27 September 2005

Leadership and feedback

While reading in Lenette Schuijts book Met ziel en zakelijkheid I read her definition of responsibility toward others.

Her thought centers on the idea of sympathy instead of pity. So would also like to see, that people take responsibility for their action and use those actions to recognize their fellow humans.

That idea created the insight, that gives the giving of feedback a new basis.
Feedback is often defined as:
Someone acts in a way I do not like or maybe I do like it.
I react to that by addressing the other, and describing what he did, without judging that behavior.
The next step is to tell, how that behavior influences me, for example does it influence me emotionally or physically.
After that I describe what the other can do to help me more constructively. To end with the possible consequences if the behavior does not change.

The thoughts of Lenette Schuijt however make feedback into an instrument of recognizing the other. By describing the others behavior I show that he and his behavior is important to me. As I describe my emotions, created through that behavior, I make it clear how important the other is to me. By addressing my whishes for my emotions and the possible consequences of not changed behavior I show that I want a our relationship to have a future.

So by giving feedback I not only make myself important, but I also make the relationship and the other important.

25 September 2005

Leadership, how to get it?

I think that every consultant or guru has something to say over leadership, so let me put in my five cents.

As I look at leadership, I will do so from my knowledge and experience background, which gives me a certain distrust of leaders and leadership.

But letst start with making clear that leadership often is defined as the possibility to give others orders. However you could state, that leadership and leaders only exist where you find groups. However at the moments, that you are alone, you will have to lead yourself, so everyone is a leader at some moment in time.

But lets look at leadership as it is often defined: the power to order other people.

From a groups point of view, leadership can be obtained through two methods. One of the two methods however does not mean that you are seen as a leader. That method is the one that you see in official situations or created through agreements, or based on heredity. It is the hierarchical leadership model.
The other method is often seen as the true form of leadership and a being leader. That is when the leader receives his leadership from the members of the group, through his knowledge, behavior or attitude.

In some cultures the task of obtaining the leadership is the task of the individual, where other cultures it is the group that gives the leadership to the individual. Especially western cultures put the burden on the individual. But there are differences. Dutch culture expects the leader to be cooperative. The English culture wants its leaders to class consious with some form of self derision. The American culture wants its leaders to be a visible figurehead, who takes decisions. In eastern cultures the leader had to show modesty and put the group needs over his own. In which case the group gives the leader is given the leadership.

However, in the end you can state, how you become a leader is not that important.
The group leadership is done by a human and in that position certain factors come together. Those factors are the person of the leader and his personality, the culture of the group and its surroundings and the influences all these factors have on each other.

17 September 2005

The fall and rise of a CEO

Read about how David Pottruck, former CEO of Charles Schwab, went from being fired at Schwab, to chairman of a startup.
The process that is described is compared to the loss of a loved one. So the article at the website of Fast Company Magazine is not only of interest to leaders and managers who want to know what emotional rollercoaster they can expect after being layed off.
That process goes from:
  1. Shock and Disbelief, through
  2. Developing Awareness, and
  3. Restitution, and
  4. Resolution of the Loss, to
  5. Recovery
One should however remember, that as clear and concise it was written down here, it is not a linear process. It should be more likened to a itterative process. At every step in the process you can fall back into a previous fase of fases. And the way and how fast you go through the process also depends on your personality, your surroundings. It is even possible to get stuck in one of the fases.

Excerpt from an article on Fast Companies website.

16 September 2005


Lets start with stating, that leadership is something that every human being is born with. Some may have mor e feeling for it, than others, but everyone has it. But as with every aptitude, it might vanish as it is not being used. So humans possess leadership and during their life the either develop it or not.

However, I assume that the aptitude for leadership disappears when it is not developed, but you could ask yourself if there is only one kind of leadership. For example:
  • Is parenthood not somekind of leadership?
  • Are there not lots of people who lead in all kinds of situations, that are often not associated with leadership?
The questions we should ask, before we start talking about leadership, are:
  • What do we mean with leadership?
  • Is leadership something that happens in every situations or only in certain situations?
  • Might leadership not be dependend on the culture that looks at it and from which it is looked at?

But first of all lets start with determining what is meant with leadership.