Posted by: Jace O'Mallan | January 13, 2010

Leadership Style: Can either make or break a career

“Leadership is a combination of strategy and character. If you must be without one, be without the strategy.” -Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf

“Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.” Stephen R. Covey

What I’ve learned so far about leadership; whether you are managing a team at work, captain of a sports team, or the top executive at a major corporation, is that it takes more than just having the title when becoming an effective leader. I also learned that there are many different styles of leadership many use in their organization. Styles such as autocratic leadership, charismatic leadership, transactional and transformational leadership, and so on. A person’s leadership style depends a lot on the way they relate to their subordinates. A previous professor of mine once told me, “It’s easy to become a good leader, but it takes a lot more effort and hard work to become a great leader.” This is something that I always hold true since one day I may be given the responsibility of leading my own team.

I can relate to my previous posts about ethics, diversity, honesty, attitude, and culture as well. Each and every on of these characteristics are important when it comes to differentiating a good leader to a great leader. They are also important elements to leading a successful organization and gaining the reputation and credibility needed to become recognized by your competitors.

When dealing with ethics, it is important that a leader maintain a positive work environment where every person is responsible for their own actions. By showing good work ethics, you are therefore influencing the work ethics of your subordinates.

It is important to keep a diverse and culture-driven attitude to have a successful product and service within your organization. Employing the right people with different cultural backgrounds provides a more diverse atmosphere to the organization that can help benefit in the long run. Having a positive attitude towards your employees and yourself brings forth a positive environment that both your customers and competitors will appreciate and respect the way your business is done.

So I ask you this one question before I end, are you satisfied with being a good leader, or are you willing to take that next step to becoming a great leader?

Posted by: Jace O'Mallan | January 12, 2010

Culture Shock: Island Boy to Business Man

I remember the first time coming to Reno, Nevada for my first year at the university, a young and anxious kid awaiting the adventures of college life. It was the first time living by myself without the worries and and pains of parental control. I was free to roam this unknown territory and experience the glamour of “The Biggest Little City in the World”. It was no Vegas, but it was interesting and very different from what I’ve been used to back home. You see, I come from a tiny little island called Guam, a U.S. territory halfway around the world from Reno and what I felt was light years away. So coming to the mainland, hundreds of miles away from the nearest beach, was a culture shock for me. Little did I know that the change in atmosphere and climate would end up growing on me.

Over the week, I was able to meet new friends from areas around here and from other states as well. I had somewhat of an accent, so of course my new buddies would make fun of the way I pronounced my words and stumbled across others unfamiliar to me. It was something that annoyed me at first, but thinking about it today, I realized that my differences was what made me who I am and that is something I should embrace instead of trying to get rid of entirely. I brought to Reno my own set of cultural values and ideals that many seemed very interested to learn more about. I soon learned that the hospitality I received here was similar to that back home. Another thing I noticed was that not many of my friends were as close to their family as I was with mine. I value family very much, and that is something taught to us as kids growing up on the island, family always comes first.

As a business major, I intend to bring my ideals and values on culture taught to me as a kid so that others may benefit from my cultural differences, just as much as I will benefit from others’ as well. This goes back to my post on diversity and how it is important in organizations. Diversity is about learning from others with different values and culture. To have dignity and respect for all, to create workplace environments and practices that encourage learning from others, and to capture the advantage of diverse perspectives are all important in organizations if they intend to be successful. Just like I intend to use my cultural differences to succeed in future business endeavors.

Posted by: Jace O'Mallan | January 11, 2010

Attitude is the Key to Succeeding or Failing

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” -W. Clement Stone

I remember growing up as a kid my parents always telling me about having a good attitude and how it will help me succeed in the future. The same thing was said to me by most of my teachers in grade school. A person is judged by their presence, but most importantly by their attitude. To me, attitude is closely tied to respect since it is important to have a positive attitude to gain respect by others. Now that I am preparing myself for life after college, it is key to bring what I learned inside and outside of school, as well as my positive attitude about life, to make a name for myself in the workplace.

