Should a Leader be a Follower First?

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Introduction

To be a leader requires that one must be a good follower. But this requirement would depend on the circumstances on how the person becomes a leader in business. A person can become an instant leader of a business empire by succession.

There is basically two types of becoming a leader. One is by ascription or by birth and the other is by achievement. An ascribed leadership is acquired through inheritance or succession. Usually the heir is a child or spouse of a recognized leader in a particular business enterprise. After the business leader died or retired, the spouse or child becomes the heir of the established business and assumes the leadership of the business.

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For instance, the Norwegian heiress Alexandra and Katharina Andresen, who are 21 and 22 years respectively, became the youngest billionaires in the world for the third year in a row, after their father, Johan H. Andersen, transferred ownership of their family’s investment company, Ferd, to them in 2007. In such a young age, they instantly become the established leader in the investment business  of their country.

Fern sisters

Photo: Alexandra (21 years old) and Katharina (22 years old), world’s youngest billionaires (courtesy of businessinsider.com)

The other way of being a business leader is by achievement. This type of leadership is common in our current global and technological age. The candidate usually achieves success and leadership in a particular field of business by hard work, dedication,and achievement. This person usually does not come from a rich or landed class. Some come from humble beginnings. Others are even college dropouts such as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerburg. Some studies have shown that there is no direct correlation between academic excellence in school and success in doing business. Not all billionaires  graduated with summa cum laude or with high honors in college, but they are usually creative people, smart and have a strong passion in actualizing their niches and goals in business. These people are usually  self-made billionaires.

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“The youngest self-made billionaire is John Collison of Stripe, age 27. He cofounded the payments startup with older brother Patrick Collison, who at 29 is also one of the youngest billionaires. Stripe’s most recent fundraising round in November 2016 valued the company at $9.2 billion; the brothers are each worth $1 billion. John Collison is just a few months younger than Snap cofounder and CEO Evan Spiegel.”

Leadership by ascription or succession does not necessarily requires to be a good follower before becoming a leader in  his/her business empire or firm. Without fully knowing the “rules of the game” or actual operations of the firm in the lower echelon of the company, s/he leads the business by succession.

Enrique Razon

Photo: Enrique Razon, leader in port-handling business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Leadership by achievement requires the aspirant to be a good follower become s/he becomes the recognized leader of his/her chosen niche in business. One of the top 10 riches Filipino in the Philippines, Enrique Razon (Networth: $4.3 billion), started as a crane operator as a young man in his father’s port-handling business. He allegedly dropped out of school to study his father’s business operations. In a television interview, he attributed the expansion of the business to this experience of being an ordinary worker of the firm. He was literally a follower and servant and worked his way up in his father’s firm. He obeyed his managers and the rules of his own business. As a result, he learned the various aspects of the business. When his father died, Enrique Razon took over the business and went beyond. And because he was a faithful follower, he learned the “rules of the game” and became a new leader by achievement in port-handling business. His business has even become a multinational and engaged other forms of trade, such casino and resort business.

henry sy

Photo: Henry Sy, the richest Filipino businessman, leader in retail and mall business (courtesy of Forbes.com)

Another great Filipino who became the leader in retail business in the Philippines by being a good follower is Henry Sy, the richest Filipino according to Forbes Magazine. he started his business by selling shoes as an ambulant vendor. Before becoming the leader in retail and mall business, he was a true disciple of retailing. Because of his dedication and persistence, he became the leader of his chosen business niche by achievement.

What type of business leader you want to be?

leader leadership GIF by Dr. Donna Thomas Rodgers

Photo credit: Pexels.com free photos, Forbes.com, and businessinsider.com

Thank you for reading this post. Feel free to like, comment, and share this post! Cheers and best wishes! AMDG.

 

References

Au-Yeung, A. (6 March 2018). “The World’s Youngest Billionaires In 2018: Meet The 63 Under Age 40”. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/angelauyeung/2018/03/06/youngest-billionaires-under-40-2018/#60d61c86729a.

How to Be a Good and Effective Manager-Leader

Introduction

A good manager must not only possess superior technical skills but also social managerial skills. After all, the primary role of the manager is to guide and supervise people under his/her care, not machines and robots. The word “good” here implies a value judgment and a set of standards of what constitutes a good or bad trait. And since business has diverse standards of what constitutes a “good” or “bad” manager, it is expected that what is good in one company may be not good in another company. What is common, however, is that all managers, regardless of the type and size of business, deal with people and employees with different personality, attitude, ability, talent, and experience in the company. Like a conductor in an orchestra, a good manager is one who knows how to blend and unify the various social circumstances of his/her employees in the workplace to achieve the company’s short and long-term goals. What makes a manager different from a rank-and-file employee is his/her discretionary power. S/he has the power when and how a company policy or goal can be actualized in the workplace through his/her intervention. Thus, a manager who has 4 of the traits below can be considered “good” and effective in today’s global age.

1. Familiar with the company’s organizational Culture.

First of all, a good manager must be familiar with the organizational culture of the company. This trait requires that the manager must be observant, analytical, broad-minded and with longer exposure in the company. S/he should have a firm grasp of “how things work” inside the organization: the goals, rules and sanctions of the company, internal politics and the degree of influence of power cliques inside the firm, as well as the overall social networking process inside and outside the company. The more the manager is familiar with the overall system of the company, the more s/he can be effective to fit his/her own office or area of responsibility in the overall scheme and direction of the business firm.With his/her superior knowledge of the culture or “way of life” of people inside his/her company, s/he can “make things done” despite bureaucratic limitations and obstacles.

