Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Qualities a Leader Should Possess and How to Attain Them

What entails being a good leader? Throughout history, exceptional leaders have been known to be great communicators who inspire their subordinates and empower them to perform their best. They also possess superior organizational skills, ruling vast empires like they were tending to their backyards. Today's prominent leaders include heads of successful nations, companies, and various organizations. While technology might have developed, the attributes of a great leader remain unchanged.

To be a good leader, one must possess some notable attributes though this is easier said than done. When leadership seminars weren't in vogue, leaders were born into a life of greatness. However, today, practically anyone can be a leader with the right guidance and commitment. Various leadership training programs are now available to groom individuals to become better leaders.

Coaching is conducted in different ways, and is designed to suit different kinds of people. Various leadership styles apply to different individuals, and leadership roles can range anywhere from managerial, role model, coach, to a mentor approach. While common attributes prevail for every strategy, there are particular aspects of leadership coaching which vary with each person. However, the final result is that each person emerges bearing the skills needed to become a more effective leader.

Leadership training and development aims to improve leadership skills that should be possessed by every leader. Effective communication is essential in motivating subordinates and asserting one's self. Leadership is a two-way process which involves communication between you and your team members. It is, therefore, crucial to harbor positive relations between you and your colleagues, while maintaining professionalism.

Military leadership development programs originated from education taken by war veterans. In the warzone, leaders must possess advanced planning and organizational skills, as well as innovative thinking to adapt to the many contingencies common in wars. In other instances, such leadership capabilities are perfect for leaders to overcome stressful situations and address unforeseen issues.

An executive leadership training program centers on the importance of a leader's overall health to enhance leadership skills and emphasizes on a healthy lifestyle and diet. Healthy leaders are believed to perform exceptionally well. Unhealthy leaders, on the other hand, would often hamper an endeavor's progress when they are unable to attend to their responsibilities because of poor health. Apart from leadership and personal qualities, diet and exercise routines are also taught in these programs.  Much emphasis is placed on maintaining holistic wellness so that the mind and body are able to focus on the all-important task of leading.

Source: articlesbase.com

Monday, November 12, 2012

Coaching Leaders and Organizations for Success

Pick up any business publication these days, and you'll find an article on Coaching, whether it be working with individuals to find more balance or meaning in their lives, to helping others identify a new career they are more passionate about. While these are certainly positive objectives of coaching, we at Incite Strategies have spent over 10 years working specifically with leaders in organizations to help them be more effective within their organization.

Some of our work centers around more traditional executive coaching - that is, individuals coming to work with us on specific issues that have already been highlighted in the organization, and which are thought best to be addressed by an external coach, either because the internal coaching has not had the desired impact or because the internal resources do not have the time or skills required. The majority of our work, however, is more akin to proactive leadership and organizational coaching. We often work with leaders in conjunction with their teams (individuals often identified as direct reports, peers, or business partners). These individuals are typically identified as part of a certain group -- whether as members of a senior leadership team, mid-level leaders identified through succession planning, or emerging high potential leaders. In other words, we are coaching people who have a proven track record of performance become that much better vs. focusing on a previously identified development need. This ‘proactive' assessment, development and coaching provides a road map not only to the business, but also to the individual leader, as to how to best leverage strengths, work on development needs and ensure the current trajectory and proven track record continues.

Having assessed and coached hundreds of global leaders, we're often asked "what does it take" to be a successful leader. Below are our observations that we hope you find helpful and can perhaps use as a roadmap for your own development. Ours is not a "cookie cutter" approach, but one that you can achieve by stretching, but still being true to yourself.

The Basics

These are what we refer to as "the ticket to entry" in any discussion of leadership and the potential to assume larger roles in an organization.

Accountable - Doing what you say you're going to do...having a high "say-do" ratio...being dependable....delivering results...meeting or exceeding performance objectives

Credible - Believable...being seen as doing the right thing vs. having any hidden agendas...having built a solid foundation of experience that you are speaking from a base of knowledge

Decisive - Having courage in your convictions...Being able to make a decision without all the data...Knowing when to stop getting more input and "make the call"

Driven - Having the desire to stretch outside of your comfort zone...highly self-motivated....always seeking to "over deliver" and exceed expectations...always doing more than asked

Adaptable - Having the flexibility to adapt to internal changes in the organization or external fluctuations in the marketplace...seeing change as a positive, as unearthing new possibilities vs. being resistant

"Quick Study" - Not necessarily having the highest IQ, but having the resourcefulness and know-how to figure out how to get up to speed quickly in any new situation, whether it be through self study or leveraging the knowledge of others

The Stand Outs

These are attributes that we don't see very frequently, so when we do, they stand out as unique.

