|PART 2: Teaching with Business Leadership (2nd edition)
PART 2 of this guide explores some basics for teaching with this edition of Business Leadership. It contains chapter-by-chapter summaries and options for courses or modules.
Chapter-by-Chapter Summaries for Business Leadership
Chapter summaries can assist instructors in planning and preparation. They review key issues – and offer an easy way for instructors to compare their perspectives on topics with those of the author. Summaries are written to capture the key terms, language, and models highlighted in each chapter.
PART I Framing the Issues: What is Leadership?
Chapter 1. John P. Kotter. What Leaders Really Do
Leadership is different from management, but not because leadership is a mysterious or charisma-infused process. Leadership and management are two distinctive and complementary organizational processes, each with its own function and system of action. Organizations that understand this can proactively set out to develop strong leadership and strong management that complement and balance each other.
Kotter notes that most corporations in the United States are over managed and under led. Successful organizations actively seek people with leadership potential and expose them to opportunities and challenges that enable them to grow and develop as leaders. At the same time, companies must recognize that not every leader is good at both leading and managing nor do all good managers have leadership potential. Smart companies support and value their strong managers and work hard to keep them as a productive part of the work team.
Kotter outlines the key differences between leadership and management. Management is about coping with complexity by maintaining order and consistency in systems, products, and processes like quality and profitability. Leadership, on the other hand, is about coping with change: adapting to the realities of a dynamic and ever volatile business world. Doing what was done yesterday – or even doing that a little better – is no longer a long-term formula for success in today’s competitive, global world. Change is a constant, and more change requires strong leadership and strong management at every level of the organization.
The manager’s work of coping with complexity and the leader’s work of coping with change shape the activities of both. Each share three essential tasks: (1) determine what needs to be done; (2) develop the capacity to achieve organizational goals; and (3) ensure that things get accomplished. However, managers and leaders accomplish these tasks differently.
Managers – Maintain Consistency and Order Leaders – Manage Change
Plan and budget to manage complexity Set a direction for change
Set targets and goals for the short term Develop a vision for the future
Establish steps for achieving goals Devise strategies for change
Allocate resources to accomplish plans
Organize and staff Align people to strategies
Create organizational structures and job Communicate new directions
Staff jobs with qualified people Foster commitment
Communicate plans to workers
Delegate responsibility for carrying out plans
Devise systems to monitor implementation
Control and solve problems Motivate and inspire
Monitor results versus the plan Keep people moving
Identify deviations and solutions to correct them Keep people committed in the face of obstacles to change
Kotter digs into the meaning of these differences. Since the function of leadership is to produce change, for example, setting new directions is essential. Setting direction, however, is different from short and long-term planning. It is an inductive process that requires a broad look at data, patterns, relationships, and opportunities. It involves crafting a new vision and strategies to accomplish it – something larger and different from the manager’s job of devising plans to make sure current directions are implemented and monitored. Setting direction also engages and aligns people throughout the organization in the pursuit of a vision. This requires broad and regular communications so that employees can understand and embrace the vision: success results from everyone aiming for the same target. Motivating and inspiring ensures that employees have the courage to take risks and the energy to overcome the normal and expected barriers to change.
Chapter 2. Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee. Primal Leadership: The Hidden Power of Emotional Intelligence
The authors assert that great leaders work through emotions. Leaders have the maximal power to sway the emotions of a group; and unless they drive employee emotions in the right direction, nothing they do will succeed. In such a world, the leader’s emotional intelligence – the leader’s capacity to recognize the power of emotions in the work place, to manage his or her emotions, and to create a positive emotional environment – is fundamental to leadership success.
The human brain is wired to respond not only to what a leader does but how the leader does it. The open loop nature of the human limbic system – the human body’s emotional center – primes humans for survival by tacitly picking up emotional cues and clues from others. Think in evolutionary terms: a mother coming to her baby’s rescue because the infant cries, or an individual getting subtle cues from others that a predator is near. Picking up these kinds of emotional signals – positive or negative – alters the body’s physiology: hormone levels, cardiovascular function, sleep patterns and rhythms, and immune functioning. The bottom-line is important to remember: other people can change our feelings, emotions, and physiology. All this can happen without our conscious awareness: emotions are “catchy” which is why we enjoy and feel better being around positive people. The reality of emotional contagion makes managing the emotional side of leadership primal – it is the first and most important leadership function across situations and organizations.
