360 degree feedback, organizational trust, change & sustainability
Introducing the Leader/Manager: 4. What the manager actually does
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Wednesday, 25 June 2008
First we talked about the value of feedback to a manager and then what the feedback would be about. To build a framework, Peter Farey drew on the work of James McGregor Burns, and distinguished between:

'Management' as about agreeing goals and developing the strategies to achieve them, the marshaling of required resources, the design, organization, direction and control of the activities required, and the motivating and rewarding of people to do the work.

'Leadership' looking beyond present constraints, striking out in new directions, taking risks, and influencing the thoughts and actions of others by changing what they believe to be desirable, possible or necessary.

He went on to point out that: it can be seen that not only does management have its task and people aspects, but so does leadership. In fact we know this already from our two different uses of the word 'leader'.
  • A leader is the person in front, winning, first, the best at what they do (ie task)

  • A leader is someone who inspires willing followers (ie people)
The simplicity of the Leader/Manager Framework is that it takes the two basic concepts (Task vs People and Leadership vs Management), and combines them into one way of describing the behaviours required, to a greater or lesser extent, by every leader or manager.

The combination is illustrated in the graphic above. The four directions represent the preferences a manager might have in how they manage - inferred from what they do, their behaviour.

You might note that in doing this, Farey created a 'holistic' framework, one that can measure any behaviour that could be important to a team, their manager, or to the organization.

It follows that any set of competencies that an organization may choose as critical for success of their managers can be mapped on the Leader/Manager Model. We often do this for our clients. It lets them highlight the specifics they regard as essential in their organization, and it gives the team the chance to comment on other issues that could be highly important to them in their work and in their working lives. For more on this, check

Naturally, the Model does not take account of technical and other skills, although such questions can be added to Leader/Manager questionnaires when required.

(Excerpted from The Leader/Manager Guide © Peter R. Farey. To be continued).

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posted by Dr Ron @ 16:03   1 comments
Eating sustainably!
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Thursday, 19 June 2008
In a world where many people just want to eat, some of us can have the luxury of eating sustainably. This is something that most of us have not given any thought to. We go to the supermarket and pick what we want off the shelf. We don't even read the ingredients.

But where does that food come from? How much energy was spent in carting it around the globe? How was it grown? How many chemicals were added in the growing and the processing - and does it matter? How much soil was depleted of elements that human nutrition requires? Does it matter that it can take 20 kg of grain to produce 1 kg of beef? And what about eating the antibiotics and the growth hormones in pigs and chickens? To say nothing of the distress of animals that are kept almost unable to move throughout their lives (have you seen the pigs held between iron bars or the chickens in tiny cages with just room enough to peck?). Well, we are slowly experiencing the long-term effects of all that and becoming aware that it does not fit well with the concept of sustainability.

It's heartening to hear that there is a growing world movement towards real sustainability in food: organic farming, chemical-free, fresh food, local sourcing of produce, soil protection and enhancement, and free-range farming.

Organic and BioDynamic food has been shown to be critical in reducing stress on people with cancer, and helping their bodies to heal. See the Gawler Foundation and its many success stories for details of this. By the way, it's a lovely website to look at when you need a little peace. For those of us who are healthy, let's keep it that way! And let's reduce our footprint on the Planet.
How can you have a Vision that doesn't include a healthy future?

So here is Robin van Creveld going around and teaching school kids about food - many children who live mainly on take-away and who have never even considered cooking for themselves, wouldn't know where to start, or why they should.

It's amazing the range of things he gets into, including local food, small independent retailers, organic agriculture, community food cooperatives and community self-sufficiency. He educates people on food, nutrition and environmental issues, which include courses, workshops and cookery demonstrations for larger groups.

Robin also offers Cookery Leader Training, where community members/volunteers and community and statutory sector workers are trained and supported in setting up and running a variety of cookery based, healthy lifestyle initiatives. He even offers an advice and consultancy service for community, education and health organizations.

I must declare a personal (not pecuniary!) interest in this, since the very new and under-construction website that I refer to is that of the Community Chef in southern England - who just happens to be a relative of mine, my son-in-law. When we're in the same country, he even cooks for me! Yum!

Good health to everyone!

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posted by Dr Ron @ 10:12   0 comments
Is your work/life balance sustainable?
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Thursday, 12 June 2008
"The Prime Minister's tough line on public servant work hours is old-fashioned, out-of-touch with best management practice and bound to engender burnout and low morale", experts in workplace relations said yesterday.

"The attitude of 'do the work, put in the hours and shut up' is HR death," said Charles Power, a workplace relations specialist at the law firm Holding Redlich. [This prompted us to look them up and note that they say they have: "an open, caring and supportive culture". If this is true, it is in stark contract to most large legal practices! We hope it is true.]

