LEADERSHIP Summer 2012
leadership summer 2012
A word from your Account Management Team... Being in a leadership position means more than managing the day-to-day expectations that your role may require; it also means staying on top of relevant skills and applying new ideas to your work with employees everyday. In this issue of Leadership, we highlight both common skill development literature, but, our CEO, Dr. Robert Mines, has written a special article on new research from the psychology field and applies it to the day-to-day role of the leader. As a side note: are you familiar with our work performance referral process? If you oversee an employee whose performance at work has lapsed, using MINES work performance referral program might help get them back on track and performing optimally. If you want to learn more, contact your account manager today!
MINES & Associates 10367 West Centennial Road Littleton, Colorado 80127 800.873.7138 www.MINESandAssociates.com
. . . . . . . . C redi t s . . . . . . . Life Advantages - Author Delvina Mirtemadi ©2012 Your First Steps as a Team Leader pg. 3
The Elements of Good Leadership pg. 6
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D. Leadership, Black Swans and Thinking, Ill-Structured Problems and Business Decisions pp.4-5 Krames Staywell ©2012 Tips for staying Healthy and Safe at Work pp.8-9 Parlay International ©2010 Coaching and Mentoring Quiz pg. 11
– The Account Management Team
Business.gov ©2012 Change Management - It Starts at the Top pg.10 Leadership Traits pp.14-15 Wellness Library Health Ink and Vitality Communications ©2012 Adding Enthusiasm to Your Leadership Skills pp.12-13
Know Who You Are Working With • Meet with the entire group, and then meet privately with each individual so you can find out about the person’s interests, personal goals, and background. Ask each individual how effective he or she thinks the group is, and where improvements could be made. • Talk about your expectations of the group, your philosophy on leadership, and your past experiences as a leader. • Locate informal group leaders and support their leadership. Observe how other team members react to these informal leaders, and meet with informal leaders to discuss group needs and ideas.
Stay Available • Consider an open-door office policy, if not too distracting. • Continue to meet with the group to discuss vital issues. • Reiterate that you are available at any time to answer questions or give suggestions.
Think Before Making Changes • After you’ve considered what needs to be changed, make the easiest changes first. Continue on to bigger or more controversial changes slowly. • Invite feedback from the group regarding your changes.
Be Relatable • Encourage your team to speak to you on a first-name basis. • Offer your help to the group when needed. • Be sure that employees know that you are accessible to offer guidance.
Lead with a Positive Outlook • Explain why you are confident in the group’s success. • Show that you are willing to do what it takes to help the group succeed. • Demonstrate that you and the group are working together by helping to guide the group as they seek their goals.
Leadership articles often focus on a variety of variables. These variables may include personality traits, born or made, demographic variables, attractiveness, communication skills, vision, and intelligence. These variables have varying degrees of research behind them. One aspect of leadership that is universal in business is that leaders get to make complex decisions on ill-structured problems for which there are better and worse answers, rarely right or wrong answers (Mines, Hood, Wood and King, 1990). Given the unanticipated or “Black Swans” events that business leaders have run into, a discussion of some of the cognitive and thinking errors that can be made follows in this article (Taleb, 2007).
proved more specific and detailed processing. It is mobilized to control impulses, to increase effort when it detects that an error is about to be made. System 1 has biases, however, systematic errors that it is prone to make in specified circumstances. It sometimes answers easier questions than the one it was asked and it has little understanding of logic and statistics. It cannot be turned off (p. 24).
Kahneman has written a ground breaking book (Kahneman, 2011) on thinking heuristics and errors in thinking. As business leaders look at their success and failure rates, it is a reasonable question to ask why so many decisions result in under-performance, if not outright failure. Kahneman’s work contributes to our understanding of these predictable thinking errors. This article is a partial summary of Kahneman’s work. All acknowledgement of its scholarship goes to Dr. Kahneman and any errors attributed to the author of this summary.
People who are cognitively busy are also more likely to make selfish choices, use sexist language, and make superficial judgments in social situations. An effort of will or self-control is tiring, requires effort, and is unpleasant - known as ego depletion (Kahneman, 2011, p. 42).
