How to Adapt Your Leadership Style to the Corporate Jungle


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Briana Coleman's fun, fact-filled presentation that can help your organization run well--whether you have chimps, dolphins or ants leading your group! Learn the three animal styles that can help you adapt your leadership style to the situation.

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  • Close your eyes. Think back to the last proposal you worked on. As your prepared for the “song and dance” that goes with these sort of projects, you ensured that your talents matched the environment in which you were competing You spent weeks examining the competitive landscape to see what the other guy was up to You wooed your potential client by calling to them and setting the stage for your impending proposal You looked to past performances as a strong indicator of future success You thought about what you’d have to do to really impress them As the due date arrived, you put the final touches on your presentation and ensured that every aspect was just right. But, alas, the proposal was not a success and you were left scratching your head as to what went wrong.What you didn’t know is I was secretly video taping you the entire time.(Play video)
  • It seems that we aren’t so far removed from our friends in the animal kingdom, huh? Let’s explore how leadership in the animal kingdom can teach us some lessons about managing proposals.
  • Adapt Your Leadership Style to Match the Group Dynamics and Corporate Cultural ExpectationsLeading proposal teams—especially when you are not the ultimate decision maker or leader—requires that you understand the corporate leadership norms and adapt your leadership style to match the group’s needs and dynamics. Often, this means finding a leadership style that complements the style of the ultimate decision makers, not one that creates frictionOne leadership style doesn’t fit all situations, so we must adapt to the situation One leadership style may not fit all people within a team… you may lead each individual on the team in a different way (i.e. how do you lead the CEO vs. the Proposal Coordinator vs. the SME?) Great leaders have versatile skill sets so they can adapt their leadership style to the environment
  • 1. First, we’ll understand the Context surrounding leadership:- Define “Leadership”- Define Situational Leadership Theory and why it is important- Use animal examples to identify and explore the three primary types of leadership styles (and the strengths/weaknesses of each type)Explore the characteristics of each leadership style in terms of 1) how individual leaders embody each style and 2) how companies embody each style and 3) how they interact with each other2. Then, we will learn what you should consider when choosing the best leadership style for your proposal team3. Finally, we’ll practice choosing the right leadership style using participant examples and group discussions.
  • “Leader” is the person assigned responsibility for owning and meeting the team’s goal, i.e. proposal manager is leader of the proposal team or CEO for companyDefinition of Leadership: set of behaviors used by the leader to make or influence decisions and actions that lead to accomplishing the common goal. Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementing plans, and motivating people.To use one of these leadership styles on your proposal team, the Leader/team member relationships must not necessarily be hierarchical. The concepts are intended to apply regardless of attempts to influence a direct report, employee, colleague, peer, direct boss, or senior person.
  • Group of leadership theories that assumes that different situations call for different characteristics; according to this group of theories, no single optimal profile of a leader exists. In other words, it is not the traits or personality of the leader that makes a difference; it is the specific behaviors and decisions that leader makes in the context of his/her situation that makes the difference. According to the theory, "what an individual actually does when acting as a leader is in large part dependent upon characteristics of the situation in which he functions.“According to the Path-Goal Theory (Robert House, 1971), “…leaders, to be effective, engage in behaviors that complement subordinates' environments and abilities in a manner that compensates for deficiencies and is instrumental to subordinate satisfaction and individual and work unit performance.” (i.e. leaders understand what the followers need and will react to, and lead in a way that complements, not frightens, this need)This theory opens the door for any individual, regardless of rank/personality or other characteristics to be a successful leader. It is important because it means that we all are leaders all of the time--- if we only open our eyes and realize it!The situational leadership model rests on two concepts: one, that leader effectiveness results from using a behavioral style that is appropriate to the demands of the environment; and two, that leader effectiveness depends on learning to identify that environment.
  • (Kurt Lewin’s Three Primary Leadership Styles)Step one to identifying the environment is to understand the three primary types of environments Leadership styles focus on how decisions are made and tasks handed out/overseen.We will discuss three primary leadership styles:Autocratic or Authoritarian LeadersParticipative or Democratic LeadersLaissez Faire or Free Reign LeadersEach of these leadership styles is embodied by a familiar animal species and the way their societies function and are led. Let’s put each style in perspective based on the animal that embodies it.
