The Role of Social Networking for Cultural Entrepreneurs
The last few years have seen a growing trend of cultural business start-ups, globally. A cultural business (events, arts, music, theatre, etc.) is significantly different from a commercial business for more than one reason. Cultural businesses are usually at an agency level with a limited number of people. They still have their founding member(s) actively involved in the day to day dealings of the business. Additionally, the success measures for these businesses rely heavily on social networking and strong interpersonal connections in addition to fiscal outcomes. Constructing sturdy social ties lies at the very heart of a successful cultural venture. Maintaining healthy relations with competitors and building on personal networks directly helps a cultural business gather information and resources for mutual benefit.
Due to the nuance of this business sector however, there is an absence of a guided direction as to how much networking actually helps the cultural business and to the extent to which a cultural entrepreneur’s reputation affects the business. The current paper explored this area, and reveals some interesting and constructive information.
It appears that the more favorable a business’s reputation, the more likely it is to succeed and grow. A start-up’s reputation hinges on that of its entrepreneur. The current research therefore suggests that the more actively (socially) involved a cultural entrepreneur is the better the chances are for the business to succeed. A cultural entrepreneur is expected to build strong social relations with competitors, as well as building a sturdy personal social network, in order to be in the loop on important shifts and developments in the cultural business landscape.
Two major obstacles affect cultural business: funding sources and competition with other similar businesses. In the face of limited funding, private cultural businesses find it difficult to compete with public institutions that receive more government funding. A strong networking specialist can greatly help to mitigate the disadvantages a for-profit culture enterprise might face. However, it appears that while a healthy network can help overcome the constraints posed due to limited funding, the benefit is not the same when the level of competitiveness increases. Since cultural entrepreneurs spend a tremendous amount of energy and time networking for mutual benefits with peers, who are also potentially competitors, there seems to exist a general supportive mindset among the cultural community. Unfortunately, when the level of competitiveness increases, perhaps due to a dearth of available funding, it poses a problem that cannot be resolved through social networking alone. In fact, social networking may negatively affect the business, at times of increased competitiveness, since social networking involves a mutual benefit factor.
With the limited research available on cultural entrepreneurship, the current study has contributed in a large way by pointing out the importance of social networking and its limitations as well. Cultural entrepreneurs should focus on building social networks, as part of their business strategy that can assist in overcoming some of the common issues faced by cultural start-ups. However, they should remain conscious that in times of increased competition, alternatives to these social networks will need to be explored.
When Powerful Leaders Hinder Team Performance
When we think of powerful leaders, we often imagine people who can get others to do what they wish. After all, power and leadership, by definition, involve the capacity to control or influence the behaviors of others. However, this study by Tost and Larrick shows that having more powerful leaders can actually harm team performance.
Consider two reasons this could be the case. First, leaders who overestimate their own power or who depend too much on their personal power may be less understanding of others’ perspectives, being likely to stereotype, less likely to listen, and more likely to objectify others. Alternately, true collaboration, which involves creative problem solving, idea sharing, and blending of team member viewpoints, happens over time and cannot be commanded as a simple exercise of a leader’s power. These reasons provide a potential explanation as to why too powerful a leader can harm team performance.
This study had several key findings. First, formal leaders (those who hold a specific role in a social hierarchy) who perceive themselves as having a high sense of power spend more time talking in team meetings. As a result, their teams communicate less and performance more poorly than teams whose leaders perceive their own power neutrally. Specifically, formal leads who feel powerful talk more, which discourages open team communication and hinders team performance.
Interestingly, these trends only appear among formal leaders who hold positions of authority, and their level of authority affects these relationships. Explicitly, the more authority a leader holds, the more deference they receive from their team members, and the more they tend to talk in group meetings. When leaders monopolize the floor in meetings, open team communication withers. Unfortunately for these powerful leaders and their teams, open team communication directly influences team performance. So, by talking and not listening, these leaders measureably reduce their teams’ effectiveness. Fortunately, there is a way to correct this troubling behavior. The study found that these effects were eliminated when a leader was reminded that their team members could also make important contributions.
To help decrease the problem of powerful leaders hindering team performance, the authors suggest that organizations should:
- Encourage flat organizational structures and egalitarian cultures, which lessen leaders’ perceptions of their own power.
- Train leaders to be open in their authority and to encourage team communication.
- Promote practices and policies designed to remind leaders of the potential for important contributions from their followers.
- Urge members to stand up to leaders who take a dominating approach during social interactions.
These steps could help discourage leaders from using their power in ways that are counterproductive, thus resulting in happier, more productive teams.
