Underlying reason of resistance to change – personality or leadership?

In this rapidly changing world, when companies still see change as a circumstance to be managed instead of a persistent occasion to develop their business, I would suggest them to rethink about achieving the beauty of a constant success.

In Bill Gates’ recent speak in TED, he expresses his concern on a global epidemic by saying that “There is no need to panic, but time is not on our side” (Lashinsky, 2015). Sanborn (2013) also states, the success in business is not simply about your ability to change but speed does matters too. Both statements suggest that the key to success for everyone and everything is that they have to change before they have to. If you are not fast enough, you are going to end up in the last place. Thus, changing is unquestionable and it is not a new word anymore. People should have used or must be used to changes, as the ability to change is the only security in today’s world. Status quo will only be exists if people are stop learning and sadly they stop growing.

In regards to change, Mullins (2010) defines, “It is all down to the personality of the individual and there is little management can do about resistance to change”. Do I agree with it? The answer is yes and no.

Resistance to change is always based on the culture of the organization and the individual basis. After spending time reading several articles regarding why corporations fail to change, I have come across to one major reason and it also refers to my disagreement on Mullin’s statement.

Structure of the organization

Simply engaging employees without empowering them is no longer the success of improving business performance like it used to be (Tobak, 2012). Without any empowerment, team working throughout the organization will never be exists too, not to mention each department per se.

Most executives nowadays still have the same mentality, I need them to do what “I” want, not what “we” want. In fact, they are afraid to lose their power to rule while actually the power of influence is way greater than that. Top management people are not always the smartest, by means of not fully aware of the day-to-day operational needs. Yet people on the bottom are scared to speak out their words or even unable to communicate it.

In many instances, it is because of the hierarchical structure. That structure often the most vulnerable structure towards change. Nevertheless, it does not mean that it never happen inside the organization that adopts flat or matrix structure. CEOs treat their employees as a robot, clearly defined responsibilities without their voices being considered or most times not even being heard.

In another words, they are limiting people’s development and wearing them down instead of empowering them. Sooner or later, they will either resist CEO’s decisions or doing it half-heartedly, which decreased the productivity. For example, Kraft used to have a very centralized decision-making approach. They even decided the price of coffee in Chicago, which later on being sold in Germany. How could they take a critical decision without having the knowledge of local market? Though, at the end, they delegated the decision-making to local subsidiaries, which increased the profit significantly (Khosla and Sawhney, 2014).

The circumstances above suggest that empowerment, participation and the different level of players in the process of creating changes also play a role in the resistance of change.

-business-structure-gold

On the contrary, my agreement on Mullin’s statement is based on people’s psychological response. Basically, people always prefer stability and security emotionally, physically and financially. Their nature response of changes is likely to be the fear of unknown like what Mullin said in Gravenhorst (2003).

In term of social impact, you know how will people feel when they have established good relations with their colleague in the workplace and all of sudden they need to be separated. Naturally, they would feel threatened by the way in which it is introduced, no participation and security at all. Moreover, for some people changes can even cost them their jobs. Recently, Yahoo closed down its China office and cut down more than 300 jobs (Rein, 2015). One employee said that it was a real struggle, as they need to be separated with their colleague and they need to support their families too.

Therefore, in fact, change and resistance are in close association and not a cause and effect relationship. As Gravenhorst said, resistance to change is a too general term. Kotter (1996) also states, there is no inherent DNA prevents growth in people’s life. People do not simply resist because of their conservatism but also because of the process in which change being introduced. Lawrence (1969) once said, when resistance does appear, it can best be seen as a precaution that something is going wrong rather than something to be managed. In another words, “managing change is not enough – it has to be led and not to be ruled”.

Kotter’s 8-step model in Mindtools (2015) can be a useful guidance and not a definite way for leaders that want to implement change as it can be argued that there is a sense of personality absence in Kotter’s model.

Witnessing that, organization actually has quite a big control in managing resistance of changes because it is not solely down to people’s personality but also based on the organization as a whole. Thus, personality and leadership are intertwined. Nonetheless, as an individual, it is very important for them to have the mentality of lifelong learning. On the other hand, as a leader, it is very crucial to have the mentality of inspiring and influencing instead of ruling. Thus, the organization will not stop growing according to their tenure.

