It's been some time that there's been a lot of talk about leadership. Books, articl...
The fourth process is created by asking, what lies ahead? It is called potential problem-opportunity
analysis. A potential...
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Preview of “Competence & Leadership”

Published on: Mar 4, 2016

Transcripts - Preview of “Competence & Leadership”

  • 1. THE COMPETENCY COMPONENT OF LEADERSHIP It's been some time that there's been a lot of talk about leadership. Books, articles, advice, and opinions. And leadership is needed. However, what may have lost its due importance in all of this is the component of leadership which is competency. After all, while we want leadership to get people to follow a direction, we certainly don't want them to be led to the wrong place, or through the wrong course of action. This oversight may be so built-in to the discussion that competency is not seen as an item to be considered; it’s taken for granted, and in the last long while it seems the focus has solely been on the leadership component. So what does it mean, to say ‘competency component of leadership’? It means we are talking about the ability to help an organization "resolve its most complex business problems". This from Kepner- Tregoe, a multinational management consulting and training services company. When they explain that the way this is done is for a new world, that is based on their work being represented in 18 countries by their offices in 13 countries across the globe. I am one of their trainees and have seen the focus on the competency component give great results throughout my career. I also have in turn provided training to others in aspects of it. A look at the competency component starts with the premise of rational management, which is the result of years of research, trial and error, and innovation based on applications of rational techniques. The popular idea of teamwork is founded by teaching people to use four basic thinking patterns in rational managing. These are regularly seen in the form of! questions: What's going on? Why did this happen? Which course of action should we take? What lies ahead? The first question searches for clarity. The intention is to bring order to a situation that is uncertain or confused. The second looks for cause and effect. It allows a person to move from observer of the effect of a problem to understanding its cause. Only then can the cause of the problem be addressed. The third question requires a choice to be made. A decision must be made about a course of action to take. The fourth looks ahead to problems that might happen, and the decisions that might be necessary in the future. In an organizational context these questions and their intentions create processes, which when followed create the competency component of leadership. In looking for clarity we ask, what's going on? This begins a process of situation appraisal. When a situation pertaining to management occurs, the information available usually confuses the relevant and the irrelevant, the important and the inconsequential. Before anything can be done to resolve the situation it must be sorted out so its components are seen in relation to each other. Each component has its own perspective. When we apply cause and effect thinking we ask, why did this happen? This creates the second process which is problem analysis. It allows us to be accurate in identifying, describing, analyzing, and resolving a situation in which something has gone wrong without an explanation. The third question creates the third process, decision analysis. The question it poses is, which course of action should we take? Its process requires standing back from a situation that needs a decision and evaluating the 3 components involved: the reasons for making a decision and the purpose of the decision; analyzing the available options to achieve that purpose; and analyzing the relative risks of each alternative.
  • 2. The fourth process is created by asking, what lies ahead? It is called potential problem-opportunity analysis. A potential problems exists when we can look ahead and see the possibility of trouble in a situation. Thinking and acting beforehand is more capable than dealing with a problem that has been allowed to develop. Similarly, potential opportunity analysis is looking ahead and anticipating situations that we may be able to turn to our advantage. The fourth rational process enables an organization to be active in shaping its future. A proactive outlook will shape that future, a reactive one will be more laborious in dealing with problems that weren't seen beforehand.! ! While the foundation of teamwork is created by the thinking that goes with the 4 question types, we also know that everyone has a personal and idiosyncratic way of understanding. This includes how they handle and communicate things like the 4 processes, as is often seen in drawing cause-and- effect relationships and choice making. The objective is to get thinking to be as high as it can be. Some people are better at applying the processes than others, while others who are moderately skilled at them can be better at communicating their conclusions. "I don't see how you could arrive at that" is a commonly heard response. This is usually heard in situations in which the information used in arriving at a conclusion remains invisible, and the way in which the information was used also remains unknown to the observer.! Teamwork that embraces the competency component brings that team to its pinnacle.! Remembering, it is the 4 processes that create the foundation of the team, and the team reaches its optimal performance when people learn to think together, at the highest level as can be. Frank is a trainee of rational managing and has applied it throughout his career. He has also trained other professionals in aspects of it. -- References: Kepner, Charles H., Regoe, Benjamin B., The New Rational Manager, Princeton Research Press, 2006.

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