Below, you’ll find one of the most inspirational videos ever to come out of Youtube. Randy Pausch, a respected professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the USA, had only 2-6 months left to live at the time of giving his now famous ‘last lecture’. Watch the whole thing below!
‘The Fast Subject’ is a concept that many managers struggle to really get their head round. Chosen as one of the best in class, I’m proud to publish this fine example of a leadership essay from one of the top universities in the UK.
How the concept ‘fast subject’ (Thrift, 2000) embodies the idealised cultural image of success for management in the 21st century.
Thrift’s (2000) paper portrays a very distinct idea of the modern Western world; both as a whole and the world of work. It is key to remember that management feeds from the wider cultural environment – the world; it is not standing alone by itself. We need to know what is going on in the world to see what is going on in management, for example, assessment centres could be seen as the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ of the world of work. Thrift also describes the ‘fast subject’, i.e. the manager that is capable of functioning effectively in this world; the author uses language such as “knowledge”, “creativity”, “innovation” and “younger” in relation to the fast subject and “faster”, “uncertain”, “performance” to describe the habitat of this modern subject. When discussing the fast subject, it is important not to overlook the environment in which the subject lives/works; it had been argued that managers are “the products of (increasingly engineered) circumstance” (Thrift, 2000 p. 677).
The ideal of the ‘fast subject’ embodies success in modern Western culture, according to Thrift’s (2000 p.678) paper, “the fast subject is a ‘style’ that many managers often want to attain”; advertisements for graduate careers and jobs have specific ideals so people aspire to meet the criteria. These job adverts are made by people like us for us; fast subject to fast subject. The advertisements speak to us, these people that companies are looking for are management’s idea of success, so this is what we strive for, this is the reason we go to university and get part time jobs and internships – it’s the ideal of work (and life) in the future.
The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers guide is the perfect collection of evidence of the idealised cultural image of success for management in the 21st century; the companies and jobs are portrayed using the language of the fast subject, they give the idea of mobility, youth, being trendy and modern. The three following examples have been taken from this guide.
The first example, taken from The Times guide is Lidl’s (p. 30) Graduate Management Programme advertisement. This advertisement uses all the language and buzz words of the ‘fast subject’ and 21st century culture, such as “star qualities”, “lead and inspire” and “world-class”. Thrift (2000 p. 680) makes the point that management events are “making the ‘invisible visible’” i.e. trying to measure and teach these intangible “star qualities” such as leadership and creativity. This gives the idea that these personality traits that make up a successful person can be taken on by a company, measured and nurtured, and will enable continued or increased success. This is attractive to the ‘fast subject’ because of the intangibility; other people in the world do not possess these qualities, only the elite ideal that management has created has the potential to have these traits inside of them. The fact they cannot be defined, taught of learned as well as simple things such as how to work a piece of machinery makes them special and anything that sets you above others in our culture is something we have been brought up to strive towards.
It is clear that quite a significant amount of thought goes into graduate recruitment, as management want to get the best people into their company and at the moment, the ‘fast subject’ is that person, and they respond to specific known language and images. Graduates are the future of management and at the minute the people coming out of universities are educated to be the way management wants them to be, i.e. Thrift’s subject. They have the most current and up-to-date knowledge and education on what management wants and are either taught the skills or are taught how to perform as though they possess them. It is probably that Lidl know that culturally, young and modern members of generation Y will not have them as their first choice employer, it will be somewhere trendy like Apple therefore they have to offer the chance to develop the skills that management as a whole wants, i.e. ‘fast subject’ skills.
The word “star” suggests that Lidl are looking for someone special, in modern day society we are obsessed with stars and celebrities; this advertisement says that you can be the “star” of the business world and gain all the associated benefits such as money to fund the lifestyle of this creature, but also the social benefits such as respect and interest from others.
Cadbury’s (p. 91) graduate jobs advertisement in the guide shows a reminder of the popular gorilla television advert for the firm’s products. This image links to our culture, what is cool and modern, again showing the link between the world of management and society overall. It is also recent, showing that it is aimed at young professionals who can do it all; they can gain a good degree whilst also being aware of what is going on socially around them. Along with using the expected language, the text includes the word “brand” which attracts prospective employees because they want to work for this company so when they tell people where they work, the people will know where it is and be interested.
At the bottom of this advertisement, it says “we love what we do. We think you will too”; this is typical of the view that the ‘fast subject’ holds of work, it is no longer simply a job, it is something you want to do when you get up in the morning. The job will not necessarily be as good as it sounds, but the words and pictures used appeal to the ‘fast subject’. Even those graduates with no interest in the world of management would find this appealing as the language used spills out into the rest of our culture as the language of a successful subject.
In modern society, there is increasing focus on the self; the improvement of the self, with models such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and reaching self-actualisation. We want to succeed at work, but to also have time to have a social life and spend the money we earn – this is one measure of success; we want to have time to have everything. Cadbury promises a graduate scheme that is “individual” and “personalised” therefore that must mean the ‘fast subject’ can not only thrive at work but they can also go out into the world and show it how successful they are, with their cars, homes and technologies. The text itself actually says “you’ll succeed”, which implies Cadbury (like the rest of the world) knows the measure of success and that it is applicable to all ‘fast subjects’.
The final point to make is that there is a disclaimer at the top of the page, stating “no gorillas were harmed in the making of this advert” which is an obvious point, so why make it? This goes back to the cool and trendy culture that we live in where we appreciate humour and making things that little bit less serious. This says, Cadbury is cool and who would not want to work there, if everyone wants to work there then those that do are successful; the successful ones are the ones that speak the language – the ‘fast subject’.
The final example has few, but still significant, words. Sky (p. 209) wants graduates to “discover your ideal habitat” which is a word frequently used when it comes to the ‘fast subject’. This new, mysterious creature needs a habitat in which to work, so Sky is saying they can offer this; it is not an office, it is not a workplace – the language draws the audience in; it is why the ‘fast subject’ finds it appealing. As management initiated the creation of this so-called ‘fast subject’ and the necessary traits and attributes it should only be right that management provides the perfect place for this new being to prosper.