List of References:

  1. Gravenhorst, K, M, B (2003), A different view on Resistance to Change, [Online] available at <http://www.pluspulse.nl/pdf/EAWOP%20resistance.pdf > [29 March 2015]
  2. Khosla, S and Sawhney, M (2014), What Businesses Can Learn From Kraft Foods’ Decision To Delegate Authority, [Online] available at <http://www.fastcompany.com/3033772/the-future-of-work/what-businesses-can-learn-from-kraft-foods-decision-to-delegate-authority > [29 March 2015]
  3. Kotter, J, P (1996), Leading Change, Boston: Harvard Business School
  4. Lashinsky, A (2015), Bill Gates on a global epidemic: “Time is not on our side”, [Online] available at< http://fortune.com/2015/03/18/bill-gates-epidemic-ted/ > [6 April 2015]
  5. Lawrence, P, R, How to deal with resistance to change, [Online] available at <https://hbr.org/1969/01/how-to-deal-with-resistance-to-change > [29 March 2015]
  6. MindTools (2015), Kotter’s 8-step change model, [Online] available at <http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_82.htm > [29 March 2015]
  7. Rein, S (2015), Yahoo to shutter China office and cut “around 350” jobs, [Online] available at <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-31957704 > [6 April 2015]
  8. Sanborn, M (2013), 4 Things you need to know about change, [Online] available at <http://www.marksanborn.com/blog/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-change/ > [28 March 2015]
  9. Tobak, S (2012), Don’t engage employees-empower them, [Online] available at <http://www.cbsnews.com/news/dont-engage-employees-empower-them/ > [28 March 2015]
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My Vision of Leadership

innovation-calls-for-visionary-leadership

Personally, in my opinion, one of the hardest things in life is to reflect of what I have done objectively. People tend to overestimate themselves and often too blind or scared to see the reality. Dunning in Deangelis (2003) did some research regarding this self-overestimation issues and his finding describes two major roots of it, ignorance and performance estimates. And he says the only antidote to this issue is high-quality feedback. It does happen to me in figuring out what kind of a leader I am and I gathered some feedback from my colleague to find as accurate answer as possible.

At first I thought that I am a good democratic leader because I tend to put others interest above mine and I always think that I am motivated to influence others. However, after digging deeper through people’s opinion and of course trying really hard to be as honest as possible to myself, I found out that I am actually incompetent and nothing compare to others. I started to realize that I am quite indecisive, impatience towards inspiring others and even sometimes my self-interest is still over others. Leading people is not as simple as I thought it was. It is way more than just managing people; it is about your personal characteristics, value, integrity and vision (CIPD, 2009).

Hence, I feel that solely being a democratic is not enough because again it depends on the situation. The psychologist Dunning and Kruger define, the more you know the less you know and the more you know, the less you like it. Fortunately, it does not happen to me and surprisingly those feedbacks inspire me to be more honest to myself.

Afterwards, I started to dig deeper about my leadership style and someday Nelson Mandela and Bill Gates came across my research and since that day I realized that I want to be like them. Though, there is no best answer to which leadership style is the most efficient one but I completely acknowledge that every good leader should possess a Transformational leadership style.

Nelson Mandela inspired me through his dispositional authenticity, rare visionary and humbleness. As Jenlink (2014) says, moral authenticity is a powerful characteristic that defines your value and they way you behaves. Mandela acknowledged his imperfections of his wicked youth life but in fact, by doing that he became even greater because his integrity turned out to be clearer (Williams, 2013). During adversity, he still could see way beyond the struggle and convinced people that one day the best is yet to come. No matter what happen, he sticks to his vision. And above all, he never eager to claim his achievements and that what genuine leadership is.

Similarly, in business environment Bill Gates as an autocratic and transformational leader has inspired me that there is nothing wrong in becoming very decisive at some point as long as at the same time you always push people to become better. Through him I realized that autocratic leader is not just simply about ignoring people’s input but it is about reducing negativity and make the best out of everything. He always encourages people to innovate by requesting a new idea on regular basis but he also controls all activities within the company (Gilliard, 2014).

