By: Sammi Davis @SammiD_JMC
Edited by: Fernando Aguilar
When Steven posed the question at the end of the Fitzarraldo presentation, I was inspired to write this post. The question was something to the effect of, do leaders lead for others or for their own self-interest? Of course you want to believe that leaders lead for others. But when I thought more about it, I realized that almost every leader I could think of had a personal stake in whatever objective they were trying to accomplish.
Here are some top leaders:
- Martin Luther King Jr. was protesting for Civil Rights—civil rights he had been denied as an African American.
- George Washington was unhappy with the ineffectiveness of the Continental Congress, so he led the Constitutional Convention that created the government the United States has today. (This is also where he was elected the first president unanimously.)
- Mahatma Gandhi fought against a British-ruled India through non-violent civil disobedience—he had a major stake in this as he was Indian and in the Indian National Congress.
- Desmond Tutu is an anti- apartheid activist, and as a black South African he certainly had a stake in the revolution.
My conclusion is the leaders are usually the type of people who see a problem and see that it is not being addressed (at all, or well enough). I think most people just don’t see problems that have no effect on their own life, which is why there is always an element of self-interest in a person who choses to become a leader.
This self-interest is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, if this list shows anything at all, it’s that these individuals were called to lead because of their stake in these issues—but then continued their fight because it was more important than just them. Like Uncle Ben said in Spider-Man, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
‘We went to war in order to be heard.’ — Subcomandante Marcos
P.S. Additionally, I would like to add that as I thought about other leaders, I remembered someone I learned about in my Politics of Mexico class: Subcomandante Marcos from the EZLN Zapatistas in Mexico. If you haven’t heard about the Zapatistas, I’ll try to summarize them as best I can. They are a guerilla-military, anarchist group that fight for the indigenous of Mexico and against the racism that exists in Mexico. They declared war on Mexico after NAFTA was signed because one of the clauses said that the communal lands (ejidos) that the indigenous have used for years could be sold or redistributed. Subcomandante Marcos was the masked leader of the Zapatistas, but what was unique about him was that he was not an indigenous. He was a fair-skinned, highly educated individual from Mexico City (far from where the indigenous live), who was charismatic and well spoken in multiple languages. I would name him as an exception to leaders leading out of self-interest because his connection to the indigenous is pretty removed. I will have to think more about other leaders who have less of a personal stake in the cause they are fighting for, because it seems to me that it is a pretty rare occurrence.
Written by: Emily Fritcke
Edited by: Javaria Tareen
On February 26, 2014, Dr. James Stavridis, Dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, retired U.S. Navy Admiral, and former Supreme Allied Commander of the NATO Alliance in global operations from 2009 to 2013, shared his perspective on resolving global issues with an audience at Tempe Center for the Arts. In his lecture entitled, “Learning, Literature, and Leadership,” he stated, “Walls don’t work. We must create bridges.” He went on to profess that he believes that it is through literature, reading, and studying that we create the ultimate bridge. I was inspired and encouraged by Dr. Stavridis’ comments, because I too believe that exposure to great works of fiction, expressive poetry, and thoughtful biographies provides us insight to world issues, international perspectives, and human strengths and challenges.
As a notable advocate for the study of the humanities, Dr. Stavidris, referenced an article, “Don’t Say Goodbye to Intellectual Diversity,” written Lt. Alexander P. Smith to outline why the humanities are critical to the development of a successful military commander:
“Engineering, math, and science tend to draw certain types of people. Humanities draw different types. The first are inward-focused, rule-bound, risk-averse, and bureaucratic. The outward-focused, improvisational risk-takers who hate bureaucracy and embrace Verantwortungsfreudigkeit—joy in making decisions and taking responsibility—are usually drawn to the humanities.”
Dr. Stavridis acknowledges that there are certain qualities that are essential for a dynamic military leader and claims: “An education in the humanities, especially history and literature, is the best preparation for thinking militarily.”
Violence, regional instability, ruthless dictators, and religious radicalism are unfortunately a part of the fabric of the 21st century. These factors are the greatest deterrents to solving the most persistent global issues. We can possess effective solutions for disease prevention, sustainable agricultural development, safe-water treatment, and economic challenges, but, without the ability to connect, the implementation of these resolutions is unachievable. To effectively build bridges to create an atmosphere for successful resolution of critical worldwide issues, it is essential to have an advanced sense of global awareness and understand the foundations of certain beliefs and actions of specific cultures. According to Dr. Stavridis, this is best accomplished through reading great literature, fluency in languages, genuine interaction with the people of foreign nations, and drawing on the contributions of all disciplines. As Admiral Stavridis stated in his closing comments, “No one of us is smarter than all of us connected.”
By Sammi Davis
Edited by Fernando Aguilar
If you ever need some motivation, just Google motivational quotes (Brainy Quote is great too.) I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Here are three of my favorites, and what I personally took away from them.
I sort-of know what I want out of life, but it’s a vague idea, kind of like I’m looking through a foggy window. I know I like the business of television. I know I like writing. I know I like storytelling, traveling, and the ocean. All of those interests motivate me to continue with my journalism major. But often times I feel like my life plan is still blurry, and that I tend to just go from one interest/ opportunity/ class to the next without thinking much about the big picture. I’m taking steps up some stairs, and only looking at the step I’m currently on, without thinking about where I’m going. It’s a risky way to be, and something I’ve been trying to change. But at least I’m living based on what I want, and what I find interesting. In that respect, I’m lucky. Nobody is pressuring me to study journalism; nobody is forcing my path but me. Which is good, I suppose, because I’m the one who has to live with these choices, and I think that’s good motivation in itself.
Failing is easy, as Mr. Edison would know, and success is hard. In a major like journalism, where you’re success is often based on other peoples involvement (interviews, editors, coworkers, etc.) it’s easy to get frustrated and want to give up when things go south… and not necessarily because of you. For anyone in a position of leadership, they also experience the same scenario—that their success (or failure) is based on their team’s actions and results. That’s why I think its important for leaders to be able to motivate themselves and their team to continue forward, despite any difficulties Because each failure is just another step before success.
In the end, it’s just our lives we are living, and we are always changing. We grow older; we learn; we adapt to new situations, opportunities and challenges. Today I might want to be a television producer for a morning talk show. Tomorrow I might want to be the next lead international news anchor at CNN. Two hours after that, a professional scuba-diving-novelist-poodle-puppy-rescuer. And that’s fine, it’s fine to change your mind and try new things and develop new goals and dreams. The freedom to do whatever you want with life is motivation for everyone.
Written By: Tayllor Lillestol
Edited By: Hina Ali
Over the course of my college career, I’ve had the chance to learn from TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), a global set of conferences that showcase “ideas worth spreading.” I challenge you to listen to a few TED talks and not be amazed at the minds we have leading us into the future.
