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Discussion 1

This week’s reading took us into a deep dive of the emotions and morals that that good leaders possess. There were a lot of terms this week that I was unfamiliar with, but the text done a great job of relating them to real world experience. One of the first terms covered is that of a whole leader. In the past being in a leadership role and being uncaring might have worked but todays leaders need to not only use their head but their heart as well. There are still holdouts, but it seems to me that leaders who are invested in their followers are much more likely to succeed.

Mental models were another interesting term that was covered this week. These models are the thoughts that people hold regarding a subject and the expected behaviors that come from it. The text uses an example of Google’s top leaders and the mental model that they believe in. Their model may be significantly different from that of another company, but neither is wrong. The model that worked well for one company may fail at another. One must be ready to expand or shift their mental model to what will work best in the current situation.

While I was familiar with emotional intelligence it was good to see the text cover it in detail. There are many important traits for good leaders, but I would so far as to say that there has never been a good leader who has not possessed emotional intelligence. The ability to understand and manage the emotions of oneself as well as others is key in making sure a workplace can function efficiently and free of obstacles. A positive and inspiring emotional state of a leader can lead to better work, an increase of positive emotions, and foster an environment where people feel free to speak up. On the opposite side, a leader who is in possession of a negative attitude and emotions can kill the productivity and cohesiveness of their environment.

Chapter six looked at the ethics and morals of leaders. There is nothing that can bring a company down faster than when the leaders have no respect for ethics. Some of the largest and most powerful companies of the past have fell due to this reason. The text says that the “most dangerous obstacles for leaders are personal weakness and self-interest” (Daft, 2018). Management is often expected to meet high-performance goals and continued growth for the company, this however can lead to a situation in which they feel the need to compromise their morals in order to succeed. This is where being able to balance goals while staying true to ethics is important for a leader.

  1. Have you ever experienced love and/or fear from leaders at work? How did you respond? Is it possible that leaders might carry love too far and create negative rather than positive results? Discuss.
    1. I have experienced both forms in my career so far. I responded much more positively when the leaders lead with love. I felt that they were active in trying to help me and others succeed instead of just expecting results. The leaders that I have had who used fear rarely got the same level of effort that those who lead with love received. In the situations where fear was prevalent, I noticed that my work was lacking, and I had a sense of dread whenever I thought I would be interacting with the leader. I believe that leaders can lead with too much love. If your followers see you more of a friend rather than a boss, then work can devolve into a fun socializing event where little gets accomplished. I think a little bit of fear along with love creates a good balance where people can accomplish their best work in an environment they enjoy.
  2. How do you feel about developing the emotional qualities of yourself and other people in the organization as a way to be an effective leader? Discuss.
    1. Emotional intelligence is one of the most important aspects of good leadership. I would go so far as to say that there has never been a great leader who had poor emotional intelligence. Being able to understand the emotions of your followers and how best to connect with them as well as recognize your own emotions is an extremely valuable skill. There will come a time when as a leader you will have to make decision that people will not like. Good emotional intelligence will allow you to understand their emotions and manage them.
  3. Leaders at several organizations, including Hostess Brands (Twinkies), Sbarro, and Blockbuster, have gotten significant raises or bonuses shortly before the firms filed for bankruptcy. The companies have argued that it was a necessary step to keep managers during a difficult time. Do you think this is a legitimate argument from an ethical standpoint? Discuss.
    1. I have never been in a similar situation so my thoughts may be biased. I do not think that giving bonuses to upper management in times of peril is ethical. To use an analogy, I view the situation more akin to looting a sinking ship rather trying to steer it to shore. Good management is important but when “good” management is taking large bonuses and still lead the company into bankruptcy you have to question the validity of their ability. From my perspective, it seems that they recognize the company is in trouble and instead of trying to save it they resign themselves to splitting the spoils before it ends. In sense they are using their inside information as leaders to steal from the company.
  4. One finding is that when leaders are under stress so that fear and risk increase, they tend to revert to an authoritarian, command-and-control style. As a leader, how might you find the courage to resist this tendency?
    1. I think one way that this could be avoided is by encouraging the leader to rely more on his followers. Reliance in the workplace is a two-way street but many managers are afraid to place a great deal of trust in their followers. Recognizing that you have a competent workforce who is loyal (if you lead through love) gives you others to help shoulder the burden. This is where emotional intelligence comes in handy as well. A leader that can process the fear and risk of failure, and then turn that into a motivating force for themselves and their team can overcome giving in to an authoritarian tendenc

