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RELATIONSHIPS LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Activity 1: Worthiness of Occupations Worksheet

Instructions. Followers must trust the leader before they will be willing to enter a relationship with them.

  1. Below is a list of fifteen occupations. Your task is to rank these occupations in the order of their trustworthiness.

  2. Place a number 1 by the occupation you think is ranked as the most trusted, place a number 2 by the second most trusted occupation, and so forth through the number 15, which is your estimate of the least trusted of the fifteen occupations.

  3. Place your ranking in the left hand column labeled “Your Ranking.”

    Consensus Ranking Your Ranking by Your Work Community

    _____

    _____

    Executives in large corporations

    _____

    _____

    College professors

    _____

    _____

    U.S. Army generals

    _____

    _____

    Clergymen

    _____

    _____

    Used car salesmen

    _____

    _____

    Physicians

    _____

    _____

    Labor union officials

    _____

    _____

    Lawyers

    _____

    _____

    Auto repairmen

    _____

    _____

    Law enforcement officials

    _____

    _____

    Judges

    _____

    _____

    Politicians

    _____

    _____

    TV or appliance repairmen

    _____

    _____

    Psychologists

    _____

    _____

    TV news reporters

  4. Now rank these fifteen occupations as you think the members of your work community would rank them.

  5. Place this ranking in the second column labeled “Consensus Ranking by Your Work Community.”

  6. Compare the two rankings.

    About which occupations are you in most agreement with your work colleagues?

    About which occupations are you in most disagreement?

    What, if any, are the implications of these similarities and differences?

    Does your analysis of this questionnaire say anything about the ease inner leaders may have in building relationships in this work community? Explain.

Activity 2: Maintaining a Relationship Focus

Instructions. If information is the lifeblood of organizations, then the arteries and veins through which the information flows are relationships. The new sciences teach us that objects are known only as they relate to others. Inner leaders focus on relationships in all aspects of work-community life because the work community differs from a mere collection of individuals in that members have an influence on each other (Goldstein, 1961). Participation with, inclusion of, and respect for people become a natural part of inner leadership. Indeed people hunger for that kind of community.

Discussion Issues

  1. Your coworkers are the “parts” of your work community, and your relationships with these people are the essential building blocks of a flexible and sustainable team? How do you operationalize this fact in your interactions with individual followers?

  2. Do you realize that your vision alone has little value as a descriptor of your work community and that it is the members of the work community that have values and it is they who connect with your vision? How does this realization translate into your specific actions in relations with your followers in assignments of work to individuals? Planning? Program evaluation?

  3. All systems are composed of elements that relate in meaningful ways to each other in unique, nonlinear ways. This demands that your leadership focus on developing interpersonal trust and a concern for the “ whole souls” of the people you lead. Do you focus as much time on developing intimate relationships with them that emphasize shared meanings about key work-community values, objectives, and methods as you do assigning work to your coworkers? Be specific in identifying actions you take to build rapport with your followers around task or meaningful relationships.

Activity 3: Building Your Network of Relationships

Instructions. Read carefully the following short statement:

When we build a new relationship, we cannot predict or control exactly what will happen. Yet when we encourage large numbers of new relationships, we know that the flow of information across the organization increases dramatically and doesn’t necessarily adhere to departmental or functional boundaries. Encouraging new relationships is fostering and using chaos in the most positive sense.

In traditional organizations, information is often closely guarded—perhaps because managers feel that sharing this information would be dangerous or because they do not want to distract employees from their work or even because access to information is seen as a source of power. But this attitude is counterproductive at a time when flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to rapidly implement new ideas are all essential to success. Several analysts have noted that most successful inner leaders spend 80 to 90 percent of their time out of their offices, talking to all sorts of people in the work community. These successful leaders understand well the value of a wide network of relationships, even though there is no guarantee that any one specific relationship will be useful.

When you build relationships in this way, you are not just getting to know individuals; you are also getting to know the work community itself. You are learning about different perspectives, finding out about events and trends. You are constantly monitoring what is happening and how things are working. This informal stream of information is critical to leadership in the middle of the corporation.

The way you network will depend on your personality and how you function in your role as an inner leader. You may stop by people’s workstations or invite them to your home for dinner. The key is that you are out networking in the work community.

  1. Take a position either in opposition to the ideas expressed here or in support if it.

  2. Develop an argument supporting your position using materials from this chapter, your experience, and library references.

  3. Prepare a short essay elaborating on your argument and illustrating them from your work experience.


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