Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Be a Proactive Ethical Leader

Ethical leadership specifically includes social influences including “personal interactions and interpersonal relationships & the promotion of such conduct to followers through communication, reinforcement, and decision-making” (Brown, Trevino & Harrison, 2005, p.120). Ethical leadership practices make them proactive not reactive. The following are tips for becoming an ETHICAL LEADER.

1.Talk about your expectations. For example, discuss how you would expect your direct reports to behave if they knew about insider trading or even damaging gossip within the work group. Setting these expectations early and reviewing them often allow others to know what to do if issues arise.

2.Follow Through: Leaders that set up codes of ethics or policies but do not enforce them are more detrimental than not having a policy in the first place. So stick to it and enforce the rewards and punishments as planned.

3.Model Behavior: Our research indicates that the majority of employees are in Kohlberg’s cognitive moral development stage 2-3 indicating that they follow social and group norms more than anything else. Thus, modeling ethical behavior can directly influence the individuals and groups below you to behavior in an ethically congruent manner.

4.Look around You: Our research illustrates those individuals with high emotional recognition and regulation or the self and others (Factors are taken from the MEIA) are more likely to recognize if an ethical issue is present. So stop and think about your own and others emotions and feeling.

* Participants were 220 full-time, executives in a retail-focused multinational corporation. The participants were: incumbent senior level executives. 56% male, mean age of 41(range 30-60). Forty two percent of the participants managed 1-3 employees, 28% managed 4-6, nine percent managed 7-9, and 22% of the participants managed ten or more employees. Participants were located in US offices including New York, Madison, L.A. and St. Louis. Approximately half of the participants (54%) had previously taken a course in business ethics and 100% reported English as their primary language. Executives were assessed on Ethical Recognition, Personality traits, Emotional Intelligence, Cognitive Moral Development and General Mental Ability.

**Other great resources in the following articles. Tett, R. P., Fox, K. E., & Wang, A. (2005). Development and validation of a self-report measure of emotional intelligence as a multidimensional trait domain. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 859-888. Trevino, L. K. (1986). Ethical decision-making in organizations: A person-situation interactionist model. Academy of Management Review, 11, 601-617. Trevino, L. K., & Brown, M. E. (2004). Managing to be ethical: Debunking five business ethics myths. Academy of Management Executives, 18, 69-81.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Fish/Small Pond - Small Fish/ Big Pond

When selecting graduate programs should you go for the best ranked school you can gain acceptance to OR go to a lower ranked school where you know you’ll be at the top of your class? I recently attended at lecture series on self efficacy. The professor discussed recent research examining law students at top ranked law programs and lower ranked law programs. Initial LSAT scores were considerably higher for all students whom attended the higher ranked law programs. However, results indicated that only students in the top 2/3rds of either highly or lowly ranked programs passed the bar. Although the students in the highly ranked programs in the lower 1/3 of their class have considerably higher LSAT scores they were unable to pass the bar indicating that self efficacy (i.e., confidence) may have a key role in ultimate success. I found this discussion really interesting because it suggested people should work toward the “big fish in the small pond”.

That said I just read Bedeian, Cavazos, Hunt and Jauch’s (2010) article in the Academy of Management Learning & Education entitle “Doctoral degree prestige and the academic marketplace”. Bedeian et al. (2010) illustrated in a group of 171 PhD holders that doctoral origin prestige had a direct effect on the prestige of initial academic appointment regardless of initial publication quality. Whoozers! Bedeian et al. (2010) research suggests you should go for the most prestige program you can get into.

What do you think? What did you do and how did it turn out?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Asset-Based Thinking

When faced with a problem how do you tackle it? Do you identify what is wrong, vent about why it is bad and try to generate solution to fix it? This is the technique that most people use to problem solve. However, Kathryn Cramer, PhD and Hank Wasiak offer a different approach in their book Change the Way You See Everything Through Asset-Based Thinking.

Cramer and Wasiak discuss the optimization of focusing on individuals, teams and organizational strengths or assets to problem solve. Stop for a second and visualize a problem you are having. Now identify the worst part of the problem at #1 and continue to identify the best outcome or asset up to #5. Now, how will you minimize #1 and optimize #5? They suggest that individuals, teams and organizations can actually concur more problems if they focus on optimizing strengths instead of venting deficiencies.

The second aspect of asset-based thinking is based on DESIRE. Cramer and Wasiak discuss the longevity of desires. Recent research has illustrated that fear only provokes change for approximately 90 days while desire can evoke lasting change. Help your employees identify their desires by asking them what they want to happen?, How will they get there?, and Why is this important to them? Help they work toward their desires through your team’s or organizational goals.

Start building off your assets TODAY!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Servant Leadership

Organizational leaders are often seen as inspirational beings that direct others toward goals and objectives that have been set for them. Research has illustrated that there are many different types of leadership. Some types of leadership rely on rewards and punishments (i.e., transactional) while others rely on position or title (i.e., legitimate). Servant leadership is distinct from all of these forms of leadership in that its sole purpose is to develop and improve the lives of its followers. Servant leaders want to serve others first and are leaders because they have made a conscientious choice to help others through leading.

Greenleaf (1970) states that "The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?"