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Leadership Capstone Final Reflective Paer

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  1. 1. Final Leadership Capstone Paper D u q u e s n e U n i v e r s i t y L e a d e r s h i p C a p s t o n e M L L S 7 9 5 P r o f e s s o r : D r . J e r r y G r o v e s 7 / 7 / 2 0 1 4 Kemberly Gervasi This is an application based integrative Leadership paper; which highlights my overall learning development throughout my master’s degree experience, and how I will incorporate my education and new skills-set in assisting me in achieving organizational leadership success and sustainability well into the future.
  2. 2.1 Leadership Capstone Table of Contents: Introduction Body of the Paper – Highlights of Leadership learning experience  Self-Analysis - Strengths and Weaknesses - Personality Traits  Leadership - Style and Approach - Centered Leadership - Transactional versus Transformational - Servant Leadership  Interpersonal Conflict - Conflict Management techniques - The Basic Core Concerns - The SCARF Model - Emotions  Critical Thinking Skills - Leading and Coaching Across The Generations (Sticking Points) - Assumptions and Stereotyping Conclusion References
  3. 3.2 Leadership Capstone Introduction: This is an application based integrative Leadership capstone paper; which highlights my personal overall learning experience throughout my master’s degree program. I will attempt to incorporate what I have learned about myself and leadership in general and how I will use my new knowledge, education, and skills to lead an organization and its people, in the future. Coming from a 24-year career in military leadership, this leadership program has been quite an eye-opening experience for me in that, the world has changed and it has become smaller meaning, there is an increase in the competitive economic marketplace. As a result, organizations have had to learn how to change in order to become competitive and sustainable. Organizational leaders have had to change their style and approach to leadership in order to build and lead competitive and sustainable relationships, teams, and organizations. My personal learning experience throughout my Leadership master’s program has been so vast; nonetheless, I have attempted in incorporate areas of learning that address in particular how mindfulness, a strong sense of self (emotional intelligence), and true caring and understanding of people will assist me in becoming the best leader I can be. These specific areas of learning were quite new to me and I gained a valuable skill-set, knowledge base, education and bag of new tools and techniques that will assist me in becoming the best leader I can be and how I will implement best practices in; building relationships, teams, developing leadership skills in others and leading my future organization and its people to great success and sustainability.
  4. 4.3 Leadership Capstone The authors’, [Rath & Conchie (2008)] state “all too often, leaders are blind to the obvious when it comes to something of critical importance to them – their own personality. They simply don’t know their own strengths and weaknesses. Without a strong self-awareness of your strengths, it’s almost impossible to lead effectively.” (pp. 10-11). This statement says it all. Psychologists and other researchers, as well as people in all walks of life, have long recognized the importance of cognitive intelligence (IQ), in determining a person’s success and effectiveness. In general, research shows that leaders score higher than most people on tests of cognitive ability, such as IQ tests, and that cognitive ability is positively associated with effective leadership. Today, researchers are recognizing the critical importance of emotional intelligence or EQ, as well. Some suggest that emotion, more than cognitive ability, drives our thinking and decision making, as well as our interpersonal relationships. Emotional Intelligence refers to “a person’s abilities to perceive, identify, understand, and successfully manage emotions in self and others. Being emotionally intelligent means; being able to effectively manage ourselves and our relationships.” [Shriberg et. al. (2011) p. 145]. In my Leading Mindfully coursework, we learned meditation techniques that will allow us to be present and to take a step back and see the “bigger picture” prior to taking action. I found this coursework especially useful to me because my personality traits are all high (D’s), executioner, activator, achiever, judgmental, the need to take action, and so on. I am conceptual in the need to know the history behind things and although I am an analytical thinker, I will make decisions and take action based on the facts directly in front of me. It is also very important to me to build strong relationships and