The page gives no description of what Sky are looking for; it is implicit with the word “habitat”, this signals that they are looking for something different and unique, else they would have simply used the world workplace as essentially, that is what this so-called “habitat” is. Sky are looking for management’s creation of a successful human type that is so intelligent and culturally aware that they will know Sky wants them, so there is no need to explicitly state what is required. It gives the impression that Sky is superior, as it does not have to list what it wants from its applicants therefore the people that apply will know the appropriate language to use if they are a ‘fast subject’ so these are the people to consider as they will be suited to the “habitat”.
The phrase “make great leaps” obviously goes with the picture of the frog but to the ‘fast subject’ says Sky will allow you to become even more successful in your work life by quickly progressing, possibly onto promotions; showing that you are successful. As a culture we value language like this as it is a little bit different, not as mundane and ordinary as saying ‘you could get better and get promoted’.
The image itself gives the impression of being High Definition as it is very colourful and detailed; something a ‘fast subject’ comes to expect as they are successful in life therefore can afford such luxuries as HD televisions. The colours catch peoples’ attention, which is necessary to catch the interest of the ‘fast subject’ as they have so much potential inside of them, they want to be wanted as they could work in any of these fast paced environments. Regardless of where we begin in life, we all want to be successful and happy; no one grows up aspiring to live in poverty while watching how the ‘other half’ of society lives their lives. Sky understands what the ‘fast subject’ wants from life and work and therefore offers it in a way that would appeal to them, as management has created them this way.
The ‘fast subject’ links to the performance society we live in, these images, amongst others show us what the ideal model of success is and even if we do not fit this model, we can create a part of ourselves; a performance that does meet this given criteria. For example, we believe working for Lidl will make us successful, Lidl wants us to be “self-confident individuals” so that is what we are to them. This is the reason that we have come to the stage in society that we have; management knows what it wants and puts that out to the world, there are very few people out there that actually fulfil all the conditions so people pretend to be that; they perform. Eventually, with this happening so much, many more people aspire to this ideal which seems to be so good, however it is probably so impressive as it is all an act – it is like striving for perfection, even though we know we will never reach it.
These examples were chosen from the same book and are of the same media, so it is possible to compare them. They are all different, but possibly equally effective at attracting a ‘fast subject’ and potentially allowing them to reach a successful level in life. As a whole, the advertisement produced by Lidl is quite simple but it is straight to the point; it is ‘fast’ and the language is very important. Language however, is more important in the Cadbury advertisement, as there is more of if; therefore there are more of the buzz words and promises, however it would take longer to read than the other two. Finally, Sky are obviously aware of the language that society views as the language of successful management and use it. The image is clean and simple in the Lidl piece, whereas Cadbury’s is busy and the one from Sky is quite striking.
It does not matter what the design of the advertisement is like; the point is how or why they take off and are deemed as the image of success within western twenty first century society, culture and management. One thing that all these illustrations have in common is that they are all about “you” (the subject) not “us” (the business); they want to help you develop and become successful and in modern culture that is what we want, we think constantly about the self and could possibly overlook what we are expected to do for them. But this does not matter; success is about working for that well known company, taking on responsibilities and being where you feel you should be.
The idea of the ‘fast subject’ is merely a concept put forward by Thrift to explain what has happened within business and management this century. Brooks on the other hand, questions and mocks the myths of management with a sarcastic tone; it could be argued his viewpoint of the creature within the world of management is of the complete opposite of Thrift’s.
Brooks (2004) gives his opinion on what Thrift would call the ‘fast subject’ using very similar vocabulary, but a very different tone. “They are obsessed, they are passionate, they are driven, and they are totally nuts” (p. 216) and that “what matters is energy, discipline and focus” (p. 218). Brooks then goes on to tell a story about a modern businessman’s attachment to his mobile telephone (pp. 234-5) which is much less glamorous than the picture Thrift paints.
In a previous book, Bobos in Paradise (2000 p.104) Brooks describes “Latte Towns” which is where the ‘fast subject’ (or as Brooks describes them, “new upscale culture”) would live. The descriptions, such as “magnificent natural settings” makes the place sound very appealing and is where we as a culture would want to live if we could afford to do so, i.e. if we were a ‘fast subject’ and therefore successful. Although this is said with a negative tone, it is Brooks’ description of the ideals in the twenty first century world.
Overall, the idea of success within management has made its way out into the wider cultural context of the 21st century; what management views as a successful person is now what we in society believe to be a successful person. The vocabulary and images such as the high flier with the modern gadgets and the cool career in a well known popular branded business are no longer simply within the world of management.
Management has, over time, created the image of the ideal person to work in the increasingly fast paced business environment; they created this being so they know what it wants. Profits are the most important thing to most companies therefore if they can find a group of individuals who are motivated, dedicated etc. they have gained knowledge and the potential to increase profits. Management puts out this ideal, which Thrift calls the ‘fast subject’, to the world so the world begins to see this ideal and believe that is what successful looks like. In modern society, right now, the ‘fast subject’ is what we aim to be; it is the embodiment of success in the world of management. It has to be considered though, when we will move on and when the era of the ‘fast subject’ will end and whether it will end well. Thrift (2000 p.675) does not ignore the fact that ‘fast subjects’ “may well turn out to be fragile subjects, held together only at a cost”; all that is left is for the rest of the world to realise. Management created this subject; it is entirely possible that management will destroy it or the image too.
Word count: 2,616
Brooks, D. (2000) Bobos in Paradise , New York: Touchstone
Brooks, D. (2004) On Paradise Drive, New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks
The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2009-2010 (2009) High Fliers Publications
Thrift, N. (2000) ‘Performing Cultures in the New Economy’ in DuGay P. and Pryke M. Cultural Economy, London: Sage
Henry Mintzberg is stirring the pot again. For those of you who don’t know who Mintzberg is, he’s a professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Mintzberg co-founded the International Masters Program in Practicing Management as an alternative to an MBA program. He likes to challenge conventional wisdom about management, and he does a great job at getting people to react to his views, though not the way you might want people to react.
Mintzberg earned quite a few critics with his 2004 book, Managers Not MBAs, in which he slammed MBA programs. Mintzberg said “MBA programs train the wrong people in the wrong ways with the wrong consequences. No one can create a manager in a classroom.” Mintzberg even implied that the MBA program at McGill (his employer) was ineffective.