Charles Power continued: "It's out of touch with human resources practice in modern workplaces."

As you may know, Kevin Rudd warned public servants recently that there would be no reprieve from the long-hours culture under his Government, adding that the pace was going to be "very tough" with no apologies for believing in "burning the midnight oil".

We talk a lot about sustainability here. Long hours cannot be sustainable for long. We simply run down our reserves and start doing less in more time, dragging one foot after the other.

Peter Wilson, national chairman of the Australian Human Resources Institute, said "The research shows the best leaders have a high work ethic and high expectations of those around them. But also they lead by inspiring and encouraging people, and giving them flexible work practices." Of course, these are among the Best Practices that make up the Leader/Manager Model.

Mr Wilson said senior public servants were the hardest working people he had encountered, and they did not need to be told to work hard.

"But they expect ebb and flow, to be able to cut a bit of slack from time to time, leave earlier, pick the kids up, have a long weekend."

Anna McPhee, head of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency, said it was "outcomes not hours worked that counted in a workplace". This is something that we have expressed for several decades. What a delusion to believe that someone's contribution is measured by hours! - unless you're talking about a production line worker (and even there, there are discrepancies). In fact, it's a 19th century concept born in the Industrial Revolution!

Is this the Achilles heel of our progressive Prime Minister? We hope not.

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posted by Dr Ron @ 18:40   0 comments
Introducing the Leader/Manager: 3. The Framework
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Tuesday, 10 June 2008
The Leader/Manager Framework is a way of analysing managerial behaviour, based upon the research and models of 'management' and 'leadership' as they have developed from the 1950s through to the present.

Although the names they used may have differed, many of the early models of management style homed in on two main areas, such as:
  • 'Task leader' vs 'Socio-emotional leader''
  • 'Job (or Production) centred' vs 'Employee centred'
  • 'Authoritarian' vs 'Democratic'
  • 'Initiating structure' vs 'Consideration'
  • 'Task-oriented' vs 'Relationships-oriented'.
Despite the use of such different expressions, it is possible to see a fundamental similarity, in that in each case one area is more to do with the task and production, and the other more related to people and relationships.

Starting in the late 1970s, however, a new distinction began to be emphasised, exploring the difference between Transactional Leadership (or ‘management’) and Transformational Leadership (or ‘leadership') ...

(Excerpted from The Leader/Manager Guide © Peter R. Farey. To be continued).

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posted by Dr Ron @ 22:03   0 comments
Solar electricity cheaper than coal - now!
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Sunday, 8 June 2008
Nanosolar is printing off its PowerSheets to capture solar energy at a price of US 30 cents per watt (coal is $1 per watt, current PV sheets cost $3 per watt). This is an extraordinary breakthrough in the movement towards sustainability.

Nanosolar received finance in the form of venture capital from Google and others in 2002, they've won several prizes (Top Innovation of the Year in 2007, Green Tech Grand Award, US Dept of Energy $20 million) and are already in production in California and Germany, running the printing presses just as fast they will go, while expanding their production.

Check out the Popular Science website for the awards.

And take a look at Nanosolar.

Thanks to Natural News for this info - though it took some work to find the sources, and to verify the details.


posted by Dr Ron @ 09:15   2 comments
Introducing the Leader/Manager: 2. Why ask the Team?
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Friday, 6 June 2008
In Part 1, we took up the assumptions about the Leader/Manager Model. It's a great model for looking at leaders and managers and how they perform, but why would we ask the team about that?

Well, who is really in the best position to know what a manager does as a manager and how s/he might do it better? The manager's team/direct reports, surely? And as a manager is, after all, almost totally dependent for success upon how his or her 'managing' is received by the team, who else's feedback on this can be more important than theirs?

  • The team members themselves are in easily the best position to say how well their abilities are being used and how better use might be made of them.

  • There is no shortage of guidance as to how a manager should manage: management theory, national standards, organizational competency studies, etc. However, the views of the team members tend to be:

    - more RELEVANT - related to their own situation and to their unit's objectives

    - more FOCUSED - related to that one person and to specific problems and issues

    - more REALISTIC - taking account of the manager's personality, the limitations in the situation, etc.

  • Finding out these views, which cannot be obtained from any other source, must increase the manager's self awareness (a goal of much management training), and reduce any dangerously 'blind' areas.

  • The abilities of a team of people, including their leader, always exceed the abilities of the leader alone.

  • Many of the most successful organizations either have used or are using 'upward feedback' of some kind.

  • The evidence is that it works. Performance does change as a result and, although the change is seldom as much as the staff themselves might wish, they do usually see some improvement. Most recipients also usually say how useful they have found it.
(Excerpted from The Leader/Manager Guide © Peter R. Farey. To be continued).

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posted by Dr Ron @ 21:42   0 comments
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