  5. 5.4 Leadership Capstone alliances. Therefore, my greatest learning experience was how leading mindfully helps increase emotional intelligence and how it all is interlinked. This theory supports the practice of leading mindfully in that, emotional understanding and skills impact our success and happiness in our work as well as our personal lives. Leaders therefore can harness and direct the power of emotions to improve the follower satisfaction, morale, and motivation, as well as enhance overall organizational effectiveness. The SCARF model is just one of the areas where, as a leader, I can develop my own self- awareness and emotional intelligence and use this knowledge in identifying with and building more collaborative, efficient, and effective relationships and teams within my work environment. The SCARF model defines “status, certainty, autonomy, relatedness, and fairness as key motivators for people and plays into our emotions and our decision making processes. [Rock & Rice, 2014]. I find relatedness as one of the key elements in assisting leaders in making the greatest connection with their constituents. They can see me as a leader as being human and having the same basic core concerns and human wants. This relatedness also assists in building relationships based on trust. Additionally, I have been told more than once throughout my life and by fellow students and my husband that I am a great story-teller. Story telling is thought to be one of the greatest ways to relate and connect with people. Researchers say there are hundreds of emotions. An important ability of a leader is to understand the range of emotions people have and how these emotions may manifest themselves. Most researchers accept eight categories of emotions that are recognized universally. “These eight emotions are based partly on the discovery that specific facial
  6. 6.5 Leadership Capstone expressions make up four of the categories (i.e. fear, anger, sadness, and enjoyment). The other emotions are love, surprise, disgust, and shame.” [Daft (2010), p. 146]. Leaders who are attuned to their own feelings and the feelings of others can use their understanding to enhance the organization. For example, “studies of happiness in the workplace find that employee happiness can play a major role in organizational success.” (p. 147). The author, [Hsieh (2010)] in his book describes “three types of happiness which are pleasure, passion (flow), and higher purpose.” [Meng Tan (2012), p. 132]. The interesting concept behind these three levels of happiness the author states is their sustainability. “The happiness that arises from pleasure is highly unsustainable. Once this pleasure stimulus ceases, or you try to habituate it, your level of happiness returns to its default level. Happiness that arises from flow is much more sustainable and you are far less likely to habituate it. Happiness arising from higher purpose is highly sustainable. This form of happiness is resilient and can last for a long time, especially if that higher purpose stems from an altruistic origin.” (pp. 132-133). What do you think is the most important aspect in work and life in general? Most people will respond with communication. Communication can be both verbal and non-verbal (as in facial expressions). Authors, [Wilmot & Hocker, (2011)] discuss “how one can see communication in organizations as becoming a part of preventative conflict management. They go on to explain how conflict in the workplace can present challenges that affect one’s career development. Ignoring workplace conflict sets destructive forces in motion that decrease productivity, spread the conflict to others, and lead to lower morale. Conflict resolution draws upon the skills of emotional
  7. 7.6 Leadership Capstone intelligence. “ (4-5). “Emotional Intelligence is defined as the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” [Goleman, (1998), p. 317]. “Recognizing feelings, self-motivation (the SCARF model), and dealing with feelings are skills that pervade all of conflict management.” [Wilmot & Hocker, (2011), p. 6]. Communication and conflict are inextricably tied. Conflicts can arise simply out of lack of well-communicated interests, needs, fears, concerns, and lack of understanding one another because we have generational differences. We will discuss each generation and methods, theories, and practices on how we can learn to better communicate and work together; versus creating unnecessary conflict(s) and develop more collaborative, effective, and cohesive work place environments. The author, [Aguilar, L. (2006)] explains “biased, stereotypical, or otherwise demeaning communication also undermines morale, teamwork, and productivity in your organization. It can drive customers away. It can cause public relations fiasco. And, it could be interpreted as an indicator of a hostile workplace.” (p. 9). Therefore, it is imperative that leaders recognize bias and stereotyping in ourselves and others’ and develop a policy that that this type of communication will not be tolerated and how best to handle it when it occurs. The author also explains that “paying attention to one’s words and nonverbal communication is being professionally competent and personally conscious.” [Aguilar, L. (2006). p. 10]. This is important because most people do not often times intentionally or even consciously communicate bias; nonetheless, if and when we do, it can be hurtful; it can cause employee disengagement and breakdown.
