· What does “being forward-looking” mean? Why is it an important characteristic for a leader? Give examples of what it means to be forward-looking. What can leaders do to help others in the organization “see” the future? What are common obstacles to Inspiring a Shared Vision? Which kinds of obstacles are valid and which can be overcome? Give examples.
· If interpersonal connectedness is critical for effective leadership and human capital is critical to organizations, why do most continue to emphasize financial performance and measurement over human capital performance and measurement?
· Self-awareness is one of the key components of emotional intelligence. Seeking—and digesting—feedback about oneself seems to be a significant challenge for most people. Why is this so? How can this be changed?
In leadership, to be “forward-looking” means the leader has the ability and awareness to create a picture of what the future for an organization or team will look like, and they see the abundance of possibilities for achieving greatness that lie ahead (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). An example of a forward-looking leader is one who listens to their constituents to learn what their wants and needs are and then creates a vision based on a collective desire to participate in meaningful work. A forward-looking leader will continue to look forward during times of change and anticipate obstacles that may occur. This will help team members keep their hope of achieving the vision alive. Having a leader who can envision a positive future can be the difference between an average team and an extraordinary team, which is why this is such an important characteristic for a leader to have. When a leader paints a picture of a future that shows the team they are working for a purpose and have the potential to achieve greatness, team members become increasingly motivated and are better equipped to overcome obstacles (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). However, to make sure all team members are on board and believe in the vision, it must be a shared vision (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). To help others “see” this vision, the leader should ensure it incorporates everyone’s values and beliefs, paint a picture of the vision using image-based words, and deliver the message with passion and enthusiasm (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). Obstacles to inspiring a shared vision may include creating a vision that incorporates everyone’s values, keeping the vision alive when setbacks occur, and getting everyone to “see” the vision before it comes to life. While these obstacles are valid hardships, they can be overcome. While it is not realistic to include every single aspiration of every individual in a vision, team discussions can be held to determine what the overall most important aspirations are and develop a plan to achieve them. Additionally, when setbacks occur, the leader can remain hopeful and enthusiastic about the vision to remind team members that even during hardships, their work has purpose and meaning.
2. As Dye (2017) explains, organizations too often prioritize financial performance over human capital performance even though improving interpersonal relationships among leaders and constituents has been identified as a key to success. This happens because financial factors are commonly accepted as one of the main indicators of an organization’s success. According to Bryl (2018), an increase in an organization’s human capital is often associated with an increased cost due to higher salaries, more expensive equipment, and continued education trainings. Therefore, an increase in human capital has the potential to negatively affect an organization’s financial performance and profitability. This is likely why companies choose to forsake human capital when attempting to improve how successful they appear to be. However, studies have shown that companies which are human capital oriented attain above average financial performance (Bryl, 2018). Perhaps this is due to increased loyalty and motivation within human capital-oriented organizations. Therefore, rather than focusing solely on financial performance during annual reviews, leaders should reflect on interpersonal connectedness within the company and measures that can be taken to increase human capital, which will in turn increase financial success.
3. A leader who is self-aware is able to accept criticism, be assertive, and manage emotions in a positive way (Dye, 2017). However, self-awareness is a skill that a leader develops by being in tune with both their feelings and their team members’ emotions and feelings. However, Dye (2017) explains that many executive leaders are often so high up that they are disconnected from the majority of their staff members and develop a distorted perspective of themselves and the organization. So even though a leader in this position may believe they are self-aware, their awareness is based on a false reality. This makes it challenging for the leader to respond appropriately when receiving critical feedback because they were blindsided by the information which disagreed with their distorted reality. There are several steps a leader can take to become more self-aware and learn to accept feedback and act on it in a beneficial way. For example, the leader can seek frequent feedback from their constituents (Dye, 2017). The leader can use feedback to determine necessary changes to have a more effective leadership style. Frequent feedback will also help the leader to assess whether the changes they made were successful or not. A leader could also increase self-awareness by hiring a leadership coach. The coach could assess the leader’s current leadership style, offer unbiased feedback, and teach effective leadership skills (Dye, 2017). The leader’s coach could also assist in developing a personal growth plan. This is an effective strategy because a leader who is emotionally intelligent is aware of their short and long-term goals (Dye, 2017). By taking steps to increase self-awareness and increase emotional intelligence, a leader will be much more equipped to achieve greatness even when setbacks occur.
Bryl, L. (2018). Human capital orientation and financial performance: A comparative analysis of US corporations. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management, and
Innovation, 14(3), 61-86. https://doi.org/10.7341/20181433Links to an external site. .
Dye, C. F. (2017). Leadership in healthcare (3rd ed.). Health Administration Press.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2017). The leadership challenge (6th ed.). John Wiley & Sons.
. According to Kouzes & Posner (2017), “being forward-looking” means the leader can imagine the future and envision all the ideal and unique opportunities (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). Forward-looking is an important characteristic to have because leaders who focus on the future attract followers more readily, have a significant impact on individual motivation/productivity levels, and achieve better performance on measures of both organizational and individual outcomes (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). An example of a forward-looking leader is an individual who comprehends the present, is able to stop, look, and listen to their team and their challenges. When a leader understands the current challenges, is when a leader will be able to start imagining a better future for the organization (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). A leader can help others in the organization see the future by turning a new thrilling possibility into an inspired shared vision (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). A common obstacle when inspiring a shared vision is when members simply do not agree with the vision or if a leader attempts to impose their view of the future on others (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). Individuals want their hopes and dreams incorporated (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). To overcome this obstacle a leader must find a common interest among everyone who must implement the vision (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). An example to overcome this obstacle is to hold an open discussion. An open discussion allows all members of the organization to provide feedback on what is going right and wrong in the organization which allows everyone to identify a common interest they should pursue (Kouzes & Posner, 2017). An open discussion also allows leaders to listen to their constituents. A shared vision is a long-term goal and can provide a purpose in the workplace giving individuals the feeling they are making a difference in the world (Kouzes & Posner, 2017).
2. Organizations emphasize financial performance over human capital performance because financial measurement is tangible and impacts the organization’s continuity (Vermeylen & Cultrera, 2017). The financial measurement displays how successful the organization is and organizations use financial measurement to measure worker performance (Vermeylen & Cultrera, 2017). According to Vermeylen & Cultrera (2017), linking financial performance is only helpful if the employees are motivated and committed to the organization. When employees are motivated and committed productivity levels increase which will result in increased wages (Vermeylen & Cultrera, 2017). However, a leader needs to know the importance of interpersonal connectedness. A leader must put the people first and vision and strategy second, financial success will then follow (Dye, 2017).
3. Individuals have a hard time seeking and digesting feedback because they do not have self-awareness (Dye, 2017). Individuals who are not self-aware tend to misinterpret events or comments and are reactive (Dye, 2017). Leaders with higher ranks become disconnected from their workers and daily operations causing them to have a distorted reality regarding the workplace and their emotional intelligence decreases (Dye, 2017). Developing emotional intelligence can help individuals gain awareness of their weaknesses, intentions, strengths, and welcome feedback (Dye, 2017). Dye (2017) recommends using a holistic view to help maintain your perspective and manage emotions. Also, setting a personal path, seeking a neutral advisor, expecting setbacks, and maintaining your physical and mental health to help individuals maintain their overall wellbeing (Dye, 2017).
Dye, C.F. (2017). Leadership in healthcare. (3rd ed.). Health Administration Press.
Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2017). The leadership challenge (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Vermeylen, G., & Cultrera, L. (2017, October 15). Distortion between economic and financial performance. does the human capital matter? Expert Journal of Economics. https://economics.expertjournals.com/23597704-507/