Category Archives: leadership

Become a successful leader (7) – leadership style and influencing

A good leader should be capable of influencing others and inducing resonance within the group. Additionally, leadership style would be an essential factor in the power of influence. Therefore, I will introduce the different leadership styles and how we develop our influence.

7 Leadership Styles

Many successful leaders worldwide, but how do we differentiate these leaders? Among these leaders, we could summarize the leadership into seven different styles, Opportunist, Diplomat, Expert, Achiever, Individualist, Strategist, and Alchemist.

  • Opportunist always wants to win in any competition. An opportunist thinks to compete with others, so an opportunist is good in emergencies or sales.
  • Diplomats would avoid conflicts and try to compromise to fit into the group. Usually, diplomats are easy to get along with, but we cannot let them make unpopular decisions or tell unpleasant truths.
  • Experts are good at using data and excellent logic to make decisions with significant contributions to the team; however, they have weak emotional intelligence.
  • Achievers could get everything done on time and encourage others by example, but they are unwilling to try new things. Accomplishing goals is the achievers’ highest priority.
  • Individualists like to ignore rules and do what they feel is right. The strength of individualists is very creative and productive, but it is difficult for them to work in a team.
  • Strategists spend more time planning and being inclusive to be successful, so they can effectively bring in transformations. The weakness of strategists is that they cannot solve any emergent problems.
  • Alchemists can generate tremendous social changes and care most about the greater good; however, they are rare species in a group.

These are the seven leadership styles and if we are talking about the leaders in the industry world, Opportunist, Diplomat and Expert might have tough career path, and their performance would below average due to lack of accomplishment. Achievers are the people with average performance becuase they can finish the assigned tasks. To be sucessful, Individualist, Strategist and Alchemist could have a consistenet capacity to innovate and transform the team and the organization.

6 Influencing Styles

In addition, there are six influencing styles: Asserter, Expert, Politician, Preparer, Presenter, and Client-Centric. In other words, these are the tools for a good leader to implement leadership.

  • Asserters are confident in what they want, forceful, persistent, full of energy, straightforward, and resourceful.
  • Experts have strong technical/communication skill and objectivity to lead group.
  • Politicians always know who the important people are, so they spend a lot of time meeting new people with power and talking to people because of their support.
  • Preparers always do all the homework to consider any possibilities and never run into any surprises.
  • Presenters can let everyone in the audience believe that anything they present sounds great with elegant words and great arguments.
  • Client-Centrics are great listener to understand other’s problem and build up a great relationship with them. Usually client-centric cares about everyone in the audience.

Conclusion

In previous blog, I have introduced different personality with different communication style to individual or a group, and a leader would communicate with people and influence the group to lead the group to the sucess. Here, I present 7 leadership styles and 6 influencing style in this blog. A good leader would have different leadership styles and influencing styles to implement the right way to lead a group under different occasions.

Previous blog about leadership:

Become a successful leader (1): Everyday Leadership

Become a successful leader (2): Self-Awareness

Become a successful leader (3): Know who I am, and what personality I have.

Become a successful leader 4: Be an inspiring leader, The Golden Circle Theory

Become a successful leader (5)-Importance of communication (1)

Become a successful leader (5) – Importance of communication (2): intercultural communication

In the last blog, I introduced how we conduct effective communication in our daily lives. Here, it is the second part of communication skills, mainly focusing on intercultural communication. Today, we live in a global village, and we might have colleagues and friends from different countries and cultures. Sometimes the difference between cultures might be challenging when working in a diverse environment.

What is culture?

The definition of culture is very broad; for example, the definition of culture from Wikipedia is that culture is an umbrella term that encompasses the social behavior, institutions, and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in these groups. Culture often originated from or is attributed to a specific region or location. In my aspect, I prefer the definition as “Basic truths about identity and relationships, time and space, ways of thinking and learning, ways of working and organizing, and ways of communicating.” In other words, cultural differences would highly affect communication efficiency in a diverse environment. We need to understand cultural differences better before we initiate conversations with people from different countries/cultures to minimize misunderstanding.

Culture is like an onion, layer by layer.

Culture is like an onion composed of multiple layers. In the surface layer, we might think that food, holiday, music, language, art, and fashion are the culture; however, if we dig into the inner layer, we might find that other components represent the culture, for example, eye contact, personal space, body language, manner, friendship, gender, family role or cooperation/ competition. All these combine into one culture. The only way to understand a culture is actually to experience it. For instance, if we would like to learn about Italian culture, the best way is to live in Italy and hang out with local people.

