Servant leadership is a popular term that many people hear discussed regularly in organizations. Yet, its meaning (and the expected types of behaviors in which a servant leader engages) has been simplified over time. I noticed this recently when re-reading Robert Greenleaf’s classic (2002; reprinted from 1977).
Engaging in the tasks that are listed on a job description likely comes to mind when many people hear the term “job performance.” Yet, engaging in these tasks is only part of how to define successful performance in the workplace.
Another aspect of being a successful performer at work is engaging in organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs for short). These are “voluntary” in that they are not listed on one’s job description, but organizations, coworkers and those individuals who perform them often benefit from these activities (LePine, Erez & Johnson, 2002).
Creating an inclusive and welcoming workplace that values all employees is crucial for organizations (and society as a whole). Yet, we constantly hear news of racism, sexism, bigotry, discrimination and other forms of marginalization in our country and in our organizations.
This summer, I’ve been quite busy working on projects and presenting at conferences related to the topic of intergenerational interactions at work, my primary area of academic research. While attending the Academy of Management annual meeting in Atlanta, the most prestigious international conference for management academics where a Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence student (Alperen Arslantas) and I presented on this topic, we interacted with many other experts in the broad field of management. Throughout this and my other experiences this summer, I’ve been contemplating the role of experts.
In popular culture, we have been bombarded by superhero movies featuring characters such as Wonder Woman and Captain America. Yet, heroes aren’t just fictional characters and they don’t all wear capes. In fact, I was inspired to write on the topic of heroes after my band performed an opening set for some of my personal musical heroes, a 90’s-era swing band from California named Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, late in June. My band used their music as an inspiration as we fine-tuned our sound over the years. I was also inspired to write about this topic after providing a keynote presentation to the Westmoreland Human Resource Association annual conference whose theme this year was “The HR Superhero.” From this conference, I realized that the concept of “heroes” is useful in the workplace.
Ahoy! I really enjoy the summer movie season because I love watching big-budget popcorn flicks. I’m a fan of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise (Walt Disney Pictures, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2011, 2017; IMBD 2017), so I was really excited to see the new film, “Dead Men Tell No Tales,” that came out recently.
Many people love drama, even though some may not want to admit that fact. Drama is why some viewers are glued to reality TV, social media or celebrity gossip stories. Even though drama can be entertaining in the media, it can be disastrous if it exists in the workplace. Yet, workplace drama is so common that several blog readers asked me to address this issue here.
For centuries, humanity has grappled with deeply philosophical questions. What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? Perhaps not surprisingly is that organizational behaviorists have asked similarly complex questions. What is the purpose of work? Why do people engage in particular tasks for the benefit of their employers?
Many people who are my acquaintances (that is, we’re friends or colleagues but don’t know each other extremely well on a personal level) are sometimes surprised to find out that I consider myself to be an introvert. They see me as someone who is a regular presenter seemingly comfortable at public speaking in class or at conferences, often attends social functions where I appear at ease when networking, and has no problem singing or playing trumpet in front of a group of people with my band.
A paradox is something unexpected – a phenomenon that, at its surface, may seem counterintuitive or even illogical. Many theories within my discipline (organizational behavior) could be considered to be paradoxical in nature, including concepts related to leadership. In this month’s blog, I explore three paradoxes of leadership.