  • Under the autocratic leadership style, all decision-making powers are controlled by the leader, as with dictator leaders. They do not entertain any suggestions or initiatives from subordinates. One-way communication in which the leader defines and controls the roles of the individual or group and provides the what, how, when, and where to do the task
  • <Bob Lohfeld, who will be dressed as a chimpanzee, will describe how the Chimp embodies this leadership style> Among the 50 or so members of a chimpanzee community, one adult male is recognized as the highest-ranking or "alpha" male. While several males may exercise dominance over other males, the alpha male is dominant over all the members of the community, male and female. He attains his high-ranking position through intimidation, strength, and intelligence, often exhibited in "dominance displays." Such a display often begins with spectacular charging, during which a male hurls himself along the ground, sometimes upright, slapping his hands, stamping with his feet, dragging branches, or hurling rocks. The alpha male decides when the troop moves, sleeps, eats, and who mates with whom. He controls every aspect of the troop’s behavior. If a non-alpha chimp disagrees with the alpha, it has two choices: 1) Stay quiet or 2) Challenge the alpha– a gesture that ends in one chimp dead or exiled and the other the alpha. This is not a process that is taken lightly and is not done unless the alpha is perceived as being in a weakened or vulnerable state. The alpha male leads through fear, not motivation.
  • <Ask for audience participation to identify what they think the major strengths and benefits of this style could be on a proposal team><Then show the “book” results>Strengths: It permits quick decision-making, as only one person decides for the whole group and keeps each decision to themselves until they feel it is needed by the rest of the group.--- this is especially important under a crisis or tight timelines Team members have clear expectations for what needs to be done, when it should be done, and how it should be done Identify problems early– with only one leader, it’s easer to maintain control of the entire project and see problems early. Weaknesses: If abused, can come off as bullying, yelling, or tyrannical May stifle creativity, innovation, or individual motivation to take initiative—team becomes dependent on the leader Increased workload for leader… this style may also tend to hamper succession planning and create leadership vacuums where next generation leaders don’t ever get to hone their leadership skills.
  • The democratic leadership style favors inputs to decisions from the group, where the leader makes decisions/gives instructions after consulting the group.The decisions of the democratic leader are not unilateral as with the autocrat because they arise from consultation with the group members and participation by them.The leader engages the group because they value the views of the group.
  • <Mike Parkinson, who will be dressed as a dolphin, will describe how the Dolphin embodies this style> Dolphins hunt in groups to optimize the chances of catching prey The techniques used to hunt rely on each dolphin communicating the optimal time for the group to strike, based on their vantage points… the group listens to each member and makes a decision based on all of the input One technique, called the “carousel” or “kettle” technique involves the group forming a circle around the prey--- each dolphin has a unique perspective on the prey based on where they are in the circle. They communicate through echolocation to determine that this is the best tactic and also to determine how many dolphins should participate– with more dolphins participating as the number of prey increases. They also communicate to determine the exact moment to swoop in and catch the fish Using the kettle technique, the dolphins will often take turns diving under the fish to catch their meal while the other dolphins keep the fish encircled
  • <Ask for audience participation to identify what they think the major strengths and benefits of this style could be on a proposal team><Then show the “book” results>Strengths: They can win the cooperation of their group and can motivate them effectively and positively. Group members feel engaged in the process and are more motivated and creative. … Studies show that team members with a participative leader produce higher quality work than ones with autocratic leaders (presumably because they are vested in the product)Weaknesses: The leader may spend too much time listening to the team’s opinions—which can slow the process or lead to long decision-making cycles If the process isn’t tightly controlled by the leader, it can lead to “griping sessions” or un-productive tangents Studies show that team members with a participative leader are less productive than ones with autocratic leaders
  • When the follower can do the job and is motivated to do it, then the leader can basically leave them to it, largely trusting them to get on with the job although they also may need to keep a relatively distant eye on things to ensure everything is going to plan.A free reign leader does not spend time making decisions, but leaves the group to itself to make individual decisions; such a leader allows maximum freedom to team members.They are given a freehand in deciding their own policies and methods. The leader stays involved to monitor progress and ensure that decisions don’t conflict with each other or derail the common goal.
  • <Colleen Jolly, who will be dressed as an ant, will describe how the ant embodies this style> A harvester ant colony performs many tasks: it must collect and distribute food, build a nest, and care for the eggs. They live in a changing world to which they must respond– i.e. when there is a windfall of food, more foragers are needed. Ants determine which role they should play based on an assessment of the colony’s needs—although there is a “queen,” she does not direct the worker ants into a specific role. Instead, she entrusts the colony to determine what needs to be done and act accordingly. In fact, the queen does not lead at all (she is just a baby-maker!)– with so many ants in a colony, it would be physically impossible for her to direct every worker’s decision about which task to perform and when! Although conventional wisdom is that ants are born into “castes” that determine their role, this is not true. Modern research shows that ants actually change their role in the colony to meet needs and most ants have many roles in their lifetime. The colony functions because each individual is highly motivated and capable, and the queen allows them to make their own decisions about the best use of their time.