Thinking Fast and Slow: The Operating System Kahneman described two systems related to thinking. System 1 operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort. System II allocates attention to the effortful mental activities that demand it, including complex computations. The operations of System 2 are often associated with the subjective experience of agency, choice, and concentration. System 1 effortlessly originates impressions and feelings that are the main sources of explicit beliefs and deliberate choices of System 2. The automatic operations of System 1 generate complex patterns of ides, but only the slower System 2 can construct thoughts in an orderly series of steps (Kahneman, 2011, p. 20-21). These two systems continuously interact. System 1 runs continuously and System 2 is normally in a comfortable, low-effort mode, in which only a fraction of its capacity is engaged. System 2 is a “lazy system.” System 1 continuously generates suggestions for System 2, impressions and intuitions, intentions and feelings. If System endorses them, they are turned into beliefs and impulses turn into voluntary actions. System 2 endorses the suggestions of System 1 with little or no modification. System 2 is utilized is called into play in order to
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Bias and Thinking Errors
In order to give the reader a flavor of the types of thinking errors and to encourage the reader to study the book in more depth, the following are a partial list of bias and thinking errors.
Association. The Associative Machine is in play when two ideas are associated and System 1 tries to make them associatively coherent. An idea that has been activated does not evoke just one other idea, it activates many other ideas which in turn activate even more ideas. Only a few of these will be conscious. Priming. Words and events can “prime” the next sequence of words or thoughts in a way that they are related and we don’t even know it. Priming can also affect our behavior. People who were asked to think about aging, walked slower down the hall than people asked to think about another topic, for example. Common gestures such as nodding yes or no prime our emotional responses to a situation and affect the degree to which we agree or disagree with a point of view.. Moneyprimed people become more independent, more reluctant to be involved with others, less willing to depend on others, or to accept demands from others, than they would be without the associative trigger. Cognitive Ease/Cognitive Strain. The mind is constantly monitoring. Ease is a sign that things are going well; - no threats, no major news, no need to redirect attention, or mobilize effort. Strain is affected by both the current level of effort and the presence of unmet demands. Cognitive ease is connected to a number of variables such as clarity and ease of marketing materials. When you feel strained, you are more likely to be vigilant and suspicious, invest more effort in what you are doing, feel less comfortable, and make fewer errors, but you also are less intuitive and less creative than usual.
Illusions of Remembering. Memory and thinking are vulnerable to illusion. Familiarity as an experience has a simple but powerful quality of ‘pastness’ that seems to indicate that it is a direct reflection of prior experience. Words or names you have seen before produce greater cognitive ease and it is this ease that gives you a greater sense of familiarity. Illusions of Truth. Predictable illusions inevitably occur if a judgment is based on an impression of cognitive ease or strain. Anything that makes it easier for the associative machine to run smoothly will also belie bias. A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.
familiarity bias then future decisions may be adversely impacted with a group “drift” in focus, performance, or decision making. Application of these concepts may be done in a variety of contexts. For example, in team meetings where people are providing input on decision making, it will be important to note the mood level, what topics were being discussed informally before the meeting started (association and priming biases), the ease or strain of the topic, the role of making assumptions overt behind the decision, consciously moving to an analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of the variables while allowing adequate time. The time factor is crucial as there is a tendency to make decisions on deadline which is usually a system 1 function. The check and balance of evaluating the decision from a system 2 methodology can be lost under a time sensitive decision process.
Strain and Effort. Performance is better when there is strain as it mobilizes System 2, which is more likely to reject the intuitive answer suggested by System 1. The mere exposure effect pairs an arbitrary stimulus and mild affection for the stimulus. It does Summary not depend on conscious experience of familiarity. It does not As a business leader, it starts becoming apparent where your depend on consciousness at all. executive team, current management team and subordinates may be vulnerable to thinking errors and not even know it. Ease, Mood and Intuition. Good mood, intuition, creativity, Kahneman reviews many other cognitive errors and bias. It is gullibility, and increased reliance on System 1 form a cluster. incumbent upon all leaders to be as aware as possible of these At the other end, sadness, vigilance, suspicion, an analytic errors and review decision processes in strategic planning, approach, and increased effort go together. A happy mood operations, and within the finance arena closely so as to avoid loosens the control of System 2 over performance: when in a your organization’s own personal black swans. Look for the good mood people become more intuitive and more creative but next installment of this series of articles on cognitive bias and also less vigilant and more prone to logical errors. decision making.