Mintzberg’s latest book, called Managing, is sure to garner lots of attention from his critics. In this book he argues that good middle management is the key to good leadership. Accordingly, rather than distinguishing between leadership and management, Mintzberg says “we should be seeing managers as leaders, and leadership as management practiced well.” Mintzberg studied the work of twenty-nine different managers and suggests that managers are hindered from being effective planners due to the realities of today’s workplace such as heavy workloads and constant interruptions. To overcome these obstacles, he offers a new management paradigm in which managers can become effective leaders by working through information, people, and direct action.
If you want a fresh perspective on how management can accomplish their goals, I highly recommend this book. His writing style makes it easy to read and whether you agree with him or not, there’s no denying that his views are impactful.
Article written by Andrea Davis
What is your view on this matter? Leave your comments below!
When you were working yourself up the ladder undoubtedly there were days when you had to drag yourself to work. It wasn’t because of the job or your team mates; it was because the managers said the same thing day in and day out. Motivation was low and the word fun was non-existent
The shoe is on the other foot now and you can make a difference if you think about those rough days in the past. Typically there was one manager with charisma and motivation that gave you energy and motivation causing you to look forward to the day ahead. If you were smart, you realized this and stored it in your memory bank for the future. I am not suggesting that you emulate them totally but remember the experiences gained to develop your own leadership style.
Let me share an experience, when I was a young man I worked with a leader that was incredibly demanding. He daily challenged me, I would learn something new and the next day was proud and wanting to show him I knew my stuff. He without fail would ask me something entirely new and different. It took me quiet a while to fully respect and understand what he was doing for me, developing me into a leader. I thought I hated him but in time I realized he was the greatest mentor of my life. That was his leadership style and it worked, on me anyway.
Several years later I was fortunate to have another mentor that was a walking motivational machine. He was the most inspirational person I had ever met and fortunately for me I was the one he selected to groom. He made work a thrill teaching and sharing his wealth of knowledge.
I soon realized that one leader can make the difference in countless ways. I took a lot from both of these men as both had the same goal but different styles of accomplishing it. The first leader made me excited about coming to work to exhibit my talents while the second one honed my skills motivating me how to expand my knowledge and experiences. I didn’t emulate either one totally but admired and respected each equally and learned how to make a job enjoyable.
This is an article from a guest author – Ron Kirby. You can learn more about him on his profile page at http://www.egsebastian.com/RonK.
Research and investigation into different management leadership styles has been fragmented and inconsistent. The key to good leadership development is a good knowledgebase. That’s why we bring you an in-depth look at 3 key leadership styles that will highlight the benefits and shortfalls commonly associated with each. These styles are autocratic, democratic and bureaucratic. But enough talking – lets get stuck in!
What is Autocratic Leadership?
Autocratic leadership is a classical leadership style with the following characteristics:
1. Manager seeks to make as many decisions as possible
2. Manager seeks to have the most authority and control in decision making
3. Manager seeks to retain responsibility rather than utilise complete delegation
4. Consultation with other colleagues in minimal and decision making becomes a solitary process
5. Managers are less concerned with investing their own leadership development, and prefer to simply work on the task at hand.
The autocratic leadership style is seen as an old fashioned technique. It has existed as long as managers have commanded subordinates, and is still employed by many leaders across the globe. The reason autocratic leadership survives, even if it is outdated, is because it is intuitive, carries instant benefits, and comes natural to many leaders. Many leaders who start pursuing leadership development are often trying to improve upon their organisations autocratic leadership style.
What Are The Benefits Of The Autocratic Leadership Style?
Despite having many critics, the autocratic leadership styles offer many advantages to managers who use them. These include:
Reduced stress due to increased control. Where the manager ultimately has significant legal and personal responsibility for a project, it will comfort them and reduce their stress levels to know that they have control over their fate.
A more productive group ‘while the leader is watching’. The oversight that an autocratic manager exerts over a team improves their working speed and makes them less likely to slack. This is ideal for poorly motivated employees who have little concern or interest in the quality or speed of work performed.
Improved logistics of operations. Having one leader with heavy involvement in many areas makes it more likely that problems are spotted in advance and deadlines met. This makes autocratic leadership ideal for one-off projects with tight deadlines, or complicated work environments where efficient cooperation is key to success.
Faster decision making. When only one person makes decisions with minimal consultation, decisions are made quicker, which will allow the management team to respond to changes in the business environment more quickly.
What Are The Disadvantages Of The Autocratic Leadership Style?
Short-termistic approach to management. While leading autocratically will enable faster decisions to be made in the short term, by robbing subordinates of the opportunity to gain experience and start on their own leadership development, and learn from their mistakes, the manager is actually de-skilling their workforce which will lead to poorer decisions and productivity in the long run.
Manager perceived as having poor leadership skills. While the autocratic style has merits when used in certain environments (as highlighted below), autocratic leadership style is easy yet unpopular. Managers with poor leadership skills with often revert to this style by default.
Increased workload for the manager. By taking on as much responsibility and involvement as possible, an autocratic leader naturally works at their full capacity, which can lead to long term stress and health problems and could damage working relationships with colleagues. This hyper-focus on work comes at the expense of good leadership development.
People dislike being ordered around. They also dislike being shown very little trust and faith. As a result, the autocratic leadership style can result in a demotivated workforce. This results in the paradox that autocratic leadership styles are a good solution for demotivated workers, but in many cases, it is the leadership style alone that demotivates them in the first place. Generation Y employees particularly dislike this style.
Teams become dependent upon their leader. After becoming conditioned to receive orders and act upon them perfectly, workers lose initiative and the confidence to make decisions on their own. This results in teams of workers who become useless at running operations if they loose contact with their leader. This is the result of a lack of time dedicated to leadership development on the employees part.
When is the Autocratic Leadership Style Effective?
Following on from the merits and drawbacks listed above, the autocratic leadership style is useful in the following work situations:
1. Short term projects with a highly technical, complex or risky element.
2. Work environments where spans of control are wide and hence the manager has little time to devote to each employee.
3. Industries where employees need to perform low-skilled, monotonous and repetitive tasks and generally have low levels of motivation.
4. Projects where the work performed needs to be completed to exact specifications and/or with a tight deadline.
5. Companies that suffer from a high employee turnover, i.e. where time and resources devoted to leadership development would be largely wasted. Although one could argue that a lack of leadership development in the first place caused the high turnover.
What is Democratic Leadership?