One of my all-time favorite videos features Simon Sinek, an author and self-described optimist who shares his take on how great leaders inspire action. At the center of his phenomenal presentation is the idea that motivation, or the “why” of doing things, is what makes the most impact.
“People don’t buy what you do.” Sinek says. “They buy why you do it.”
The idea is that most companies and people share their products and ideas by saying what they do, how they do it, and why they do it, in that order. He says everyone knows what they do, some know how they do it, but a rare few actually know why they do it. It’s the motivation behind the action or product that makes the difference, according to Sinek.
He explains that all the great leaders and companies we know and love today think in the exact opposite way. They begin with the ‘why’ and work out to the ‘how’ and ‘what,” and this allows them to have far more of an impact.
I believe Sinek’s assertion that motivation is what makes the difference. Unless you have a valid reason for your actions, something that is moving you forward, you’re just doing things to do them. Motivation can be a powerful tool, especially when combined with passion and a clear vision to back it up. Great leaders inspire by channeling their motivation into a movement for positive change.
The key is finding out what your motivation is, and how to use it. So what’s the motivation behind everything you do, and how do you communicate it to the world?
Watch Simon Sinek’s full TED talk for more inspiration!
My father, or Baba, as I call him in Farsi has always told my siblings and I that “big birds fly with big birds.” I never understood what that meant until I started to truly appreciate all the hard work and challenges my father had to go through in order to provide for my family. After my parents got married, as a foreigner still learning English, he started out working at any job he could find. He either walked or biked miles to work everyday and to save money he would only eat a 50 cent hot dog and drink a gallon of water. He became a limousine driver and later studied to become a licensed commercial truck driver. My parents made the decision that my mom would essentially raise the kids while he spent most of his life working so that we could be comfortable enough to be happy and focus on our education.
My father was truly my first solid example of what a leader should be. He does not just lead my family, but he leads at work and all those he encounters. His many stories of war times, life back in Iran, and his journey to America proves that he never gives up. He leads by sacrifice and by example. My father made the decision to sacrifice time from his family for his family. He also sacrificed his personal career goals to ensure that we had food on the table every night. And, for the past 20 years he has been sacrificing his own well being to push through a backbreaking job taking on the same heavy loads he had when he was 20 years younger.
There is a value on hard work, and my father is the epitome of a hard worker. He does not consider himself to be a big bird, but I surely do. To me, the big birds are not just doctors and lawyers, I think they are the leaders of families, organizations, and the world. When I think about what a good work ethic is I remind myself about the way my father works: professionally, responsibly, ethically, and to the very best of his ability. My father always calls me his “joo-joo,” or baby bird. Well, Baba, I will always be your joo-joo, but I will be flying with the big birds soon.
Sometimes it’s more difficult to identify great qualities in the people closest to you because you know them too well. I know my dad is a great leader, because he manages a dozen aeronautical engineers at Honeywell. And I know my mom can command a room because she is a preschool aid in a classroom where half the kids are physically or mentally handicapped. But, these are also the same people who screamed so loud the house shook when I would repeatedly forget to wash my dishes after dinner throughout high school—so I decided to write this essay on my mama tica.
Mama tica is what we called our Costa Rican host mothers. (‘Tica’ is the diminutive form of ‘costarricence,’ meaning Costa Rican.) I knew my mama tica Rosa for 4 months when I lived with her and two of her children while I studied abroad in San Jose, Costa Rica. She was nearly 60 and a widow, taking care of her mother who was suffering from early on-set dementia, and putting her two youngest children through school (one of them at the most prestigious university in Costa Rica). Rosa was 100% a leader.
You would think that all host parents would have to be compassionate to open up their homes to foreign students. But after a few weeks, I quickly heard from other students that their host parents didn’t care about them as much as Rosa cared about me and my roommate, Melina. Rosa walked us to school the first day of class so that we wouldn’t get lost. She paid for the most delicious churros on our first day in the city because there was a fun festival happening and she didn’t want us not to go because we hadn’t been able to go the bank. And probably the thing I found most compassionate was that she always tried to communicate with me, even though my Spanish was about at a 4-year-olds level, and I was pretty self-conscious.
Besides encouraging me to practice my Spanish by telling her stories (which is absolutely the most difficult thing to do), Rosa also encouraged us in other ways. When a salsa dancing coach approached Melina during a class and asked her to join their competitive team, it was Rosa who convinced Melina to pursue it. Melina ended up on Costa Rica’s #1 team and went to compete with them globally for the rest of the summer. I suppose Rosa thought she might strike athletic gold twice, because she asked me if I liked to swim. I said yes, because I use the term ‘swim’ loosely. I’ve had a pool my entire life, but swimming to me means something between sunbathing and floating. However, Rosa marched me into the city and convinced me to sign up for swim lessons so that I would get better. I’m a terrible swimmer—my host sister Monica told me I looked like a drowning sloth—but at the very least I got a little better.
Rosa always had breakfast and dinner ready for us the moment we walked in the door after school, no matter how busy she was during the day babysitting her grandchildren, teaching religious education, or taking her mom to appointments. But I think what was most astounding was when her brother-in-law suffered an accident and was in a coma for a day, she still took the time to explain what was happening to me, who barely got the gist, apologize for being absent (even understandably so), and she STILL managed to have dinner ready. I don’t even know how that was possible, but she was always prepared.
I think being compassionate, encouraging and prepared are ideal leadership traits, and I was very blessed to have been able to spend 4 months with such a strong woman.
Neither my grandmother, nor my mother got any further than elementary school (due to financial constraints which made education unaffordable).
I, on the other hand, had a different circumstance, and was the first person in my family to go to university. But, despite my many years of education, academic degrees and honors, truthfully, some of my greatest lessons were learnt from these two amazing women.
Though they never stepped foot into a class, or listened to a seminar or read any books to teach them about servant leadership philosophy and practices, in so many ways their lives were the very embodiment of the concept.
Countless anecdotes of their servant leadership flood my mind as I settle down to write this post. It is a challenge to choose just one. But, I’ll focus this time on my grandmother, Doreen.
In the 80’s my grandmother (who we fondly call Mama) migrated to North America, in search of a better life for her family. She made a living by serving others. Starting out as a care-giver and live-in nanny for many well-to-do American families, she later transitioned into a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) – providing home care aid to disabled, chronically ill or elderly persons.
During our many conversations about her work, I often found myself intrigued by her choice of career and profoundly proud of my Mama, for the love, care and dedication that she invested in her activities, which included helping the individual bathe, eat, prepare meals and maintain their home.
To describe it as a job would be a tremendous disservice to my Mama, as to her it was a calling, an honor to be chosen to serve, to show kindness, to lend a helping hand to others.
