Leadership and Management

One of the biggest challenges for managers is to become good leaders. Not many make it!

Why is this?

There are many reasons, but some of the most common are:

  • Leaders need to be 'people persons'.
  • Leaders need to inspire people.
  • Leaders need a vision and an ability to communicate this vision.
  • Leadership is not just a work skill but a life skill.
  • Managers often focus on the work and forget the people.

Isn't it enough to be a good manager? No, not if you want your team and enterprise to achieve great success. In current times there are many examples of bad leaders, who are selfish and don't care for people around them. But good leadership is a skill that can be learnt. The STARS Methodology has many focus points for helping develop these skills.

While good management can lead to good performance, good leadership leads to great performance.

It is important to not only learn work skills, but also people skills to become a good leader. The STARS methodology recognizes the need for good leadership, and provides guidance to help managers become leaders. The book: Reach for the STARS highlights various people related leadership skills in order to help managers become good leaders. Learning and applying these skills will help you to become a good leader, and the more you learn and practice, the greater your leadership skills become.

The STARS workshop courses help managers become leaders.

The workshop can run in two forms, one uses the Voyage of Discovery workshop and the Team TIMEWhirlpool © workshop elements.. The other form is run as a business simulation.

Becoming a good leader not only helps yourself, it helps the people who work with you, and society in general.

Trust and leadership

Trust is one of the best but sometimes the most fragile of human emotional states.

Most people have a tendency to want to trust others, unless the situation indicates otherwise. The same person will have more trust in a situation that 'feels like home' rather than one that 'feels strange or tense', e.g. in a conflict zone.

We can easily trust someone or another party on a transactional basis. For some people it is very easy to be 'trusting', for others much harder. For example, buying something online involves a certain level of trust that the purchase item will be delivered. So long that the transactions continue to be performed as promised we continue to place trust in the other party. When the transaction is not performed, we feel stressed, we lose trust and we are more cautious about placing trust in the other party. For people who place their trust easily, it is also possible to abuse this trust, just look at the number of scams performed daily, whether in person or on-line. But a transactional basis for relationships is usually easily broken and does not build deep trust. Bad leaders are transaction oriented.

Creating and nurturing trust in order to build personal relationships is a collaborative effort. The leadership spiral in the diagram below shows how most people build trust in leadership. For some types of transactions or situations, the trust spiral is relatively flat, meaning we easily build up trust and leadership. In other situations, the trust spiral is very steep, meaning it takes a lot of effort to create trust and leadership.

When is the spiral likely to be flatter? Usually the first time we start building a trust relationship, or when the outcome at stake is small.

When is the spiral likely to be steeper? When the outcome at stake is large, for example when a persons career or future is at stake.

When is the spiral likely to be steepest? When one person in a relationship betrays the trust of the other person. The outcome may not actually be the driving force for disappointment, it may actually be the impact on the emotional state of the person affected.

A typical example is unfaithfulness of a partner in a marriage. Another is when a manager at work fires a person or fires many people (their polite term is right sizing, which is just their own personal way of trying to assuage their own guilt, particularly when their profit motive overrides a humanistic motive). For many people in an enterprise, as soon as a manager or nominal leader fires people, the trust is lost and never regained by the people remaining. Because those people know that the manager's values and behavior is oriented towards profit over people.

How to use the Spiral.

Investigate and capture the way that each part of the spiral is done.

  • How do we communicate?
  • What common information do we share?
  • How much joint knowledge do we need? What is that knowledge?
  • How will creating common knowledge lead to shared understanding?
  • How does shared understanding create empathy? What do we agree on?
  • How does empathy lead to collaborative behavior?
  • How does this drive shared values?
  • What elements of the spiral create trust?
  • How do we lead when we establish trust?
  • How does dynamic leadership, servant leadership or autocratic leadership impact trust, values, behavior, empathy, understanding, knowledge, information and communication?

The Leadership - trust spiral on the left is a low trust relationship, while the one on the right is a higher trust relationship. In general the more the people need to collaborate, the higher the required trust. Leaders who put other people at risk, both physical and mental, and are prepared to 'throw someone under the bus' create a downward spiral, and not an upward spiral. Trying to enforce loyalty and trust has an opposite effect. In fact, persons leaving the relationship feel no need to protect a so-called 'leader' that does not show empathy and reciprocate trust. In fact that person is not a leader, just a task master.