Democratic Leadership is the leadership style that promotes the sharing of responsibility, the exercise of delegation and continual consultation. The style has the following characteristics: 1. Manager seeks consultation on all major issues and decisions. 2. Manager effectively delegate tasks to subordinates and give them full control and responsibility for those tasks. 3. Manager welcomes feedback on the results of intiatives and the work environment. 4. Manager encourages others to become leaders and be involved in leadership development.
What Are The Benefits Of The Democratic Leadership Style?
Positive work environment. A culture where junior employees are given fair amount of responsibility and are allowed to challenge themselves is one where employees are more enthused to work and enjoy what they do. Successful initiatives. The process of consultation and feedback naturally results in better decision making and more effective operations. Companies run under democratic leadership tend to run into fewer grave mistake and catastrophes. To put it simply – people tell a democratic leader when something is going badly wrong, while employees are encouraged to simply hide it from an autocrat. Creative thinking. The free flow of ideas and positive work environment is the perfect catalyst for creative thinking. The benefits of this aren’t just relevant for creative industries, because creative thinking is required to solve problems in every single organisation, whatever it’s nature. Reduction of friction and office politics. By allowing subordinates to use their ideas and even more importantly – gain credit for them, you are neatly reducing the amount of tension employees generate with their manager. When autocratic leaders refuse to listen to their workers, or blatantly ignore their ideas, they are effectively asking for people to talk behind their back and attempt to undermine or supercede them. Reduced employee turnover. When employees feel empowered through leadership development, a company will experience lower rates of employee turnover which has numerous benefits. A company that invests in leadership development for its employees, is investing in their future, and this is appreciated by a large majority of the workforce.
What Are The Disadvantages Of The Democratic Leadership Style?
Lengthy and ‘boring’ decision making. Seeking consultation over every decision can lead to a process so slow that it can cause opportunities to be missed, or hazards avoided too late. Danger of pseudo participation. Many managers simply pretend to follow a democratic leadership style simply to score a point in the eyes of their subordinates. Employees are quick to realise when their ideas aren’t actually valued, and that the manager is merely following procedure in asking for suggestions, but never actually implementing them. In other words, they’re simply exerting autocratic leadership in disguise.
When Is The Democratic Leadership Style Effective?
Now you’ve heard about the benefits and drawbacks of this leadership style, let’s look at where its actually implemented in the business world. 1. Democratic leadership is applied to an extent in the manufacturing industry, to allow employees to give their ideas on how processes can become leaner and more efficient. While ‘Fordism’ is still applied in some factories across the country, truth is that production managers are now really starting to harness the motivational bonuses associated with not treating employees like robots anymore. 2. Democratic leadershp is effective in proffessional organisations where the emphasis is clearly on training, professional & leadership development and quality of work performed. Democratic procedures are simply just one cog in the effective leadership mechanisms firms like The Big Four have created over the years. 3. Non profit organisations also tremendously benefit from drawing upon the creative energies of all their staff to bring about cost cutting techniques or fund raising ideas. 4. As previously mentioned, creative industries such as advertising and television enjoy alot of benefits from the free flow of ideas that democratic leadership brings.
What Is Bureaucratic Leadership?
The bureaucratic leadership style is concerned with ensuring workers follow rules and procedures accurately and consistently. Bureaucratic leadership normally has the following characteristics: 1. Leaders expect a employees to display a formal, business-like attitude in the workplace and between each other. 2. Managers gain instant authority with their position, because rules demand that employees pay them certain priveledges, such as being able to sign off on all major decisions. As a result, leaders suffer from ‘position power’. Leadership development becomes pointless, because only titles and roles provide any real control or power. 3. Employees are rewarded for their ability to adhere to the rules and follow procedure perfectly. 4. Bureaucratic systems usually gradually develop over a long period of time, and hence are more commonly found in large & old businesses.
What Are The Benefits Of The Bureaucratic Leadership Style?
Increased safety. In dangerous workplaces where procedures save lives, a bureaucratic management style can help enforce health and safety rules. Quality work. Some tasks, such as completing proffessional work or medical examinations, need to be done in a meticulous fashion to be done correctly. Laziness can result in poor work, and hence one solution is to enforce the rules via the bureacratic leadership style. Ultimate control. An environment whereby employees are intrinsically motivated to follow rules in order to be promoted and succeed results in the tightest control management can ever assume over a company. This control can be used to cut costs or improve productivity.
What Are The Disadvantages Of The Bureaucratic Leadership Style?
Dehumanises the business. Bureacratic companies tend to remove as much potential for ‘human error’ out of the picture as possible. Unfortunately this also has the effect of removing all the enjoyment and reward that comes from deciding how to do a task and accomplishing it. Lack of self-fulfillment. The bureaucratic way of working hampers employees efforts to become successful and independent, because the system becomes too contraining. Parkinson’s Law. Cyril Northcote Parkinson made the scientific observation that the number of staff in bureaucracies increased by an average of 5%-7% per year “irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done.”". He explains this growth by two forces: (1) “An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals” and (2) “Officials make work for each other.” Parkinson’s findings suggest that bureaucratic leadership encourages inefficiency and waste of internal resources in the long run. ‘Position power’ obessession. After working in an environment that reinforces the idea that authority is created by rules which in turn support senior positions. Employees become attached to the idea that simply being in a job position creates authority. This can lead to intense office politics, arrogant leaders and little incentive to perform well once an employee has landed a top job. Lack of creativity. It goes without saying that a rule-based culture hinders creativity and encourages workers to simply perform puppet-like work rather than think independently. This may result in a lack of growth in the business due to employees simply not thinking out of the box or looking for new areas to develop. Poor communication. A common feature of a bureaucratic system is a complicated network of communication lines. Managers who don’t want to be ‘bothered’ by junior staff simply create procedures that allow them to avoid communicating with those below them. ‘Go through the formal process’, ‘Talk to my secretary’ and ‘My schedule is full’ are common rule-based excuses for blocked contact. Barriers to communication can hinder the success of any company. For example, the board may be charging ahead with a doomed product simply because their shop floor workers cannot pass on the message that customers are giving very negative feedback.
When Is The Bureaucratic Leadership Style Effective?