Even bad news can be delivered in a way that it engenders learning and positive action for the organization and for the individual employees. A leader’s mood and tone make all the difference and underscore the importance of attention to the emotional impact on others of what a leader says and does. A leader’s behavior is always observed by others and is contagious. Therefore, leaders who express positive emotions create resonance and incite a contagious positive spirit and passion within their organization. Successful leaders have explicit strategies for how to understand and improve the ways that they handle their own and other people’s emotions at work.
Not surprising, the authors found in their research that good and bad emotions perpetuate themselves, positively focusing attention on productivity or negatively disrupting attention from the necessary tasks at hand respectively. The authors cite a Yale study that found a 1% improvement in emotional climate generated a 2% increase in revenue. Lower morale produced lower results and profits, reinforcing the authors claim of the link between supportive, empathetic leaders and organizational success.
Chapter 3. James Kouzes and Barry Posner. The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.
Leadership is not about personality, it’s about practice. Kouzes and Posner offer Five Practices for Exemplary Leadership:
Model the way: know your guiding values and principles, behave consistently with them, set an example for others about hard work and about the values and norms that are important
Inspire a shared vision: envision alternatives and opportunities for the organization, create a clear image of what the future could look like, enable others to see the vision as their own, and enlist others’ commitment to it by helping them understand the benefits to a larger good – and use vivid language and an expressive style to do that
Challenge the process: be willing to question the status quo, be a pioneer – step out into the unknown, listen to others as a source of possibility, experiment, take risks
Enable others to act: build a team, foster collaboration widely and beyond your few direct reports, build trust, empower and make it possible for others to do good work
Encourage the heart: encourage and support others – use genuine acts of caring, show appreciation, celebrate others and their accomplishments.
Leaders who engage in these practices accomplish extraordinary things. The authors remind readers that leadership is not limited to those who have titles or special positions. The opportunity to lead is available to anyone who accepts “the leadership challenge.” Leading uses an identifiable set of skills and practices available to everyone. Bottom-line for the authors, leadership effectiveness rests on relationships: leadership success is a function of how well people interact and work together.
Embedded in the five practices are The Ten Commandments of Leadership.
Model the Way 1. Find your voice by clarifying your personal values.
2. Set the example by aligning actions with shared values.
Inspire a Shared Vision 3. Envision the future by imagining exciting and ennobling possibilities.
4. Enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.
Challenge the Process 5. Search for opportunities by seeking innovative ways to change, grow, and improve.
6. Experiment and take risks by constantly generating small wins and learning from mistakes.
Enable Others to Act 7. Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.
8. Strengthen others by sharing power and discretion.
Encourage the Heart 9. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence.
10. Celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.
Chapter 4. Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal. Reframing Leadership
Leadership is often misunderstood, the authors claim. Many fail to recognize its relational and contextual nature and its distinction from power and position. Inaccurate beliefs about leadership produce oversimplified advice and result in overly simple strategies. Leadership is different from authority, and exercising raw power or the power of position can gets leaders no where. Leadership is also different from management: managers deal with nuts-and-bolts; leaders envision, network, and build relationships that facilitate a new and powerful future.
Leadership, according to the authors, is a “subtle and holistic process of mutual influence fusing thought, feeling, and action to produce cooperative effort in the service of purposes and values embraced by both the leader and the led.” As the definition illustrates, leadership is complex but it need not be overwhelming. The authors offer four frames as a way to understand and remember the essentials of good leadership: leaders need to attend to (1) organizational structure and processes, (2) people and relationships, (3) power and influence, and (4) the importance of fostering passion and meaning. They suggest the process of reframing – using the four frames to deliberately view a situation from multiple perspectives in order to understand fully what’s really happening – as a way to manage complexity and as a fundamental of business leadership success.
The authors’ four frames – structural, human resource, political, and symbolic – are a good way for leaders to decompose and become comfortable with the basics of leadership. The frames also discipline leaders to explore all facets of a situation before making a decision or action plan. Each frame addresses a different set of leadership challenges – and can be implemented well or poorly – but on its own is incomplete. And leaders often have their own preference and comfort in attending to the issues in one frame arena vs. another. Together, however, the four frames provide a comprehensive, yet manageable approach to the complexities of contemporary leadership.