Discussion 2

Mind, Emotions and Morals

As it pertains to the readings this week, one can conclude that great leadership is transformational and it requires personal accountability – among us and with others. Through the underscored chapters, developing leaders are encouraged to not only rely on innate or acquired knowledge – but also to engage through mental processes’, genuine emotion and heartfelt conviction to do what is right, for the sake of all. Some would describe this type of leadership as servant leadership or perhaps correlate similarities to the life and leadership of Jesus. Blanchard & Hodges (2005) argue that “leading like Jesus involves the alignments of four leadership domains: heart, head, hands, and habit” (p. 31). Through this journey, I understand that leadership of the heart can be a spiritual matter as there is opportunity to influence, the head requires one to lead through our beliefs systems, our hands symbolize our actions, and our habits would encourage us to focus on serving others – rather than seeking to be served (Blanchard & Hodges, 2005).

Leadership Mind and Emotion

Strong leadership will comprise of a balanced approach towards their followers as they allow themselves to understand their thinking practices, mental models, assumptions, emotions and independent thinking (Daft, 2018). I understand leadership must mature and grow in the appropriate balance of mind and emotions – emotional intelligence. Understanding the way we think and approach a matter, can make significant differences in terms of achieving effective outcomes. Mental models must be careful of assumptions and willingness to change or expand mental capacity. Additionally, leaders must grow their minds by means of independent thinking , open-mindedness, systems thinking and personal mastery (Daft, 2018).

Next, is the importance of emotions and the role they play among a leaders influence. As such, “emotional contagion means that leaders who are able to maintain balance and keep themselves motivated can serve as positive role models to help motivate and inspire those around them” (Daft, 2018, p. 148). The rise in performance and relational engagement will increase as leaders more positive and optimistic. More importantly, it is argued that followers will respond at greater advantages by responding to a loving leadership. Thus, “when leaders address these subtle emotional needs directly, people typically respond by loving their work and becoming emotionally engaged in solving problems and servings customers” (p. 158). Fear-based motivation does not reap positive results (Daft, 2018).

Courage and Moral Leadership

This chapters highlights the value and focus of a “third element, spirit – on the ability to look within, to contemplate the human condition, to think about what is right and wrong, to see what really matters in the world, and to have the courage to stand up for what is worthy and right” (Daft, 2018, p. 168) Thus, leading me to conclude that our own moral development will greatly influence the development of ethical organizational cultures. As leaders the importance of growing in courage is highly encouraged as it paves the way to establish and for those decisions and practices that are right and correct for the whole. Leaders that are courageous acknowledge responsibility, are nonconformists, push beyond their comfort zones, and rightfully apply that courage to moral leadership (Daft, 2018).

Importance to Society and Business

The above mentioned principles and theories are extremely important in today’s business world as the world is seeking to identify and trust emotionally intelligent, courageous and moral leadership. Thus, “the most important factor in ethical decision making in organizations is whether leaders show a commitment to ethics in their talk and especially their behavior” (p. 173). People want to see leadership that walks the talk. As our business lead and develop teams that value ethics and moral values – so will the society follow. The pressure is on for leaders to face the challenges and temptations to conduct business in an ethical manner by doing the right things. “The most dangerous obstacles for leaders are personal weakness and self-interest rather than full-scale corruption” (p. 168).

