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December 2018 Newsletter
In This Issue
  • Thanks for Joining Us!
  • Theories on Leadership
  • Nature Versus Nurture
  • Nine Common Leadership Styles
  • 15 Ways to Identify Bad Leaders
  • Quick Reference: Is There a Leadership Gene?
  • Video: What It Means To Lead (Simon Sinek)
  • Quick Reference: Is Charisma a Requirement for Leadership?
  • Coach's Corner: 12 Signs You're a Natural Born Leader Even if You Don't Feel You Are
December 2018
Volume 5, Number 12

Thanks for Joining Us!

December is here already! And with it's arrival, we usher in the beginning of the holiday season. Taking the opportunity to enjoy fellowship and cheer with family and friends is something we can all benefit from.
I want extend my very best wishes to you all for a happy and safe holiday season. Here's to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2019! Thank you so much for your ongoing support of my business and for the friendships I've made throughout the years!

This month we examine leadership from several different perspectives: theories, the popular "nature versus nurture", styles of leadership, how to identify bad leaders, and more. 

Keep reading for more learning!

Theories on Leadership
The question of whether outstanding leaders are born or made has been debated for years. There are numerous examples of historical figures that came naturally to leadership, while others developed their leadership skills through tenacity and experience. To understand leadership, both nature (the genetic component) and nurture (the environmental influences) must be considered, and it's helpful to understand the evolution of leadership theories that have emerged, developed, and practiced since the late nineteenth century until today. Below is a summary of the major theories.
Source: A framework for the study of managerial leadership (Mullins 2010: 378) 

Nature Versus Nurture

Just as some people possess natural athletic ability or artistic talent, so, too, some people have the self-confidence, intuition, energy and intelligence to become natural leaders. Extroverts who have the need to influence others may also be natural leaders. But just because a person does not naturally have those personality traits does not mean he cannot work to develop those qualities to become a leader. Everyone is influenced by their environment -- family, peers, religion, education and social culture all determining leadership potential. Regardless of innate abilities, leaders can be developed, Harold Resnick, a Florida-based organizational development consultant, wrote in a 2003 article for the Jacksonville Business Journal.

According to Erika Andersen, who wrote "Leading So People Will Follow," one way to examine people with leadership skills is to portray them with a bell curve distribution. Those who are considered born leaders are the small group on one end of the curve, while people lacking in leadership ability are on the other end. Since most people are found in the middle of the curve, it is from that section that leaders can be developed. Andersen suggests that people on the leadership side of the curve can become great leaders, even if they are not born into that role.
At one extreme, about 10-15% of people , no matter how hard they try, aren’t ever going to be very good leaders. They just don’t have the necessary wiring. Shown as blue in the bell curve above, they embody high hopes with misplaced optimism.

At the other extreme, about 10-15% of people are natural born leaders. Andersen believes these individuals start out as good leaders and tend to get even better as they go along. They simply have a knack for taking the reins, sometimes characterized as a “force of nature” type personality. They’re shown in green.

Finally, there’s the big middle of the curve, where roughly 70% of people reside. This represents the pool of potential leaders, the ones who are not natural born leaders but can be made into leaders.

They usually start off by showing some evidence of having the “it” factor — at least a hint of raw leadership talent — but the “it” needs to be nurtured and guided before it can bloom. In some cases it will blossom, in others it won’t. When it does blossom, these individuals can become very good or even great leaders. This group is well-advised to carefully proceed — with humility, integrity, grace and persistence — and are shown in yellow.
"There is a stereotype of great charismatic leaders, but there are actually lots of types leadership styles that work in different situations... Sometimes what you actually need is more of an anti-hero. For instance, entrepreneurs often have innovative ideas and charismatic personalities, but don't necessarily always combine that with the management skills to grow successful businesses."

To be a good leader, you don't always need to be a great orator like Churchill or Martin Luther King. Neither do you have to be as ruthless as Alan Sugar. In fact, being fairly ordinary could be to your advantage. There are lots of effective leaders who aren't necessarily the noisiest person in the room"
- Petra Wilton, Chartered Management Institute
Source: Based on R.M. Stogdill, Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of the Literature
(New York: Free Press, 1974).