Ability to Influence - This goes well beyond interpersonal skills and encompasses organizational knowledge - knowing who the key stakeholders are and being able to flex your communication style to see things from their perspective to get buy-in

Genuinely Cares - Unfortunately all too often we work with leaders who see people as a "means to an end"...this characteristic stems from really caring about the people who work for and with you, and getting to know them and value them for the individual they are

Risk Taker - We're not referring to hair-brained ideas here, but thoughtful, creative, prudent risk taking...thinking outside of the box...challenging the sacred cows of an organization...never being satisfied with the status quo

Mature - This has nothing to do with age or experience, but with being self aware...knowing what your strengths and development needs are...being a life-long learner...being comfortable in your own skin, confident in the person you are and the style you have

Passion for the Customer - Many think this would be in the "Basics" category, but we find many leaders becoming too internally focused and not being conscious of needing to stay close to the customer, and to continually drive the customer-centric view down to their teams

Innovative - This could be creating something from scratch, inventing something new, or simply doing things differently...Or, if you're not particularly creative, surrounding yourself with those people and creating the environment that allows new ideas to bloom

The Missing Pieces

As you would expect, there are areas where even the most successful leaders continually struggle and aspire to reach.

Strategic Thinking - Although well intended, many leaders get bogged down with daily firefighting or the transactional nature of their businesses and don't consciously carve out time to think long term and set a vision for where they want their organization to go.

Leadership Flexibility - Staying true to who you are doesn't mean only having one style of leadership...it's easy to lead a team of people like you, but much more difficult (and much more effective ) to lead a diverse team of individuals...and, their job is not to adjust to your style, but for you to understand how best to influence and motivate them as individuals and as a total team

Communication Savviness - Most leaders communicate well in specific scenarios, but many still focus on trying to be equally effective on all fronts: with individuals, small - large groups, across all levels of an organization, in formal presentations or informal networking events

Presence - Like it or not, the way in which you present yourself goes a long way in people's impression of you as a leader, whether it be how you dress, how you speak, or the impression you leave...many people we coach want to prove they can be successful without this, but they end up being overlooked or misperceived because they're not "memorable"

Ability to Build a Following - This goes beyond positional power, or people doing what you ask them to do because they work for you...you know when you've developed followers when people say " I don't care what the job is, I just want to work for them again"

Proactive Career Planning - Surprisingly, the majority of the leaders we have assessed have never sat down and thought about where they wanted to go from a career perspective, and the gaps they needed to fill to get there...Most have had a sponsor who has called them and told them what job to go to next...While having sponsors is certainly important, what happens if the sponsor leaves the company? Or falls out of favor? Many realize too late that they haven't built a broad network or have pigeon-holed themselves unintentionally by having a passive approach to their own development

Working with a group of individuals accomplishes many things for the organization. It not only serves as a retention tool for those individuals, but also provides a common framework and process against which they can be assessed. Using the existing corporate values (or helping define those if they don't already exist), we gather data from the individual and others that work closely with them (like a verbal 360) which results in strengths and areas for development for each individual. We then pull together the themes which emerge from the population so that organizations can ensure that their on-going development programs and company culture reinforce these behaviors...in other words, coaching the organization!

Source: ArticlesBase.com

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Art of Managing Leadership in Changing Enviroment

Leadership is the ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organization goals. It is the process of providing the direction and inspiration necessary to create or sustain an organization.

The 21st century has already spawned a sizable volcano of daunting new challenges to leadership. Deregulation, digitization, ecosystems, strategy life cycles, and competition at present, represents change have permanent rhythm for every business firm. This change process gives a role of decision making initiative for the leaders such as:

  1. Broadening the scope of employee freedom by managing less, without sacrificing focus, discipline, and order.
  2. Creating an organization where the spirit of shared values and community dominate, not programs and policies.
  3. Providing for a mission that justifies extraordinary contribution .etc

The best effective decisions made within the available limited resources and constraints to provide an optimum solution for the change process makes a leader and a manager to achieve their objectives in many change process. Further to handle the change initiatives efficiently  an organization must recognize that succession planning and leadership development are two elements of the same process that of ensuring there are leaders now and in the future who can implement the organizational vision .while succession planning can identify those individuals who have the abilities ,talent and potential to turn the vision of the organization into reality, the alignment to leadership development can ensure that this potential is realized .In so doing, an organization can ensure that there is indeed long term leadership sustainability and opportunities of entrepreneurship this will be a source of having competitive advantage of developing next generation leaders in the years to come for an organization to succeed .