Bureaucratic leadership is found in extremely large corporations such as General Electric, Daimler and General Motors. However these cultures have evolved due to the age and size of these companies, and are generally blamed for the slow growth and recent failures at these companies. 1. Governmental bodies often have bureaucratic systems, and while these are often despised by the public, they ensure accountability to the tax payer and fair treatment for all. Excessive form-filling also serves the purpose of passing effort from the government authority (with a tight budget) onto the individual, helping to save costs. 2. Dangerous workplaces such as mines, oil rigs, construction sites and film sets all benefit from the tight control over health and safety that rules offer.
What Different Leadership Types Are There?
These 3 key management leadership styles are by no means a comprehensive list. Different leadership styles include laissez faire leadership, where the leader sets tasks and leaves workers up to their own devices to complete it.
To help you discover which leadership style you possess, try our new:
Leadership development is a complicated area, and thus countless styles have been theorised and researched. Good leadership development often involves using resources such as Leadership Expert to be ‘sift’ through these different leadership development tips and ideas. Once you’ve been able to pull together a solid leadership development plan for yourself, you can start to really engage your employees – and maybe even set them off on their own leadership development quest!
Charismatic leadership is all about a superhero act. In an article titled “What exactly is charisma?” published in Fortune on January 15, 1996, Patricia Sellers says, “Charisma is a tricky thing. Jack Kennedy oozed it – but so did Hitler and Charles Manson. Con artists, charlatans, and megalomaniacs can make it their instrument as effectively as the best CEO’s, entertainers, and Presidents. Used wisely, it’s a blessing; indulged, it can be a curse. Charismatic visionaries lead people ahead, and sometimes astray.”
Practitioners of charismatic leadership have a firm belief that they can lead followers by unleashing their personal charm and grace. You can recognize one by the way he or she interacts with others – making each person feel like the most special on the planet!
While charismatic leadership is most often employed in the political arena where a large number of people have to be influenced within a short time, using little or no personal contact, it can be applied equally in a business situation. The leader seeks a “fan following”, and a devotion among followers which is usually absent from other forms of leadership. You can think of at least a couple of U.S. Presidents who had an almost hypnotic effect.
Charismatic leadership involves a great deal of theatrical behavior. A charismatic leader is a persuasive speaker, and a master of body language. Charismatic leaders are great at reading the occasion, and will tailor their behavior to suit the mood. At the same time, they are willing to take personal risk and make sacrifices in order to build their own credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of their followers. Once their leadership is established, they will try to carve a distinct identity for their group of followers, and build an image of superiority for it. At the same time, these leaders identify themselves so strongly with the group that the group and the leader become nearly synonymous.
Academics have identified the following four stages of charismatic leadership:
Creating a new vision: Charismatic leaders are able to assess unfulfilled needs and opportunities in their environment and project their vision for a future without any shortcomings.
Articulating the vision: The leader will be able to communicate his belief in the vision to his followers and convince them of its viability.
Building trust: The next phase of charismatic leadership involves engendering trust among group members and securing their commitment.
Achieving the vision: The leader will set a personal example and empower others in order to sustain motivation so that the vision can be realized.
It may sound strange, but charismatic leadership is not necessarily an inborn trait. It can be learned and perfected, usually by watching the actions of other charismatic leader role models and modifying behavior in certain ways.
It is important to note that charismatic leadership can be a double edged sword. It all boils down to the motives of the leader. Charismatic leaders can be a bit insincere, more concerned about themselves than their followers. Such a tendency towards narcissism can do a great deal of damage to organizations. On the other hand, if their heart is in the right place, charismatic leaders can work magic like no other.
Aging is a process that we must all navigate through in life. Even though its the only challenge that we must all face – it often feels like a terribly personal one, and is often a challenge that we face alone. As we grow older, our leadership skills change, but do they improve or worsen?
How getting older reduces our leadership skills.
Firstly I shall look at the side of the debate that puts forward the notion that as we grow older, our ability to lead others actually deteriorates. I investigate possible reasons below.
1. Our control over children deteriorates as we are seen as out-of-touch
2. Our authority in public becomes questioned for the first time, as issues of our cognitive ability and other physical consequences start to affect the perceived quality of our judgement.
3. As memory starts to slowly deteriorate, we become less on the ball and may fall behind in fast moving areas of life, resulting in us not being seen as a leader.
How aging increases our leadership skills.
1. Our age makes us automatically seem experienced and wise in the workplace. We have a better understanding of what can go wrong, and how plans can fall apart – so our guidance is appreciated by those who are attempting a project for the first time.
2. Our appearance causes others to take us seriously. While youthful individuals may have all the energy in the world, they struggle getting places because people simply don’t have the faith in them. Older people receive respect that reduces this risk.
3. Long-standing relationships with others mean that we have far more influence over these people than young strangers could ever have, (when taking love out of the equation anyway!).
4. Knowing thoroughly how the world works, and having experience in so many parts of life means that we become more confident as we age, and in many cases become tougher as a result of life’s toils. It’s a statistical fact that older people are more likely to fight back against muggers than young people are. I think this demonstrates more clearly than anything else – that older people have a great spirit that potential ‘followers’ see in them too.
5. As life starts to slow down, we are able to see the big picture of life. For teenagers, life all too often is simply about getting through school as fast as possible and drinking as much as they can. It’s fast paced and many individuals lose sight of what matters in life. With this perspective in mind, older people have a greater ability of appealing to the good side of people, and often take the time to do nice things that wins colleagues and subordinate’s respect.
I hope these thoughts help you make your own mind up about whether Leadership is something that comes naturally with age or not, and whether older people actually have an advantage over younger individuals when it comes to having leadership potential. In my opinion, it does. And this gives me just another reason to smile on my birthday. Add your thoughts below by leaving a comment!
As times are getting harder, managers have been re-evaluating how they motivate their workforce. At Leadership Expert, we’ve put together this comphrehensive collection of motivation tips & tricks to help managers increase their employee’s productivity in this tough economic climate. Most of the tips don’t involve spending a penny, and the ones that do will create far more value than you spent, meaning they’re perfect to use during a recession.
One final point to make before we embark on this list, is that you should consider this a ‘sweet shop’ of motivation tips, i.e. you should only pick a few and certainly not attempt to implement them all. There’s nothing worse than being sandblasted by motivational techniques.
1. One-on-One coaching - People appreciate learning directly from their senior on an individual basis. It helps them remember what they learn, and ask any questions they wish to help form a deep understanding of their work.
2. Training - In general, training is one of the most empowering tools a company can offer it’s employees. Subsquently all large companies invest heavily in training and enjoy the long term payoff.
