leadership skills

All posts tagged leadership skills

Winter Break

Published January 15, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face.

Victor Hugo

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Winter Break

Published January 13, 2016 by Mayrbear's Lair

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People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. – Anton Chekhov

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Nevada Day

Published October 28, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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What is Nevada Day?

Nevada Day is a grand celebration commemorating admission to statehood on October 31, 1864. Nevadan’s have the distinction of holding the largest statehood celebration in the nation! The highlight is the Nevada Day Parade, now in its 77th year in Carson.

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Nevada’s one of the most conservative states in the Union, but you can do what you want in Vegas and nobody judges you. – Drew Carey

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Conflict Resolution and Solution

Published October 23, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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This week we opened a discussion on the nature of conflict. Today we will conclude our examination by taking a closer look at conflict solutions and resolutions. So far, what our research has uncovered, is that leaders who fail to identify the source and level of a conflict, are more than likely to experience productivity reduction and motivational issues which can further impede worker participation.

Recognizing the level of conflict is a good starting place to begin at. For instance, for a leader facing an organization with everything around them seeming to crumble, it is imperative they acknowledge the critical and immediate need to address the outcomes of the firm’s failures. In other words, the driving force behind this leader’s actions would require an urgent short term response with focused attention on developing a plan that will address and resolve the failed outcome issues as well as come up with better long term plans.

In the meantime, leaders of a firm that are slowly losing customers, a growing number of employees are displaying a lack of enthusiasm in the work place, and are cognizant that revenue is slowly on a downward trajectory as a result of shrinking patrons, are in a position to develop a more calculated approach. In this scenario, smart leaders will see this as an opportunity to examine the situation more carefully. They are able to implement a variety of steps and backup plans that support systematic changes which can then be scheduled to occur over a period of time. These leaders can be more effective in achieving organizational  goals with successful outcomes because in the planning process they recognized the need to develop a long term strategies.

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To resolve differences, however, all parties involved require an openness and willingness to do the hard work to achieve positive outcomes. The ability, for example, for a leader to acknowledge and therefore address their own behavioral shortcomings, which can include a form of workplace bullying, is one kind of effective management skill that can help with solutions that will resolve conflicts.  This is not always easy, as it requires a leader’s ability to recognize and acknowledge their own weaknesses, facing the possibility that their behavior may have health-harming effects, especially if they engage in the mistreatment of others.

This may be especially true for leaders that have a limited level of education. Many uneducated leaders like these, rely on outdated views and aggressive behavior passed down from generation to generation from strict cultural beliefs to justify their strategies, which often include verbal and psychological abuse. Many people with these views that are in leadership positions, are typically ignorant that their behavior is out of line. In fact, many do not perceive their conduct as offensive, nor are they able to recognize their intra-personal conflicts can interfere with their ability to comprehend that their behavioral choices serve as obstructions in the development of quality personal relationships with others, whether at home or at their place of employment.

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Organizational leaders of this nature, display little concern about the passions, goals, or outcomes of others. If they had more compassion for the needs of others, or took the time to engage and connect more with staff members as organizational partners, rather than treat them as pawns to achieve organizational goals, these leaders could help create an atmosphere that is more conducive to achieving win-win solutions. However, when both parties are fixed in their position and are uncooperative, especially if they display a lack of mutual trust and respect, or reveal an ease in with they can express a deep level of frustration and anger, solutions will inevitably be more difficult to achieve.

Unfortunately, even with counseling and guidance, however, sometimes disputing parties are still unable to resolve their differences and may have to engage the legal system to resolve the issue. Without a willingness to (a) find tradeoffs; (b) deal with important issues rather than trivial ones; (c) find areas of agreement; and (d) focus on ideas and information rather than personalities, a resolution will be hard to reach. The negative effect of these kind of conflicts can ultimately result in noncompliance of orders and decisions in all parties involved. Managers that reduce the efforts to resolve conflicts, display a passive resistance, and engage in unethical behavior, reflect a kind of leadership that is incapable of brokering solutions. In his book, Organizational Behavior, Donald Baack (2012) reminds us that leaders who are unable to find solutions, work through conflicts, and fail to resolve staff members differences with peaceful resolutions, will eventually have to face the bankruptcy of their business as well as the dissolution of valuable relationships  (Baack, 2012).

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Looking over our research work this week, we discovered that conflict resolution and solution requires a level of commitment from leaders who understand the concerns and essentials of all the parties involved. When all the players are willing to negotiate and find a solution that includes the examination of all the steps required to address the conflict, the resolution will inevitably lead to one of three outcomes: (1) a win-lose situation, (2) a lose-lose situation (compromise), or (3) a win-win solution (Baack, 2012). In conclusion, while conflict may prevent workers from experiencing job satisfaction in an organizational environment, strong effective leaders who can identify the source and level of a conflict are in a better position to successfully address them to achieve a favorable outcomes and maintain a pleasant working environment; one where everyone feels valued and appreciated equally.

