Personality and Leadership

This weeks lesson in my Effective Organizational Communications class got my mind turning on what personality types make better leaders. The lesson is “Public Presentation Strategies” and not everyone is comfortable at public presentation. Does this mean that they are not good leaders? I myself have been in a leadership position for about 15 years, at the beginning I could lead people; however, getting up and talking in front of others was not my cup of tea. I was effective as a leader, but taking my struggles and needs to upper management was difficult for me to do. As time has progressed and I was forced to talk in front of groups I become more comfortable at it, where now it is hard to shut me up at times. (only when I get on a roll) I am a mix between type A and type B. I can sit back and listen, and do most of the time. I beleive that communication to me is best understood when I spend more time listening. If I talk, that means it is important. But does our “type” mean anything? Do type A personalities overrun conversations and thus not know the true issues that their subordinates feel, and are Type B personalities to meek to help their subordinates? This is something I need to study more and see if their is any correlation… my findings to come soon.

Conflict Management

How well do we handle conflict? A lot of times conflict come from change and many people go through the Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing stages as identified by Bruce Tuckman. The key to handling conflict is weathering each stage, and as a supervisor assisting the others to get through the stages without harsh consequences.

Forming- In a team environment this is where the conflict may arise, but may not be evident yet . As a manager it is important to be involved here to watch the group dynamics at work. In the past this has been the easiest stage for myself.

Storming- Now that everyone knows each other and the comfort level has risen, the conflict may come out. As a supervisor it is not important to squash the conflict as some conflict is healthy. Encourage discussion to talk through the conflict. This is where leadership is developed. I must admit my stubbornness may have lead to conflict in this area, however overall I believe that I have gone with what was rational and ideal a majority of the time. 

Norming- The major areas of conflict have passed, but leaders must be aware of lingering feelings. Was someone upset that “their way” was not the way it was done and is holding feelings. Leaders must reaffirm the groups decision and ideas in this stage and still keep an eye out for anything that can break the group dynamic that has formed

Performing- The idea is to get to this stage, a group free of conflict and is performing on all cylinders. Leaders must know though that any change can start the process all over again. 

Communications in interviews

I took a peek at a website which discussed communications in job interviews, and gave examples of some do’s and dont’s/ Being in the Navy for the last 19 years, I havent had a job interview to say, but I have interviewed for different positions. I also have an interview for a new position in the next couple of months. 19 years is a long time in an organization, and all good things must come to an end sonner or later. I have 8 more years left in the Navy and am already preparing myself for the transition to a civilian life. Competition for jobs is stiff in the civilian world, and having the Navy be the only thing that I have ever done can make it harder when I convert to the new lifestyle. Between the upcoming interview for my new position, and my eventual transition to civilian life, the tips I found here are useful.

1. Start with appropriate small talk- When I met my spouse the first thing I said to her was “fat penguin”- she looked at me very confused. I explained to her that I just wanted to say something that would break the ice. Corny joke, I know, but the small talk get me in to communicating with her. I would not start an interview with a joke, but starting with small talk to break the ice can remove any nerves that I may have.

2. Address the interviewer by name- This is natural to me. Being military we have learned our manners, and always treat superiors with the respect that is given; however, what I picked up from here is that instead of saying Sir or Mam, I can start with Mr. or Ms.. This creates a more comfortable atmosphere and brings everyone to the same level.

3. Match your communication style to the interviewer- Staying on the same level with them allows the interview to go more smoothly. If they are relaxed and you are serious, then the interview can be tense. Also, if you are relaxed and they are serious then they can think that you consider this to be more of a joke. Good tip!

4. Dont talk too much- As a supervisor in sales, and a former salesman myself I can see where this can be disastrious. I have witnessed my recruiters talk applicants OUT of joining the Navy. In this case you can do the same thing and talk yourself OUT of a job!

5. Avoid interrupting the interviewer- This is just blatantly disrespecful. not only that, if interrupting the interviewer you face the chance of not answering the real question. Assuming what the interviewer is going to say, and interrupting to answer is not a good choice. Let them talk, think about your answer, then answer.

6. Avoid jargon and acronyms- This will be the hardest for me to do when I leave the military. Jargon and acronyms are ourlifestyle and after 26-30 years of using them, just throwing them away will be hard. Besides half of my job relates to acronyms, some that I am not sure what they even stand for. It has just been the norm to call something a NRC or a IG. This will be my greatest challenge, but one that I am ready to tackle head on!

Leadership Vs Management

Whats the difference? During a class last semester we were comparing the two, when I gave my thought that leadership was leading people and management was managing resources. This definitely caused and uproar in the class, as managers quickly informed me that they lead people also. “Critically thinking” this would allow people to understand that they can be both  manager and a leader though, so I will stick to my guns.  

Leadership is leading people to accomplish a task. When you are dealing with people you lead them to attain their goals. You lead them to accomplish missions or tasks. Leadership is setting the example for others to follow. Leadership is motivating, mentoring, and influencing others. This has always been a skill set of mine. I ensure that my Sailors become the best that they can be. I encourage them to achieve their goals and set the example by achieving mine. defines management as “The organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives. Management is often included as a factor of production along with‚ machines, materials, and money.” You manage the resources, and lead the people. The two are very much intertwined and an effective manager must effectively lead the people also. This is an area that I can do better in. I lead people well, yet have trouble at times managing the systems that I must use for work. I can get the most out of my Sailors, but am I getting the most out of myself.
Continued process improvement. Knowing where we can improve makes us better, and admitting that improvement can be made is even more beneficial.