Top 3 Posts of 2015

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Wondering what you have been reading this year on Leadership Archways? Here are the top 3 posts from 2015!

1.) 5 strategies that will improve your verbal communication skills.

2.) What is Organizational Behavior and Why Does it Matter?

3.) Followership: Why is it important for Leadership?

As we round out the year, it is important to look back on what has happened in 2015. The past year has been defined by historic farewells and debuts, as well as scandals and feel-good success stories. Here are just a few of the stories that made a huge impression on the public’s consciousness in 2015.

In the news, we have had a crazy year from the Charlie Hebdo Attack in Paris to fall of Greece’s economy, and Jared from Subway going to jail.

In the technology sector there was Excel 2013’s Flash Fill, Apple Watch, New Horizons’ Pluto pics, and October 21 (“Back to the Future” fans? Anyone?)

When looking at pop culture, there was the transformation of Bruce to Caitlyn, “50 Shades of Grey”, and “Saturday Night Live” turned 40.

Overall 2015 has been a exciting year and I know I am looking forward to what is ahead in 2016!

 

 

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Holiday Rush: Why your package may not make it to you as planned

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With the rush of the holidays and our busy schedules, many of us order gifts online instead of going to a store. I would also venture to say that most of us expect them to be delivered as specified on the confirmed delivery date! During the holidays however, things may not go as expected. After a recent experience at UPS, where my package is somewhere in the Los Angeles facility, I decided it was critical to highlight the impact temporary employees can have on an organization’s effectiveness.  I have presented two possible explanations as to why your package may not make it to you in time for the holidays.

Lack of Organizational Commitment

Temporary workers do not have the same sense of commitment as permanent employees, and rightly so. Although managers cannot control the external economy, they can do several things to motivate employees to want to stay with the company – that is, to enhance effective commitment. Here are three methods from the leadership literature to develop organizational commitment:

  1. Enrich jobs: People tend to be highly committed to their organizations if once trained they are given autonomy in their job tasks and recognized for making important contributions (Greenberg, 2005). Both temporary and permanent employees should be about to feel like they have the autonomy to handle tasks. Lastly, recognition is important especially for temporary employees because it helps to integrate them in the culture of the organization, even if it is only for seasonal employment.
  2. Align the interests of the company with those of the employees: Employees, including temporary ones, are more likely to show higher commitment to their organization when they see that improving the company benefits their own situations as well (Greenberg, 2005).
  3. Recruit and select new employees whose values closely match those of the organization: Recruiting new employees is important not only because it allows the organizations to accommodate seasonal demands; it also provides an opportunity to find people whose values match those of the organization (Greenberg, 2005).

Inadequate Employee Training

To be effective, temporary employees must have the right blend of skills needed to for their team to be successful and this can be accomplished through the systematic acquisition and improvement of the skills and abilities needed to improve their job performance – that is, training (Greenberg, 2005). It was brought to my attention while at UPS that some of the temporary employees were still trying to get the hang of their job, which indicates that they may not have received enough orientation training.

  1. Participation: People not only learn more quickly but also retain skills longer when they have actively participated in the learning process. This applies to the learning of both motor tasks as well as cognitive skills.
  2. Repetition: If you know the old adage “practice make perfect,” you are already aware of the benefits of repetition on learning. Scientists have not only established the benefits of repetition on learning but also have shown that they effects are even greater when practice is spread out over time rather than lumped together. After all, when practice periods are too long learning can suffer from fatigue, whereas learning a little bit at a time allows the material to sink in most effectively.
  3. Transfer of training: As you might imagine, for training to be most effective what is learned during training must be applied to the job. In general, the more closely a training program matches the demands of a job, the more effective the training will be.
  4. Feedback: It is extremely difficult for learning to occur in the absence of feedback. Feedback allows employees to correct problems and improve performance with guidance (Greenberg, 2005; Ilgen & Moore, 1987)

References:

Greenberg, J. (2005). Managing behavior in organizations. Pearson Prentice Hall.

Ilgen, D.R. & Moore, C.F. (1987). Types and choices of performance feedback. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72, 401-406.

Image: http://www.ispot.tv/ad/76du/the-ups-store-pack-and-ship-guarantee-elves

 

 

StrengthsFinder 2.0

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I recently attended a workshop hosted by the Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University. The workshop, led by Susan Shald, focused on Gallup’s Strengths-Based Leadership.

While participating in the workshop, I was awarded a book of my choosing. I asked Susan for a recommendation, and she urged to read the StrengthsFinder 2.0. Below gives a description of the book and the results that I received from the assessment.

Over the past decade, Gallup has surveyed more than 10 million people worldwide on the topic of employee engagement (or how positive and productive people are at work), and only one-third “strongly agree” with the statement: At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day (Rath, 2007). 

