Ken Haigh leadership, productivity, and technology | about

The Leadership Equation: Self-Control

In the [last leadership post][1], we discussed the importance of wisdom, learning, and understanding in demonstrating competence as a leader and influencer of others. This week, we will continue to look at the characteristics of a competent leader.

    \[ l_i = \left ( i_1 + t + f + h + \frac{s_1}{s_2} + c_1 + j\right )\left ( w_1 + u + l + \frac{s_3}{a} + e \right )\left ( w_2 + \frac{m_1}{m_2} + c_2  \right ) \]

where l_i = leadership/influence and s_3 = self-control </div>

Good leaders exercise self-control. Exercising self-control involves managing one’s emotions and impulses in order to control inappropriate reactions and channel energy in a positive manner. **Why it Matters** Self-control enables good leaders to stay calm and clear-headed during a crisis or a time of high stress. A leader with self-control can also act strategically instead of just reacting. Self-control enables leaders to resist short term gain at the expense of a bigger long term payout. **A Lack of Control** What does a lack of control in a leader look like? Expressing anger is a common reaction. Instead of demonstrating leadership, some will act out like a two year old child throwing a public temper tantrum. This behavior creates havoc and stress in an organization, a loss of team productivity, and causes a leader to lose influence over others. For others like me, a more common reaction is impatience and irritability. The symptoms of impatience and irritability include interrupting others, expressing a grumpy disposition, a lack of listening, and put downs. This negative behavior can become contagious in an organization. Finally, a lack of control can cause a leader to act on impulse. Unchecked over time, this can lead to excessive greed and addiction and ultimately to moral failure. **How to Improve Self-Control** * **Avoidance** – Recognize the times when your self-control is low and avoid the temptation during those times. For me, my self-control is at its lowest when I am tired. Often solitude and rest are needed to fill back up my tank. * **Realization** – Reflect and realize the true value of whatever is tempting you. When you devalue your temptations, realize the consequences of acting, and see the value of longer term goals, you are more likely to orient yourself towards those goals and avoid temptation altogether. * **Pre-commitment** – Make important decisions before you are in a tempting situation. Setting goals for yourself can keep you going when you are tempted to give up. Also, knowing your walk-away point is important to avoid later regret during a negotiation. The key is to reduce the number of options you have in the future. When the ancient Greek armies would land upon an enemy’s shore, the first command was to “burn the boats” in order to ensure the warriors were committed to victory. **What about you? I would like to hear what helps you exercise self-control. You can leave a comment below.** [1]: /posts/the-leadership-equation-wisdom-understanding-and-learning/

In Leadership (anger, Leadership, self-control, temptation)

Google+ Review

If somehow you haven’t heard already, Google launched Google+, their answer to Facebook.  Google+ is not yet available for all users.  For the last couple of days, I have been greeted by a message stating that they have “temporarily exceeded their capacity’ while trying to join.  However, persistence has paid off and I am finally in.  If you are in the same boat, keep trying.  Google+ is adding users each day.

Here are my first impressions:

The interface is very clean in comparison Facebook.  They have also introduced some social concepts:

Circles is the place to add friends.  You can create various custom groups by dragging people’s names into a circle such as Family, Acquaintances, and Friends.  This makes is easier to categorize your relationships.

Sparks allows you to create a category to ‘share’ on selected circles.  This is handy if you only what to share your location to certain selected circles.

Hangouts enables video chats with friends and sharing of videos.

The only problem I see right now is that I have no friends.  Let me know if you are interested in joining by leaving a comment below.   I will do my best to process invites this weekend.   If you are already on Google+, add me to your circle.


