Mike C

A Leadership Blog

Why Leaders Need to Be Reading

Why Read?

Not enough of us read. At all. This is something that can eventually come back and bite us in the you know what. It is essential for us as leaders to be reading. The more we are getting into books, the more we are able to conceptualize new ways of being able to lead effectively. It can be essential for us to even work towards figuring out ways to engage our followers in dialogue to facilitate departmental growth and organizational growth.

Even if you are not in a leadership position, reading provides a lot of valuable benefits, including:

New information about the workings of the world.
New studies and research can reveal a lot about what is changing. Heck this can be the direction that much of the world is going in.
&tab;New ideas in the field that you have gone into
Business research or scientific research can give you new ideas for your research or your business.
&tab;New research might reveal new things that can easily be implemented in business.
Enhances your vocabulary and can make you sound more intelligent.
&tab;Larger vocabulary is essential if you are looking to make a good impression.
&tab;Leaders that are able to utilize new vocabulary can also work towards improving the vocabulary of their staff (which makes a noticeable impact with clientele).

These are essential if you want to succeed in any area of life. These are important for those individuals that want to be able to move ahead in business.

Why Should Leaders Be Reading More?

Specifically, leader should be reading much more. Leaders that don’t read tend to miss out on new ideas and tend to miss out on new processes. Leaders that don’t read are missing out on new leadership trends or processes that might make them more effective in their sphere of influence.

It is imperative for leaders to be learning something new. Reading just happens to be one new way to learn new ideas. Books are being published all the time-it’s easy to look and choose the books that are going to be interesting and beneficial for your situation and use case.

Books could provide ways to simplify a particular business challenge that your organization faces. This could save countless hours and time for much of your staff and make it easier to be productive. It is important for you as a leader to implement these things (and books might be a way to provide the information as to how to implement these changes).

Leaders that read can ask harder questions of their staff and hopefully get better answers to what they are feeling are the major issues. Books can sometimes be the opening of a leader’s eyes so to speak. This is important for many leaders and this is important for organizations to have some of these difficult conversations with their staff.

Good Readings for Leaders

There are plenty of valuable books that a leader could derive some benefit from:

Tools of the Titans by Timothy Ferris
The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team
Strengths Based Leadership
Start With Why
One Minute Manager
Dare to Lead
Emotional Intelligence 2.0
The Art of War

This is not an exhaustive list but a good starting point for you looking to start reading more. Many of these books serve to provide an idea covering a basic element of leadership and guiding you to explore deeper into other facets of what makes a good leader.

Creating a reading list

One of the things that I would recommend is to create a reading list of everything that you want to read. Make it a priority to do this and regularly buy the next book in your series. It is important to continually getting the next book while you are currently reading the book that you have on your desk.

The list can be tailored to you as a person. Find what is going to be interesting for YOU to read. If you are interested in it, you are much more likely to absorb the information and apply it. Your staff with thank you for trying out new things.

Creating time to read

One of the biggest challenges for leaders is creating the time at work to read. There are a lot of things that need to be done and there often is not enough time that can be carved out for reading more often.

It can make for some rather interesting challenges for many leaders trying to carve out any time for anything other than the core duties that they have been assigned. Leading is often hard work and time consuming work. It is very essential that leaders learn to carve out time away from their duties to be able to read and improve themselves as individuals.

Self-directed learning through reading

Invariably, reading more isn’t enough. You have to be very self-directed with the approach that you use towards this reading process. You have to be invested in learning something new and learning how to retain that information for the future. It is imperative that you utilize that accordingly.

This is where self-directed learning comes into play. You utilize a learning plan for yourself so that you can properly develop your leadership skills and style over time. You look for ways to improve and map out where you want to go with your learning.

Self-directed learning should be focused. It should be beneficial. You don’t want to be jumping around with the information that you are acquiring. This can lead to confusion for you and your staff. It is important that everything that you are studying goes back to the same path that you are undertaking.

Encouraging staff to read themselves

On this journey, you need to integrate your staff into learning. Most leaders and organizations might fight this transition but it is important that you need to encourage and facilitate this transition into reading and learning. It doesn’t matter what the staff chooses to learn and read more about…as long as it can eventually be integrated into processes down the road. Allowing this can make staff more likely to be engaged with the organization later and much more likely to contribute towards overall growth.

How Do You Measure Impact?

What is impact?