3. Clear Career Path – Staff are better motivated when they can see where they should be in 3 years time if they work hard. The more barriers between them and promotion that cannot be solved by hard work will only demotivate.
4. Safe Work Environment – Maslow theorised that safety is one of the fundemental pillars of motivation, and that a safe work environment is necessary for all other motivating factors (such as self esteem) to start having a positive effect.
5. Executive Recognition - A congratulatory conference call from the CEO or visit from the finance director will do well to swell the chests of your workforce with pride and admiration for their work.
6. Time off - Motivated employees will not gladly take time off, however a generous time-off system needs to be in place to create motivated employees. Staff are likely to work harder and longer with the safety and knowledge that should they need time off due to stress, they could take it.
7. Encourage employees to praise good work of their fellow colleagues – Build a feedback procedure whereby collegues regularly pass comment on each others work, or team mates share their opinions after completing a major task. Feedback such as this helps reduce infighting and will give many people tips on how to improve their work.
8. Be sympathetic to personal problems – Offer generous time off for those who suffer bereavement. In most cases it won’t be taken, but the gesture will improve relations between managers and staff.
9. Keep your door open – An open office encourages the open share of ideas. You want to remove any barriers to communication, and a closed door certainly constitutes a barrier.
10. Allow flexible working hours - Allowing employees to manage their own time so they can participate in outside work-related activities won’t make their hours shorter. Employees who would take time off to see their child’s sports day will likely ‘pay back’ the favour by working longer hours afterwards.
11. Have annual or quarterly reviews – These are where an employee goes through some targets and review points with another member of staff who is not directly above them, and is more of a guidance counsellor than a boss.This will allow them to discuss important long term career topics that will feed their desire to work.
12. Let your employees choose their own lunch break- Unless your company happens to be a food outlet, it really doesn’t matter whether your employee takes their lunch at 11:30 or 2pm, so don’t attempt to force them to stick to a routine.
13. Forward information to staff after management meetings - A quick debriefing will increase their sense of involvement.
14. Rotate job roles – More appropriate for manufaturing, the rotation of job roles has been proven many times to increase employee productivity, despite the decrease in specialisation. This technique can be applied to any low to medium skilled jobs with a powerful effect. Multi-skilled workers also make life easier for your HR department.
15. Provide quarterly updates on relevant business and customer issues – many members of staff aspire to be senior management in the future, and will thrive on being kept in the loop when it comes to high-level business infomation.
16. Give an incentive to get employees to work earlier in the morning - I’ve learnt from experience that if a salary-based employee gets to work an hour earlier, it is likely they will work until their usual finishing time.
17. Support charity work within the company – Donate 1 or 2 days of charity work per year to good causes. This will help your business get into the local media and make staff feel like they’re a part of a responsible company.
18. Address the environment issue – While we’re on the subject of responsibility, it’s worth noting that employees prefer working for a company with green credentials, so setting a carbon reduction/ energy efficiency/ recycling intiative will help enthuse the workforce.
19. Give your employees choice over their uniform – Often a business casual work dress code makes employees feel more independent than full suit and tie – which is often not necessary in an office environment.
20. Obey confidentiality – A manager who pretends to care about his employees but simply laughs and bitches about them behind their back will loose all respect and credibility extremely quickly.
21. Offer stress management/counselling services – These services are easy to outsource and admitedly are very rarely used. But the availability of such a service increases moral without costing you a penny.
22. Use gimmicks - Give out novetly ‘trophy’ style items for exceptional work. For example, give a LP record for an employee breaking a record.
23. Bring in sweets to share out on random days – This is a cheap technique that will improve the relationship between management and the workforce.
24. Give out tickets to cultured events such as theatres and music shows.
25. Send a company T-shirt or hat to the employee’s child(ren).
26. Walk around with free lunch coupons - Hand out on the spot.
27. Give workers a surprise for their work area - A desk organizer, a picture or poster, a new mouse pad even. Any new gift will be an interesting novelty.
28. Give a subscription to a work-related periodical - This is an interesting gift that shows your commitment to their professional development.
29. Buy lottery tickets or scratch cards for people on an irregular basis.
30. Hand out classic self help literature and excellant leadership books – Hand these out to entire departments at a time, or they may feel that you’re indirectly critisising them. Success literature can really inspire employees to work harder – but be wary of the core message of the book. Many of these books encourage workers to quit their 9-5 jobs.
31. Give recognition – Every worker wishes wants to be ‘known’ by those above them, so talk about your workers to your managing collegues and ensure that none of your subordinates go un-noticed.
32. Give Attention – To be distinguished from recognition. Recognition is the long term awareness that boosts self esteem, whereas attention is a short term devotion of time that will keep employees on task and able to voice concerns as early as possible.
33. Applause - Because sometimes words just aren’t enough.
34. Always carry a smile – I once knew a senior manager who famously was never seen with a negative expression on his face. This sort of reputation really inspired subordinates such as myself, and completely stands again the cynicism and sarcasm that exist in workplaces across the country.
35. ‘Manage by wandering around’ – Rather than calling employees to your office, go and visit them yourself. This is a sign of respect and reduces the interuptive impact you have on your team.
36. Listening to employee efficiency suggestions – And more importantly you should be acting on as many as possible, even the petty suggestions. This way you build up credibility in the system, leading to more important, significant proposals to be put forward in the future.
37. Lead by example and follow through with what you say. Just as following through with suggestion box comments you build credibility in the system, if you follow through with your own promises, you build credibility in the system of management as a whole.
38. Ask! - Ask the employees what they want from you.
39. Listen! – Listen to what employees have to say about YOU and what you can personally improve upon.
40. Add a personal touch by going out of your way to inconvenience yourself to please a member of staff. Just the occasional gesture in a busy period can be enough to remove that employees doubt over whether you have their best interests at heart.
41. Understand employee behaviour - Often a negative attitiude or behaviour is a direct response to bad controls/procedures that you can correct or change.
42. Write thankyou notes fairly regularly – These notes only take a second, and will float around for a long time, making the employee feel proud.
43. Actively make a point to speak to every member of staff each day. This doesn’t need to be a major catch up, but just enough so that you’re maintaining a good working relationship, and they would feel comfortable in coming to you when they’re struggling.
