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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

    The Leadership Challenge

    John A. Wojtecki
    Doctor John A. Wojtecki has 45 years of experience in Human Resources, Safety, and Training serving the toy, food, plastics, steel, and office furniture industries. John operates his own consulting business and is a Certified Facilitator in Real Colors. He is a volunteer with the Quad Cities Mediation Service. He posts monthly on his LinkedIn account.

    Muscatine Living

    When one enters leadership on Bing, there are (only) 169,000,000 results. How can one determine the appropriate topic to follow out of the 169 million entries? The subject has been and will continue to be examined by many an author.

     In doing research for a consulting assignment, I came across a book by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner titled, The Leadership Challenge (Sixth Edition). The dust cover has a descriptor that reads, “How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations.” Their first edition was published in 1987. The Leadership Challenge is described in Bing as, “a suite of books, training products, and assessments.”

    Leadership has been defined many ways. The dust cover of this book includes the thought that leadership is, “the complex interpersonal dynamics of mobilizing others to achieve shared expectations.”

    An insight that benefits us as readers, both the book and Discover Muscatine, include five practices that include, “modeling, inspiring, challenging, enabling, and encouraging.” The challenging component includes a perspective on continuous improvement.

    A reminder from the authors is that we should, “ask purposeful questions daily.” These questions can and should include, “teamwork, respect, learning, continuous improvement, and customer focus.”

    The “daily consideration” has me reflecting on the demands of this thought process when we are all so very busy, we have trouble managing the day-to-day aspects of our jobs.

    In every leadership class, I ask participants to keep a journal (this was many years ago) and sometimes called it a diary. This demand on one’s time takes discipline, “daily consideration.” Completing the journal, with reflective thoughts and lessons learned, offers a keen insight to the journaler and their ability to make sense of events and subsequent learning. The purposeful questions, when added to one’s journal, can serve as a foundation for future learning and action, with accompanying results.

    How you ask? Well, I’m pleased that you asked. I’ve noticed that two of my doctors will begin our appointment with using either a laptop or a desktop. The physician is deliberate about questions and entering my responses. I know that their days are filled with a number of issues which will make demands of their time. Yet, it seems each question they ask is purposeful. Each question helps them better understand the reason for the visit. They then proceed to focus on the remedy.

    Lesson learned: Doctors are busy, yet these two doctors that I have in mind seem to discipline themselves to ask the purposeful question to help the patient (me). 

    Are there exceptions to the way these doctors approach a journal? Of course, there are. But, these two doctors serve as excellent examples for us to learn about having the discipline of asking purposeful questions, entering the appropriate data into their records or journals, and using that data to lead.

    Is it time for you to begin a journal? It is for me. How would you enter the questions and responses? Purposeful questions and learning are everywhere. Insight from such an effort may prove invaluable.

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