  • <Ask for audience participation to identify what they think the major strengths and benefits of this style could be on a proposal team><Then show the “book” results>Strengths: Employees can efficiently perform the tasks they are best at and feel a sense of trust for their competence/skill level. Leader spends less time making decisions and more time overseeing project schedule or tasks to ensure accuracy/qualityWeaknesses: If this style is used with employees who don’t have requisite skill/knowledge levelsthey can be the least productive of all three groups unable to work independently (presumably because of “out of sight, out of mind” syndrome where team is unmotivated without constant leader monitoring) Can create “silos” where each person does their own job but doesn’t communicate to the whole--- causing disjointed parts, chaos in the end product, and low cooperation among team members
  • The three leadership styles (Chimp, Dolphin, and Ant) represent the spectrum of decision making authority and team influence. The Chimp leadership style has the most “leader” control over decisions, while the ant style provides the most team control.
  • These leadership styles apply to 1) How you personally lead your team AND 2) Your corporate culture--- style your company naturally gravitates to/corp. structure Each company has a definitive culture that usually aligns to one of the three leadership styles. This culture is usually pretty rigid and slow to change. However, individuals’ leadership styles are fluid, and we can learn to adapt our personal style to match the corporate structure.
  • Strict lines of communication based on hierarchy--- there is a chain of command you must follow to get decisions made. Decisions flow downward and only downward! “Traditional” roles: president, vice president, director, etc. Need to make quick decisions Decisions made by highest-ranking person at time
  • U.S. Army Clear rank structure and lines of communication--- you only communicate directly up and directly below (no skipping ranks!) Decisions need to be made quickly and without debate: lives are on the line! Taking the time to debate would lead to slow decisions and loss of lives; allowing the soldiers to make their own decisions would lead to chaos. Challenging decisions from leaders is strictly forbidden Highly organized– everyone understand their role, is held accountable for their role, and organization works like a well-oiled machine
  • May still have traditional org chart Lines of communication are blurred–up, down, sideways Employee buy-in is crucial for productivity--- leaders rely heavily on the workers to come up with great ideas and be invested in their work; to create this, they ask for buy-in from employeesEmployee commitment and ownership to task Frequent meetings Frequent reviews
  • 1-800-Got-Junk?Winner of WorldBlu List of Most Democratic Companies: 2007, 2008, and 2009Every morning, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has a huddle, which is a stand-up meeting that all staff areencouraged to attend. It's an opportunity to share good news, review metrics, and discuss opportunities and areas for improvement. It always ends with a cheer to start the day on a happy note. During huddles, every employee has the chance to share a positive thought, speak out about something that's not working, or to offer up a suggestion. Any employee can sign up to be the "Huddle Master", who hosts the huddle.The 1-800-GOT-JUNK? headquarters has an open office format. It has open meeting rooms, desks, and lots of windows, but no offices. The Call Center shares the floor with Operations and a central staircase joins the first and second floors, which is quite unconventional for that type of office building. The Founder and CEO even shifts from desk to desk as free space opens up or while someone is away. This design promotes an open, equal opportunity workplace.1-800-GOT-JUNK? holds regular Employee Engagement Surveys, which assess the level of satisfaction that employees feel towards their jobs and their teams. The results are tallied, distributed, and reviewed by each department, which then drafts an action plan to respond to the results. This survey aligns with the company's goal of being an employer of choice and its philosophy that "It's All About People".