Effective structural leaders are social architects, never bureaucratic tyrants. Alfred Sloan at General Motors is an example of good structural leadership; his successor Roger Smith less so. Effective structural leaders:
1. Do their homework. They study their organization and its needs, goals, and processes before acting
2.Rethink the relationship among structure, strategy, and the environment. They are not afraid to experiment and test new options
3. Focus on implementation, but they also often underestimate resistance, fail to build the needed support and political base, and misread or ignore important cultural cues about problems
4. Experiment, Evaluate, and Adapt
Effective human resource leaders are catalysts for effective action – servants who facilitate the work of others, not pushovers or “wimps.” Exemplars include Fred Smith, founder and CEO of Federal Express; Pat Carrigan, the first woman plant manager at GM; and Jan Carlzon, CEO of Scandinavian Air System. Effective human resource leaders:
1. Believe in people and communicate that
2. Are visible and accessible
3. Empower Others
Effective political leaders are advocates, not manipulators or hustlers. Lee Iacocca, chief executive of Chrysler in the late 1970s, and Carly Fiorina, CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 1999, are two leaders whose experience demonstrate the challenges – and the risks – in navigating the political terrain. Effective political leaders
1. Clarify the distinction between what they want and what they can get: they are realists who avoid letting all that they want cloud their judgment about what is really possible.
2. Assess the distribution of power and interests: they know how to map the political terrain (see chapter 26 in Business Leadership for specific steps) by assessing key players, their interests, and their power – Whose support do I need? How do I get it? Who are my opponents? How much power do they have? What can I do to reduce or overcome their opposition? Is this battle winnable?
3. Build linkages to key stakeholders: they build relationships and networks and recognize the value of personal contact and conversations.
4. Persuade first, negotiate second, and coerce only if necessary.
Effective symbolic leaders are artisans or prophets, never zealots. They lead through actions and words, and infuse experiences with meaning and purpose through their language and their passion. Examples are Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. – each well acknowledged for his “transforming” leadership. Other examples in the chapter include Rudy Giuliani after 9/11, Boston middle school principal Diana Lam, Lee Iacocca, and the great communicator Ronald Reagan. Symbolic leaders
1. Lead by example
2. Use symbols to capture attention
3. Frame experience
4. Communicate a vision
5. Tell stories
6. Respect and use history
Chapter 5. James O’Toole. When Leadership is an Organizational Trait.
In successful organizations, leadership is not just an individual activity – “an aria sung by the CEO.” It is a shared responsibility throughout the organization – a “chorus of diverse voices singing in unison.” Many highly successful organizations lack high profile leaders; however, O’Toole found that the key tasks and responsibilities of leadership have been institutionalized into the systems, practices and cultures of the organizations. Individuals at all levels:
Acted more like owners and entrepreneurs than employees or hired hands
Took the initiative to solve problems and act with a sense of urgency
Willingly accepted accountability for meeting commitments and for living the values of the organization
Shared a common philosophy and language of leadership that paradoxically includes tolerance for contrary views and a willingness to experiment
Created, maintained, and adhered to systems and procedures designed to measure and reward these distributed leadership behaviors.
Since leadership is doing things through and with the efforts of others, institutionalizing leadership makes sense. There is really little that one leader, acting alone, can do to affect company-wide performance in significant ways. Consequently, O’Toole notes that effective business leadership is actually best thought of as an organizational capacity, not an individual trait or practice.
O’Toole mentions two prime attributes of organizational success – coherence and agility. Coherence is shared behavior throughout an organization directed toward shared goals. Agility is the ability to detect and cope with changes in the external environment. O’Toole finds that the most successful organizations foster agility by broadly building the capacity of many to lead and manage systems.
PART II Becoming a Leader, Preparing for the Opportunities
Chapter 6. Warren Bennis. The Seven Ages of the Leader
Bennis discusses a progression of leadership development through seven stages of a career cycle – from a newly recruited executive through retirement. He borrows from Shakespeare to describe each stage and to identify critical development steps (crucibles) at each juncture.
The infant executives need to seek mentors who can serve as encouragers, support, teachers, and champions.
The schoolboys with shining face are new leaders who need to appreciate that leaders are always on a public stage. First acts win supporters or turns folks against them. Novice leaders should make a low-key entrance into an organization, allowing time and opportunity to (a) learn about self, others, the organization and its culture, and the context; and (b) develop relationships wisely. Leaders are a screen upon which followers project their needs and wants. The trick is to learn from others’ feedback while not taking their assessment too personally.
The lovers with a woeful ballad are advancing leaders who need to learn how to develop and balance effective relationships at work and how to relate to former peers who may now report to them.