In Social media (Google, invite)

The Leadership Equation: Wisdom, Understanding, and Learning

In the [previous post][1], we finished discussing the characteristics of a leader that enable trust in others. We will now look at the characteristics of a competent leader.

    \[ l_i = \left ( i_1 + t + f + h + \frac{s_1}{s_2} + c_1 + j\right )\left ( w_1 + u + l + \frac{s_3}{a} + e \right )\left ( w_2 + \frac{m_1}{m_2} + c_2  \right ) \]

where l_i = leadership/influence, w_1 = wisdom, u = understanding, and l = learning </div> Wisdom is hard to define. The reason is that wisdom is difficult to quantify and it is elusive. We know it when we see it, though. Philosophers (lovers of wisdom) and authors over the ages have contributed their own interpretations. I don’t claim authority in my definition or have the space in this blog to produce a volume on wisdom. So for our purposes, we will define wisdom as > the ability to select the best course of action according to what is true or right (values); through discernment and realization of people, things, events, and situations (understanding); with respect to past experiences and acquired knowledge (learning). **Why Wisdom Matters for a Leader** If you are leading others, the implication is that there is a destination. Wisdom is the key characteristic for a leader to plot a correct course of action to arrive at the desired destination. People without wisdom lack the competence to effectively lead. Ineffective leaders make decisions not based on wisdom but on self-interest, prejudgments, attachment, and an over-reliance on one aspect of wisdom such as past experience or some new knowledge (e.g. fad). **The Impact of Folly** Folly is the opposite of wisdom. The impact of folly includes: * **Loss of time and resources** – Making wrong decisions often cost an organization time and money. Correcting the course of action can become costly and usually comes at the expense of others. This often leads to lower morale when others are required to work harder and longer to make up ground. * **Placing an organization at risk** – A poor business decision could end an organization. There are too many organization to list that ended as a a result of a poor decision or series of poor decisions. One could argue that we need to look no further than the latest economic meltdown and crisis. The meltdown occurred as a result of the folly of a handful of key decision-makers. **I would like to hear from others on how a person obtains wisdom.** I’ll start with that it is a process and one must greatly value wisdom. I look forward to seeing what you share. [1]: /posts/the-leadership-equation-charity-and-justice/

In Leadership (Leadership, learning, understanding, wisdom)

The Leadership Equation: Charity and Justice

Good leaders are just and charitable towards others. Words like “charity” and “justice” have lost their meaning in this [day and age][1]. For a leader, being just (guided by truth, reason, and fairness) and charitable (kind-hearted, the opposite of a critical spirit) are important characteristics in gaining the trust of others.

    \[ l_i = \left ( i_1 + t + f + h + \frac{s_1}{s_2} + c_1 + j\right )\left ( w_1 + u + l + \frac{s_3}{a} + e \right )\left ( w_2 + \frac{m_1}{m_2} + c_2  \right ) \]

where l_i = leadership/influence, c_1 = charity, and j = justice </div> Let’s take a look at why justice and charity matter. **Just and Fair** Good leaders demonstrate fairness in evaluation of situations and people. They spend time gathering information and deliberating before passing judgement. When good leaders exist in an organization, people are rewarded/promoted based on their contribution instead of who they know or a leader’s mood. Based on gathered facts and contextual understanding, good leaders are not afraid to give feedback and correct performance when necessary. The impact of injustice in an organization is decreased morale, higher turnover, and lower team productivity. Others are unlikely to follow someone when they are treated unfairly. **The Judgement of Charity** Good leaders practice the judgement of charity. The judgement of charity favors best-case analysis over worst-case analysis. To illustrate, when all the facts have been gathered, a person’s intentions or motives are often still unknown. The worst-case analysis assumes the worst of motives and that a person’s intention was based on self-interest, revenge, or blame shifting. Avoiding the worst-case analysis becomes even more difficult when we are the ones hurt or offended in a situation. The best-case analysis, however, gives the benefit of the doubt. The best-case analysis assumes the best possible motives of another. When a good leader practices the judgement of charity, they follow the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We should judge others in the best possible light as we expect others to judge us. The impact of charity in a organization is a reduction in the escalation of words and actions. As a result, less conflict and hostility exists. Others are unlikely to follow someone when they are continually misunderstood. **Summary** We have looked at integrity, truthfulness, faithfulness, humility, servanthood, charity, and justice. All these characteristics enable a leader to gain the trust of others. In the next post, we will start the discussion of the characteristics that help a leader demonstrate competence. **Please let me know what you think so far or stop by and say hello.** [1]:

