Blog posts September 2016

Leadership Philosophy

September 14, 2016

Developing a Philosophy of Leadership

A leadership philosophy is the way we see ourselves as leaders. This philosophy guides our actions, our behaviors, and our thoughts. Our philosophies are influenced by external and internal forces. We can change who we are as leaders by simply changing our philosophy of leadership. Leadership philosophies can change as you grow to understand yourself within the context of leading.

Creating or finding your leadership philosophy means that you must explore and reflect upon your personal values, assumptions, and beliefs about leadership.

Personal values are qualities or characteristics that you value. You would rather leave an organization or step down as a leader than violate your values. Your values guide your intentions and they influence how you lead. When your personal values are clear and you are conscious of them, you create a solid foundation for leading.

Assumptions are ideas that are assumed or believed to be true. As a leader it is important to understand what assumptions fuel your leadership thinking. Often leaders are not aware of the assumptions because they are operating from certain paradigms that will not allow them to see assumptions. Reflection into one’s leadership is an excellent way to uncover assumptions.

Beliefs are ideas that we hold to be true; they shape our realities. If a leader believes that the only individuals in an organization that can make decisions is the management staff, then that belief will influence how the leader treats others. Beliefs can also be unconscious; they are for us a habitual way of thinking and acting that it doesn’t cross our minds that our beliefs may be prohibiting us.

The following is an exercise to help you create, find, or define your personal philosophy of leadership.

Exercise 1: Identifying Your Leadership Values

From the list below, pick five core values that you feel describe and guide who you are as a leader. You may choose other values that are not on this list. Place them in the following chart and answer the questions in the matrix.

Achievement Balance CreativityIntegrity
Activity ChallengeDiverse perspectives Justice
Advancement Change DutyLove
Adventure Collaboration Economic security Loyalty
Affiliation Community Friendship Personal Development Affluence Competency Health Recognition
Authority Competition Humor Self-respect
Autonomy CourageHarmony Wisdom

Other values that you would like to include but are not on the list?

Identifying Your Leadership Values

| VALUES |Personal Definition of Values |How do you envision these values playing | |List your values here |List here your definition of these values |out in your leadership? | | |here | | | | | | |1. | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |2. |
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | |3. | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |4. | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |5. | | | | | | | | | | |

Exercise 2: Uncovering Your Leadership Assumptions

Answer the following questions about leadership. By reflecting on these questions, you will find what assumptions are driving your leadership thinking.

1. Write down two stories of leadership. One story should describe a positive experience you’ve had with leadership and the second story should describe a
time when you had a negative experience with leadership.

2. In the space below, write down your definition of leadership.

3. Using your definition of leadership, please elaborate how you first came to understand (or know) your leadership definition.

4. Describe who are the individuals or organizations that influence your leadership definition.

For each of the questions in this section, ask yourself:

1. What were my assumptions?
2. What influenced my assumptions?
3. Would others (co-workers, friends, supervisors) see the situations I described differently?

Exercise 3: Understanding Your Leadership Beliefs

Answer the following questions about leadership beliefs. By reflecting on these questions, you will find what beliefs you hold about leadership.

1. Can people who have caused others harm be leaders, e.g. Adolph Hitler?

2. Should leaders have certain qualities to be able to lead?

3. Who decides who leads?

4. How do leaders gain credibility?

5. In general, is there something good about leadership?

6. What do you think is the purpose for leadership?

7. Is leadership behavior developed through personal experiences or through
external forces?

For the questions above, write down one statement for each question that best illustrates your belief about that question. For example, if you answered #6 with: The purpose of leadership is to provide vision, guidance, and bring people together for a common good. It unites people and gets them to join together for a goal, then your belief statement may be: I believe that leadership provides a vision to create a common good. Write a statement for each question. These statements will be used in combination with the other activities to create a philosophy of leadership for you.

Exercise 4: Finalizing Your Leadership Philosophy

Now that you’ve identified your leadership values, uncovered your leadership assumptions, and understand what beliefs guide your leadership thinking, you are now ready to write statements reflecting your leadership philosophy using the responses above. Statements about your leadership should be written in the present moment not in the future tense. Creating “present moment” statements helps you to internalize and visualize your philosophy as it is happening now, not in the future or the past.