Well, that’s it for this week. Thanks for tuning in … until next time … stay organized!

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“You don’t always have to fight to win. Give peace a chance.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

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References

Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

The Nature of Conflict

Published October 21, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

 

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This week we began a discussion on how to face conflicts in an attempt to manage them more effectively. Today, we continue our examination by first acknowledging a significant component: that practically every conflict begins with someone or something violating an individual’s rights, boundaries, or comfort zone. While the primary ingredients in any conflict are the individuals involved, conflicts tend to spring from the same litany of sources for all people (Cowan, 2003).  To begin pinpointing the source of a conflict, a closer analysis can help determine the stage of the conflict – whether it is in the latent; perceived; felt; or open stage.

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To help us comprehend the nature of a conflict more clearly, we will analyze one case study of a situation that developed between two organizations we will identify as Company S and Company B. This examination is meant to help us assess what options are available to leaders to help avoid similar conflicts.

Our case study begins with Company S, a small company that sought payment for services rendered to a big company, Company B. In analyzing the situation, we discovered that the small firm, Company S, submitted an invoice for remittance to the big one, Company B, for providing services that required the small firm’s specialized set of skills. However, rather than paying the full amount, Company B rendered payment that represented only a fraction of the sum due. By engaging in this kind of conduct, especially without reaching out to Company S to offer an explanation, Company B’s actions naturally resulted in the creation of a difficult conflict. This action transmitted a clear message; one that revealed a kind of leadership from Company B that had no issue engaging freely in unethical conduct. In short, rather than honor the smaller company’s rates and terms of services, Company B chose to employ a strategy that communicated a form of workplace bullying by refusing to adhere to the terms and conditions laid out by the smaller firm.

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Analyzing a situation like this, a perceptive, strong leader would recognize that the strategic actions of the larger firm revealed a reckless form of leadership; one that displayed a willingness to risk creating conflict in order to achieve short term solutions. Effective leaders also comprehend that this form of conduct, revealed from Company B’s leadership, also jeopardizes the possibility of developing a good working relationship with Company S. Furthermore, a smart leader understands that Company B’s actions also put the firm in jeopardy by risking long term consequences that could ultimately tarnish the firm’s reputation from any negative attention or publicity that could ensue from the exposure of unethical practices.

Had the leaders from the big organization at Company B, engaged in more ethical strategic management practices, rather than pursuing the kind of conduct hagglers exhibit in an attempt to receive lower rates, like sheep merchants at a flea market, they could have avoided this conflict altogether. Leaders of large powerful firms that use small firms or independent contractors as mere pawns to achieve organizational goals, are most certain to create conflicts and also face risking a serious breach of trust from their shareholders by deliberately choosing to engage in methods of ethical misconduct.

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In his book, Taking Charge of Organizational Conflicts, Cowan’s  (2003) research also revealed that relationships and organizations suffer when conflicts are not resolved. Plus, they also have a profound affect on those in the organization directly involved as well as those who are not. The truth is, everyone connected with a conflict, including the innocent bystanders, can be affected at some kind of personal level (Cowan, 2003).

Once leaders are able to address the conflict, steps to resolution can begin by identifying some of the following elements: (a) the parties involved, (b) the issues disputed, (c) the positions of the parties, and (d) the parameters of the bargaining zone. If leaders do not address these components, unresolved conflicts and disruptions can lead to disastrous consequences, especially if the tension continues to build and both sides resort to whatever method available to release aggression and seek justice for having their rights violated.

Although the psychological climate for negotiation can seem bleak, individuals and leaders of organizations that are faced with conflicts, will require strong leadership skills to work through them. The leaders who achieve the most successful results are those that are open to active listening, gather all the information available from the players involved, and engage in practices of transparency and accountability, to help them reach their goals.

That’s a wrap for our discussion today. Until next time … do your best to find ethical solutions when conflicts arise and stay organized!

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“You can’t solve problems until you understand the other side.” – Jeffrey Manber

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References

Cowan, D. (2003). Taking charge of organizational conflict (2nd ed.). Fawnskin, CA: Personhood Press.

Causes and Consequences of Social Change

Published October 9, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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Today we conclude our focus on this week’s topic of social change as we take a closer look at the causes of consequences. To begin our analysis, we must first acknowledge that we reside in a bewilderingly complex world where a large number of the populace seem to think it is impossible to make sense of. In other words, it is easier for people to give up, disconnect, and concede their uniqueness to the tramlines of programmed convention (Icke, 2012). The fact is, that indeed, it is a considerably different place from the world we came to recognize as children, or from even that of ten years ago. As we discussed this week, there are many reasons for these changes, one of which includes the significant incidents that occur, like active shooter events, that continue to help shape our evolution.

