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Reflective Leadership


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Why should anyone be led by me?

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Reflective Leadership

  1. 1. R e f l e c t i v e   L e a d e r s h i p         Why   Should   Anyone   Be  Led  by   ME?                                                                                                                                                Module  –  Applied  Leadership                                                                                                                          Date:  19-­‐Feb-­‐2012     Word  Count:  7639      
  2. 2. “We   all   know   that   leaders   need   vision   and   energy.   But  to   be   inspirational,   leaders   need   four   other   qualities  (Reveal   Your   Weaknesses;   Become   a   Sensor;   Practice  Tough   Empathy;   and   Dare   to   Be   Different).   Probably   not  what   you’d   expect,   these   qualities   can   be   honed   by  almost   anyone   willing   to   dig   deeply   into   their   true  selves.”   Goffee  and  Jones     2  
  3. 3.   Table  of  Contents      Introduction………….............................................................................................................4.    Lessons  from  “Easy  Ltd.”  and  "Leadership  When  There  Is  No  One  to  Ask"  case  studies…………………………………………………..5.          Leadership  theories  and  how  I  perceive  they  have  impacted  my  past  organization..................................................6.    Leadership  Styles  and  how  have  they      (and  which  of  them)  affected  the  company  I  worked  for....................................................9.        The  Power  of  Emotional  Intelligence  (EI)  in  provoking  positive  and  innovating  changes  in  an  organization....................................11.      Examining  and  evaluating  the  concept  of  “self  monitoring”    and  how  do  I  assess  myself  as  a  potential  leader.............................................................14.      Conclusion:  suggestion  of  options  as  future  strategies    for  myself  to  become  a  more  effective  leader  in  a  future  work  environment...................16.      Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………………………………......20.                   3  
  4. 4. Introduction  Leadership   has   been   in   the   core   of   much   discussion   from   investigators   and  professionals  from  all  sectors  of  activity.  It  has  been  considered  a  key  topic  in  labor  relations,  as  many  (like  myself)  consider  that  the  applied  style  of  leadership  may  be  a  trigger   factor   for   labor   conflicts.   Further,   the   topic   has   also   generated   much  discussion  around  personal  and/or  professional  incompatibilities  between  the  leader  and   his/her   followers,   the   co-­‐existence   of   formal   and   informal   leaderships,   as   well  as,  the  integration  of  different  styles  of  leading  along  the  hierarchy  chain  within  an  organization.  My  personal  perception  is  that  the  attitude  towards  leadership  largely  depends  on  the  social  learning  from  the  individual  (and  not  exclusively  only  on  the  personal  and  innate   personal   characteristics   of   the   individual),   and   thus,   it   may   be   trained   and  improved.  As  in  Prof.  Dennis  Crossen’s  words,  “if  organizations  are  seen  as  complex  evolutionary  systems,  then,  our  contemporary  views  of  leadership  continually  evolve  in   adaptive   fashion.   With   a   changing   perspective   there   is   a   logical   progression  toward  embracing  alternative  ways  of  acting  and  relating  to  our  surroundings.  This  inevitably  results  in  different  ways  of  relating  to  the  working  environment.  In  turn,  the  new  types  of  relationships  and  approaches  to  work  will  provide  new  conditions  for   the   emergence   of   adaptive   organizational   forms.”   [Source:   Midterm   (due:   26  Feb),  found  at­‐midterm-­‐due-­‐26-­‐feb].  In   this   context,   communication   turns   out   to   be   a   key   factor   in   current   times,   as   it  implies   attending   to   different   interests   in   play   and   responding   to   the   different  addressees.   Consequently,   concepts   as   emotional   intelligence   and   self-­‐monitoring  have   been   seen   as   two   fundamental   tools   for   organizations   (and,   particularly,  leaders)  to  establish  new  types  of  relationships  and  approaches  to  work.  On   the   following   pages,   then,   I   will   try   to   grasp/assemble   a   set   of   notions,   concepts,  case   studies   and   current   leadership   streams   of   thinking   that   will   allow   me   to  practically   correspond   them   into   my   own   professional   experience.   Ultimately,   the  discussion   on   this   paper   (as   well   as,   all   the   learning   acquired   along   the   Applied  Leadership  module  so  far)  will  practically  allow  me  to  filter  the  key  findings/concepts  that   will   help   me   to   draw   a   better   picture   of   what   a   Leader   is   (or   must   be).   The  purpose   of   this   paper   is   for   me   to   conclude   how   will   I   prepare   to   lead,   consider  future   strategies   for   myself,   for   the   organization   I   will   be   working   for,   and   most  importantly,  how  may  I  become  a  more  effective  leader  in  my  working  environment.                 4  
  5. 5. Lessons   from   “Easy   Ltd.”   and   “Leadership   When   There   Is   No   One   to  Ask”  case  studies  Upon  reading  the  Easy  case,  I  immediately  saw  my  self  in  a  similar  situation,  as  I  was  recently  victim  of  a  “collective  dismissal”.  It  surely  is  a  very  difficult  situation  both  for  the   new   comer   CEO   and   most   particularly   for   the   ones   who   are   about   to   be  dismissed.  Being  under  the  skin  of  a  new  appointed  CEO  (and  with  such  a  difficult  situation  to  handle),  the  first  lesson  that  I  take  for  the  case  is  that  it’s  vital  to  prepare  a  SWOT  analysis   in   order   to   have   a   complete   overview   of   the   current   tendencies   of   the  company.   That   will,   then,   allow   me   to   have   a   better   notion/perception   of   what  actions   need   to   be   taken.   Another   key   tool   that   a   new   CEO   must   use   for   his   own  benefit  is  communication.  By  that  I  mean  that  he/she  must  reach  and  communicate  with   everyone   (and   mainly,   with   all   those   who   are   leading   their   own   department)   in  order   to   acquire   a   clearer   vision   of   how   each   department   is   being   ran   and   what  improvements  need  to  be  taken.  