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Entries for July 2015

  A good bit of leadership today is exercised in the context of teams. There are, of course, the deliberate cross-functional teams so common in business settings. But even when our purposeful groups go by other names — families, parishes, service clubs or diocesan offices — the chief characteristic they share is that they are teams. When it comes to building effective teams that serve their mission, leaders have to consider the skills of team members and prospective members — or players, if you're comfortable with a sport metaphor that implies the importance of action, not just affiliation....

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  When we hear the word "charity," we often think of making a donation. That's appropriate — especially during Lent, when one of the three things we are to focus on is almsgiving. Charity also can be understood in a broader sense — as when we are generous with our time and talents as much as with our treasure. Going back to the word's Latin root, caritas, the concept points to the roots of our generous behavior — Christian love for everyone. St. Ignatius of Loyola recognized charity's deeper dimension when he taught that it has to begin with a disposition of the hear...

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  Although effective teams are generally small — no larger than a dozen and often smaller than that — there are nine roles that a prudent leader will try to cover in assembling his or her team, according to Stephen R.* Robbins. They are: Creator-innovator — initiates creative ideas; typically independent, prefers to work at own pace in own way. Explorer-Promoter — champions ideas after they've been initiated, finding resources needed to promote innovative ideas, but may not have the patience and control skills to follow through in detail. Assessor-Developer — strong analy...

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Today's world is full of people with ever shorter attention spans trying to respond to an ever growing volume of messages. We're expected to do more things with less help in less time — and all the while, be ever more responsive in an increasingly cluttered and complex communications environment. Multi-tasking isn't a virtue, it's a basic expectation — even though a lot of research shows that the more things we try to accomplish at once, the less we get done. (Could that be the real explanation for why our lives get busier and busier? Who has time to find out?) In any event, we plan to ...

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St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, seemed to be anticipating the climate of America's political and social discourse when he put pen to hand in the 16th century and wrote: "In your dealings with all, be slow to speak and say little, especially with your equals or subordinates. Be ready to listen for long periods and until each has had his say. Answer the questions put to you, come to an end, and take your leave. If a rejoinder is offered, let your reply be as brief as possible, and take leave promptly and politely." While he would have starved as a radio or television news commentator today...

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  By Owen Phelps, Ph.D. Director, Yeshua Catholic International Leadership Institute A professor leading an orientation program for new doctoral students was trying to explain the concept of “systems.” She started with a question: “Is an airplane full of passengers a system?” From the back of the room came the response: “When it’s hijacked, it is.” Most of the students chuckled nervously, thinking someone had the audacity to be flippant. “That’s exactly right!” the teacher proclaimed. “Who said that?” When the student raised his...

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  We all know Jesus told us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” So it shouldn’t be too much to expect Christians to respect everyone they meet. But St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, realized that respect is more than just a matter of the heart. That’s why he instructed his followers not only to respect others, but to show respect for them. “Preserve yourself in peace and true humility of soul, keeping silence when silence should be kept and, when you must speak, speaking with discretion,” he advised. “May your peace and humility show in the modesty of y...

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  If you’re looking for a thin, light-hearted, easy to digest but helpful book on leadership, you won’t go wrong picking up a copy of The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus: How to Get Big Things Done in Your Workshop All Year Long. At just 94 pages, it’s not hard to pack or to plow through if you happen to be traveling over the holidays. Purportedly written by Santa Claus, that is the nom de plume of Eric Harvey, David Cottrell and Al Lucis of Texas-based Walk the Talk Co. Using Santa’s voice, they briefly and clearly present several important leadership principles. Thus, you find chap...

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  Writing for the Financial Post, author and consultant Carol Kinsey Goman says increasing collaboration and building effective teams should be a concern for leaders because: it’s essential for organizational success today, and, the requisite “culture in which everyone pulls together can only come from the top.” “It's by winning your workers' trust, and making them feel valued and included, that you'll cultivate a real sense of teamwork,” she writes. "Today's most successful leaders guide their organizations not through command and control, but through...

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Micromanagers make lousy leaders

Posted on July 13, 2015 in: Articles

  William Johnson has run H.J. Heinz, the $10 billion food company, since 1998 after coming up through the ranks overseeing various Heinz product lines. In an interview in Newsweek earlier this year, he indicated that micromanaging is not the way to lead people. But he admitted that it took him a while to learn how to be a top level executive. “My job is to lead the people and manage the process. It took me a couple of years to learn that, and [when I did] I stepped back from the operations ... and really began to focus on leadership — on having the right people in the right place, and on making s...

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