Seven Questions Leaders Should Ask Themselves

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Seven Questions Leaders Should Ask Themselves Powered By Docstoc

Prof. Dr. Aung Tun Thet

     Prof. Thet/UMFCCI/Aug.5/2007
1.   Introduction
2.   Leadership
3.   7 Leadership Questions
4.   Conclusion

   Prof. Thet/UMFCCI/Aug.5/2007
All of you have leadership responsibilities
You wish to be more successful as a
  As a teacher and student all my life

Worried about drawing conclusions and
 giving answers
More interested in asking the right

Tell Me, and I’ll remember for an
Show Me, and I remember for a
But let me do it,
And I’ll remember for ever

  Prof. Thet/UMFCCI/Aug.5/2007
Leadership Defined
Like beauty
Hard to define,
But you know it,
When you see it
Able to express themselves fully
They know who they are
What their strengths and weaknesses are
How to fully use their strengths
And compensate for their weaknesses
They know what they want
Why they want it
How to communicate what they want to
   All of us has the
capacity for leadership

 But not all will become
“The only thing that matters in art cannot
 be explained”
But like art can demonstrated
Originals not copies
Make a difference
Two basic points
1. Leaders are made not born – made more
   by themselves than by external means
2. No leader sets out to be a leader per se,
   but rather to express themselves freely
   and fully
 Not interested in proving themselves but
   in expressing themselves
Leadership and Management

Management: Doing Things Right
Leadership: Doing the Right Things
Most people in organizations feel
 that they tend to work like this
         Identify 6 points
7 Questions

  Prof. Thet/UMFCCI/Aug.5/2007
 The best way to find out
  how you’re doing as a
leader is to step back and
   ask these questions

         Prof. Thet/UMFCCI/Aug.5/2007
   Having all the
  answers is less
  important than
knowing what to ask

       Prof. Thet/UMFCCI/Aug.5/2007
1. Vision and Priorities

 Leaders fail to adequately communicate
  their vision to the organization
 In particular, leaders don’t communicate
  in the way that helps their subordinates
  determine where to focus their own
Different Perspectives

About missions and visions

a) How often do I communicate a vision for
   my organization?
b) Have I identified and communicated 3 to
   5 key priorities to achieve that vision
c) If ask, would my staff be able to
   articulate the vision and priorities?

Leadership talents: interpersonal,
 strategic, and analytic skills; a knack for
 teambuilding; and the ability to develop a
Communicate the vision to the
 organization in a way that helps people
 understand what they are suppose to be

Want to know where the organization is
 going and what they need to focus on
Want to know how the organization vision
 and priorities might change as the world
Articulating a Vision

Need to boil it down to a manageable list
 of initiatives
Culling the list involves thinking through
 and then making difficult choices and
 trade-off decisions
Having 15 priorities is the same as
 having none at all
Failure to Communicate
Vision & Priorities
Costly in terms of time and organizational
Hard to delegate if your people don’t have
 a good sense of the big picture – you end
 up doing more work yourself
2. Managing Time

Leaders need to know how they
 are spending their time
Need to ensure that their time
 allocation (and that of their staff)
 matches their key priorities

a) How am I spending my time? Does it
  match my key priorities?
b) How are my staff spending their time?
  Does that match the key priorities for the

Your most precious asset
Need to determine whether you are
 spending your time in a way that allow you
 to achieve your priorities
Simple but cannot be accurately answered
 at all times

Most of us spending time on reactive
 rather than acting on a proscribed plan
Disconnect between what the top priorities
 are and how they are spending their time
3. Feedback

Leaders fail to coach staff in a direct and
 timely fashion
Lead to unpleasant surprises and
 undermine effective professional
Need to cultivate subordinates who can
 give them advice and feedback

a) Do I give people timely and direct
   feedback that they can act on?
b) Do I have 5 or 6 junior subordinates who
   will tell me things I may not want to hear
   but need to hear?
While your subordinates know
 what you are doing wrong,
Most of them are not willing to tell
It takes a concerted effort to
 cultivate subordinates who will
 advise and coach you.
Management Fear

Afraid that constructive feedback and
 criticism demoralize staff
Critiquing a professional in a frank and
 timely manner perceived as overly
Cause employees not to like them
Giving effective and timely feedback

People do like to hear positive feedback
 but they desperately want to know the
More effective when given throughout the
Getting feedback from staff