Variables in Cultures

Cultures have several variables, such as context, information flow, time, power and equality, language…etc. These variables would allow us to communicate effectively with different cultures, so we need to learn these variables to avoid misunderstanding.

Context

Context is the additional words in the communication to express the meaning. Moreover, high context is when people would add extra words to decorate the sentence and make it complicated, and low context is when people express their meanings with straightforward sentences. For example, “I don’t like your product.” is a low-context way of communication. Still, in high context, ” You have a great product with beautiful design. However, I have a limited budget. I cannot afford your product.”. The low context sentence is simple, but the high context style requires people to read between the lines carefully. Here, I could divide the countries into three levels of context. Generally, Germany, the US, UK, and Scandinavia are in the low level of context; France, Spain, Italy, Central/South America, Greece, Russia, and India are in the middle level of context; Japan, China, Korea, Arab Countries, Africa are in the high level of context.

Information flow

Information flow is how the information is exchanged. Similar to context, some countries prefer to share information indirectly, for example, Japan, South Asia, and China. But people from Germany, Russia, and eastern Europe prefer a direct way to exchange information.

Conclusion

We live in a global village, and the diverse environment is the trend. Therefore, intercultural communication will be required to become a successful leader.

Relevant Blogs

Become a successful leader (5)-Importance of communication (1)

Become a successful leader 4: Be an inspiring leader, The Golden Circle Theory

Become a successful leader (3): Know who I am, and what personality I have.

Become a successful leader (2): Self-Awareness

Become a successful leader (1): Everyday Leadership

In my previous blogs in leadership development, I intrdocued “Become a successful leader (1): Everyday Leadership“, “Become a successful leader (2): Self-Awareness“, “Become a successful leader (3): Know who I am, and what personality I have.“, “Become a successful leader 4: Be an inspiring leader, The Golden Circle Theory“. Here, I would like to discuss another key component, “communication” in leadership development.

Communication is an art of understanding

Communication is an art where we need to keep creating understanding to deliver the right message between the talker and the listener. The communication process includes encoding our thought/ideas into words and behaviors and decoding this information into meaning. Misunderstanding occurs when the listener decodes the words and behaviors into a different meaning. To avoid the misunderstanding, we need to know 7C’s (correctcompleteclearconsistentcredibleconcerned/connectedculture) and 1 V (Volume). Moreover, what we do not say in the conversation and how we say it is very important to achieve effective communication.

Information transmission

Communication is a process of information transmission. Talker/Writer express ideas and thoughts in words or behavior, which encodes the message by one brain. The audiences decode the message to collect the information; however, each audience’s brain might translate it into different information. Also, in the human mind, emotions usually come faster than thoughts. Therefore, if you are in the mood, do not say anything or reply to any email because your emotion might highly affect your communication. In other words, we should always communicate with others in an adult-to-adult way.

Curse of knowledge

Cognitive bias usually occurs when an individual in a group unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand the message. For example, when we learn something new, such as cancer biology, we start to talk with professional words. Even if we are talking to other people without a biological background, we forget to explain the information or switch to simple terms to transfer the information. This is what we call the curse of knowledge. Therefore, we should always assume that we are not talking to experts if we do not know the audience.

Unconscious Communication

Sometimes there is a hidden message in our verbal or non-verbal expression. For example, intonation is a way to express the hidden meaning within a sentence. If someone said that “I didn’t say you broke my equipment,” we could try to stress a different word in the sentence to see if there is any difference.

  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment

Another example is body language. It is an interesting topic that sometimes we might unconsciously express our emotions through body language. If you found out that someone stands with folded arms when talking, you could assume this person disagrees with what you said.

Communication is based on trust

To have an effective communication, trust is an important factor to connect individuals in a group. There are 5 elements to build up trust: consistency, openess, loyalty, competence, and integrity.

  • Consistency: How often do you change your mind?
  • Openness: Do you share information about yourself or do you just expect others to do so?
  • Loyalty: Do you support people only when everything is great or also when they are struggling?
  • Competence: Do you know what you are talking about?
  • Integrity : Are your actions matching your words ? 

Communication Strategy for a good leader

A good communication strategy for a leader is to include both positive and negative aspects in your message and be specific and concise. An excellent example is that both U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and Massachusetts governor Edward Everett gave a speech after the Gettysburg battle in 1863 (Civil War). Everett’s speech was 2 hours long, and Lincoln’s was 2 minutes. However, everyone only remembers what Lincoln said in the address. Therefore, good communication should be short and specific.

If you are interested in Lincoln’s speech, it is the links for the speech and transcript.

Conclusion

Communication is very important not only for leadership but also for everyone in daily life. In the next blog, I will introduce how we communicate with people from different cultures and how we lead an effective meeting.