One day, as we conversed over the phone (as we often do), Mama mentioned a reference letter that one of her employers had written for her. Hungry to hear more, I asked if she would read it to me. As I listened to the shaky voice of my 77-year old grandmother reading out loud, tears streamed down my face and with every word she spoke, my pride and admiration for her grew. This is what it said -
“…She has been a real blessing to both this business, but more importantly, to her clients and their families…She is an extremely capable worker who goes above and beyond the guidelines of the position to make sure her client is safe, comfortable and happy…and is always willing to go anywhere and do anything. COMPANYNAME would quite frankly like to clone both her attitude and infectious laugh and pass it on to other workers. She is a real blessing to all she serves.”
Last semester, I interviewed a family member, Cemal Ayilmaz, for my leadership style paper. Cemal is married to my aunt for more than 45 years now. He started his career as a merchant and owned several small businesses throughout his career. Doing business in an unstable economy such as Turkey for decades, he faced many difficulties and had a career full of ups and down. The hardships in his career and the way he dealt with them affected directly his employees and his family.
Cemal carries all the characteristics of a business owner from a small town. The family and the relationships are the most important element in his life. He also sees them as a core factor not just in his successes, but also in his failures. The relationships always played a leading role in his decisions. He sometimes had to hire a family member or someone from his hometown just for the sake of relationships. He sometimes found himself in a position where he acted as a father or brother to his employees. Since he was always torn between a professional or personal approach, he ended up making happy neither his family, nor his partners and employees. The boundaries between work and family were always fuzzy, and as a result any decision he made was though.
During his interview, he mentioned that he tried to develop a relationship based on trust and he considered his employees as family. They had a close personal relationship out of work as well and he had to take part even in the resolution of their personal problems. He said his employees were typically under-educated unskilled labor so he had to be very strict, disciplined and controlling.
The family affairs influenced his business life a lot – unfortunately most of the time in a negative way. Doing business with family members put him in difficult positions. The problems at workplace moved to the home as well.
Creating a life and work balance is critical to be able to function effectively in business life. Setting boundaries between family and work is even more critical. My main lesson from Cemal’s experience is that the steps we take for the sake of the personal and family relationships might be the steps that will harm them the most. So position yourself according to your principles and boundaries rather than your obligations.
by Derya Kaya
By Ivana Braga
“It is a shame that so many leaders spend their time pondering their rights as leaders instead of their awesome responsibilities as leaders.” — James C. Hunter, The Servant
I used a Internet quiz based in Psychology to give some clues of my leadership style. Please, don’t laugh. Actually, it was quite accurate. You see, according to the system I have characteristics of participative and delegative leadership. It’s not bad at all. I made some progress. I experienced a process like that before in my country, Brazil, personally with human resource and headhunter professionals. The evaluation concluded that I do was participative, but not delegative. I like concentrate things in my hands.
No, I didn’t limited myself to take tests. How you can see on other post, I’m overdosed by American leadership. I’ve attend to seminars, read books and discussed in groups. As result, I found out about Servant Leadership. I identify myself on that pathway, and I know it a long journey. “Being others-focused instead of self-focused changes your worldview. Living in a selfless manner and seeking to help others enriches our very existence on a daily basis. Get your hands dirty once in a while by serving in a capacity that is lower than your position or station in life. This keeps you tethered to the real world and grounded to reality, which should make it harder to be prideful and forget where you came from.” Miles Anthony Smith, Why Leadership Sucks: Fundamentals of Level 5 Leadership and Servant Leadership
I asked Raquel Gutierrez, associate director at St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, to tell us about leadership skill. She highlighted three essential characteristics of successful and authentic leaders: Empathy, curiosity, and vulnerability. And she explains why listed vulnerability. “My experience with impactful leaders is that when they can easily admit they do not know or share an emotion that might not be valued in public/professional arenas, such as sadness, grief, abundant joy it creates a connection with others because these are core human emotions that everyone experiences at one time or another. I happily think this is changing because more case studies are being written on how these characteristics have benefitted well known leaders (Oprah, Brene Brown, President Obama, Sheryl Sandberg). Empathy is about being able to see one’s self in another – this is the cornerstone of being in touch with your humanity.”
Sandy Bahr, Chapter Director of Sierra Club Grand Canyon, also shared her thoughts. “I think my leadership style is to try to inform people and inspire them to act. I try to make sure each person understands that they are powerful and can make a difference, and that by working together, we can make an enormous difference. I think that you really need to like people and also be able to connect with them to work effectively in the non-profit world. I enjoy meeting new people, hearing various perspectives, learning about issues, and generally working with people to try and effect change.I suppose one of the most important qualities in my work is persistence. Giving up is not an option – it is just too important.”
After all, I have to agree with Heissebein leadership is question of to be. Reflecting on my leadership style also reminds my childhood, learning by example. So, let’ me finish talking about part of my day. Today, December 5, 2013, Nelson Mandela passed way. I knew when I got school. I was late for a meeting. I’ve a mix of weird feelings. It was not a surprise, in somehow the world expected it because he was sick for long. That day, I cried, but not for him, for myself. At the night, I refused read news about his death. I preferred to see some pictures Madiba young and old, in the prison, traveling abroad, in South Africa, along politicians, activists, children, family members. I read quotes and historicalfacts. Mandela did what he could, was persecuted and put in jail, suffered to establish another system and changed mindset of million of people about racism. After all, I was still too quiet. Then, I examined why. Of course I was sorry for us, for him, for our cause. I found out that doesn’t matter which leadership style we have. At the end the day or the life what really matters is to rest in peace. It depends what we are, do and which examples we let as legacy. Hail, Madiba!
“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die” - at the Rivonia treason trial in April 1964, when he faced the possibility of a death sentence.
Book Review: ‘More Hesselbein on Leadership’ by Frances Hesselbein, James M. Kouzes (Foreword by)
By Ivana Braga
120 pages | July 2012
Paperback: US$ 15.99 Nook book: US$ 11.49
If you already heard that to serve is to lead, you may are ready to go for “To serve is to live”. That is main point of “More Hesselbein on Leadership”. In that book Frances Hesselbein, CEO of her leadership institute and former CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, compiled 21 articles from Leader to Leader journal. Beside of foreword by James Kouzes, the book has three other parts: The personal side of leadership, Building and sustaining strong organizations and Leading today and Tomorrow.
For people who are used to traditional leadership books, that one could be a bit disappointment. No, I’m not saying it is not good. It is easy to read, most the text are short cases, but do not be fooled, sometimes you can get overwhelmed by the amount of information in few paragraphs. We take time to digest them. For instance, Hesselbein tells that leadership is not about title or destination, and students often question her “How I know that I’m already a leader?” She said: “When your work express yourself”. Simple words, deep meaning. Her leadership definition is “a matter of how to be, not how to do”. It is a quality and character of the leader that determines the performance, the results.”
Within leadership skills she has highlighted, communication frequently appears. Hesselbein considers that “when we observe the lowest level of trust and the high level cynicism, the call for leaders who are healers and unifiers”. And advice if want people to listen banish the “but” replace with “and”. For her leadership is a matter of who is heard, not who speaks.