Leadership is the energetic process of getting people fully and willingly committed to a new and sustainable course of action to meet commonly agreed objectives whilst having commonly held values. Leader's values must offer 4E's frame work-envision, enable, empower and energize, for establishing a climate for creative thinking and promote innovation.

21'st century has already experienced with deregulation, digitization, globalization,

Strategic business management, the result is familiar to every business firm "Change",

Change is a common occurrence in business today. Leading change describes the role of leaders in accepting and managing many change process  .many of the change initiatives fail to achieve their objectives because (1) Absence of a definition of what actually would constitute organizational success. (2)  "Results" a powerful concept if left unmanaged, poses a risk in future. (3) Intransparency ie, lack of clarity of the changing situation. (4) Lack of succession planning and building bench strength.

Leadership attempts to have integrated systems to solve the problems of change process.

"Leadership is about being adaptable to change and uncertainty" (Mark .A. Morgan MD of citigroup private bank).

An organization to develop the next generation leaders should consider the following important points such as (1) Identifying core set of skills to equip leaders of next generation. (2) Tracking and networking alumni of young professionals. (3) Determining the value of pooling program evaluation efforts. (4) Recognizing the key challenges in finding the resources and enhancing youth programes.

Key words: Leadership sustainability & roles, change process, toxic leadership etc.

Contemporary Leadership Roles

The 4 contemporary leadership roles that are important for the organization to achieve its objectives are:

Providing team leadership
Leadership is increasingly taking place within a team context .as teams grow in popularity; the role of the leader in guiding team members takes on heightened importance.

Organizations have formal mentoring programs where mentors are officially assigned to new or high –potential employees to present ideas clearly, and empathize with problems of their protégés.

Self leadership
Self –leadership propose that there are a set of processes through which individuals control their own behavior and effective leaders help their followers to lead themselves.

Online leadership
To lead the people who are physically separated from you and with whom your interactions are basically to written digital communications like telecommuting with employees you need online leadership.

Factors for effective leadership

(1) Follower. (2) Leader (3) Communication (4) Situation

Figure showing factors of effective leadership

Factors influencing changes in organizations environment

Globalization and developments in the field of information and technology.
New management strategies and the competitiveness in the business environment.
Implementation of news business processes.
New goals and performance standards established in the business
Structural changes in the economy. Etc
Need for implementation of change in the organization's environment

Based on Michael E Porter's five forces of competitive position we can analyze that there is a need for "change" in the organization to survive in the competitive modern business.

Michael Porter's five forces:

  • Existing competitive rivalry between suppliers
  • Threat of new market entrants.
  • Bargaining power of buyer
  • Power of suppliers
  • Threat of substitute products (including technology change)

Leadership role and responsibility in implementing change in organization

Organizational culture is the primary source of resistance to change a leader should understand the organization culture and then plan the change process.

The use of value based management model 0f 7-s model can be helpful in implementation of change by coordinating 7-s namely, shared value, strategy, structure, system, staff, style and skill. (MC Kinsey's 7-s framework)

Leadership should determine clear decision making framework to ensure the organization has means and resources to achieve its goals.

Analyzing the change process through a experimental project  with the five factors such as project duration, the project teams performance ,integrity of management commitment, employee commitment and employee effort required to cope with the change that are essential to be implemented.

Change can be implemented through organizational transformation by ensuring succession planning initiatives are closely aligned to leadership and development and organizational vision
Ensuring that succession planning process occurs in such a way that it is in itself a transforming experience.

Drawbacks of implementation of changes in the organization.

Some the reasons why change initiatives fail to achieve their objectives are:

Absence of clear definition of what actually constitute organizational success

Lack of knowledge about changing situation in business environment.

Lack of integration between succession planning and leadership with organizational vision.
Toxic leadership performance.

Lack of planning premises and constraints, inadequacy of resources and means to implement the planned change process.

Toxic leadership and organization

Toxic /Bad leadership is one of the main reason we can point out for the failure to         implementation of change in the organization. "A Toxic leader is someone who has responsibility over organizations employees but abuses the leader –follower relationship by leaving the organization in a worse condition than when he/she first found them". (Barbara Kellerman)

Barbara Kellerman analyzes Toxic/bad leadership into seven different types:

(1)Incompetent (2) Rigid (3) Intemperate (4) Callous (5) Corrupt (6) Insular (7) Evil.

