The Five Ls
Look up “Leadership Skills: Qualities of a Great Leader,” on YouTube. The speaker is a British rock musician. Consider the following questions: (a) According to the musician, what is the essential task of leadership? (b) What are the five L “qualities”? (c) Would you consider these “qualities” to be individual attributes, personal competencies, or something else? (d) How might these qualities be expressed by people in the music industry? (e) How might they be expressed by leaders in your field of study? Create a learning plan for someone who wants to develop these five qualities over the next year.
In the 1990s, Mumford and his colleagues conducted a study of 1,800 Army officers to identify the leadership factors that lead to exemplary job performance. This research led to the development of the skills model in our textbook. Go online to http://www.army.mil/symbols/officerdescription.html. Look at the insignias and related information for the six grade levels from second lieutenant to colonel. How large is a platoon? How large is a company-sized unit? How large is a battalion-sized unit? How large is a brigade-sized unit? Are the same leadership skills needed at each level of command?
Return to the home page and under the section called “A Word of Advice” click on “View all past articles.” Read “The Top 5 Ways to Deal with Drill Sergeants” by Michael Volkin. Why does the army not want its recruits to be leaders or followers? What seems to be the function of the drill sergeant? What skills or attributes does the army attempt to build in its recruits? Which of these skills or attributes would translate well into other types of work and leadership? Which seem to be appropriate mainly for the military?
Tweeting like a Leader
If you are following a thought leader on Twitter throughout the term, report on how the leader’s tweets do or don’t reflect technical skill, human skill, or conceptual skill. Does this medium, which favors brevity, lend itself to influencing a group of people toward a common goal? If the thought leader retweets others’ comments or photos, what is the purpose?
Listening like a Leader
Listening is not mentioned specifically in Chapter 3 as a leadership skill; however, it is part of human skill (Katz Three-Skill Approach) and the social judgment competencies (Mumford Skills Model). Leaders need to listen in order to understand followers’ needs and perspectives. Who would you identify as great listeners? What do these listeners do that’s so effective?
Pull up one of several sites concerning bad listening habits (e.g., “Ten Bad Listening Habits”). Evaluate yourself based on the list of bad habits (such as listening only for facts, not intent). Which behaviors do you engage in? How can you overcome these bad habits and listen more competently?
Speaking like a Leader
In the Mumford Skills Model, the Individual Attribute of motivation has three components: The willingness to tackle complex organizational problems, the willingness to express dominance and to influence others, and commitment to the social good of the organization. Public speaking is an important expression of the willingness to express dominance. Go online and take a communication apprehension test (http://www.original-ink.net/Units/Oral%20Comm/communication_apprehension_quiz.htm). Discuss your results with a partner and come up with a plan to practice reducing speaking anxiety in safe settings in order to become more willing speakers in future leadership settings.