  8. 8.7 Leadership Capstone As a leader, if this type of behavior is allowed and tolerated it can also cause employees to lose respect for their organizational leadership. This opens the door for many other issues to follow. So, what is bias? [Aguilar, L. (2006] defines “bias as a predisposition to see things or people in a certain way, either positive or negative.” (p.11). This predisposition may stem from our cultural background and can be passed down from the generations that preceded ours. Nonetheless, there is no acceptable place for it in today’s global and diverse workplace. A stereotype is a “simplified, fixed belief about a group of people.” (p. 16). The effects of stereotyping can be extremely hurtful to the group being identified, mainly because most stereotypes are negative. We all have made them or heard someone else making a stereotype. Those that stereotype are affected as well as the person that holds the stereotype; in essence it hurts both parties involved. For example, in my Leading and Coaching Across the Generations course work, I learned that as a Gen Xer, my generation is often referred to as “slackers, whiners, and the cynical and lost generation.” [Shaw, H. (2013). p. 78]. Now I may take offense to these “stereotypical identifiers”, let them roll off my back or work hard to prove myself and my generation otherwise. The Millennial generation is often referred to as the “entitled” generation. Is this a fair statement? Could it be hurtful to those that fall within this generation? Sure! I am a parent to four children of the millennial generation. The stereotype of this generation’s “entitled attitude” is hurtful to me as their parent. The “Baby Boomer” generation is often defined as an arrogant generation. They are bigger
  9. 9.8 Leadership Capstone and better than the rest of us. Would members of this generation agree or find this identifier as hurtful to them? The most important point is that both bias and stereotypes, whether intentional or unconscious are hurtful, unfair, and often wrong because they come from a predisposed, preconceived notion and/or assumption(s). Therefore, we need to ensure we watch and choose our words carefully. And, as leaders, we are tasked with the responsibility of ensuring we set the best example for our organizational members to follow. Bias and stereotypes will not be tolerated and people will be held accountable for inappropriate communication. What I learned from this module is that whether intentionally or unconsciously we often make biased assumptions and are or have been guilty of stereotyping individuals or groups of people. Most often these acts are a result of our lack of knowledge, understanding, and awareness of why people are the way they are. Now having learned that each generation is indeed different and why; for example, “Millennials feel entitled.” It isn’t that this generation feels they are entitled and shouldn’t have to work their way up the corporate ladder or that they have no respect for their elders’ because they sit in a meeting and text on their cell phone or work on their laptop. There are reasons they do these things or feel the way they do. “Gen Xers are whiny slackers.” No, we aren’t and this is why. I am armed with a significant knowledge, understanding, and an awareness; that will better enable me to work with people from each generation, build more effective and collaborative teams, increase awareness and understanding of each generation’s differences, increase creativity, insight, and
  10. 10.9 Leadership Capstone innovation within my future organization. I will be able to develop training so others’ will learn about the generational differences and use the tools and skills I share with them to work through organizational conflict and create clearer communication within the organization. Today is the first time that there are four generations in the workforce. We are referring to the “Baby Boomers” born 1945-1964, Generation X born 1965-1980, Millennials’ born 1981-2001, and the “Linskers” born 2002- to date.” [Shaw, H. (2013). Each generation is a product of their environment, culture, life experiences, challenges, parental involvement, traditions, values and so on… Factor in our “bias, stereotypes’, and assumptions,” is it no wonder organizations are experiencing issues (conflict) with their personnel communicating and working together? Robert Greenleaf’s renowned 1970 essay, “The Servant As Leader”, author [Kim (2002) says “Greenleaf’s writings are a constant reminder of the high standards leaders must set for themselves, if they are to be worthy of peoples’ full commitment.” (p.2). [Kim (2002)] goes on to say of all Greenleaf’s writings, one passage stands out as one of the most challenging for him which is; “The failure (or refusal) of a leader to foresee may be viewed

