Introduction Redux

by Christian L Haller on April 11, 2012

So, today is my first post in support of the Internet Marketing Course.  I appreciate everyone’s patience with my slow start this year.

For background, Leadership is a Choice is the working laboratory for the development of my book and business founded to develop world class leadership for any organization.

Leadership is a Choice hangs out at that intersection of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Behavioral Psychology and examines the evolutionary forces that not only shape our behaviors, but specifically that evolved leadership skills. This region of study is typically referred to as Evolutionary Leadership Theory or ELT for short.

I’ll start this series of posts with a short primer on ELT to be followed by a some case studies of how ELT predicts much of the chronic failure of leadership we see in government and business today, as well as how you can take advantage of ELT to master leadership in any situation.  After that, I will spend some time discussing specifically how ELT can be used to help women succeed as leaders. It’s interesting to note that study after study shows unequivocally that both men and women prefer the unique and special leadership characteristics that women bring to the table –  yet studies also indicate that women and men both prefer men as leaders over women by a wide margin. Only a few women have managed to overcome this obstacle – as evidenced by their under presentation in nearly all organizations.  I’ll explain how you can do the same.

Unlike most other “theories of leadership”, everything I will present is based on true scientific studies of human behavior.  Scientific meaning repeatable blind testing by a variety of scientists.  Most of the information you won’t see anywhere else.

Do know that much of the information here will carry some controversy.  I won’t be writing about how things should be, but rather how they are and how to maximize your world as a result.

Until tomorrow.

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Agreement in Principle

by Christian Haller on October 26, 2011

Leaders lead change.  To get real change, it is incumbent upon the leader to develop buy-in to the vision by the followers and get agreement on the path forward to implement the vision.  Or else suffer the followers rebellious activities discussed in earlier posts.

The leader who fails in this fundamental step has no followers in fact.  True, some may go along for the ride to protect turf or status or a paycheck, but unless the followers truly embrace the leader’s vision, AND the plan to achieve that goal, the best you’ll have is people going through the motions.  At worst, people will look for secret ways to sabotage the outcome.

One of the most common mistakes I observe with too much regularity is The Fallacy of Agreement in Principle. Generally, most new leaders have not mastered influence and persuasion, the subtle details of effective communication and the dynamics of groups.  When faced with a group of followers in disarray or disharmony, in an effort to develop a sort of buy-in, the novice leader steps back in frustration and shifts the discussion from the details of action and “raises” the discussion to the so-called of higher level principles involved.  The Fallacy of Agreement in Principle is that agreement only in principle is really no agreement at all. Israel and Palestine agree in principle that peace is good. The vegetarian and carnivore alike agree in principle that food is good.

A real life example I am currently resolving may help illustrate the situation.  The Commander of an army has a vision for how to attack and conquer an enemy.

The generals of two of his four divisions agree with and are ready to implement the details of the Commander’s battle plans.  The generals of the Commander’s remaining two divisions are not in agreement with the Commander. Following weeks and months of hard negotiations and consensus building to bring all four generals into agreement, the two dissenting generals remain entrenched in their disagreement regarding the strategy for the battle plan envisioned by the Commander.  The Commander, frustrated by his inability to bring all four generals on board, steps back and in a last attempt to resolve the impasse, gets all four generals to Agree In Principle to the soundness of basic elements of the battle plan.

With all four general Agreeing in Principle, the Commander declares consensus and a date for the battle is set.  The dissenting generals, who fear their positions could be lost should they continue to push their disagreement, find relief in having some point to agree on.

Of course, the staff officers and soldiers cannot follow principles onto the battlefield.  One of the dissenting generals secretly develops his own version of the battle plan to follow.  Of course it is not compatible with the overall battle plan and so the consequences on the battlefield are severe.  The remaining dissenting general agrees to use the Commander’s battle plan but without firm belief in the plan, his presence with his troops is weak and his dissension is clear.  His troops act without conviction or firmness of belief.  Their outcome is tragic as well.

And so goes the battle overall. His Army in disarray, the Commander’s will cannot be realized.  Even the generals in agreement with details of the Commander’s plan suffer heavy loses due to a lack of an overall coordinated approach.  Ironically, the dissenting generals use this fact as vindication that their dissension was sound.

The Fallacy of Agreement in Principle is a sucker’s play for all concerned.  There is a reason a new leader in any organization may need to clear house in time of great change.  It is simply a necessary action if, despite a great attempt to develop real agreement, it’s just not their.  Regardless of where you many find yourself in a similar situation, remember that it is always best to move on rather than take the losses that always result.

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The Dark Side of Leadership

May 24, 2011

So let’s assume you find yourself to be one of those visionary leader types.  Or you work with one.  While you (or they) have managed to avoid the pitfalls of the Dark Triad, what else can go wrong? We’ve all heard that strengths, taken to an extreme, are a weakness.  A good corollary is that […]

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Why Most Meetings Don’t Work

May 5, 2011

It’s no secret that many people would rather get have their fingernails pulled out rather than suffer through yet another meeting.  It seems as though no matter the form or content of the organization, people feel both compelled to meet and yet also try so hard to avoid them at the same time. Of course, […]

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Layers – Context versus Control

April 30, 2011

On top of the six leadership styles and four personality types, we have a number of other layers that transcend all leadership styles.  Probably the most important layer is the concept of context versus control. A contextual leader gives his followers guidelines on the goals and vision, gives them the coaching and guidance to execute, […]

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The Visionary (Authoritative) Leader

April 28, 2011

The Visionary style was saved for last for a reason.  It’s the go to, natural style, for some of the biggest movers in industry.  In most studies on leadership, it is identified as the most effective.  Ask most anyone what they seek most in a leader and the greatest answer will always be a vision. […]

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The Affiliative (Counselor) Leadership Style

April 25, 2011

The Affiliative (Counselor) Leader is all about the people.  These leaders value individuals and their emotions more than tasks and goals – often causing serious conflicts with leaders of differing primary styles.  The affiliative leader strives to keep followers happy and to create harmony among them. He leads by building strong emotional bonds and then […]

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The Mentor (Yoda) Leadership Style

April 24, 2011

Mentor Leaders help followers identify their unique strengths and weaknesses and tie them to their personal and career aspirations. They encourage followers to establish long-term quality of life plans, including development goals and help them conceptualize an actionable plan for attaining them. They make agreements with their followers about their role and respon­sibilities in enacting […]

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The Pacesetting Style

April 22, 2011

At first blush, the Pacesetting (Drill Instructor) leadership style seems like win-win.  The foundation of the pacesetting style sound great – the leader sets extremely high performance stan­dards and exemplifies them himself. He is obses­sive about doing things better and faster (never satisfied with the status quo), and he asks the same of everyone around […]

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The Democratic (Consensus) Style

April 20, 2011

Just the name democratic sounds good doesn’t it? By spending time getting people’s ideas and buy-in, a leader can build trust, re spect, and commitment. By letting followers have a say in decisions that affect their goals and how they do their work, the democratic leader drives tends to build flexibility and responsibility. And by […]

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