15 Ways to Identify Bad Leaders

1. Leaders who can't see it, probably won't find it: Leaders without vision will fail.
2. When leaders fail to lead themselves: A leader who lacks character or integrity will not endure the test of time.
3. Put-up or shut-up: Nothing smacks of poor leadership like a lack of performance. Nobody is perfect, but leaders who consistently fail are not leaders.
4. Beware the know-it-all: The best leaders are acutely aware of how much they don't know. They have no need to be the smartest person in the room, but have the unyielding desire to learn from others.
5. When there's a failure to communicate: When leaders are constantly flummoxed by those who don't seem to get it, there exists both a leadership and communications problem. 
6. It's all about them: If a leader doesn’t understand the concept of “service above self” they will not engender the trust, confidence, and loyalty of those they lead.
7. Sing a little Kumbaya: Empathy, humility and kindness are signs of leadership strength - not weakness.
8. One size fits all leadership style: The best leaders are fluid and flexible in their approach. They understand the power of, and necessity for contextual leadership. “My way or the highway” leadership styles don’t play well in today’s world.
9. Lack of focus: Leadership is less about balance and more about priority. The best leaders are ruthless in their pursuit of focus.
10. Death by comfort zone: The best organizations beat their competition to the future, and the best leaders understand how to pull the future forward. 
11. Not paying attention to the consumer: Leaders not attuned to the needs of the market will fail.
12. Get Invested: Leaders not fully committed to investing in those they lead will fail. 
13. The "A" word: Real leaders are accountable. They don’t blame others, don’t claim credit for the success of their team, but always accept responsibility for failures that occur on their watch. 
14. Culture matters: Forget this and all other efforts with regard to talent initiatives will be dysfunctional, if not altogether lost. Don’t allow your culture to evolve by default, create it by design. 
15. Show some chutzpa: Not arrogance or bravado, but real courage. It takes courage to break from the norm, challenge the status quo, seek new opportunities, cut your losses, make the tough decision, listen rather than speak, admit your faults, forgive the faults of others, not allow failure to dampen your spirit, stand for those not capable of standing for themselves, and to remain true to your core values.
Source: Matt Myatt, Chairman, N2Growth

Quick Reference: Is There a Leadership Gene?

Many people have long held the opinion that great leaders are born and can’t be made.

Theories such as the “Great Man Theory” and the “Trait Theory” would support this assertion. This school of thought suggests individuals are born with certain qualities that inherently make them better suited to leadership; those born without these qualities simply don’t have the building blocks to be truly influential. Those who support this argument point to families who have led countries, such as the Kennedy or Bush families.

Science has delved into this area and revealed the brains of leaders are inherently different, claiming leaders have more brain space dedicated to memory and decision making. In this sense, it can be argued certain people are ‘wired differently’, or that a leadership gene exists. Proponents of the existence of a leadership gene assert physiological and psychological functions within a person affect both cognitive and behavioural traits, which in turn determine whether or not that individual is suited for leadership.  

Although science, to a certain extent, might back up the concept that leaders are born, there are many people out there who claim the opposite. How is it possible that an individual is born with innate self-confidence? This is surely a characteristic you develop depending on your circumstances, support and family life. Those knowledgeable in areas of social psychology and social learning theory would argue that, regardless of how you are born, the environment around you needs to be just right to nurture a great leader. This would then be developed through the process of observation, practice and learning.

Leadership, in this sense, is a lifetime learning process. No leader will ever be remarkable without a high degree of passion, persistence and discipline.

Given what we know about genetics, psychology and environment, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that leadership can’t really be discussed without factoring in both nature and nurture.

As Nathan Bennett, the Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University, argues, we could look at leadership development as we would the production of a fine wine. First, we need the raw materials in the form of a good grape. Then, the real work begins. With time and effort, you nurture an inspirational leader.
Source: Is There Such a Thing As a Natural Born Leader?
Nick Davis, Davis and Associates

What It Means To Lead 
Simon Sinek

Quick Reference: Is Charisma a Requirement for Leadership?

The world "charisma" comes from the Greek word for "gift." Charisma is better thought of as a skill that enhances leadership effectiveness by dint of a superior ability to influence others to change their initial positions, perspectives, or opinions.