  • “Flat” corporate structure Employees know more about their job than leaders Office environment facilitates creativity Very few meetings Infrequent reviews
  • GOOGLE goes to great strides to ensure that their employees–the foremost technology minds in the world–are given the environment they need to produce creative new ideas. They have all but eliminated traditional corporate structure, office buildings, and ways of doing business. Instead, they allow their employees to do their work in whatever way fits their personality best—Here are a few things you might see in a Google workspace: Local expressions of each location, such as ski gondolas in Zurich Bicycles or scooters for efficient travel between meetings Dogs (yes, employees can bring their dogs to work!) Massage chairs and large inflatable ballsGooglers sharing cubes, yurts and huddle rooms—and very few solo offices Laptops everywhere—standard issue for mobile coding, email on the go and note-taking Foosball, pool tables, volleyball courts, assorted video games, pianos, ping pong tables, and gyms that offer yoga and dance classes Grassroots employee groups for all interests, like meditation, film, wine tasting and salsa dancing Healthy lunches and dinners for all staff at a variety of cafés Break rooms packed with a variety of snacks and drinks to keep Googlers going
  • Pick a style that complements (not conflicts with) the corporate style, your role, and team characteristics– and ensures that they all work together effectivelyCompany Characteristics: Identify your company’s primary leadership culture How the decision maker will react to the style you choose? The preferred leadership and learning styles of the team members (they are used to the style the company culture dictates) Personal Characteristics: Understanding your role in the organization and level of authority/leadership on a team: are you the decision maker? Are you responsible for team but with no apparent authority? Your innate, natural leadership style (who are your naturally and how far can you stretch without seeming fake or insincere?) Team Characteristics: Understanding and identifying the environmental and team characteristics The stakeholders and team members, and their roles/authority levels The knowledge, information, and skill level of the team members Team motivators and willingness to participate—are they motivated by fear, reward/punishment, relationships? The emotional, psychological, and environmental factors of the team: is this a particularly stressful time for the company? Does this proposal determine if people will keep or lose their jobs? Is the team stressed about a recent loss? Purpose, mission, and goal of that project and team? (Leadership is a means to meet the mission of a project) Timelines, resources, and workload of team: is this a high-pressure, quick turnaround project or are you still in pre-proposal phase where deadlines are variable and light? How well do you know the team and how well do they know each other? Did you all meet for the first time for this proposal or do you work together every day? Did they have previous leaders before you and you are now the newbie?
  • Have participants determine which of the three “animal” corporate climates they work in (or have worked in) As one large group, have a volunteer describe their situationAsk the questions: Identify what animal style your company most embodies Identify your innate personal leadership style Identify what leadership style your team most needs/responds toAssuming you do NOT have the ultimate decision authority, what style might complement or work best in that situation? Consider the pros and cons of each style in that culture, and how you might use each for different aspects of the project?(LIVE: Briana to place the appropriate animal symbol next to each box to represent the answer to the above questions)
  • Now close your eyes again. Visualize how your next proposal will be different and how you will lead your team to a successful, winning proposal. If you remember nothing else…to live harmoniously in your teams (like the animals in this picture): Successful leaders adapt their style to match your environment and mission/goals Different corporate jungles require different leadership styles We’re not so far removed from the animal kingdom
  • How to Adapt Your Leadership Style to the Corporate Jungle

    1. 1. Survival of the Fittest<br />@Lohfeld #APMP21<br />How to Adapt Your Leadership Style in New Corporate Jungles<br />June 2, 2010<br />Briana Coleman, AM.APMP<br />
    2. 2. 2<br />
    3. 3. Overall Message<br />The best leaders are adaptive, not static<br />One size does not fit all situations<br />Leadership should reflect your corporate culture, team dynamics, and personal traits<br />3<br />
    4. 4. Agenda<br />4<br />Leadership in Context<br />Choosing a Leadership Style<br />Group Exercise<br /><ul><li> Defining “leadership”
    5. 5. Situational leadership theory
    6. 6. Three leadership styles
    7. 7. Exceptional animal leaders</li></li></ul><li>5<br />Leadership in Context<br />
    8. 8. Defining Leadership<br />Cartoons from<br />6<br />
    9. 9. Situational Leadership Theory<br />Different situations call for different leadership styles<br />No single optimal leadership style<br />Recognize group deficiencies and react<br />Your Personality<br />Team Needs<br />Environment<br />Perfect Leadership Style<br />7<br />