Impact can effectively be compared to influence. How well you influence others and can persuade them to move in a more positive direction. This at its core what impact is. Influence can be defined as a way to persuade others to rally behind a cause. Persuasion to get people interested in performing doing certain duties. Keep in mind this is not manipulation. In this context, this is positive. It is geared towards a positive influence without trying to manipulate or abuse someone into doing something. Leaders are not all about manipulation but rather trying to find ways to persuade and convince in ways that are healthy.

Why do leaders need to know about impact?

You cannot lead if you cannot influence others. You cannot lead if you cannot drive change and influence others. You cannot become a leader if people seem not to rally behind you. Leaders need to make a difference and need to be able to drive change. This change is within their organizations or communities. The change and people they drive are directly in the vicinity of these organizations. Much like a non-profit positively impacting the counties that it resides in.

Problems with saying that you want to make an impact

There are plenty of problems with saying that you want to make an impact. Many of them are glaringly obvious that they should be common sense. Let’s cover some of them:

First, how do you measure impact and influence? Leaders often want to say that they want to make a difference, but they do not define it in a way that is measurable. You have to be specific, such as I want to improve 10% of my reader’s lives by providing resources to help them learn and apply exercise and nutrition routines. That is measurable. You can know through the collection of data whether or not you have met your goal.

Second, stating that you want to make an impact is overly idealistic. It can present you as a leader to be naive and oblivious to the world. You have to work on phrasing it in a way that addresses how you want to drive change in the world in an objective way. You need to phrase the wording in a way that solidifies your purpose for driving change rather than stating that you want to make a difference.

Third and finally, wanting to make an impact can lead itself towards trying to avoid the difficult decisions. Leaders that often want to make an impact tend to overlook that they will have to make decisions in life that are difficult that negatively impact the lives of others. That is a very difficult thing that leaders are going to have to do.

What Leaders Should Be Doing Instead

Leaders should be striving to be as objective as possible. This makes it much easier for them to measure what and how they are changing the world around them. They seek to find ways to be as objective as possible with what they are doing. Without something definitive, you are nothing more than someone talking a lot of smack.

If you have data behind you, then you are likely to have something to back up your claims. You are more likely to have something that you can use to refer back to as a way to back up what you are saying. This makes it much easier for you as a leader if you ever need to transition out of one role and into another role.

This is not to say that you cannot incorporate altruistic elements with it…but focus on having something backed by data instead.

Things You Might Need to Know About Leadership in an Inclusive World

I have to warn that this post may offend some individuals. It is not my intention to do so, since I would like to merely address the situation and the thought process. Keep in mind this is nothing more than informational.

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is the process of incorporating a variety of different individuals from a variety of different backgrounds. These could be individuals of different ethnicities or individuals with different preferences for partners (among other things). It is important that these should not be the sole basis for hiring a candidate nor a contributing factor, as there are plenty of laws condoning those practices (and for good reason!).



With inclusion, you are aiming to make it safe for these individuals to be a part of your organization. You are making it acceptable that they are welcome for who they are, regardless of what those differences may be. As leaders, though we might not agree with the lifestyle choices that these individuals make, we need to be sure that we can include and make our organizations conducive for them to be apart of the structure.

Why Implement Inclusion?

The biggest reason to be inclusive (whether legal or not) is help facilitate internal growth. All individuals deserve the right to be able to contribute to society in a positive manner. Leaders can strive towards being able to incorporate new ideas or new ways of doing things by including these individuals more into projects and workspaces.

What Happens If You Have Someone That Does Not Behave Well With Inclusion

There will be individuals that unfortunately will mot play nice with people that are different than them. It is an unfortunate fact of life and no matter how progressive society tends to get, there will always be individuals that want to spend their time with like-minded people. The best way to handle and adress this is to facilitate their departure if they cannot be accomodating. It is not up to a person to like something or agree with something, but they can be civial about it. Provide them opportunities to be able to overcome some of their predujices if possible. Document everything to ensure that you have covered yourself if they decide to not change or show respect towards fellow human beings.

Why Some Organizations Should NOT be inclusive

Talking about inclusion is important. We should be accomodating of individuals to a point. Some of these are a rather valid and others are from a pragmatic stance on the situation.

There are some organizations that I firmly believe should not be inclusive nor be forced to be inclusive:

  • Religious Institutions such as mosques and synagogues
  • Non-profits that cater to a particular demographic
  • Elementary and Middle Schools

Leadership Failure #3: Failure to Cultivate Self-Management

What is Self-Management?