What more you can find in that book? Some today’s challenges for nonprofit such as cultural change in organization, although the content is not new, its focus is classic way: revisiting mission and powered practice and beliefs through all staff, partners and costumers. The book also give you a panorama of 2000s nonprofit leadership, profile of some organizations and its leaders. She worked with Peter Drucker, father of modern management, and was Chairman of his foundation. Several times his thoughts are reinforced by Hesselbein as mentor and example of leader.
In sum, More Hesselbein on leadership could be an option for nonprofit leaders. You can find inspirational phrases and insights from Hesselbein leadership journey. For instance, she has a very good closing about her leadership and management style: inclusive and circular. “All our experience in all three sectors, in our own country or with colleagues around the globe, confirms that when we move into a position, a relationship, a structure, or an organization, it is the circles, the inclusive circles, that free up the spirit.”
The author: Admirable leadership journey
Frances Hesselbein is recognized as nonprofit leader in USA, mostly. She is called “grande dame of American management” by The woman BusinessWeek,”Best Nonprofit Manager in America” by Fortune magazine and has a Presidential Medal of Freedom. In fact, Hesselbein was awarded several times and has twenty honorary doctoral degrees. She started as a volunteer troop leader and become CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA. She is coeditor in 29 books translate to 29 languages. Currently, she is editor in Chief of Leader to Leader, the premier leadership journal, President and CEO of the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute (formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management) and is part of many nonprofit and private sector corporate boards. http://www.hesselbeininstitute.org/about/fhbio.html
Published for the first time in 1989, “On Becoming a Leader” is a classical and well-known leadership book by Warren Bennis. The book is a combination of Bennis’s own insights and experience on leadership, case studies and interviews with leaders and top executives from different backgrounds both from for-profit and nonprofit sectors.
From an editorial perspective, the book is not very well structured. The author refers to same arguments in almost every section of the book with many repetitions. The several lists of leaders “must-do”s or “must-be”s create confusion as there are so many of them and there is no explanation about how they are compiled.
Bennis starts his book by underlining that there is a need and lack of leadership. It is crucial for our lives since our quality of life depends on leaders. He puts an emphasis on especially national leaders. According to him, national leaders are important because they are responsible for effectiveness, they inspire and restore hope and they provide integrity to institutions. He also answers a very much-debated question in the nonprofit sector by saying that no matter how collaborative the organization is, there is still a need for a leader to coordinate members and make final decisions. The main characteristics of leaders are being visionary, innovative, and original.
Bennis gives a list of ingredients of leadership: guiding vision, passion, integrity, trust, curiosity and daring. A leader give inspiration and hope to other people, a leader is honest, dedicated, authentic and capable of working with others and learning with others. Leader embrace errors, experiment and take risks. He stresses that vision and character cannot be thought, the leaders should invent themselves. To become a leader, we need to know what we are made of and what we want to make of it. One of the ways of doing that is to speak or write your thoughts to be able to develop a sense of yourself and your role in the world. Trying new things, testing yourself, beliefs and principles, being a good explorer and a good listener, applauding yourself for the small successes are some of the tips that may help people to discover themselves. Therefore, self-knowledge is crucial and there are 4 lessons to increase it:
1- You are your own teacher.
2- Accept responsibility. Blame no one.
3- You can learn anything you want to learn.
4- True understanding comes from reflecting on your experience.
From a semantic perspective, if the term “leader” or “good leader” is defined according to the lists provided in the book, there is a missing explanation about how the author classifies a good leader and a bad leader. The leader is presented as an ethical person with high morality and character, in other words as a good person, yet the book does not discuss whether all successful leaders should fit into that criteria or not. Thus, all the good leader or good leadership examples remain purely subjective and argumentative such as the assessment of presidents. The assessment remains superficial and confusing and not enough explanatory.
A leader should be dedicated to continuous learning and should see mistakes as learning opportunities. The writer argues that learning at school is important but it is not enough itself. Education should be combined with practical experience and enriched through families, travelling, private life, friends and mentors. Overall, leaders learn how to learn from experience and how to analyze them in a constructive way. Leaders consciously seek the kinds of experience that will improve them.
The writer’s observation is that American organizational life is a left-brain culture: logical, analytical, technical, controlled, conservative and administrative. His suggestion is that American culture needs more right-brain qualities and leaders must combine administrative and imaginative skills such as empathy and encouraging diversity of opinion. The role of the leader is to figure out how you make diverse people and elements together. From an international perspective, the book mainly focuses on leadership and organizational culture in the USA. All the leaders interviewed are Americans and they succeeded in the USA therefore it is not entirely relevant for global audience.
Bennis states that leaders learn by leading in the face of obstacles. The obstacles may vary: working with a bad boss, crisis, adversity, etc. Facing with those obstacles and even failing can be a way for leaders to “invent themselves”.
Throughout the book, Bennis emphasizes that a leader should have character. The section titled “getting people on your side” gives a formula for leaders who want to make people follow them without the feeling of fear, obligation, and dependence. The four ingredients are constancy, congruity, reliability, and integrity. According to the author, if the members of a team believe in the mission of the organization or feel they also develop personally through the development of the organization, it is easier to work collaboratively.
It is important for individuals to have a willingness to “invent themselves”, but is that enough? Shouldn’t organizations enable people to develop their leadership capacities as well? As a response to that question, Bennis explains how “organizations can help-or hinder” in the ninth section of the book. There are three major forces working on the world today—technology, global interdependence, and demographics and values. The succeeding organizations have similar characteristics according to the Tom Peters’ Thriving in Chaos: less hierarchical structure, more autonomous units, an orientation toward high-value-added goods and service, quality controls, service controls, responsiveness, innovative speed, flexibility, highly trained workers and leaders at all levels rather than managers. Organizations should provide opportunities, invest in its employees, create mechanisms that will avoid burnout, and measure their effectiveness.
The book’s final section “forging for the future” summarizes the factors for the future:
-Leaders manage the dream.
-Leaders embrace error.
-Leaders encourage reflective backtalk.
-Leaders encourage dissent.
-Leaders possess the Nobel factor: optimism, faith, and hope.
-Leaders understand the Pygmalion effect in management.
-Leaders have a certain “touch.”
-Leaders see the long view.
-Leaders understand stakeholder symmetry.
-Leaders create strategic alliances.
The book is a good combination of leadership qualities and gives some tips about how to foster these qualities. It is not the best book though if you are not fond of self-help books.
by Derya Kaya
Adaptive leadership is a response to adaptive challenges which are complex, not very well analyzed or -for several reasons- ignored challenges. The adaptive leadership requires a very honest elaboration of the challenge by questioning how each individual affected by the problem plays a part in its creation and existence.
Both servant leadership and adaptive leadership emerge to deal with a critical need or problem. On the other hand, the servant leader does not need to mobilize and engage people as much as an adaptive leader. The solution to the problem is most of the time more obvious for servant leaders while adaptive leadership demands a completely brand-new approach to the challenge. The adaptive leader aims to develop people’s capacity to solve their problem instead of dealing with the symptoms of the problem.
