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Friday, October 30, 2009

Off Field Leadership by a Sporting Role Model

Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees broke away from his preparations for the ensuing World Series Game 2 earlier this week because he was the 2009 recipient of the Robert Clemente Award. Bestowed annually since 1971, the award recognises the Major League Baseball player who combines a dedication to giving back to the community with outstanding skills on the baseball field.

"Major League Baseball is proud to honour Derek Jeter for the lasting impact the Turn 2 Foundation has made on youth in communities across the country," Commissioner Bud Selig said, referring to the charitable organisation Jeter started in 1996. "In a year of career milestones for Derek, receiving the Roberto Clemente Award will inspire future generations of ballplayers and fans to give back to those in need.”

Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $10 million in grants to create and support signature programmes and activities that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "TURN 2" healthy lifestyles. Through these ventures, the Foundation strives to create outlets that promote academic excellence, leadership development and positive behaviour. Turn 2's goal is to see the children of these programmes grow safely and successfully into adulthood and become the leaders of tomorrow.

Turn 2 is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Jeter family with Derek in a hands-on role. In addition to contributing his own funds, he hosts the annual Derek Jeter Celebrity Golf Classic and the Turn 2 Foundation Dinner to raise funds needed to continue a wide range of programmes.

As a positive role model, Jeter’s leadership presence on and off the field is an example to sportsmen and women throughout the world and he is to be congratulated on his achievements.

Trust in Leadership

Not only do both a business and a sports team need strong leadership, but also total faith in their leaders from every member.

According to Matt Langridge who won a silver medal in Beijing as a member of the British men's eight rowing team, good leadership from their cox and two coaches was the biggest factor in their Olympic success. “They said very clearly: ‘This is what we want to do, this is how we feel the boat needs to be rowed.’” he says. “And what then made it work is the fact that we have a lot of confidence in them, so we’ve bought into what they’ve said.”

There will always be individuals who disagree, but for the team dynamic to work, they must be able to trust their leader’s judgment. “Everyone has their own opinion, but if we all went with them it would never work,” adds Langridge. “The fact that we’ve had the confidence in our coaches to put our opinions aside and go with what they’ve said has been the determining factor for us, and it has allowed us to perform to our best.”

Does Your Leadership Change as Your Organisation Changes?

Leading an organisation through lifecycle transitions is neither easy nor obvious.

Methods that produce success in one stage can create failure in the next.

Fundamental changes in leadership and management are required, and solutions need to be created with the active participation, understanding and support of the managers who implement them.

The Qualities of a Leader

James Riady is the CEO of Lippo Group, one of Indonesia's largest conglomerates with annual revenues of some $3 billion. Fifteen years ago, Riady was responsible for the establishment of Universitas Pelita Harapan in Indonesia, and he has a strong interest in the social impact of business.

During an interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Riady was asked what are the most important qualities of a leader?

'A leader needs to have a vision, because at the end of the day, the vision must drive the organisation. It must drive people. And a strong vision attracts people like a magnet and gets people to make changes in the community. But it's not just about having a vision. It's also about having humility. That's very difficult. The more successful you are, the more you face the temptation of being egoistic and full of pride. It's also about having the heart to serve, to do things not for yourself but for others. Those are the three things: vision, humility and the ability to serve.'

Riady was also asked for examples of what gives him pride in the work he is doing in education and healthcare? His answer points the way towards why Indonesia is making progress in international education tables and highlights what needs to happen in the UK as we slip further behind in education performance (eg the 2008 OECD international rankings place the UK 13th in reading - down from seventh in 2000 - and 18th in maths).

'I was not born into and did not grow up in a particularly educational environment. But it wasn't until when I went back to Indonesia in 1978 with my four children, who grew up in the U.S., and I had to look for schools for them that I realised that we do not have top schools in Indonesia that I would consider putting my children in. There is a great deficiency in education in Indonesia. I set out to contribute something, to make a change. So we set up the non-profit called [Pelita Harapan] Educational Foundation and started building schools and universities. Today, we have 20 schools and one university, which have transformed Indonesian education.

We introduced an education system that is not based on rote memorisation but the creative process of learning. It's not about knowledge; it's about the process of learning. We wanted small class sizes, and a holistic education that gets students to develop all parts of life. We don't just want to have good schools. We want to have model schools that other schools look at and want to copy. For the next generation, our schools hopefully will be a role model of what good education is all about, what good schools are all about. It's exciting because that's transformational.

We started paying teachers salaries that they deserve, increasing salaries three to four times more than what they were earning over the last 15 years and so instilling in the community that education has a high value. In today's modern society, there has been a shift. People do not respect and value teachers as much as they should.... I hope that when I finish my life that the biggest impact I have made will be in education.'