Self-management is the focus on getting a team to function without having leadership input. The idea is to have a team that can work out it’s problems/issues without external input. It’s to get people developed to work independently and without having individuals needing to have their hands held to get job duties done. Self-managing teams can work rather well in organization that are in mission critical fields. Self-management is the idea that employees are able to know what they need to do and can do that on their own.

Benefits

There are a lot of benefits to self-managing teams:

  • Reduces management and leadership involvement
    1. This allows a leader to focus on other, more important tasks.
    2. Leaders don't necessarily have to be involved in the more mundane elements of managing a team.
    3. Self-managing teams can also enhance an organization by getting other departments to become more independent. The more independent that these departments are, the more likely they can function and simplify processes to work more effectively.
  • Makes it easier to adjust to changes in the market.
    1. When teams are independent, they can figure out what is going on in the market and help the organization to adjust better.
    2. They are much more likely to find new ways to service these changes.
    3. Self-managing teams are also able to present new ideas as a result of seeing these changes firsthand.
  • Self-managing teams can simplify and enhance processes.
    1. When teams are independent, they can find out which processes can be simplified and then simplify them.
    2. Self-management teams can take those proceses that are ineffective and replace them with better ones.
    3. Self-managing teams are continually developing.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of other major benefits to having these teams being independent. These are just some of the benefits that you will see as a leader with developing teams that are functionally independent.

Why Leaders Fail to Cultivate Part One: Failure to Relinquish Control

One of the biggest reasons why leaders fail to cultivate these teams is that they fear giving up control. It’s an easy thing to understand when it comes to leadership. The individual(s) that have gotten into these positions may have worked hard for years to get there and don’t want to have “competition.” It is an easy thing to get into. Leaders that are here need to learn how to appropriately navigate the transition of having self-managing teams.


Failing to give up control can stifle a lot of the things that a team might need or want to function normally. When a leader stifles a team, there creates unneeded and unnecessary tension. This tension leads to situations that aggravates the stress that everyone feels. Failure to relinquish control when needed just makes it that much harder to get things done.

Why Leaders Fail to Cultivate Part Two: Insecurity

Much like the failure to relinquish control, leaders can fail to turn over control to their team as a result of insecurity. Some of these leaders can feel like they lose the potential of regaining control as a result of their teams becoming more self-managed. Others might feel like they feel like they are unable to let go of control. This can play onto the aforementioned reason, but insecure leaders are just afraid that there are going to be things that happen that they cannot repair the “damage” that a team is likely to cause if they are allowed to become self-managing.

Overcoming Barriers

There are a few ways to overcome barriers when learning to transition your team to a more independent role. Take each with a grain of salt and then look at these barriers as opportunities to learn/grow.

First, learn to let go. It will help you. Let go of control and the need to control every facet of what the team is doing. As a leader, you have to learn how to manage and do damage control. This will make it much easier for you to allow them to do what they need to do as a group of individuals.

Second, facilitate the transition towards self-management. Encourage people to take charge. Encourage the employees to work more independently and be time-managers of their own. Facilitate the team’s transition to communicate more with each other and other departments to be able to carry out their own duties.

Third, build in rules and trips that your team knows about. These should be for serious reasons and reasons that necessitate you getting involved with the process. As long as people can be civil, get stuff done, and be able to move forward, then you have no need to be overtly involved. Let them get their stuff done and move forward with it.

Leadership Failure Part 2: Failure of Communication

Introduction

Communication is one of those things that we all have to do. The effectiveness of an organization rests and hinges on being able to communicate well with others. Failure to do so can create a lot of issues that would not have otherwise existed. There are several types of communication that most leaders should be aware of and have to utilize on a regular basis.

What is communication?

Communication is essentially the focus on providing information to other individuals. The information can be given through a variety of different mediums. Communication is important and is something that is essential to every single organization. To further explain what communication is, I have broken them down into the types of communication that exist.

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is the communication that communicates via any other medium besides utilizing speech and language. This includes things such as:

  • Facial expressions
  • Body posture
  • Fidgeting
  • Looking around

This is just a very brief list of some of the non-verbal communication that is available. These can conflict with how and what someone is saying. If your body language is saying that you are nervous or uncomfortable, saying that you are fine comes off as insincere. Failure to rectify your body language and non-verbal communication to what you say can make it hard to connect with other individuals.