The bearded soldiers are experienced leaders who need to remember the impact of their words and actions. Experience brings confidence and conviction, but that may blind leaders to what is really going on within the organization. Additionally, they must actively nurture employees with talent and potential, not feel threatened by them.
The generals, full of wise saws are acknowledged achievers who need to listen to criticism and truth in order to continue to succeed and survive. These experienced leaders are often brought into organizations with a specific mandate to bring about change. Doing that well means understanding the mood and motivations of others. Understanding context and people is a leadership fundament.
The statesmen, with spectacles on nose are seasoned veterans who now received gratifying offers to serve as a “pinch hitter” to organizations in need of special services. The statesman has a lifetime of experience to offer and no need to play political games in order to advance a career.
The sage, second childishness should act as a mentor to younger professionals in the early stages of their careers with benefits for both mentor and mentee: the mentor stays plugged into the ever-changing world, the mentee learns from experience. Mentors can model adaptability and with the burning ambition of youth now in its rightful place – away – can find the “joyous rediscovery of childhood at its best.”
Chapter 7. Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton. The Traces of Talent.
Buckingham and Clifton suggest that individuals can identify their true talents by paying attention to their feelings, desires, and reactions to every day situations. These spontaneous reactions can tell people where their strengths and commitments lie. For example, look at the situation of an employee taking a day off to care for a sick child. Does he or she first think about the well-being of the child or about how to rearrange departmental tasks and meetings for the day? Those first reactions are potential indicators of an underlying talent as a nurturer or an arranger. Or think about your last party. Were you drawn to strangers as a natural extrovert would be, or did you stay with trusted friends – a sign that you may have talents as a relater?
In addition to spontaneous reactions, three other clues for identifying natural talents are:
(1) yearnings, especially at an early age, are often indications of strong synaptic connections in the brain
(2) rapid learning – the speed with which you learn new things – may be a sign of natural abilities that have been undiscovered and buried because of other life demands
(3) satisfaction reflects the fact that our strongest synaptic connections are designed so that when we use them, we feel good. If a positive and contributory activity makes you happy or “feels right,” chances are you are using your talent. Since most of us derive satisfaction from a host of things – learned and encouraged over time – identifying the links between satisfaction and true talent takes close attention to situations that bring us real and deep joy. So can watching our internal reactions to see whether, in the face of challenge, we ask ourselves “when will this be over?” or “when can I do this again?” The later question is a sign of talent.
Chapter 8. Bill George. Leadership is Authenticity, Not Style.
Leadership begins and ends with authenticity. Authentic leaders genuinely want to serve others. These leaders are not concerned with media images of leadership or the potential glitz and public acclaim. They are true to themselves, and interested in empowering people to make a difference. They are guided in this work by qualities of the heart (like passion and compassion), as well as by the mind.
To be authentic, leaders must develop their own leadership styles. Great world leaders like John F. Kennedy, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and George Washington had very different styles but were effective and authentic leaders. Emulating someone else’s style can leave a leader looking foolish. The right leadership style is one that works and is consistent with the leader’s personality and character.
Authentic leaders demonstrate these five qualities:
• Understanding their purpose
• Practicing solid values
• Leading with heart
• Establishing connected relationships
• Demonstrating self-discipline
Chapter 9. Jim Collins. Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve
A Level 5 Leader blends personal humility with intense professional will. Collins believes these two characteristics can transform a good company into a great one.
Personal humility can be decomposed into four qualities: (1) profound modesty and a tendency to shun public adulation – talk about the company and not about self; (2) the ability to act with calm determination, do what needs to be done, and rely on inspired standards and hard work – not charisma – to motivate others; (3) the willingness to channel ambition and efforts into the company, not into the search for personal rewards or public acclaim; and (4) a strong sense of responsibility and a tendency to blame self, not others, for poor results.
Professional will is also paramount to Level 5 Leadership. Level 5 leaders are a positive catalyst. They work hard and do what it takes to get the job done. They have a firm resolve to produce the best results, no matter how difficult. They set standards for greatness and tolerate nothing less. They work hard to build an enduring company, but give credit to others for the success. Finally, because of their humility and will, Level 5 leaders choose good successors. They put the company’s interests first.
Chapter 10. Steven B. Sample. Thinking Gray and Free
Effective leaders view a complex situation and understand how choices and options could affect an overall outcome. Sample asserts that leaders are helped in this when they develop the strong imagination and open and independent thinking skills of a contrarian.