44. Ask employees “What can I do to help you with your job?”. You may surprised at the responses and ideas you get in return. A little help like this can sometimes be more effect than formal leadership coaching or leadership training.
45. Get your hands dirty with your staff - Learn about the good and bad aspects of their day to day work. Only through understanding what their day actually entails will you be able to see what would motivate and enthuse this person to work more effectively.
46. Show the courage to let your employees learn from their mistakes - Don’t jump on their error and shout at them, as they will already feel embarassed enough. Managers often destroy many hours of work building up trust and enthusiasm by loosing control and shouting at workers when things go badly. Nothing destroys intrinsic motivation quite as quickly as raving tyrant.
47. Show great confidence in relying on subordinates expertise in areas that you have none – Trusting in the skills of others is a sign of a great leader. It will improve the confidence of others as well as take some weight and responsibility off your shoulders.
48. Stand behind your employees and back their decisions - Similar to relying on a subordinates’ expertise, this will improve their view of their own skills, and benefit you in the long run.
49. If you have many employees with the same job title, give them a list of the tasks that need doing and let them divide the work up among themselves. It reduces the feeling of ‘meddling manegement’ and allows for more efficient work allocation - as people are more likely to take on jobs that they’re personally good at.
50. Don’t be a pushover - While nearly every employee would love to have a soft manager, they would also admit that it is because they would do less work. Be clear with orders and don’t allow yourself to be fobbed off with excuses.
51. Arrange discounts for them at local stores to increase loyalty
52. Offer rewards for great ideas. If it saves money or brings in business, give the employee a percentage of the savings or profit. – entreprenial atttiude.
53. Send $10, $25 or more to a spouse with a thank-you note for his or her support during the employee’s overtime.
54. Pay an employees rent for a month - This will take the weight of their shoulders more than a simple cheque would. Give your employee piece of mind.
55. Pay for the tutoring of an employee’s child - This is a generous ‘donation’ that will really help establish true loyalty and admiration for the company.
56. Give employees who recruit new workers a cash bonus.
57. Sponsor membership in a professional group for your employee.
58. Surprise your staff with a new challenge out of the blue – Give your employees 2 weeks to increase their sales by 15% for a 5% salary bonus reward and watch how they suddenly start looking at their work in a whole different way.
59. Move your staff onto more heavy commission based salaries – This brings employees personal goals in line with those of a sales department. A word of warning – make sure the variable upon which the commission is based is what you truely want. Because staff will often chase that commission at the expense of others goals such as customer satisfaction and quality of service.
60. Give out gift vouchers as a way of rewarding individuals for a good job on a specific task – Amounts of £50 are respectable but won’t break the bank. You can reserve these for when staff members have demonstrated working by company’s values, or have shown hard work.
61. Give generous staff discounts on products - This is a rather standard perk in the modern day, but its effect on employee morale must not be forgotten.
62. Pizza/Popcorn/Cookie Days - These really put a smile on alot of employees faces. Just hope that few people are on strict diets at the time!
63. External Seminars - These can be attended by individuals, teams or whole departments if they’r relevant. Trips to seminars, events and conferences can be a welcome break from work for staff, while actually still building their skills and adding value to the company.
64. Dress-down Days – Again, another motivational tool that has become a standard in all companies large and small. And why are they popular? Because it really does improve morale!
65. Leadership Teasers - Give employees a glimpse at what it is like to run a team, lead a division or speak in public. These positive ‘taster’ leadership sessions will really get them hooked onto their career track and really kick start leadership development.
66. Share letters of praise from customers with the member(s) of staff involved - A kind word from a customer not only gives effective feedback on the service at your organisation, but it also warms the hearts and motivates the staff who read the mark of appreciation. These are so effective that I would suggest you contact customers to ask for feedback.
67. Have a family day - Perhaps on the last day before a public holiday, you could arrange for staff to bring their children to work. As well as lightening the atmosphere of the workplace, it also helps create harmony and understanding between workers, as they come to understand more about each other and what they’re like as a family person.
68. Go to lunch with each one of your employees on a quarterly basis – Ask the question, “What do we need to do to keep you with us?”
69. Invite employees to your home for a special event - This gives you the opportunity to recognise them in front of their spouses and co-workers. Obviously only suitable for small businesses or departments, this activity is a rare but powerful one.
70. Let them attend a meeting in your place – As well as giving temporary empowerment to your staff, letting them sit in or replace you in a meeting also will increase their understanding of what pressures you are under and what you need from them.
71. Let them “sit-in” with an upper level person for part of a day – Similar to the leadership taster, this shadowing of senior management is more appropriate for junior members of staff. Middle management may feel uneasy about taking a perceived ‘step back’ into the activity of shadowing.
72. Involve them in a special project that allows for company exposure and visibility. Such as being written about in the news. All too often – these sorts of tasks are handled by only a couple of individuals who become desensitised to the novelty of being publically recognised. By rotating these sort of tasks round a larger number of employees, you are efficiently maximising the motivation gained from such a job position.
73. Let your employees craft the mission statement – More and more managers are discovering how effective this is as a motivational tool. It’s most powerful when absolutely every employee contributes torwards it’s creation. Without proper employee involvement – mission statements are simply empty rhetorical ‘wish lists’ of values and objectives put forward by the CEO.
74. Minature golf and other fun indoor activities - Fun golf courses, bowling alleys, Scalextric tacks and casino tables can be affordably hired in a recession as businesses cut back on novelty client entertainment and expenses. You can use this to your advantage by hiring such fun equipment to become the centrepiece of a project-end event. Having something fun to look forward to at the end of each major project will have a motivational effect.
75. Team building days out – In a similar fashion, outdoor activity courses and events can also be used to keep your staff happy and promote good team leadership.
76. Hand out awards - Prizes for awards such as ‘best team player’, ‘best attitude’ etc should be also accompanied by humourous ‘caffeine addict’, ‘chief photocopier person’ and other quirky awards.
77. Run short term target-based competitions between staff for freebies or bonuses. But ensure a level playing field or you’ll only create frustration and conflict!
78. Take your employees to the cinema. Cinemas offer cheap corporate deals and will cater well for your employees. Picking the right film is tricky though!
79. Promote the creation of company sports teams – These will help build ties across departments. Encourage recruitment from all areas, rather than simply being teams of cliques.
80. Develop a Wall of Fame to share letters of praise and similar with everyone in the office – Put it near the photocopier for maximum exposure.
