.  The idea was well received.

A team formed to work on the details (how the program would work, identifying those in need, collecting information on what they needed most, who would take responsibility for each aspect of the program).

The program was put in motion.  The enthusiasm, teamwork, and camaradarie that was developed was remarkable.

Results of the programs, for employees:

1. It gave them a feeling of significance; pride.

2. It gave them competence, they learned from the program.

3. They felt like a family.  Enthusiasm was incredible, knowing they could depend on each other.

4. The enjoyment and fun was unforgettable.  For example, one shopping trip for childrens clothes was especially rewarding with employees searching and searching for “just the right outfits”.

Jobs need fun aspects.  Not difficult to achieve, bosses!

Next: Need to conduct research on a topic (the move interfered with my ability to spend the time).  There will be a post on January 27.

Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, Recent experience with Bennis/Nanus Four Strategies in action

Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, Recent experience with:

1) Attention Through Vision;

2) Meaning Through Communication;

3) Trust Through Positioning,

4) The Deployment of Self Through Positive Self-Regard

Personal comments:

I will avoid using names for this discussion, but my recent experience is one that began with my search for a home that would fit my needs, physically.  Having severely injured myself many years ago, causing loss of flexibility,  I needed a one story home with easy access.

The web was helpful in narrowing my options, and so one by one the list narrowed to one, the one who has a leader, I believe, who practices many of the elements written about in “Leaders”.

Four Strategies examples, in this leader, include:

-Discussing options with potential contractors left me frustrated because I did not know the right questions to ask, but this contractor read me well.  She sensed my frustrations, and gently allowed me to talk about my needs.

-In the ongoing communication I found this leader focused, focused on a vision for her company, and employees. She knew what she wanted and demonstrated the determination for success.

-Communication can be impactful, in so many ways, but one that influenced me the most  was her phone call to me while she was on vacation, riding in the car.  She  called to tell me she had combined two house plans that fit MY vision for a new home.  She was right, and it is the one being built.  Vision and communication; a great combination.

-She built trust by keeping her commitments, and when a question or concern was voiced she did not “fudge” an answer.  Straight forward responses are keys for personal and business/organizational success.  Trust is hard to define, but when I feel it, it’s real!

-She impressed me with her emotional wisdom and the ability to accept me as I am.  Concerns, issues and options were discussed without my feeling led or forced into a corner.

She is effective at talking, in the present, is courteous, and humble; a trait I particularly admire; not showing a need for approval or recognition, but focused on results.

Her abilities are easily recognized when you see the results of her vision, in the homes that are built, and in talks with customers, sub-contractors, and employees.

Next: Leaders

The Strategies For Taking Charge


Personal note: This ‘Next’ post may be delayed due to my moving in a week or so.

Leaders, The Strategies For Taking Charge, Strategy IV: The Deployment of Self Through Positive Self-Regard, continued


Authors quotes:

“Positive self-regard is related to maturity, but we’ prefer the phrase ‘emotional wisdom’ to ‘maturity’.  Maturity sounds too much like the point where one outgrows childish behavior.  But our leaders seemed to retain many of the positive characteristics of the child: enthusiasm for people, spontaneity, imagination, and an unlimited capacity to learn new behavior.  Emotional wisdom, as we’ve come to understand it, reflects in the way people relate to others, using five skills:

  1. The ability to accept people as they are, not as you would like them to be.  In a way this can be seen as the height of wisdom.
  2. The capacity to approach relationships and problems in terms of the present rather than the past.
  3. The ability to treat those who are close to you with the same courteous attention that you extend to strangers and casual acquaintances. We tend to take for granted those to whom we are closest.
  4. The ability to trust others, even if the risk seems great.
  5. The ability to do without constant approval and recognition from others.  It should not really matter how many people like leaders.  The important thing is the quality of work that results from collaborating with them.

Positive self-regard may not be found everywhere or in as many places as we’d like to see it.  And it’s not all that clear how it’s acquired—-although we’ll have more to say about that in our final chapter.  One thing that has become clear to us is that to understand and possess positive self-regard does not blind one to the less desirable qualities of human beings; it does, however, establish standards for thinking about human possibilities.  It’s a way of developing, perhaps, an atmosphere of excellence, of greatness.”

Personal comments:

Focusing on these statements; “One thing that has become clear to us is that to understand and possess positive self-regard does not blind one to the less desirable qualities of human beings; it does, however, establish standards for thinking about human possibilities.  It’s a way of developing, perhaps, an atmosphere of excellence, of greatness.”

I’ve related the story of the college student seeking a summer intern job, but was rejected because she just “didn’t fit”, and the thought of her potential or possibilities never entered the minds of those who rejected her.  We shouldn’t find that so strange.  It takes characteristics that are not common to the human condition; avoid pre-judging, consideration of potential, openness to consideration, behavioral adaptability, behavioral characteristics opposite of ours that could build a more effective/efficient team, and…

Leaders are not blinded by butt-kissers, back-stabbers, “stage hogs”, who show little success, but occupy way too much time of others.  Two-faced, “say one thing, for various reasons, then something opposite later”, types.  The list is endless.

Next: Leaders

The Strategies For Taking Charge

Personal experience with Bennis/Nanus Four Strategies

1) Attention Through Vision; 2) Meaning Through Communication;

3) Trust Through Positioning, 4) The Deployment of Self Through Positive Self-Regard