Primal Leadership Assignment

Primal Leadership Assignment Words: 2000

After examining the causes and effects of emotions at work and understanding existing theories and the implications of managing emotions in the workplace, Primal Leadership took me a step further. Coleman, Botanists, and McKee note that the use of emotion in leadership functions is a primal task or function of a true leader. The authors argue that this task is primal because it is both the original and the most important act of leadership (p 5).

Their basic argument s that primal leadership operates at its best through emotionally intelligent leaders who create resonance (pap). Great leaders move people by managing and directing emotions in the right direction. Therefore, leaders who drive emotions positively, bring out the best in their employees. When leaders positively direct the emotions of others, they empower everyone to be top performers. The authors call this resonance. Conversely, when leaders negatively drive emotions, dissonance is created. Dissonance can undermine people’s potentials. The authors make the case that key to primal leadership is emotional intelligence.

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As explained in the first chapter, an emotionally intelligent leader knows how to handle himself and his relationship with the people he works with in order to drive up performance (p 6). Leadership concerns the process by which one individual influences others to pursue a commonly held objective. Primal Leadership explains clearly the painfully obvious downside of working with a dissonant boss but I take heart in learning that emotional intelligence is learnable. The problem with dissonant bosses is that they lack skills in either of the two main domains of emotional intelligence, personal and social.

The authors argue that dissonant leaders can strengthen their personal competence including their own self-awareness and self-management; or their social competence, which includes social awareness and relationship management. The key is developing a flexible leadership style that draws on various leadership styles, depending upon the situation. The leadership styles described in this book are visionary, coaching, affiliated, democratic, pacesetting, commanding. The authors outline the advantages and disadvantages of each style and go so far as to provide examples (business situations) explaining the style to employ.

For each style, overuse of one particular style can become a weakness. Great leadership knows when to use what style under a given situation. The second part of the book, Making Leaders, outlines the process of making leaders. Leaders can become emotionally intelligent through a process of learning that begins with self-evaluation and is followed by self-directed learning. Primal leaders develop via a three-step process that can be summarized as bringing bad habits into awareness, practicing better ways, and rehearsing at every opportunity. Thus, true leaders are made not born.

There is a link between ramifications leadership and emotional intelligence. In the transformation approach, leaders want to transform their organizations based on their interpreted visions. Leaders are seen as change agents and must be able to sell their vision to others in order to influence them to believe in their vision and effect change. The vision becomes the guiding principle and the ultimate goal for the organization. Primal Leadership links emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. For emotionally intelligent leaders, resonance comes naturally in their dealings with people.

Their actions reinforce synchrony thin their team and within the organization. The strength of an emotionally resonant leader lies in the emotional bond he forms which allows people to collaborate with each other even in the face of change and uncertainty. The authors describe four dimensions of emotional intelligence good leaders should have categorized under the two competencies personal and social. Under the personal competence, the capability to determine how we manage ourselves is self-awareness and self-management.

Self-awareness is the ability to read our own emotions and recognize their impact on others, knowing our own limits ND strengths, and have a good sense of our capabilities and self-worth. Self- management concerns emotional self-control. That is keeping our disruptive emotions and impulses under control. In addition, being honest, adaptable, driven to improve performance and meet standards of excellence, and possessing initiative and optimism come under self-management. The second competency, social competence, concerns how we manage relationships. Social awareness is the ability to sense others’ emotions, taking interest in others, organizational and political awareness, and a willingness to serve the needs of tooth customers and employees. Relationship management is the ability to guide and motivate others, to influence people and help them develop, and to serve as a catalyst for change, manage conflict, and forge the bonds required for effective teamwork and collaboration. The authors claim that very few people are excellent in all four dimensions but that effective leaders are very competent in at least two or three.

Interestingly, these competencies are not innately inherent but are learned. Leaders who do not have these skills and competencies should take advantage of the 360-degree evaluation followed by practice at every opportunity. Very interesting is that great leadership is not just being very smart, it is more than that. While all great leaders are highly intelligent, they do not necessarily need to be. However, at the very least, effective and highly successful leaders move beyond intellectual capacity and skills, they are emotionally intelligent.

Great leaders ignite passion and inspire the best in us. Primal Leadership explains that great leadership works through emotions. In reviewing my own leadership style and emotional intelligence domains and competencies, I see myself as a commander and pacesetter. I decided to use the tools in the book to discover what skills I have and what skills I would like to possess and of course, ascertain any gaps. I still have to experiment and practice new behaviors, thoughts, and feelings, but here is my self-assessment.

