Application Assignment 1
Two leadership self-assessments were completed by me to discern my leadership profile. One was based on the Bolman and Deal model of Four Frames Leadership Orientations (FFLO) and the other was based on the Competing Values Competency Framework (CVCF) questionnaire developed by Quinn, Faerman, Thompson, Mc Grath and St Clair. Both the models of leadership assessments aim to equip managers to deal effectively with vexing problems encountered in ever changing environments to achieve organizational effectiveness. Both approaches are based on mental models managers should adopt to match reality. Both aim to overcome personal preferences and value systems to grasp complexities of situations in the workplace. Reframing is emphasized to overcome personal preferences, organizational complexities and ambiguities and deceptive situations in the FFLO. Bolman and Deal refer to the importance of reframing to get new insights into problems. Thus it incorporates integrative thinking and transformational leadership with its political and symbolic frames.
The Competing Values Competency Framework (CVCF) model combines integrative thinking more inextricably. It integrates all of the elements of the Rational Goal model, Internal Process model, Human Relations model and the Open systems model to focus on “both-and’ assumptions to address apparently paradoxical situations. By combining all these four models of organizational effectiveness the competencies of Collaborate, Control, Compete and Create are used to deal with conflicting concerns in real systems that are not mutually exclusive. Each of these four competencies subsumes specific skills that can be developed and practiced. Thus this model goes a step forward to incorporate competencies of employees that can be developed.
Managers use the FFLO model to capture the different aspects of a problem in multi-frames in order to find solutions. As Peter Senge emphasizes “organizational learning” and ” systems thinking” to enable people to think of how all the parts and whole fit together, the CVCF model captures these elements of transformational leadership in order to achieve effectiveness. Executives as well as first level supervisors can use the CVCF model.
Although both models capture integrative thinking, the FFLO model restricts cognitive thinking to four frames: Structural, Human Relations, Political and Symbolic. In the CVCF not only are paradoxes at the base of the model but also it emphasizes cognitive and behavioral complexities to capture reality. It is a larger integrated model that can be used by employees to develop “behavioral repertoire” and “behavioral differentiation” to balance the use of competencies appropriately. In a world more connected, more computational with the use of big data, sustainability is the key. This model helps managers to develop and enhance their skills for adaptive thinking, cross-cultural competencies, virtual collaborations and social intelligence to make sense of what is going on.
Quinn and Faerman (1985) developed the concept of ” negative zones” to emphasize the need for balance. For instance, if there is over stress on the competency of “Create” to address the need for innovation and new products, the organization could end up spending disproportionate resources on research and development without tangible results while at the individual level managers could end up experimenting and “daydreaming”. Therefore, balancing the paradoxical situations by acquiring behavioral complexities is the key to successful use of the CVCF model.
According to the FFLO, my highest score is in the structural frame (4.375) with the lowest scores being for the human relations frame (3). The Political and Symbolic frame scores are close at 3.5 and 3.625 respectively.
My biggest weakness as revealed by the CVCF is designing and Organizing (2.2) and setting goals and objectives (2.4) while my greatest strengths lie in using power ethically and effectively (5.6), fueling and fostering innovation (5.6), negotiating agreement and commitment (5.4), championing and selling new ideas (5.2) and mentoring and developing others (5.2). This obviously shows that my leadership style is skewed and unbalanced.
I have been a student of mathematics and then did my management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. As I had focused on finance during my MBA, I felt more comfortable dealing with numerical data rather than with people. Although I was aware of the fact that people in organizations mattered for effectiveness, I was unable and disinclined to adopt a more balanced leadership style with emphasis on human relations. After I joined the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) I have been in leadership positions throughout from the development of a block as Block Development Officer to Sub-Divisional Magistrate and District Magistrate. Therefore, positional authority and power was with me from the time I joined the IAS. I believe that as I am a career bureaucrat working for the Government of India structural frames are given in the bureaucracy and therefore I am aware of the structures that I need to work with and the political frames that I require to understand in order to be effective. I have worked extensively at the implementation level as a Sub-Divisional magistrate and as a District Magistrate for over a decade. Therefore, score for managing execution and driving for results have been my strength (4.6) In a top down approach, goal setting and designing or organizing have never been required to be done. Therefore, setting goals and objectives or designing and organizing have remained my weaknesses. As the Additional Private Secretary in the office of the Union Minister for Railways, Shipping and Tribal Affairs, successively for 3 years, I have had to champion and sell new ideas, use power ethically and effectively, negotiated agreements between senior management and got them to commit to what the Minister’s office desired as part of policy making process. Hence, these have been my strengths. Here, I have also learnt to use “control” judiciously and therefore all my scores under the competency of Control range between 4 and 4.8. But as I am now poised to move into senior management in a couple of years I need to develop further the competency of ” Compete”. I have to hone my skills of managing groups and leading teams (3.4) and communicate effectively and honestly (3.4)
As Michael Mc Guire puts it ” Government is steering policy making and execution and it is this entity through which collaborative public management occurs and management activity is channeled. Collaboration certainly relies on various leaders at various times performing different roles but in the typical context of collaborative public management, government is ultimately held accountable for the satisfactory delivery of public goods and services.” O’Teele (1997) suggests too that ” wicked problems” will ” increasingly require collaborative structures for execution”. “As the velocity of government has increased over the past few decades, the propensity of citizens to expect greater choice of services administered through less traditional government activities has increased as well.” (Goldsmith and Eggers, 2004). ” Action networks” engaging in collective action to deliver services appear to be the new mantra for public administrators. In such a context, it is important to differentiate between leadership and administrative roles (Agranoff and Mc Guire, 2001a, 2001b) and build trust and information exchange (Kickers & Koppenjan, 1997). Also, mediating to influence policy and interaction (Koppenjan & Klijn, 2004) assume significance. The key-learning goal from this course for me would be to understand the relational and contextual nature of situations as distinct from power and position and acquire a balanced leadership style by enlarging my behavioral repertoire and complexities so that multi-framing and integrative thinking can be done in a fluid manner for effective policy making. More specifically, I would need to develop my skills with regard to human relations so that I may be able to inspire and commit lower level government staff to deliver public services in a citizen friendly manner consistent with government policy. I would focus on developing my competency for setting goals and objectives, designing and organizing, managing groups and leading teams and communicating honestly and effectively so that productivity of staff can be improved and services delivered in a more cost effective manner.