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Toxic leaders affect companies, and governments. How to deal with them June 13, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in Uncategorized.
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 Toxic leadership is characterised by a number of familiar traits: unwillingness to take feedback, lying or inconsistency, cliquishness, autocracy, manipulation, intimidation, bullying, and narcissism. The toxic leader can – if allowed to run rampant for long enough – destroy organisational structures over time and bring down an entire organisation. This applies to countries too.

There are a number of reasons for this. The most obvious is that a toxic leader can influence organisational culture through aversive action. This can include flouting organisational processes, rewarding loyalty over competence, normalising socially unacceptable behaviours like infighting, and by breaking down trust and eroding clear lines of authority.

A toxic leader’s other, more insidious, influence is through what they do to the relationships between people around them.

Psychologists, Paul Babiak and Robert Hare, describe how two factions typically develop in an organisation once the deviant leader’s ascent has begun. One faction consists of supporters, pawns and patrons. The other is made out of people who remain true to their principles, realising they have been used and abused, or that the organisation whose ultimate goals they still support is in danger.

If it sounds familiar it’s because South Africans are spectators to exactly this kind of factionalism. In recent months pro and anti President Jacob Zuma factions have been involved in increasingly energetic mudslinging matches.

For many, Zuma represents the quintessential toxic leader. Whether one is for or against the president, it remains that he’s at very least a controversial figure, and criticism of him has been known to lead to reprisals.

The good news is that toxic leadership can be overcome. When it’s understood and challenged, it can be dismantled or reformed.

The toxic environment

Where there is toxic leadership, the ethics of the working environment are compromised. Typical behaviours are abuse of privileges, theft, violence and verbal abuse. Any number of these can be recognised from news reports around South African politics.

Scandals over the awarding of government tenders, the mismanagement of taxpayer funds and the maintenance of corrupt relationships are now an all too familiar reality in South Africa.

But a toxic leader does not absolve employees who choose to engage in deviant conduct. Ministers and private sector supporters who choose personal gain or corrupt relationships remain responsible for their own choices. Of course, it’s much easier to make the wrong decision if it’s the dominant way of doing things in a particular environment.

Such behaviour may be rooted in financial gain, or lie within the culture of an organisation. The motivation to achieve results may spark greater numbers of people to either actively harm, or passively ignore, the welfare of others to achieve their desired end.

This is why the removal of a psychopathic leader doesn’t guarantee the eradication of toxicity as it’s likely to be entrenched at lower levels of organisational leadership by the leader’s sycophants.

Fighting from the bottom up

The responsibility to move against toxic leadership doesn’t lie with an individual, but concerns the organisation as a whole.

In the public sphere, this responsibility extends to society as a whole.

Crucial to overcoming the toxic leader’s negative impact is for other members of the organisation to remain firm and loyal to their principles, and to take a united stand.

If people are able to stand together against toxic leadership, the leader may leave of their own accord. Once this happens individuals in the rest of the organisation need to cleanse the organisation by distancing themselves from the leader’s negative actions.

Another way of tackling toxic leadership is to find out who they answer to, if it’s not immediately apparent, and appeal to this authority. Bullies are not always swayed by open dialogue or whistleblowing, but may answer to a higher law if this is done formally and armed with the facts. In the case of an errant public servant, this may be achieved through, for example, the judiciary and institutions like the Public Protector.

If all these fail, there are ways to manage the situation with the toxic leader in position. It’s necessary to understand the leader’s history to analyse how they got to this point. Share this with key decision makers. This is vital because a core aspect of the solution is to establish a coalition of like-minded individuals who understand the leader’s negative impact.

The coalition should not take a punitive, antagonistic approach, but rather a supportive one, using appropriate benchmarks and timelines that reflect the goals of all key stakeholders.

Much of what’s observed in the corporate world applies to leadership in the public sector. With proper interventions, a valuable level of accountability can be brought into the workplace and to service delivery.

The accountability of leaders can be increased through forums like townhall meetings to force them to think deeply about their behaviour and decisions. Where politics is concerned, visible performance management like this can do wonders for the well-being of citizens.

It’s also critical to establish mechanisms to protect people speaking up against leaders – the whistleblowers – as their actions should be free of fear, such as loss of income.

With protection mechanisms in place, employees and citizens alike should be able to freely raise issues and protect both themselves and their ideals, whether their concerns relate to a private company or a government department.