Adaptive leadership suggests that conventional leadership styles only works for technical problems which can be identified and solved in a short time. An in-depth analysis is an important step of the adaptive leadership as “challenges are typically grounded in the complexity of values, beliefs and loyalties rather than technical complexity and stir up intensive emotions rather than dispassionate analysis”.* The method of the leader is to make people question their own roles, interests, and stakes in the problem which is not possible without an active participation and willingness of the related community. Adoptive leadership suggests that “the problem lies in people, solution lies in them too”.** In that sense, the adaptive leader may not be as popular as a servant leader by encouraging people to face with their cultural, social and political dogma. The courageous, participatory and challenging way of the adaptive leadership means asking the right questions and creating an environment where everyone is able to express their ideas that otherwise they would keep to themselves.
The adaptive leader may not be as popular as the servant leader, however to be able to effectively address an adaptive challenge every leader must use some techniques of the adaptive leadership: not to direct or lead people but to facilitate and encourage people to turn to themselves, to be honest enough to see their own stake in the problems. As such, every adaptive leader needs to have some elements of servant leadership, a leadership style which highlights commitment and the pursuit of common goals versus personal goals.
by Derya Kaya
*The Practice of Adaptive Leadership: Tools and Tactics for Changing Your Organization and the World by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky
** The Theory Behind the Practice: A Brief Introduction to the Adaptive Leadership Framework by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow, and Marty Linsky
Don’t we all wish that there was a magical recipe or an operating manual for managing relationships? We have so many different kinds of relationships and each of them is unique: different foundation, mechanism, and conditionality.
Some relationships are more complicated and baffling such as the ones we have with our colleagues since they are closer to the line between your professional and personal life. In my experience, I had friends who became just my colleagues and colleagues who became my good friends.
There are so many traps in establishing good relationships in professional life: competition, disagreements, conflicts of interests and any other inter-personal, inner-team issues. It is always said that we need to find a balance our personal and professional life, but in practice it is not easy at all.
Why? Let’s start with cultural issues. In my country (Turkey), almost every professional relationship is personal. We tend to work with people like us, people that we can relate to. In general, the qualifications play a secondary role in the decision-making when an employee is hired.
Therefore, we consider every criticism, disagreement and conflict as personal even in professional life. A real life example: If someone provides feedback about the job we are doing, the initial instinct is to take it personal. Before questioning the work, we question the emotions of that person toward us. Or if we have a good relationship with someone we avoid expressing our criticism and dissatisfaction.
It is hard to completely separate your personal and professional life. It is not fun either. If you are more than colleagues at work, it is more likely that you are better motivated and better teammates. It is also perfectly OK if you choose just to stay colleagues. On the other hand; it is a very tricky balance to keep. We need to have awareness about the intersections of personal and professional life and communicate openly.
by Derya Kaya
By Ivana Braga
Teamwork is a complex concept and practice. I have some insights from my experience. However, in advance, I will tell you I don’t have all the answers to make teams efficient. It is because we are talking not about tasks, but people and relationships. The first point to consider, from our human behavior, is the view of teamwork change if we are the person/leader who needs people to work as team and have the work done. That position challenges us. So, instead we say teamwork is not viable; we try to involve people, make them give their best.
That point also helps to clarify the difference between tasks and projects. Tasks can be executed individually, but projects demand a team’s effort. I have worked for organizations, mostly in the nonprofit sector, and teamwork is almost a rule. In general, we have a bare-minimum staff and a lot of work. It also is related to some values the organizations have such as horizontality and democracy. Personally, I love the moment I share an embryonic idea and it becomes a spectacular project after a team meeting, and then, everyone pushes to achieve the results. My best achievements couldn’t happen without others’ talents.
Despite this, I’m not always welcome to the idea of working as a team when asked for. Some disappointed experiences made me reticent. I have perceived that besides personal problems, what upsets a person in the workplace is related to teamwork. The complaints are about the misunderstanding of the project; what he/she really has to do; concerning someone that didn’t meet deadline; regarding different ways to do things or referring to the effort ones have put and others not.
Therefore, my wish is to do an exceptional job and have happy people around me. No, I’m not kind. I’m more productive in this environment. If teamwork is inevitable, some mistakes are.
The Malawian proverb “mutu umodzi susenza denga” (literary meaning one head alone can not carry a roof) means that you can’t solve problems alone. This proverb is often told to instill a sense of group superiority over the individual. This does not mean that Malawians do not celebrate the success of an individual. We do. I do. But the work of an individual is much more appreciated in relation to the group.
In my rural village when you have constructed a roof of a traditional granary, you need relatives or friends to help you lift the roof up and fix it atop the granary. You can not lift it up alone. It is close to be impossible as much as it is a taboo to do it alone.
The process of lifting up the roof atop the granary is equally important as the process of building the roof. Here is how important it is! My personal reasons why I like working in teams.
Teams help the individual showcases his or her talent
By inviting others to help you carry the roof atop the granary, you, the builder of the roof, are acknowledging that your work is complete. You are happy with it. And by accepting your invitation, your friends or relatives acknowledge your work, skill and achievement. It’s like inviting them to celebrate your success. It is a mini exhibition.
Teams help to sharpen individual talents
Before helping you carry the roof, your friends and relatives will examine the roof and either approve it as effective or not. They may make a small adjustment to tighten the ropes for it to be stronger or increase the layers of grass so that water should not leak through. The team help us to sharpen our skills and create a better product.
Teams compliment our effort.
There are situations that require more than one head. Some situations demand more than two hands. There are challenges that cannot be solved by an individual alone. You need friends and relatives to help you carry the roof atop the granary. You cannot do it alone. We need teams to compliment our effort and achieve more.
Teams propel individual skills to new levels
By carrying the roof and fixing it on the traditional granary, more people will be to see the beautifully crafted roof. More and more people passing by will be able to appreciate your work. This is possible because the roof has been put on a higher level. It is no longer on the ground. In basketball, football or soccer, the talent and skills of players is magnified by the work and skills of other team members. Michael Jordan wouldn’t have been the greatest player in basketball without being in a team.
So whatever roof you are carrying – talent, skills, or performance – you need a team.
Last Monday, in leadership seminar, we gave presentations on leadership qualities and styles of different leaders. My classmates chose big names like Aung Sun Suu Kyi, Indira Gandhi and Vladimir Putin. I chose Batman.
Batman is around since 1939 (first launch by DC Comics). He character has gone through several transformations in over seven decades but the foundation character hence of his world and life remains the same. He is probably the only fictional heroes who has been living in several different stages of life (young, old), his character is one of the most comprehensive works of fiction I have come across.
His character is imbued in irremovable memories of childhood trauma, strong personal convictions, perseverance, contradictions and difficult choices; things real world leaders face often.