In particular, s/he must know whether his/her company is generally personalistic, that is, social interaction and transaction are basically based on social ties rather than on qualification and merit. In sole proprietorship or smaller enterprises, the employees are usually affiliated with owners as relative, friend or co-ethic. Thus, the manager must be careful in dealing with employees who are close to the owners. But in highly complex and rational system of big companies, merit, rather social ties, usually predominats the overall cultural system of the business firm. In this case, the manager can be more efficient and professional in dealing with employees and situations in his/her office or area of responsibility.

2. Prudent in his/her exercise of managerial power and authority.

A manager must be prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority in the company. Authority is a legitimate form of power delegated by the company to the manager in administering the firm as specified in the company’s manual. In theory, the manager must only act within the scope of his/her authority. But in some cases, s/he goes beyond this boundary such as dominating or bullying his/her employees–and thus act using his/her personal power and status rather than his/her authority. S/he must remember the saying: “If there is power, there is resistance”! If the manager wants to avoid nasty rumors and gossip from his/her subordinate, s/he must exercise moderation and prudence with regard to power and authority. This does not mean that s/he should not show anger especially if the situation requires it to achieve targets. What is important is that the employee must feel that the coercion was done by the manager in good faith and for the good of the company and not as a response to a grudge.

Active Resistance

If employees sense that their manager goes beyond his/her authority and thus abuse his/her power, active and passive social resistance would more likely occur. Active resistance is an overt or open form of opposition to the manager’s management style. Unreasonable impositions by the manager on the employees usually invite social resistance such as gossiping and rumor mongering. If the maltreatment or bullying of the manager becomes harsh, employees may manifest their active resistance by answering back to the manager’s rants or other forms of defiance. They can write petition letters or complaints to a higher authority or openly disobeying the manager’s command. Active resistance is easy for the manager to identify and control since it is usually done openly. What is difficult is passive or covert resistance. This often done at his/her back. This needs some sociological sense to discover that the employees resist

Passive Resistance

Passive resistance is an indirect or covert form of resistance. If employees do not want the personality and management style of the manager, they don’t usually show it openly to avoid sanctions. Instead, they would usually do it indirectly such as spreading rumors and gossip against the manager. They can also intentional miss their targets, underperform their tasks and invent all sorts of excuses for their sloppy job. In this case, the manager cannot achieve his/her assigned goals and targets in the firm, making him/her an ineffective leader in the eyes of the top management or owners of the company. These resistant acts may appear insignificant to many people but they can create a ripple effect which can result in an organized opposition against the manager. A good manager therefore is a person who is prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority, avoiding active and passive resistance, for the good of the company. A good manager is must also be open to dialogue with disgruntled employees to understand and address the root cause of their problems..

3. Familiar with the latest technology for business.

With growing digitalisation of business, a good manager must be familiar with the latest Internet and computer skills and applications for business, particularly with the use of the social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other growing networking sites for business. With the advent of the digital, cyber and electronic spaces, physical presence is no longer necessary with the latest Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Multitasking would be made easy because of the digital technology. A manager maybe away from his office, attending a conference and yet s/he can still attend to the day-to-day activities of his/her office with the use of his/her smart phones and wireless broadband or other high-tech devices and applications. The ICTs are also indispensable for a good manager in marketing formally or informally the company’s products and services.

4. Sensitive to his/her employees’ needs.

Finally, one of the most important traits a good manager must possess is sensitivity to his/her employees’ needs. The role of the manager is not only to achieve the company’s business goals and forecasts but also to protect and nurture the company’s most important asset—the employees. If employees feel happy, contented, and supported by the manager in what they do, their productivity and loyalty to the company would intensify and the company’s goals would then be easier to achieve. If this happens, the top management, will take notice of the manager’s capacity and and would be persuaded to promote him to higher post and responsibility.The employees’ feeling of being respected and valued by their company through their manager would surely result in increased productivity, efficiency and profit for the company. The famous Pope John Paul II in his papal encyclical or letter entitled Centisimus Annus (One Hundred Years), said that employees’ welfare in the company is more important than just earning more profit in a sesne that a business enterprise is a community of persons aimed at serving the public through products and services.

Thank you for reading this post. Follow this blog via email for more updates.

6 Quotes from Top Business Leaders and their Sociological Meaning

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Top business leaders may not be social scientists and sociologists but their long journey to success and experience in building their empires have given them some sociological wisdom and theories in their minds on what works or fails in the field of business. They may not have articulated exactly the type of theories and insights they use in the quotes, but they are nevertheless very sociological and empirical from a sociologist’s point of view. Let us examine and analyze sociologically the following quotes from well-known global business leaders:

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This quote emphasizes that media business needs visionary leaders. In sociology, the type of leader with vision is usually the charismatic leader. The German sociologist Max Weber basically classifies leaders into 3 types: Charismatic, Traditional, and Rational-Legal. The charismatic leader is one with extraordinary talents and personal traits. His talent includes a vision of the future.

It is proven that today’s great business leaders are people who think and see ahead of their times. They have the talent to spot opportunities which ordinary entrepreneurs cannot see. Charismatic leaders are creative and innovative people who are willing to break traditions just to actualize their visions. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jack Ma, to name a few, are examples of charismatic business leaders. In contrast, the traditional leader is usually a conservative person who only follows the tradition and culture of what is handed down from the past to the firm, while the rational-legal leader is one leads only to the laws and policies of the company.

