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Leadership Wisdom

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Leadership Wisdom

  1. 1. SCHULICH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS Individual Integrative Framework Paper Book Review of Leadership Wisdom by Robin Sharma Sahaj Cheema 12/15/2010 ORGS 5100 C Final Assignment: It involves selecting a topic from the final section of the courseand preparing a paper on that topic. This could include a review of a “popular” managementbest seller that compares its recommendations with the research-based ones in your text andreadings.
  2. 2. Objective‘Leadership’ is perhaps the most researched, discoursed and obsessed about concept inbusiness schools, organisations, religion, military, national politics and management books. It isalso presumably the most desired quality individuals would like to possess. The objective of thispaper is to review and relate the recommendations from the 2006best seller – ‘LeadershipWisdom from the Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: The 8 Rituals of Visionary Leaders’,written byRobin Sharma, to one of the recently developed leadership theoriesstudied during theOrganisational Behaviour course - ‘Inspiration Leadership’. The theory of ‘InspirationalLeadership’encompasses three main leadership styles-Transformational, Charismatic andAuthentic Leaderships and the ‘8 Rituals of Visionary Leaders’ endorsed by this book highlightthe ‘Transformational Leadership’conduct of an inspiring leader.
  3. 3. I have been nurturing the dream of becoming an exceptional leader since I was a littlegirl. In retrospect I feel, the fact that I grew up listening to my father (who is an officer in theIndian Army) narrate fascinating stories of courageous and spirited leaders who fought withfortitude for the honour of their country and the pride of their countrymen, must have beenpartially responsible for it.But a part of that aspiration also stems from a deep seated desire tobe admired and respected by many.My decision to study transformational leadership out of themany different leadership theories taught in this course is not based on a random chanceselection but rather is propelled by this very personnel ambition. ‘To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end oflife~ Robert Louis Stevenson. Truly wise people aim not only for leadership in their businessesbut also within their lives.’ Robin Sharma is a young, magnetic and creativewriter and leadership expert whoisranked amongst the top ten management experts of today’s times. He has to his credit manyinternational best sellers like – The Monk who sold his Ferrari, The Greatness Guide and theSurfer and the CEO. His book Leadership Wisdom tells the tale of an extraordinary leader whoturned around the fate of an organisation by following some simple leadership rituals. The beauty of the leadership philosophy shared in this book is that it asserts even if oneis not inherently a natural charismatic leader, he or she can still become an effective leaderthrough his or her intention and dedication to do so.‘The best leaders recognize that leadershipis a craft, not a gift. They constantly work to refine their art.’This is fundamental belief is thebackbone of transformational leadership theory. The authorconveys his ideas simply yet profoundly and leaves a definite positiveimpression in the mind of the readers. His language and style of writing resonates well withcurrent generation of young, vibrant and ambitious professional who are unrelenting in theirpursuit of success. The two main protagonists in the story are Peter Franklin, the CEO ofGlobalView Software Solutions and Julian Mantle a former associate of Peter who guides Peteron how tosteers his company out of a potential crisis. The initial few chapters of the book set
  4. 4. the context to a scenario where Peter is worried about the future of GlobalView which hadreceived phenomenon growth in the last decade but was now crippled by dwindling employeemorale and productivity. On the other hand Julian, who was once an enterprising anddiscerning business man had recently returned from a life altering journey of self-discoveryfrom the Himalayas. Peter is portrayed as sharpintelligent man who is excellent in his work but Our people were simply not ascursed with less than impressive leadership and innovative and inspired as in the earlypeople management skill. The leadership wisdom in days. As a result, our products werethis book isimparted aslessons to Peter by Julian in not as well designed and unique. To put it simply: people just didnt seemthe form of eight principles which he learnt during to care anymore. And I knew that ifhis metamorphosis. allowed to continue, that mindset would eventually spell the end of ourThese eight principles correlate well with the four company.sub dimensions of transformational leadership-charisma, individualized consideration, inspirational motivation and intellectual stimulation(Nelson/Quick, 197). These relations will be more apparent and pronounced after taking acloser look at each of the leadership rituals.Link Pay-check to Purpose – The Ritual of a Compelling Future FocusThe Wisdom –The author states that ‘The ultimate task of the visionary leader is to dignify andhonour the lives of those he leads by allowing them to manifest their highest potential throughthe work they do.’A leader can motivate his people to put their heart and soul into the workthey do if they he can instil in them passion for the work itself or the ultimate goal the work willaccomplish. ‘Purpose is the most powerful motivator in the world.’ The leader should bind thetasks of his employees to an emotionally compelling purpose.The Practices–State the ‘WHY’ behind the work assigned to the employees. When employeesunderstand and believe in the WHY of things they do, they will do it more passionately. Thevision and mission statement of an organisation should be stated such that it instils a feeling ofpurpose.