Another   key   lesson,   and   this   one   in   co-­‐relation   with   another   case   study   –   Leadership  when  there  is  no  one  to  ask:  an  interview  with  Eni’s  Franco  Bernabé,  by  Linda  Hill  and  Susy   Wetlaufer   –   is   that   sometimes   being   a   CEO   demands   to   decide   and   apply   a  "solitary  leadership",  specially  when  there  is  the  necessity  to  wipe  out  a  vast  "tumor"  that   is   spread   all   over   the   company.   In   the   above-­‐mentioned   case   study,   the   new  appointed  CEO  –  Franco  Bernabé  –  had  to  make  quick  but  firm  decisions.  So,  as  he  mentions,  "a  person  who  has  to  make  important  decisions  has  to  make  them  alone.  You  can  rely  on  no  one.  If  you  are  in  a  difficult  situation...  it  can  be  very  dangerous  to  listen  too  much  to  others  or  to  depend  on  them"  (Hill  and  Wetlaufer,  p.    79).  He  had  to   rely   on   his   own   perspective,   belief,   and   vision.   In   Eni’s   case,   and   facing   such   a  difficult  time,  Bernabé  could  not  waste  time.  Again:  firm  and  quick  reforms  needed  to  be  undertaken.  And  he  did  it.  One  could  well  extrapolate  the  Eni’s  case  into  the  Easy  case  in  the  sense  that  what  Bernabé   did   on   Eni’s   company   could   also   be   applied   by   the   new   appointed   CEO   at  Easy.   Quick   and   firm   decisions   needed   to   be   taken   at   Easy   in   order   to   save   the  company   from   bankruptcy.   And   that   would   include   reducing   the   number   of   staff,  dismissing   people   who   are   perceived   has   being   contributing   for   a   passive   action   and  who   wouldn’t   be   a   plus   for   the   company   and   the   project   that   the   new   CEO   had   in  mind.  Reading  both  cases  and  contrasting  them  with  what  my  professional  path  might  be,  made   me   realize   that,   if   one   day   I   come   to   be   a   CEO,   then   leadership   requires  determination.  If  one  stands  for  it  all  the  way  trough,  people  may  finally  follow  you.  And   why?   Because,   when   something   is   sinking,   people   just   want   some   kind   of  orientation.  And  it  is  here  that  a  firm  determination  of  a  leader  must  come  into  play.  That   is   what   Bernabé   did.   In   one   sentence:   when   there   is   no   one   to   ask,   a   leader  must  stand  only  for  him/her  self.  Even  tough  the  context  does  not  favor  a  consensus  building   for   change   that   change   must   be   done.   Thats   when   a   "solitary"   decision-­‐making  must  come  into  play.  No  matter  what.     5  
  6. 6. Leadership   theories   and   how   I   perceive   they   have   impacted   my   past  organization  Before   analyzing   and   testifying   how   the   different   theories   on   leadership  characteristics   have   been   used/applied   (or   not)   on   my   past   organization,   I   will   firstly  try   and   grasp,   present   a   set   of   accounts/theories   from   some   important   authors  (based  on  some  external  research  done  by  me).  Firstly,   and   after   having   read   and   discussed   on   leadership   along   the   Applied  Leadership   module,   I   come   to   conclude   that   one   of   the   most   important   aspects   of  being  a  leader  is  about  communication  and  the  transmission  of  ideas.  Thus,  it’s  also  complicated   to   find   a   single   definition   for   what   it   is   to   be   a   leader   and   a   single   set   of  characteristics   that   may   well   define   leadership.   Consequently,   one   may   find  innumerous   definitions/contributions   from   several   authors/thinkers.   In   Bass’s  account,   “there   are   as   much   definitions   for   leadership   as   much   people   trying   to  defining  it”  (1990,  cited  in  Rego,  1998).  I  would  like  now  to  present  some  of  the  key  accounts  that  I  reckon  to  be  valuable  for  the  present  analysis  and  which  I  see  as  being  applicable  to  how  my  last  company  was  ran  and  how  leadership  was  applied.  Leadership,  then,  may  be  seen  as:   -­‐ The   capability   of   promoting   a   coordinated   action,   aiming   to   achieve   organizational  objectives  (Gomes,  A.D.,  Cardoso,  L.  &  Carvalho,  C.  2000);   -­‐ A   phenomenon   of   interpersonal   influence   applied   in   a   particular   situation   trough  the  process  of  human  communication,  aiming  the  communication  of   particular  objectives  (Fachada,  1998);   -­‐ A   process   of   influence   and   performance   of   a   given   function   from   a   group   oriented   for   the   consecution   of   results   accepted   by   the   members   of   the   group.  To  lead  is  to  pilot  a  team,  a  group,  a  union  of  people;  it’s  to  predict,   decide,  organize  (Parreira,  2000).  If   I   make   an   analysis   over   my   last   professional   experience   (again:   I   was   victim   of   a  collective  dismissal)  –  I  was  an  Accounts  Payable  Assistant  at  Wipro  BPO  –,  I  certainly  recognize   the   attributes   and   characteristics   described   above.   Starting   from   my  Senior   Assistant   (my   first   direct   leader),   passing   through   the   Team   Leader,   and  ending  on  the  Manager  (which  was  the  manager  for  both  the  Accounts  Payable  and  Banking   Team   all   at   once),   the   main   trace   for   the   applied   leadership   was   indeed  wanting   to   promote   a   coordinated   action   aiming   the   attendance   of   certain  organizational   objectives   –   achieve   month   (and   also   daily)   objectives,   such   as  processing   a   certain   number   of   invoices   per   day/month   and   management   of   queries  so  the  objectives  wouldn’t  be  jeopardized.  The  Manager,  the  Team  Leader,  as  well  as  my   Senior   Assistant   had   always   a   firm   direction   towards   achieving   the   pre-­‐defined  objectives   and,   from   time   to   time,   they   showed   the   preoccupation   of   trying   to  influence   their   team   through   establishing   a   coordinated   communication   with   the  them  (by  cyclical  meetings)  in  order  to  assure  that  each  member  understood  what  was  expected  from  him/her,  and  thus,  the  consecution  of  desired  results  would  be  met.   And,   indeed,   the   actions   taken   by   all   three   leaders   well   impacted   the  organization  and  in  particular  the  performance  of  the  Accounts  Payable  department.     6  