Implications and Applications
The implications of the above cognitive bias are significant when business decisions are made. For example, organizations or departments that are coming off of a successful year will be vulnerable to going with the established formula for success without re-examining the formula to determine if any variables have changed. This vulnerability is due to the difficulty of applying critical thinking, as well as the potential for being viewed as a negative influence in the group by questioning the formula’s continued value. It is further exacerbated because of the positive energy associated with creativity, yet not testing the assumptions behind the creativity. Further implications include the errors of familiarity with no actual data on a concept or idea due to mere exposure prior to a decision meeting. This can result in potentially good strategies, tactics, or concepts being rejected because they are new despite their potential greater utility related to the decision at hand. The collective intellectual capital of an organization may not be as strong as members of a team might believe. If memory and truth are subject to
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., is the CEO and a Psychologist with MINES and Associates and its sister organization, BizPsych. Dr. Mines and his colleagues have consulted with hundreds of organizations on such areas as strategic thinking/planning, organizational design, team building, and executive coaching. Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. Mines, R.A., Hood, A., King, P., & Wood, P., (1990). Levels of Intellectual Development and Associated Critical Thinking Skills in College Students. Journal of College Student Development, 31 538-547. Taleb, N. (2007). The black swan: the impact of the highly improbable. New York: Random House. Summer 2012 Leadership 5
There’s a great difference between being in-charge and being a leader. Telling people what to do and when to do it is just a small part of being a leader. If you don’t develop the other leadership skills that help motivate teammates and keep projects on-task, you risk limiting your effectiveness and potential in your workplace role. Here are the key elements that build strong leaders:
Coaching • Leaders clearly define goals for their team. • They set an example for teammates to follow. • They motivate their teammates and are supportive and honest with them. • They don’t play favorites, but treat everyone fairly. • They resolve conflicts and help everyone work toward the same goals. Communication • Leaders say what they’re going to do and they follow through. • They are active listeners when someone shares a problem or concern. • They avoid communicating in ways that pass blame or create tension.
Decision Making • Leaders think through problems and avoid rushing to judgments. • They look at all the options to resolve problems or meet goals. • They’re willing to listen to the suggestions of others. • They’ll take risks to push new ideas and project goals. • They avoid repeating past mistakes and seek to learn from their errors. Assertiveness • Leaders tell their team members what’s expected of them. • They don’t wait to resolve an issue or address a concern. • They move quickly to avoid wasting time. • They prefer active involvement to passive behavior.
Leaders also know how to separate “You” from “I” in the way they communicate with their subordinates, especially when related to personal feelings or project expectations.
“You” statements include: • “You always interrupt me during meetings.” • “You’re always the last one to arrive at work.” • “You can’t seem to meet the deadlines you’re given.” “I” statements include: • “I’m concerned with your behavior in meetings.” • “I expect you to arrive to work on time.” • “I’ve noticed that you’re having trouble meeting deadlines.”
Spring 2012 Leadership 9
2012 HR Webinar Series
ChooseWell Our 2012 Webinar Series - ChooseWell - has been designed to provide practical and useful information to employees and managers regarding the everyday decisions to the questions that life presents to us. A quarterly series, the presenters have been selected from experts in their field to provide tips and helpful hints to ChooseWell.
To learn more and to register for these events, visit: www.minesandassociates.com/webinar
Session One: Making a Plan and Sticking to it. february 9, 2012 NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE!
Session Two: Healthful Decisions
April 17, 2012 NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE!
Session Three: Organizational Wellness August 14, 2012 10AM - 11AM MST
Session Four: Worry-free Finances November 14, 2012 10AM - 11AM MST
Questions? Reach us at 800.873.7138 | Brought to you by BizPsych and MINES & Associates
As we go to work every day, we often think about the tasks we need to do and our interactions with co-workers. Most of us may not think much about our health and safety on the job, but we probably should. Colds and other viral infections can spread quickly and can affect productivity, and more than 3 million disabling accidents occur in American workplaces every year. To avoid being sidelined by an illness or injury, start taking action today.