Photo Credit: azquotes.com

Image result for quotes from top business leaders

This quote emphasizes that the customer is the ultimate boss in business. Without customers, the business cannot survive and grow. The resources and capital of the business firm must be used wisely to serve the customers. Managers have no business in the company if they cannot provide the best products and services to the customers.

Photo Credit: rdcooperr.us

Image result for quotes from top business leaders

This quote stresses that one must take risks in business but only if it is a good cause, if it can lead to a good life, presumably for the customers and the public. A business firm and its leaders cannot takes risks if what they do are contrary to law, custom, and needs of the public. It cannot engage in shady deals and corruption just to increase its profit. Some companies, for instance, pollute rivers by dumping their wastes at the expense of the inhabitants and environment.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

Image result for quotes from top business leaders

Bill Gates may not be a sociologist, but he knows that life is not equal. It is part of urban society’s social stratification where people are classified according to wealth or social class and according to their skills and level of education or social status. In a capitalist society, the social structure always favors and rich and entrepreneurs, while the poor and workers are oftentimes exploited and forgotten.

Photo Credit: danieldigest.com

Image result for jack ma quotes

This is a very good observation by Jack Ma. Not many people can see that complaints are actually gaps in the system and opportunities for the business firm to grow and even create new products and services to address them.

Image result for jack ma quotes

Jack Ma, because of his vision and long experience in business, is correct. The right people for the job or task in the company are not necessarily the best ones. The best people are actually difficult to train in the company. They usually have a strong sense of entitlement. They tend to be good at commanding rather than obeying people who know the needs and problems of the company. That is why, aside from the necessary qualification, the employees must possess the right attitudes, values, and personalities which are consonant with the company’s mission-vision. A business firm is a system with interdependent parts and functions. It requires a teamwork. If the firm hires the best people rather than the right employees, it can result in disharmony and systemic dyfunction which are not good for business.

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Top Leadership Strategies of Hugely Profitable Companies

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1. Treat People Well

season 3 hug GIF

There is no other sure way to succeed in business than treating people who are connected to the company. They can be employees, customers, managers, suppliers, and all other internal and external customers. The purpose of business is actually forming a community of persons with individual and family needs. John Zimmer, founder and president of Lyft said:

“Treating people well is great for business; it is complementary to doing well in business. What I do know is that most businesses require other people to help you get where you need to go. Whether that’s our employees, which we call team members, whether that’s in our case the drivers or customers, passengers who are using the service, great service, great hospitality, treating people well, having a good set of values. That is great for business” (Mazarais & Shotell, 2017).

2. Eliminate all needless busywork.

 reactions s reactions network hour managers GIF

A highly successful leader in a hugely profitable business is usually well-organized and knows his or her priorities and hierarchy of values in the company. At some point they all wonder, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?”

But the answer is stunningly simple: We’re doing too many of the wrong things.

frustrated peaky blinders GIF by BBC

“Several research studies have shown that people never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up. Instead, they get more done when they follow careful plans that measure and track key priorities and milestones. So if you want to be more successful and less stressed, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?” (Quora.com).

2. Empower people in your company.

people GIF

Doing business is a team effort. It is not a one-man show. The business leader must know this fact. To be successful, he or she must know how to delegate power and empower people to become leaders in their own departments or areas of responsibility. Jason Downes: managing director at Powownow said:

“We should all take some time to consider how our own words impact those around us, whether making someone feel more confident or helping empower your colleagues at work.”

3. Spend time to understand the organizational culture.

video high quality GIF

A good business leader in a highly profitable company must know the corporate or organizational culture. When a CEO or manager is appointed to a company, he or she must first take some time to study the corporate culture before he or she starts governing the business firm. The corporate culture refers to the entire way of life of the company that includes people and non-human components of business.

John Brennan, CIA Director under the Obama Administration says:

“The most important thing for anybody who’s going to be taking on that responsibility, is use your first period of time, whether it be six, nine, 12 months, to learn as much as you can about the organization that you’re running. Understand how it interacts within itself, how it inter-operates with the rest of the intelligence community and the US government. You really need to have that in-depth understanding and knowledge in order for you to have the wisdom … (Mazarakis & Shontell, 2017).

3. Be transparent in running your business.

3d add GIF

As more companies open up about their processes and methods, customers are becoming savvier and hungrier for transparency. Fortunately, transparency does not require you to fork over trade secrets but it does mean being honest about how you conduct business. Your customers want to feel they can trust you. Openness and information sharing helps to build that trust (Ibid.).

4. Encourage employees to express their creativity.

2001 emmy awards only network executives can do that GIF

“Profitable and sustainable enterprises thrive on original thinking while copycat businesses shutter their doors as soon as the idea they have stolen loses its relevance. Since the successful conception and development of viable business ideas takes time and requires a flexible corporate structure, try setting aside a dedicated amount of resources to allow your employees to be creative on their own terms” (Ibid).

Jake animation text typography mograph GIF

“Google does this by giving its engineers 20 percent of their time to work on any project they want. This allows team members to develop products they are passionate about. Many times, that means more care and attention goes into each effort. Gmail is the most famous consequence of Google’s generous 20 percent time policy” (Ibid.).

5. Develop your business in line with technology.

commercial GIF

In today’s business world, technology is king. With the advent of information and communication technologies as well as the Internet, a highly profitable business must use creatively the latest technologies. Physical stores, for instance, are now gradually replaced by online stores because of technology, traditional marketing with digital marketing, walk-in hiring by online recruitment via the social media. “As the world becomes more mobile, if you aren’t making your business mobile, every minute your potential customers are passing you by and using companies that do use the the new way to engage.”