LIFE IN SHORT
So everyone knows that Batman is the secret identity of the Bruce Wayne, of Wayne Enterprises, a billionaire. Bruce sees his mom and dad shot in cold blood and that memory haunts him for the rest of his life and at times becomes his (only) weakness. He sets out to avenge their death, to get justice but realise that killing the murderer wouldn’t make his nightmares disappear but he finds solace in idea of saving people from the crimes and criminals. He takes on a secret identity, an everlasting and stirring idea. He eventually becomes the most influential member of Justice League of America and saves the world. He is also known as ‘the Caped Crusader,’ ‘the Dark Knight’ and the best detective in the world.
WHAT MAKES BATMAN’S STORY SO COMPELLING FROM LEADERSHIP’S POINT OF VIEW?
Bruce uses Batman’s identity as a dramatic example which he uses to stir people out of apathy (and even inspire). Real world leaders use dramatic examples too. I don’t think people in the world would like Gandhi better if he had worn typical Indian dress or branded clothes. I think a reason Gandhi made huge impact was the appeal of his physical outlook. The reason people find Nelson Mandela so inspiring was the fact that he borne imprisonment for 27 years.
Batman’s character is not free from contradictions. Batman does not kill people because he doesn’t consider himself above the law but he does break other laws. He even gathers intelligence illegally but it is all meant for greater good and sometimes he end up creating a threat for himself and the very people he wants to protect. So Batman makes mistakes and sometimes he has to pay heavy price for these mistakes.
Batman is a loner and he has trust issues. Well a lot of superheroes are sort of loners and geeky hence not trusting other people but Batman’s loneliness stems from his childhood memories and the inner voice which keeps telling him to help his city, his people else he is nothing but a hollow shell. I don’t think real world leader feel like hollow shells but they do have inner voices and I think bigger leader have stronger and louder inner voices – inner compasses that guide them into the right directions.
The Caped Crusader is also a great example of workmanship, he creates his tools, weapons and whatever he needs. He also uses the best technology (probably not as tech savvy as Iron Man) available. Obama’s first Presidential campaign was especially known for using new social media avenues and technology. He has an extraordinary set of skills something all leaders strive for through out their lives so they could achieve their objectives.
He is the only human being in the group of immortals and indestructible members of Justice League of America. He knows his limitations as a human being and this is the reason he always manage to compensate for those limitations with help of technology, knowledge and just by being smart.
Unlike other superheroes Batman does a lot of research, he is known as ‘world’s best detective’, he plans everything.
Batman’s character has been created in different stages of life and one of the most persistent element is the nightmares about his parents’ death – it is a propelling force, the motivation, which keeps him on his toes. I would love to know what kind of nightmares great leaders have, if they have any.
Batman is the only superhero who does not have any superpowers…so he doesn’t have any super strengths, his life doesn’t depend on being a superhero (remember Tony Stark) he is a superhero because he chose to be one. Some people confuse his agility with superpower but he actually does not fly from one building to another. He has trained himself with help of other people to reach to that level. He travels a lot. Ain’t this what a lot of leaders do? I couldn’t find a single leader (through google search) in the world who reached the heights without persistence and hard work.
He hasn’t discovered himself, he has created himself. I think all of us can create ourselves as leaders and we don’t have to wear capes.
The first time I heard about the Elders was in 2007 just before the launch of the network. I was at an international conference in Scotland and the audience was mostly from the NGO world. NGOs (non-governmental organizations) are a medium between people and the governments; therefore the idea of Elders, a group of prominent independent leaders from around the world working together for peace and human rights, was welcomed with excitement. The moment I was asked to write about peace-building, I recalled that day and wondered if Elders are still active and how much this endeavor has achieved in the recent years.
The idea of Elders was created by musician- activist Peter Gabriel and entrepreneur-businessman Richard Branson. Communities all around the world ask for guidance from elders to resolve conflicts, so using the wisdom and collective experience of committed and respected individuals to create a more peaceful world may work. The idea was first supported by Nelson Mandela who is the Honorary Elder and Founder of the group. The distinguished group has now thirteen members and chaired by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The current members are Martti Ahdisaari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jelani, Graça Marcel, Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu, and Ernesto Zedillo.
The members of the group have to be independent, not bound by the interests of any nation, government or institution. The Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi left the group after her election to the parliament in April 2012. Other principles of Elders are the commitment to promoting the shared interests of humanity and the universal human rights, listening everyone in any conflict, acting boldly, and stressing every individual can make a difference.
Elders engage in private advocacy through using their reputation and influence to “open doors and access decision-makers”. The group including people who were active in peace-building processes decides collectively on the issues they want to focus. In the past 6 years, the group worked on conflicts in Sudan, Sri Lanka, Middle East, Korea and Cote d’Ivoire. Elders also focus on development issues such as equality for girls and women. By communicating their views regularly and visiting conflict areas, Elders’s aim to attract the attention of the public and the decision-makers.
During the crisis in Syria, Elders defended that “There is no military solution to this conflict,” “The Security Council has a moral responsibility to find common ground, putting the well-being of the Syrian people at the forefront of its decisions, in order to end the violence and achieve a peaceful settlement based on an inclusive political process,”. Former US President and Elders member Jimmy Carter argued that an international action is the only way of ensuring that Syrian chemical weapons will not be used again.**
It seems the Elders have been actively engaging in the political debate on Syria as well as many other conflicts to make a change in the world, but do we listen to them enough? Both citizens and media should give them more space and support them in their conflict management, peace-making and peace-building efforts- not because their word counts more, but just to be able to hear different voices.
by Derya Kaya
*** Learn more on Elders at http://www.theelders.org
What kind of peace should world leaders focus on most? Negative peace (absence of violence) or positive peace (presence of social justice, equity and harmony in a society).
Our leaders seem to put too much emphasis on negative peace at the expense of positive peace. They are too preoccupied with cessation of overt hostilities. Cessation of threats from Al-Quaida, Russia, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Israel, Palestine or visa-versa is a common language among world leaders.
Are these threats enough to justify a world defense budget in the range of $1800 billion? In a report published earlier this year, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported that world military spending in 2012 was estimated at US$1756 billion. Over 62% of this came from the G8 nations, with the United States contributing $708 billion, or 40% of global military spending.
There is nothing wrong in protecting citizens – that is the key role of the state. Individually we seek our own safety too. It’s for survival. It is one of the basic needs according to Maslow’s human hierarchy of needs. The problem is our leaders appear to be stuck on avoidance of direct violence to the extend that we are constrained as citizens and nations to advance and promote positive peace; mutual and equal well-being of people.
Take the issue of malnutrition, for instance. The G8 committed up to $4.15 billion to save at least 501.7 million lives through the treatment of severe malnutrition. We might choose to applauded the leaders of the developed nations for this act of benevolence for the poor souls in distant places. $4.15 billion sounds like a hello of money – but in reality it is just a drop in the ocean. Here is the glaring arithmetic calculation. For the 501.7 million people affected by malnutrition, $4.15 billion amounts to 2¢ a day each. Sounds ridiculous! It is.