Here is my assessment: I tend not to be very interested in participatory leadership; rather my approach is neoclassical. I am most comfortable when I am in control, demanding the highest level of performance not only from myself but also my peers and direct reports. However, after 25 years spent in the work place, supervising, ND managing, I tend not to use this style as much as I did in my youth, more situational, as issues arise. When I was young, I could be described as the C]tiger lady’ but that description is no longer accurate, at least not consistently.

There are times of crises that I tend to use this style of leadership to achieve a particular short-term goal. However, looking towards the long term, I have learned through the years that I cannot achieve the Vision’ alone 0 1 need others’ help. This is stretch for me because it is true that am very independent. For me, reading the One-Minute Manager was an exercise in futility. As an example, during my past performance evaluation conducted by newest supervisor, she asked that I work at a higher administrative level and delegate more of the routine work to my staff.

I am the assistant dean for finance and administration and therefore I complete a variety of financial and performance analyses providing recommendations on the affects of policy changes and resource allocations. How did I become the person I am now? Something happened to me that is quite personal, but I will share some it with you. Since was born, I was a ward of the state floating from one foster home to another hat then led to one orphanage after another. All the while, I attend parochial schools, educated by Benedictine nuns (primary) and Jesuit Brothers (secondary). Even the orphanages where I resided were Catholic.

Upon becoming C]independent’ and no longer reliant upon the state for my personal well being, joined an organization not unlike the environment in which I was raised, the US military, the Air Force to be exact. Upon serving nine years in the Air Force, then worked at a variety of non-profit and public organizations ranging from a community action agency to my current position in higher education. I am titivated by intrinsic satisfaction and not monetary gain, albeit I expect to be paid what I am worth. My life was hard and grew even harder when realized I was not an orphan, learning I was one of nine siblings.

None of us knew the other existed. The injustices we suffered and our apparent survival is the foundation of my sense of fair play, my high values, and standards and of course, my insecurity. I also tend to push and challenge people in an attempt to get them to realize that they can do anything, particularly because I did. Yes, I am quite judgmental. I often use the phrase (paraphrasing from a famous quote from an author whose name escapes me), “It is not where you come from that defines you, and it is what you do once you are here. The choices you make define you and the life you lead. So what would I change? I would like to retain many of the attributes and benefits of the commander style, but I aspire to become a transformation leader utilizing the other styles such as coaching, affiliated, and democratic. I had a wonderful opportunity to work with such a person, my previous supervisor. She was acutely aware of our strengths and limitations and somehow motivated us to look past our limitations. In working with her, I knew that there was nothing I loud not accomplish. We bought into her vision and worked harder than we ever had in achieving that vision.

Her goals became our goals, not a coercive commander-style but always as a team. She was one of us and we were not her subordinates. On a personal level, she carried those same tenets with her. Every once in a while I get a hand-written note from her asking me how I am doing and offering assistance if needed. She has now become one my greatest mentors. I want to be able to achieve the same excellence I do now, but in a less coercive way, allowing for participation. I want to be able to delegate assignments freely, accepting the work with a less critical eye, allowing me to focus on higher- level tasks.

Retrospectively, I must work hard to obtain emotional intelligence competencies that will make me a resonant leader. Clearly, a resonant leader builds a culture of resonance by demonstrating emotionally intelligent abilities that then reverberate throughout the organization. I have seen first hand the Toxic’ organization headed by a dissonant leader. As noted in Primal Leadership, the paradox of such organizations is that learning rarely occurs because companies and their professionals thrive on routines that invariably repeated toxicity.

The destructiveness of dissonant leadership is high turnover and the inability to withstand change and ultimately undermine the organizations potential for success. The final section of the book addresses the need for emotionally intelligent organizations, teams and groups. A leadership team intent on individual and organizational success at the highest levels would gain immeasurably by reading and discussing this book together. Groups have emotions and skills too. Groups can also learn new competencies, but the motivation to change must be congruent with each member’s personal vision.

Primal Leadership describes specific behaviors leaders can take to allow the group to learn new skills. Not surprisingly, the skills needed to allow the group to change are the skills of effective leadership styles. Conclusion did not find any shortcomings with the book. I thought the self-assessment and self-directed learning provided me with an opportunity for personal growth. The book brings home the fact that the only thing we can directly change is our self. When we are faced with changing people and processes around us, we must figure out how changing our behavior will cause the behavior of others to change.

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