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Kittaneh, F. (4 May 2015). “6 Secrets of Business Leaders Who Built Hugely Successful Companies”. Entrepreneur. Retrived from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245268.

Mazarakis, A. & Shontell, A. (25 Nov 2017). “10 CEOs and top executives reveal their best leadership secrets”. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/top-execs-tech-ceos-reveal-secrets-to-being-a-successful-leader-2017-11.

growthbusiness.co.uk (3 Oct 2017).”10 business leaders share their secrets to success”. Retrieved from http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/secrets-to-success-business-leaders-2552460/.

Quora.com (13 March 2015).  “12 best-kept secrets of successful business people”: Answer by Vivik Raj on Quora.com. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/03/13/12-best-kept-secrets-of-successful-business-people/.

 

How to Be a Good and Effective Manager-Leader

Introduction

A good manager must not only possess superior technical skills but also social managerial skills. After all, the primary role of the manager is to guide and supervise people under his/her care, not machines and robots. The word “good” here implies a value judgment and a set of standards of what constitutes a good or bad trait. And since business has diverse standards of what constitutes a “good” or “bad” manager, it is expected that what is good in one company may be not good in another company. What is common, however, is that all managers, regardless of the type and size of business, deal with people and employees with different personality, attitude, ability, talent, and experience in the company. Like a conductor in an orchestra, a good manager is one who knows how to blend and unify the various social circumstances of his/her employees in the workplace to achieve the company’s short and long-term goals. What makes a manager different from a rank-and-file employee is his/her discretionary power. S/he has the power when and how a company policy or goal can be actualized in the workplace through his/her intervention. Thus, a manager who has 4 of the traits below can be considered “good” and effective in today’s global age.

 

1. Familiar with the company’s organizational Culture.

First of all, a good manager must be familiar with the organizational culture of the company. This trait requires that the manager must be observant, analytical, broad-minded and with longer exposure in the company. S/he should have a firm grasp of “how things work” inside the organization: the goals, rules and sanctions of the company, internal politics and the degree of influence of power cliques inside the firm, as well as the overall social networking process inside and outside the company. The more the manager is familiar with the overall system of the company, the more s/he can be effective to fit his/her own office or area of responsibility in the overall scheme and direction of the business firm.With his/her superior knowledge of the culture or “way of life” of people inside his/her company, s/he can “make things done” despite bureaucratic limitations and obstacles.

In particular, s/he must know whether his/her company is generally personalistic, that is, social interaction and transaction are basically based on social ties rather than on qualification and merit. In sole proprietorship or smaller enterprises, the employees are usually affiliated with owners as relative, friend or co-ethic. Thus, the manager must be careful in dealing with employees who are close to the owners. But in highly complex and rational system of big companies, merit, rather social ties, usually predominats the overall cultural system of the business firm. In this case, the manager can be more efficient and professional in dealing with employees and situations in his/her office or area of responsibility.

 

2. Prudent in his/her exercise of managerial power and authority.

A manager must be prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority in the company. Authority is a legitimate form of power delegated by the company to the manager in administering the firm as specified in the company’s manual. In theory, the manager must only act within the scope of his/her authority. But in some cases, s/he goes beyond this boundary such as dominating or bullying his/her employees–and thus act using his/her personal power and status rather than his/her authority. S/he must remember the saying: “If there is power, there is resistance”! If the manager wants to avoid nasty rumors and gossip from his/her subordinate, s/he must exercise moderation and prudence with regard to power and authority. This does not mean that s/he should not show anger especially if the situation requires it to achieve targets. What is important is that the employee must feel that the coercion was done by the manager in good faith and for the good of the company and not as a response to a grudge.

Active Resistance

If employees sense that their manager goes beyond his/her authority and thus abuse his/her power, active and passive social resistance would more likely occur. Active resistance is an overt or open form of opposition to the manager’s management style. Unreasonable impositions by the manager on the employees usually invite social resistance such as gossiping and rumor mongering. If the maltreatment or bullying of the manager becomes harsh, employees may manifest their active resistance by answering back to the manager’s rants or other forms of defiance. They can write petition letters or complaints to a higher authority or openly disobeying the manager’s command. Active resistance is easy for the manager to identify and control since it is usually done openly. What is difficult is passive or covert resistance. This often done at his/her back. This needs some sociological sense to discover that the employees resist

Passive Resistance

Passive resistance is an indirect or covert form of resistance. If employees do not want the personality and management style of the manager, they don’t usually show it openly to avoid sanctions. Instead, they would usually do it indirectly such as spreading rumors and gossip against the manager. They can also intentional miss their targets, underperform their tasks and invent all sorts of excuses for their sloppy job. In this case, the manager cannot achieve his/her assigned goals and targets in the firm, making him/her an ineffective leader in the eyes of the top management or owners of the company. These resistant acts may appear insignificant to many people but they can create a ripple effect which can result in an organized opposition against the manager. A good manager therefore is a person who is prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority, avoiding active and passive resistance, for the good of the company. A good manager is must also be open to dialogue with disgruntled employees to understand and address the root cause of their problems..

 

3. Familiar with the latest technology for business.

With growing digitalisation of business, a good manager must be familiar with the latest Internet and computer skills and applications for business, particularly with the use of the social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other growing networking sites for business. With the advent of the digital, cyber and electronic spaces, physical presence is no longer necessary with the latest Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Multitasking would be made easy because of the digital technology. A manager maybe away from his office, attending a conference and yet s/he can still attend to the day-to-day activities of his/her office with the use of his/her smart phones and wireless broadband or other high-tech devices and applications. The ICTs are also indispensable for a good manager in marketing formally or informally the company’s products and services.