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To help bring about social change it is important to differentiate between the causes and consequences of an event to better comprehend the impact it may have. For instance, in the social sciences, causes are implications, not things that are self-evident from a given set of observations (Harper & Leicht, 2011). This can make analysis and documentation of significant events a difficult task, whether arbitrarily treated as a cause or consequence. To complicate matters further, a biographer, on the one hand, may view and describe a noteworthy event with a different perspective than that of a social scientist. For example, a social scientist may be interested in how a significant event would impact the culture’s values, problems, fears, as well as the collective hopes and dreams that people share; whereas a biographer on the other hand, would tend to focus their investigative strategy on the story they are covering without the conjecture of outcomes. Meanwhile, a historian may implement both strategies in their attempt to reveal the process, progress, evolution, and development of said event.

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One significant event that had great impact on the country was the mortgage and loan crisis. The 2007 mortgage crisis caused panic because the financial turmoil of the US Economy impacted the world. This resulted from too much borrowing and a severely flawed financial modeling that was largely based on greed and fraudulent practices as well as the assumption that home prices would only continue to increase. One noteworthy consequence of the mortgage crisis, in the meantime, was that a shocked public discovered how leveraged the world is. The long term consequence, however, resulted with bankers, lawmakers, consumers, and business people all working diligently to reduce the paramount effects from that crisis.

In reality, the reverence for home ownership was the central theme of that American experience. It emerged from the mindset of making home loans more available to everyone. In their book, Reckless Endangerment, Morgenson and Rosner (2011) state that: “The Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act actually encouraged unsafe and unsound activities at both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by assigning them a new affordable housing mission. Under the law, the companies had to use their mortgage purchases to help provide housing to those across the nation who had previously been unable to afford a home” (p. 25).

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The consequences of mortgage and loan crisis affected many cities and communities severely. As a result, many local mortgage and loan organizations suffered bankruptcy and left many individuals unemployed and destitute. Furthermore, thousands of families became homeless and lost their homes to foreclosure. Can an event like this ever occur again? Sadly, Morgenson and Rosner (2011) seem to think so. In fact, they eerily contend it most certainly will, because Congress decided against fixing the problem of too big to fail institutions when it had the opportunity to do so (p. 304). Only time will tell.

Well that’s it for this week. Keep learning and stay organized!

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You can only realize change if you live simply. Once people want enormous excess, you can hardly do social change. – Bell Hooks

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References:

Harper, C., & Leicht, K. (2011). Exploring social change American and the world (6th ed.). Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Icke, D. (2012). Remember who you are: Remember where you are and where you come from. Isle of Wight, UK: David Icke Books.

Morgenson, G., & Rosner, J. (2011). Reckless endangerment (1st ed.). New York, NY: Times Books.

The Road to Effective Leadership (Part 1)

Published September 28, 2015 by Mayrbear's Lair

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What is it that makes a spiritual leader like Pope Francis appeal to so many? How does a man like Donald Trump attract thousands of voters to align with his campaign? Is there a common driving force or a key component that is behind the strategies of these popular leaders which has proven effective in their ability to shape the attitudes of the masses? The evidence suggests there is and that the driving force behind them can be identified in one word: ethics. In other words, both leaders are driven by an energy to take action, based on their perceptions of what they consider ethical behavior. That is the driving force that has helped pave their paths as effective leaders.

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A few weeks ago, as the world tuned in to watch the National Republican Debate, our discussions were prompted by the various communication techniques and strategies each candidate utilized to convince voters why they were the best contender to lead this great country. Last week, the United States welcomed Pope Francis on his very first visit, and many of us were so deeply moved by the warmth of his presence, his transparency and humility, we were inspired to take the time and listen to the messages he transmitted to us as a global community.

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Witnessing the infectious energy and authority behind the Pope’s communication skills, we decided to focus our discussions this week on the strategies that he, and other notable world leaders implement that make them so appealing. In other words, what is it about certain world leaders, like Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa, and Nelson Mandella that makes us take notice of them, while so many others communicating a similar message are lost in the shuffle? How is it that a gentle spirited man like Pope Francis has been able to take the global arena by storm, to inspire both practicing and non-practicing Catholics alike, to tune in to the wisdom of his compassionate words?

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On the other hand, how are leaders like Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, who implement tactics from the opposite side of the spectrum, able to inspire the masses? Leaders like these use strategies that are based on what many construe as a kind of narcissistic confidence — one that relies on the use of explosive behavior, harsh language, and tough love, yet their tactics equally stir strong emotion from the crowds that follow them. How does their perception of ethical behavior motivate the masses to rally behind them? These are a few of the questions we will attempt to address this week as we take a closer look at some of the ethical components popular world leaders utilize to help them motivate behavioral change as effective global leaders.

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That’s a wrap for today. On Wednesday we will continue this discussion as we examine why some leaders reach successful outcomes, while others are ineffective at producing positive results. Until then … Stay organized!

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This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas. The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good. – Pope Francis

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