    10. 10. Three Primary Leadership Styles<br />Reference: Lewin, K., LIippit, R. and White, R.K. (1939). Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates. Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 271-301<br />8<br />
    11. 11. Autocratic/Authoritarian Leaders: Definition<br />Leader Decision<br />Leader controls all decisions<br />No input from team<br />One-way communication<br />9<br />
    12. 12. Autocratic/Authoritarian Leaders: Chimpanzees<br />Reference: Jane Goodall Institute<br />10<br />
    13. 13. Autocratic/Authoritarian Leaders: Strengths and Weaknesses<br />Strengths<br />Weaknesses<br />Quick decision making<br />Clear team expectations<br />Identify problems early<br />Crisis management or tight timelines<br />If abused, leader seen as “bully,” “uncaring,” or “tyrannical”<br />May stifle creativity or innovation–team is leader-dependent<br />Increased workload for the leader<br />11<br />
    14. 14. Participative/Democratic Leaders: Definition<br />Team Input<br />Leader consults team before decisions<br />Two-way communication: leader engages team<br />Team Action<br />12<br />
    15. 15. Participative/Democratic Leaders: Dolphins<br />Reference: “Dolphin Societies: Discoveries and Puzzles” By Karen Pryor, Kenneth S. Norris<br />13<br />
    16. 16. Participative/Democratic Leaders: Strengths and Weaknesses<br />Strengths<br />Weaknesses<br />Team cooperation and motivation<br />Team feels engaged in process<br />Higher quality work<br />Leader spends too much time listening<br />Long decision-making cycle<br />“Griping Sessions”<br />14<br />
    17. 17. Laissez Faire/Free Reign Leaders: Definition<br />Individual<br />Decision<br />Individual<br />Decision<br />Individual<br />Decision<br />Individual<br />Decision<br />Individual<br />Decision<br />Leader allows team to make own decisions<br />Leader trusts that team knows best<br />Individual<br />Decision<br />Individual<br />Decision<br />Individual<br />Decision<br />15<br />
    18. 18. Laissez Faire/Free Reign Leaders: Ants<br />Queen<br />Foragers<br />Carpenters<br />Babysitters<br />Reference: “Ants at Work: How an Insect Society is Organized” By Deborah M. Gordon<br />16<br />
    19. 19. Laissez Faire/Free Reign Leaders: Strengths and Weaknesses<br />Strengths<br />Weaknesses<br />Team efficiently performs tasks<br />Team feels trusted and respected<br />Leader spends less time on decision<br />Un-skilled teams = less productive<br />“Out of sight, out of mind” syndrome<br />Silos<br />17<br />
    20. 20. Summary of Leadership Styles<br />Team Control<br />Leader Control<br />18<br />
    21. 21. Identifying Your Company’s Innate Leadership Style<br />Leadership styles apply both to:<br />Your Personal Leadership<br />Your Corporate Culture<br />Cartoons from<br />19<br />
    22. 22. “Chimp” Companies<br />Large companies with many employees<br />Strict lines of communication based on hierarchy<br />“Traditional” roles: president, vice president, director, etc.<br />Need to make quick decisions<br />Decisions made by highest-ranking person at time<br />Formal reviews<br />Ideal for Government/Military and Manufacturing<br />20<br />
    23. 23. Example “Chimp Company” U.S. Army<br />21<br />
    24. 24. “Dolphin Companies”<br />May still have traditional org chart<br />Lines of communication are blurred–up, down, sideways<br />Employee buy-in is crucial for productivity<br />Employee commitment and ownership to task<br />Frequent meetings<br />Frequent reviews<br />Ideal for Law Firms and Professional Services<br />22<br />
    25. 25. Example “Dolphin Company” 1-800-Got-Junk?<br />Reference:<br />23<br />
    26. 26. “Ant Companies”<br />“Flat” corporate structure<br />Employees know more about their job than leaders<br />Office environment facilitates creativity<br />Very few meetings<br />Infrequent reviews<br />Ideal for Technology and Creative Service Companies <br />24<br />
    27. 27. Example “Ant Company” Google<br />Pictures from<br />25<br />
    28. 28. 26<br />
    29. 29. 27<br />Choosing the Right Leadership Style<br />
    30. 30. Choosing the Right Leadership Style<br />Characteristics to Consider<br />28<br />
    31. 31. 29<br />Group Discussion and Exercise<br />
    32. 32. Group Discussion & Exercise<br />30<br />
    33. 33. Closing Thoughts<br /><ul><li>If you remember nothing else…</li></ul>Successful leaders adapt their style to match their environment<br />Different corporate jungles require different leadership styles<br />We’re not so far removed from the animal kingdom<br />31<br />
    34. 34. Suggested Resources<br />“Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resources,” by Hersey, P., Blanchard, K.H, and Johnson, D.E.<br />Lewin, K., LIippit, R. and White, R.K. (1939). “Patterns of aggressive behavior in experimentally created social climates.” Journal of Social Psychology, 10, 271-301<br />Jane Goodall Institute<br />“Dolphin Societies: Discoveries and Puzzles” By Karen Pryor, Kenneth S. Norris<br />“Ants at Work: How an Insect Society is Organized” By Deborah M. Gordon<br />And for funny, daily cartoons:<br />32<br />
    35. 35. Contact Information<br />Briana Coleman, AM.APMP<br />Senior Consultant<br />Lohfeld Consulting Group, Inc.<br />Creating Winning Proposals for Government Contractors<br /> 703-615-7596 (m)<br /><br /><br /> @Lohfeld <br /><br />33<br />