Being aware of your verbal and non-verbal communication can greatly help the sincerity of your requests. You have to watch how you posture yourself in certain situations as these can greatly hinder your chances to get promoted or even be able to effectively address a follower. People want things that make sense, and if your non-verbal communication does not match, then you are going to have a hard time moving forward.

Verbal communication

Verbal communication here is the spoke word. These can include some of the following:

  • Tone of voice
  • Words used
  • The formality of the language

Things like this can demonstrate emotion or reverence to a person. They can also demonstrate whether or not the person they are talking to is going to be respected through the course of the conversation. Verbal communication is the conversational speech aspect of relating to other individuals that you might encounter on a frequent basis.

The way you would talk to a superior at work should not be the same way you talk to a friend. Likewise, how you would talk when you are angry will be different than how you would talk when you are excited or happy about something. These are things that recipients of your communication are going to be paying attention to. After all, they use this as a way to determine how to respond to you.

Written communication

Written communication, in the context of this particular post, is that which is focused on communication via a physical written word (like a book). Communication here could be an intradepartmental memo to staff about an upcoming meeting. It could be an interoffice bill that a department has to pay to the accounting department.

In a business sense, this is important because it creates verifiable paper trails (which is important). Having these paper trails is important since it can crop up in legal hearings or in situations where others might be curious about a situation that might have cropped up (like a claim of sexual harassment). It is important to keep these records.

What makes written communication hard is that the visual and auditory clues are often stripped out. You can never tell how the other person feels. You can’t tell if they are happy or sad or mad when they have written the document. It is important for you to keep written communication brief and to the point. This can make it easier to prevent misunderstandings from arising as a result of sending the document.

Email communication

Email communication is a subset of written communication via a digital medium. Much like written communication, there isn’t much behind it that you can use to understand where a person is coming from. You have to practice brevity here as well since the extra stuff is not easily communicated. Emails here can be formal to informal depending on the individuals involved with the communication medium. You have to understand who you are talking with in order to tailor your message.

IM (Instant messaging) communication

IM is a popular way to communicate. These can include Skype, Discord, MSN Messenger, and a plethora of other programs that often get used. These tend to be more on the informal side of things and can sometimes be hard to understand if someone is frustrated or happy. Usually, the course of conversation here will be a context for someone to determine the mental and emotional state of the other people within the chat.

Why is communication important?

There are a lot of reasons why communication is important:

  • It provides essential information for completing client projects
  • Communication can enhance how people are able to work together
  • It provides essential information for changing processes.
  • Communication is important for providing clarification on some of the internal workings of an organization

These are just some of the basic reasons why communication is important. Failing to communicate makes it harder to carry out what you need to do. It makes it hard to establish trust and respect with others. Leaders that cannot establish trust and respect often don’t wind up being leaders for long.

Why do leaders need to know how to communicate?

There are several things about communication that leaders need to know. Each of them helps a leader understand the why behind communication and the essential nature that these have towards ensuring an organization’s success and staying power in the market. When a leader fails to capitalize on these and utilize these within their own sphere of influence, disaster can arise as a result of poor communication. I have broken these down into several parts that are easier to digest.

Ensures smooth transitions

First, having good communication skills makes it much easier to be able to have smooth transitions with others. Sometimes people leave or retire. Sometimes people get fired. Other times you are doing an onboarding process for new hires or transitioning someone from another department into yours or out of your department into another. Changes like this are frequent and are a fact of life with any organization.

Communicating makes it much easier and better to ease the stresses of the transitions that occur within these changes. It is important and essential that people continue to communicate as these can impact projects or tasks that are being left behind for those individuals staying within that department or organization. The better that communication is, the easier it will be for individuals to adjust to the changes going on.

Ensures projects can be carried out well

In many organizations, there are a lot of projects that are going on. These projects require that an organization has good communication in place. If an organization cannot communicate across departments, then this can create issues with trying to get a few of the essential things done that a business might need to get done (think a multipart project that needs the input of 2-10 different departments). Heck, even within a department, communication is essential for them to work on projects that they might have been tasked with.

Facilitates interdepartmental strength

Strong communication enhances relationships between departments. The larger the organization, the more essential it is for the people to communicate effectively with each other. The better that the departments can communicate, the more likely they are able to enhance a variety of tasks and make it easier for the organization to perform. When departments are able to communicate effectively, it becomes easier to improve processes and make it easier to see where the fluff is and separate it from the chaff. Simplifying processes is a major thing that leaders have to undertake in order to see the results that they want.