The article is original in   The Conversation


Linda Ronnie is Senior Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and People Management, Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town.

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What Is Social Intelligence? Why Does It Matter? May 5, 2017

Posted by OromianEconomist in 10 best Youtube videos, 25 killer Websites that make you cleverer.
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 Intelligence, or IQ, is largely what you are born with. Genetics play a large part. Social intelligence (SI), on the other hand, is mostly learned. SI develops from experience with people and learning from success and failures in social settings. It is more commonly referred to as “tact,” “common sense,” or “street smarts.”

What are the key elements of social intelligence?  Click here to read the full article by   Ronald E Riggio Ph.D. Cutting-Edge Leadership


Emotional intelligence starts with understanding your own emotions (self-awareness), then being able to manage them (self-regulation) and use them to achieve your goals (self-motivation).

Once you are able to understand and manage yourself, then you start to understand the emotions and feelings of others (empathy) and finally to influence them (social skills).

Read more at: https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ips/social-skills-emotional-intelligence.html

 

It’s no secret that good leaders are also good communicators.  And the best leaders have learned that effective communication is as much about authenticity as the words they speak and write.

Indeed, communication and leadership are inextricably tied. How can you galvanize, inspire or guide others if you don’t communicate in a clear, credible, authentic way?

Here are 5 essential communication practices of effective leaders.  Click here to read at  Forbes  the 5 Habits of Highly Effective Communicators: Mind the say-do gap. Make the complex simple. Find your own voice. Be visible. Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. 

How to Spot a Bad Leader: Click here to learn the tactics used by leaders from hell.

 

Great leaders are people with the skills, commitment, and character that we want to emulate. The very best lead by example and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and work side-by-side with followers. They are Optimistic and Inspirational.   Great leaders build bridges, not walls.  They do the right things.  They don’t abuse or “damage” followers in the process.  They unite, not divide.  And, they leave the followers and the team/organization/country better off than when they began to lead.

Africa: resource curse or leadership curse? January 17, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Corruption in Africa, Dictatorship, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Leadership curse.
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???????????what is wealth

The main challenge for Africa is to reinvent how it grows, in a way that creates opportunities for all. The opportunity to go to a good hospital; the opportunity to attend a competent school and develop technical and intellectual skills; the opportunity of not being discriminated against based on gender; or simply the opportunity to produce a couple more litres of milk and become an abundant farmer instead of a subsistence farmer. The key is having the possibility of living like Malik wanted to, by trading and sharing his goats and vegetables, or choosing a more “westernized” lifestyle.

In order to shape this new kind of growth and reverse this leadership curse, it is fundamental to reinvent leadership itself.

Africa’s “eternal” incumbent leaders – such as Equatorial Guinea’s president, Obiang; his Uganda congener, Museveni; or Cameroon’s head, Biya – have not steered the wheel in the direction of generalised prosperity. They have instead narrowed the chances for anyone else to achieve it.

Africa needs leaders from different disciplines, places and generations, who are capable of challenging the status quo and framing a new development phase. And the importance of involving both policy and business is large. The curse can only be lifted if government, civil society and business leaders collaborate to craft long-term strategies for their countries and people.

In a nutshell, there is a need to develop African leaders who are capable of acting differently. Leaders who not only have a broad understanding of the contextual world but also have an in-depth knowledge and respect for local behaviour. Leaders who are capable of composing a better future by going beyond the golden GDP growth quest or revenues pursuit; and who instead value their ecosystems as a whole: their existing human and natural resources. Leaders who Malik would be proud to go home to.

The big question remains: is Africa ready to overcome these barriers?

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/xynteo-partner-zone/2015/jan/16/africa-resource-curse-or-leadership-curse?CMP=share_btn_fb

Africa: resource curse or leadership curse?

Xyntéo analyst Joao Sousa blogs on an encounter that made him reflect on what the golden GDP quest means for the people of Africa

Joao Sousa, The Guardian

A few weeks ago, on one of my regularly-occurring train rides to Oslo airport, I sat next to someone who would make me rethink the way I perceive the world. This man was a 40-something Somalian who had been living in Oslo for longer than he wanted. I greeted him and he greeted me back, telling me his name was Malik and that he was from Jilib, in Somalia.

I have always been curious about life in Somalia, and wondered whether the Somali novelist Nuruddin Farah’s books convey the media-blurred reality of the place.

So I asked him what it was like in Somalia. “Very good,” he said, “in Somalia we would be very rich if it were not for the war.”