Protect Yourself Against Infection Colds and flu are caused by viruses that can pass easily from one person to another when you sneeze or cough, or handle objects contaminated with a virus. Some viruses can live up to three hours on phones, doorknobs, and desks. Because most adults average about two to four colds a year, there’s a good chance that germs may abound in many workplaces. You can help limit your exposure with these tips: • Wash your hands frequently. Be sure to scrub them with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds. The scrubbing action removes germs so that you can wash them away. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based gel or wipe. • Try not to touch your face. Once a virus gets on your hands, it still has to get inside your body. Touching your eyes, nose, or mouth gives it easy access. • Use a disinfectant. Clean surfaces such as telephones and keyboards regularly, especially if you share them with others. If you do get sick, should you still go to work? Sometimes staying at home is a better idea, especially if you: • Are coughing, hacking, and sneezing, all of which can spread a virus • Have a fever • Feel nauseous, are vomiting, or have diarrhea • Are so sick that you can’t do your job If you feel well enough to go to work, try to prevent infecting others. Avoid shaking hands with anyone, always use tissues to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and wash your hands or use an alcohol-based gel or wipe afterward.
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Make Routine Tasks Safer Repeatedly clicking a computer mouse or turning and lifting can take a toll on your body. In fact, about half of injuries that occur in the workplace are related to frequent repetition of everyday movements such as these. You can help reduce your risk of injury: • Vary your activities. It’s important to give your body a break now and then while you’re at work. It’s a good idea when you’re off the clock, as well. “If you’re working assembly in a manufacturing environment or typing in an office, you’re better off not doing those same motions when you’re not at work,” says Tim Morse, Ph.D., associate professor of ergonomics at the University of Connecticut. • Check your computer setup. If you spend a lot of time working at a computer and it isn’t positioned correctly, you may be risking pain in your neck, shoulders, elbows, or wrists, says Jack Dennerlein, Ph.D., associate professor of ergonomics at Harvard University. To check your computer’s position, stand in front of your chair. The backs of your knees should be about two inches above the seat. When you’re sitting down, the top of the monitor screen should be at about eye level. Position your keyboard so that your elbows are at an angle of at least 90 degrees. This may help relieve stress on your wrists. • Avoid overreaching. Whether or not you work at a desk, it’s important to keep frequently used materials and tools within reach. When sitting, you shouldn’t have to reach more than 15 inches. When standing, items should be no more than 14 inches away if you’re reaching for them with both hands. If you’re using just one hand, 18 inches is OK for most people. • Listen to your body. “Little aches and pains are good indications of a potential injury,” says Dr. Dennerlein. If you start having these types of symptoms, call your doctor.
Be Prepared for Emergencies Ask your supervisor if your company has an emergency action plan in case of fire, natural disaster, or another emergency. Then, read it so that you’ll be prepared. If your employer doesn’t have a plan, consider volunteering to help develop one. The American Red Cross can help you learn more about preparing your workplace for an emergency.
Practice Safe Lifting Try not to lift more weight than you’re used to carrying. How much you can handle safely depends in part on your level of conditioning. Technique also makes a difference. To help avoid back injury, remember to lift with your legs. Here’s how: • Bend your knees. • Keep your back straight, even when you’re putting down the load. • Hold the load close to your body and use a slow, steady lifting motion. • Don’t twist while carrying something. Instead, turn your feet and your body in the direction you want to go. If you need to move something that’s too heavy for you to lift, ask someone to help you. Or, if you’re authorized to use a forklift or other device, use it to move the object.
Change is a common occurrence in business today; because of this, it is important that you possess strong change management skills if you want your business to be a success. Change management skills include leadership development (to get people to believe in you), marketing and sales abilities (to promote your case for change), and communication skills (to help build support for the decision to change). It will also help if you know a little about the stages people go through psychologically when they are dealing with change so that you are able to tell if you have managed a successful transition or if there are additional problems that you need to address. The first thing you will want to focus on is your leadership ability.
Building your ability as a leader is the first step in the change management process. Once employees believe in you and trust what you’re doing, you can then begin your campaign for change. Your campaign should target the different groups within your business and outline the reasons why change is necessary for each. For instance, the board of directors will want to know what the long-term effects of the change will be. Similarly, your employees will want to know how they will be personally affected by the changes you are proposing. Once a change occurs, it is very important to communicate on a regular basis with all affected. Let your employees know what is happening. If your communication skills are weak or you don’t have a formal way of communicating with your employees, set one up before you hit this stage of the change process. By keeping everyone informed, you reduce the chances of low productivity and low morale that often accompany unaccepted change. It is important to realize that although you can use techniques to smooth the change transition process, you will never be able to completely jump from one way of doing something to another without experiencing at least some resistance. Why is this? Well, people adjust to change at different rates. It’s just part of human nature. To reduce your frustration with this process, it helps to know the six phases people go through whenever they are experiencing any type of change, be it personal or professional.
