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FAQ

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  • Do you believe leaders are born or made? 

Recent scientific studies suggest that leadership is 30% genetic and 70% learned. These findings propose that leaders are made not born. Ultimately, the answer is that both are true: a person can be born with natural leadership abilities, and someone can learn how to be a good leader at work.

  •   What value do you see in the formal study of leadership? 

No single approach to leading works every time. Effective leaders select their approach for a given situation only after assessing the people involved (including themselves), the environment and the goal to be accomplished. The study of leadership teaches how to recognize different personalities, identify situations, understand relationships, and strategize objectives. Studying leadership is also a time for personal introspection and growth. The more you know about your strengths, your weaknesses, your preferences and your communication styles, the more successful you will be as a problem solver for your employees and leaders within your organization.

  • What would your leadership legacy be?

Legacy leavers operate in ways that build trust and transform lives. Legacy leaders tend to be concerned with the greater good. One of the primary reasons successful leaders leave legacies is because they understand their impact on everyone around them. Their goal is to build relationships and accomplish something memorable that will help the organization move forward long after they are gone. If I can make this impact, then I will say job well done. Your legacy should always be about how to add value to every person you touch.

  • What is the relationship between the study and practice of leadership?

The case has been made many times over about the importance of learning as a foundational element in effective leadership practice.  The importance of studying or earning is underscored by the exceedingly turbulent and unpredictable organizational environments within which managers and executives are working.  There is basically no limit to the kinds of learning a contemporary leader may have to engage to lead an organization effectively and efficiently. There is a continual stream of things leaders, supervisors, and managers have to learn in order to thrive in this environment.  It may make more sense to say that in the present world, leadership is never mastered but rather it should be constantly studied if you intend to garner any success as you lead men and women toward organizational goals. When observing leaders at work, what we are really observing is a learning process – and an exceedingly complex learning process at that.

  • What is the impact of having people from different generations in your department today? 

In a workplace where people of different generations work together, there is a great chance for conflict due to the attitudes, values, and beliefs of the different age groups. It is important to manage the conflict and not eliminate it all together Managing a multigenerational workforce with so many different perspectives, experiences, values, and goals poses a unique organizational opportunity for organizational leaders, managers,  and HR professionals.

  • How can leaders adapt to people who are from different generations than the leader? 

The leaders’ job isn’t to make everyone the same but to take advantage of the fact that everyone is different and build a cohesive team that is disciplined to build the confidence and motivation necessary to face the uncertainty and adversity that impede the achievement of organizational goals.

  • How could you protect yourself better from making attribution errors in the role of a leader in your department?

Creating an environment where workers feel comfortable being open and honest with their coworkers and you. Trying to be more empathic with your team members. Whenever a leader uses judgment and acts, there is a chain reaction effect upon the employees, the group, and ultimately the organization.  Individual leaders’ first impressions make important contributions to effective leader actions, but care should be taken to incorporate as much objective fact and as little bias as possible.  Again, it is vital for the leader to realize that there is usually more to the story than his or her attribution.  By alerting leaders to some of the rational factors and biases that influence decisions, you can be more aware of your own attribution errors and more willing to listen to and appreciate the viewpoints of others.

  • How can a leader change the perceptions of others?

Some leaders and managers may be tempted to ignore an employee’s perception of inequity, but reflective leaders realize that unfairness, whether actual or perceived, needs to be addressed.  As a leader, every decision you make can have equity consequences.  Inequity is more than someone else’s problem—it is your problem because it affects the motivation, satisfaction, and performance of your Employees. As a leader, your JOB is to restore employees’ perception of equity, in a manner consistent with organizational goals.  This restoration can be done in a variety of ways and must be customized to the individual and the situation, but knowing about equity theory is a strong start!  By recognizing which techniques the employee is using, smart, thoughtful, effective leaders can communicate with their people and redirect employees’ efforts toward more positive goals.

  • What would the leaders in your department have to change in order to have more exemplary followers?

The exemplary follower seems to present a consistent picture to all who come in contact with him or her. Exemplary followers are seen by co-workers and leaders as independent, innovative, creative, and willing to stand up to superiors. They apply their talents for the benefit of the organization even when confronted with bureaucratic stumbling blocks or passive or pragmatist co-workers. Effective leaders appreciate the value of exemplary followers and feed their need for psychological safety. Once the employee feel safe to speak up and out, you can gradually move this employee back toward exemplary status. Another point to consider, select people that are high on both critical dimensions of followership. Perhaps even more importantly create the conditions that encourage these behaviors.

  • How might a dysfunctional status system in a work group affect motivation? 

  • If the status system isn’t working right, the leader can expect to run into morale problems.  So it’s crucial that status indicators remain clear and consistent.  If a leader’s actions upset the established system of reward and recognition, those actions may lead to status incongruence, a situation that can provoke anxiety on the part of group members.  

  • Another cautionary note for leaders is that status systems tend to change over time.  When a status symbol loses its importance, insecure feelings on the part of group members whose status was tied to the altered symbol may emerge.  Leaders should also note that if the status is given too much emphasis, it could widen the gap between high- and low-status group members.  And that gap can prevent and inhibit communication among members.

  • How do group norms and the individual differences among group members interact to affect motivation, performance, and satisfaction?

Essentially, norms serve dual purposes.  They guide the behavior of the group, and they also guide each member’s behavior.  Norms help group members anticipate each other’s behavior and so decrease the amount of ambiguity experienced by members.   Norms are not legislated; they emerge as events occur and as the group develops. Leaders need to be aware of informal rules of behavior—reinforcing those that support an organization’s goals and trying to deter those that undermine them.  Since these norms belong to the group, the leader needs to move carefully when trying to accomplish the latter.

  • How could you shape group norms to be more supportive of your department’s goals?

Group norms are the set of informal and formal ground rules that dictate how people interact. These rules help members of the group figure out how to behave — clarifying roles and providing a sense of predictability. The entire team needs to be engaged in the process for the real magic to happen. Whether building a new team or rebooting a group with history, creating norms requires buy-in from a majority of teammates — including leadership. Without a team leader’s blessing, it’s extremely difficult to change the conventions for the rest of the team.

  • What could be done to improve the way new employees, sworn and civilian, are socialized in your department?

Leaders must also take an active role in this process to ensure their followers formulate an understanding of functional norms.  Personal contact may help in this area since the leader can observe the follower and issue appropriate guidance. However, this process must start with Human Resources and then be carried over to the respective department to continue what was started in HR. This also goes hand-in-hand with clarifying role expectations through the process of job performance appraisal.

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