Show Summary: A review and discussion of interesting leadership-related articles featured in the media.

Intro

Hi there! Welcome to the Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast.

  • I’ve been listening to several podcasts, but haven’t had much time to put out my own. More on that at the end of the show.

 

VOCL Resources and Articles

This week – a random selection of thirteen articles on different aspects of leadership. But first, a potential resource that you may find helpful.

On Sep 17, I had a post from Sidney Elton on the VOCL Facebook page. Using the title: “Leadership: To learn the steps to the dance, one must first recognize the music”, she gave a link to the http://managementnetworks.com website and the teachings of author Josh Friedman. The article raises a lot of questions to ask of when you think about people who you may consider as leaders, so it’s worth a read.
What I find surprising, though, is that there is a video clip within the blog post to entice you to subscribe. It says that it’s free, and you can start watching the video. Even though the clip is 2:41, it stops playing after 30 seconds. I have iTunes, and I understand previews. Unfortunately for me, Josh Friedman doesn’t really say anything in those 30 seconds! For me, it would have been better to make an entire clip, filled with good information, available for free. People would then be inclined to want to listen more and might be willing to shell out the $80 for the leadership collection.

For those of you who missed that FB post, I’m enclosing the link. I’m curious – let me know if YOU would be willing to subscribe to this author’s content based on the clip that you see.

“10 Tips to Develop Your Leadership Inclinations” by Martha Buckley at thindifference.com.

1. There is no “I” in “Team”
2. Inspire your employees
3. Actions speak louder than words
4. Give respect to get respect
5. Don’t be afraid to fail
6. Image is important
7. Dress the part
8. Be a great mentor
9. Always be honest
10. Vision is everything

http://www.thindifference.com/2013/08/10/10-tips-to-develop-your-leadership-inclinations/

“Leadership Lessons: A Career Protecting Women” by Susan Adams at Forbes

An article about an interview with Saundra Pelletier. Ms Pelletier is simultaneously the CEO of a non-profit called WomanCare Global and the for-profit company Evofem. Although an interesting article, what really grabbed my attention was one of the questions that she asks of prospective employees. “If money, time and talent were no obstacle and you could be anything you wanted to be, what would you be?”

This got me thinking about introspection, and how would I answer this question on the spot. Although I came up with an answer fairly quickly, the more I thought about it, the more tenuous my grasp of that answer became. Many articles speak about leaders having a vision and being able to communicate it effectively. Although we can come up with vision statements for our groups/organizations/business/etc., can we do the same thing with ourselves? Are the actions that we are taking congruent with the vision that we have for ourselves? If not, what are the obstacles (real or perceived)?

http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/07/01/leadership-lessons-a-career-protecting-women

“Transcript: Leadership lessons from Canada’s most senior female general” by Karl Moore at Globe & Mail

An interview with MGen Christine Whitecross. The observations here build upon my observations in military life in response to Stephen Brook’s article about the NHS needing clinical leaders at all levels. What’s funny is that I happened to stumble across this article – I didn’t see it in any military literature. Although the military is normally quite good about communicating leadership lessons, how good is your organization at communicating leadership lessons?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/management/transcript-leadership-lessons-from-canadas-most-senior-female-general/article13101761/?cmpid=rss1

“Women leaders and the Goldilocks syndrome: Not too harsh, not too soft” by Jena McGreggor at Washington Post

An article that looks into research about the perceptions and biases of women as leaders. Although there is a growing acceptance of “forceful” (I call it self-confident) women in the workforce, women are still perceived as more ineffective than men when it comes to “hesitant” leadership.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2013/07/09/women-leaders-and-the-goldilocks-syndrome-not-too-harsh-not-too-soft/

“Leaders need to put a stop to bullying” by Bill Howatt at Globe & Mail

Many articles about bullying have been published lately – this article focuses on bullying in the workplace and how leaders need to manage it. The article also differentiates between bullying and “intensity” and the perception thereof.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/careers-leadership/leaders-need-to-put-a-stop-to-bullying/article12805906/

“A wrong decision is better than indecision: Eight leadership lessons from Tony Soprano” by Leo D’Angelo Fisher at BRW

The article was generated by the passing of James Gandolfini, who played the Mob Boss Tony Soprano in the cult TV series “The Sopranos”. Although he was an actor subject to the whims of his writers, and I highly discourage “putting a hit on people” as a form of conflict resolution, the article nevertheless raises some interesting points.

1. It’s lonely at the top
2. Learn from your mistakes
3. The vision thing
4. You have authority – use it
5. Having authority also means knowing when not to use it
6. Work-life balance: know your place
7. Have a plan
8. Dealing with people – “Those who want respect, give respect”

I loved this TV show – watched many episodes during my “down time” on submarines at sea. James Gandolfini will be missed.

http://www.brw.com.au/p/leadership/wrong_decision_soprano_better_than_DAC3OBI5Vqe5iV499qK1gK

“Leadership Effectiveness Through Dialogue” by Elizabeth Beckham at Training & Development

A review of the book, “Leadership Conversations: Challenging High-Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders”. Hmm, another leadership book with a colon in the title… The author of the article indicates that she believes that the communications-related book is primarily for up-and-coming managers, yet seasoned managers would benefit from the content as well. When you are done reading about the concepts, you can check out the companion website to get a personal assessment.

http://www.astd.org/Publications/Magazines/TD/TD-Archive/2013/07/Books-Leadership-Effectiveness-Through-Dialogue