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    as an ethical failure.” (p. 2). In order to understand what Greenleaf means by this statement we must first take a hard long look at what Kim’s true and real definition of foresight is. [Kim (2002)] goes on to say, “Others’ may admonish us (as leaders’) for not having exercised better foresight or for incorrectly anticipating the future. They may call it a failure of planning or an error in judgment. But to call such a lapse an ethical failure is such a strong stance that it respectfully calls for deeper

  11. 11.10 Leadership Capstone introspection. There are two models I would like to identify: First, forecasting versus Predicting -- we might think that due to the “enormous complexity of today’s organizations that exercising foresight is impossible. The author further explains this conjecture might be true if we equated foresight with making accurate forecasts about the future –which is impossible to do. However, foresight is more about being able to perceive the “significance and nature of events”, before they have occurred-which is achievable.” He uses an analogy to further illustrate the difference between forecasts and predictions, his example “if it rains in the foothills of the Himalayas, we cannot forecast exactly when the rivers will swell and flood the valleys, but we can predict with certainly that the flooding will occur. The better we know the structure of the terrain, the greater knowledge we have about the flooding to follow.” Thus, a leader’s ethical responsibility is to know the underlying structures within her domain and be able to make predictions that can guide her people to a better a future.” The second model; Helping Versus Meddling -- “failure to know whether one is helping or meddling is another ethical lapse. Why? Because it means that one lacks foresight to know the future consequences of one’s own actions; and the actions of others. This statement is intense but also very true. There are always consequences to our actions and others’. So what is the difference and how can we know the difference? People may not necessarily always have the right answer, for those that do need to know why it is true. What is the explanation to the right answer? Understanding System Capability -- there is an important link between understanding a system’s capability and having the capacity to exercise foresight. We cannot always forecast the future however what we
  12. 12.11 Leadership Capstone can do is predict with absolute certainty changing our aim is actually meddling, not helping. Taking action just for the sake of “taking action” without knowing cause and effect worsens the state of affairs. This is not helping, which constitutes an “ethical failure.”(p. 3). Renowned author, [Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994)] states that, “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally, this is what we refer to as leading mindfully.” (p. 20). In learning and mastering the art and balance of leading mindfully, we can do this by taking a purposeful pause, addressing the concern and not the trigger or situation, factoring in motivations, emotions, using empathy and compassion toward ourselves and others which leads to a higher-degree of emotional intelligence and the final result is greater leadership abilities. [Meng Tan (2012) summarizes the connection between leading mindfully and emotional intelligence stating, “We use mindfulness to train a quality of attention that is strong both in clarity and stability. We then direct this power-charged attention to the physiological aspects of emotion so we can perceive emotion with high vividness and resolution. The ability to perceive the emotional experience at a high level of clarity and resolution builds the foundation for emotional intelligence.” (p. 25). This then leads to the ability to lead others with clarity, compassion, empathy, and recognize motivators which leads to trust between leaders and those being led; the ultimate outcome is stronger, more satisfying workplace relationships, more job satisfaction, higher levels of morale, and greater levels of happiness.