Become a successful leader 4: Be an inspiring leader, The Golden Circle Theory

I have explained everyday leadership, self-awareness, and personality in previous blogs. Being an inspiring leader is essential in leading a team/group to become successful. Additionally, an inspiring leader should be passionate, confident, decisive, emotionally intelligent, and strategic. For example, Winston Churchill brought the U.K. to the victory of World War II; Martin Luther King Jr. inspired the American people with him “I Have A Dream” speech to contribute to the American civil rights. This article will introduce the golden circle theory proposed by Simon Sinek. A new thinking logic could help us to learn inspired leadership.

The Golden Circle Theory

The Golden Circle Theory

The Golden Circle Theory provides an exciting way to think about a brand and business and inspire your audiences/consumers/team members. Usually, when a team leader tells his/her team members, the first thing is the task we need to do. Second, the leader talks about how we make it, and the last is why we need to do it. However, if we reverse this thinking logically, first, we explain why we want to do this. Will this be more inspiring? Taking cell therapy for type I diabetes patients as an example, a group leader first tells a story to describe the daily lives of type I diabetes patients receiving multiple shots of insulin every day. It is challenging because no one likes to get shots. To save the patients from insulin injection, we need to “cure” diabetes, not just “treat” it. Last, we would develop a new therapeutic to transplant the pancreatic cells in the patient’s body to replace the damaged pancreas and regulate the blood glucose level. This is an example to show what an inspiring leader does.

Another example-Apple

Apple sold computers initially, but why did Apple become a huge company with various products, including the iPhone, iPod, iPad, MacBook…etc. Instead of promoting the products, Apple first explains its core value in designing a beautiful product that everyone can easily use it. That’s the reason why Apple start the business. Then Apple tells consumers how they do it and what they can provide in the Apple event. After the event, people worldwide crazily buy every product from Apple.

How does Golden Circle Theory work?

Most leaders or organizations like to do from “What” to “Why” (outside-in), but an inspired leader/ organization thinks oppositely from “Why” to “What.” To understand how it works, first, we know that human beings always try to find out the meaning; therefore, people do not buy what you have done but why you do it. Another explanation is that the human brain is the organ that makes decisions. In our brain, the outer layer, the neocortex, is responsible for rational, analytical thinking and language, and the inner sections, the limbic brain, are responsible for emotional, feeling, and decision-making. So, decision-making is not from language but the feeling or emotions. In other words, it is our nature to decide by our gut feeling.

TED Talk by Simon Sinek

If you are interested in this, you could also watch the TED talk video by Simon Sinek. He proposed this theory and explained how it works.

Conclusion

In sum, an inspired leader/ business would move audiences with a touching story. We could learn the inspired leadership by the golden circle theory to think from “Why,” “How,” to “What” in the business. I hope everyone can learn and practice the golden circle theory and become a good leader to lead your team/ company to success.

Become a successful leader (3): Know who I am, and what personality I have.

In the last article, I introduced what self-awareness is and why it is so important for leadership development. To better understand ourselves, except for the reflection and asking others how they see us, we could also take a personality test. The most popular personality test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) which consists of 16 personality types. Here I will use the MBTI personality test to explain how we use it to know who we are and what personality we have.

Free MBTI personality test

The official MBTI test is a paid test, however, there is a free version through a platform, called 16 Personalities. You could take a free test and get the result to know what type of personality you are.

Why do I need to know my personality?

Our behavior is decided by our personality traits, and the behavioral outcomes would highly impact our relationships with others. There 6 different types of relationships in our lives:

  • The container: people who make you feel safe and secure
  • The twin: people who have similarities with you
  • The adversary: people who usually oppose and confront you
  • The mirror: people who provide reflection to you
  • The mystic friend: people who know you in a mysterious way without speaking to you
  • The conscious partner: people who company with you and share the life experience with each other

We all need these 6 types of relationships to help us for personal growth and transformation at certain time points in our lives. Therefore, we have to learn our personalities and manage our relationships.

4 key elements in the MBTI personality test

In the MBTI personality test, we use 4 elements to characterize us from these personality aspects: mind, energy, nature, and tactics. In each aspect, we could divide into 2 different personality types.