When considering whether leaders are born or made, many believe leadership is the result of a charismatic personality. While the attraction of charismatic people is real, leadership success is much more than smooth talk and an outgoing personality. Leaders throughout history have each had a unique personality and style. Consider the leadership style and personality of the following historical leaders:

Nelson Mandela
Steve Jobs
Winston Churchill
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mahatma Ghandi
Henry Ford
Abraham Lincoln
Warren Buffet
Bill Gates
Lou Gerstner

When we reflect on the style and personality of each of these leaders, it’s easy to see how they were very different. Their leadership was an natural extension of a clear purpose, their personal experiences, and life story.

Charisma, which scholars of leadership define as the ability to attract, charm, inspire, and influence followers, certainly can be an asset. Leaders who have it infuse followers with a sense of purpose and meaning, inspiring devotion, perseverance, and sacrifice. They draw people to themselves, and often become famous, because of their strong personalities

But what makes leaders most effective doesn’t have much to do with charisma: the ability to seek, accept, and integrate information from disparate sources; the creativity to use that information to formulate a vision of a desired future state; the ability to communicate the vision in terms that connect with people’s hearts and minds; the skill to unify people in figuring out how to achieve those goals with disciplined execution; and the wisdom to keep everyone motivated by enabling small wins along the way.

Coach's Corner: 12 Signs You’re A Natural Born Leader Even If You Don’t Feel You Are

There is a popular saying that leaders are born and are not made. Yet how do we ascertain what is a leadership quality and what is not. Below are 12 leadership traits to consider - do you recognize yourself? Would you consider developing your talents and skills further to take on a leadership role?

1. You have character
You value honesty and integrity, whether from yourself or from others. Even when pushed to do something dishonest or what you consider wrong, you will always seek the higher ground and pursue the right course of uprightness rather than bulge into the demands of your environment.

2. You can give others the credit they deserve
It could be simply by saying a thank you or by offering a commendatory comment. You are always able to give others the credit they deserve and show genuine appreciation for their efforts. You are not worried about them taking the spotlight from you, rather you are ready to shine the spotlight on them. This type of action makes you a “we” person rather than an “I” person.

3. You are empathetic
You can relate with what others are going through. What stirs deep emotions inside you is to help others get out of their dilemma. You are able to connect with others through this and find meaningful ways to offer solutions to whatever they are going through.

4. You can seek the help of others
You are not afraid or shy to ask for support or assistance from others since you are aware of your limitations. You do know your strengths and weakness and seek people’s support in areas where you are not great at. However, what is most fundamental to you is getting the job done and you would never let ego stand in your way of reaching your goals.

5. You are attentive
You do not push others away. You are approachable; you always want to listen to what others have to say. By listening to others, you are able to learn from them and improve on any weakness on your part.

6. You are responsible
While others step back or are afraid to act, you can step forward and take action. But it doesn’t stop there, rather, in your failures and success, you are willing to step forward to acknowledge your strengths or your weakness.

7. You are flexible
You are not rigid. You don’t you stick to one way of doing things. You can adapt and you’re willing to be open to a new set of ideas and ways of getting things done as far as it will take your objectives.

8. You remain calm in the face of adversity
It is not when all is well that you can define what leadership means. Rather, when you are met with obstacles and challenges, your attitude and personality is tested. People who have the leadership trait in them take a deep breath and are calm regardless of the adversity they face.

9. You are optimistic
You see success in every challenge. You also view failure as a learning process to get better and become better. You are positive, and with this you carry a tremendous amount of positive energy in getting to your goals.

10. You respect others
You treat everyone with respect. Even when some are meant to be more important than others or when you are having a bad day, you treat others the same way regardless of situations or personality.

11. You are always willing to lend a hand
You are ready to give even without asking for anything in return. Rather than concern yourself with what you are about to get, you are focused on what the project or task will accomplish.

12. You are genuinely clear about your goals
You are not a people-pleaser. You are not coerced by your environment. Rather, you direct your energy towards goals about which you are serious, clear,and passionate.
We can assist to enhance leadership skills with real time experiential coaching.  

Contact Wendy Ellen Inc. for assistance today!
About Wendy Ellen Inc.
Wendy Ellen Inc. specializes in providing human resource and benefits management skills to small to mid-sized companies on an as-needed basis. From recruitment, Human Resource policy development and legislative compliance, employee retention and engagement, individual advisor/coaching, succession planning to employee development and performance, Wendy Ellen Inc. will help you protect your most valuable resource, your people.
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