  7. 7. The  objectives  were  always  achieved  on  a  constant  basis.  The  team,  in  that  aspect,  was  very  well  led.  Another  aspect  that  I  would  like  put  under  discussion  and  that  I  think  is  worthy  of  analyzing   to   what   extent   I   see   it   reflected   on   the   leadership   characteristics   of   my  previous   leaders   is   whether   leadership   may   be   seen   as   related   to   personal   and  innate   characteristics   of   individual/leader.   In   other   words,   do   I   (or   did   I)   see   my  previous   leaders   (being   the   Senior   Assistant,   the   Team   Leader   or   the   Manager)   as  innate  leaders  having  the  “natural”  characteristics  of  a  called  “leader”?  My  answer  is  no.   Rather,   I   see   them   as   individuals   that   had   some   lack   of   “natural”   leading  capabilities  and,  thus,  had  to  develop  leadership  attributes  that,  obviously,  had  to  be  trained  and  acquired.  To   open   even   more   the   discussion,   and   based   on   some   research,   I   came   to  understand  that,  for  a  long  time,  leadership  was  studied  as  being  related  to  personal  and   innate   characteristics   of   the   individual.   It   was   considered   that   the   qualities  inherent   to   the   leader,   such   as   intelligence,   amiability,   physical   strength,   etc.   were  determined   by   the   potential   leaders   themselves.   Two   of   the   theories   that   support  such   statement   are   a)   the   one   presented   by   Odete   Fachada   –   theory   of   the  Personality  Traces  –  in  Psicologia  das  relações  interpessoais  (in  English:  Psychology  of  interpersonal   relations)   –,   which   affirms   that   the   leader   possesses   characteristics  that   identifies   him/her   and   turns   him/her   into   the   great   man/woman   (Fachada,  1998),   and   b)   the   one   proposed   by   Lourenço   Parreira   in   Liderança   e   eficácia:   uma  relação   revisitada   (in   English:   Leadership   and   efficiency:   a   revisited   relationship),  where   the   author   perceives   leadership   as   being   intrinsically   individual   (Parreira,  2000).   A   leader   was,   then,   seen   as   possessing   potential   characteristics   and,   thus,  such  competency  (ies)  was  (were)  a  stable  trace  of  his/her  personality.  Further,  this  theory   –   the   Trace   Theory   –   considered   that   the   capability   of   leadership   could   be  diagnosed  through  tests  and  questionnaires.  Well,   the   testimonials   of   these   theories   lead   me   to   conclude   that   my   previous  leaders   did   not   have   such   personality   traces   that   made   them   “natural”   leaders.  Despite  recognizing  in  one  of  them  –  my  Team  Leader  –  two  main  traces  (intelligence  and   amiability),   I   always   had   the   feeling   and   actual   signs   that   none   of   them   could   be  identified  as  having  innate  traces  of  a  presumed  leader  (as  described  on  the  previous  paragraph).  Thus,  this  absence  of  innate  attributes  on  my  previous  leaders  naturally  leads  me  to  wonder   how   come   they   have   come   to   manage   and   lead   a   team   (actually,   any   team).  Well,  I  found  the  answer  for  this  also  on  Parreira’s  contribution.  In  his  account,  the  Trace  Theory  had  some  limitations  and  difficulties  in  its  argument:  the  first  limitation  was   that   it’s   very   difficult   to   isolate   a   finite   set   of   characteristics   and   traces   that  define   all   leaders   (and   that   are   present   in   all   leaders).   The   second   argument  presented   by   Parreira   is   that   it’s   also   very   difficult   to   assure   that   those  characteristics  aren’t  also  attributes  existent  in  non-­‐leaders  (Parreira,  2000).  In  other  words,  there  may  be  people  (non-­‐leaders)  that  present  traces  that  are  identified  as  being  ones  of  a  leader.  So  why  aren’t  those  people  leaders  too?       7  
  8. 8. These   limitations   around   the   Trace   Theory   made   authors/thinkers   to   re-­‐define   the  Theory   of   Leadership   and   come   up   with   new   trends   and   ways   of   analyzing  leadership.  It  became  obvious  that  it’s  very  hard  to  determine  traces  of  personality  that   differentiate   a   leader   from   a   non-­‐leader.   The   consequence   of   this   was   the  emergence   of   a   new   way   of   studying   and   analyzing   leadership:   focused   on   the  process   of   leadership   instead   of   analyzing   solely   the   individual   leader   him/herself  (Parreira,  2000).  The   process   of   leadership   approach   considers,   then,   leadership   as   being   something  that   may   be   trained   and   acquired,   through   the   adaptation   of   the   leader   to   the  functions  inherent  to  leading  a  team  (Parreira,  2000).  The  arguments  presented  and  described  over  the  last  three  paragraphs  lead  me  to  conclude   that,   and   analyzing   my   personal   experience   on   my   last   job,   all   my   three  previous  leaders  came  to  be  leaders  and,  indeed,  undertook  their  leading  functions  thanks  to  a  continuous  process  of  leadership  that  took  time  (and  could  continue  to  evolve,  in  case  they  had  stayed  in  the  company  –  and  don’t  know  what  are  they  are  doing   now   nor   their   professional   path   after   the   collective   dismissal).   Surely   (and   I  recall  that  they  had,  from  time  to  time,  some  internal  training  within  the  company  aiming   to   boost   their   leadership   qualities),   they   had   been   trained   and   given  professional  guidance  to  improve  their  leading  abilities.  In  one  final  statement,  despite  not  having  (again:  based  on  my  own  evaluation)  the  so-­‐called  innate  characteristics  to  be  ready  to  lead  a  team,  they  however  were  given  the   possibility   to   take   a   leading   place   and,   thanks   to   a   constant   process   of  leadership,   they   were   able   to   undertake   their   role   and,   even   more,   improve   their  abilities  through  time.  I  affirmably  may  say  and  testify  that  the  accounts/theories  presented  on  this  chapter  had,  indeed,  a  direct  reflect  and  impact  on  how  my  last  company  (most  particularly,  the  department  I  worked  for  –  Accounts  Payable)  was  ran  and  how  it  perceived  what  kind   of   leaders   the   company   needed   (and,   subsequently,   how   the   company  perceived  what  leadership  is  –  apply  a  continuous  process  of  leadership  rather  than  hiring  presumed  innate  potential  leaders).  On   the   following   pages,   I   will   analyze   even   further   the   discussion   on   leadership   and,  more   specifically,   on   how   the   different   styles   of   leadership   may   affect   a   team,   and  subsequently,  an  organization.               8  