81. Create personalised rewards – everyone values different types of rewards more than others. Some workers prefer time off, others prefer cash, so ask people which they’d prefer before setting up any bonus or reward scheme.
82. Additional Responsibility – While you may grimace at the idea of being given ‘another’ batch of responsibility, a more junior member of staff may actually jump at the thought. Start leadership programmes that give subordinates that opportunity at stepping up.
83. When pay cheques are sent out, always write a note on the envelope recognizing an employee’s accomplishment(s).
84. Try to remove all the cynical and sarcastic posters & slogans from around the office. They provide a cheap giggle but demoralise staff. A quick example of short term benefit, long term pain.
85. Remember birthdays with a simple birthday card, mini cake or gift.
86. Take out an advertisement in a local paper and include your star employees’ names and pictures in the feature.
87. Speak truthfully and transparently – All employees have a good skill at knowing when they’re being lied to, so don’t even attempt to pull the wool over their eyes. Learn from Obama – he didn’t try to tell America that the economic was just a ‘little’ bit under-the-weather; he told it how it was. Rather than trying to cover up the failings in a company, instead emphasise how you are going to solve it, and employees will reward you with hard work.
88. Increase your employees span of control – this decreases costs and motivates them if they’re the type that crave control and authority.
89. Remind people of what drives them to do what they do. Allow pictures of family and other such drivers to be strewn around the office, and talk to them about their family, their dreams for the future and desires. You can use their dreams to motivate them easily.
90. Pin up genuine motivational posters etc around the office. These motivational quotes really do inspire some people.
91. Get your employees to replace their default screen saver with a playful ‘Get off your butt and back to work’ message that they’ve typed themselves.
92. Let employees give new recruits on-the-job training - It’ll show them how much they’ve grown as an employee in your company and leave them feeling senior and skilled.
93. Make sure you know everyones name in the office - whether they’re in your span of control or not.
94. Ensure free coffee is available. Caffeine or hot chocolate will always help!
95. Have a bowl of fresh fruit for employees to snack on – The women especially will appreciate this nice gesture, yet it only costs a tiny amount per day.
96. Make sure the service staff (cleaners, janitor, receptionist) greet staff throughout the day, rather than simply trying to be invisible.
97. Play the occasional tasteful practical joke
98. Invite in a motivational speaker to talk to your staff - These speakers often charge high fees however, so ensure that their key messages concern long lasting motivation rather than a ‘fad-like’ short term buzz that will fade as the speaker slips from memory.
99. Give your team a cool team name - Admittedly easier said than done.
100. Ensure that all members of staff feel that they are the best at at least one task - This will give them a ‘place’ in the organisation and make them feel important.
101. Finally - Share this blog post with other managers in your organisation!
Phew! We’re done! If you found this article as helpful as I enjoyed making it, then please use some of the neat buttons below to help share this motivational advice across the world!
This is just a quick post sharing a cheeky tip that I learnt from a collegue a long time ago.
People used to speak very differently in the 1950′s. It wasn’t just the way people talked, but the words they used that sounded different. However, that bygone era past shouldn’t be totally ignored by the young people of today. Infact, the opposite applies – we can actually use the ‘old fashioned’ and polite way of talking in order to pay an effective compliment to someone we are talking to.
How do you do this? By simply slipping polite phrases and courtesies into your speech as you speak to older people. For instance, when you accidentally brush past someone, you should say “Oh, I’m sorry Sir/Ma’am” in a very natural way. Its so effective because it makes the other person stop and think, while you can just carry on upon your way!
Building in little habits such as this into your behaviour can really improve your reputation with older team members and collegues. Its now completely automatic for me to call strangers ‘Sir/Ma’am’ in a confident and polite manner. As an added bonus, you won’t believe how compliant shop staff are to someone who addresses them respectfully!
Every experience that a person has impacts him or her positively or negatively. All of the positive moments most likely enhance our daily motivation. Daily motivation is what enables us to strive to be better people, to work towards goals, and to lead fulfilling lives.
Many of us set goals for ourselves. In turn, these goals motivate us to work hard to achieve success. Goals drive an individual’s daily motivation. Goals such as getting a Master’s degree, having a high-paying job, getting married, purchasing an expensive car, or mortgaging a home drive a person to succeed. When setting a goal, a person must remember that taking small steps to achieve it helps keep up a positive attitude. It is best not to get overwhelmed with attaining a huge goal quickly; but rather one should take small steps to get it done. The desire to accomplish a goal is what keeps people going, even on bad days.
Daily Motivation is completely intertwined with the idea of self-investment. The most productive and driven people are never afraid to invest in themselves. Leaders have often sought out useful leadership books and learning material that will help them along the path to happiness and leadership. See leadership training and leadership coaching for details of development programmes that could help you on the path to great leadership.
A positive attitude is a source of daily motivation. Believing that one of your goals is too difficult to achieve will eventually prevent you from achieving it. Having a negative attitude will cause you both internal and external stress. A negative attitude will de-motivate you, and put you on the road to failure. To achieve your goals, you must be able to tell yourself that every goal can be attained with hard work. If you tell yourself that you can do it, chances are that you will. Never underestimate the power of the mind. Daily motivation is all about attitude and outlook.
While not all of us are religious, many people who are will agree that religion helps improve daily motivation. Religion can be used as a great motivational tool for people from all walks of life. Religion – no matter what kind – encourages mindfulness and internal motivation. The religious depend on their beliefs to strengthen them mentally.
People often depend on their religion when things are going downhill. Prayer and meditation inspire those who might otherwise turn to drinking, food, or drugs to nurture their spirits. Religion may help some people to be more mentally and physically healthy. Therefore, religion is a positive source of daily motivation.
The Desire To Live:
Daily motivation also comes in the simple desire to live. Whether children, a job, or money inspires someone to get out of bed in the morning, that person is motivated by something in life.
Even things as simple as nature can motivate someone to maintain a positive attitude about life even when times get hard. A person can take pleasure in nature’s beauty by taking time to smell the roses or listen to the birds sing. Studies show that people who live in warmer climates have a more positive attitude about life in general. These same people also have the tendency to go outside and exercise more often. This exercise brings about a sense of inner peace and positive feelings, thus becoming a daily motivation for many people.
Guest Author: Matthew Hick – http://Motivation-Today.com