Companies continue to make the mistake of focusing too much on business processes and not enough on good, strong examples of leadership. To be an effective leader in the change management process, it helps if you: • Set an example. As the top person in your business, others look to you for direction not only in terms of business needs, but also related to behavior, ethics, and standards. If you want others in your business to change, you must set an example for them to follow. • Eliminate perks. Perks suggest division and hierarchical thought processes. By eliminating or reducing your own perks, you show your desire to level the playing field. • Walk around and talk to people. The old school of business management promoted the idea that the top person was off limits, enclosed in his or her own glass tower. Leaders of today interact more with their employees; they manage by walking around and getting to know their employees and learning about the problems they face on a day-to-day basis. • Be genuine. As a leader of change, it is important to be as real and honest as possible in your interactions with others. Let others get to know you. Being a leader doesn’t mean hiding your emotions. By interacting with employees on a one-on-one basis, you will build rapport and trust. • Have passion. To be a strong leader, you must have passion around your vision. Without it, you will soon find yourself facing burnout. Leadership is tiring and saps energy at a very high rate, so make sure you are passionate about what you do.
• Anticipation. People in Phase 1 are in the waiting stage. They really don’t know what to expect, so they wait, anticipating what the future holds. • Confrontation. At some point, people reach Phase 2 and begin to confront reality. At this stage, they are beginning to realize that the change is really going to happen or is happening. • Realization. Once the change has happened, people will usually reach Phase 3, where they realize that nothing is ever going to be as it once was. Often times, this realization will plunge them into Phase 4. • Depression. Phase 4 is a necessary step in the change process. This is the stage where a person mourns the past. Not only have they realized the change intellectually, but now they are beginning to comprehend it emotionally as well. • Acceptance. Phase 5 marks the point where the person begins to accept the change emotionally. Although they may still have reservations, they are not fighting the change at this stage. Usually, they are beginning to see some of the benefits even if they are not completely convinced. • Enlightenment. In Phase 6, people completely accept the new change. In fact, many wonder how they ever managed the “old” way. Overall, they feel good about the change and accept it as the status quo from here forward. It is important to note that people in your organizations will proceed through the different phases at different rates of speed. One person may require two months to reach Phase 6 while another may require twelve. To make things even more complex, the cycle of change is not linear. In other words, a person does not necessarily complete Phase 1 through 6 in order. It is much more common for people to jump around. One person may go from Phase 4 to Phase 5 and then back to Phase 2 again; that is why there is no easy way to determine how long a change will take to implement. However, by using the skills outlined above, you increase your chances of managing the change as effectively as possible.
Every manager needs to be both a coach and a mentor. Coaching involves working with an employee to overcome their barriers to effective job performance. Mentoring involves helping employees work with personal problems or decisions that may affect their job performance. Are you clear about the differences between coaching and mentoring? Try this quiz. Each of these situations requires coaching or counseling. Put a check mark in the column you feel best fits the situation. Some items may require both, depending on the situation.