Your leadership philosophy should be a statement that consists of your responses from the above exercise. It doesn’t have to include everything, but it should encompass the general idea of what you’ve written. It doesn’t have to be formatted in a certain way – just whatever makes sense to you. You can write one sentence statements or you can write a story explaining your philosophy. Start with an initial draft of your philosophy and write it down. Revise it as often as you need. Remember, your philosophy can change depending on where you are at with your leadership.

After you’ve finished, type out your philosophy on a nice sheet of paper and frame it. Add pictures or artwork to your philosophy. Place it in an area where you will see it all the time; this will serve as a reminder to you to remain true to your leadership. The following is a sample philosophy statement consisting of one sentence statements. Remember, you can write
your philosophy in any way that makes sense to you. My Leadership Philosophy is…

I believe that leadership is a journey that consists of followers and leaders. I balance my work and personal success.
I always help people to find the best in themselves.
I spend time reflecting on my leadership and its implications on others. I value integrity in personal and professional development.
I respect leadership from different perspectives and ways of knowing. I listen with respect and gratitude to others.


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Language and Culture

September 14, 2016

One’s culture affects almost all of one’s communication behaviors. I discovered an article written by Margaret Cote, “Language Reflects Culture,” that reveals many of the differences between the Saulteaux language and the English language. Margaret Cote states, “Language determines the way a person views the world.” She describes how Indian people view things around them differently then English speaking people do. Margaret Cote says that she views the world around her in two different ways depending on what language she is speaking. In this paper I will discuss how attitudes and behavior are determined by the language one speaks and how language does indeed reflect a culture.                

One’s culture determines the way one processes information and how one copes with reality. Concepts and objects have frames of reference that differ from culture to culture. The meaning of a word partly depends on the culture’s historical relation to the concept or object described. When Margaret Cope returns home the topic of the conversation determines the language she speaks. Different cultures see the world differently. The Saulteaux people are extremely concerned with exactness and have different words for we and you, depending on whether they are being inclusive or exclusive. American culture is not as concerned with exactness and therefore we use the words we and you differently. Different cultures have different beliefs and values and these are expressed in their language, whether it be verbal or non-verbal. Many misunderstandings occur in intercultural communications because many are unaware of these differences. It is important for one to learn the differences of various cultures for one to understand one’s own identity. It is through knowing about others that one learns what is truly important to oneself.            

Language Reflects a Culture Languages group aspects of reality together. Things that are important to a culture have many groups and words for those things. Things that are insignificant have fewer groups and words. For example, there are many different words for car in the English language, because cars are very important to us. In the Saulteaux language there are many words for snow, because snow is an important factor for them. Both verbal and non-verbal communication reflects whether or not a culture values individualism or collectivism. Individualistic cultures value

self-expression, speak out to solve problems and are confrontational when dealing with interpersonal problems. In collectivist cultures people have unconditional loyalty to the group and use avoidance, and face-saving techniques to solve problems (Hybels, S. & Weaver, R. (2007). P.64). Culture determines one’s long-term or short-term orientation. In cultures with long-term orientation people value tradition, persistence, relationships by status, and having a sense of shame. In cultures with short-term orientation people do not value tradition as much because it tends to prevent innovation, nor do they have the same sense of shame or need to save face (p. 65).    Communication between different cultures can be difficult. Many individuals either lack knowledge of other cultures or are just naïve when it comes to dealing with individuals from other cultures. There are many barriers to intercultural communication, including ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Ethnocentrism is when one believes one’s own cultural norms and ways of thinking are superior to all other cultures. Ethnocentrism becomes a barrier to intercultural communication when one refuses to believe that another culture’s beliefs have any real value. It prevents one from seeing another’s point of view and greatly hampers empathy (p.66). Stereotyping is oversimplifying or distorting views of another culture. Stereotypes categorize and generalize the information we receive daily. The problem with stereotypes is once they are established they are difficult to remove. Individuals tend to view things that fit the stereotype rather than see things that dispute them. This can be a barrier to intercultural communication because if one believes a negative stereotype about a certain culture they are much less likely to empathize with them (p.66). Prejudice is a negative attitude toward a cultural group. These attitudes are usually based on little or no experience. When one has prejudice feelings towards another cultural group they do not like them because of some unseen or unproven fact. This greatly hampers intercultural communication because when one has a prejudice they form an opinion about a person before they even get to know them. Stereotypes often lead to prejudice. Getting to know individuals from different cultures assists one in eliminating prejudice (p.67). Discrimination takes stereotypes and prejudice one step further by excluding, avoiding, and distancing oneself from other cultural groups.