  • Mind: where you focus attention; extraversion (E) or introversion (I)
  • Energy: the way you take in information; sensing (S) or intuition (N)
  • Nature: how you make decisions; thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Tactics: how you deal with the world; judging (J) or perceiving (P)

To better understand the personality type, here is the definition for each type:

  • E, Exroverts: Enjoy hanging out with people, easy to get energized by people, enjoy a variety of tasks, a quick pace, and are good at multitasking
  • I, Introverts: Enjoy working alone or in a small group, prefer to work at a deliverate pace, also like to focus on one taks at a time
  • T, Thinkers:Good at using logical analysis, objectively weigh pros and cons, and value honesty, consistency, and fairness to make decision
  • F, Feelers: Tend to be sensitive and cooperative, and decide based on their onw personal values and how others will be affected by their actions
  • S, Sensors: Realistic, like to focus on the facts and details, apply coomon sense and past experience to come up with practical solutions to problems
  • N, Intuitives: Prefer to focus on possibilities and the big picture, easily see patterns, value innovation, and seek creative solutions to problems
  • J, Judgers: Tend to be organized and prepared, like to make and stick to plans, and are comfortable following most rules
  • P, Perceivers: Prefer to keep their options open, like to be able to act spontaneously, and like to be flexible with making plans

16 personalities

According to the 4 elements and 8 types, we could divide people into 16 personalities. First, we use goals, interests, and activities (Energy&Nature) to define 4 roles, Analysts (_NT_), Diplomats (_NF_), Sentinels (_S_J), and Explorers (_S_P). In each role, 4 personality types are defined by the preferred way to achieve goals (Mind&Tactics).

Once you find out which type of personality you have, there are resources on the 16 personalities website to introduce the personality including strengths, weaknesses, relationships, friendships, parenthood, career path, workplace habit…etc. From this information, we could better understand ourselves and train and grow to compensate for our weaknesses.

Conclusion

From my personal aspect, I think that finding out who we are, and what personality I have is a fun thing because it provides some clues that I never thought of. Taking me as an example, the test result is Commander (ENTJ-A), and I checked the information about this type. I learned that my weaknesses might be stubborn, intolerant, poor handling of emotions, cold and ruthless, but I could start to work on these to develop my own leadership. What is your test result? Please share with me. I am interested in seeing other personality types.

Become a successful leader (2): Self-Awareness

In last article, I introduced what everyday leadership is. Self-awareness is the first task in leadership development. We should learn how to lead ourselves to a successful career before we could lead people. This article I will share the concept of self-awareness, and people who want to start the leadership development to practice self-swareness and in advance to aware of others. Once you get more understanding in yourself, you would know how to make a right decision in a crisis.

What is Leadership?

Before you continue to read the blog, you could write down what makes a good leader. Here I will list some characteristics I think a good leader should have:

  • Charisma
  • Competence
  • Passion
  • Vision
  • Listening
  • Responsibility
  • Problem solving
  • Positive attitude
  • Communication
  • Self-discipline
  • Relationship

Also, another question is what not makes a leader:

A manager does not mean a leader; having power is not leadership; Charisma also does not mean leadership. In fact, different cultures have their own definition in leadership, for example, the leadership in the U.S. is to adapt different cultures and becomes a cultural melange.

What is a good leader?

A good leader is like a pilot of an airplane; he/she knows to find a way to reach the destination. Therefore, an effective leader should have a high degree of eomotional intelligence in addition to IQ and technical skills. Moreover, there are 5 components in emotional intelligence:

  • self-awareness: know my and other’s emotion, strength, weakness, values and goals.
  • self-regulation: know to control or redirect disruptive emotions and impulses
  • social skill: manage relatioships in a group
  • motivation: encourage others to achieve for the work/ goal
  • empathy: consider others’ feelings when he/she is making decision

What is self-awareness?

The definitoin of self-awareness is to understand myself in emotion, strength, weakness, value and goals. The way to achieve self-awareness is to use reflection and feedback to gain insight into our strength and find out the need of our personal development. Sometimes it is a tough part in leadership development because we are always afriad of finding our the hidden part of us, and we might miss our chance for personal growth. Additionally, if we want to protect ourselves from problems, it might create more problems and consume all the energy. So, when we face struggles and become upset, it might be a great time to discover anything about ourselves but it is not consistent with what we think we are.

How do we achieve self-awareness?

We could achive self-awareness by following ways:

  • introspection/reflection/meditation
  • resonances
  • identify crucible moments
  • ask others how they see us
  • take a personality test

Frist, we could ask ourselves, “who am I?”, “what are my strengths?”, “How do I perform?”, “Am I a good listener?”, “How do I learn?”, “What are my values?”, “Where do I belong?”, “What should I contribute?”. Meditation might be a way to allow you to think all the questions above, and we could meditate by using resonances which ampligy the signal by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object. For example, we might be in good mood when we see a beutiful picture or listen to the music we like. This is the right time to do meditation. In addition, when there is any crisis, we should put ourselves in other people’s shoes to oberve ourselves. Or we could think about any crisis in the past, and if we could go back to that time, do we still solve the problem in the same way? These are the methods how we achieve self-awareness by oursleves. Self-awareness is could also be achieved by the help from others. For example, we could ask the people surrounding us for the feedback and how they see us. Or we could do a personality test to better understand ourselves. I will discuss the personality in my next blog.

