This blog is designed to provide insights and discussions on why people do things a certain way. It will be primarily focused on two themes: either theological/spiritual themes, or financial discussions. Although different in nature, both topics involve a "behavioral" element, and this blog will hopefully provide insight into both at various times.
Disclaimer: This blog is a way of expressing my personal opinions thoughts and anecdotes, as well as my personal understanding of the scriptures, and conference addresses. It is not meant as a statement of doctrine, and may not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, or doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Throughout history, a variety of
leadership styles have been broached and implemented. As they continue to do so
at a seemingly ever-expanding rate, it is important to focus on what has worked
in the past. There have been leaders who have gained a reputable level of
followers by implementing core components into their organization. The values
and primary principles of the organization, including the original vision of
its founder, should be omnipotent in the leader who seeks to perpetuate the
goals of that organization. Two historical studies from ancient record will
illustrate how this can take place. The leaders, Enoch and Cain, held values
that were drastically different from one another. Their ideaologies were on
different sides of the spectrum, and while some of their methodologies could be
seen as similar, it will be shown that the values held by the leader will
permeate the values of the organization. The varied styles of followers must
also be addressed, along with the challenges that face a mutli-cultural
organization. What values followers look for are generally the key factor in
why they choose to be a part of the organization.
Enoch and Cain: Two Eternal Leadership Styles
Leadership and management are a
perpetually discussed subject, and rightfully so. In almost any organization,
there are leaders and followers. In order to maximize success, the leader must
work as effectively as possible to motivate, inspire, coerce, condone, reshape,
or—put simply—lead. How it is to be done and what best suits the needs of the
organization are obviously necessary steps to success. It is refreshing to see
a stronger emphasis on what it takes to be a successful follower as well, since
all leaders were and continue to be followers in their respective
organizations. A recent article discusses what a follower looks for in
belonging to an organization, as well as the motivation, attitudes and thought
process that accompanies him or her.(Bjuhstad, et al, 2006).
to the organization, in addition to the leaders and followers, are the values
of the organization. Scott Lichtenstein discusses the power of values that a
leader holds and how that can be implemented into the organization, as well as
how those values can act as a filter in the executive decision-making process
(2012). Recognizing the values that a leader holds is a way to notice what is
important to that leader, and how well the original mission and purpose of the
organization is exemplified through that leader.
Two examples will
bring in to sharp relief the power of a leader, how the values of that leader
influences the organization, and how and why followers choose to belong to such
an organization. Though the two figures are ancient and historical, the
patterns are still prevalent today, and are of concern to the modern leader.
One (Enoch) will generally lead to a synergy of values, a stronger work ethic,
and an outward focus; while the other (Cain) will often lead to an aggrandized,
toxic, inward (or self-centered) focus. Enoch was a religious leader who’s
major responsibility was to establish a Zionsociety.
R. Quinn Gardner,
then managing director of Church Welfare Services for the LDS church, further
elaborates on what tools and values Enoch implemented to create Zion. Showing
love, service, work, promoting self-reliance, understanding the power of
consecration, and upholding the importance of stewardship, are six key values
that he recognizes in how Enoch was able to lead this society (1979). According
to leadership styles that are presented by Daniel Goleman (2000), the
principles that Enoch sought to establish in Zion were closely related to Affiliative, Coaching, and Authoritative leadership approaches.
leader will understand those who are led and strengthen unity in the
organization. Empathy, healing, emotional understanding and an outward love
towards those he served strengthened his followers and provided them with the
trust and familial bond necessary to continue to be a part of Zion. To see a
leader incorporate the six principles laid out above will further enhance the
authentic relationship that Enoch had with his followers. This recognition of value
incorporation is crucial to a successful followership (p. 307, Bjugstad, et al,
2006). Understanding the values of a variety of cultures and experiences, such
as those mentioned by Bordas (2007) allows for mutual respect of any who desire
to be a part of the organization. It is critical for a leader to be able to
take one from any walk of life and transform a unique follower into an
intergral part of the organization.
The society that
Enoch sought to establish was also involved in the coaching style of leadership,
in that those who were a part of Zion were always looking to develop and were
focused on the future. That Enoch was a prophet, and one who, of necessity,
must preach repentance, is part of the coaching mentality as well, which helps
the follower improve, restructure and recommit. Both of these leadership
models, according to Goleman, will produce positive results.