What happens when leadership fails to communicate?

There are a lot of things that can happen as a result of a leader failing to communicate. Let’s examine some of these:

  • Failing to get tasks done
  • Getting removed as a leader
  • Creating unnecessary tensions with the organization overall
  • Misunderstandings occur
  • Creates a culture of distrust and resentment

As you can see, none of these are any good. You want to seek to reduce these as much as possible (it is not entirely possible to remove 100% of these issues but you can minimize them).

How to improve communication

The very first thing to improve communication is to take a deep breath and chill. Seriously, you cannot force and stress communication as that creates a sense of insincerity in that communication. When you can relax and unwind, you are more likely to implement more effective strategies for communication. If you are stressed out and trying to rush things, then you are likely to create additional problems, which is not the result that you want to have.

The team that you inherit will adapt to your communication style. You have to understand your own communication style and the shortcomings that it might have. You have to work to overcome those since your team will align themselves to those shortcomings that you might have. You need communication to be effective-so learn your own style and don’t rush any sort of changes.

The next thing is to communicate that you value good communication to your team. When they understand that you desire them to communicate, then they are at least able to start working on being able to implement ways to increase ways that they can communicate. For example, they might find an IM program that would be great for the team to use. They might find a way to communicate things more effectively with each other.

Part of this process is to encourage your staff and followers to get information from each other. Make it where they have to learn to communicate with each other before getting you involved. This is important for helping people to move into getting more done. This can also make it better for your staff to also not become tattletales on other staff when they can resolve issues on their own.

Third, providing appropriate training. You can do an anonymous survey to figure out where the communication black holes exist. You will have a much better understanding of the direction that you have to go and what training classes you can provide to your staff. Encourage and facilitate these individuals to participate in these classes since they are likely to receive the benefits from the training. Training will not always fix the problems but can help to create appropriate strategies for individuals that feel like they are struggling with being able to communicate.

Work on fixing those other black holes. If they are technology-related, find appropriate tools that you can use. If it the black holes pertain to a staff member, document it so you can address it in the appropriate way. Things like this will help your department to get more connected with each other. By fixing these problem areas, you are hopefully making it easier to communicate and make it easier for your staff to carry out their job duties. The more you fix, the better. Keep in mind, it wouldn’t always be feasible to fix some of these issues that develop.

What if I inherit a department or organization that does not have good communication channels in place?

Sometimes a leader inherits a department that does not have good communication channels in place. Sometimes they have to fix and implement changes to improve these channels. Things like this happen more often than they should and need to be fixed accordingly. Changing and growing a department like this takes a long time. People get ingrained in the ways that they do things.

You have to start by encouraging and developing better communication skills among your staff. Encourage them to talk and get to know each other accordingly. Make it an expectation that you want them communicating and that you will be documenting which individuals are not. You don’t want to force it but it is important that you make it clear that you want your staff to talk to each other.

Make everything actionable. The more actionable that it becomes, the more you can hold your staff accountable. Your staff needs to be held accountable in order to stay committed to the task of changing. In addition, when something is actionable, it is conducive to be done that way.

Facilitate the change yourself. You cannot force change to happen or occur. Forcing things to happen only contributes to bitterness and resentment with your staff. But you can facilitate the change of communication yourself. You can gently encourage others to be able to take steps towards improving their communication as well. It is all about positively rewarding your staff and also being a great support for them as they start to open up.

Remove the chaff when needed. There are people on staff that simply will not communicate at all. In leadership, this can be called a silo. No one works or should work in a silo. You have to work on removing those silos and barriers to communication. If you have made a reasonable effort in helping a person to open up to communication, then you need to work towards removing those individuals from staff. It’s not malicious when you have accomodated an employee or a staff member and they have not worked towards communicating more.

Conclusion

Communication is important for anyone and everyone. Leaders are the ones that have to facilitate further communication between their staff. When a leader cannot communicate or facilitate communication, everyone suffers. And they suffer in the absolute worst way imaginable.

What Causes Leaders to Fail Part 1

Introduction

Failure is something that most leaders are going to face in their careers. There are right and wrong ways to address these issues. Leaders need to be able to address their own shortcomings in order to be able to successfully change their failure into success.

