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53 STASHED IDEAS

This theory focuses on particular variables related to the environment that determine the specific style of leadership.

Leadership researchers White and Hodgson suggest that truly effective leadership is about finding a balance between behaviours, needs, and context. Good leaders can assess the needs of the followers, read the situation, and adapt their behaviours accordingly.

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Trait theories assume people inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better suited to leadership. Traits include extroversion, self-confidence, and courage.

However, some people possess these traits but are not leaders, nor do they explore leadership positions. There are also effective leaders who lack some of the key traits associated with leadership.

The theory suggests that leaders choose the best course of action based upon situational variables. Different leadership styles may be more appropriate for certain types of decision-making.

For instance, a more knowledgeable and experienced group member may use an authoritarian leadership style, while a group with skilled experts may use a democratic style.

Also known as transactional theories, these theories focus on the role of supervision, organisation, and group performance.

The leadership theory is based on a system of rewards and punishments, where employees are rewarded when they are successful but reprimanded when they fail.

Leadership Theories

Leadership theories try to explain how and why certain people become leaders. Some theories focus on leaders' characteristics, while others attempt to identify behaviours that people can adopt.

Previously, debates on the psychology of leadership suggested that these were inherent skills. However, recent theories propose that while certain traits may help natural leaders, experience and situational variables also play a vital role.

The theory is based on the belief that great leaders are made, not born. People can learn to become leaders through teaching and observation.

This leadership theory centres on the actions of leaders, not on mental qualities or internal states.

This theory suggests that the ideal leadership style considers the input of others.

These leaders encourage participation and contributions from group members and help them feel more connected and committed to the decision-making process.

According to this point of view, great leaders are born to lead with internal characteristics such as charisma, confidence, intelligence, and social skills.

Great man theories assume great leaders are born, not made. These theories suggest people cannot learn how to become strong leaders.

Known as transformational theories, these theories focus on the connections formed between leaders and followers.

Transformational leaders motivate and inspire people. They help the group members to see the value of the task. They also want every person to fulfil their potential.

  • One study showed that charisma helps leaders when data is lacking or ambiguous.
  • Another study found that a bit of mystery may boost charisma: When a leader's success was attributed to unclear factors rather than effort, he was rated as more charismatic.
  • Factors like height influence charisma.
  • Quick answers to general knowledge questions were considered charismatic by friends.
  • Charisma can be taught. Learning tactics such as using metaphors and gestures can improve charisma.
People prefer leaders with charisma

Charisma is the ability to convince followers that you can influence other members of a broader group to cooperate.

In tough times, people want leaders who can make a compelling pitch and inspire a sense of urgency - someone with charisma.

Build a supportive community

We can't have it all and do it all by ourselves. Building a supportive community across work colleagues and your personal life creates a balance to enable you to handle challenges and do more.

Model behaviors that encourage balance, and talk openly about what balance looks like. It means spending extra effort to deliver on a deadline can be balanced with flexibility and personal time. It means balancing business growth with a focus on career growth for individuals. And, it means proving employees with the tools and permission to find their right balance.

The opportunities you want don't always appear by themselves. Your boss will also not know what you want unless you tell them.

It is important to define what you want and then communicate it; otherwise, you risk getting stuck and limiting your opportunities for career growth.

People who are hesitant to pursue a new role or challenge should focus on building up a capacity for risk.

Start with small risks, such as volunteering to lead a meeting, giving a presentation, taking on an assignment that will stretch your abilities, or leading a team initiative. This will gradually build your confidence and capability essential for career growth.

When you are in balance, you're always ready to shift and adapt.

This ability to be flexible is critical to successfully navigating leadership challenges.

  • What is Your Natural Strength? This takes a broader look at the candidate’s abilities.
  • What Kind Of Animal Would You Be? And Why? This may be a fun question but the ‘why’ part provides the interviewer with new insights about the candidate.
  • What Is The Biggest Misperception People Have About You? This question reveals how self-aware the candidate is, and how honest he can be.
The Art Of Hiring

Hiring, according to top corporate leaders, should not just be the standard job interview, which has become predictable and routine, but something creative and challenging.

One has to find new ways to find out how a person thinks, taking them out of their ‘seat of comfort’. Allowing candidates to speak their mind, or providing them challenging situations to work on can be a better indicator of their employability.

Sharing a meal provides the recruiter with a big opportunity to observe the candidate, like how they make eye contact, how polite they are, or the way they ask questions.

One can see what frustrates or flusters them and if they are patient or agitated. The whole personality of the candidate can be gauged by one meal with them.

Skills, which can be taught, are not as important nowadays as the candidate’s self-awareness and mental agility where he/she is prepared for out-of-the-box questions and surprises.

Asking unusual questions that illuminate the creative side of the candidate while providing valuable insights into their personality are much better than the usual fare, which the candidate is already expecting.

One has to check if the candidate is genuinely interested in the job or is just checking all boxes of dressing right and talking right to land up with an offer letter.

How they treat and interact with others (like the guy handing them the coffee) also helps gauge their personality. One can take the candidate on a tour inside the company building, noticing how they ask questions, or how curious they are.

Self-realization, or knowing the self, makes one of heightened awareness, including qualia (phenomenally conscious). This makes philosophers, spiritual gurus and Zen masters take on the world with an upgraded version of the mind.

Their self-awareness is what puts them at ease with change and disruption, and this is the closest science can get towards the concept of enlightenment.

It states that the world is uncertain and full of surprises. Our brain, through perception, beliefs and action are trying to remain stable by minimizing the spikes, triggers and surprises.

We live inside our brains, and each of us has a unique perception of the outside world. Anything we say or document is just our way to explain the world we have lived. It has nothing to do with reality.

  • Our mind is programmed to sample the world so that the immediate future can be predictable, as a way to survive it with minimum surprises and disruptions, and as a way to conserve energy.
  • Free energy, outside the mind, maybe incomprehensible and even impossible to grasp fully, but our mind filters and curates much of the information and presents it to us in palpable format.
  • Our mind, when seen neurologically, is infinitely vast, much like the universe, which it even resembles visually.
The Neuroscientist Karl Friston
  • Karl Friston, a neuroscientist, published a radical theory called the ‘Free Energy Principle’ that has the neuroscience field in a tizzy. His papers, published in various journals, are heavily cited and discussed.
  • Friston also invented statistical parameter mapping, a brain-scanning technique that allows neuroscientists, for the first time in history, to access specific brain regions in detail.
  • Friston is like a rock star in his profession, having insights in stimulating topics like consciousness, quantum physics and psychedelics.

Our self-beliefs keep updating after seeing new data presented to us by the world we live in. If we are able to assimilate all data and update/revise our mind, then ‘belief-updating’ happens.

If the mind does not get input, there is no belief updating, even if the event/data is there in the world, it will remain invisible to us, as our mind hasn’t processed it and revised itself.

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