LEADING FROM WITHIN: Building Organizational …

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LEADING FROM WITHIN: Building Organizational Leadership Capacity

Authored by: David R. Kolzow, PhD


David Kolzow



Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: What Does It Mean to be a "Leader?"

Leadership Defined Leadership in Transition Chapter 3: Understanding the Foundations of Leadership Leadership Models Leadership Trait Theory Leadership Behavior Theory Contingency Theory and Situational Leadership Theory Chapter 4: What's Your Leadership Style? Authoritarian vs. Democratic Leadership Power and Leadership The Charismatic Leader Transactional Leadership Transformational Leadership The Servant Leader Situational Leadership Conclusions About Leadership Styles Chapter 5: Demonstrating Effective Leadership Leadership Character Leadership Behavior

Being trustworthy Integrity Self-reflection Self-confidence Self-directed Action- and results-oriented Communication Respecting and caring for others Willingness to take risks and be innovative Transparency Righting wrongs Staying focused Responding quickly with agility A positive attitude Clarity Chapter 6: Critical Leadership Competencies - What Makes a Successful Leader? Introduction

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5 9 9 16 17 17 17 21 24 28 29 32 40 42 43 47 51 53 54 54 57 59 66 69 73 75 77 78 82 85 88 91 92 93 94 95

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Possess clarity of direction


Has the ability to inspire others to high performance


Communicates well and listens intensively


Demonstrates a collaborative orientation


Works to develop people


Has the ability to think creatively


Possesses intelligence and learning agility


Is capable of creating a culture of excellence


Practices consistent discipline


Delivers results


Clarifies expectations


Practices accountability


Exercises good judgment




Chapter 7: Learning Leadership Skills


Hard vs. Soft Skills


Interpersonal Skills


Communicate Effectively


Conflict Resolution




Problem-Solving and Critical Thinking






Chapter 8: Leadership and Dealing with Change


The Reality of Change


Leader's Role in Change Management


Organizational Change


Change Leadership vs. Change Management


Facilitating Change


The Board and Change


Chapter 9: The Visionary Leader




Strategic Thinking


Chapter 10: The Leader as Enabler








Chapter 11: Building Leadership Capacity in the Organization


Levels of Leadership in the Organization


Who Are the Organization's Potential Leaders?


Building Volunteer Leaders in the Organization


How Do We Train New Leaders?


Chapter 12: The Economic Development Professional as Leader

and Manager


Leader vs. Manager


Leadership and Accountability


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Facilitator and Consensus-Builder


The Practitioner as Educator


The Economic Developer as Community Leader


Chapter 12: Conclusions




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Chapter 1


So why another book on leadership? Literally, hundreds of books on this topic grace the shelves of bookstores and libraries. Communities across the nation offer annual training programs to improve civic leadership. Various state and local governments send their staff through leadership classes. Corporate training programs focus on leadership development. Leadership courses abound in adult education. And so on.

The premise of this book is that despite all the attention to leadership development, nonprofit community and economic development organizations and government agencies could benefit from a more directed and structured program to develop effective leaders within and throughout their organization and thereby improve the quality of their operation. Studies have consistently demonstrated that organizations that prioritize leadership development are much more effective in meeting the expectations of their constituents, stakeholders, and customers. It has been said that the better the leadership, the better the organization is able collectively to ride the challenges of difficult times.1

According to Bersin & Associates study entitled "High-Impact Leadership Development" (2008), an organizational focus on leadership development results in:

? Becoming 84 percent more effective at raising the quality of the leadership "pipeline;"

? A 73 percent increase in employee retention; ? A 67 percent increase in the ability of the organization's members to

work collaboratively; and, ? A 66 percent improvement in the organization's results.

According to the 2008 IBM Global Human Capital Study, over 75 percent of the respondents identified building leadership talent as their current and

1 Ken Sundheim, "Defining , Improving and Teaching Leadership With Those Who Know It Best, , 10/28/2013.

David Kolzow


most significant capabilities challenge. Leaders today sometimes appear to be an endangered species. The second most important capacity building challenge facing organizations in this study was fostering a culture that supports learning and development. Clearly, these two key challenges are closely related.

Leadership, like the inner workings of a computer, is a complex set of relationships, systems, and processes that few fully master. Dave Ulrich, Global Consulting Alliance.