 

4. Sensitive to his/her employees’ needs.

Finally, one of the most important traits a good manager must possess is sensitivity to his/her employees’ needs. The role of the manager is not only to achieve the company’s business goals and forecasts but also to protect and nurture the company’s most important asset—the employees. If employees feel happy, contented, and supported by the manager in what they do, their productivity and loyalty to the company would intensify and the company’s goals would then be easier to achieve. If this happens, the top management, will take notice of the manager’s capacity and and would be persuaded to promote him to higher post and responsibility.The employees’ feeling of being respected and valued by their company through their manager would surely result in increased productivity, efficiency and profit for the company. The famous Pope John Paul II in his papal encyclical or letter entitled Centisimus Annus (One Hundred Years), said that employees’ welfare in the company is more important than just earning more profit in a sesne that a business enterprise is a community of persons aimed at serving the public through products and services.

Thank you for reading this post. Follow this blog via email for more updates.

Top Leadership Strategies of Hugely Profitable Companies

work security GIF

1. Treat People Well

season 3 hug GIF

There is no other sure way to succeed in business than treating people who are connected to the company. They can be employees, customers, managers, suppliers, and all other internal and external customers. The purpose of business is actually forming a community of persons with individual and family needs. John Zimmer, founder and president of Lyft said:

“Treating people well is great for business; it is complementary to doing well in business. What I do know is that most businesses require other people to help you get where you need to go. Whether that’s our employees, which we call team members, whether that’s in our case the drivers or customers, passengers who are using the service, great service, great hospitality, treating people well, having a good set of values. That is great for business” (Mazarais & Shotell, 2017).

2. Eliminate all needless busywork.

 reactions s reactions network hour managers GIF

A highly successful leader in a hugely profitable business is usually well-organized and knows his or her priorities and hierarchy of values in the company. At some point they all wonder, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?”

But the answer is stunningly simple: We’re doing too many of the wrong things.

frustrated peaky blinders GIF by BBC

“Several research studies have shown that people never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up. Instead, they get more done when they follow careful plans that measure and track key priorities and milestones. So if you want to be more successful and less stressed, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?” (Quora.com).

2. Empower people in your company.

people GIF

Doing business is a team effort. It is not a one-man show. The business leader must know this fact. To be successful, he or she must know how to delegate power and empower people to become leaders in their own departments or areas of responsibility. Jason Downes: managing director at Powownow said:

“We should all take some time to consider how our own words impact those around us, whether making someone feel more confident or helping empower your colleagues at work.”

3. Spend time to understand the organizational culture.

video high quality GIF

A good business leader in a highly profitable company must know the corporate or organizational culture. When a CEO or manager is appointed to a company, he or she must first take some time to study the corporate culture before he or she starts governing the business firm. The corporate culture refers to the entire way of life of the company that includes people and non-human components of business.

John Brennan, CIA Director under the Obama Administration says:

“The most important thing for anybody who’s going to be taking on that responsibility, is use your first period of time, whether it be six, nine, 12 months, to learn as much as you can about the organization that you’re running. Understand how it interacts within itself, how it inter-operates with the rest of the intelligence community and the US government. You really need to have that in-depth understanding and knowledge in order for you to have the wisdom … (Mazarakis & Shontell, 2017).

3. Be transparent in running your business.

3d add GIF

As more companies open up about their processes and methods, customers are becoming savvier and hungrier for transparency. Fortunately, transparency does not require you to fork over trade secrets but it does mean being honest about how you conduct business. Your customers want to feel they can trust you. Openness and information sharing helps to build that trust (Ibid.).

4. Encourage employees to express their creativity.

2001 emmy awards only network executives can do that GIF

“Profitable and sustainable enterprises thrive on original thinking while copycat businesses shutter their doors as soon as the idea they have stolen loses its relevance. Since the successful conception and development of viable business ideas takes time and requires a flexible corporate structure, try setting aside a dedicated amount of resources to allow your employees to be creative on their own terms” (Ibid).

Jake animation text typography mograph GIF

“Google does this by giving its engineers 20 percent of their time to work on any project they want. This allows team members to develop products they are passionate about. Many times, that means more care and attention goes into each effort. Gmail is the most famous consequence of Google’s generous 20 percent time policy” (Ibid.).

5. Develop your business in line with technology.

commercial GIF

In today’s business world, technology is king. With the advent of information and communication technologies as well as the Internet, a highly profitable business must use creatively the latest technologies. Physical stores, for instance, are now gradually replaced by online stores because of technology, traditional marketing with digital marketing, walk-in hiring by online recruitment via the social media. “As the world becomes more mobile, if you aren’t making your business mobile, every minute your potential customers are passing you by and using companies that do use the the new way to engage.”

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Kittaneh, F. (4 May 2015). “6 Secrets of Business Leaders Who Built Hugely Successful Companies”. Entrepreneur. Retrived from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245268.

Mazarakis, A. & Shontell, A. (25 Nov 2017). “10 CEOs and top executives reveal their best leadership secrets”. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/top-execs-tech-ceos-reveal-secrets-to-being-a-successful-leader-2017-11.

growthbusiness.co.uk (3 Oct 2017).”10 business leaders share their secrets to success”. Retrieved from http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/secrets-to-success-business-leaders-2552460/.

Quora.com (13 March 2015).  “12 best-kept secrets of successful business people”: Answer by Vivik Raj on Quora.com. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/03/13/12-best-kept-secrets-of-successful-business-people/.