More challenging
Your subordinates in a much better
 position than your boss to tell you how you
 are doing
What you do with this feedback is
Getting feedback from staff

You will improve performance
You build trust and lay the foundation for a
 channel of honest feedback
Identify your own leadership issues and
 meaningfully improve your performance
4. Succession Planning

Leaders must actively plan for succession
Key staff may leave if they are not actively
 groomed and challenged

a) Have I, at least in my own mind, picked
  one or more potential successors?
b) Am I coaching them and giving them
  challenging assignments?
c) Am I delegating sufficiently? Have I
  become a decision-making bottleneck?
Succession Question

Has significant implications throughout the
If leaders do not develop successors, the
 organization may lack sufficient number of
 leaders to successfully grow the
If junior staff are not developed, they may
 leave for better opportunities elsewhere

 Will speed their maturation and prepare
 them for the next level
Demanding assignments signal an interest
 in their development and career

By challenging and testing and delegating,
 focus on the most critical strategic issues
 facing the organization
Makes you more successful and a more
 attractive candidate for your future
5. Evaluation and Alignment

Leaders need to adapt their organizations
 in accordance with the constant changes
 occurring in the world
a) Is the design of my organization still aligned
  with the key success for the organization?
b) If I had to design my business my organization
  with a clean sheet of paper, how would I design
  it? How would it differ from the current design?
c) Should I create a task force of subordinates to
  answer these questions and make
  recommendations to me?
The world
Your clients’ needs
Your organization
If you do not align with them, you get
 seriously out of alignment
As a leader you must make sure the
 design of your organization aligned with
 the key success factors of your
6. Leading Under Pressure

Leaders’ action in time of stress are
 watched closely by subordinates and have
 a profound impact on the culture of the
 organization and on staff behaviour
Successful leaders need to be aware of
 their own stress levels and modulate their

a) What types of events create pressure for
b) How do I behave under pressure?
c) What signals am I sending my
  subordinates? Are these helpful, or are
  they undermining the success of my

Part of organization life
Stressful events effect each person
What causes you anxiety may not bother
 someone else and vice versa
Closely watched during crises
Subordinates learn a great deal about you
 and what you really believe, as opposed to
 what you say
Do you accept responsibilities for
 mistakes, or do you look for someone to
Do you support your staff or do you turn
 on them?

Are you cool and calm or do you lose your
Do you stand up for what you believe in, or
 you take the expedient route and say what
 your seniors want to hear?
Need to be self-aware and disciplining
 your behaviour to act in a manner
 consistent with your values
7. Staying True to Yourself

Leaders develop leadership styles that fit
 the needs:
of the organization and
their own beliefs and personality

a) Is my leadership style comfortable? Does
  it reflect who truly I am?
b) Do I assert myself sufficiently, or have I
  become tentative?
c) Am I politically correct?
d) Does it worry my next promotion or bonus
  cause me to pull punches or hesitate to
  express my views?
Leadership Career

A marathon not a sprint
If you are not true to yourself, your are
 going to wear down
Leadership Career

Observe various leadership styles and
 choose elements that feel comfortable to
Do not try to be someone else
Your style needs to fit you
Confrontations and Disagreements

Ambitious managers try to avoid sensitive
 issues or making waves;
Trying to find what their boss thinks and
 act like them
Crucial to effective decision-making
Confrontations and Disagreements

Express strongly held views rather than
 mimic the “party line”
Encourage your subordinates to express
 their unvarnished opinions, make waves
 as appropriate and stop tiptoeing around
 significant issues

  Prof. Thet/UMFCCI/Aug.5/2007
              7 Questions
1.   Vision and Priorities
2.   Managing Time
3.   Feedback
4.   Succession Planning
5.   Evaluation and Alignment
6.   Leading Under Pressure
7.   Staying True to Yourself
Seven Questions

Intended to spark your thinking
May resonate with you
Useful to come up with your own list
Self-questioning process helps you work
 through leadership challenges and issues
Successful Leaders

Periodically struggle during their careers
Must step back, get perspective and
 develop a new game plan
Having the answers is often far less
 important than taking time to ask yourself
 the right questions and gain key insights
Watch your thoughts,
They become words
Watch your words,
They become actions
Watch your actions,
They become habits
Watch your habits,
They become character
Watch your character,
It become your destiny

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