Friday, July 20, 2007

Leadership, Understanding Machiavelli

A. Is it Better to be Loved of Feared?
(Scott Snook)
At Harvard Business School, Professor Scott Snook uses this classic quote to help students become more effective leaders. Using two of the most successful college basketball coaches in history—coaches with as divergent leadership practices as can be imagined. Asks students to confront their basic assumptions about human nature, motivation, and preferred styles of leading.

Bobby Knight, also known as "The General," is the head coach at Texas Tech University. He's a fiery, in-your-face taskmaster who leads through discipline and intimidation, which some critics say goes too far. Mike Krzyzewski, also known as Coach K, leads the men's basketball program at Duke University. Instead of fear, Krzyzewski relies heavily on positive reinforcement, open and warm communication, and caring support.

The stage is set for student to explore their own fundamental assumptions about leadership and human nature. Are people basically lazy or energetic? What motivates people to do their best? What is the most effective style of leading? Is it better to be loved or feared? Knight or Krzyzewski, whom would you hire?

There two types of human. First, If you believe people are fundamentally good—good meaning that they're trying to do their best, self-motivated, want to perform—then your fundamental leadership style will be one way. It will be empowering them, getting obstacles out of the way, and setting high goals while maintaining standards. Second, If you believe people are fundamentally bad—if you believe people are constantly looking to get over and get by and won't do anything unless they're watched—then you'll tend to lead with a very transactional management style that's built primarily around rewards and punishments. Tight supervision, a controlling type of leadership style characterized by a great deal of social distance between leaders and led.

In a company, some employees work better when structure is imposed on them, Snook observes. "It's the understanding that 'I work better, I will perform better, I'll make more money if somebody gives me a pay-per-perform' " work environment, says Snook, "The ultimate lesson is, what kind of person am I, and then what are the implications of my underlying assumptions for how I lead, and the kind of organizations and the type of situations I'm more effective in? It's not like one's better, one's worse."

Also "There are skills in the workplace that you only get through repetition, drill, habit, and discipline. A lot of times we're not real good at those," Snook continues. "So having an external force, whether it's a leader or a compensation system, forces you to do something you wouldn't ordinarily do, the mundane things that make you a better person, a better leader, or a better basketball player.
There are three ovals. First oval is who you are. Middle oval is how you lead. The third oval is the situation. Leaders who can recognize and call upon all three areas can expand their range of management styles to meet the needs of the situation, Snook says. "That could be an individual subordinate who needs more structure, or less structure, or more love, more challenge, or more support. Increasing your ability to accurately read relevant situational demands, understand more clearly your own assumptions about human nature, and then appropriately adapt 'how you lead,' your style, is a life-long process."

For hiring managers, one lesson is to understand the dominant type of motivation supported by your corporate culture and hire people who thrive in those situation,
There is another interesting intersection of the dramatis personae in this tale of two coaches. In the late 1960s, Coach Knight was the basketball coach at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he recruited a young player named Mike Krzyzewski. "Coach K was a young, scrappy kid. He wasn't the best athlete on the team, but he had a lot of leadership potential," Snook says. After Krzyzewski left the Army, he joined Knight as a graduate assistant at Indiana, and the older coach became his mentor."They've been great friends, how could these two people who are so different in their approach to the same game be in each other's corner the whole time?"

B. Niccolo Machiavelli and The Twentieth Century Administrator
(Rihard P Calhoon)
Machiavelli would applaud the widespread application of leadership in today’s organizations and the sophisticated refinements added a consequence of changing culture and increased knowledge. His insightful observations have continued to living for five hundred years is a testimonial to two facts: 1. Tactics that are sound, based on a realistic knowledge of behavior and 2. Ploys that are natural courses of action, undertaken by leader of any period to acquire power, resist aggression and control subordinates. The full extent and ubiquity of Machiavelli’s concepts relevant to present day organizational administrators have largely escaped notice. Emphasis on good practices and principles of management on the one hand have tended obscure the action of leaders that are unsavory but effective. On the other hand, the prevailing connotation of Machiavellian as a conniving, manipulative, cold-blocked means for arriving at selfish ends has completely overshadowed the need for and validity of his concepts. Journals, articles and books on management area are in increasing number, referring strategies used in leadership to pressure tactics and to other aspects of Machiavellianism as a matter of fact.