  9. 9. Leadership   Styles   and   how   have   they   (and   which   of   them)   affected   the   company  I  worked  for   In   complement   to   the   discussion   around   leadership   characteristics,   it’s   also   most   valuable   and   key   to   go   a   bit   deeper   into   that   analysis.   It’s   also   fundamental   to   wider   the   debate   around   what   styles   of   leadership   there   may   be   and   how   they   affect   a   given   company.   Again,   in   this   chapter,   I   will   try   and   exam   how   the   different   styles   of   leading   (and   point   out   which   of   them)   have   been   applied   on   my   past   company   (and,   specifically,  in  the  department  I  worked  for  –  Accounts  Payable).   Firstly,   I   will   present   of   the   following   paragraphs   the   different   styles   of   leadership   that   are   currently   known   and   that   are   the   basis   for   the   study   around   the   subject.   After   that,   I   will   move   to   try   and   describe   what   style   (s)   I   perceive   as   being   the   most   common  on  my  last  company/department  [and  how  it  (they)  produced  alignments  in   perception,   commitment,   innovation,   and   motivation   within   the   company/department].   The  main  contribution  that  I  would  like  to  put  forward  is  the  one  proposed  by  Daniel   Goleman   in   Leadership   That   Gets   Results,   where   he   sums   up   the   key   traits   of   six   main   styles   of   leadership   (Coercive,   Authoritative,   Affiliative,   Democratic,   Pacesetting   and   Coaching)   all   springing   from   different   components   of   emotional   intelligence.   The   description   of   each   one   of   the   styles   is   assembled   on   the   below   table,  representing  a  summary  of  their  origin,  when  they  work  best,  and  their  impact   on  the  organization’s  climate  and,  thus,  its  performance:   Table  1     Coercive   Authoritative   Affiliative   Democratic   Pacesetting   Coaching   Creates   Forges  The  leaders   Demands   Mobilizes   harmony  and   Sets  high   Develops   consensus  modus   immediate   people  toward   builds   standards  for   people  for   through  operandi   compliance   a  vision   emotional   performance   the  future   participation   bonds  The  style  in  a   "Do  what  I  tell   "Come  with   "People  come   "What  do  you   "Do  as  I  do,  now."   "Try  this."  phrase   you."   me."   first."   think?"   Developing  Underlying   Drive  to   Empathy,   Collaboration,   Self-­‐confidence,   Conscientiousness,   others,  emotional   achieve,   building   team   empathy,   drive  to  achieve,   empathy,  intelligence   initiative,  self-­‐ relationships,   leadership,   change  catalyst   initiative   self-­‐competencies   control   communication   communication   awareness   To  help  an   To  heal  rifts  in  a   In  a  crisis,  to   When  changes   To  build  buy-­‐in   To  get  quick   employee   team  or  to    When  the   kick  start  a   require  a  new   or  consensus,   results  from  a   improve   motivate  style  works   turnaround,  or   vision,  or  when   or  to  get  input   highly  motivated   performance   people  during  best   with  problem   a  clear  direction   from  valuable   and  competent   or  develop   stressful   employees   is  needed   employees   team   long-­‐term   circumstances   strengths  Overall   Most  strongly  impact  on   Negative   Positive   Positive   Negative   Positive   positive  climate   (Source:  Leadership  That  Gets  Results,  found  at:  GOLEMAN,  D.:  2000.  Leadership  That  Gets  Results.   Harvard  Business  Review)     9  
  10. 10. As   described   on   the   above   table,   the   6   styles   of   leadership   presented   by   Goleman  are  different  from  each  other  having  mostly  in  common  the  final  overall  impact  on  the  climate  (being  positive  or  negative).  Now,   trying   to   look   and   analyze   what   style   (or   styles)   were   mostly   common   in   my  previous  company/department,  I  would  say  that  there  are  3  main  styles  there  were  the  basis  for  how  the  company/department  was  ran:  the  Coercive,  the  Pacesetting,  and  the  Coaching  ones.  Why?  Explanation  below:   -­‐ Coercive:   all   three   leaders   mentioned   along   this   paper   had   all   the   traces   described   by   this   style.   All   three   (but   specially,   my   senior   leader)   “demanded   immediate  compliance”,  in  one  phrase  I  could  well  define  them  as  “do  what  I  tell   you”,   undoubtedly   they   persecuted   “drive   to   achieve,   initiative,   self-­‐control”,   their   vision   was   to   “in   a   crisis,   to   kick   start   a   turnaround,   or   with   problem   employees”  –  which  I  recall  it  occurred  in  more  than  one  occasion.  I  particularly   recall  a  time  when  there  was  a  colleague  of  mine  that  was  seen  as  one  of  causing   much   trouble   within   the   team   (by   taking   badly   about   her   leaders,   doing   in   her   own   way,   etc).   Thus,   the   Manager   together   with   the   Team   Leader   had   to   impose   their   Coercive   style   towards   her   and   also   the   team.   The   final   results   were   positive.  The  employee  in  question  was  fired  after  a  few  months  and  the  overall   climate  within  the  team  got  a  major  positive  boost.     -­‐ Affiliative:  I  reckon  all  three  leaders  having  this  main  trace  as  well.  Why?  It   was   tried   along   the   6   years   I   was   within   the   department   to   induct   “harmony   and   build   emotional   bonds”   within   the   team.   Sometimes   (not   all   times),   I   felt   that   indeed  all  three  defended  the  idea  that  “people  come  first”  (despite  the  constant   pressure  to  achieve  the  daily  and  month  objectives).  The  instigation  of  “empathy,   building  relationships  and  communication”  was  also  a  common  sense  within  the   team  (again:  despite  the  pressure  put  on  us  –  the  team  –  to  achieve  the  goals  on   a  constant  basis).  My  perception  was  that  the  team  felt  that  all  three  leaders  had   these  three  vectors  as  one  of  the  pillars  for  the  team  to  work  well.  