Gallup’s studies indicate that people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life in general (Rath, 2007).

In every culture studied however, the overwhelming majority of parents (77% in the United States) think that topics where their children receive the lowest grades deserve the most time and attention (Rath, 2007). To put it simply, overcoming deficits is an essential part of the fabric of our culture.

StrengthsFinder explains essentially that each person has a greater potential for success in specific areas, and the key to human development is building on who you already are and your existing strengths, rather than improving your weaknesses.

What’s new in StrengthsFinder 2.0?

The research and knowledge base on the topic of human strengths has expanded dramatically over the past decade. StrengthsFinder 2.0 is designed to provide you with the latest discoveries and strategies for application. The language of the 34 “themes” (or characteristics) from the first version remains the same, but the assessment in 2.0 is faster and more reliable (Rath, 2007).

Once I completed the assessment, I received a comprehensive Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide.  It took me an hour to read through the book and take the assessment; my time was split 50/50. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to learn more about themselves. I feel that these results are in line with my personality, the assessment was easy, and the reports are simple to read through. I look forward to using these tools as a road map to capitalize on my own strengths. Below are my results.

MY TOP 5 STRENGTHS

  1. Achiever: People who are especially talented in the Achiever theme have a great deal of stamina and work hard. They take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
  1. Focus:People who are especially talented in the Focus theme can take a direction, follow through, and make the corrections necessary to stay on track. They prioritize, then act.
  1. Activator:People who are especially talented in the Activator theme can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. They are often impatient.
  1. Individualization: People who are especially talented in the Individualization theme are intrigued with the unique qualities of each person. They have a gift for figuring out how people who are different can work together productively.
  1. Learner:People who are especially talented in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.
References:
Image: http://www.ingeniosus.net/blog
Rath, T. (2007). Strengths Finder 2.0. Gallup Press.

Reflections from Conscious Leading for Global Change: Emergence of our Collective Realities

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The International Leadership Association recently held its annual conference in San Diego, California. Titled Conscious Leading for Global Change: Emergence of our Collective Realities, I participated in this conference in several ways: presenting my dissertation at a poster presentation session and participating in the emerging scholars program. As part of the emerging scholars program, I was paired with Dr. Bill Gardner. His mentorship proved invaluable on my journey to finish my dissertation. The conference also led me to reflect about my own leadership capacity and my next steps as a practitioner.

In this post, I will focus on my reflections from a session and a lunch talk that I attended.

New Constructs: Leadership Development Efficacy

The New Constructs session discussed the importance of Leadership Development Efficacy and what it does for organizations, companies, and scholars. The concept of leader efficacy has received relatively little attention in the leadership literature (Hannah, Avolio, Luthans, & Harms, 2008). This is somewhat surprising given that effective leadership requires high levels of agency (i.e., deliberately or intentionally exerting positive influence), confidence, and self-efficacy.

Leader developmental efficacy is defined as someone’s confidence in their ability to develop as a leader. There’s an emphasis on development because it is conceptually different from someone’s confidence in their ability to perform as a leader/lead. Please also note that this construct are still in press with the Leadership Quartley, please contact me if you have questions. This is a wider idea than the speakers in the session are working on and the theory is in development from Dr. Avolio.

What does Leadership Development Efficacy do?

Simply put, it allows us to find out who in an organization would get the most out of leadership development. This new construct could help determine if leadership development activities lead to a person having more intentions of developing other leaders, thus self-engaging in leadership development. Overall, I see value in this construct and feel once the measure is fully developed it could be highly valuable to Leadership and Organizational Development practitioners.

Reflections on Mindful Leading as a CEO

On October 30th, three CEOs came together discuss Mindful Leading. These executives made the lunch audience aware that mindful leading is not a fad and that it can be applied and has value across industries. During the panel discussion, each CEO pointed out different ways that they mindfully lead at the workplace. Multiple CEO’s talked about family and the importance of re-focusing oneself by being grounded in one’s family, health, and by participating a sport or other form of regular physical activity. There was an apparent notion from the CEO’s that life was a part of work and it could not be separated.

Another topic they discussed was continual learning. One CEO explained that she asks for “re-do’s” for tasks that she did not do correctly. She literally asks to re-do things she does wrong. Her reasoning is that no one person can have all the answers. Another CEO stated that he saw turnover as good for innovation, as it brings new minds into the organization. Overall, these CEO’s made it evident that they believed culture could eat strategy for breakfast. The Reflections on Mindful Leading as a CEO lunch was a great opportunity to see how effective CEO’s are running their organizations and to hear their takes on being a leader.

References:

Hannah, S. T., Avolio, B. J., Luthans, F., & Harms, P. D. (2008). Leadership efficacy: Review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 19(6), 669-692.

Image: http://www.wtgteam.com/portfolio/global-change-cultural-development/