In Leadership (charity, judgement, justice, Leadership)

The Leadership Equation: Faithfulness, Humility, and Servanthood

In the [previous post][1], we discussed the importance of the foundational characteristics of integrity and truthfulness in leading others. Let’s continue to look at how good leaders enable the trust of others through faithfulness, humility, and servanthood.

    \[ l_i = \left ( i_1 + t + f + h + \frac{s_1}{s_2} + c_1 + j\right )\left ( w_1 + u + l + \frac{s_3}{a} + e \right )\left ( w_2 + \frac{m_1}{m_2} + c_2  \right ) \]

where l_i = leadership/influence, f = faithfulness, h = humility, and s_1 = servanthood </div> Instead of describing each characteristic and the impact, we will move from the theoretical to a real-world example, and discuss the person who is credited for Southwest Airlines corporate culture and results – Colleen Barrett. Barrett was the President and COO of Southwest Airlines until 2008. **Southwest Airlines Success** I admire Southwest Airlines. The locals here in Charleston, SC met the announcement of Southwest flights to/from CHS with great fanfare not just because of reduced ticket prices. Southwest Airlines is also know for their exceptional customer service and focus on their employees. As a result, Southwest is the most profitable airline and the only remaining profitable airline post 9-11. Many business experts credit this success to Colleen Barrett, who joined a fledging airline as the corporate secretary and tranformed the organization over 30+ years through her influence. **Humble Roots** Barrett loved the law but the lacked the money to go to law school. Instead of law school, Barrett attended and graduated from junior college in 1968 and got a job as a legal secretary for Herb Kelleher, the eventual co-founder of Southwest Airlines. Barrett officially joined Southwest as corporate secretary in 1978 though helped Kelleher get the airline off the ground through numerous documented legal proceedings. She eventually rose through the ranks until she retired as President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines. Barrett is not your typical Ivy League, MBA toting executive. Barrett always remembered her origins and is known for her folksy style, humility, and her willingness to be subject to others. She dresses casually and sends birthday cards to each employee. As a leader, Barrett once said, “I was mentored and coached almost from the get-go, and it caused me to think, as I watched other people struggle to do the same sort of thing, to never forget where you come from and to pay back.” While many executives for similar sized companies earn millions in annual salary, Barrett earned roughly $350k annually. Southwest was born out of a reaction to the arrogance of major airlines and the way they treated their customers. Barrett once stated that “in all sincerity, what I did think was that we might not be too long in the air. The thing that kept us going was the arrogance of our competitors.” **Steadfast and Faithful** Barrett was indispensable to Kelleher as a legal secretary and worked many 16-hours day in helping him gain legal approval for the airline. The success of Southwest is a result of her faithfulness to the original business plan to provide a low-cost, no-frills, point-to-point airline that focuses on customer service. She never let the company waiver through many hard times including 9/11. Barrett was appointed President four months before 9/11, and persevered through the aftermath without incurring layoffs, and continued to make a profit. When other leaders panicked and cut back during the time, she continued to lead through adversity. **Servant Leadership** Barrett is often mentioned in relation to servant leadership. The management style she crafted along with Kelleher is built upside down in comparison to other companies. The pyramid of the company’s priorities has the employees at the top and the executives deliver proactive customer service to them. If they do a good job, the employee can spend their time to service the second important group, the customers. The focus on the employees enables a great, fun, corporate culture, which produces great customer service, and has created the profitable company that is Southwest. I have included an interview with Colleen Barrett at the Warton School of the University of Pennsylvania. I know 25 minutes is a lot to ask, but the interview reveals Colleen’s sincerity. At the 4:30 mark, she discussed servant leadership. Enjoy! <img src="" alt="Collen Barrett" width=610 height=458 border=0 /> [1]: /posts/the-leadership-equation-truthfulness-and-integrity/

In Leadership (Colleen Barrett, Faithfulness, Humility, Leadership, Servant, Southwest)