3 Tips for Effective Decision Making from the Expert
In his recent interview in the Harvard Business Review, Ram Charan, noted author, renowned scholar, and trusted advisor to the corporate elite, shares his tips for effective decision making in the twenty-first century. As someone who has counseled senior executives and board members alike, he admits that “getting to the right answer is tougher these days.” Technological advancements and the rapid pace of change within organizations, as well as in the greater marketplace, have made strategic planning a more important but more challenging endeavor than ever before.
Charan explains that many executives have earned their titles because they’ve proven their ability to take risks and make tough decisions. The best CEOs are those who can gather and absorb a wide range of information from myriad sources, and siphon out the most important points and key takeaways for their businesses. They are also excellent at recognizing those assumptions upon which their decisions are contingent and consequences that may arise as a result of alternative courses of action. You may not be a CEO or even a senior executive, but we all make decisions at work and in our daily lives. Below are the three fundamental traits Charan believes are key to increasing the quality of your decision-making and improving the way you approach problems.
- Perceptual Acuity- The ability to anticipate change. This means scanning your surroundings for opportunities and threats, focusing in on the most important variables you must anticipate, and playing out potential scenarios and alternative courses of action in your head.
- Qualitative Judgment- Once you’ve thought things through, you’ll want to make the best decision, of course. Leverage your network of colleagues, co-workers, and friends. Ask for their opinions and input. Consider the consequences of your actions very carefully, and pay attention to important details.
- Credibility- Keep an open mind to others’ perspectives and build support among key stakeholders. Make tough decisions when you have to and have the strength of character to stand up for what you think is right. The title of this HBR article says it all, ‘you can’t be a wimp; make the tough calls.’
Leading Creative People
Creative individuals value freedom, are highly specialized, self-motivated, and prefer to develop their own knowledge base rather than be taught. These characteristics can make leading creative people a challenge.
So far most research on leadership has been about objective knowledge, in other words, what is required to be a good leader. However, the how of leadership is more significant, when leading ‘creative experts’.
The current study conducted 24 narrative interviews on creative artists, which helped build a social understanding of what it means to lead highly creative people. Results showed that leadership is socially different when dealing with a group of artists than when dealing with business professionals. However, important parallels were drawn which can be successfully adapted by all leaders. The following five themes emerged.
Success and Leadership
A creative person’s success is highly dependent on his or her leader. While artists usually receive acclaim and feedback from the media and public, it is their leader’s approval and feedback they really seek. Leaders who share in the failure and success of their teams provide impetus for continual improvement. While creative individuals seek autonomy in their working style, they need a leader who is available for guidance and genuine feedback.
Authenticity is of utmost value to artistic people; they must remain true to themselves during the good and bad phases. In order to guide them well, their leader must recognize the value an artistic person places on authenticity. Additionally, a leader’s achievements and peculiarities are often the very elements with which creative people will identify. Hence, it is crucial that a leader remain honest and open.
The main foundations upon which creative workers build respect for their leaders is the leader’s expertise, track record, and personality. Additionally Leaders are expected to create an environment of trust and mutual respect, honoring the diversity of a team by supporting the different working styles of varied personality types.
Autonomy and Freedom
Successful leaders of creative teams provide a solid support system, while allowing autonomy among the team members. Autonomy enriches a creative bent of mind, and strong support provides guidance, creating an environment conducive to nurturing creativity.
Dark Side of Leadership
In addition to the four positive themes, one negative aspect of leadership emerged that must be considered. Leaders who are concerned with self admiration and empowering themselves as a result of team work greatly dampen a creative environment. Therefore, it is important that leaders bear in mind that only by working with the team and for the team will they really achieve the greatest possible success.
While performing artists might be more creative than your average office worker, in a regular business context these themes can be applied by leaders to deal with those creative experts who usually form a small part of the team. The need of the hour is capturing different styles of leadership in order to bring out the best in the team. A ‘One Size Fits All’ style of leading is passé especially when leading creative people.
When Leaders Do Not Treat Employees Equally
New research by Tse, Lam, Lawrence, and Huang (2013) has discovered what happens when leaders have better relationships with some employees and worse relationships with others. The results are discouraging. When leaders do not treat employees equally, many problems arise, and ultimately job performance may suffer
When a leader forms relationships of different quality among their subordinates, coworkers are more likely to develop contempt for one another. When we think about coworkers who have better relationships with the leader than we do, we may want to “put down” those people, in order to fight off feelings of inferiority. When we consider coworkers who have worse relationships with the leader, we may think those people have been excluded due to a failing on their part. Perhaps they are unworthy and have not met group standards.
The authors also found that not all people react to these workplace disparities in the same ways. Some people, they say, feel the need to frequently compare themselves to others in order to reduce their own insecurities. People of this kind are more likely to compare themselves with coworkers, and therefore more likely to develop contempt in cases where their coworkers have different relationships with the leader.