Discrimination is a barrier to intercultural communication because it does not allow interaction between different cultural groups. When one does not experience interactions with other cultural groups they are unable to learn about different beliefs and values.                    

In closing, language is a pattern that ascertains the shape our thoughts and experiences take. One’s culture affects almost all of one’s communication behaviors. It determines how one views the world. The words and actions of individuals are determined by one’s culture. Communication behaviors are mostly learned when one is young by imitating those around one.   Culture affects one’s attitudes and behaviors, and it reflects exactly what is most important to the people of that culture. Learning about different cultures can assist one when having intercultural communications. When we open our minds and hearts we are much less likely to stereotype, be prejudice against, or to discriminate against individuals that are different then ourselves. Being open and accepting of others makes intercultural communications a rewarding experience.


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Managing Employment Relationship in China

September 14, 2016

China has moved from a closed, centrally planned economic system to a moremarket-oriented since the late 1970s and became the second largest economy after the US with the biggest labour force in the world. As a socialist country with the legacy of the state planned economy embedded in the country’s political and economic system, the role of the Chinese government in various sectors has remained dominant. This essay aims to analyse the role of the state in the management of the employment relationship as well as its future role in the development of this systemin China. Characteristics of employment relations in China are now diverging across different ownership forms, industrial sectors and groups of workers. Due to the poor representation by unions as well as employer’s associations, employment relations in China are shaped largely between the employer and workers, with the majority of workers having little bargaining power.

The role of state is crucial in shaping employment relations through the enactment of laws and regulations. However, employers seem to find ways to bypass legal constraints and workers tolerate unlawful employment practices for fear of job losses.To some extent, the employment relations are influenced by the Chinese traditional culture that emphasises social cohesion and stresses the importance of social values over individual interests, cooperation over conflict and trust over power. During its process of economic reform, the development of the labour market has undergone three stages. The first one is the highly regulatedlabour market during the state planned economy period. The second period of deregulation was between the 1980s and the early 2000s.The third period began in 2007, in which the government sought to re-regulate the labour market to provide greater employment protection to workers. Unions do not have much power and are generally ineffective in representing worker interests. The All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU) founded in 1925 is the only trade union recognised by the Chinese government, which served to provide support to the Party by mobilising workers.Union roles and responsibilities are set out by state laws which require them to safeguard interests of employees, employers, and actively participate in the economic development of the nation.At this stage unions took up two major functions: skill training and assisting laid-off workers to gain employment. Employer associations in China are not well established. The China Enterprise Confederation(CEC)which is only officially recognised by the stateplays a limited role in employment relations. The employer associations usually act on behalf of the state to implement government policy. In recent times, the lobbying power of Chinese employers is on the rise when private firms and FIEs are significant employers. Outside the state sector employment relations are mainly shaped at the enterprise level. In China the term ‘Collective Consultation’ is preferred by the state to collective bargaining as it conforms to the Chinese culture of non-confrontation and conflict avoidance. From 1995 onwards the unions were given the role of representing workers when consulting with employers and signing collective contractswithout any direct involvement of workers or any real negotiation process. The role of state as an employer, legislator and economic manager is dominant.This is despite the fact that there is only a shrinking population employed in the state sector in recent times.The private sector has been encouraged to grow through the removal of policy restrictions and operational barriers, together with the provision of financial incentives.Once marginalised in the state-planned economy due to the ideological clash between capitalism and socialism, the private sector now holds a major stake in the economy.There are a number of important labour laws in China: Labour Law of China in 1995, Labour Market Wage Rate Guideline(1999), Special Regulation on Minimum Wage (2004) and Amended Trade Union Law (2001). Three major pieces of legislation were passed in 2007, including Labour Contract Law, Employment Promotion Law, Labour Disputes Mediation and Arbitration Law. A unique feature of the Chinese laws and regulations is that central government provides the broad framework. It is up to the local governments to devise their localised regulations to suit local characteristics, based on these master prints.However, the decentralisation of interpretation and enforcement opens up opportunities for implementation slippage.Further the existing body of employment regulations primarily targets those in the formal sector. There is considerable ambiguity about whether many of these laws apply to those in the informal sector – Employers take advantage of these legal loopholes and argue for exemption.While the labour laws carry more legal power, they provide limited regulations on the labour market. Where changes in employment practices are taking place, there are often a result of the enactment of employment related laws and regulations. The role of the state