Inherent also in
the leadership role that Enoch held, was an Authoritative
model. As a prophet and one who received revelation which would incorporate
vision, creativity, andimplementation
of new procedures, his message was to be received willingly and with a
recognition of where his authority lay. He would provide clear direction, and
not just have a vision, but share it and accomplish it utilizing the whole
unit. He would lead from the front as a true leader, and not from the back as a
mere manager. In addition, and in utilization of the other three leadership
traits that Goleman has recognized, lies the Democratic (P. 81-82, 2000). Active
participation is inherent in the Zion society,
and although high standards are set, there is always opportunity to grow,
repent, and develop.
Treating others with respect, recognizing the
values of personal responsibility, sacrifice, obedience, and forgiveness are
all part of a Zion society as well,
and at the core of what Enoch sought to bring about. Kim B. Clark, former dean
of Harvard Business School and president of BYU-Idaho discusses the awareness
that comes from those who sought the organization for which Enoch sought. In a
devotional for BYU-Idaho, he continues that theme by encouraging leaders today
to seek for those same principles for which Enoch was known, and involve them
in a daily basis. He mentions prayer, reaching out to those who need help,
sharing core values, and involving as many as possible into the reachable goals
for which Enoch sought (2009).
developed and perfected the leadership styles mentioned, a successful leader is
presented. Mastery of four of Goleman’s management styles has led Enoch to
fulfill the mission of the organization of which he was a part. He implemented
a society that is still sought by many today.
In contrast to
Enoch, another powerful figure from that time period, and relatively
contemporaneous, was Cain (the son of Adam). While one of the ultimate acts of
Cain are not recognized as a value-led leader (killing his brother, Abel), many
of the leadership principles that he espoused are still prevalent today. Cain
was one who sought to do things with as little effort as possible. He knew the
value of hard work, but could not always see the end from the beginning.
Lacking in long-term vision, he would typically be led to recognize the
short-term value of things. Shortly after his brother’s death, he recognized
the benefits that can come from a “hostile takeover” and would gain the value
of his brothers property after his passing.
Opposite from the
principles of Enoch, Cain would lead by coercion, force, and false authority.
He did not recognize the ability to be transparent in his reports, and is most
known for his utter lack in brotherly compassion. “Am I my brother’s keeper” is
unfortunately still a technique used by some leaders and followers alike. A
successful leader today can still lead with authority and office, just as Cain
did for a time. He can still necessitate a high standard of performance, demand
immediate results, and give necessary rewards when earned.
thinking of the leader is what makes him most toxic. It is at odds with the
principles of Zion, yet still garners
a wealth of followers who are seeking the same values as the leader – Money.
When a price tag is associated with anything and everything, worth, value and
cost are taken in a different context. It is no longer a symmetry of
recognizing strengths for the greater good, but what can be gained through
exploitation of goods. Gaining the most profit from the least amount of effort
and means can lead to shortcuts, shoddy workmanship, and distrust in the
accounting department. Both leaders would lead through covenant-making and
commitment, but the values of the leader are truly where the efforts would see
ultimate results. Enoch would go on to lead a city to ultimate unity and
success, while Cain and his mentality would create leaders who lead by fear,
results without compromise, and a price on the worth of a soul.
Bjugstad, K., Thach, E. C.,
Thompson, K. J., & Morris, A. (2006). A Fresh Look at Followership:
A Model for Matching Followership and Leadership Styles. Journal Of Behavioral & Applied Management, 7(3),
Bordas, J. (2007). How salsa, soul, and spirit
strengthen leadership. Leader To Leader, 2007(46), 35-41.
Clark, Kim B. (2009, September 15). Building Zion Together. Brigham Young
University Devotional. Retrieved from http://www2.byui.edu/Presentations/Transcripts/Devotionals/2009_09_15_Clark.htm
Gardner, R. Quinn. (1979).
Becoming a Zion
Society: Six Principles, Ensign,February, 31-35
Goleman, D. (2000). LEADERSHIP
THAT GETS RESULTS. Harvard Business Review, 78(2), 78-90.