Finally,  just   like  the  coercive  style,  the  affiliate  style  had  to  be  imposed  at  times,  as  there  was   the   necessity   to   “heal   rifts   within   the   team   and   motivate   people   during   such   stressful  circumstances”  (the  example  previously  given  of  the  team  member  that   caused  some  troubles  within  the  overall  climate  may  also  be  applied  here).  The   final  overall  impact  on  the  climate/team  was  most  positive,  as  it  helped  the  rest   of  the  team  members  to  maintain  their  motivation.     -­‐ Coaching:   the   last   trace   that   I   definitely   reckon   to   be   one   of   the   most   common  used  during  my  stay  at  Wipro  (again:  I’m  testifying  solely  in  terms  of  the   Accounts   Payable   department)   was   a   coaching   style.   Why?   I   surely   defend   all   my   three   leaders   (and   thank   them)   –   specially   the   Manager   –   in   the   perception   they   had  that  it  was  crucial  to  “develop  people  for  the  future”.  From  time  to  time,  I   recall   that   each   member   of   the   team   had   individual   meetings   with   all   three   leaders,   where   they   asked   us   about   our   worries   and   what   we   reckoned   to   be   important  for  us  to  develop  even  more  our  competencies  and  medium-­‐long  term   career  ambitions.  Parallel  to  that,  their  main  phrase  was  undoubtedly  “try  this”   (in  other  words,  they  showed  attention  to  our  worries  and  how  they  could  help   us   to   attain   our   own   objectives).   Further,   I   felt   (again:   not   at   all   times,   as   the     10  
  11. 11. pressure   to   attain   goals   was   also   always   on   our   shoulders)   that   they   sought   to   “develop  others,  empathy”  and  most  definitely  “self-­‐awareness”.  As  mentioned   above,  the  overall  sense  that  I  got  from  all  three  leaders  was  that,  indeed,  they   worried   on   “helping   an   employee   to   improve   his/her   performance”   or   even   “develop  long-­‐term  strengths”  (through  periodical  assessments  and  evaluations   to   each   of   the   team   members).   The   final   impact   of   this   style   of   leading   was   definitely  positive  and  surely  welcomed.  In  one  final  statement,  I  most  definitely  perceive  these  3  styles  of  leadership  (applied  by   my   three   leaders)   as   ones   that   decisively   produced   perception,   commitment,  innovation   and   motivation   among   all   members   of   the   department   (including   the  leaders   themselves).     The   instigation,   production   and   development   of   these   four  attributes/factors,   I   believe,   also   enabled   all   three   leaders/managers   to   become  better   leaders.   The   main   aspect   that   I   would   like   to   stress   is   that,   indeed,   they  applied   different   styles   of   leading   depending   on   the   particular   demand   of   the  situation.   My   experience   at   Wipro   BPO   brought   me   to   conclude   (and   also   upon  taking  this  MBA  course,  specially  the  Applied  Leadership  module)  that  a  better  leader  must   applied   different   styles/types   for   leading   a   team,   as   people   (team   members)  are   different   from   each   other   and   different   situations   and   circumstances   may  unexpectedly  appear.  Another  aspect/valence  that  I  think  to  be  very  much  worthy  of  analysis  and  that  may  give  a  better  and  complete  perception  on  how  a  given  team  (in  this  particular  paper,  my   previous   Accounts   Payable   team)   may   positively   perform   and   develop   its  competencies  is  what  has  been  designated  as  Emotional  Intelligence.  I  would  like  to  go   into   much   detail   regarding   this   subject   and   how   I   perceive   it   as   having   been  used/applied   (or   not)   on   my   previous   department.   I   will,   then,   broach   this   theme   on  the  following  pages  (chapter).  The   Power   of   Emotional   Intelligence   (EI)   in   provoking   positive   and  innovating  changes  in  an  organization    The   main   account   on   EI   that   I   would   like   to   put   forward   is   the   one   described   by  Daniel  Goleman.  In  his  words,  then,  “unlike  IQ,  which  is  largely  genetic  –  it  changes  little   from   childhood   –   the   skills   of   emotional   intelligence   can   be   learned   at   any   age.  It’s   not   easy,   however.   Growing   your   emotional   intelligence   takes   practice   and  commitment.   But   payoffs   are   well   worth   the   investment”   (Goleman,   p.   82-­‐83).  Further,   emotional   intelligence   is   “the   ability   to   manage   ourselves   and   our  relationships   effectively”   and   “consists   of   four   fundamental   capabilities:   self-­‐awareness,  self-­‐management,  social  awareness,  and  social  skill”.  Each  capability,  on  the  other  hand,  “is  composed  of  specific  sets  of  competencies”  (Goleman,  p.  80).  On  the  below  table  one  may  see  the  mentioned  sets  of  competencies:           11  
  12. 12. Table  2   Self-­‐Awareness   Self-­‐Management   Social  Awareness   Social  Skill   Emotional  self-­‐ Empathy:   awareness:    The  ability  to  read  and   Self-­‐control:   Skill  at  sensing  other   Visionary  leadership:   understand  your     peoples  emotions,     emotions  as  well  as   The  ability  to  keep   understanding  their   The  ability  to  take  charge  and  recognize  their  impact   disruptive  emotions  and   perspective,  and  taking  an   inspire  with  a  compelling  vision.  on  work  performance,   impulses  under  control.   active  interest  in  their  relationships,  and  the   concerns.   like.   Organizational   Accurate  self-­‐ awareness:     assessment:     Trustworthiness:     Influence:     The  ability  to  read  the         currents  of  organizational  A  realistic  evaluation  of   A  consistent  display  of   The  ability  to  wield  a  range  of   life,  build  decision   your  strengths  and   honesty  and  integrity.   persuasive  tactics.   networks,  and  navigate   limitations.   politics.   Conscientiousness:     Service  orientation:     Developing  others:     Self-­‐confidence:     The  ability  to  manage   The  ability  to  recognize   The  propensity  to  bolster  the   A  strong  and  positive   yourself  and  your   and  meet  customers   abilities  of  others  through   sense  of  self-­‐worth.   responsibilities.   needs.   feedback  and  guidance.   Adaptability:     Communication:     Skill  at  adjusting  to   Skill  at  listening  and  at  sending       changing  situations  and   clear,  convincing,  and  well-­‐ overcoming  obstacles.   tuned  messages.   Achievement   Change  catalyst:     orientation:     Proficiency  in  initiating  new     The  drive  to  meet  an     ideas  and  leading  people  in  a   internal  standard  of   new  direction.   excellence.   Conflict  management:     Initiative:     The  ability  to  de-­‐escalate     A  readiness  to  seize     disagreements  and  orchestrate   opportunities.   resolutions.   Building  bonds:     Proficiency  at  cultivating  and         maintaining  a  web  of   relationships.   Teamwork  and  collaboration:   Competence  at  promoting   cooperation  and  building  teams.         (Source:  Leadership  That  Gets  Results,  found  at:  GOLEMAN,  D.:  2000.  Leadership  That  Gets  Results.   Harvard  Business  Review)       12  