 

Top Leadership Strategies of Hugely Profitable Companies

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1. Treat People Well

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There is no other sure way to succeed in business than treating people who are connected to the company. They can be employees, customers, managers, suppliers, and all other internal and external customers. The purpose of business is actually forming a community of persons with individual and family needs. John Zimmer, founder and president of Lyft said:

“Treating people well is great for business; it is complementary to doing well in business. What I do know is that most businesses require other people to help you get where you need to go. Whether that’s our employees, which we call team members, whether that’s in our case the drivers or customers, passengers who are using the service, great service, great hospitality, treating people well, having a good set of values. That is great for business” (Mazarais & Shotell, 2017).

2. Eliminate all needless busywork.

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A highly successful leader in a hugely profitable business is usually well-organized and knows his or her priorities and hierarchy of values in the company. At some point they all wonder, “Why is it so impossible to get everything done?”

But the answer is stunningly simple: We’re doing too many of the wrong things.

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“Several research studies have shown that people never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up. Instead, they get more done when they follow careful plans that measure and track key priorities and milestones. So if you want to be more successful and less stressed, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?” (Quora.com).

2. Empower people in your company.

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Doing business is a team effort. It is not a one-man show. The business leader must know this fact. To be successful, he or she must know how to delegate power and empower people to become leaders in their own departments or areas of responsibility. Jason Downes: managing director at Powownow said:

“We should all take some time to consider how our own words impact those around us, whether making someone feel more confident or helping empower your colleagues at work.”

3. Spend time to understand the organizational culture.

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A good business leader in a highly profitable company must know the corporate or organizational culture. When a CEO or manager is appointed to a company, he or she must first take some time to study the corporate culture before he or she starts governing the business firm. The corporate culture refers to the entire way of life of the company that includes people and non-human components of business.

John Brennan, CIA Director under the Obama Administration says:

“The most important thing for anybody who’s going to be taking on that responsibility, is use your first period of time, whether it be six, nine, 12 months, to learn as much as you can about the organization that you’re running. Understand how it interacts within itself, how it inter-operates with the rest of the intelligence community and the US government. You really need to have that in-depth understanding and knowledge in order for you to have the wisdom … (Mazarakis & Shontell, 2017).

3. Be transparent in running your business.

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As more companies open up about their processes and methods, customers are becoming savvier and hungrier for transparency. Fortunately, transparency does not require you to fork over trade secrets but it does mean being honest about how you conduct business. Your customers want to feel they can trust you. Openness and information sharing helps to build that trust (Ibid.).

4. Encourage employees to express their creativity.

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“Profitable and sustainable enterprises thrive on original thinking while copycat businesses shutter their doors as soon as the idea they have stolen loses its relevance. Since the successful conception and development of viable business ideas takes time and requires a flexible corporate structure, try setting aside a dedicated amount of resources to allow your employees to be creative on their own terms” (Ibid).

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“Google does this by giving its engineers 20 percent of their time to work on any project they want. This allows team members to develop products they are passionate about. Many times, that means more care and attention goes into each effort. Gmail is the most famous consequence of Google’s generous 20 percent time policy” (Ibid.).

5. Develop your business in line with technology.

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In today’s business world, technology is king. With the advent of information and communication technologies as well as the Internet, a highly profitable business must use creatively the latest technologies. Physical stores, for instance, are now gradually replaced by online stores because of technology, traditional marketing with digital marketing, walk-in hiring by online recruitment via the social media. “As the world becomes more mobile, if you aren’t making your business mobile, every minute your potential customers are passing you by and using companies that do use the the new way to engage.”

GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Kittaneh, F. (4 May 2015). “6 Secrets of Business Leaders Who Built Hugely Successful Companies”. Entrepreneur. Retrived from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245268.

Mazarakis, A. & Shontell, A. (25 Nov 2017). “10 CEOs and top executives reveal their best leadership secrets”. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/top-execs-tech-ceos-reveal-secrets-to-being-a-successful-leader-2017-11.

growthbusiness.co.uk (3 Oct 2017).”10 business leaders share their secrets to success”. Retrieved from http://www.growthbusiness.co.uk/secrets-to-success-business-leaders-2552460/.

Quora.com (13 March 2015).  “12 best-kept secrets of successful business people”: Answer by Vivik Raj on Quora.com. Retrieved from http://fortune.com/2015/03/13/12-best-kept-secrets-of-successful-business-people/.

 

6 Quotes from Top Business Leaders and their Sociological Meaning

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Top business leaders may not be social scientists and sociologists but their long journey to success and experience in building their empires have given them some sociological wisdom and theories in their minds on what works or fails in the field of business. They may not have articulated exactly the type of theories and insights they use in the quotes, but they are nevertheless very sociological and empirical from a sociologist’s point of view. Let us examine and analyze sociologically the following quotes from well-known global business leaders:

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This quote emphasizes that media business needs visionary leaders. In sociology, the type of leader with vision is usually the charismatic leader. The German sociologist Max Weber basically classifies leaders into 3 types: Charismatic, Traditional, and Rational-Legal. The charismatic leader is one with extraordinary talents and personal traits. His talent includes a vision of the future.

It is proven that today’s great business leaders are people who think and see ahead of their times. They have the talent to spot opportunities which ordinary entrepreneurs cannot see. Charismatic leaders are creative and innovative people who are willing to break traditions just to actualize their visions. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jack Ma, to name a few, are examples of charismatic business leaders. In contrast, the traditional leader is usually a conservative person who only follows the tradition and culture of what is handed down from the past to the firm, while the rational-legal leader is one leads only to the laws and policies of the company.