Toxic leadership can effect organization in change implementation by following way:

Lack of definition of vision, strategy and business plan.
Inappropriate execution of the vision, plan strategy and business plan.
Lack of team building skills and business ethics.
Lack of sponsoring, supporting, measuring results.
Destruction of organizational culture, values and employees trust and confidence.

Understanding the change process

Understanding the change process helps the leader of present and future generation to develop the suitable technique to solve problems in initiating change process in organization. To understand problems, determining the characteristics of the difficult problem is key to initiate change process.

Dietrich Dorner and Joachim Funke have elucidated typical characteristics of difficult problem they are as follows:

Intransparency-lack of clarity of situation.

Polytely-multiple goals which have

a)      Inexpressiveness.

b)      Opposition

c)      Transience

complexity- large number of items interrelations and decisions which have

a)      Enumerability.

b)      Connectivity(hierarchy relation ,communication relation, allocation relation)

c)      Heterogeneity.

Dynamics- time considerations, which have

a)      Temporal constraints

b)      Temporal sensitivity

c)      Phase effects

d)     Dynamic unpredictability

Problem Solving Techniques

Abstraction: solving the problem in a model of the system before applying it to the real system.
Analogy: using a solution that solved an analogous problem.

Brainstorming: (especially among the groups and teams)suggesting a large number of solutions or ideas and combining and developing them until an optimum is found.

Divide and conquer: breaking down a large complex problem into smaller, solvable problems.
Hypothesis testing: assuming a possible explanation to the problem and trying to prove the assumption

Lateral thinking: approaching solutions indirectly and creatively.

Means-ends analysis: choosing an action at each step to move closer to the goal.

Method of focal objects: synthesizing seemingly non-matching characteristics of different objects into something new.

Morphological analysis: assessing the output and interactions of an entire system

Reduction: transforming the problem into another problem for which solutions exist.

Research: employing existing ideas or adapting existing solutions to similar problems.

Root cause analysis: eliminating the cause of the problem.

Trial and error: testing possible solutions until the right one is found.

Developing The Leaders Of Next Generation

Michael G.Winston who has been working with fortune 50 companies partnering with key executives in developing the next generation of leadership explains how they develop the next generation of leaders.

Seeking and securing top management support
Leadership development initiatives are launched with clear communication from the senior executives explaining the mission, strategy, objectives and expectations for participant's .later stage measurement tools are designed to assess and reinforce leadership accountability for results.

Determining required skill sets.
Firstly you define key leadership requirement and develop a plan to improve critical skills and competencies required to implement the current and projected business strategy and review both current and prospective markets, competitors, customers, channels and determine critical success factor.

Building Best-in-class leadership development initiatives
An integrated and highly focused set of initiatives is crafted that should reflect the company's strategic agenda, address critical challenges and opportunities and strengthen leadership capability ,programs are generally used as a combination of company's presenters, external world-class subject matter experts,E-learning technologies and post-program project work to reinforce key strategic initiatives.

Launching a tiered Talent Identificfation,Assessment and Succession process
Succession management is a critical activity in business organizations must serve to identify, develop and retain those people who are able to deliver superior performance both individually and as a part of team. This can be done like:

Alignment of top performers to most critical jobs.
Identification of successor candidates for key roles
Assessment of strengths across key competencies
Identification and development of high potentials.
Identification and elimination of key succession gaps.
Figure showing how to strengthening talent development in the organization.

Developing an enterprise perspective
The CEO can ensure a balanced focus on leadership development and business

Needs as well as movement of people across organizational boundaries. This will

Promote sustainable leadership in the organization

Integrating the organization
Creation of an organizational integration function provides diagnostic processes to identify and eliminate or reduce the overlap and duplication that often emerges in decentralized structures. High impact instruments can be created and implanted to identify and build upon key organizational, structural process and leadership elements to strengthen and enhance business performance.

Metrics for driving accountability
Systems are then installed to hold line managers accountable for building leadership.

Leadership development and succession becomes an unavoidable "gate" for promotion and significantly affect compensation, this can be understood with the diagram given below

Figure showing metrics for driving accountability

Institutionalizing the process

Ultimately the objective is to institutionalize a simple consistent process across the enterprise which promotes leadership and succession cycles

Leadership and Entrepreneurship

It is leadership style that creates the appropriate climate for entrepreneurship and innovation in an organization.successfull leaders are not only good executives they are also great entrepreneurs .a entrepreneur today has to face several changes in the organization .he has to adapt the change process efficiently and convert the disadvantages of changes into advantages of business for which entrepreneur needs strong leadership qualities mentioned in above paragraphs leadership ,creativity, ability to solve problems makes a leader successful entrepreneur.

Source: articlesbase.com