Defining Failure in General

Failure, in it’s most basic sense, is attempting to do something with an unsuccessful result. It could be failing to start a business. It could be a Forex trade that results in a loss. It could be asking someone out and then getting rejected as a result. Failure is perceived to be negative against the individual undertaking the task. Many individuals seem to seek to reduce the number of failures that they have on their record. We all hate having failures and being reduced to a series of bad events. Failures can plague even the most optimistic of individuals. Have enough of them and a person can wind up going down a dark path. For some of these people, they never return from that path.

Defining Failure in Business Sense

Failing in a business sense is similar to the general idea of failure. It could be a product launch failure. It could be a failure to undertake a successful merger with another business or organization. Businesses can experience failures in marketing, hiring an employee, or any number of other tasks that pertain to keeping the business growing or at least stable for the near term. To explain this further, some individuals can wind up seeing their businesses close after running that company for a period of time. Entrepreneurs sometimes engage in a churn and burn type scenario where they have to churn through a series of businesses until they find a successful combination of marketing and products that work for the market.

Defining Failure in a Departmental Sense

Departments can experience failures as well. It could be focused upon reducing churn rate or a project that was handed to them. Departments want to reduce the number of failures that they have because that would help encourage and facilitate the business’ growth. A single department failure can tarnish the organization’s reputation, thus making it harder for the organization to stay afloat if it cannot retain a customer base. Departmental failures could also be a failure to address a problem that another department has that they have been tasked to solve. Things like this can create problems rather than solve them.

What Cause Leaders To Fail?

There are a lot of different causes that lead to leadership failure. Some of them include:

  • Failure to communicate
    • Communication failures could be a failure to provide a crucial bit of information on a project.
      • Things like this can make it harder to complete projects on time.
  • Failure to address a problem that arises with their staff
    • Not address staff issues just invalidate your staff.
    • Creates unhealthy relationships within your department or organization.
    • Individuals will wind up quitting as a result.
  • Failure to address budget issues
    • Not preparing in advance can make it harder to grow or carry out tasks.
  • Failure to address training issues
    • Staff training is important.
    • Not addressing training issues allows incompetencies to continue.
  • Failure to create a plan and gather input on the plan
    • We all know the expression.
    • Planning is essential and it can greatly help you to move forward.
    • Gaining inputs can make it easier to be able to see where flaws are.

As you can see, there are a lot of things that can contribute to a leader failing and failing their staff. It is easy to see how the staff below can latch onto this and then repeat the same behaviors. As a result, there are further issues in the future that arise since individuals within that department cannot take responsibility for their actions and want to continually pass the buck.

Failure is Inevitable

For leaders to be able to succeed, they have to learn that failure is a part of life. It is better to fail than not to fail. Failure should be a learning experience and a chance to help progress forward. The sooner that leaders can understand that avoiding failure is just like avoiding old age will help them to address the issues head-on. It is important that you learn that you can use failure to your advantage (especially if you are a leader).

How To Overcome Failure

There are a few ways to overcome failure:

  • See it as a learning opportunity
    • You are not learning if you are not failing. You simply learn better ways to do things in the future.
  • Document the steps are taken that lead to the failure and find ways to work with the steps
    • Documenting what happened can help you better processes in the future.
    • Better processes in the future make it easier to carry out certain tasks in the future.
  • Reframe your mind
    • If you reframe your mindset, you can kill those inner demons.
    • Those inner demons can easily rob your peace and then cause you to make bad decisions in the future.
  • Take ownership
    • Taking ownership helps your staff to take ownership.
    • When your staff takes ownership, they can use that information to invest in better ways of doing things.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are a lot of ways to overcome a failure. There are a lot of benefits to being able to use these opportunities to your advantage and grow your followership.

Should You Study in an Organizational Leadership Program?

Introduction

Some individuals look to see if an organizational leadership degree is a worthwhile endeavor. Some of them are looking to be able to lead teams better or others look to see if they can find ways to better enhance their current organizations without moving into management. Organizational leadership programs are programs that can be a great benefit for many individuals seeking to move forward and get ahead in life.

What are Organizational Leadership Programs?

The organizational leadership program is one that helps to train the next generation of leaders. These programs often have several different classes that cover various aspects of leadership such as leadership communication and marketing. They provide a lot of benefits for those looking to move up in the world. Programs such as these often train individuals to be able to take over teams even if they never become a manager type. Being able to learn a project is an essential skill that some individuals fail to learn. It can be important to know how to get some of the individuals on those teams to do what they need to do.