Photo Credit: azquotes.com

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This quote emphasizes that the customer is the ultimate boss in business. Without customers, the business cannot survive and grow. The resources and capital of the business firm must be used wisely to serve the customers. Managers have no business in the company if they cannot provide the best products and services to the customers.

Photo Credit: rdcooperr.us

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This quote stresses that one must take risks in business but only if it is a good cause, if it can lead to a good life, presumably for the customers and the public. A business firm and its leaders cannot takes risks if what they do are contrary to law, custom, and needs of the public. It cannot engage in shady deals and corruption just to increase its profit. Some companies, for instance, pollute rivers by dumping their wastes at the expense of the inhabitants and environment.

Photo Credit: Pinterest.com

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Bill Gates may not be a sociologist, but he knows that life is not equal. It is part of urban society’s social stratification where people are classified according to wealth or social class and according to their skills and level of education or social status. In a capitalist society, the social structure always favors and rich and entrepreneurs, while the poor and workers are oftentimes exploited and forgotten.

Photo Credit: danieldigest.com

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This is a very good observation by Jack Ma. Not many people can see that complaints are actually gaps in the system and opportunities for the business firm to grow and even create new products and services to address them.

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Jack Ma, because of his vision and long experience in business, is correct. The right people for the job or task in the company are not necessarily the best ones. The best people are actually difficult to train in the company. They usually have a strong sense of entitlement. They tend to be good at commanding rather than obeying people who know the needs and problems of the company. That is why, aside from the necessary qualification, the employees must possess the right attitudes, values, and personalities which are consonant with the company’s mission-vision. A business firm is a system with interdependent parts and functions. It requires a teamwork. If the firm hires the best people rather than the right employees, it can result in disharmony and systemic dyfunction which are not good for business.

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How to Be a Good and Effective Manager-Leader

Introduction

A good manager must not only possess superior technical skills but also social managerial skills. After all, the primary role of the manager is to guide and supervise people under his/her care, not machines and robots. The word “good” here implies a value judgment and a set of standards of what constitutes a good or bad trait. And since business has diverse standards of what constitutes a “good” or “bad” manager, it is expected that what is good in one company may be not good in another company. What is common, however, is that all managers, regardless of the type and size of business, deal with people and employees with different personality, attitude, ability, talent, and experience in the company. Like a conductor in an orchestra, a good manager is one who knows how to blend and unify the various social circumstances of his/her employees in the workplace to achieve the company’s short and long-term goals. What makes a manager different from a rank-and-file employee is his/her discretionary power. S/he has the power when and how a company policy or goal can be actualized in the workplace through his/her intervention. Thus, a manager who has 4 of the traits below can be considered “good” and effective in today’s global age.

 

1. Familiar with the company’s organizational Culture.

First of all, a good manager must be familiar with the organizational culture of the company. This trait requires that the manager must be observant, analytical, broad-minded and with longer exposure in the company. S/he should have a firm grasp of “how things work” inside the organization: the goals, rules and sanctions of the company, internal politics and the degree of influence of power cliques inside the firm, as well as the overall social networking process inside and outside the company. The more the manager is familiar with the overall system of the company, the more s/he can be effective to fit his/her own office or area of responsibility in the overall scheme and direction of the business firm.With his/her superior knowledge of the culture or “way of life” of people inside his/her company, s/he can “make things done” despite bureaucratic limitations and obstacles.

In particular, s/he must know whether his/her company is generally personalistic, that is, social interaction and transaction are basically based on social ties rather than on qualification and merit. In sole proprietorship or smaller enterprises, the employees are usually affiliated with owners as relative, friend or co-ethic. Thus, the manager must be careful in dealing with employees who are close to the owners. But in highly complex and rational system of big companies, merit, rather social ties, usually predominats the overall cultural system of the business firm. In this case, the manager can be more efficient and professional in dealing with employees and situations in his/her office or area of responsibility.

 

2. Prudent in his/her exercise of managerial power and authority.

A manager must be prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority in the company. Authority is a legitimate form of power delegated by the company to the manager in administering the firm as specified in the company’s manual. In theory, the manager must only act within the scope of his/her authority. But in some cases, s/he goes beyond this boundary such as dominating or bullying his/her employees–and thus act using his/her personal power and status rather than his/her authority. S/he must remember the saying: “If there is power, there is resistance”! If the manager wants to avoid nasty rumors and gossip from his/her subordinate, s/he must exercise moderation and prudence with regard to power and authority. This does not mean that s/he should not show anger especially if the situation requires it to achieve targets. What is important is that the employee must feel that the coercion was done by the manager in good faith and for the good of the company and not as a response to a grudge.

Active Resistance

If employees sense that their manager goes beyond his/her authority and thus abuse his/her power, active and passive social resistance would more likely occur. Active resistance is an overt or open form of opposition to the manager’s management style. Unreasonable impositions by the manager on the employees usually invite social resistance such as gossiping and rumor mongering. If the maltreatment or bullying of the manager becomes harsh, employees may manifest their active resistance by answering back to the manager’s rants or other forms of defiance. They can write petition letters or complaints to a higher authority or openly disobeying the manager’s command. Active resistance is easy for the manager to identify and control since it is usually done openly. What is difficult is passive or covert resistance. This often done at his/her back. This needs some sociological sense to discover that the employees resist

Passive Resistance

Passive resistance is an indirect or covert form of resistance. If employees do not want the personality and management style of the manager, they don’t usually show it openly to avoid sanctions. Instead, they would usually do it indirectly such as spreading rumors and gossip against the manager. They can also intentional miss their targets, underperform their tasks and invent all sorts of excuses for their sloppy job. In this case, the manager cannot achieve his/her assigned goals and targets in the firm, making him/her an ineffective leader in the eyes of the top management or owners of the company. These resistant acts may appear insignificant to many people but they can create a ripple effect which can result in an organized opposition against the manager. A good manager therefore is a person who is prudent in the exercise of his/her power and authority, avoiding active and passive resistance, for the good of the company. A good manager is must also be open to dialogue with disgruntled employees to understand and address the root cause of their problems..