For the full interview, see - http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=2365

How to be a leader others want to follow

Examples abound of poor leadership. Who hasn’t had a teacher or boss who invoked feelings of disrespect?

A positive leader is someone who inspires, motivates, energises and unites, while generating loyalty and producing results.

Here are some ideas on how to be that kind of leader:
  • Give more than you expect others to give.
  • Combine optimism and perseverance.
  • See everyone as a diamond in the rough.
  • Express appreciation; accept responsibility.
  • Keep your ego in check.
  • Show respect for the people around you.
  • Treat team members as family.
  • Be a source of inspiration.
  • Stress cooperation, not competition.
  • Maintain a sense of humour.


Leadership Essentials

Leadership is difficult to define. It’s an abstract concept that evokes as many different reactions as there are different kinds of people. Yet most of us know good leadership when we see it, and we can often tell when good leadership is missing by the way a team or organisation struggles without it.

At Positive Leadership, our leadership philosophy identifies the following areas as essential to quality, effective leadership:
  • Mission. A clear mission helps the leader to focus the team so that they can ignore distractions and pay attention to what’s most important.
  • Values. When a leader demonstrates values that are in sync with the company’s mission and the team’s goals, everyone benefits.
  • Planning and goal-setting. With clear goals and effective planning, leaders make their expectations understood and team members know what to do at all times.
  • Delegating authority. The job of leadership is usually too big to handle alone. By sharing responsibilities with the team, a leader instills a sense of purpose and empowerment.
  • Team building. Establishing trust, playing to individual strengths, encouraging people to work together – all are important aspects of team building.
  • Giving feedback. Constructive, concise and timely feedback is essential to each team member’s success, and to the success of the team as a whole.
  • Coaching team members. A good leader must take on the role of trainer now and then, providing expert advice, encouragement and suggestions for improvement.
  • Motivating people. By providing a good example, learning each team member’s needs and giving rewards and incentives when appropriate, a leader can inspire people to achieve higher levels of performance.
  • Working for the team. Great leaders encourage participation, facilitate communication and provide an environment where team success is more likely to occur.
  • Resolving conflict. Conflict between team members is inevitable, and not always a bad thing. A leader’s job is to resolve the conflict in a just and reasonable way so that productivity and morale do not suffer.


How to Develop Good Coaches in an Organisation

Research says that managers, in general, are poor at coaching and developing their people.

As if that fact isn’t depressing enough, what makes it even worse is a whole body of other research that proves just how well effective coaching hits the bottom line. For example, a 2007 Corporate Executive Board study found that sales reps receiving great coaching reach on average 102% of goal in contrast to sales reps reporting poor coaching who achieve only 83% of goal. Good coaching can improve bottom line performance by 19%!

Coaching is not just a “nice to do” – it’s a proven productivity driving, revenue growing, high impact management activity. So if it works…. why don’t more managers do it? And why are they so bad at it?

There are four reasons:

1. They don’t understand how effective it is in improving performance.

2. They don’t have time. While “lack of time” may be just a symptom of reason #1, it’s also a reality that most managers these days are extremely busy and have difficulty finding time to eat, let alone coach.

3. It’s hard to learn. In fact, it’s one of the most difficult leadership competencies to learn.

4. Poor execution. Managers often spend too much time coaching poor performers at the expense of the “B” performers who would benefit from it the most. Or, they apply the same process to all employees equally.

Given this stark reality, what’s an organisation to do? How can we infuse coaching skills into an organisation’s managers?

Here are four ideas:

1. Help managers understand the importance of coaching.

Stop trying to convince them it’s the “right thing to do” in order to improve employee satisfaction. Show them the research and the ROI. Make it a business case, not an HR driven social agenda.

2. Set expectations and help align their priorities.

Establish clear, measurable, non-negotiable expectations. Then get rid of all the lower priority stuff that’s filling up their days. We can’t just tell managers coaching is important and hold them accountable for it, and not eliminate the non-value activities that are often driven by their own managers and HR.

3. Teach them how to do it.

While it’s hard, it’s not impossible. Good managers are not born with a coaching gene… they are good at it because they know what key behaviours make the most difference and they practice those behaviours relentlessly. There is no 3x5 laminated card short-cut solution to teaching and learning coaching skills – it’s a significant investment of time and effort.

4. Use internal and external experts.

Create a pool of internal and external coaches as a temporary or permanent “work-around”. These experts could be from HR, training, professional external coaches, or anyone that has a knack and passion for bringing out the best in others. Over time, this capability can’t help but be transferred… it’s a quicker way to infuse an organisation with coaching expertise, while you are building your manager’s skills at the same time.