  13. 13. The  key  aspect  of  the  EI  theory  is  that  there  are  leaders  who  tend  to  see  a  limited  side   of   the   question/situation   in   hands.   Because   their   brain   is   so   used   (habit)   to  perceive   each   situation   from   always   the   same   perspective/prism,   their   ability   to  have   a   360   degree   view   over   the   problem   tends   to   be   weaker.   As   in   Coleman’s  words,   “a   diagnosis   from   multiple   view-­‐points   is   essential   in   improving   emotional  intelligence   because   those   who   need   the   most   help   usually   have   blind   spots”  (Goleman,   p.   88).   Thus,   and   as   suggested   by   Goleman,   it’s   key   for   leaders   to   have  some   kind   of   coaching   from   people   who   are   experts   in   teaching   how   to   increase  their  emotional  intelligence.  The  direct  and  most  obvious  benefit  for  a  leader  to  build  EI  valences  is  for  him/her  to  have  a  wider  and  much  complete  view  of  the  situation  in  hands  and,  thus,  having  a  better   notion   of   what   might   be   the   best   decision   to   make.   Valences   as   self-­‐awareness,   self-­‐management,   self-­‐motivation,   social   awareness   and   relationship  management   may   suffer   a   great   and   dramatic   boost   in   case   a   leader   seeks   and  improves  his/her  EI  attributes.  Now,   trying   to   correspond   and   value   how   EI   was   present   at   my   last   work  environment   (and,   particularly,   in   the   personality   of   my   previous   three   leaders),   I  must   say   that   sometimes   I   caught   the   feeling   that   EI   wasn’t   so   much   present.  Particularly,   when   referring   to   two   of   the   leaders   –   the   Manager   and   my   Senior  Assistant.  The  third  one  –  the  Team  Leader  –,  I  always  felt  that  he  was  the  one  who  more  efficiently  grasped  the  main  valences  of  EI.  I  always  felt  that  he  tried  to  view  any  particular  situation  from  different  angles,  so  any  possible  alternatives  wouldn’t  be   forgotten.   Contrarily,   I’ve   perceived   both   the   Manager   and   my   Senior   Assistant  (and   more   intensely   the   Senior   Assistant)   as   having   the   tendency   of   looking   into   a  given  problem  solely  from  a  single  perspective  (the  “do  what  I  tell  you”  perspective  without  questioning  whether  there  may  be  any  possible  alternatives).    I   always   felt   that   my   Senior   Assistant   had   a   deep   lack   of   social   awareness   and  relationship   management,   which   didn’t   enable   her   to   both   build   a   better   EI  perception  of  herself,  as  well  as,  build  a  more  efficient  Emotional  Intelligence  Group  (EIG)1   around   her.   Thus,   sometimes   I   felt   that   the   results   (and   means   to   achieve  those  goals)  could  had  been  better  in  case  she  had  a  clearer  notion  of  what  EI  is.    Nevertheless,   I   recall   that   during   the   last   year   of   my   presence   in   the   company,   there  were   some   coaching   sessions   for   all   team   leaders   (extended   to   all   departments).                                                                                                                   1   Concept   presented   by   Urch   Druskat   and   Steven   B.Wolff   in   Building   the   Emotional   Intelligence  of  Groups  (Druskat  U.  and  Wolff  S.B.:  2001.  Building  the  Emotional  Intelligence  of   Groups.  Harvard  Business  Review).  As  in  Druskat’s  and  Wolff’s  words,  “our  research  tells  us   that  three  conditions  are  essential  to  a  group’s  effectiveness:  trust  among   members,  a  sense   of  group  identity,  and  a  sense  of  group  efficacy...  the  outcome  (of  an  Emotional  Intelligent   Group)   is   complete   engagement   in   tasks”   and   “team   emotional   intelligence   is   more   complicate  than  individual  emotional  intelligence  because  teams  interact  at  more  levels...  A   group  must  attend  to  yet  another  level  of  awareness  and  regulation.  It  must  be  mindful  of   the  emotions  of  its  members,  its  own  group  emotions  or  moods,  and  the  emotions  of  other   groups  and  individuals  outside  its  boundaries”  (Druskat  and  Wolff,  p.  82).       13  
  14. 14. Thus,   the   company   decided   to   apply   a   policy   of   coaching   their   leaders   (being  managers,   team   leaders   or   senior   assistants).   I   believe   that   such   decision   was   to  support   and   instigate   actual   innovation   ideas/changes   in   the   organization   and  promote  EI  valences  in  its  leaders.  In  my  perception,  the  idea  was  very  clear:  Wipro  wanted   to   input   in   their   employees   (its   leaders)   “360   degree   view”   abilities.   But,  again,  and  to  my  disappointment,  I  never  felt  that  my  most  direct  leader  –  my  Senior  Assistant   –,   did   well   develop   her   EI   more   efficiently.   There   always   seemed   to   be   a  lack   of   mastering,   specially,   the   social   awareness   and   relationship   management  vectors.  Examining  and  evaluating  the  concept  of  “self  monitoring”  and  how  do  I  assess  myself  as  a  potential  leader  Now,  what  if  I  would  become  a  leader  (hopefully,  in  a  near  future)?  Would  I  (or  do  I)  have   the   potential   valences   that   could   lead   me   to   undertake   such   highly   responsible  role?   In   order   to   assess   that,   and   with   the   support   sources   I   have   read   and   analyzed  to   construct   this   reflective   paper,   I   come   to   understand   that   there   is   a   real   “tool”  that   helps   leaders   (or   people   who   aspire   to   become   leaders)   to   have   a   realistic  diagnosis/assessment   of   their   main   traits   of   personality   and   leadership   attributes:  self-­‐monitoring.  