Lichtenstein, S. (2012). The
Role of Values in Leadership: How Leaders' Values Shape Value Creation. Integral Leadership Review,
Sustainability: Conversion, Activation, and Retention
In thinking about what makes a sustainable organization, my
mind was drawn towards a broadcast that I have viewed and studied multiple times
and contains great insight into what makes an organization sustainable. I have
seen the necessary process is the business world, as well as in a religious
setting, in which this broadcast was made. I firmly believe that the principles
of conversion, activation, and retention are crucial to a sustainable
organization. In my current employment, I seek to ensure that this process is covered.
Too often, managers are concerned only with making the numbers, reaching the
goals, filling the seats, or other similar terms. The ultimate struggle for
sustainability can be overcome by understanding the mantra “Any investigator
worthy of baptism becomes a convert worthy of saving” (Hinckley, 1999). In a business setting this has
similar connotations to saying any client worthy of having becomes a long-term
relationship worthy of retaining. If businesses focused on retention and
attrition as much as finding and meeting, real growth can occur. In the same
vein, a manager must have sustainable employees to ensure a compatible and
In the broadcast,
there are three points that the speaker makes to ensure an able retention of
the individual, and though they are given in a religious context, I feel them
to be most agreeable to a business setting with minor renditions. He mentions
three aspects of making sure that one who enters the covenant or partnership,
or organization needs three things. A friend, a responsibility, and
nourishment from the good word of God (Hinckley,
Again, in a
business setting, these can be seen very similar.
A Friend: To be a leader who seeks sustainable growth, one must have the
strengths of friendship: Humility (Collins, 2005), seeking for the interests of
others or reducing self-interest (Duska, 2004), valued relationships and high
levels of trust (Saunders, 2007), and directing compassion towards difficult
conversations (Engels, 2007). The value of a true friend knows of the necessity
of having these.
A Responsibility: A leader who seeks to understand the
responsibilities of the profession and act accordingly is the epitome of
professionalism. If a leader can envision in his or her staff an acceptance
that the work that they are doing holds real value, and that they are truly a
part of the organization, this will bring about true results. Being
professional is not only a way to avoid ethical breakdowns (Duska, 2005) but is
a way to have your career as an extension of who you are and part of your moral
code. If that leader can then ensure that the products or services offered can
truly benefit those they service, they are holding true to the responsibility
given to that organization. A majority of businesses have some sort of
responsibility to give to the world, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
As the manager brings that responsibility to the employees, and the
organization brings it to the world, it creates a pattern for sustainability.
As individuals of the organization realize the crucial part that they can play
as they are given the opportunity, they become vibrant and not stagnant, which
is a force of sustainability.
Nourishment from the good word of God: Hear me out on this one. This can mean various
principles in the model of what I am discussing. But on even the most basic
level of life, to create sustainability, there must be nourishment— a source of
vital nutrients that provide the object what it needs. In the business context,
it can mean at least two things.
Relating to the
last one, one must have nourishment in the sense of understanding that he or
she still has purpose in the organization. Having love, trust, and
responsibility are good. In order to go further in the step of sustainability,
one must have constant nourishment. This can come in the way of communication,
feedback, feedforward, counseling, heeding instructions, or hearing and
understanding the words of those above us. It can also be seen as the hard part
in both religious and business settings - Calling someone to repentance or
change. Nourishment can be uncomfortable and helpful at the same time.
Another way of receiving nourishment is ensuring that the
right nutrients are coming from the right sources and sustaining the right
things. Eating to be full and eating to be nourished and sustained are two
different processes that receive two different results.
There are different types of learning: Informal and formal, developed
vs. Ad Hoc, and learner-driven vs. organization-driven (Pannoni & Ricketts,
2010). All of these may provide certain needed guidance at certain needed
times, but a sustainable-seeking leader will ensure that the right nourishment
is given at the proper times. The dosages of discipline, the measurements of
mercy, the recipes of responsibilities, and the conditions of counseling all
rest on the sustainable leader.
I believe that a leader who constantly seeks the attributes of a friend, understands the
power of responsibility, and knows the sources of nourishment and how to
deliver them will be able to create true, sustainable growth.
Collins, J. (2005). Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of
Humility and Fierce Resolve. (cover story). Harvard Business Review, 83(7/8),
Duska, R. F. (2004). SIX CURES FOR CURRENT ETHICAL
BREAKDOWNS. Journal Of Financial Service Professionals, 58(3),
Engels, J. J. (2007). Delivering Difficult Messages. Journal
Of Accountancy, 204(1), 50-52.