Throughout my research regarding leadership style, I started to appreciate the importance of vision, value and consistency. Leading people is not just simply about putting others interest first like what I thought before. It is also about a true understanding of yourself in order to find out the underlying reason of your vision and be consistent.

According to Kirkpatrick (2011), the formulation of visionary leadership is somewhat an art form that based on leader’s guts and insight of follower’s values. So now I recognize the basic of my own vision, not the exact vision as it depends on the circumstances; and it is about influencing others to make a difference by always putting others first and recognizing the importance of having a lifelong learning mentality. The leadership style that I want to pursue is the mix of transformational, autocratic and democratic. As I discussed before in my previous blog that none of any leadership style known as the most effective one as it depends on the situation.

Ultimately, at least now I know that I do not want to simply leading for the sake of certain projects as I know that life is way more precious than that. I want to be consistent in my life in regards to my integrity and vision, which later on those characteristics are going to decide my behavior. However, I realize my weaknesses in honest-self evaluation and becoming more decisive. Therefore, I keen to gather as many high-quality feedback as possible and build up my experiences and not to be fear of failure as Murphy in Rezvani (2014) states, your gut comes from the experience that you have built.

“Never mistake knowledge for wisdom. One helps you make a living; the other helps you make a life” – Sandra Carey

Reference:

  1. CIPD (2009), Leadership qualities/actions, [Online] available at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CWglvWTsswE > [5 April 2015]
  2. Deangelis, T (2003), Why we overestimate our competence, [Online] available at <http://www.apa.org/monitor/feb03/overestimate.aspx > [5 April 2015]
  3. Gilliard, M (2014), Bill Gates Leadership style, [Online] available at <http://leadership-and-development.com/bill-gates-leadership-style/ > [5 April 2015]
  4. Jenlink, P (2014), Educational Leadership and Moral Literacy, [Online] available at <https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=6OUjAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA205&lpg=PA205&dq=dispositional+authenticity+definition&source=bl&ots=cDahd8F9_B&sig=Z_68k6ocsRtAeCa0w4hgGmioneQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=WZAhVdmVGJLxatO_gJgD&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=dispositional%20authenticity%20definition&f=false > [5 April 2015]
  5. Kirkpatrick, S, A (2011), Visionary Leadership Theory, [Online] available at <http://www.sagepub.com/northouseintro2e/study/chapter/encyclopedia/encyclopedia6.1.pdf > [5 April 2015]
  6. Rezvani, S (2014), Six ways to stop overanalyzing and become more decisive, [Online] available at <http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/06/28/six-ways-to-stop-overanalyzing-become-more-decisive/ > [5 April 2015]
  7. Williams, R (2013), Why Nelson Mandela Was A Great Leader, [Online] available at <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201312/why-nelson-mandela-was-great-leader > [5 April 2015]

Most effective Leadership and Management Style and approach

Questioning which leadership and management style is the most effective one is like people asking what exactly will they be in the future. They will never find the answer until they undergone the real situation. Thus, let’s change the question to which is the most suitable approach in leading people and managing the work.

Nowadays, many people are very concern in differentiating leadership and management. I acknowledge the point to some extent, as it is important to know the difference, however I could not agree more with Sutton (2012), focusing on the difference more than looking at it simultaneously is dangerous.

To begin with, understanding the definition of each is necessary. There are lots of definitions (Torres, 2013; Ratcliffe, 2013; Nayar, 2013), yet basically, Leadership is about influencing and inspiring people while management is managing the work. The distinctions identified are based on their essence, approach and personality. Leaders are a visionary who focus on challenging the status quo, aligning people to the vision by motivating and inspiring them. Management, on the other hand, has their eye on the horizon to perform order and encourage stability by supervising the subordinates. Both are distinct concepts but it is naturally overlapping each other.