I wondered what he could be talking about, considering Somalia isn’t known for riches and resources. He then showed up humans’ differing perceptions of “wealth” by saying, “We have lots of goats and we even grow our own vegetables.” Wealth, to Malik, is evidently very different from wealth according to the average westerner.

Knowing the situation in Somalia is now more stable, I asked him whether he had any plans to go back, and he told me, with watering eyes, that one of his remaining dreams is to return home and live from what he can get from the land, with his community.

The same week that I met Malik, newspapers all over the world were full of stories about Nigeria’s “miraculous” GDP recalculation, which saw its numbers double overnight despite “missing billions”. The ordinary Nigerian person, however, stood exactly in the same place as they were the day before.

Nigeria and Somalia are very different sub-Saharan countries. The first, one could say, suffers from the resource curse; the second simply suffers. Nigeria is the largest African oil producer; Somalia has one of the lowest GDP per capita (PPP) in the world, 90 times lower than in Norway.

But in spite of the differences the two countries have many similarities (and, no, I don’t mean Boko Haram and Al Shabaab). Both are highly exposed to climate change, which degrades their land and causes food and water scarcity. Both have dysfunctional educational systems, malfunctioning political arrangements, hindered rules of law, and flawed wealth distribution. (Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank president, was right when he connected all these issues in one sentence: “We will never end poverty if we don’t tackle climate change.”) And both have an enormous untapped natural and human potential that can only be met if their future leaders are visionary and transformative.

Spin the globe, close your eyes and try to point to Africa. The probability is that your finger lands on a country with similar symptoms to Nigeria and Somalia. Look at Angola, with its rocketing growth over the last decade; or the frequently-cited success story of Botswana, with its impressive economic indicators. GDP figures might indicate everything is rosy, but scratch the surface and the symptoms described above – dysfunctional education systems and so on – remain. Oil-rich, gas-rich, tanzanite-rich, just-culturally-rich or not-rich-at-all, many African countries suffer from the same syndromes. This makes me wonder if there is a resource curse or if it is instead a leadership curse.

Africa’s asymmetric and trembling growth has its foundations in models primarily designed by and for developed countries. Moreover, its success is – most times wrongfully – measured by its countries’ GDPs alone, leading to occurrences like the misleading example of Nigeria’s recent GDP recalculation.

Crucially, millions of “Maliks” don’t think GDP is relevant when they think about measuring wealth. By Malik’s measure – having the ability to live among his community and from the land – Africa is perfectly placed to create a new kind of growth, by approaching consumption and wealth in a way that isn’t simply about GDP or revenue and that is, instead, about looking holistically to people’s current and future needs and behaviours.

The main challenge for Africa is to reinvent how it grows, in a way that creates opportunities for all. The opportunity to go to a good hospital; the opportunity to attend a competent school and develop technical and intellectual skills; the opportunity of not being discriminated against based on gender; or simply the opportunity to produce a couple more litres of milk and become an abundant farmer instead of a subsistence farmer. The key is having the possibility of living like Malik wanted to, by trading and sharing his goats and vegetables, or choosing a more “westernized” lifestyle.

In order to shape this new kind of growth and reverse this leadership curse, it is fundamental to reinvent leadership itself.

Africa’s “eternal” incumbent leaders – such as Equatorial Guinea’s president, Obiang; his Uganda congener, Museveni; or Cameroon’s head, Biya – have not steered the wheel in the direction of generalised prosperity. They have instead narrowed the chances for anyone else to achieve it.

Africa needs leaders from different disciplines, places and generations, who are capable of challenging the status quo and framing a new development phase. And the importance of involving both policy and business is large. The curse can only be lifted if government, civil society and business leaders collaborate to craft long-term strategies for their countries and people.

In a nutshell, there is a need to develop African leaders who are capable of acting differently. Leaders who not only have a broad understanding of the contextual world but also have an in-depth knowledge and respect for local behaviour. Leaders who are capable of composing a better future by going beyond the golden GDP growth quest or revenues pursuit; and who instead value their ecosystems as a whole: their existing human and natural resources. Leaders who Malik would be proud to go home to.

The big question remains: is Africa ready to overcome these barriers?

See more at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/xynteo-partner-zone/2015/jan/16/africa-resource-curse-or-leadership-curse?CMP=share_btn_fb

http://amzn.to/1KU6O9N