Thursday, May 11, 2006

Effective leadership

Business Times p.B3
Thursday, 2006

We're here in Dallas, Texas, USA—home of the cowboys. There are six of us Filipinas attending the ASTD 2006 International Conference and Exposition, May 7-10. Plus Bing de Dios, who is working in Thailand. There are about 12,000 delegates from 70 countries attending some 250 simultaneous sessions, 3 general sessions, 10 certificate programs and 10 pre-conferences workshops.

Whew! The program itself is as thick and heavy as the PLDT telephone directory. I am thankful to my friend Leloy Cuyugan, former UP professor and PAL trainor, who brings me around Dallas after conference hours.

And I am picking up lots of materials for this column and for my training and consulting services.

Let’s start with David L. Goetsch’s book, Effective Leadership.

Goetsch writes about 10 steps to help technical professionals (doctors, lawyers, military, sports, government, politics and others outside of the world of commerce) develop the knowledge, skills, insights and attitudes they need to be effective leaders. These are:

• Develop a vision and commit to achieving it.
Study visionary leaders and consider the possible. Establish your context. Examine the present. Study the future. Identify the ideal condition within your context. Ask the legacy question or how you will be remembered when you are gone. Write your vision statement and test it.

* Project unquestionable integrity and selflessness.
Integrity builds trust, leads to influence, establishes high standards, establishes a solid foundation rather than just an image and builds credibility.

• Establish credibility and good stewardship. Set the example.
Support your people. Admit mistakes. Follow through. Be consistent.

• Develop a can-do attitude and seek responsibility.
Manifest and inner conviction that asserts: Whatever the job, I can get it done. Whatever the challenge, I can meet it. Whatever the obstacle, I can overcome it.” A can-do attitude exudes optimism, initiative, determination, responsibility and accountability.

• Develop self-discipline, time management, and execution skills.
Self-discipline is the ability to take control of one’s personal choices, decisions, actions and behaviors. This entails ability and consciousness, i.e. a choice not a trait that one happens to have.

• Be a creative problem solver and decision maker.
Solving problems promotes teamwork, leads to continual improvement rather than just “putting out fires,” and approaches problems as normal by-products of change.

• Be a positive change agent.
Be smart and empathetic. Have a clear vision. Establish incentives that promote the change. Continue to train and develop people.

• Be an effective team builder.
Be clear on your team’s mission. Identify success criteria. Be action-centered. Establish ground rules. Share information. Cultivate team unity.

• Empower followers to lead themselves.
Empowerment is “employee involvement that matters.” It is the difference between just having input and having input that is heard, seriously considered, and followed up on whether it is accepted or not. Empowerment is not abdication.

• Be an effective conflict manager and consensus builder.
Conflict is unavoidable and normal when people work together; no matter how committed they are to a common vision because of limited resources, incompatible goals, role ambiguity, different values, different perspectives and communication problems. Consequently, leaders must be proficient in resolving conflict and promoting agreements while respecting diversity.

Indeed many technical and professional experts find themselves upheld in leadership positions-at work, in the community, in social and civic groups, etc. They are encouraged to think beyond the narrow scope of their field of expertise and become adept at producing results through others. Finally, Goetsch stresses, “leadership in any field is about strength of character more than anything else.”

Moje is president of Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. Her e-mail address is

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