Archive for the 'Leadership Comment' Category

The Ancient Chinese Science of Organisational Transformation

by LeaderShape Faculty Member, Maiqi Ma

China Business

‘IF A GOVERNMENT becomes unpopular, neither good nor bad policies would be welcomed.’ The words illustrate how the Chinese people value the trustworthiness of leaders and remind me of the so-called ‘Tacitus Trap’ (referring to the Roman philosopher), who asks:

Why are efforts to change such hard work? And, why is changing mind-sets and behaviours hard work too?

Employees who are asked report that their companies’ initiatives most often reinforce changes through formal mechanisms; role modelling is used least often.

I am not surprised. My diagnosis is that these companies lack a culture based in human relations. I would provide a prescription to the leaders derived from the ancient Chinese science of organisational transformation: ‘Letting your people understand the reasons, moving them on with affection, guiding them through self modelling and having an attractive benefits package.’ The prerequisite for these principles is… that the leaders should be virtuous!

This is the beginning of a journey to grow future leaders and develop teams that can speak the same leadership language. Why not take a look here?

According to the ‘Doctrine of Confucius and Mencius’, a virtuous leader should meet three conditions. Firstly, (s)he should let his people have a ‘certain livelihood’. My interpretation of ‘certain livelihood’ for nowadays is a ‘fair salary’ and most definitely not the ‘zero hours contract’ model. (One complaint I heard from a small company is that the business owner’s wife did very little work, never appeared in the office and yet had a much higher salary than the full-time staff.)

Secondly, they should teach people, not only about knowledge and skills but, more importantly, human relations. For example there should be a sense of righteousness between bosses and managers; between senior and junior levels, a proper order…The core of all relations is mutual respect and differentiation. Mencius says that ‘when the prince regards his ministers as his hands and feet, his ministers regard their prince as their stomach and heart; … when he regards them as the ground or as grass, they regard him as a robber and an enemy.’

Qing_Dynasty_Chess_pawnsI have heard many middle managers say that they are treated like pawns in a game of chess by their bosses. In many organisations, the bosses often seem to regard the shareholders as the most important associates, while staff are least important. At employee level, the attitude is often ‘this is not my business. I don’t care.’

Another complaint I have heard from some renowned companies is that frontline staff’s basic wages are the same regardless of individual levels of education and length of service. This is a source of irritation for the senior staff and results in a high turnover of employees. They feel that their expertise and loyalty are overlooked.

Third and last, the leader should ensure there is a wide sense of shared pleasure. I was once having lunch with a senior manager of one of the top 100 companies. He introduced a mini golf game right there in the staff canteen and said to me: ‘If you like, you can take a golf ball home. Our boss likes golf.’ I was impressed by his pride, but I did not take a golf ball with me!

Confucius says that virtue is like the North Pole star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it. Mencius comments ‘when one by force subdues men, they do not submit to him in their hearts…when one subdues men by virtue, they are pleased deep in their hearts and will submit with sincerity.’ So, it is much better to say ‘What can I learn in order to influence or persuade my people to change?’ rather than ‘Changing mind-sets and behaviours is hard work.’

 

apptitleLeaderShaper for Organisational Development.

THERE IS NOTHING LIKE the LeaderShaper App to provide a sense of how Emotionally Intelligent (EI) your leaders and managers are; this is the first effective self-assessment tool available in this format.

 

About Transpersonal Leadership: Ethical Leadership

The News of the World debacle identifies our total lack of ethical leadership – and it’s not just Rupert Murdoch

The current disaster can be laid firmly at the door of unethical leadership. The unethical genius that is Rupert Murdoch together with his disciples Rebekah Brooks and son James Murdoch may be at the pinnacle but our political leaders Blair, Brown and Cameron have shown more than just bad judgement in their quest for News International’s support. Then there is the police, the newspaper advertisers (who have been supporting the tabloids for years and then pull out for purely commercial reasons) and of course the journalists and private investigators themselves.

Continue reading ‘About Transpersonal Leadership: Ethical Leadership’

Engage Staff to Survive.

Consultants PWC state that involvement is essential in managing change successfully. They identified that nine out of ten barriers to change relate to people.

Greg Young, Managing Director, LeaderShapeLeaderShape’s Managing Director, Greg Young, agrees: “Engaged people are up to 40% more productive, developing solutions to improve productivity that no top-down approach can ever identify. They bring innovation to the way they and their organisations work. It is leadership, at all levels, that determines the level of engagement in an organisation, its productivity, its agility and therefore its long term sustainability of performance.”

Staff engagement is seen as one of the biggest keys to success.  A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit identifies more than 80% of top company executives across Europe and the Middle East airing this concern.  Yet almost half (43%) admit that issues like motivation, identification with company goals or willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ – are only ‘occasionally’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ discussed at board level. Moreover, almost 90% say their organisations fail to take action to tackle continually low staff engagement.

Continue reading ‘Engage Staff to Survive.’

Changing Education Paradigms.

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with something original.

Business leaders know what they want from the next generation workforce. Yet mainstream education continues to suffer complaints of low student achievement and employees who aren’t ready for the job.

Internationally recognized guru, Sir Ken Robinson, has penned Government education reports and was central to the Northern Ireland Peace Process regarding its economic development strategy. If that isn’t enough, he was one of four international advisors to the Singapore Government for its plan to become the creative hub of South East Asia.

Continue reading ‘Changing Education Paradigms.’

Are we all hard-wired to be selfish and is ‘survival of the fittest’ our true default?

Neuroscience contradicts this mantra and shows that the empathy we feel for others can drive our understanding of leadership. When the boss gets angry, the whole workforce reacts to the tension in the room. But leaders can motivate when they connect better with staff, using collaboration as a tool for success. It’s the opposite of our belief that business only wants ‘profit at any cost,’ a view that is wrecking our social structures and our world economy.

Continue reading ‘Are we all hard-wired to be selfish and is ‘survival of the fittest’ our true default?’

Learning is ALL Around

Learning opportunities are going on around us all the time and we don’t necessarily recognise them until we really absorb what is going on.  And Leadership has common themes, which hold true in the most unlikely of places.

Continue reading ‘Learning is ALL Around’

Scrooge – Building Emotional Intelligence

What has the Christmas story of Scrooge to do with the new fangled art of building Emotional Intelligence in the Board Room?  Traditional leadership (based on knowledge and power) can be difficult to shake off but most good leaders learn to use one of six styles (visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pace-setting and commanding) to meet the demands made upon them.

Continue reading ‘Scrooge – Building Emotional Intelligence’