There can be as many approaches in leading and managing people, as there are leaders. Like-minded people have developed helpful frameworks to describe the principal ways, which then people can develop it based on the situation and their own approach. Lewin’s (1930) framework in MindTools (2014) could be seen as the foundation of many other approaches. He outlines 3 styles, autocratic, democratic and laissez-fair.

Autocratic leaders make the final decisions without any discussion with the team members. It resembles bureaucratic style that follows rules meticulously and ensures their team members to do the same thing. It is appropriate in making quick decision, however it is obviously inappropriate in most cases as Rausch (2013) argues, leaders should focus more on coaching rather than managing. Nevertheless, I think autocratic is an efficient style in some circumstances, especially in making quick decision. An autocratic style is not simply ruling and ignoring people’s input, however they are trying to minimize the negativity when people spend too much time in dwelling on difficulties rather than finding a solution.

Transactional leaders also adopt autocratic style to some extent because the idea is team members agree to obey their leader; rewards and punishment will be given based on their performance. Joseph McCharty as an example, he often considered as the cruelest political leader because he focus on self-development and results than processes by punishing his people for disobedience and rewarding them for revealing communist liars (Biography, 2015). Yet, the significance that he made can hardly be underestimated at that time. Obviously this style of leadership still can be acceptable depending on the situation.

Democratic leaders include team members in making decisions. They stimulate people’s creativity and encourage them to highly engage in projects. Equally, Transformational leadership style embraces democratic approach to some degree. Bill gates is highly regarded as one of the best transformational leader even though he might exhibit several style of leadership like autocratic (Gilliard, 2014). He is well known as a very demanding leader, who encourages innovation. During his leadership, he would ask his employees to present their ideas regularly and without hesitation he would challenge the ideas. It shows that he is articulating his vision by serving their people needs’, pushing them to their limit and inspiring them through his consistency in maintaining high level of satisfaction combined with his inherent charisma. Those features turned out to be the foundation of Microsoft’s organizational culture.

Nelson Mandela also adopted this approach by leading through his vision; “One day the best parts of humanity would prevail over the worst parts”, which emphasizing forgiveness, reconciliation and positioning others above himself (William, R, 2013). He worked with the same people who put him into jail and even inspired them to be better (Schoemaker, 2013). He visited the Eastern Cope himself that had been shattered by flooding while he could easily summon someone to do that job. Mandela did not force people to follow him; instead he inspired them, which win people’s respect and loyalty. Witnessing that, nobody knows when his influence is going to stop as he kept on transforming people.

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists; when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” Laozi’s depicts the style of Laissez-fair. Such leaders give the entire freedom to their team members in deciding how to work. They simply lead by accommodating the needs of the team and sometimes they do not even hold the formal title as a leader. This reflects the style of servant leadership too. Richard Murphy as an example, is a social policy innovator who founded the Harlem Children’s zone, Beacon schools in New York and many more (Schmitz, 2013). Yet, few people had known him and not much written about him until his necrology. It is a very efficient way of leading as they normally lead by example; however, it is not that efficient in hectic situations.

It is unlikely that a leader like Bill Gates or Nelson Mandela have been as successful as they had if they only adopted one leadership style. None of the leadership style above considers as the most effective one. It all depends on the situation and position, which is why combining push and pull strategy is as critical as balancing leaders and managers in an organization.

As mentioned above, it is very dangerous to focusing on the difference between leader and manager because it could be the basis of their action and thinking. For example, a boss that only cares about big picture without trying to understand any underlying aspects will never be the best bosses because they tend to blame others when things go wrong (Sutton, 2012). Having only leaders without managers and vice versa also will never make things happen because essentially the best leaders are the best managers.

Nonetheless, I think at least each leader should adopt transformational in their leadership style and the rest will follow depending on the situation. As long as leaders put other’s interest above themselves, have willingness to change and develop as well as devoted to his vision instead of glory, they are a truly leader.