  5. 5. The Correlation – Unlike Transactional Leadership in which mangers link rewards and penaltiesto the performance of the employees, transformational leadership lays emphasis onperformance inspired by personal attributes and the desire to achieve a greater purpose. Theinspirational consideration aspect of it also hints towards using company’s vision to kindleindividual’s desire to work.Manage by Mind, Lead by Heart – The ritual of human relationsThe Wisdom–Visionary leaders do not set goals for short term profit achievements but insteadfocus on buildinglong term intangible assets like strong relationships based on trust andrespect. ‘When u enrich the relationship, u enhance the leadership.’ (P-95)A leader must trulyempathise and connect with his people. He must intentionally invest himself in listening to thespoken and unspoken words of his people.He must build lasting and reliable relationships sothat his employees feel valued. ‘One of the deepest of all human hungers is the need to becherished & understood. When your people don’t trust you, there is no way they are going to gothe extra mile to give their best efforts.’ (P-97)The Practices–The author lists four simple rules to discipline oneself to build true relationship –keeping promises, listening aggressive, being consistently compassionate & telling the truth.Aleader who inculcates these habits will be viewed as trustworthy, honest and thoughtful.The Correlation –This ritual concurs with individualized concern, one of the primary subdivisionsof transformational leadership. Employees who feel a deep connection with their leader ororganisation also feel a sense of loyalty and personal commitment towards the company andthus stand by it even during testing times.Often it is seen that the difference between a goodorganisation and a great organisation is the fact that the employees of a great organisationstand by it even at times of adversity and crisis. Their relationship with the organisation runsdeeper than compensations and promotions.Reward Routinely, Recognize Relentlessly – The Ritual of Team UnityThe Wisdom -Great leaders are great teachers & coaches.This is a distinguishing quality of aleader. Just like a dedicated teacher is obsessed with the growth and improvement of his pupils
  6. 6. a leader too must be fiercely committed to helping his people achieve higher standards ofperformance. A leader must understand that everyone yearns to do good work but because oflack of appreciation that yearning becomes dormant and employees become mediocreperformers.The Practices - ‘The starting point formotivating your employees is - Hunt for good behaviour -find employees who are performing well and when u findthem, let the rewards & recognition flow freely. (P-124) As ‘Change is the most dominant force ina consequence of this action not only will the employees the business world today. Technologywho are doing good work feel motivated to continue their is changing, society is changing, anddiligent efforts but also the ones who are capable to political landscape is changing, even the way people work is changing. Didattaining higher results will have someone or something to you know that in the early 1900s, 85emulate. While it is important to recognise and reward percent of the workers in our part ofpositive actions it is also crucial to keep in mind not to instil the world were in agriculture? Nowfear of penalty or punishment for making mistakes. this field involves less than 3 percent of the work force. And it was recently‘Visionary leaders make work environment risk free. They reported that more information hasgive their peoplethe freedom to fall & by so doing, they been produced in the past thirty yearsultimately succeed.’ (P-126) The work atmosphere and than in the entire 5,000-year period before it!’ambience should represent an environment of freedom toperform and motivation to excel.The Correlation –While it seems that rewarding and recognising is the basic principle ofTransactional Leadership instead of Transformational the underlying rationale behind this ritualis to enable employees to tap their own hidden potential. The philosophy of leaders being goodteachers overlap with the idea that ‘individualized consideration refers to how much concern aleader displays for each follower’s needs and acts as a coach or mentor.’ (Nelson/Quick, 197)Surrender to Change- The Ritual of Adaptability & Change ManagementThe Wisdom –‘To master change, develop the discipline of managing the unexpected. Inturbulent times, he who learns most wins.’This lesson is most relevant to today’s dynamic, highuncertainty and high complexity business environment. Organisational and individuals need to
  7. 7. constantly innovate and rediscover themselves to maintain competitive advantage. No one canescape change. Not only must a leader himself bravely embrace the notion that in change liesopportunity, he must inspire his people to feel the same way. ‘There is joy in change. Withoutchange, there is no progress.’The Practice - ‘Champion the constant intellectual development & skill improvement. The bestantidote to the fear that change evokes is knowledge. In turbulent times, he who learns mostwins.’A leader must drive his people to higher levels of intellectual sharpness and agility so thatthey are able to thrive even in change and complex situations. The aim of an accomplishedleader must be to generate more leaders and not followers.The Correlation –Transformational Leadership identifiesintellectual stimulation as a pillar of itsstrength. People have to be greater than their circumstances in order to succeed.Focus on the Worthy- The Ritual of Personal EffectivenessThe Wisdom –‘The art of getting things done isin knowing what need to remain