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I read somewhere, that I should make notes of what I read and review them from time to time. I decided to give it a try, since I read a lot and I think making such notes will be for me a way of remembering best ideas, quotes, or whatever from my books and magazines. I also decided to share those notes with you, in edited form as some have gotten pretty long. In many cases I copied whole passages without noting the page numbers, which is against good reference practices, but of course I will list title and author of a book (or article) where I got the notes from.

I do that with hope that at least some of you will reach for mentioned magazine or book when you will find my notes interesting. Ach, one more thing: small number of notes do not mean that the book or magazine was not good…

Here is what I noted from the article “Leadership in context” by Michael Bazigos, Chris Gagnon, and Bill Schaninger:

“Great leaders complicate leadership development […] as the lessons that emerge from one leader’s experience may be completely inapplicable to another’s.”

Agree. Leadership is not a set of universal traits one can copy.

“…If only we had a clear set of keys to effective organisational leadership – a “decoder ring” to understand which practices produce the best outcomes. Our latest research […] does point to one major element of the equation: organizational health.”

“…Organizational health changes over time. Effective situational leadership adapts to those changes by identifying and marshalling the kinds of behaviour needed to transition a company from its present state to a stronger, healthier one.”

“…When we examine survey data through the lens of the different levels of an organization, we find that leading executives typically have more favourable views of its health than do its line workers.”

“…In ailing organizations, for example, the leadership tends to rely on very detailed instructions and monitoring […] A healthier organization’s leadership […] shows greater support for colleagues and subordinates, and sensitivity to their needs […] Leaders at elite organizations challenge employees to aspire higher still by setting stretch goals that inspire them to reach their full potential.”

“…analysis yielded what we call a leadership staircase – a pyramid of behaviour analogous to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In our hierarchy […] some kinds of behaviour are always essential. As organizational health improves […] additional behaviours become apparent.”

“…The following practices are appropriate no matter what a company’s health may be: effectiveness at facilitating group collaboration, demonstrating concern for people, championing desired change, and offering critical perspectives (all of them represent baseline behaviour). The absence of such fundamentals of healthy interpersonal interaction invites disorder […]”

“Companies in the lowest health quartile confront stark […] challenges, such as low-level of innovation, declining customer loyalty, wilting employee morale, the loss of major talent, and critical cash constraints […] these companies lack some or even all of the baseline forms of behaviour […] under trying conditions, the most effective forms of leadership behaviour are making fact-based decisions, solving problems effectively, and focusing positively on recovery (digging out behaviour)”

“…major differentiating leadership characteristic of companies on the upswing is the ability to take practices that are already used at some levels of the organization and use them more systematically, more reliably, and more quickly. This shift calls for behaviour that places a special emphasis on keeping groups on task and orienting them toward well-defined results. Such situations also favour leaders who embrace agility and seek different perspectives to help ensure that their companies don’t overlook possibly better ways of doing things (moving on up behaviour).”

Motivate and bring out the best in others, and Model organizational values – to the top behaviour.

“…Emphasising kinds of behaviour that are not attuned to an organization’s specific situation can waste time and resources and reinforce bad behaviour […] it can make an upgrade to a higher health quartile even more difficult.”

Connecting organizational health to leadership is for me a chicken and an egg problem. In my opinion, organizational health is a result of leadership. If leadership is bad, health of organization is bad. Leadership – or people in position of leaders – affect everything. Sometimes even without knowing about it. Bad leaders will quickly destroy the best and healthiest organization. Therefore before you will be able to somehow use above research results, you need to get rid of bad people first. Good luck in that – before it will be too late.

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