therefore continues to be crucial in shaping employment relations in the foreseeable future. Chinese system of employment relations might face a number of current and future issues. The rapid expansion of the informal employment sector was primarily resulted from cost saving (from the employers’ perspective) and creation of employment opportunities (from the governments’). Employees in this sector are exploited in many ways. Next, there has been a significant growth in the number of employment agencies catering to the lower end of the labour market. Although these benefited both the worker and the client, agencies have been criticised for their money making motive. The lack of work-life balance is also becoming an issue in the managerial and professional jobs leading to health and retention problems, e.g. long working hours without higher rates of pay. To some extents, there are a number of differences between the management of the employment relationship in a newly industrialised market economy such as China and that in other developed market economies. Western approaches to employment relations is a value system founded on the concepts of democracy and pluralism, a `balance of power' between the two social partners, and minimal State intervention. Such resolution is left mainly to the two social partners through bipartite mechanisms, primarily the instrument of collective bargaining. Differently, governments' determination of the economic direction of newly industrialised countries was a critical factor in shaping the employment relations systems. Collective bargaining and freedom of association is not as widespread and encouraged by state in newly industrialised countries as in the developed countries. Moreover, Western governments did not, unlike some newly industrialised ones, `create' unions. Another distinction could be suggested by reference to the reactions to industrial conflict. Western societies recognise industrial conflict as a natural consequence of a failure to reconcile conflicting interests on fundamental matters such as wages. In newly industrialised countries, governments and employers seem to prevent or curtail strikes. In conclusion, employment relations in China have undergone significant changes during its process of economic reform. As a socialist country with the legacy of the state planned economy embedded in the country’s political and economic system, the role of the Chinese government in the management of employment relations has remained dominant. It can be forecasted that the
state will continue to play a central role in the foreseeable future.