Conclusion

Self-awareness is a great miletone in the leadership development and sometimes it is difficult for us to find out anything bad in ourselves. But trust me, it might be hard in the beginning of leadership developement, and if we keep working on self-awareness, it could lead us not only in sucessful career but also to a good leader.

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Become a successful leader (1): Everyday Leadership

Introduction to leadership

Everyday Leadership is a very useful tool for everyone in their daily lives, and in every life/career stage, we would have different ideas about leadership. It would be better for everyone to learn and think about leadership as soon as possible. Therefore, I want to share the leadership-related courses and workshops with you and discuss any questions in leadership development because that’s how to learn leadership from each other. I will prepare a series of articles to share the concept and my opinions, and I hope both of us can develop our own leadership from each other’s life experiences.

What is everyday leadership?

There are two types of leadership, managing tasks and managing people. Usually, the first thing coming into mind is either a project leader or a team manager when we talk about leadership. However, there is a new concept called everyday leadership which means that we can show our leadership in our daily lives when we change someone’s life, even we do not notice. Here is a perfect example in the TED talk about everyday leadership by Drew Dudley.

My everyday leadership story

When I was a Ph.D. student at Cornell University, I always had a conversation with undergrad students who wanted to join the group. Having undergrad research to volunteer in the lab is helpful to me, but I prefer to know if this experience could benefit the student by meeting with this student before he/she decides to join. The first thing I like to ask is, “What is your goal for undergraduate research? “”What do you want to do after graduating from Cornell?” and “What will you see yourself in the next 5/10/20 years?” These questions could help me understand the student’s need for his/her future career and how I could help. Sometimes the student might not think about these questions, so I will let them think about them before continuing the conversation. I had two students who had this conversation with me, and they all found the right career track after graduating from Cornell University. One student moved to Worcester Polytechnic Institute for his Ph.D. program, and he brought his family to the lab on the commencement day to say thank you to me because I changed his life to pursue a Ph.D. in science. This surprised me because I did not notice that what I had done could change someone’s life, and this is my story about everyday leadership.

4 components in everyday leadership

Four components in everyday leadership

Self-awareness

There are 4 components in everyday leadership, self-awareness, relationship, organizational awareness, and purposeful action. The first step to becoming a leader is to know himself/herself and lead him/her to a successful outcome, so self-awareness is very important to understand your own character, motives, desires, feeling, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. How could we achieve self-awareness? A simple method is to ask people surrounding you for feedback, and it might be hard to become open to feedback. Therefore, you need to be brave, honest with yourself, vulnerable, and open to change anything.

Relationships

There are differnt rols in a group, and a good leader build relationship between the group members who could fill roles and become a useful action. Here are the roles in a group:

  • Role Models
  • Thought Partners
  • Coaches
  • Feedback Partners
  • Allies
  • Cheersleaders

A role model is usually someone you want to be in the future. Thought partners help you think by challenging your perspectives, testing your assumptions, and sharing his/her insights and experiences. Coaches usually encourage and support your self-reflection to increase your capacity to learn and develop your profession. Feedback partners observe your behavior and provide insightful and valuable feedback. Allies are the one collaborating with you to pursue the same dream, and cheerleaders encourage you, support you, celebrate with you for success, pick you up when you are down.

organizational awareness

You could think that organizational awareness is to understand the working environment and culture and helps you finish your work. Additionally, an organization’s culture includes stated/ unstated values, rules, and norms. Once we better understand organizational awareness, we will know how to become successful leaders in this culture.

purposeful action

To have a proper outcome, the most important thing is to take the right action. Many people think about what they should do to become good leaders, but they never start to do any of these great ideas. Then nothing would change, and they could not be a successful leader. To have the right action, first, we should have an expected result in mind and be aligned with our values, such as creating a better working environment and thinking of an achievable solution to take action. Last, we should do this step by step, and eventually, we could see the result and make a better working environment.

Conclusion

Everyday leadership would be a start to devleop your own leadership and the only thing you need to know after reading this article is to believe you can do it. Think about these 4 components in everyday leadership and keep practing. I believe we all can be an everyday leader.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions and we could dicuss it. Also, if you like this article, please share it and recommend this to your friends. Thanks.