If positive peace – fostering food security – was a real priority, wealthy nations would dig far deeper. And there is one source of funds that the G8 nations could redirect towards nutrition very easily indeed: military expenditure. If all countries reduce their military budget by 1%, the world will save $17.56 billion for nutrition. What when you discover that the US army alone squanders over $3 billion each year on weapons it ends up canceling. What when you learn that America spends $2 billion a per day just to keep the army ‘ready’. What when it is revealed to you that Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.
Can we afford this ‘negative peace’ posture?
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club……..Jack London
Where do successful leaders draw their inspiration from? Is it from God? Is it love for money or passion to help others?
My thoughts about Martin Luther King Jr. is that he had many sources of inspiration. Wife and children, personal experiences and great world leaders before him. However, there are two sources of inspiration that I think influenced King most: game changers and change itself. I will talk about these two in a moment, but first here are my favorite quotes from King and world leaders about their sources of inspiration.
Darling, I miss you so much. In fact, much too much for my own good. I never realized that you were such an intimate part of my life. My life without you is like a year without a spring time which comes to give illumination and heat to the atmosphere saturated by the dark cold breeze of winter…….King wrote to Coretta his wife.
I have a dream, that my four little children’s will grow up in a nation where they will not judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. – King – I have a dream speech<
…. I’m inspired by the love people have for their children. And I’m inspired by my own children, how full they make my heart. They make me want to work to make the world a little bit better. And they make me want to be a better man – President Barak Obama
My personal inspirations are my parents. Yes, I admit it’s a bit cliché, but their voices have been in my head for my entire life – David H. Stevens, President and CEO at Mortgage Bankers Association
That night will never leave my memory as long as I live. It was the angriest I had ever been in my life. Never before, or afterward, can I remember myself being so angry? …….King wrote reflecting on a day he was asked to give up a seat in a bus to a white passenger
What about the influence Abraham Lincoln and Mohandas “Mahatma” Gandhi had on King. Thats a new subject or book on its own. Remember King visited the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi in India in 1959 and was ‘baptized’ in non-violent protest. Three words that quickly come to my mind when thinking of Lincoln and King are braveness, perseverance and assassination.
Well, here are two sources of inspiration that had greater impact on King as a leader.
Game changing people
Richard Branson, Founder at Virgin Group shares the power of game changing people in his ‘Who inspires me’ post on LinkedIn . He says game changers are people who will stop at nothing to make a positive difference to other people’s lives.
King had plenty such characters in his team. He worked with Whitney Young, John Lewis, Roy Wilkins, James L. Farmer, Jr., and A. Philip Randolph, the renowned labor leader who is credited for originally conceiving the idea of bringing protesters to Washington.
This was a team of game changers. The unrelenting ‘Big Six’ as the six organizers were referred to refused to call off the Washington March when President John F. Kennedy held a meeting with them at the White House and informed them that the march would jeopardize the Civil Rights Bill to be presented to Congress. The ‘Big Six’ stopped at nothing but reaching their goals.
Perhaps King would have agreed with Richard Branson, the Virgin empire magnate, when he says “I am fortunate to come across quite a few of these game-changing people, and the desire to help (and keep up with them!) is what drives me.”
Change: Please Tell Me I Can’t
One of the greatest inspiration for King was the idea of change. This is what I consider to be his main motivation: changing the status quo. He was motivated by being told you can’t. You can’t sit in a bus when a white passenger is standing. You can’t vote. You can’t do this or that because you are black. This motivated King to fight on and on. And the more he achieved the impossible the more he was motivated to fight even greater impossibilities.
When he successfully destroyed the racial discrimination policy in the Montgomery city’s public transit system, he aimed for a higher goal: right to vote, economic rights, labor rights, etc. This was achieved too. The successor to the assassinated John F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. One year later, he signed the National Voting Rights Act of 1965. These achievement were even greater motivation for King to aspire for more.
Naomi Simson, Founder of RedBalloon, puts more weight on impossibilities as a motivation. She writes on the topic of ‘what inspires you’ on LinkedIn:
Tell me I “cannot” do, be or have something – and that is the surest way to inspire me into action. What inspires me is simply when the ‘impossible becomes possible’ – to tackle a problem and never give up, no matter how challenging.
What do you think really inspired Martin Luther King Jr.? I would love to hear your views.
As part of our “Lessons in Leadership–Hollywood Style” project, our group examined the leadership styles and ethical dilemmas found in the powerful 1993 film Schindler’s List.
- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Writers: Thomas Keneally (who wrote the orginial book), Steven Zillian (screenplay)
- Stars: Liam Neeson (Oskar Schindler), Ralph Finnes (Itzhak Stern), Ben Kingsley (Amon Goeth)
- Summary: Based on a true story, Schindler’s List follows the transformation of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman (and declared Nazi) who uses his power as a factory owner to rescue more than 1,100 of his Jewish workers from death. (Spoiler Alert! For those who haven’t seen the film but wish to learn more, click here.)
There were two key leadership styles we identified in this film: transformational and autocratic.
Oskar Schindler, the main character and unlikely hero of the film, truly demonstrates characteristics of a transformational leader. As the film opens, it’s clear Schindler is a savvy, charismatic businessman who will stop at nothing to make a fortune. So, when Nazi law encourages the exploitation of Jews as workers, Schindler jumps at the chance to take advantage of the scenario (despite knowing the exploitation is wrong). However, as World War II progresses—and the fate of the Jews becomes more and more clear—Schindler slowly transforms from a greedy war profiteer to a courageous, sympathetic leader determined to use his power (and persuasive charisma) for good. Sacrificing his safety and wealth to help others, Schindler bravely stands up for what he believes in through bribing Nazi/SS commanders to protect his Jewish workers and keep his factory a safe “sub-camp” for them. Demonstrating courage, kindness, assertiveness and charisma—all in the face of one of history’s most ruthless regimes—Schindler provides an extraordinary example of leadership still relevant today.
On the other hand, the antagonist of the film–Nazi commander Amon Goeth–is an autocratic leader, using a ruthless, authoritarian leadership style to assert his power and control over the Jews of the Plaszów work camp. Deeply entrenched in Nazi philosophy, Goeth rarely listens to input from others, refuses to admit he is wrong for fear of showing weakness and dictates all decisions in the camp–including shooting random prisoners from his Villa balcony for fun.