Before  trying  to  realistically  assess  myself  as  being  a  potential  leader,  I  firstly  must  understand  and  present  the  definition  of  the  concept  of  self-­‐monitoring.  What  is  it  after  all?  Firstly,  what  needs  to  be  stressed  is  that  the  ability  to  “self-­‐monitoring”  may  indeed  have  a  significant  effect  on  people’s  relationships  and  professional  prospects.  As  described  on  the  internet  website  link­‐monitoring.html  :  “The   concept   of   self-­‐monitoring…   is   based   on   a  13-­‐question   instrument   developed  by   psychologists   Richard   Lennox   and   Raymond   Wolfe.     This   instrument   was   first  defined  in  the  June  1984  issue  of  the  “Journal  of  Personality  and  Social  Psychology””.  Further,   the   “first   7   items   in   the   instrument   refer   to   ones   ability   to   modify   self-­‐presentation:     1. In   social   situations,   I   have   the   ability   to   alter   my   behavior   if   I   feel   that   something  else  is  called  for.   2. I  have  the  ability  to  control  the  way  I  come  across  to  people,  depending  on   the  impression  I  wish  to  give  them.   3. When  I  feel  that  the  image  I  am  portraying  isnt  working,  I  can  readily  change   it  to  something  that  does.   4. I   have   trouble   changing   my   behavior   to   suit   different   people   and   different   situations.   5. I  have  found  that  I  can  adjust  my  behavior  to  meet  the  requirements  of  any   situation  I  find  myself  in.   6. Even  when  it  might  be  to  my  advantage,  I  have  difficulty  putting  up  a  good   front.     14  
  15. 15. 7. Once   I   know   what   the   situation   calls   for,   its   easy   for   me   to   regulate   my   actions   accordingly.”   (source:­‐ monitoring.html)  The   remaining   6   items   in   the   instrument   “refer   to   ones   sensitivity   to   expressive  behaviors  of  others:   8. I  am  often  able  to  read  peoples  true  emotions  correctly  through  their  eyes.   9. In   conversations,   I   am   sensitive   to   even   the   slightest   change   in   the   facial   expression  of  the  person  Im  conversing  with.   10. My   powers   of   intuition   are   quite   good   when   it   comes   to   understanding   others  emotions  and  motives.   11. I   can   usually   tell   when   others   consider   a   joke   to   be   in   bad   taste,   even   though   they  may  laugh  convincingly.   12. I  can  usually  tell  when  Ive  said  something  inappropriate  by  reading  it  in  the   listeners  eyes.   13. If  someone  is  lying  to  me,  I  usually  know  it  at  once  from  that  persons  manner   of   expression.”   (source:­‐ monitoring.html)  As   one   may   clearly   analyze,   the   Self-­‐Monitoring   theory   must   be   a   must   for   any  potential   leader   (but   not   limited   to   a   leader,   or   potential   leader   –   I   perceive   it   as  being   an   inspiring   tool   for   virtually   anyone)   to   assess   his/her   critical   valences   and  essential  interpersonal  skills.  Now,   trying   to   critically   analyze   and   assess   myself   as   a   potential   leader   (being   as  much  realistic  as  possible),  and  using  all  13  items  described  above,  I  will  now  expose  how   do   I   perceive   myself   on   each   of   the   13   situations.   I   will   give   a   “yes”   and   “no”  answer   (obviously,   the   “no”   items   are   the   ones   that   need   improvement).   The   final  assessment   was   based   on   my   own   perception,   as   well   as,   on   the   perception   of   a  friend  whom  I  asked  to  assess  all  13  items  in  my  personality.  I  have  to  say  that  my  friend’s  assessment  had  an  exact  coincidence  with  mine.  The  self-­‐assessment  then:   1. In   social   situations,   I   have   the   ability   to   alter   my   behavior   if   I   feel   that   something  else  is  called  for.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  Yes.   2. I   have   the   ability   to   control   the   way   I   come   across   to   people,   depending   on   the  impression  I  wish  to  give  them.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  Yes.   3. When  I  feel  that  the  image  I  am  portraying  isnt  working,  I  can  readily  change   it  to  something  that  does.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  Yes.   4. I   have   trouble   changing   my   behavior   to   suit   different   people   and   different   situations.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  No.   5. I  have  found  that  I  can  adjust  my  behavior  to  meet  the  requirements  of  any   situation  I  find  myself  in.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  Yes.   6. Even  when  it  might  be  to  my  advantage,  I  have  difficulty  putting  up  a  good   front.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  No.   7. Once   I   know   what   the   situation   calls   for,   its   easy   for   me   to   regulate   my   actions  accordingly.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  No.     15  
  16. 16. 8. I   am   often   able   to   read   peoples   true   emotions   correctly   through   their   eyes.   –   How  do  I  assess  myself:  Yes.   9. In   conversations,   I   am   sensitive   to   even   the   slightest   change   in   the   facial   expression  of  the  person  Im  conversing  with.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  No.   10. My  powers  of  intuition  are  quite  good  when  it  comes  to  understanding  others   emotions  and  motives.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  No.   11. I  can  usually  tell  when  others  consider  a  joke  to  be  in  bad  taste,  even  though   they  may  laugh  convincingly.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  Yes.   12. I  can  usually  tell  when  Ive  said  something  inappropriate  by  reading  it  in  the   listeners  eyes.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  No.   13. If  someone  is  lying  to  me,  I  usually  know  it  at  once  from  that  persons  manner   of  expression.  –  How  do  I  assess  myself:  No.  The   results   of   the   self-­‐monitoring   test   show   me   that   I   have   6   “yes”   answers   and   7  “no”   answers.   What   does   this   tells   me?   Well,   probably   I   won’t   be   on   the   top   list   of   a  potential  leader  for  the  beginning.  But,  it  also  shows  that  I  do  possess  about  half  of  the  potential  attributes  that  an  aspiring  leader  must  have.  So,  I  would  say  that  I’m  on  the  right  track.  