“When you live on the hearts of those you love, you will never die”

Reference list:

Biography (2015), Joseph McCarthy, [Online] available at <http://www.biography.com/people/joseph-mccarthy-9390801 > [13 March 2015]

Dr, Torres, L, S (2013), Leadership vs Management: Differences and Similarities, [Online] available at <http://www.creditunionbusiness.com/2013/09/19/leadership-vs-management-differences-and-similarities/> [11 March 2015]

Gilliard, M (2014), Bill Gates leadership style, [Online] available at <http://leadership-and-development.com/bill-gates-leadership-style/ > [13 March 2015]

Mindtools (2014), Leadership styles, [Online] available at <http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_84.htm> [13 March 2015]

Nayar, V (2013), Three differences between managers and leaders, [Online] available at <https://hbr.org/2013/08/tests-of-a-leadership-transiti > [12 March 2015]

Ratcliffe, R (2013), What’s the difference between leadership and management, [Online] available at<http://careers.theguardian.com/difference-between-leadership-management> [11 March 2015]

Rausch, T (2013), Nobody wants to be managed, [Online] available at <http://leadershipbeyondlimits.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/nobody-wants-to-be-managed.html > [13 March 2015]

Schmitz, P (2013), Richard Murphy: A powerful example of servant leadership, [Online] available at <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-schmitz/true-servant-leadership-f_b_3016044.html > [13 March 2015]

Schoemaker, P (2013), Nelson Mandela, Transformational leader, [Online] available at <http://www.inc.com/paul-schoemaker/what-made-mandela-a-transformational-leader.html > [13 March 2015]

Sutton, I, R (2012), Why “Big picture only” bosses are the worst, [Online] available at <http://www.fastcompany.com/1825733/why-big-picture-only-bosses-are-worst> [10 March 2015]

William, R (2013), Why Nelson Mandela was a great leader, [Online] <https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/201312/why-nelson-mandela-was-great-leader > [13 March 2015]

The challenges of managing diverse teams

 

Tracing back to the preceding decade, leaders used to manage a homogenous team, which consist of people from one culture with similar point of view. Diversity was originally seen as something unique and uncommon. In contrast with the past, nowadays, diverse teams are ubiquitous in any organizational landscape, considering people are living in a more globalized world. According to BCG (2014), there is a significant increase in the willingness of people to work abroad, with the global average of 64% in 2014 compared to below 50% in 2006.

Traditionally, people believed in universalism, a uniformity based on rules, where individual characteristic being suppressed without any consideration. As time goes by, the advancement of technology led to the inception of multiculturalism, the acknowledgement of various cultures without demanding them to solely subordinate to one particular behavior. Subsequently, people are not only acknowledging culture differences, but also stimulate intercultural behavior between each other (Chibber, 2015).

As an International learner, I have been consistently experiencing such global environment, where there are many nationalities in one area. First, I thought, it is enough to deal with it only by compromising differences. However, at some point, compromising without understanding and adopting the variances background, would likely make me feel frustrated because there is some value that I cannot accept no matter how hard I try. Therefore, understanding and stimulating intercultural dimension is a very critical skill in this age and time.

Nonetheless, the implementation of it is not as simple as flipping your hand palm. Understanding diverse attitude, motivating a diverse team and achieving certain level of efficiency are the top challenges of managers in managing cultural diverse teams (Majlergaard, 2012). Since, unconsciously, as a human being, people tend to compare others’ behavior and values with their own standard.

Based on Hall’s cultural dimensions in Nijhuis (2012), there are two terms of characteristic, Monochronic time and Polychronic time, which also considered low-context and high-context people. Mono-time people measure their accomplishment in a specified period of time, thus they like to create daily schedule and “to-do” list. On the other hand, poly-time characteristic includes, flexibility and openness as they focus on several aspects of every circumstance. When some problems arise without any acceptance of differences, frustration and hostility will prone to occur.

For example, James (Monochronic), an operation manager from the U.K. in Hotel Z, has an appointment at 5:30 with Aisha (Polychronic), a marketing manager from Nigeria. But then, although their meeting has not finished yet, he rushes to his office at 6:00 to continue his research, which written in his daily schedule. Aisha thinks that, James is merely taking care of his own job and ignoring colleague relationships.