While in exile, he completed his most famous and infamous book, The Prince. Machiavelli called his book The Prince and not something like The Art of Government because he saw success and failure for states as stemming directly from the qualities of the leader.

The reasons for the continuing vitality of all these contributions and especially of his insights into leadership can be seen more clearly in the following:
1. His scientific point of view.
2. The laboratory in which he made his analyses was unique in history.
3. The period of exile provided time for reflection, for building on his considerable experience and knowledge.
4. Machiavelli’s observational method of studying leadership enabled him to cover a range of leadership actions of amazing breadth.
5. Historical analogy the principal method used by Machiavelli to prove his concepts of leadership is a valuable tool for analysis when properly used.

What concepts had written by Machiavelli in past similar with what happen at present. A corporation is not something different from a state with some interesting similarities; it is a state with few unimportant differences. The point is the corporations and states both have leaders and although culture, society, circumstances and organizational structure modify behavior, interactions and tactics have marked similarities within the leadership task regardless of the specific setting, but there is little alteration in the basics of human behavior despite social culture shifts.

The problems of motivating people existed in Machiavelli’s era and they are present, today’s employees however are much more sophisticated than was the populace in Machiavelli’s time education. Both the tasks and the interaction of people within organizations at various levels presented much the same dilemmas. The difference between administrative behavior in Machiavelli’s time and today is largely one of degree in rules of the game. But feelings needs for power and actions to control the behavior of others follow remarkably similar paths, as detailed examination of Machiavelli’s writings relative to current leadership actions will reveal.

A number of forces are responsible for Machiavellian actions on the part of leaders today:

1. Ambition – consequent impatience
2. Organizational Constraints – on actions or incentives
3. The Failure of Less Directive Methods – setting examples or giving cues
4. Operational – feasibility as observed and as a consequence of trial and error.
5. Ignorance – aggressiveness, etc; the only ways to known to obtain results.
6. Personality of the Individual

For some examples of the many more prevalent Machiavellianism that are justified or necessary for the good of the organization or for protecting oneself in the face of resistive, low motivated or unprincipled personnel using deviousness when power is limited and some action is required, inducing a non delegating superior to expand one’s duties, activating the man who is secure in his job, who knows that he is and who will not do what he should, counteracting the moves of someone who is out to get one’s job, to make one look bad or to make himself look good in comparison with one. At this point there are some thoughts about Machiavellianism today to provide balance. Awareness aggressive sort of leadership can be helpful if the net result is increased understanding of administrative behavior without provoking an inordinate amount of paranoia.

One interesting point when learn about leadership in Organization Management is about leadership. A leader of an organization is like a composer who will make or bring the organization to achieve the organization’s vision and mission. Until now, one of the topic that never stopping is debating about Machiavelli’s leadership.

Even Professor Snook at Harvard Business School uses Machiavelli’s leadership theory to understanding about human nature, motivation and preferred styles of leading.
After learning the journal about Niccolo Machiavelli, it’s describe about the brilliant things about how Machiavelli observed something real in reality about human styles of leadership. The point that Machiavelli describes is the leader dilemmas when face two different things which are organization vision with human nature, which one will be chosen.

Prof Snook implicitly said, when a leader knows about human nature, sometimes the leader can use something hard to push the staffs. As example, in modern world, Machiavelli’s theory is using in stick and carrot theory.

A leader must understand his/her own, the situation and the people who is lead, that means the type of leadership must adapt in the situation without sacrifice organization’s purposes.

The good thing learning about Machiavelli is he described all the bad things about human nature, ignored about kindness, religiousness and ethics. It is not about the styles of Machiavelli leadership. He described, in reality there a lot of people trying get his/her own goal by hook or by crook.

Understanding the Machiavelli’s theory will give a leader how to manage staff that has his/her own goal that different with organization’s purposes. That theory also described how to change bad habits in human nature as stated about ambition, organizational constraints, operationally, ignorance, personality of the individual.


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