Organizational life today is often a complex social environment of confrontation, miscommunication, manipulation, hostility, and conflict. Does that sound like an exaggeration to you? If so, take a good look at most organizations. So much of what takes place in virtually all organizations is grounded in the interrelationships of its members, and all human relationships have problems. These interactions involve the work that is done, the goals that are set, and the decisions that are made. Without effective leadership, members of an organization often quickly degenerate into argument and conflict, because they each see things in different ways and lean toward different solutions.

The core of the criticism of organizations in a lot of the literature is that all sorts of them (corporations, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations) tend to be over-managed and under-led. Those organizations suffering from over-management tend to be slow to make necessary changes and therefore achieve less than what they could. In the organizations that are characterized by poor leadership, employees see very little that is positive. In a climate of distrust, employees learn that socalled leaders will act in ways that are not easily understood or that do not seem to be in the organization's best interests. Poor leadership leads to an abandonment of hope, which, if allowed to go on for too long, results in an organization becoming completely dysfunctional. The organization must then deal with the practical impact of unpleasant change, but more importantly, must labor under the burden of employees who have given up, and have no faith in the system or in the ability of leaders to turn the

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organization around.2 This is a substantial criticism that points to the importance of leadership.

Although most organizations would say that they are interested in becoming more effective and therefore more excellent, this is almost impossible without competent leadership. Barbara Blumenthal reported in her book Investing in Capacity Building that capacity-building interventions often fail if strong organizational leadership is not in place.3 The government official, the agency manager, the economic developer, the Chamber executive, and all staff in this new knowledge-based environment will need to assume the role of active networker and facilitator, both within his or her organization and with stakeholders and constituents. Excellence means that top leadership does a number of things well, including creating a learning organization that trains and retains its talent. This is what it takes to achieve an organization that has a culture of character and integrity.

A primary concern of most organizations today is the attraction and retention of talented people. However, they generally want to work for good leaders in an open environment where they can speak their minds freely, be treated with respect, and where leadership promotes clarity and honesty. Bad leaders are corrosive to an organization because they can drive out anyone who's good. Unfortunately, since many bad leaders are manipulative and deceptive, it is often a challenge to root them out and get rid of them.4 The lack of positive and effective leadership is a key reason why many talented workers leave the organization.

Leadership is not a place; it is a process. James Kouzes and Barry Posner.

Given that everyone has the capacity for leadership at some level, it would seem that the absence of leadership in an organization shouldn't be a problem. However, it isn't likely that everyone will become a leader. Unfortunately, too many people lack the will to change or to develop their

2 . 3 Barbara Blumenthal, Investing in Capacity Building: A Guide to High-Impact Approaches

(Foundation Center, November 2003). 4 Jamie Dimon, "The Essential Hallmarks of a Good Leader,"


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leadership potential. It is often easier to "go with the flow" and be content with their circumstances. Even if they aren't content, many would rather complain about their situation than do what is necessary to change it.

Becoming a leader means having the will to pursue a path that builds that competency and capacity. This path, however, is not any easy one that is quickly mastered. Most scholars agree that there is no magic bullet or single set of principles or behaviors that leads to effective leadership. Instead, it is becoming increasingly understood that the most effective leadership style in a given situation responds to what is needed. This could be a function of the task required, the organization's culture, the leader's subordinates, and attributes of the leader himself/herself. Furthermore, the development of leadership is an ongoing process, not an event or the implementation of a specific program. The complexity of leadership and its development will be dealt with at length in this book.

This is, essentially, a "how-to" and "why-to" book on developing effective leaders within the organization. It is not full of case studies or examples. Instead, it is a book of principles and practices meant to clarify the nature and role of building leaders and to provide a pragmatic approach for effectively creating a higher level of organizational leadership capacity.

It should be noted that there is a difference between principles and practices. A practice is a specific activity or action, and it needs to be guided by the situation. It is therefore an action that may work in one situation but not necessarily in another.5 Principles, on the other hand, are deep fundamental and timeless truths that have application to any and all organizations, allowing them to make wise decisions. They will remain true and relevant no matter how the world changes.6 When these truths are internalized into behavioral habits, they become part of our values and foster the creation of a wide variety of practices to deal with different situations.7 For example, the principle of integrity leads to a variety of practices that demonstrate honesty in a range of different situations.

5 John C. Maxwell, The 5 Levels of Leadership, New York: Center Street, 2011, p. 4. 6 J.C. Collins. Good to Great. New York, NY: HarperCollins; 2001: pp.17?40. 7 Stephen R. Covey. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.

p. 35.

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