Monthly Archives: June 2019

Leadership Reflection

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Final Reflection

Learning about communication in Leadership has allowed me to validate many of the ideas I used to implement procedure, while working in a leadership position. In the early 1990’s I began working for a tribal organization that was new to major economic growth. The experience was valuable as it began to reveal that there is a distinct difference between management and leadership. As a young man I witnessed my father perform both functions in businesses ventures he undertook and assumed they were the same thing, in terms of business. Leadership, as defined in chapter one of our text, is the ability to inspire confidence and stimulate support of others to achieve worthwhile or organizational goals (p 2). Leadership differs from management, broadly speaking, and deals with the interpersonal aspects of a manager’s job while management deals with leading, planning, organizing and controlling (p3).  The text, quizzes, and exercises utilized for evaluation will focused me more on the importance of vision provided by a board (leadership) in contrast to the transnational (method of management) to accomplish certain goals, like improving bank deposits, for an organization and the importance of teamwork to ethically accomplish organizational objectives.

During my service in leadership roles I was able to fulfill the figurehead, spokesperson, negotiator, team builder and technical problem solver effectively to organize programs for housing development and casino business operations. While performing Leadership Self-assessment quiz 1-1, the score indicated that I had a high readiness for leadership roles. This is a direct result of previous experience in tribal organizations.  As the chairperson of the Gaming board I used influence to play the role of entrepreneur, strategic planner and executor to gain control of weekly deposits needed to meet cash flow needs of the tribal business and government functions. As the Executive Director of the Michigan Potawatomi Housing Authority (MPHA) I was able to use this position to conduct surveys, video record dilapidated conditions of a 20-year-old HUD project to negotiate new terms for a low-income housing project on back rent charges. Due to this success the MPHA was able to apply for additional program funding which resulted in a grant proposal that was funded for 1.3 million. While fulfilling these roles of leadership there was a certain amount of confidence a person should have to perform some of these roles effectively. Taking this test allowed me to discover that I was playing several different leadership roles over the course of a month during this phase of our community development and my own development as well. The Leadership-Assessment Quiz 2-1 indicated that my confidence level was high but not associated with arrogance. The text, in Chapter two, explains that general personality traits such as self-confidence, humility, core self-evaluations, truth worthiness, authenticity, extra-version, assertiveness, enthusiasm, optimism, warmth, and a sense of humor. Most of the types of traits were used around people who were boards members and could help accomplish goals for the housing and casino boards. Gaining so much experience with little knowledge in the study of leadership or management was a fortunate event. Initiating structure also produced unethical behavior, but my charismatic traits kept me going. A new need to establish operating procedures for task-oriented jobs to ensure the vision of the tribal council would be supported became increasingly important to accomplish required daily tasks.

Accomplishing the vision and goals of an organization can create behaviors that are not illegal but can be considered unethical practices and often practiced by people who are attempting to preserve power, gain control or just have succumb to greed. I prize ethical treatment in all situations and credit its use to providing a level playing field. Where experience and performance are the measurement tools used to gauge  individual value and worth in an organization there is also unethical behavior that attempts to negate achieving goals that benefit the organizations performance. Evaluating the slot machine revenue for the casino leadership recognized that management was experiencing cash deposit accountability problems. The tribal controller recommended implementing a new form to report slot machine activity. This reporting was used to generate to study on the wins and losses of all machines and to implement a reporting structure to improve bank deposits. A task-related issue means that the behavior, attitude, or skill focuses more on the task to be performed than on the interpersonal aspect of leadership, as the text explains in chapter four (p 112).  The Leadership Self – Assessment Quiz 4-1 says that I have a high task orientation, this provides evidence and is what prompted me recommend to the board that a physical report be approved for use. The report was approved and then was implemented into the gaming operations reporting requirement structure. The change was not accepted, and columns of the report were changed which made calculation impossible to understand. The required task-oriented approach to direction setting, as mentioned in chapter three, had been achieved but then employees modified the report and changed so calculations would not make sense for accountability. Leadership Self – Assessment Quiz 6-1 indicates a highly ethical leader, and this is what lead me to listen to controller, profits skyrocketed, and deposits increased. The changes required a charismatic leader because the change was going effect procedures in the workplace. I have average charisma score according to Leadership Quiz 3-1 and recognize, after completing Leadership skill building exercise 1-2 I now understand where I gained these skills from, working in the church and the youth group, when I was young. These skills were useful when gaining support to implement changes in operations. Gaining study on leadership models and different ideas on how to communicate change has been useful upon my reflection of roles I played in developing tribal organizations. Using more emotional intelligence and developing a working team would have helped in the making the changes that were being implemented. Taking this approach may have prevented some of the unethical behavior practiced because of situational influences of other leaders and could have exposed some of the character people were displaying.