James might not have such thought because it is just the way he does things, but still in Aisha’s perspective, he is an individualistic person. The situation above also reflects the theory of Hofstede’s cultural dimension. United Kingdom scores, 89 in Individualism compared to Nigeria with 30 (The Hofstede Centre, 2015). Individualist people are used to be very independent and work for themselves, while Nigerian as a collectivist society; they foster great relationship in any circumstances.

Moreover, motivating diverse teams is also a big challenge as one rule can be seen through various ways depending on people’s perspective, which resulted to different interpretation. As an example, U.K. and China have a different education system that lead to different working behaviors. British people might find it very motivating, when they are being given a freedom on how to deliver the job. However, Chinese people will feel uncomfortable if they are not being given a job description on how to get the job done. As China has a lower power distance dimension (35) compared to the U.K. with 80 (The Hofstede Centre, 2015). Through this measurement, a society with high ranking of PD accepts inequalities amongst them, where the workers-leaders relationships tend to be polarized and vice versa for Britain. When this happen, declination of organization’s effectiveness might occur.

Consequently, achieving the desired level of efficacy is unquestionably a great deal because each person has different level of expectation, thus difficulties in setting collective goals rise up. For instance, Spanish society with a relatively low individualism amongst other European countries (51) tends to consult with their colleague before making a decision. On the other hand, British people (89), are taught from their childhood to think for themselves, hence they are pretty confidence in making decision without any discussion. Some people might think that making a quick decision means high efficiency and such people tend to see people that take time to analyze something comprehensively as inefficient. However, in reality balancing both types of decisions is the best way to reach maximum effectiveness.

Equally, research has always shown that heterogeneous team delivers higher performance, as long as they are well led (Hansen and Ibarra, 2011). American Sociological Association in Smedley (2014) finds, that there is a 3%-9% rise in revenue for every 1% rise in the proportion of ethnic diversity. It shows that companies can increase their bottom line by boosting their innovation, expanding their market share as well as having wider range of viewpoints.

However, when team members do not try to respect others cultures, diverse team that actually has a bigger prospect to increase the bottom line profit of an organization, might even be a threat to the company. Thus, one thing need to be noted, based on Tuckman and Jensen in Abudi (2010), at some point a team will go through several stages in different time, like forming, storming, norming and adjourning. So, conflicts are very common to happen. That time is actually where people will understand their members even better. Yet, it depends on how team members deal with it, whether they see it as an opportunity or threat.

Nevertheless, in my opinion people from the some country might even have different approach of their own culture, which is why generalizing people based on their nationalities are always been a wrong way in understanding nation’s culture. There will always be pros and cons in this evidential situation, however one thing for sure, organizations with proper cultural understanding of diversity can heighten performance and increase productivity. Therefore, being an open-minded person, having an open-door policy in the workplace combined with possessing a high level of understanding are the critical success factors in leading a diverse team.

References:

Abudi, G (2010), The five stages of project team development, [Online] available at <http://www.pmhut.com/the-five-stages-of-project-team-development > [5 March 2015]

BCG (2014), Workers’ Increasing mobility, [Online] available at <https://www.bcgperspectives.com/content/articles/human_resources_leadership_decoding_global_talent/?chapter=2> [5 March 2015]

Chibber, K (2015), The key to success in the global workplace is being culturally fluent, [Online] available at <www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2015/03/03/key-success-global-workplace-being-culturally-fluent> [5 March 2015]

Ibarra and Hansen (2011), Are you a collaborative leader?, [Online], available at <https://hbr.org/2011/07/are-you-a-collaborative-leader> [ 5 March 2015]

Majlergaard, F (2012), The top 5 challenges managers of cultural diverse teams are facing, [Online] available at <http://gugin.com/the-top-5-challenges-managers-of-cultural-diverse-teams-are-facing/> [6 March 2015]

Nijhuis, G (2012), Culturally sensitive curriculum development in international cooperation, [Online] available at <http://www.narcis.nl/publication/RecordID/oai%3Adoc.utwente.nl%3A79600> [4 March 2015]

The Hofstede Centre (2015), Country comparison, [Online] available at <http://geert-hofstede.com/countries.html > [6 March 2015]

Leadership and ethics

measureethics_article

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy” – Norman Schwarzkopf

Is there anyone doubting about the impact of ethical behavior? Is there anyone arguing about the influence of doing the right things? Whoever answers yes, should question their own integrity. And whoever they are, they are not deserved to be a leader, yet. Why did I say so? First, lets talk about the reality in today’s world.