“NHS needs clinical leaders at all levels” by Stephen Brooks at The Guardian

An article that looks at leadership failures in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), as observed in the Francis Report. I did debate whether I would mention this article, but ultimately I thought that I would bring up for discussion. One of the aspects being talked about is the need for leadership at mid – to senior-level managers – nothing really new here. What I did pick up on is that the organization, “…should work with royal colleges, universities and medical schools to build leadership skills into the initial professional training. It should be built around the core NHS values and make sure that newly qualified professionals start with skills they can build on as their careers develop.” Militaries do this with their officer corps – they are given people to lead almost immediately after basic training, so it makes sense to teach leadership from the very start. Not everyone, however, immediately becomes a leader after training – does it apply in this case here? I can see lessons on core values, ethics, competencies, etc. as part of the cultural integration, but leadership competencies?

http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2013/jul/03/nhs-needs-clinical-leadership-all-levels

“Transformational leadership boosts employee well-being” by Editor(?) at The Hindu

An article describing the results of a study that was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM). The researchers measured qualities such as leading by example, making employees feel they are contributing to a common goal, providing intellectual stimulation, and giving positive feedback for good performance. If you’ve followed VOCL for a while, you’ll note that these are among the key markers of successful leadership. If you keep these qualities in mind during your day-to-day interactions, I believe that you would have scored pretty highly.

http://www.thehindu.com/features/empower/transformational-leadership-boosts-employee-wellbeing/article4894842.ece

“The top three leadership lessons from the battle of Gettysburg” by Jeffrey D McCausland at The Guardian

An article timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War. The three lessons provided by the author are:

1. The importance of time and timing
2. Effective leaders must “park” their personal ego and focus on what is best for the organization
3. An effective leader must articulate and communicate a strategic vision to his / her organization”

I actually see four key lessons in this article. The 2nd point is another reminder of the principle of servant leadership, whereas the 3rd point is beating an often-used drum about the importance of both communication and having a strategic vision.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jul/02/gettysburg-150th-anniversary-top-three-lessons

“9 strategies for more effective delegation” by the Business Development Bank of Canada at BDC.ca

You can ‘t be a leader if you don’t have followers. In order to be an effective leader, one of the areas you need to look at is empowering your followers. It’s a pretty short article, so I won’t summarize it here. As always, I highly urge you to go read the source article if it sounds interesting to you.

http://www.bdc.ca/en/advice_centre/articles/Pages/9_strategies_more_effective_delegation.aspx?utm_campaign=In_Business-EN-FEV-2013&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

“Leadership and vision: Drawing a link to the Singaporean experience” by Mugo Kibati at Capital FM Kenya

This article focuses on the leadership of the former Singaporean premier Lee Kuan Yew. Listeners / readers of VOCL will recall that in episode 4, one of the speakers was Kishore Mahbubani, the Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew school – the name got my interest right away.

The three main leadership aspects discussed in the article about a transformational leader were “…vision, planning, and strict leadership control skills.”

http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/eblog/2013/06/27/leadership-and-vision-drawing-a-link-to-the-singaporean-experience/

“Leadership and the flood” by the Editors at Globe & Mail

An article discussing the leadership of Calgary’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Alberta Premier Alison Redford during the summer flooding of Calgary and surrounding area.

Mayor Nenshi was featured in the plenary sessions of the GGCLC (VOCL004) and was a 2008 GGCLC participant. I think that he did an outstanding job as Mayor, keeping everyone informed and aligning the efforts of many organizations. You know you are doing a remarkable job when people are telling you to go get some rest! Both he and the Premier are openly criticizing shortcomings, but they are also openly giving out praise where it is due. Finally, I think a large part of his success was by putting a human touch on all of his communications. Well done, Naheed, and congratulations on getting re-elected!

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/editorials/leadership-and-the-flood/article12786839/

If you have any suggestions for the resources and articles section, please let me know.

 

VOCL Closing Thoughts / Future Episodes

  • Ringette volunteering. I thought that doing the evaluations for U16AA would take some time – by the time I was done I was at 63 hours. Then, I had to switch focus to ensuring that all the volunteers within our Association had all the right paperwork and qualifications, and to walk them through the procedure if they didn’t have it. Well, I’m currently at 138 hours for this season (plus ~10 more that I didn’t register before I got my Hours Keeper app for the iPad). Unfortunately, this has taken time away from VOCL, but I’ll still keep publishing leadership-related content when I have the opportunity.
  • I’m trying a different set of recording procedures since I’m on the road. Yes, I’m recording from the nation’s capital this week, so I didn’t bring all of my home studio setup. By the time you get this, the recording will likely be a mixture of GarageBand for iPad, Audacity for Windows (yes, my laptop is Windows-based), and a Zoom H4N recorder that I got for my birthday. I was spending so much time at the rink that I decided to try to record some aspects of VOCL there – let me know if you can hear the difference, and whether the sound quality is acceptable.

Takeaways and introspection

  • Saundra Pelletier asks the following of prospective employees: “If money, time and talent were no obstacle and you could be anything you wanted to be, what would you be?” Although this is not an interview, I’ll ask the same question of you – “If money, time and talent were no obstacle and you could be anything you wanted to be, what would you be?” I think the time you spend answering this question will be very worthwhile indeed.
  • Naheed Nenshi has proven that he could handle a crisis, keeping himself and his team focused on prioritizing and addressing the myriad of issues at hand. Not everyone has been placed in that situation, but being ready goes a long way in quickly handling complex issues. Think about the aspects of life where you are a leader – have you planned enough? Have you addressed the “what-ifs”? Have you communicated your vision such that your team can achieve success if you become incapacitated?

 

I’m Chris Hache, asking you to be VOCL for a better Canada.

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