Having a positive attitude can make or break a person’s career because a person’s positive attitude determines how far you can go in your career. A positive attitude can help you whether you own your own business, work as an employee in a large organization, or manage others in a business environment. Sometimes working in a larger corporation can create an opposite effect on you. It is easy to come into work with a positive and upbeat attitude that could change in an instant if the environment you work in has a lot of negativity. It has been known that attitudes can be contagious. Here are a few tips that may help you keep up a positive attitude:

1. Ask yourself this question, who is more likely to get promoted? One who is always negative or one who always thinks positive?

2. Take a stressful work problem and figure out solutions that will benefit you and the company, as long as you keep a positive mindset.

3. Customers always prefer doing business with a positive employee and not a negative one. Better customer relationships always lead to better sales performance.

4. Having a positive attitude with other colleagues can lead to a stronger follower base, therefore making you a better leader.

It is always important to keep up a positive attitude in any situation you face in your life. It can also make or break a relationship because in new relationships, first impressions are very important in deciding the fate of that relationship. No one likes a negative person, so it’s only fair to say that having a positive attitude is the key to your success in anything.

Posted by: Jace O'Mallan | January 8, 2010

The Truth is Always Better Than The Lie

“To be honest is to be real, genuine, authentic, and bona fide. To be dishonest is to be partly feigned, fake, or fictitious. Honesty expresses both self-respect and respect for others. Dishonesty fully respects neither oneself nor others. Honesty imbues lives with openness, reliability, and candor; it expresses a disposition to live in the light. Dishonesty seeks shade, cover, or concealment. It is a disposition to live partly in the dark.” – William J. Bennett, The Book of Virtues

One thing I can always remember growing up was that I had a knack for telling the truth when it counted the most. Some of my friends tell me that I am too honest at times. But when is it okay to not tell the truth? When it’s the kind of truth that will hurt more than it can help? That’s where honesty and integrity come into play. They are two very important aspects in developing trust in others. And isn’t trust one of the key elements in establishing a person’s credibility? That can be said true in organizations where credibility is a characteristic of good leadership. So when it comes down to it, telling the truth is always better than telling an untruth.

I remember a softball game where any team had the chance of winning and losing was not an option for anyone due to the fact that both teams hated each other. My team was on defense, with one out and the tying runner at second base. The batter hits a ground ball right to me at short stop, giving me the opportunity to tag the runner and hit first base for a double play and win the game. I end up barely missing the runner, but get the call out anyways. I tell the umpire and he reverses the call. To make this story short, we ended up losing the game and my teammates blame me for losing the game. Three games later, we end up with the same umpire from that same game. On a play where I did tag out a runner, the umpire called him safe anyways. I was a bit angered but bit my tongue since I didn’t want to be ejected from the game. The umpire came up to me and asked if I tagged him, so I told him the truth and he ended up reversing the call, angering the other team’s coach. At the end of the game the umpire came up to me, shook my hand and said, “Son, your honesty is an admirable trait that will benefit you in the future.” I still hold true to that remark today.

I can truthfully say that I consider honesty and integrity an important value to me as a person and future leader. Jim Clemmer said in one of his book, “One of the hazards of lying is not just that people wouldn’t believe us, it’s also that we can’t believe anyone else.” Which is why in my opinion, the truth is always better than the lie.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been responsible for funding my education. At least from the time I was able to earn a steady income at the tender age of thirteen. Now that I’m on my last semester of my six-year enrollment at the University of Nevada, Reno, I had to ask myself, “Why did it take so long for me to earn my bachelors degree in International Business?” Friends may argue that it was my excessive partying, or my change of major midway through my college career, or even my lack of motivation to continue my studies after I took the year of to work and gain residency. It wasn’t until recently that it just dawned on me that the reason I’ve delayed graduating was the fact that I was scared to move on and begin my journey to the next level. One thing I can say, and many can agree on, is that these last six years have been the most exciting.