After some study in this course and evaluating the project to improve bank deposits I realize that in my inexperience I was being led by a more Autocratic leadership style. In comparison to my result of Leadership Self – Assessment Quiz 4-2 that indicates I have a participation leadership style, I also noticed that one of the questions I marked mostly true, was I did not like being challenged on an issue. I think therefore this may be why my style rarely clashed with the controller’s needs.  At that time, I believe an autocratic style was needed to accomplish the task-oriented goals needed to improve the operations but in the “rush” to improve deposits the controller and I did not consult with the managers during the process. In hind sight I now recognize the need to teamwork when major changes are needed in an organization and its operations and using a participative approach would work better. Gaining feedback from everyone connected to the report should have been used. Attention to the situation by both of us should have been a priority. The person who was making the report was getting direction from two opposing forces, this was one reason for changes to the report for slot machine activity. After completing Leadership Self – Assessment Quiz 9-1 my score indicated that I would be positive attitude toward being a team member, but I failed to recognize the need to practice ideas like the cooperation theory stated in chapter six of the text. More collaboration was needed to include everyone’s input in the report. If for no other reason the controller could have explained to the other leaders, who contribute to the report, that changing any columns affect calculations and how each of the 16 columns were needed for an accurate finance report. Exercise 9-4 (p 305) revealed to me that I was not enhancing teamwork among all the players would contribute to the report. In an attempt to avoid conflict, I made managed to create more conflict by not getting input from managers who were already contributing to a report. The report was already being presented and accepted by the board before the controller made changes to what was being reported by management. Even though I had confidence in the report as the leader of the board, I specifically left out managements input because I assumed about the character of the people, which did not promote team building.  Promoting the groups emotional intelligence and working toward a goal of improving deposits together was the right choice to make. This would have improved the entire groups understanding of the goal and possibly improved emotional attitudes toward conflicting personalities. Improving in those areas would have reduced the negative organizational effect of change. Paying more attention to and addressing organization politics creates opportunities to create better relationships with people and allows influence from everyone to contribute to the final product, which is a report for the board in this case. I took the Leadership Self – Assessment Quiz 12-3 and the score indicated that when resolving conflicts, I have a win-win approach. This has changed a lot over the years because it seems I was busy competing with management at the direction setting for the board. The situation needed the attention of the board, but I was competing with management instead of promoting unity and sharing information.

Being involve with an organization that grew at an exponentially accelerated rate was healthy for financial growth but not for task of establishing operating procedures for the organizations business functions. The job of reporting proper information to the board needed a team effort and agreement on internal goals that would support the vision of the Tribal Council and its Constitution and Bylaws. This could not be accomplished due to unhealthy organizational politics and lack of a unified team effort to accomplish the task of changing operating procedures. I was able to generate a lot of information about my own personal attitudes about communicating as leader. I have learned to become more self-aware of behaviors even though I may have scored well and possess some of the qualities, on a positive level, there are still detailed areas I need more experience in using these qualities in a practical sense. The primary example is the quiz about the type of leader I was. The quiz said I was more of a participative leader but there was one question that probably led to agreeing with the controller’s authoritative style of leadership. I made a choice, as a leader, to allow more dispute by not sharing information. I based this on previous projects the management and I worked on together which involved a lot of negative communication. This created atmosphere of mistrust between us and that soon carried over to other issues that needed direction and focus of everyone involved. This created a major weakness for the board of directors. Organizational politics began to grow more negatively as it also involved all seven of the members of the board in some instances. Managers of the operation were personal friends with board members and that created many conflicts of interest that led to more unethical practices at a leadership level. The controller and I had good intentions but our approach to solving the accountability issues we were having with managers would have been exposed, eventually, had we assembled a team to address the issue a unit. Our previous mistrust over previous issues created too much dissent from managers and we failed to provide the right leadership for the board. This was evident when the report we tried to implement was changed by management and not shared with the controller, who produced the report. I became more focused on stopping the managers influence over changing reports and failed to inform everyone in a formal meeting of the problems we were having. As I completed exercise 6-4 (p 205) about ethic and social responsibility I realized that I was not practicing information sharing, which is a big part of leadership and team building and acting unethically myself. By not including the managers in a process that affected, not matter the reasoning, created more unethical behavior. By referencing some of these quizzes and exercise I can understand where I needed more development, even if I have scored high or have average tendencies toward a certain behavior. Communication in leadership needs to happen in all situations, positive or negative.

 

 

References

DuBrin, A. Leadership: Research Findings, Practice, and Skills, 8e. [MBS Direct]. Retrieved from https://mbsdirect.vitalsource.com