Contrarian leaders maintain their intellectual independence by thinking gray and thinking free. Thinking gray involves waiting to form an opinion until a leader has heard all facts and arguments. This prevents what Sample calls binary thinking. There are three dangers in binary thinking: (1) leaders form opinions before they need to and close their minds to other relevant information; (2) leaders flip-flop: they hear something and decide a proposition must be true and then later hear something else and decide that their original proposition must be false. Human nature predisposes us to believe the last thing we hear. (3) leaders tend to believe that which is most strongly believed by others, regardless of the accuracy or merit.
Contrarian leaders are free thinkers. They allow their minds to contemplate outrageous ideas much before they apply constraints like practicability, legality, cost, time, ethics, and so on. Leaders can learn to think gray and think free. With practice, leaders can bring fresh perspectives and new options to their organizations.
Chapter 11. Philip Mirvis and Karen Ayas. Enhancing the Psycho-Spiritual Development of Leaders: Lessons from Leadership Journeys in Asia
Mirvis and Ayas discuss four dimensions of psycho-spiritual leadership development and illustrate them by examining the experiences of 250 Asian leaders in a multinational foods corporation who participated in company-sponsored leadership journeys. The leadership journeys were designed to offer (1) deep connections and experiences with indigenous people and persons in need, (2) experiences with nature, (3) community service, and (4) continuous reflection on the experiences to strengthen the executives’ hearts, minds, and souls.
The first dimension of psycho-spiritual development leadership is Cultivating Self-Awareness by asking Who am I? Self-consciousness expands when leaders understand their formative life experiences. Furthermore, conversations with peers about these self-discoveries enabled the leaders to transform their relationships with others and to build trust.
The second dimension is Connecting to the Other: asking Who are you? By understanding others and their frames of reference, the business leaders worked to better understand themselves and appreciate the meaning of diversity.
The third dimension is Forming into Community, asking Who are we? This allows the collective to see both individuals and the whole. It also challenges the group to transcend differences.
The final dimension is Discovering our Purpose by asking What is our purpose as business leaders? Leaders work to realize the interconnectedness of things and define the organization’s roles and responsibilities to the larger world. The managers learned to see their responsibilities to the markets that they serve as more than a way to turn profits. They also learned to appreciate the importance of their work in improving the quality of health and life for others.
Mirvis and Ayas provide lessons from the leadership journeys that are applicable to all organizations wishing to foster psycho-spiritual development for their leaders. First, it is important to let nature be a teacher, to realize how the world is interconnected. Second, it is important for leaders to have time to examine meaning of their experiences on their own terms. Finally, it is important to incorporate service learning into leadership journeys. Service learning allows leaders to connect with others and to realize that businesses always operate in communities.
Chapter 12. Robert E. Quinn. Moments of Greatness: Entering the Fundamental State of Leadership
Leaders do their best work when they draw on their experiences, strengths, and values to complete a task at hand – not by copying the tactics and strategies of others. When leaders are truly “on,” they are operating paradoxically from a frame of reference that is truly them yet not their normal state of being. They operate from a heightened state of functioning that Quinn calls a “fundamental state of leadership.” Sometimes this happens when crisis pulls leaders into the state and enables them to elevate their own performance and the performance of others. Quinn has found, however, that leaders can choose to enter the fundamental state temporarily – it’s too hard to sustain over time – and thereby maximize their impact and output.
Understanding the state is the first step in the process. The fundamental state requires changes in four dimensions. Leaders must (1) move from being comfort-centered to being results-oriented; (2) move from being externally directed to being internally directed; (3) become less self-focused and move to a focus on others; and (4) be more open to outside signals, data, or stimuli, including those that require leaders to do things that they may not be comfortable doing. When leaders enter the fundamental state, they immediately have new thoughts and engage in new behaviors.
Next comes preparing to enter the fundamental state. Here leaders must first recognize when they have entered it before. All leaders have all at one time or another have left their comfort zones and navigated through the “dark night of the soul” in pursuit of a greater good. Drawing on these experience helps. Second, leaders must analyze their current state of functioning and compare it to times when they have done their best leading. Leaders in the fundamental state of leadership take on positive characteristics like clarity of vision and purpose, empathy, self-empowerment, and creative thinking.
Finally, leaders can enter the state by honestly answering four transformative questions: Am I being results centered? Am I internally directed? Am I other focused? Am I externally open? Each time leaders enter the state, even if only for a few hours or day, they learn more about themselves, people, and their environment – and increase the likelihood that they will be able to return more easily when next needed.