I recently read a blog from Rebecca Thorman, aka Modite, titled “No ‘A for Effort:’ How Colleges Fail Generation Y”, and in it she argues about the changes many institutions are implementing and how they are failing Generation Y adults in properly educating and preparing us for the future. She also argues about how the emphasis on a major is irrelevant due to the changing environment where a title is not what is important but the amount of knowledge and experience we gain from them. In a way I agree about her ideas and relish on them, but I just want to point out that it’s not the institutions of higher learning that has failed us, because what I learned is that only we as students have that power to fail in life. Dr. Bret Simmons, my personal branding and very intellectual professor of organizational professor says it perfectly, “A courageous individual is one who takes full responsibility in their success and in their failures as well.”

If I were to graduate in four years, I probably wouldn’t have gained all the knowledge and experience needed for me to succeed. To be honest, with everything changing and the world relying more and more on technology, graduating in four years may seem obsolete in the years to come. I just want to make it perfectly clear that I am not endorsing students to slack off and take their time to graduate. It’s all up to the individual to decide when it’s their time to move on and make a name for themselves.

Posted by: Jace O'Mallan | January 5, 2010

Corporate Diversity: Good thing or bad thing?

With diversity becoming a generally accepted idea in many big companies and corporations, it is no wonder that more and more companies are recognizing diversity as an advantage in the workplace. But how do companies figure out when too much diversity is a bad thing in the workplace? It’s only a matter of time until corporations consider workplace diversity as something as common as coffee and donuts in the morning.

For decades, many companies in America have grown to accept cultural diversity as an advantage for their organization. By integrating employees from culturally diverse backgrounds, companies have been experiencing a much stronger foundation in their workplace. It is important that companies understand diversity as an integral part in having successful products and increased volume of sales. This is mostly true for companies that do business globally since they interact with clients of different cultures on a daily basis. 

Overall, workplace diversity is great for companies to succeed, but if it not integrated and structured properly, it can backfire and cause problems for many companies. The bottom-line is that companies must integrate diversity into their systems, processes, and most importantly their organizational culture.

With increases in productivity and creativity, new attitudes and processes, and an array of languages, it is no wonder more and businesses are integrating cultural diversity into their organizations.

Posted by: Jace O'Mallan | January 4, 2010

The new age of ethics in the workplace

Many would agree that ethics in the workplace wasn’t taken seriously until the whole Enron and Worldcom fiasco. Now university and college professors hold classes and seminars that stress the importance of ethics in the workplace. Even up until now, employees and managers have a hard time defining their social responsibility and what it means to do the right thing. Yet it always comes down to the age-old question that everyone asks: Who can say exactly what is right and what is wrong? With the age of globalization and the concept of global business, many executives and employees have a hard times being ethical due to their cultural differences with other foreign companies.

In the end, it comes down to the individual’s responsibility as an employee and their honesty, commitment, and loyalty. As long as we still have humans running the workplace, the issue of ethics will always remain a factor.

Posted by: Jace O'Mallan | January 2, 2010

The Advantages of Social Networking

Being a business major at the University of Nevada, Reno you would think that I am on every social network website on the Internet. It wasn’t until my last semester at school that I finally set myself up on accounts such as Facebook, LinkedIn,  and Twitter. When Bret Simmons, my Entrepreneurial Psychology professor, challenged me to find my value I realized that I haven’t been doing my part to brand myself out to the world. It was time for some changes in the way I represent myself in the social network scheme.

The first thing I did was cancel my MySpace account due to its juvenile nature and my presence as well. The next step was changing up my Facebook account and signing up for Twitter as well. At first I thought Twitter was another mediocre social network online with a stupid name attached to it. Then I realized that it was a great place to connect with interesting and knowledgeable individuals.

Now that I am connected to all these places, I am beginning my long and eventful journey to finding myself and knowing my value as a person and as a professional.