undone.’Mostmanagement books stress on the importance of time management, but Robin Sharma has adifferent stand on that he titles time leadership. ‘If you do not lead your time, it will lead you.’He says and quotes Peter Druker – ‘Switch from being busy to achieving results.’The Practices - In order to lead your time he proposes a simple method called ‘The Time Modelfor Visionary Leadership’. As per this model one must keep aside a period a time for what hecalls a ‘weekly planning practise’. As per this practice once a week, preferably Sunday eveningdevote half an hour to enlisting the activities and tasks one wants to get done in that week.After planning for the activities for the week, there is a simple five step approach to ensure theplan translates into action. ‘Revisit your future vision, align it with your goals for the year,disintegrate your goals into smaller mini targets or milestones, schedule and prioritize thesemilestones and thus delegate them effectively and keep track of the milestones achieved.’The Correlation –This rituals and the one that follows tie into building a TransformationalLeader’s personal charisma and effectiveness to lead by example. These practises are essential
  8. 8. for a personal growth of leader. A leader must possess qualities and virtues that make hispeople look up to him and hold him in high regards.Leader Lead Thyself- The Ritual of Self LeadershipThe Wisdom –‘All leadership begins within. By improving, refining & defining who we are, wesee the world from the highest, most enlightened perspective.’The path to being a good leaderis not devoid of challenges to push oneself to the highest level of discipline, ethics and merit inevery respect. Call it the boon or curse of leadership, but if you want to inspire your people youhave to let them idealise you. And that is a huge responsibility. ‘Anything less than acommitment to peak personal performance is an unconscious commitment to weak personalperformance.’(P-202)The Practices - In order to be model leader the author recommendsadopting the following: The Discipline of personal renewal: Be happy, joyful and content with your life. Don’tonly focus on work but also on fun, leisure and family. The Discipline of abundant knowledge:Inculcate the habit of reading and constantlyexpanding your knowledge and thus your wisdom. The Discipline of Physicality:Stay fit and care for your body. ‘The person who doesn’tmake time for exercise must eventually make time for illness.’ The Discipline of early awakening:Live each day as if it was your last and thus try to liveevery moment to the fullest.See what all see, Think what none think- The Ritual of Creativity & InnovationThe Wisdom–Contrary to popular belief that creativity is a talent that few are blessed with theauthor believes that every human being is creative. ‘Your most important tasks as a visionaryleader is to unlock the natural state of creativity that sleeps within the minds of every one ofyour people. You must help your employees to think smarter and inspire them to explore newpathways of thought.’ To make room for creative new ideas one has to first clear the space byletting go of out-dated, tried and tested ways of thinking. One needs to come out of his risk freezone.
  9. 9. The Practices- Make it a practise to celebrate spontaneity & reward original thinking in yourworkplace.‘One of your highest priorities is to create a workplace that rewards curiosity andrecognizes that new ideas are the seeds of success. Remember, even one good idea can totallytransform your organization.’One of the surest ways tosprout new ideas is to encourage people to be ‘There was little trust, lowinquisitive and ask a lot of questions. productivity, and even less creativity. And from what I couldThe Correlation–This ritual explains how a gather, nearly everyone in thetransformational leader can promotes a culture of organization believed that the blame for the problems restedintellectual stimulation and creativity. By making small squarely with one person: me. Thechanges in the workplace, by tweaking the way he consensus was that I just did notcommunicates his work expectations and by removing know how to lead.’the fear of failing and trying new things, he can build ateam of creative and spontaneous professionals.Link leadership to Legacy - The Ritual of Contribution & SignificanceThe Wisdom–The last ritual of a visionary leader is to understand that he has a role to play inthe larger scheme of life and that he can make a difference to society and environment. ‘Thegreatest irony of leadership is that the more you give, the more you get. And when all is saidand done, the highest and most enduring gift that you will ever be able to give is the gift of whatyou leave behind.’The Practices - As a leader and as a human being try think of the foot print your actions willleave behind. ‘What makes greatness is beginning something that does not end with you’Doactions in the present that focus on a better future for all.The Correlation -This ritual captures the essence of not just transformational leadership but allInspiring Leadership theories in general. After all isn’t the purpose of all inspiring, visionaryleaders to make a real difference and contribution to the human race. It is this thatdistinguishes them as legendary leaders for ages.
  10. 10. After reading this insightful book and understanding the philosophy and principles ofTransformational Leadership I am motivated that as an MBA student my greatest challenge andgoal is to realize my long fostered childhood fantasy in the organisation I join after mygraduation. Even though I may not be a natural leader who commands authority or charmspeople’s hearts, the fact thatI can learn inspiring leadershipallures me.