Studying leadership in school can help you to master some of those important skills that you will need to have to be able to lead your own teams. You will have the skills developed and a network that you can tap into as you are assuming control over teams. Studying leadership also provides you the ability to take your career in a variety of different ways. It is important to be able to have that ability to adjust wherever your future might go.

Pros of an Organizational Leadership program

Here are some of the pros of studying Organizational Leadership:

  • Learn essential skills.
    • Some programs even teach you things such as marketing.
    • You learn how to make successful transitions at work for others.
  • Be able to lead teams without becoming a manager
    • You will have a set of skills that you can use and you are not necessarily on the management path.
    • You will be able to take on and lead a project more effectively for your job.
  • Be able to learn more about processes
    • As an employee, you become more aware of the various behind the scene elements that go on with management.
    • You can look for ways to improve the current workflows that you have at your job.

Cons of an Organizational Leadership program

Here are some of the cons of studying Organizational Leadership:

  • Employers are going to want to promote you.
  • You are going to be expected to take on additional responsibilities.
  • If you are a master’s degree graduate, you will be expected to use that information.

Weighing Out The Decisions

Before you start, you have to look at whether you will directly benefit from the program. Not everyone will have the benefits and not everyone will experience the cons of the program. It is essential that you learn how to determine whether or not your situation will benefit from the degree and the knowledge that you gain.

Like any major decision, you have to write out a pro and con list to see if it is going to work for you. It is important to have those lists to look over. Additionally, consult people within your organization and also outside of your organization to see if you are going to make a viable and important decision.

Conclusion

To summarize, an organizational leadership degree can be a valuable degree if you make it be. It can really enhance your ability to take on additional responsibilities and find new ways to simplify processes. However, you are going to have to think through that decision before you sign your life away for the degree.

Leader’s SkillSet 1: Excel Financial Management, Part 1

Why Manage Finances?

This is a realm that some leaders shudder. Budgeting and managing finances can be a rather hard thing to do. It’s tedious and requires reconciliation that can drive most individuals made. Unless you have an interest or a knack in accounting, budgeting will cause you a few issues as you run your department or organization.

We have to budget. We have to know where those dollars (or money) is going so that we can be able to accommodate the needs that we have. We have to plan how we are going to use those funds. Planning and budgeting will help us to be able to figure out new ways to increase the profitability of the system that we are in.

Budgeting is also rather important for those individuals that are in pseudo-leadership positions. They need to be able to address issues and make presentations on a system change. Knowing how this can impact the bottom line will make it easier to sell the change.

Financial management is also one of the most important skills that we can undertake and learn. When we learn how to manage finances, we become more responsible. When those above us see that we can handle responsibility, we can often undertake further responsibilities and gain new skills that we can take elsewhere. We can enhance our integrity as we learn how to appropriately budget.

Why Excel?

Excel is a spreadsheet program if you are not currently aware of the program. There are a lot of benefits to the program. However, for this particular post, Excel is great for managing finances. Here is a list of reasons why you should use Excel for managing your department finances:

  • It creates a record of what you are doing.
    • As a leader, you have to CYOB (cover your own butt). When you have a record of the stuff that you have done and a record of where the money went, then you have a record in the event HR or other individuals get suspicious of what is going on.
    • You have a record to reflect upon a year down the road. Sometimes it is rather nice to be able to refer back to something that happened a year ago. Being able to refer back to something makes it easier to see where you can improve in the year going forward.
  • Excel can chart of the transactions.
    • Having a chart of transactions allows you to take a stance on the things that are perhaps the largest expenditures. You have a glance to see where the bulk of your money is going and can rectify your expenditures.
    • You can quickly compare different things. You could have the information to be able to justify why you spent money on X rather than Y. Leaders above you will audit that portion of the organization’s finances.
  • Excel is great for comparisons.
    • You can compare the various transactions. You have an idea about what you might need to reduce in the future. You have a ready-made list of what those expenses are.
    • You can compare years. You can compare the current transactions to the year prior to see if there is any improvement.

How to Use Excel to Manage Department Finances

There are several ways to be able to manage departmental finances. It is important to note that there are several approaches and ways to do this. While we are here, we are going to cover a few of the different ways to manage finances.

1. Just keep a log.

Some leaders are just interested in keeping a log. And they do that. They record where they spent money and when and at what store. For what they do, it’s fine to do it that way.