COACHING COUNSELING 1. An employee faces a new work experience. 2. An employee has a personal problem requiring support. 3. A new job skill is required. 4. There is a need to explain standards of the work unit. 5. An employee has a conflict with a peer. 6. Persistent performance problems occur in spite of a training review. 7. You are new to a group. 8. Youâ€™re teaching a new job skill. 9. An employee needs reinforcement for good performance. 10. Many coworkers are laid off. 11. An employee needs to develop self-control 12. An employee has been promoted and is unsure of her ability. 13. An employee has had a death in the family. 14. On-the-job performance is below standard. 15. An employee is suffering from stress. 16. Departmental goals or work conditions have changed. 17. A follow-up to a training session is needed. 18. An employee shares a personal problem. 19. An employee is disappointed in her new job. 20. Performance reviews are coming up. 21. An employee is faced with a lack of career opportunity in the organization. 22. The business is experiencing salary freezes and an uncertain future. 23. An employee needs help with work priorities. 24. An employee asks for help in preparing for future career goals. 25. An employee asks for a more challenging work assignment. KEY: Mentoring situations: 2, 6, 10, 11, 13, 18, 21, 22; Coaching situations: 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 16, 17, 20, 23, 24, 25; Could be either, depending on circumstances: 5, 12, 14, 15, 19. Summer 2012 Leadership 11
You’ve just been given that promotion you’ve wanted -- and now, suddenly, you’re a manager. To help ease your anxiety about the new position, remember that managing people means more than just giving out assignments. Good managers encourage people to do their best through their enthusiastic leadership and motivation. “The business world is changing at an exponential rate. Your business will likely fail to grow and compete successfully if you fail to instill a sense of enthusiasm in your staff,” says Hap Klopp, the founder of North Face and coauthor of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide
to Business Management.” Mr. Klopp suggests adding the following qualities to your leadership skills:
The best managers are passionate about their work and have a sense of
urgency about what needs to be done and when. “Leadership in management means getting everybody working together amicably for a common goal. It’s team building, and you’re the coach,” Mr. Klopp says. “Quite simply, leadership is seeing that things happen.” But a sense of urgency is what inspires your people to go the extra mile -- to work at delighting, not just satisfying, the customer, for example. “Passion for a product or service flows from the top down. If you’re excited about your job and your contribution, it’s more likely your people will be enthusiastic about their contributions, as well,” Mr. Klopp says.
An Expanded Role Good management requires having an ongoing set of responsibilities that combine tasks required of an administrator and a teacher with those of a visionary. In addition to organizational skills that include linking tasks and creating a budget, for instance, managers also need to keep an eye on trends and make predictions about the future of their organizations and their positions in the marketplace.
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There are many management styles that work. Many
people prefer a democratic approach, in which employees are encouraged to ask questions, make suggestions, and have input. “I like this style because it involves team members in the decision-making process and gives them a good feeling about themselves and the company,” Mr. Klopp says. “The one time this doesn’t work is in a crisis; that’s when you need to assume an authoritative role.” Another management style is that of the take-charge autocrat who doesn’t worry about what others think. “I don’t prefer this style, but if this is you, that is who you should be,” Mr. Klopp says. The worst management style “is to waffle and waver, to be an autocrat one moment, a consensus builder the next,” says Mr. Klopp. “If you fall prey to this malady, suddenly everyone’s agenda will be more important than yours and no one will believe in your instincts once they see you don’t believe in them yourself.”
Managers who take all the credit for success and blame all
the failures on others aren’t popular leaders or successful motivators. “Cultivating a sense of teamwork is best,” Mr. Klopp says. “Don’t think ‘you’ and ‘I’; think ‘us.’ Not only will your group be stronger for it, you’ll get better results.”
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Over the past several years, one of the most important
• Conscientiousness. Leaders are often dominated by a
contributions psychology has made to the field of business
sense of duty and tend to be very exacting in character.
has been in determining the key traits of acknowledged
They usually have a very high standard of excellence and
leaders. Psychological tests have been used to determine
an inward desire to do one’s best. They also have a need
what characteristics are most commonly noted among
for order and tend to be very self-disciplined.
successful leaders. This list of characteristics can be used for
• Social boldness. Leaders tend to be spontaneous risk-
developmental purposes to help managers gain insight and
takers. They are usually socially aggressive and generally
develop their leadership skills.
thick-skinned. Overall, they are responsive to others and tend to be high in emotional stamina.
The increasing rate of change in the business environment is
• Tough-mindedness. Good leaders are practical, logical,
a major factor in this new emphasis on leadership; whereas in
and to-the-point. They tend to be low in sentimental
the past, managers were expected to maintain the status quo in
attachments and comfortable with criticism. They are
order to move ahead, new forces in the marketplace have made
usually insensitive to hardship and are very poised.
it necessary to expand this narrow focus. The new leaders of
• Self-assurance. Self-confidence and resiliency are common
tomorrow are visionary. They are both learners and teachers.
traits among leaders. They tend to be free of guilt and have
Not only do they foresee paradigm changes in society, but they
little or no need for approval. They are generally secure
also have a strong sense of ethics and work to build integrity in
and free from guilt and are usually unaffected by prior
mistakes or failures. • Compulsiveness. Leaders were found to be controlled
Raymond Cattell, a pioneer in the field of personality assessment,
and very precise in their social interactions. Overall, they
developed the Leadership Potential equation in 1954. This
were very protective of their integrity and reputation and
equation, which was based on a study of military leaders, is used
consequently tended to be socially aware and careful,
today to determine the traits which characterize an effective
abundant in foresight, and very careful when making
leader. The traits of an effective leader include the following:
decisions or determining specific actions.