Questions

  1. Have you ever experienced love and/or fear from leaders at work? How did you respond? Is it possible that leaders might carry love too far and create negative rather than positive results? Discuss.

Yes, I have experienced both love and fear from leadership among a previous workplace. Interestingly, I experienced both of these styles among the same company about every two years. Initially when I got hired on my Manager Anita was very caring and understanding and helped me see my potential. She made me feel positive and self-confident in myself. I wanted to work extra hard and go above and beyond for her, because she was genuine. On the other hand, a Manager after her named Lisette, led with so much fear and control. I always doubted myself and wondered if I was doing a good job. I never felt like I was good enough, or that she was truly listening to my concerns. Our department at the time had a high-turnover of management. Managers coming and going which challenged me to adapt to new styles of leadership.

The text gave a clear outline and understanding between the differences among fear-based motivation and love-based motivation (Daft, 2018). While “fear can be a powerful motivator, but many of today’s leaders are learning that an environment that reflects care and respect for people is much more effective than one in which people are fearful” (Daft, 2018, p. 154). As such, love-based leadership and motivation will produce positive and effective results. Upon the research presented, it doesn’t appear to me that love can be taken too far by creating negative consequences. On the contrary, it is suggested that as leaders bring love to work, there is a synergy and balance in the leader’s ability to bring this “force” which is translated into behavior that is often “softer, caring, and (has) creative capabilities,” (p. 156), which gives of oneself to others and is unafraid to risk vulnerability and transparent communication of emotions (Daft, 2018).

  1. How do you feel about developing the emotional qualities of yourself and other people in the organization as a way to be an effective leader? Discuss.

We are encouraged to grow and be strengthened in emotional intelligence. It is the “a person’s abilities to perceive, identify, understand, and successfully manage emotions in self and others” (Daft, 2018, p. 146). I believe developing emotional qualities in myself and in others is an absolutely important aspect of leadership. I would consider it to be more of an art and skill in understanding myself and the needs of others as it pertains to the emotions. More importantly, as we develop self-awareness, we are able to quickly recognize those emotions, which could either be positive or negative. Emotions are important because research suggests that “those who are more expressive of their own emotions and more in tune with the emotions of others make more money” (p. 147). Thus, allowing a leader to become more effective in their levels of communication. More importantly, it has been argued that emotions, particularly the positive ones are contagious and influence performance (Daft, 2018).

  1. Leaders at several organizations, including Hostess Brands (Twinkies), Sbarro, and Blockbuster, have gotten significant raises or bonuses shortly before the firms filed for bankruptcy. The companies have argued that it was a necessary step to keep managers during a difficult time. Do you think this is a legitimate argument from an ethical standpoint? Discuss.

No, I don’t think this is legitimate argument that would necessitate the need to keep employees hired on. Any given manager or business owner should be fully aware of the legalities and coverage that falls under bankruptcy cases. In this case, it would appear to me that the leadership has crossed their ethical boundaries by taking advantage of the bankruptcy system. Daft (2018) describes this type of leadership at the “preconventional level, individuals are egocentric and concerned with receiving external awards and avoiding punishments. They obey authority and follow rules to avoid detrimental personal consequences or satisfy immediate self-interests” (p. 175).

  1. One finding is that when leaders are under stress so that fear and risk increase, they tend to revert to an authoritarian, command-and-control style. As a leader, how might you find the courage to resist this tendency?

The chapter has encouraged me to pursue a servant-style leadership. Through this approach I realize that my goal and focus “involves turning followers into leaders, thereby developing their potential rather than using a leadership position to control or limit people” (p. 176). I think that as I steadfastly hold on to the theories supported at the beginning of the chapter that challenge me towards emotional intelligence, self-awareness and understanding my followers, I should establish a strong ethical foundation. Thus, positioning me to walk in a realm of courage and integrity – rather than pursuing self-seeking interests that will only benefit me. As I stated in the first chapter of this reflection, embracing good values and habits and the core of who I am will strengthen me so that I may resist the unhealthy habit of control.

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