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Reflection – Daylen Thane

by on November 27, 2007

Being a Leader

Throughout this quarter, we have studied and analyzed many case studies in where a leader (usually the CEO) has had to make a critical decision to correct an action that has been problematic for the daily functions of the organization. What’s really fun about analyzing the case studies is that we (as a class) try to come up with solutions, and when we see what the leaders did to solve it, we can rejoice if we “guessed” right.

There are many articles and publications dedicated to the leadership skills. However, I often wonder if “timing” has to do more with the success of the leaders than having these skills. Interesting enough, while Becca and I were giving our presentation on Jack Welch (for our research paper), Kevin asked a similar question: “Can Jack come into one of today’s big organizations and change them like he changed GE 20 years ago?” Stay tuned for our response to his question in the analysis part of our research paper.

As Information Management students, we are undoubtedly “being trained”, prepared, and “molded” into being leaders (at least in the Information field). We are acquiring great skills and knowledge that will most definitely help us in our professional career. However, sometimes I wonder how many of us will become unforgettable in the history of Information Management as leaders. If I ever have time for an independent study, I’d love to study in great details “what exactly makes great leaders”? Furthermore, I am interested in finding out if a person acquires all those skills (and follows their principles, methodology, and skills of these well-known leaders), can he/she become a leader of the same caliber?

Throughout many of our courses we have come across different ideas that may help us develop into good managers. We really appreciate when we get pragmatic recommendations we can use on our preparation to reach that goal. For example, our Change Management instructor gave us a list of strategies we can do now to prepare ourselves for future managerial career. This list consists of:
· Time Management skills
· Communication skills
· Planning strategies
· Decision-making skills (Long-term decisions vs. Short-term decisions)
· Networking
· Creating and Innovating strategies
· Sense-and-Respond skills
· Relaxation
Hopefully we’ll able to master most of these skills/strategies. I notice that most of them depend on our professional growth and our will, which makes them more realistic to conquer.

Dale Carnegie gives suggestions on part four of his book “How to Win Friends & Influence People” about being a leader. His recommendations are a complete different angle from what we have been hearing so far. They are more focused on the people’s skills (different ways to treat/react to our employees’ needs) needed to succeed at leading others. Dale says:
· “Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
· Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
· Be empathetic. Ask yourself what it is the other person really wants.
· Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
· Match those benefits to the other person’s wants.
· When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.”

I think being a leader takes a lot more than truly mastering all these skills. I think it takes time and experience as well. However, being aware of things we can do now to better our leading skills is definitely a plus, and we are really fortunate to possess this information.

References:
· How to Win Friends & Influence People. Dale Carnegie. New York, NY: Pocket Books, 1998. 288 pp. $14.00. (ISBN: 0-671-02703-4)

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