 

3. Familiar with the latest technology for business.

With growing digitalisation of business, a good manager must be familiar with the latest Internet and computer skills and applications for business, particularly with the use of the social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other growing networking sites for business. With the advent of the digital, cyber and electronic spaces, physical presence is no longer necessary with the latest Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Multitasking would be made easy because of the digital technology. A manager maybe away from his office, attending a conference and yet s/he can still attend to the day-to-day activities of his/her office with the use of his/her smart phones and wireless broadband or other high-tech devices and applications. The ICTs are also indispensable for a good manager in marketing formally or informally the company’s products and services.

 

4. Sensitive to his/her employees’ needs.

Finally, one of the most important traits a good manager must possess is sensitivity to his/her employees’ needs. The role of the manager is not only to achieve the company’s business goals and forecasts but also to protect and nurture the company’s most important asset—the employees. If employees feel happy, contented, and supported by the manager in what they do, their productivity and loyalty to the company would intensify and the company’s goals would then be easier to achieve. If this happens, the top management, will take notice of the manager’s capacity and and would be persuaded to promote him to higher post and responsibility.The employees’ feeling of being respected and valued by their company through their manager would surely result in increased productivity, efficiency and profit for the company. The famous Pope John Paul II in his papal encyclical or letter entitled Centisimus Annus (One Hundred Years), said that employees’ welfare in the company is more important than just earning more profit in a sesne that a business enterprise is a community of persons aimed at serving the public through products and services.

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Why Culture is Important in Job Hiring

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Introduction

Culture matters in job recruitment. Hiring people to fill up vacant positions in the company requires that the new recruit does not only possess the necessary skill and talent for the job but also a “perfect fit” in the company’s organizational culture. Assuming that the applicant has all the qualifications, the primary question a recruiter should ask himself/herself before hiring an applicant must be this: “Can this person, if hired, persist in his/her job despite the negative traits of the company’s culture? Can his/her personality and value system tolerate if s/he discovers the most toxic trait or aspect of the company’s way of life? For instance, if s/he discovers that the company has strong power cliques or lacks career plan, can this new recruit capable of and willing to adjust and stay in the company? Will s/he be loyal in spite of….?

2 Dimensions of Hiring People

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There are basically two major dimensions of hiring new applicants into the company: the technical and the cultural. The technical dimension includes the educational background, talent, experience and expertise of the applicant for the job. The cultural includes the applicants’ personality, value system, beliefs, attitudes to rules, power and authority or work ethic.The technical aspect is easier to handle than the cultural one. The resume or CV can be an important guide with regard to the technical aspect of the job. But there seems to be no comprehensive guide or tool for the recruiter or interviewer to understand the applicant’s cultural orientation. A well-planned interview guide can probably handle this, revealing the applicant’s basic cultural attitude and value system vis-a-vis the hiring company’ core values. The psychological exams may reveal some aspects of the person’s cultural life but not enough to cover all about the person’s character, value system, disposition, interpersonal skills and attitude towards work: all these are important characteristics which can determine the recruit’s longevity in the company.

The Recruiter Must Have a Sufficient Knowledge of Company’s Culture

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It is difficult for a recruiter to know whether the applicant fits into the company’s culture if s/he is not part of the company or lacks an emic (insider’s knowledge) perspective of the organizational culture of the hiring company. Well, if the position is basically a technical one which doesn’t require much social networking or managing people, this internal knowledge of the corporate culture may not be that necessary. But people are not robots. They react to situations based on their cultural values and beliefs. Most failures in hiring–in a sense that recruits do not stay longer in the company–is probably due to lack of sufficient knowledge of the recruiter about the organizational culture of the hiring company. In this sense, the hiring company is accepting people who are technically capable but incompatible to its overall cultural mold. The result: fast turnovers due to cultural incompatibility between the new recruits’ cultural orientation and the cultural expectations of the hiring company.

Fast turnovers in the company’s hiring can therefore be an indicator of a mismatch between the recruit’s cultural values and the company’s organizational culture. And ultimately, the recruiting team can take the blame for hiring people whose cultural and mental frames as well as corporate values are in conflict with those of the company. The technical aspect of the job may be a perfect match but not the value system of the new employee and that of the hiring company.

Final Reminder

Remember: Hiring is like finding a missing spare part of a particular brand of car. The recruiter may find a spare part similar to the original one but not in design and brand; thus, it will never fit into the car system. It will only damage the car. Thus, if the cultural orientation and value system of the newly-hired employee do not jibe with that of the company’s culture, s/he never fit into the firm’s cultural system. S/he can only cause harm rather improve the brand and productivity of the company. It is therefore important that the recruiter knows the brand and make of the car in order that s/he can spot and buy the correct spare part for the car. The ideal recruiter is one who knows the “basic parts and their interdependence in the entire system” of the hiring company.

Photo credit: Pexels.com

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