  13. 13.12 Leadership Capstone I would like to take this opportunity to look at leading mindfully from another perspective. Researchers suggest that “the leader’s mind can be developed beyond the non-leader in four critical areas: independent thinking, open-mindedness, systems thinking, and personal mastery. Taken together, these four disciplines provide a foundation that can help leaders examine their mental models and overcome blind spots that may limit their leadership effectiveness and success of their organizations. Mindfulness in this context can be defined “as continuously re-evaluating previously learned ways of doing things in the context of evolving information and shifting circumstances. Mindful leaders are always looking for new ideas and approaches. Because all four disciplines are interdependent, leaders working to improve even one element of their mental approach can move forward in a significant way toward mastering their minds and becoming more effective. All that we have discussed thus far leads to centered leadership. [Barsh et. al., (2010)] defines centered leadership as a set of five capabilities that, in combination, generates high levels of professional performance and life satisfaction. “The five capabilities are at the heart of centered leadership; finding meaning in work, converting emotions such as fear or stress into opportunity, leveraging connections and community, acting in the face of risk, and sustaining the energy that is the life force of change. Leaders who have mastered all five capabilities are also more than 20 times as likely to say they are satisfied with their performance as leaders and their lives in general.” The first and most important capability is meaning or purpose. Leaders who have a sense of purpose in their work convey more energy, inspiration, engagement,
  14. 14.13 Leadership Capstone and motivation to their followers. Centered leaders therefore obtain a high degree of job satisfaction for serving and contributing to something greater than themselves. This is what the author [Meng Tan (2014)] refers to as passion or flow in the workplace. This passion is transferred to others which results in a shared meaning or vision and gives others a sense of meaning and/or purpose and greater job satisfaction. Leaders that are “centered” have a greater ability to lead mindfully. This is turn leads to servant leadership. Servant leaders have a high-degree of emotional intelligence due to a strong self-awareness of their strengths and weaknesses, personality traits, and the ability to understand others, establish trust and build strong relationships and teams. They exude confidence, compassion toward others, and create a work environment of positive and creative energy. Servant leadership means simply “to serve.” Robert Wood Johnson, who built Johnson & Johnson; described servant leadership as “the duty of a leader to be a servant to those responsible to him. Servant leadership is leadership upside-down. Servant leaders transcend self- interest to serve the needs of others, help others grow and develop, and provide opportunity for others to gain materially and emotionally. In organizations, these leaders’ top priority is service to employees, customers, shareholders, and the general public. In their minds, the purpose of their existence is to serve; leadership flows out of the act of service because it enables other people to grow and become all they are capable of being.” [Daft (2010), pp. 175-177]. Servant leadership is based on the foundation of serving others versus serving oneself. Its concept is based on autonomy, empowerment, participation, shared
  15. 15.14 Leadership Capstone authority, shared vision, and building a community of trust. In the beginning of this paper I spoke of [Greenleaf (1977)] who coined the concept of servant leadership. Greenleaf’s servant leadership model is comprised of four basic precepts: “1) put service before self- interest this requires leadership making a conscious choice to help others takes precedence over the desire to achieve a formal leadership position or attain power and control over others, 2) listen to affirm others; this results in a fuller understanding of problems others face. By understanding others, the servant leader can contribute to the best course of action, 3) inspire trust by being trustworthy; servant leaders build trust by doing what they say, being honest, giving up control and focusing on the well-being of others. Trust grows from trusting others to make their own decisions. Servant leaders gain trust because they give everything away – power, control, rewards, information, and recognition, and 4). Nourish others and make them feel whole; this requires that leader’s belief in the unique potential of each person to have a positive impact on the world. Being close to people also means leaders make themselves vulnerable to others and are willing to show their own pain and humanity.” [Daft (2010), pp. 177-178]. In today’s global economic environment the questions are; can organizations’ transform and if so, how do organizations’ sustain, compete, innovate, and survive? First and foremost the responsibility lies with leadership. Leadership must know how to transform their organizations, foster an environment of creativity, and understand the need for change and transformation in order to stay in the game among the global competitive market.
  16. 16.15 Leadership Capstone Organizational leaders will be better equipped to effect transformational change in their organizations once they make the following distinctions. Culture is defined as deeply held patterns, assumptions, and perceptions of beliefs and values. In the context of organizational culture; “values can be specific and explicit. “[Isaksen & Tidd (2013), p. 302]. Can leadership change culture? According to [Schein (1992)], “there are three main sources that form an organizational culture, first there are the beliefs, values, and assumptions of the founder. Next, the learning experiences of members as the organization grows can also influence culture. Third, organizational cultures can change as a result of new beliefs, values, and assumptions brought into the organization from new members and leaders.” [Isaksen & Tidd (2013), p. 304]. Now let’s take a look at organizational climate? Climate can be defined as “the recurring patterns of behavior, attitudes, and feelings that characterize life in the organization.” [Isaksen & Tidd (2013), p. 307]. Culture and climate are intertwined, generally speaking, climate falls under culture as a result one affects the other. The distinction to be made is that “climate is different from culture in that climate is observable at the surface level within the organization and more amenable to change and improvement efforts. Whereas culture refers to the deeper and more enduring values, norms and beliefs within the organization.” [Isaksen & Tidd (2013), p. 308]. These enduring values, norms and beliefs are much more difficult to change. Therefore we can easily make the assessment that leaders should look to change their organizational climate in order to foster an organizational culture of innovation.
