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28 August 2010

Extend Your Time Management Skills to Your Leadership Actions

Reference: Personal Branding Interview: Jim Kouzes
By Dan Schawbel
Personal Branding Network
Posted August 26th, 2010 at 2:26 pm

You can learn leadership, and you can apply your personal skills to it.

According to Jim Kouzes, a professor at Santa Clara University and an award-winning, best-selling author, Leadership is not about who you are or where you come from. It’s about what you do. He identifies five leading behaviors:
  • Clarify values and set the example.
  • Envision and enlist others in a positive future.
  • Search for opportunities, experiment, and learn from the experiments.
  • Foster collaboration and support action.
  • Celebrate contributions, values, and victories.
Kouzes recommends formulating one's values, just as one would do for time and life management (see previous entries to this blog). He then recommends conducting a dialog with the team to define work-related values of each person and then identifying the common values. When the team agrees to hold itself to the common values, trust builds and a team culture forms.

For time and life management, one identifies life goals and short-term goals that influence the priorities of long-term and short-term activities. Kouzes states that leaders share and encourage a long-term perspective with their teams. He recommends monthly team meetings to discuss issues and developments that might affect the business. Expanding members' perspectives can lead to innovation. This also establishes common priorities and goals toward which members can work; and seeing your task as part of a larger goal adds motivation.

Kouzes emphasizes that leadership must focus on building and supporting others. This goes back to values. To quote the most famous, totally unknown writer in the world (me), The greatness of a man lies not in what he accomplishes for himself, but in what he accomplishes for others. This extends to the team, as well. When each member of a team focuses on building up and empowering the other members, each person receives knowledge and empowerment from multiple directions. The team leads itself as a growing, synergistic front to any problem or competitor.

Asked about changes in leadership theory, Kouzes points out a shift from command-and-control to serve-and-support leadership. This principle goes wayyy back. For example, two millennia ago, Jesus taught on several occasions,
You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:25-28, KJV)
Some people can take directions and immediately act on them with all their strength. As a product of my generation, I need more. I need to know that the directions favor my own interests or at least the common good. "American values" recognize that government derives its authority from the consent of the governed, and that the governed has a right to overthrow leadership that undercuts the common good. Even the American military has found greater success with motivating followers by establishing trust and common goals.

This ties back to the concept in time and life management, that knowing why and feeling in control by connecting values and goals to tasks motivates voluntary focus and performance. What works in time and life management also works in leadership.

Whaddya know, I'm learning some transferable skills!

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