• Emotional stability. Good leaders must be able to tolerate frustration and stress. Overall, they must be well-adjusted and have the psychological maturity to deal with anything they are required to face. • Dominance. Leaders are often competitive, decisive, and usually enjoy overcoming obstacles. Overall, they are assertive in their thinking style as well as their attitude in dealing with others. • Enthusiasm. Leaders are usually seen as active, expressive, and energetic. They are often very optimistic and open to change. Overall, they are generally quick and alert and tend to be uninhibited.
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Beyond these basic traits, leaders of today must also possess
you can’t build trust; without trust, you will never be able
traits which will help them motivate others and lead them in new
to get the best effort from your employees.
directions. Leaders of the future must be able to envision the
• Charisma. People usually perceive leaders as larger
future and convince others that their vision is worth following.
than life. Charisma plays a large part in this perception.
To do this, they must have the following personality traits:
Leaders who have charisma are able to arouse strong emotions in their employees by defining a vision which
• High energy. Long hours and some travel are usually a
unites and captivates them. Using this vision, leaders
prerequisite for leadership positions, especially as your
motivate employees to reach toward a future goal by
company grows. Remaining alert and staying focused are
tying the goal to substantial personal rewards and values.
two of the greatest obstacles you will have to face as a leader.
Overall, leaders are larger than life in many ways. Personal
• Intuitiveness. Rapid changes in the world today combined
traits play a major role in determining who will and who will
with information overload result in an inability to know
not be comfortable leading others. However, it’s important to
everything. In other words, reasoning and logic will not
remember that people are forever learning and changing.
get you through all situations. In fact, more and more leaders are learning the value of using their intuition and
Leaders are rarely (if ever) born. Circumstances and
trusting their gut when making decisions.
persistence are major components in the developmental
• Maturity. To be a good leader, personal power and
process of any leader, so if your goal is to become a leader,
recognition must be secondary to the development
work on developing those areas of your personality that you
of your employees. In other words, maturity is based
feel are not up to par. For instance, if you have all of the basic
on recognizing that more can be accomplished by
traits but do not consider yourself very much of a people
empowering others than can be by ruling others.
person, try taking classes or reading books on empathy. On
• Team orientation. Business leaders today put a strong
the other end, if relating to others has always come naturally
emphasis on team work. Instead of promoting an adult/
to you, but you have trouble making logical decisions, try
child relationship with their employees, leaders create an
learning about tough-mindedness and how to develop more
adult/adult relationship which fosters team cohesiveness.
psychological resistance. Just remember, anyone can do
• Empathy. Being able to put yourself in the other person’s
anything they set their mind to.
shoes is a key trait of leaders today. Without empathy,
Summer 2012 Leadership 15
A note to Supervisors... From time to time, situations arise when a supervisor is not sure how to respond to a particular behavior. The Employee Assistance Program is available on a 24/7 basis for consultation on issues such as: referring an employee to the EAP, how best to respond to and manage difficult behavior in the workplace, and whether training or some other form of group intervention (such as an organizational intervention or a conflict resolution) may be helpful for a particular situation. The EAP can serve as an ally to anyone who is working with a troubled employee.
• 24/7 supervisor consultation regarding problems in the workplace
• Assessment of behavioral risk on the job • Return-to-Duty conferences
• Advisory services in writing, revising, and implementing policies
• Supervisor and Manager training
• Unlimited formal Work Performance Referrals
• Coaching for management and leadership skills
• Conflict resolution for supervisor-employee problems
MINES believes that employees are an organization’s most valuable resource. Your EAP is always available to provide you and your employees with support.
The MINES Team
Questions? Reach us at 800.873.7138 | www.MINESandAssociates.com