What happens when these feelings of contempt develop? We tend to perceive that these other employees are not helping us as much at work. This feeling is associated with decreases in job performance.
This study shows the importance of treating all employees equally. Managers and leaders should try to develop positive relationships with all of their employees, or risk seeing a decline in job performance across their organization. When leaders maintain stronger relationships with some employees than with others, both groups are negatively affected. In other words, when some employees are treated unequally, nobody wins.
Genuine Leadership: How sincerity is the key to successful organizational leadership
By now surely everyone knows that the key to successful organizational leadership is sincerity. Genuine Leadership — that is, leadership by individuals who make an effort to be open and honest in their dealings — has become the gold standard for successful team building and a basic expectation for professional advancement. No one wants to work for someone who is cold or aloof. Master networkers and business leaders earn their titles by being authentic and real. However, there’s a fine line between being genuine, on the one hand, and over-sharing or talking about yourself in a self-deprecating manner, on the other. If you ever hope to be seen as a credible source, you want people to be able to trust in you and take you seriously. That means you must be able to walk a tightrope between the two extremes. Not an easy task. Fortunately, the authors, Rosh and Offerman (2013), have explored this issue and bring us new information regarding leadership psychology that provides some helpful tips and advice on how to balance along that line.
- ‘Build a Foundation of Self Knowledge’- Take a good, hard look at yourself and reflect on how your experiences have enabled you to become the person you are today. Ask for some feedback. Think about which stories portray you in the best light or show healthy growth, and which ones you might want to keep to yourself.
- ‘Consider Relevance to the Task’- Share anecdotes related to the task at hand. Don’t simply make small talk in an effort to ingratiate yourself to others. Genuine leadership is about building a strong, functional team, not about shoring up personal insecurities by becoming everyone’s pal.
- ‘Keep Revelations Genuine’- This one is simple: Don’t make anything up. Successful organizational leadership is based on trust. Need I say more?
- ‘Understand the Organizational and Cultural Context’ – Be aware of cultural norms, and consider how others from different countries, companies, or functions will react to what you’re saying. When in doubt, err on the side of caution and sensitivity. It isn’t mere political correctness to respect the feelings and experiences of others.
- ‘Delay or Avoid Very Personal Disclosures’- Ummm… Not everyone has to know that you fell flat on your face in the elevator this morning, or that your skirt is being held together by some strong masking tape and a couple of push pins you found in the supply closet. Those kinds of stories should be reserved for friends, after the work day is done.
Entrepreneurial Leadership: Business Secrets Every Successful Entrepreneur Knows
Entrepreneurial Leadership can loosely be defined as an approach combining a variety of tactics: acting, thinking, and creating blue prints of endless opportunities. These opportunities are created for the leader, the organization, and society at large. Every leader at some point in time has either consciously or unintentionally employed Entrepreneurial Leadership. So what really is Entrepreneurial Leadership, what makes it so powerful and how can it be acquired?
In their paper, Danna Greenberg, Kate McKone-Sweet, and H. James Wilson employ the term Entrepreneurial Leadership to describe practices which bring about a wide scope of opportunity for leaders, across hierarchical levels, to succeed within an unknowable situation. With allusions to a couple of caselets and data from a larger study of entrepreneurial leadership, the authors divulge three principles that form the very foundation of Entrepreneurial Leadership.
Principle 1: Cognitive Ambidexterity – A different Way of Thinking
This principle essentially means that Entrepreneurial Leaders integrate the predictive logic (actions based on data and previous situations) of decision making with the creation logic (actions taken to learn more information and create new opportunities) to generate innovative solutions.
Principle 2: A Commitment to Social, Environmental and Economic Value Creation
This principle explains how Entrepreneurial Leaders are unique in their decision-making ability which leads them to newer opportunities through original thinking. Research points out that Entrepreneurial Leadership embodies a commitment to the Social (impact on society), Environmental (ecological value), and Economic (monetary value) Responsibility and Sustainability [SEERS] of the business, enabling them to achieve innovative solutions.
Principle 3: Self Awareness, Starting from Who I Am
This principle emphasizes that Entrepreneurial Leaders focus on themselves and others as a core to devising better decisions and actions. Their deep self-awareness helps in understanding, creating, and managing crucial relationships, thus enabling them to make well-informed decisions despite being in an unknowable situation.
An amalgamation of these principles forms the very foundation of entrepreneurial leadership, defining a truly flexible leader able to succeed in situations both new and old.
The authors of this paper further go on to relate three easy-to-follow steps towards becoming an Entrepreneur Leader.
