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    Entries in Leadership (13)


    Book Review - Five Dysfunctions of a Team

    Brief Intro:

    About 2 years ago, I really purposed myself to start to read more.  I didn't want to just read because I knew I should, I really wanted to build a discipline and a true love for reading.  Over the past year and a half I feel like I have been successful in that, and now try to read roughly 1 book/month with a few extra's over vacations, etc.  I want to post on some of what I read, and highlight lessons that I have found in each book I write about.  So here it goes!

    I thought it only fitting to have my first review be of Patrick Lencioni’s "5 Dysfunctions of a Team."  I read this book in the week that I was in Florida earler this year, and can honestly say that it is a top-5 for me thus far in terms of applicability and actually pulling tangible concepts out that can impact my day-to-day working life.  This was also the first book I read on the Kindle App on my iPad.  I was very impressed and have bought several books since.

    I really enjoy Lenicioni's style of writing.  He writes fables that illustrate the principles that he is trying to communicate in fiction-like literature.  This book discusses a hurting technology company located in Silicon Valley.  It tells the story of a team of highly intelligent individuals that (you guessed it) suck at working together.  The story discusses: Team Dynamic, Style of Communication, Strategies of Management & Leadership, and Efficiency.

    Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a team are:

    1. Beginning with an Absence of Trust leads to
    2. Fear of Conflict which generates
    3. Lack of Commitment which leads to
    4. Avoidance of Accountability which creates
    5. Inattention to Results

    Here are some of my favourite quotes from Five Dysfunctions of a Team By Patrick Lencioni:

     "If you could get all the people in an organization rowing in the same direction, you could dominate any industr, in any market, against any competition, any time."

    "Jack Welch didn't have to be an expert on toaster manufacturing to make General Electric a success and Herb Kelleher didn't have to spend a life-time flying airplanes to build Southwest Airlines."

    Office "Politics is when people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react rather than based on what they really think."

    "In the context of building a team, trust is the confidence among team members that their peer's intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group.  In essense, teammates must get comforable being vulnerable with one another."

    "If we don't trust one another, then we aren't going to engage in open, constructive, ideological conflict.  And we'll just continue to preserve a sense of artificial harmony."

    "Reasonable people don't have to get their way in a discussion.  They just need to be heard, and to know that their input was considered and responded to."

    "The leader must set the tone for a focus on results.  If team members sense that the leader valued anything other than results, they will take that as permission to do the same for themselves."


    10 Core Principles of Servant Leadership

    A few years ago I wrote an article outlining 10 Core Principles that outline "Servant Leadership."  I wanted to post them here.  I have made some changes, but for the most part they remain the same.  I am always a little leary of "top 10" lists as they always have exceptions and rarely are exhaustive.  So rather than call this a "Top 10," I think of it more as 10 principles or characteristics of servant leadership.  I've said it before...often the simple truths are the strongest!

    10 Servant Leadership Core Principles

    1.     Follow First: Every leader began by following.  Having strong mentors to follow must not be a stage that is outgrown.  Servant leaders can only be effective when they have seen firsthand the trial and error of those that have gone before them.

    2.     Cast Vision:  A clear vision is not easily attained.  A leader must know where they are leading before asking others to follow.  A servant leader must first walk where they want to go before asking others to follow.

    3.     Work Hard: A strong work ethic must be a conscious decision that is lived out everyday.  By modeling hard work, a servant leader is demonstrating the principles and standards that they preach, and place themselves in a much strong position to ask others to do the same.

    4.     Communicate Clearly: Often good intentions and instruction can get lost in translation.  To lead effectively, a servant leader must take responsibility for using communication as a vehicle to achieve common goals.  Without strong communication, accomplishing the objectives of the organization are nearly impossible.

    5.     Model Humility: In order to lead effectively and biblically, a servant leader must exhibit a desire to put both the organization and others ahead of themselves.  The Bible never commands us to “be humble,” but rather to in humility consider others before us.  As such, a servant leader must understand the humility is not a characteristic or a feat that can be attained, but rather a lifestyle that one must choose to live.

    6.     Live Honestly: Both at work and at home, a servant leader must display integrity and a general acceptance of their peers and employees.  Without compromise, a servant leader must model the ethical standards set for employees.

    7.     Exude Confidence: A servant leader cannot be sheepish, but rather must be decisive and demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge in the areas of their responsibility.  Failure to make the necessary decision in a timely manner could result in a limiting of their ability to motivate and lead those around them.

    8.     Train Others: A servant leader must lead in a way to set their successor up to succeed.  Identifying and training the next generation is the most undervalued leadership discipline, but remains one of the most important.

    9.     Be Patient: Not all employees and peers work at the same pace or aspire to the same goals.  It is important for servant leaders to understand the make-up of their team, and work with each individual to meet the goals that they have set together.

    10.  Move Forward:  Becoming stagnant is a danger that many leaders fall into.  It is important to lead with a fresh sense of passion, and in doing so motivate others to catch both a common vision and a sense of workplace solidarity.  Servant leaders must look to others for new ideas and encourage a workplace that values ingenuity and initiative.


    An Intro | My Commitment | So What?

    I read a lot of blogs.  Less than some, but more than most.  I have had 2 blogs and both fizzled out.  One of the things about blogging is that it usually starts with a “I’m going to do this and be really consistent” and then ends, well…without much notice.  My last blog I started when I was in university and kept it going pretty consistently through getting married, starting work and having our first daughter (and all that life had for me in between).  Unfortunately, I found it difficult to make the turn as the blog was written from a perspective that just wasn’t me anymore.  As I wrestled with trying to change it, or reinvent it, I found myself moving towards insincerity and after some consideration stopped blogging altogether.

    So why start again now?  After I completed my MBA in 2010, I found myself missing the writing aspects of school that had been such a focus for me over the years.  As I thought about what I wanted a blog to be about, I first looked at the blogs I regularly read.  Here were some observations:

    1.     There is a blog about everything.  From decoupaging mom’s to a retired navy officer…the web has something for everyone.

    2.     Business & Leadership are hot topics.  From Michael Hyatt to Seth Godin and everyone in between…world class leaders are letting you in behind the scenes of their lives for a sneak peak!

    Any finally…

    3.     Everybody’s Old.  This is obviously a generalization, and I do follow some younger “business folk,” but for the most part, most serious bloggers within the business community are 40+.

    I wanted a blog that told the story of a 20 something in business that offered perspective for all.  To throw in the token “I don’t know everything for sure” doesn’t do it justice, as many associates in their 40’s and 50’s often remark that they have “forgotten more than I know.”  All kidding aside, I want this space to be an opportunity to share things I’m learning, gadgets or technology that I am using and most of all…have fun.  You’ll probably see some guest posts by people that I respect and I hope that between the circulating of content and utilization of feedback in the comments section that this blog can be something bigger than my little corner of the Internet.

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