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Why democracy in Pakistan

September 14, 2016

Let’s All Be Kings…
Pakistan emerged as a result of long and arduous freedom movement. After independence, there had been lack of agreement on what system of government the country should adopt. As a result Pakistan has undergone different political and constitutional experiments. The system of government kept on switching between dictatorship and democracy. This irresolution contributed a lot to various crises like military coups, strife among ethnic groups, human rights violation and underdevelopment. In context of Pakistan, democracy seems to be more appropriate form of government. Although, some say that Pakistan’s literacy level might not support democracy,however it serves as a better governance system because it safeguards human rights, facilitates economic growth and equality, and respects cultural and ethnic diversity.
Almost always violations of the basic human rights are connected with poor governance. Particularly in Pakistan, people always have had doubts about incompetent rulers. Persecution of minorities, denying women’s rights, andsuppression of media’s voices constitute the structural injustices of the government, which have caused severe unrest in the country. However, in recent times the civil society in Pakistan has been quite active as compared to the past, andthere is a growing awareness among themassesabout equal civil rights. Not surprisingly, it has led to an ever more vocal demand for a democratic form of government. Since in a democracy, the power lies in the hands of the people and the country is governed by their elected representatives,the government is most likely to reflect the will and the preferences of the people. A democratic government elected by adult franchise can be trusted to promote basic human rights like individual freedom and equality because these rights are aligned directly with the spirit of democracy. History of Pakistan shows that military dictators ruled the country for most part. There have been numerous instances of human rights violations during the era. Zia-ul-Haq’sautocratic regime is entirelycharacterized bycensorship of media, banning of student
and labor unions, exiling political figures, and public lashings of women. In contrast to dictatorial era, the subsequent elected governments show a large improvement in protection of human rights. That is why it can be safely asserted that a democratic setup is pertinentfor ensuring the basic human rights in the country.
While considering the slow pace of human development in Pakistan, the progressive needs put emphasis on a democratic set up in the country. Sincedemocracy works on theprinciple
that everyone gets equal participation in the decision making process. Hence, the economic policies have to be oriented towards consequences that will be promisingfor masses. Currently, there is an immense economic disparity in Pakistan. The solution for this problem requiresactive involvement of the people in the legislations, because people from a certain economic class can present and think about solutions to their own problems with greater efficiency.Thus, democracy appears to be the most suitable system because in this system,people can raise their voices to create economic and social opportunities for themselves.
In ademocracy people, especially the lowereconomic class can spread public awareness of their problems to develop a consensus for suitable polices. Intellectualelite andcivil society, as a result, start to speak on behalf of theirinterests. One example ofsuch a political movement of
lower classis Anjuman Mazarain Punjab (AMP), a peasant organization in Okara Punjab. The peasants of this movement had been working in military farms since last century with minimum rights. In 2001, they began to organize themselvesto raise their voice for rights. Consequently AMP started to get attention of various human rights organizations. The pressure and condemnation of the organizations forced the army to retreat from their position on the issue (Ali
3). Only by attending to the needs of poor classes, the country can dream of real progress in living conditions of people. The reduction of poverty level will boost the development rate of the
country. Hence, democracy is vital for human development.
Cultural, ethnic, and linguisticdiversity in Pakistan strengthens the case for democracy. Pakistan is one of the most complex states in the world when it comes to ethnic division. The ethnic diversity can pose a substantial threat to the unity of Pakistan, if it is dealt in an undemocratic manner. The continuous dictatorial rule in Pakistan produced grievances and resentment among Bengalis.In result, they waged a secessionist movement on ethno-national bases and got separated in 1971(Majeed 54).Balochis have protested frequently along similarlines. In such astate of affairs, democracy offersthe best possible solution as it gives equal incentives to every ethnic and regional group for participation in decision makings. In addition,in
a parliamentary democratic setup, as practiced in Pakistan, there is a national assembly, provincial assemblies and senate. The presence of provincial assemblies ensures autonomy at provincial level. Furthermore, in the National Assembly provinces get representation based on their populations. Senate has equal representation of all provinces regardless of their population, thus prevents domination of majority group. The presence of National, Assembly and Senate at the center promotes national cohesion and harmony in the country. Moreover, the allocation of funds between federation and provinces and among provinces is done after census of
representatives of all provinces, which removes sense of deprivation of smaller provinces. Therefore, it can be easily inferred that national unity is most likely to be preserved in a democracy.
The most used argument against the democratic system in Pakistan is the low literacy rate
of the society. The illiterate, it is argued, are most subjected to false practices in the election process and they are unable to select the right person. It is proposed that first, a standard of education be reached, then naturally democracy will follow. While the education system of Pakistan certainly does need attention, the argument creates an unclear relationship between democracy and illiteracy. A simple example of Saudi Arabia would explain this. An absolute monarchy, Saudi Arabia’s literacy rate was 96.51% in 2009 (Index mundi), significantly higher than that of Pakistan. Similarly, the literacy rate of Syria was 84.19% in 2010 which is ruled by a
dictator (Trading economics).In contrast, India which is considered to be largest democracy has comparatively low literacy rate of 74.09% in 2011 (census 2011).Considering the examples of European states, it is clear that a country does not have to be literate for the implementation of democracy. The economist and philosopher Amartya Sen Notes, “A country does not have to be deemed fit for democracy; rather, it has to become fit through democracy’’(“democracy as universal value” 1). So, it can be realized that low literacy rate has not any substantial obstacle for implementation of democracy; instead the problem of illiteracy in Pakistan can be better overcome by a democratic rule in the country.
Another proposition against democracy in Pakistan is the Asian Value thesis, which claims that democracy was a western system unsuited to Asian countries due to cultural and historical differences. No doubt, the cultural difference does exist, but democracy appears to be more of a universal value.  The desire for freedom and equality has always been a prime value
for mankind. In fact, the middle Ages in Europe are mainly characterized by injustice and cruelty
where the democracy experienced in these countries was mainly evolved as a result of Renaissance. In the course of time, Asians, particularly that of subcontinent, are more inclined towards democracy. Carl Gresham, president of The National Endowment for Democracy, Washington DC, quotes in his article, a researchdone by a New Delhi based Center for the study of the developing societies (1) in India that Indian people defend democracy more vigorously, particularly the poor. Since India and Pakistan inherited almost similar values, therefore it is illogical to assert that democracy cannot work due to historic and cultural backgrounds.
Democracy champions the basic human rights. It provides equal opportunity for all to participate in decision making. It is the best suited system in a pluralistic society. In this form of governance, there is a higher degree of transparency because of judiciary, opposition, and free media. It is more accountable system since people get to ask questions and vote accordingly. There can be few arguments against democracy, but the pros outweigh the cons by far. In conclusion, it can be said that democracy is the best form of government, or at least the best available one.

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