What  worries  me  the  most  is,  obviously,  the  7  negative  results  on  this  questionnaire,  which  will  need  a  strict  and  careful  improvement  from  me.  In  one  last  sentence,  and  despite  the  fact  that  I  only  have  about  half  of  the  desired  attributes  of  a  potential  leader,  I  would  say  that  I  fit  into  the  category  of  a  potential  leader.   Why?   If   one   takes   this   13-­‐question   questionnaire   as   a   tool   to   measure  someone’s   ability   to   leader,   the   final   result   in   my   case   was   about   50%.   Thus,   I   am  within   the   average.   It   wasn’t   a   negative   result.   A   weak   result,   but,   nevertheless,   a  sufficient   result.   A   disciplined   self-­‐monitoring   applied   along   time   (and   knowing   what  items  do  I  need  to  improve)  would  give  me  the  possibility  to  become  a  better  leader.  Conclusion:   suggestion   of   options   as   future   strategies   for   myself   to  become  a  more  effective  leader  in  a  future  work  environment  Now,   having   grasped   an   all   set   of   notions,   concepts,   theories,   my   own   personal   past  experience  and  how  I  assess  myself  as  being  a  potential  leader,  the  subsequent  and  consequent  question  now  is:  how  will  I  prepare  to  lead?  The  research,  study  and  analysis  of  data  for  the  preparation  of  this  paper  (together  with  all  the  knowledge  acquired  along  the  module  Applied  Leadership  so  far),  gave  me   a   better   and   much   comprehensive   notion   of   what   it   may   take   to   become   not  only  a  leader  but  also  a  greater  one.  Notions  acquired  from  the  EI  and  EIG  theories,  the   exploration   and   assimilation   of   four   extra   main   qualities2   that   a   leader   should  have,  and  the  constant  critic  examination,  evaluation  and  assessment  of  myself  (self-­‐monitoring)  in  order  to  improve  my  valences  to  become  a  better  leader  will  surely  be  the   master   tools   that   I   will   use   and   support   myself   when   I’ll   become   a   leader   in   a                                                                                                                  2  Theory  presented  by  Robert  Goffee  and  Gareth  Jones  in  Why  Should  Anyone  Be  Led  by  You?  (Goffee  R.  and  Jones  G.:  2000.  Why  Should  Anyone  Be  Led  by  You?  Harvard  Business  Review),  where  in  the  authors’  account,  an  inspirational  leader  needs  four  other  qualities:  a)  reveal  his/her  weaknesses,  b)  become  a  sensor,  c)  practice  tough  empathy  and  d)  dare  to  be  different.     16  
  17. 17. future  organization  (as  well  as,  tools  that  I  would  had  used  in  case  I  was  enrolled  in  a  leadership  position  in  previous  organization  –  Wipro  BPO).  The   different   domains   of   EI   as   described   on   table   2   (page   12)   –   Self-­‐Awareness   (in  co-­‐relation   with   Self-­‐Motivation),   Self-­‐Management,   Social-­‐Awareness,   Social-­‐Skill  (also   known   as   Relationship   Management)   –   together   with   all   its   inherent   specific  competencies  (also  describe  on  table  2)  definitely  are  a  fantastic  tool  and  vision  for  any  person  who  aspire  to  become  a  leader  (or  even  for  a  non-­‐leader),  as  I  perceive  them   as   being   key   tools   for   any   person).   They   provide   any   leader   a   perfect  examination/analysis   of   how   he/she   may   develop,   improve   and   maximize   his/her  qualities/attributes.  The  same  happens  with  the  EIG  theory  contribution,  although  at  a  different  level.  I  find  this  tool  also  as  a  key  asset  for  an  aspiring  leader  (like  myself)  to  have  a  much  complete   and   concrete   notion   of   what   it   takes   to   instigate,   nourish,   promote   and  maintain  a  well  emotional  intelligent  group  working  with  him/her  for  the  benefit  of  the  overall  climate  in  the  working  environment.  As  a  leader,  I  obviously  will  want  a  motivated,  goal  oriented  and  full-­‐committed  team  around  me.  And  to  achieve  that,  the  EIG  tool  will  definitely  be  key  to  gain  a  complete  engagement  in  tasks  from  every  member  of  the  team.  The   inspiration   gained   from   the   “Why   Should   Anyone   Be   Led   by   You?”   article,   will  also   be   a   major   preoccupation   for   me   to   potentiate   my   senses   when   I’ll   be   in   a  position  of  leading  a  team.  The  four  qualities  presented  by  the  article  –  Reveal  Your  Weaknesses;  Become  a  Sensor;  Practice  Tough  Empathy;  and  Dare  to  Be  Different  –  surely   are   assets   that   need   special   attention   for   leaders   to   evaluate   their   own  leadership  valences.    As  argued  on  the  mentioned  article,  “exposing  a  weakness  establishes  trust  and  thus  helps   get   folks   on   board…   Beyond   creating   trust   and   a   collaborative   atmosphere,  communicating   a   weakness   also   builds   solidarity   between   followers   and   leaders…  Sharing   an   imperfection   is   so   effective   because   it   underscores   a   human   being’s  authenticity…  The  golden  rule  (however)  is  never  to  expose  a  weakness  that  will  be  seen  as  a  fatal  flaw  –  by  which  we  mean  a  flaw  that  jeopardizes  central  aspects  of  your  professional  role”  (Goffee  and  Jones,  p.  65-­‐66).  The  main  idea  that  one  should  take  for  exposing  a  presumed  weakness  is  that,  in  hand  with  that,  people  around  will  gain   some   “compassion”   for   you   and,   thus,   it   will   provoke   in   them   the   motivation   to  respect  and  follow  you.  Further,  the  quality  of  becoming  a  “sensor”  may  also  be  a  key  tool  for  me  as  a  future  strategy  to  become  a  better  leader.  Why?  Because,  and  as  mentioned  on  the  article,  “inspirational   leaders   rely   heavily   on   their   instincts   to   know   when   to   reveal   a  weakness  or  a  difference.  We  call  them  good  situation  sensors,  and  by  that  we  mean  that   they   can   collect   and   interpret   soft   data.   They   can   sniff   out   the   signals   in   the  environment   and   sense   what’s   going   on   without   having   anything   spelled   out   for  them…  Not  surprisingly,  the  most  impressive  business  leaders…  are  all  very  refined  sensors”   (Goffee   and   Jones,   p.   66).   This   sensor   characteristic   about   a   leader   will  definitely  be  one  of  the  orienting  pillars  that  I  will  try  to  impose  to  myself.     17