Leadership Style

Leadership That Gets Results by Daniel Goleman (Harvard Business Review) is the best article I have read so far in this class. I have learned so much from it. In the article, Daniel Goleman argues that there are six leadership styles:

  1. Coercive leaders demand immediate compliance
  2. Authoritative leaders mobilize people toward a vision
  3. Affiliative leaders create emotional bonds and harmony
  4. Democratic leaders build consensus through participation
  5. Pacesetting leaders expect excellence and self-direction
  6. Coaching leaders develop people for the future

Going through Managerial Style Questionnaire is quite a self-discovery process. My final scores are:

  • Coercive: 3
  • Authoritative: 8
  • Affiliative: 3
  • Democratic: 8
  • Pacesetting: 5
  • Coaching: 9

My dominant styles are: Authoritative and Coaching
My back up style is: Democratic

The insights from this exercise are:
– Although I have a tendency to be nice and compassionate to people, my score on Affiliative style is not high (30 %). I do push back on things that I don’t agree with, although I hardly ever confront people.
– On the other hand, my score on Pacesetting style is 50 %. I can see that I can be easily trapped in this style because I am perfectionist and can be intense sometimes, I have a tendency to demand others to do the same.
– I am surprised to see that Democratic is my backup style. Sometimes I have strong opinions and I like to do the things the way I wanted. I guess over time I have learned to be democratic!
– People who don’t know me well have a hard time to believe that Authoritative is my dominant style. The fact that I am quiet, speak softly, shy sometimes and smile all the time makes people think I am not a strong leader.

I am a little surprised to learn that success of a leader has so much to do with his/her emotional intelligence. Going through the emotional intelligence capacities, I did a self-assessment:

The things I believe I am doing well:

Self-Awareness
– Emotional self-awareness: the ability to read and understand your emotions as well as recognize their impact on work performance, relationships and the like.

Self-Management
– Trustworthiness: a consistent display of honesty and integrity.
– Conscientiousness: the ability to manage yourself and your responsibilities
– Achievement orientation: the drive to meet an internal standard of excellence
– Initiative: a readiness to seize opportunities

Social Skill
– Visionary leadership: the ability to take charge and inspire with a compelling vision
– Developing others: the propensity to bolster the abilities of others through feedback and guidance.

It seems that areas that I need pay most attention are:

Social Awareness
– Organizational awareness: the ability to read the currents of organizational life, build decision networks, and navigate politics.
– Empathy: skill at sensing other people’s emotions, understanding their perspective, and taking an active interest in their concerns

Social Skill
– Communication: skill at listening and at sending clear, convincing, and well-tuned messages.
– Conflict management: the ability to de-escalate disagreements and orchestrate resolutions
– Building bonds: proficiency at cultivating and maintaining a web of relationships

To summarize, I am doing better in self-awareness and self-management. I am not doing so well in social awareness and social skill. That’s why I feel uncomfortable at workplace. I feel I cannot be myself. I found this analysis extremely helpful. Now I have a clear picture what I can work on to improve myself in order for me to be successful in the work environment!!

Decision, Decision and Decision

In High Performance Leadership class, I found the exercise of the four decision-making styles is very helpful. It brings the awareness to me that different decision-making styles could apply to different situations. If I can master all these four decision-making styles and know when to apply them, I will most like to make a good decision.

Autonomous. The leader alone makes the decision, although data collection from others is possible. I would make an autonomous decision when I believe:

– I am an expert in the area
– I believe I have better information than others
– Its in an urgent situation and immediate decision is needed
– The decision is apparent to me

Consultative. The leader involves other in the decision-making itself, but the final decision will be leader’s first choice. I think that I most likely to make a decision in this fashion. I usually like to consult with others, but in the end, I have a strong opinion about the decision. I think this decision-making style is most applicable when:

– The situation requires to involve others, but consensus is difficult to reach
– I need more information to make a quality decision
– There is no expert on the team for the problem

Joint. Joint decision-making is by consensus. This means all people have their say, and collectively work toward a solution that all can actively support. This means that the leader will accept a decision that is not first choice. I personally find this decision-making style very time consuming, and I am not sure it’s necessary for every situation. However, I would make a join-decision if:

– The situation is complex and there is no expert on the team
– It’s an important issue that requires consensus of the team the potential consequences of the decision are severe

Delegative. In this case, the problem is delegate to an individual or subgroup to make the decision. I would delegate the decision to others under these conditions:

– the decision is not mission-critical
– I trust the direct reports can make a quality decision.
– The problem is within the expertise of the individual
– The decision will give them more autonomy and encourage initiatives

High Performance Leadership

I am very excited when Professor Bradford told me that I can be registered to OB372 High Performance Leadership class. As a visiting scholar, not all the classes offered at GSB are open to auditors.

In the past, I have read many leadership books and learned quite a few new leadership concepts. However, what I haven’t learned is the practical skills that can make those new concepts into a reality. For example, how to build a shared responsibility team; how to motivate team members and keep the morale high; how to influence others including peers and bosses; how to handle conflicts and protect myself; and the last but not least, how to play politics; As an Asian woman, I felt the glass ceiling in the Corporate America. How I can break this barrier and continue advancing my career – these are the questions I would like to get answered in this class.

In his book Power Up, Professor Bradford talked about the “Heroic Leadership” vs. “Post-Heroic Leadership.” While the concept of Post-Heroic Leadership is not new to me, I am intrigued to learn how to build a system as such that shared responsibility of the team can produce better results, higher quality decisions, more learning, greater team member participation and higher morale.

I like these comments of leadership: “The hard truth is that it is not possible to know the rewards and joys of leadership without experiencing the pain as well. But staying the game and bearing that pain is worth it, not only for the positive changes you can make in the lives of others but also for the meaning it gives your own.” I guess this is the main reason that keeps many leaders going!

The Change Masters

2005 came uneventfully… or, eventfully with the tragedy of South East Asia tsunami, which claimed more than 150,000 lives. My heart goes to those who suffered such an immense loss and the souls that passed on to the next realm…

After a heavenly vacation in Hawaii, it’s hard to believe that another year has slipped away, and a new year is coming…

Back to reality. Don’t feel like to get into work yet, I grabbed the January 2005 issue of Fast Company on the coffee table. The article “The Change Masters” attracted my attention. “How long has it been since you were surprised by hope? As you browsed the morning newspaper, when did you last feel a sense that the world was becoming a better place?” I am surprised by hope! Fast Company devoted a special section for “Social Capitalist Awards” to honor those social enterpreneurs that are relentlessly trying to make the world a better place.

Another article, “A Lever Long Enough to Move the World,” tells the story of social visionary Bill Drayton and how he started Ashoka 25 years ago. Ashoka seeks out social entrepreneurs with enormous ideas — solutions of such ambition and force that they cannot be denied. Its mission is to develop social entrepreneurship around the world.

Another article worth mentioning is “A New Path to Profit.” It’s an interview with C. K. Prahalad – professor at University of Michigan and author of “The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.” Professor Prahalad’s book shows how multi-national corporations can serve the market of 4 billion people who are at the bottom of the pyramid.

Now, it’s time to get ready for a new and better year!