2. Keep a log of the various transactions.

Some leaders like to have their transaction log broken down into categories. By doing so, leaders in this category are much more likely to have a more detailed record of what they are doing. They have a lot more of an idea exactly which of their department categories tends to consume most of their department’s budget.

3. Incomes v Expenses

Yet other leaders go a step further. They like to exactly know how much money they are bringing in to compare to how much money they are expending. This makes it much easier to cut out the fluff and focus on what is likely to bring in the best revenue.

How Leaders Can Dollarize

What is Dollarization?

Dollarization is the focus on demonstrating value. More importantly it is demonstrating a dollar value to a task, process, or other business related task. By providing value, a leader could in theory make it easier to justify a certain decision when it comes down to the bottom line.

Dollarization predominantly started with a sales force. How they could provide a value to their customers and clients. This is to encourage these individuals to purchase whatever the salesman is trying to offer to them. The concept of Dollarization is not a new one, though it’s name might be a more recent invention within the business leadership world.

How Leaders Can Dollarize

Leaders can use dollarization within their departments or organization. Leaders can utilize the benefits here to justify certain actions that they might have to undertake with implementing something different. Dollarization allows them to place everything as either a savings of money or time or an increase in budget or profits. This is a very essential element that many leaders have to undertake.

Dollarization can make it easier to see if something is going to be readily beneficial. If you can make a system easier, then it will more likely make it easier to benefit your staff. It makes them better and more productive. That alone can make a change worthwhile.

The task of justifying whether or not something is worthwhile can also be in the cost benefit analysis that many leaders and managers undertake. Leaders can use this as a way to help justify a change that a follower wants to make within their own department or organization.

You can also use it to see if a piece of technology would provide the same benefits as implementing a workplace flow. Technology is often used as a way to directly benefit an organization achieve better goals. That justification has to be made on a regular basis.

Dangers of OverDollarization

There is a trap of overdollarization. Leaders can constantly seek to overjustify what they are doing in terms of time and monetary value. When this occurs, leaders often lose sight of what they are really there to do. Leaders often fall into these routines that take them away from their real purpose of being a leader. Leaders should be focused on how well they can help and aid their staff in growing. Leaders that focus on the dollar value and how to provide that very value wind up losing sight of how they can help and aid development in other ways.

Why Leaders Need Engagement of Followers

Note: Feedspot is currently compiling a list of the top 300 leadership blogs on the web. Check the site out here! This blog is listed at #225 last time I checked!

What is Engagement?

Employee engagement is something that most entrepreneurs are looking to incorporate with their organization. Entrepreneurs and managers tend to spend a lot of time trying to engage their followers. They want their staff to be fully vested with their work and their organization. Otherwise, they wind up feeling like there is no progression forward.

According to Kevin Kruse, employee engagement is when the employees actually care for the organization and the work that they are doing (Kruse 2012). Employee engagement shouldn’t merely be happy. That is not what it is about. It is about curating employees that are in alignment with the employee vision and ones that are in align with where the organization is wanting to go.

Why You Should Be Engaging Your Followers or Employees

Engaging your employees has a lot of practical benefits for your organization:

  • Engaged employees are more likely to perform better.
    • They are more vested in the work that they do.
    • They are most interested in performing well.
    • Engaged employees are more likely to also find better ways to work and achieve.
  • They are less likely to quit.
    • When employees are engaged, they are less likely to search for work elsewhere.
    • Engagement makes employees much more likely to look forward to coming to work.
  • Engaged employees can help culture and enhance the workplace
    • When employees are engaged, they are more likely to find ways to solve problems.
    • Engaged employees are likely to help others to remain or get more engaged.
    • This, in turn, keeps every cog turning.
  • They are also likely to find new ways of doing something
    • When employees find new systems and processes, the organization and the employee benefits.
    • New systems can easily help reduce costs or time while increasing revenue.
    • New systems might help reduce the chance of being audited.
  • Engagement can help reduce the overall stress of an organization
    • Engaged workers are much likely to have less stress when they come into work.
    • Organizations are less likely to feel the stresses of turn over.
    • Organizations are less likely to have to retrain staff.

As you can see, these are rather useful benefits for those leaders looking to have that engagement element in their organization.

References

Kevin Kruse. (2012 June 22) What is Employee Engagement? Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2012/06/22/employee-engagement-what-and-why/#194170607f37