I was Interview by Jonathan Pritchard (ALWD)

ALWD 008: Leadership Interview with Ken Wrede

I had a podcast interview with Jonathan Pritchard over at A Life Well Designed. Jonathan uses design principles to analyze challenges in life and business, then applies design techniques to find elegant, effective solutions.
(For some reason I had a tough time enunciating, but I hope the messages were clear.)

I enjoyed the interview immensely, thanks Jonathan!

EOM,

Kenneth Wrede

(http://www.alifewelldesigned.com/podcast/alwd-008-leadership-with-ken-wrede/)

Cooperation over Compliance

Cooperation vs ComplianceWhen you are in a position of authority, what is the best use of your time?  How do you get more leadership bang for the buck?

One of my leadership principles is to create a healthy organizational culture.  I think the best way to convey the message is to cultivate cooperation from people instead of enforcing compliance. Continue reading

Leadership is Like Being a Good Host

Welcome Mat (0)“But they are like family to me!”

You hear this phrase or something like it when people speak about their work relationships.  Hell, I’ve been guilty of saying it in one form or another.  It is sorta sad to think about it, but we often spend more time in the company of our colleagues than we do with our core nuclear family.

But is it really like that, are we really family?

Would we want to be family?

So we’re all one big happy family!  Now what?

Like the saying goes you can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.  The implied premise is that your family has to claim you.  Thus, if we use the family paradigm, it hurts all the more when you have to, for professional reasons, reject an employee.

I think the best attitude to take with your employees is the same you might take if they were guest in your home.  Be their host.  (I don’t mean in a parasite/host relationship sorta way, I know some of you were thinking it.) Continue reading

When Do You Stop Leading?

Leadership principles and effort (0)

I recently caught a glimpse of a message in one of my professional newsfeeds that posed the question “When do you stop being a leader?”

It is hard to consider it when you are the leader, so my default process has always been to remember my thoughts and feelings when I can observe as a follower.  The influences other leaders, perhaps old bosses, had on you are as valuable as your own leadership experience… I include the negative examples as well as the positive.

If you ever said to yourself “What were they thinking when they said/did/wrote that?”, you hopefully learned from “their” mistakes.

Every inappropriate comment or joke, snide remark, or act of entitlement will be judged by others even if there is never a comment.

So, when does it end?

Basically, never.

Continue reading

Power – How to be a Cult Leader in 5 Easy Steps!

Persian Cat (4)Although it may seem irresponsible to teach people how to abuse power, I see it all the time.  So, either they are learning on their own or they are following what might be considered “natural behavior”.

Brains are lazy.  That is the natural state.

Making the intellectual effort to leap beyond the simple explanation and accepting a belief is difficult and unnatural.  Courtesy of Bob Carroll, let’s call it the “unnatural virtue”.  It is our natural behavior to attend first to our own needs and to rely on the explanation that is easiest to believe, not necessarily what is true.

In leadership the easiest way to lead is to use power like a weapon.  It may be effective at first, but in the long run things will go bad one way or another.

So… what are the steps to cult leadership and how can we prevent the damage? Continue reading

Managing the Power Game

Power game chess (0)We cannot avoid the influences and effect of power in daily life.  It is a dynamic, complicated byproduct of social interaction and constantly changes even in a single relationship between two people.

How often has the phrase “where do you want to eat?” come up and how often was that decision based on your desire to eat a favorite food versus your lack of interest in making a simple decision?

“I dunno, where do you want to eat?…”

Knowing that power games translate into office politics, leaders need to be able manage the powers to the benefit of the group.  A business cannot be “Lord of the Flies”.  It didn’t go well in the book, it won’t go well in the office. Continue reading

Leadership – Unifying the Theory

Leadership Reflection (2)In class, leadership seems all so simple.  It is in black and white.  There are diagrams.  One chapter seems to lead logically to another.  Like any new practical skill, the theory is not the same as practice.  Is leadership a science or is it an art?

Excluding the “mystic” part, I have come to realize that it is a bit of both science and art.

I have been studying leadership since I was 18.  It was MS 101, an introduction to military science.  My first professional career military preparation class as an Army cadet.

As I mentioned in an earlier article, one of the difficulties is the use of the word “leadership”.  It is commonly used, but the context changes as it is used as a noun, verb, adverb, or adjective.  The definition has to be inferred through context.  That makes every article you read confusing and, at times, a seeming contradiction to other articles.

My own experience from the numerous classes, beginning with the first class, is that the instructor will emphasize every aspect of leadership on an equal basis.  From an academic point of view it was because you had to be tested.  The equivalency of everything made prioritizing action based on theory confusing.  The history and theories are interesting, but hard to apply on a daily basis.

Over the years and other classes, I was always surprised to see that there was rarely an overlap from one leadership course to another.  It was confusing because how was it possible for leadership traits and leadership principles to morph from year to year, source to source.  The instructors taught from within their narrowed vision of experience or shared the latest article on “The 10 Secrets of Leadership” which also changed from author to author.

How do you know what to apply?  Can you predict leadership success or failure?

Continue reading