Nowadays we often hear, “Business is Business”, “Everyone is doing it”. I guess everyone is blinded by success. Enron modified their balance sheet by hiding their debt and liabilities in order to indicate a favorable performance in public. It destroyed people’s life as well as the organization itself (Silverstein, 2013). Another case, Lehman Brothers’ accounting tricks also sent them to bankruptcy. Motorola stumbled because of their people not their technology (Ridiculous!). Witnessing that, sooner or later unethical companies will surely get exposed and the impact is not only for the company but also their people. No doubt that poor performance is a negative reflection on the leader.

Henry Adams states, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops”.

The influence that a leader can give is tremendously determining their people’s life. According to Hesselbein (2011), ethical theories which respect to leadership are related to two main categories, leaders’ behavior and leaders’ character. In addition to that, Kant in Encyclopaedia Britannica (2015) develops two theories of morality that often be used for understanding people’s behavior, Deontological ethics and TeIeological ethics. Deontological emphasizes the relationship between duty and human actions, where an action cannot simply be justified through the consequences; Virtue is the reward. Conversely, teleological refers to result-based ethics regardless the actions in the process. Personally, for the longer-term, I think deontological will be the best characteristic in sustaining people’s life as it is more about the characteristic whereas the worst scenario, teleological people could even kill others to get the desired outcome.

By now, we should have a better understanding about the underlying theories of people’s behaviors that could help us grasp the meaning of leadership easily. There are various definition of leadership, however, essentially leaders are people who lead their followers as well as inspiring them (Helmrich, 2015). Prior to that, before talking about inspiring others, leaders should have asked themselves am A being the same person in any circumstances and places? Do I want my people to behave unethically on and off the job?

“Leaders spend most of their time learning how to do their work and helping other people learn how to do theirs, yet in the end, it is the quality and character of the leader that determine the performance and results” – Frances Hesselbin –

 Leaders are trailblazers; they should inspire others through their words and actions. Simply stating values without doing it means nothing and will not change anything. The basic fundamental of it, is of course consistency that is related to the values that a leader holds, which later on turns into integrity. Times are less certain today and it often tempting a leader to behave unethically and that makes Leadership becomes the top current business challenges nowadays (CMI, 2014). The key to face that challenge is depending on leaders’ integrity. If they keep on holding onto their values, they tend to have the bravery to stand against peers and situations pressure, which likely to support the long-term success of an organization.

As an example, looking back to the Aetna’s case. Ron Williams reshaped the organization by looking through the root of everything. He said, “Lets go back to the basic”, which means of reviewing their core values as an organization and as an individual (MIT, 2008). He proved it by helping Aetna back to the leader position in 7 years time (2001-2008).

Furthermore, according to environmental leader (2013), 62% of the respondents answer that the most challenging problems for a leader is managing sustainability. Haughton (2015) also defines, within financial industry; one of the ways in reducing bad behavior is by keep on strengthening companies’ ethical code of conduct; by means of leaders lead by example or they should walk their talk. If we link all the dots, it is always come back to the actions of key management. When a leader holds a great value and doing it, the organization’s performance will tell the result.

By now you should know how dangerous unethical leadership is. What will happen to the world, environment, and generations after generations if all leaders just care about themselves, the results and behave unethically?

knifed256In this globalization era, having the smartest guy, the best strategy and the most rare resources without behaving ethically are the same with guaranteeing the short life of an organization. On the other hand, ethical leadership will create a meaningful culture inside the organization and unconsciously encourage workers to do the right thing on and off the job. So, for all the leaders out there, it is entirely up to you. You want to be a good leader with your integrity being asked or a great leader that no one knows when your influence is going to stop?

“You may not be able to make people change their values, however, you can help them see the wisdom of changing their behavior” –Scott Span

  References:

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