THE TURNING POINT
Because Schindler’s List is set during World War II, the ethical dilemmas are essentially embedded in the tumultuous plot–an intersection of conflict rooted in politics, business and humanity. However, there is an important turning point in the film where Schindler begins to struggle internally and the main ethical dilemma of the film arises. As Schindler witnesses the violent and dramatic evacuation of the Polish Kraków ghetto, he sees a little Jewish girl in a red coat aimlessly wandering the dirty streets. Sticking out among the black and white images of the film, it becomes evident that the girl awakens a form of humanity in Schindler. It is from this point forward that Schindler begins making a personal effort to bring Jews to safety in his factory–and, consequently, has to bribe, work with, and obey members of the Nazi regime (like Goeth).
- Schindler’s List was shot mostly in black and white.
- The film is based on the novel Schindler’s Ark by Thomas Keneally, an Australian novelist.
- At the time the film was released (1993), there were fewer than 4,000 Jews left alive in Poland. It is estimated that there are more than 6,000 descendants of the Schindler Jews today.
- The film is being re-released by Universal Studios on DVD March 5th of this year! You can check out the new trailer and how to buy the DVD here.
Because I’ll probably never have the chance to do it again, I’m going to analyze the leadership of three characters from the first book of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, “A Game of Thrones,” which will pretty much match the characters in the HBO television show, “Game of Thrones.” This show revolves around the concept of leadership and what it means to have power over others. It’s an incredibly complex and enjoyable story that always keeps me pondering a person’s sense of responsibility over others versus their own wellbeing.
Eddard Stark — Servant leader, bureaucratic leader. As the ruler of the North, Stark truly cares about his subjects and justice. Unfortunately, he’s about the only character in this story who holds a sense of righteousness. When children die, he thinks it’s wrong, no matter whose side of the political gridlock they’re on. But everyone else considers dead children another loss in their quest for power. Stark also believes in the classic succession in a monarchy that relates to one’s blood. When Stark finds out that King Baratheon did not beget his heir, Stark attempts to tell the king, but then the King dies. So Stark writes the deceased king’s brother and tells him to declare himself king. Stark had the chance to tell King Baratheon about this issue with the heir, but chose not to for the sake of the heir, who is a child. He did not want the kingdom to revolt and kill the boy who lied about being heir. He did not want children to die. Because of these actions, he loses his head. This willingness to save lies and follow the rules makes Stark a classic servant leader and bureaucratic leader.
King Robert Baratheon — Laissex-Faire leader. I know this term was not taught to us in class, but it fits King Baratheon best of all the types. Quite frankly, he is a terrible leader, and can’t help it. He won the throne because he was an incredible warrior, and battled his way to the top. Baratheon says, “When I won the throne I thought I would be able to do whatever I wanted.” He did not realize the responsibility that followed the Iron Thrones (as they call it in the book). Baratheon cannot handle politics. When people wage war with words, he walks out of the room. He is best at wielding a battle axe. While he has some sense of justice, he has no idea how to instill it in the seven kingdoms. He leaves his small council to rule the kingdom while he gorges himself on feasts and women.
Daenerys Targaryen — Servant leader, charismatic leader, transformational leader. Exiled to the Eastern lands, Targaryen enters the book at a weak, abused 14-year-old girl. She ends the books as a confident, powerful queen (who is still 14-years-old!). This transformation is incredibly well-told by Martin. When Daenerys’ brother sells her to be the wife a Dothraki horselord (essentially a Mongolian), Daenerys is frightened and innocent. But as the book progresses, Daenerys slowly morphs into her role of power, calling herself khaleesi and convincing her horselord husband to take back the Seven Kingdoms in the West. Her powerful message and sense of confidence radiates to those around her, and even in her weakest state she holds command over others. She never lets go of her goal, which makes her transformational. She always acts with grace and confidence, which makes her charismatic. And she always works for what she thinks is the good of others, which makes her a servant leader.
Overall, leadership in Game of Thrones varies with each character. But those struggles of power and the conflict grip the reader into an obsession that won’t end until book seven in released.
In a move described as “the largest transaction in the history of the food business,” Warren Buffett recently acquired another multimillion-dollar company to add to his portfolio: H. J. Heinz Company. Known as one of the most successful and wealthiest investors in the world, Buffet’s acquisition of the ketchup company could make him the owner of the most highly-leveraged U.S. food manufacturer (with a market value greater than $5 billion!), according to Bloomberg data.
It’s no secret that Buffett consistently grows strong brands and produces above-average returns on his investments—his nickname is “the Oracle of Omaha,” after all. But, Buffett is not perfect. He’s had a series of serious investment mistakes in the energy industry, and was completely wrong in his forecast that the housing industry would quickly bounce back and become profitable. So what makes Buffett such a great leader? Why is his name recognized above thousands of other investors who are younger or more profitable?
Buffett has stated multiple times that he values his public image, which is one of the reasons why is he a huge philanthropist (and is so admired). The author of Amazon.com’s top-selling biography, Buffett makes it a point to be transparent in his business strategies and personal life. In fact, Buffet was the first to break the news to the press that he was diagnosed with Stage 1 prostate cancer once he found out.
Just as Scott Pansky mentioned in his discussion on cause marketing Monday, transparency is key in establishing a brand partnership that people see as authentic and trust—which is exactly what Buffett has done to craft his success and become a respected leader. Buffett recognizes his strengths and weakness, and uses this self-identity to influence others.
I’d even venture to say that one of the reasons he’s so successful is because he follows a horizontal leadership approach, bringing fresh perspectives to his investments through constantly working with others and recognizing feedback.
Do you agree that Warren Buffett should be a respected leader? Do you think others could follow his transparency strategy and be successful?
Growing up in a large, Italian family is a lot of fun—when you’re not the baby. As the youngest of seven grandchildren, I was always the one who was left out at family gatherings. I was “too short” to play basketball with the boys, “too young” to watch TV with the girls, and “too fidgety” to listen to the grown-ups in their robust discussions. I was always told to “go somewhere else.”
So, naturally, I went to the one place I knew someone would welcome me—the kitchen. No matter what circumstance, my Nana was always in the kitchen preparing food for the family. Whether she knew of my ostracizing or simply wanted company, I’ll never know. But, she always welcomed me and found something for me to do, somehow weaving in a life lesson with each activity.
Thus, it only seems appropriate that one summer evening she taught me one of my first lessons in leadership. Engrossed in a picture I was drawing, I remember becoming upset that I didn’t have the color I wanted to complete the picture. (I guess you could say I was a bit of a high maintenance child.)
My Nana told me not to cry, because she had just bought a new set of crayons that she left in the cellar.
I was petrified of the cellar. Old, dark and smelly, the cellar was my least favorite part of my house, and she knew it. I told her I didn’t want to go into the cellar, and that I’d just leave my picture unfinished.
She turned around from the stove, placed her hands on her petite frame, and uttered a statement I’ll never forget: “Nicole Marie Lavella. How dare you abandon all of that hard work! Some of the hardest things in life require the scariest steps.”
My Nana taught me many leadership qualities—patience, the ability to work with others, encouragement. But, most of all, my Nana taught me courage. She taught me how to tackle my fears—and how to lead others in the same way.