  17. 17.16 Leadership Capstone Before we can begin to look at models for change we must look at the process of Systems Thinking. Systems’ thinking is the concept of looking at organizations as a whole having sub-parts and sub-systems. This includes people, departments, project teams, technologies, processes, and resources within the organization. All these sub- parts and sub-systems are all highly integrated. This is a ‘cause and effect’ in the context of organization comprised of the people, processes, departments, technologies, and resources; all make up the whole system therefore; we can make the correlation that if one part of the system changes, the nature of the overall system is changed. My final topic of discussion is transactional leadership versus transformational leadership. The area of transformational leadership is very important to me because of the direction of where I want to go as far as employment and the type of leader I want to be. Now, having the complete knowledge of my strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, and a higher-degree of emotional intelligence; I believe I will be successful in leading an organization. Transactional leaders are more tasks oriented and running the day-to-day operations. Now this is a very important key aspect of leadership. Managers can run departments; manage tasks, processes, and people. Transformational leaders however, lead people by inspiring, engaging, and motivating. Leaders that create and inspire the organizational vision make transformations happen. Conclusion: Servant leadership means simply, encouraging others in their personal development, and helping them understand the larger purpose in their work. Leader’s care how
  18. 18.17 Leadership Capstone employees feel about themselves, about their work, and about the people they interact with. Leading mindfully practices support and enhance personal growth and development of emotional intelligence which results in better control and management over our own emotions. We can further develop this capacity by using various meditation techniques as simple as taking a purposeful pause. Continued growth and development in ourselves allows us to develop our skills and abilities in developing the same in others. Leading mindfully will assist leaders in making more cognitive, moral, ethical and overall sound decisions by being able to see the bigger picture, listen to input and creative ideas from others. I have learned throughout my Leadership graduate coursework various tools and techniques, what is important me and what gives me meaning, purpose, job satisfaction, and ultimate happiness in my work. Now armed with this information, it is my goal to obtain work that fulfills my personal and professional needs which I will then do my best in leading mindfully to help fulfill these needs in others, create a high-degree of emotional intelligence, job satisfaction, and happiness for those I am tasked to serve. This is how I interpret the connection between leading mindfully and servant leadership and how this will serve me in achieving great success as a leader and serving others.
  19. 19.18 Leadership Capstone References: Barsh, J., Mogelof, J., and Webb, C. (2010). How Centered Leaders Achieve Extraordinary Results. Mckinsey & Co., Daft, R. L. (2010). The Leadership Experience; Global Economic Watch, 5th Edition. Centage Learning, Mason, OH. Fisher, R. and Shapiro, D. (2005). Beyond Reason; Using Emotions as You Negotiate. Penguin Books, New York, N.Y. Goleman, D. (…) Greenleaf, R. (1977). Servant Leadership; A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ. Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994). Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Hyperion, New York, N.Y. Kim, D. (2007). The Systems Thinker; Leading Ethically Through Foresight. Pegasus Communication. Meng Tan, C. (2012). Search Inside Yourself; The Unexpected Path to Achieving success, Happiness (And World Peace). Harper-Collins, New York, N.Y. Keltner, J. W. (1987). Mediation; Toward a Civilized System of Dispute Resolution. Speech Communication Association, Annandale, Va.
  20. 20.19 Leadership Capstone Moore, C. (1996). The Mediation Process, 2nd Edition. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA. Wilmot, W. and Hocker, J. (2011). Interpersonal Conflict, 8th Edition. McGraw Hill, New York, N.Y. Shriberg, D. and Shriberg, A. (2011). Practicing Leadership; Principles and Applications, 4th Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Hoboken, NJ.
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