- Step 1 – Stop Analyzing and Start Acting
- Step 2 – Resolve to Answer Tough Questions to Create Social and Economic Value
- Step 3 – Reflect on Who You Are and Connect Your Passion to Your Profession
If leaders across the business world resolve to become Entrepreneurial Leaders, innovative solutions at work will rapidly increase.
Effective Decision-Making: Why are Some Leaders Better at it than Others?
This study examined the effective decision-making of 103 military leaders. The authors hoped to discover what mental techniques made some leaders more successful decision makers than others.
In the military, soldiers are exposed to unpredictable and ever-changing situations. One day, they may be meeting with the village elders in Afghanistan to discuss ways in which the US and NATO can help the village. The next day, these same soldiers could be in combat and have to shoot people who look and act in ways very similar to the village elders they met the day before. Given the constantly changing demands of war, soldiers must have the capacity to accurately assess the demands of each situation and act accordingly.
A soldier in negotiations need to be compromising and thoughtful. When in battle, they must aggressively attack the enemy before being injured or killed themselves. If a soldier does not assess each situation anew, but instead acts the same way every time, the consequences could be disastrous. When in negotiations, a soldier who just verbally attacks their negotiating partner is unlikely to get the desired outcome. Similarly, the soldier who acts in a compromising manner on the battlefield and considers the needs of the enemy is unlikely to fare well.
Given the importance of this topic, the authors looked at leader self-complexity – which refers to the ability to act in a manner that is appropriate for the situation – and decision-making. Results indicated that soldiers who who were able to assess the demands of a situation on a case-by-case basis ultimately made better decisions. In complex circumstances and environments, the ability to see the uniqueness of each situation leads to the best decisions.
Empowering Leaders vs. Directive Leaders: Which is more effective?
Team building is one of the hottest and most studied topics in the world of I/O psychology today. More and more organizations are beginning to realize and benefit from the synergies that result when people pool their knowledge, skills, resources, and creative efforts to achieve a common goal. What’s the secret to building effective work teams? Well, as anyone who has ever worked in a group setting will tell you, a team is only as good as its leader.
The current research by Lorinkova et al. (2013) compares the benefits of empowering and directive leadership in teams, and clears up some uncertainty about the impact of these leadership styles on team performance. In their study, they found that teams led by directive leaders, who actively provide direction and clear expectations of their subordinates, had higher initial performance than teams led by empowering leaders, who promoted their subordinates’ autonomy and responsibility. However, teams led by empowering leaders had a long-term advantage, and made greater performance improvements over time than teams led by directive leaders.
The researchers also found four important factors affected empowering leader’s influence on improving performance. These were team learning, empowerment, coordination of effective behaviors, and team mental models.
So what are the key takeaways for making the most of your work team? Well, when leading teams tasked with a short-term project its best to take a directive leadership approach. But, if team members are going to be working together for an extended period of time, they’ll achieve better results in the long run if led by an empowering leader.
Clueless Leaders Need Warmth and Competence
What makes for a successful leader? It’s an ongoing, circular debate. One day you hear that leaders are born, not made, then the next day you are invited to a training seminar on the top ten leadership tips to practice. I cannot even imagine the number of books out there about how to be a great leader… (it may exceed the number of times Cher says “As if?!” in Clueless. That many. Whatever.)
In, “Connect then Lead” the authors take findings from social psychology research and apply them to leadership effectiveness. The authors identify two key leadership attributes that people are first drawn to when judging others: warmth and competence. They suggest that warmth and competence are not only the primary factors in how we judge others, but these two attributes alone account for a vast majority in the impressions we form of others.
So how can we apply this to successful leadership? Leaders should work to ensure that they are both warm and competent and that others accurately judge them as such.
When we judge others’ warmth, we determine how open we can be with them, how much we can trust them, and how connected we feel to and with them. Leaders can project warmth by sharing personal stories, speaking in a confiding tone, validating common view points, demonstrating empathy, and offering sincere, genuine smiles. Maybe that book I read in the 9th grade had it right after all: “‘Tis a far, far better thing doing stuff for other people.”
When we judge someone’s competence, we are evaluating his/her strength, ability to act, and likelihood for success. Leaders can project competence by truly feeling in command, speaking with confidence, standing up straight, and moving deliberately and precisely. Bold, firm statements like “Girlie, as far as you’re concerned, I am the messiah of the DMV” can never hurt.
But how do warmth and competence interact? More importantly, how should these leadership characteristic interact to make for an effective leader? The research suggests that leaders should always present warmth first, not only because it is judged first, but also because it contributes more significantly in peoples’ evaluations of others. Putting warmth at the forefront of your leadership style builds trust and facilitates information exchange, which can allow others to be open to new ideas and therefore judge the leader’s competence positively.
So warmth should always be the frontrunner and the key. Not demonstrating warmth has the ability to undermine leadership and both alienate and scare others away.