Perspective focuses us as we view a stormy distance — Do we see it as
an inspiring challenge? Do we consider
and evaluate the benefit and direction of our action?
Do we draw inspiration and act to affirm our personal truth?
Do we engage and achieve?
Or, do we withdraw for another day?
It depends how we evaluate the usefulness of our action upon the stormlette and whether
we engage and advance upon any challenge worth our effort.
PAAS – These are the organizational, integration milestones of Preparation, Affirmation, Accomplishment and Sustainment. They describe key stations along a path to longer term organizational accomplishment. Understanding how they interrelate with personal, leadership, and management factors provides a fundamental strategic advantage. The model may be used to plan or to evaluate. It may also be used by an individual to consider their capabilities and skills.
PAAS, a test of our capabilities:
It was very late afternoon, and we were tired. For two days, the search team had been involved in managing a simulated emergency. The funding for our organization depended upon how well the emergency management team performed. The evaluators were Air Force officers and they were watching everything with a close scrutiny. We would either pass or fail with some considerable consequence.
An aircraft had been “lost”. The team had developed specific intelligence about its flight pattern for the day. Information from the FAA indicated the aircraft’s intended routes. Airports were contacted to see if it had stopped and fueled. Because the incident had been broadcast over the television, members of the public contacted the incident command post reporting aircraft sightings.
We had contacted the family of the pilot to learn habits and other critical personal information. The emergency was simulated and not “real world”, but locating the aircraft was critical. It was a matter of pride and a matter of funding. We had to demonstrate we were good at what we did and if we were successful, the Air Force would continue to fund “real world” lost aircraft and lost person searches.
We had prepared carefully. From our aircrews there had been sightings conforming to the intelligence, but they were not confirmed. Stress was increasing as the sun moved towards the western horizon. Because the entire search was near high mountains in steep terrain, for safety sake, we did not fly at night. If we did not find the aircraft in a short period, we would have to start again in the morning.
We were tired and extending another day would erode our pride and make the accomplishment more difficult because of fatigue. We live in a world where search is an emergency and the individual and team have to put everything they have into it for a potentially life-saving, successful result.
As dusk approach, the team met in the incident command post to decide the next step. The mountainous terrain was analyzed again and pictures of the areas searched were reviewed. The specific intelligence was considered. Seven or eight of the incident command staff met to consider the objective, the task and the information at hand. There was some disagreement on how to proceed, but the determination was that a sighting was close.
We were affirmed to proceed. We believed we could be successful. We checked this against safety imperatives determining to proceed. The search had to be expanded to cover the next mountainous ridge and within the limits of safety, every effort must be taken to close the mission successfully.
Just before dusk, the search airplane did cross to the next ridge. Initially an electronic, emergency locator signal was acquired from the “lost” aircraft. The signal directed the search aircraft towards the simulated crash. As the sun neared the edge of the horizon, the search aircraft sighted the simulated “lost” aircraft and radioed to base a find.
We received pictures of the sighting and were sure the search we had achieved the result we had all worked towards. Since it was simulated and the simulated pilot’s life was not at stake, we could verify the success at first light with a ground team.
Once the result had been achieved, the Air Force would confirm our capability. We would sustain our search program with adequate budgeting and a validation of our capabilities. The evaluation from the Air Force would provide insight and with coaching from the Air Force and from our own trainers we would continue or efforts for the better. In the following year the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center would confirm that we had participated in saving four lives.
The test was highly successful because the issue had been addressed through a beneficial integration of management systems and leadership behaviors. The final result was one of spirit, where the team continued their mission with considered perseverance. Within the limits of safety, the team pursued a solution to the final minutes of sun light.
Integrating Management with Leadership
Testing and proving skills for critical activities is a normal routine for many of us whether we are military, government, or in business. Can we reach the objective and can we solve the problems in organized way? There is no certainty and the bridge to success is the skill of our organization.
What skills allow us to succeed and achieve the objective? Normally they fall under the headings of leadership and management.
Unfortunately normal teachings differentiate between management and leadership. In many cases the respective behaviors and systems are labeled as either leadership or management and there is no differentiation. The activities of both are included under one heading. In other cases, they are separated. Leadership is presented as a powerful interpersonal skill focused on people, while management relates to things – sort of a pejorative referring to a logistical way of thinking.
Neither of these is adequate. The first because it mixes behavior with systems and does not adequately define how they interrelate. The second because it portrays leadership and management in terms of what is best and what is less desirable. leadership and management are seen as competitive and not cumulative and interactive in their relationship.
It takes leadership and management to build an effective and efficient organization. It is their synthesis the builds organizations, teams, and enterprises. The practitioner that is motivated to develop affirmation of their members and achieve sustainable results must understand that both leadership behavior and managerial systems must be applied to optimize planning, affirming, achieving, and sustaining.
This approach is integrating management with leadership.. For effectiveness and efficiency, the acts of “managing” and “leading” should be complimentary and inter-supportive, essentially interwoven into a tapestry of accomplishment.
The integration of management with leadership may employ methodologies such as Ken Blanchard’s Leadership and the One Minute Manager which explains “situational leadership” an adaptive and useful model for managers and leaders.
Historically, the interactions related to governance and organizations were more political and less rigorous in their definition. An example of this is Niccolo Machiavelli’s, The Prince which provides recommendations based on his understanding of the “actions of great men.“ Also, earlier authors focused on military leadership, both tactics and strategy. Examples of such treatises are Carl von Clausewitz’s On War. Though it was not available in English until later, Sun Tzu had compiled the influential The Art of War. Another key work, The Protestant Ethic and The Spirit of Capitalism was prepared by Max Weber defining the bureaucratic, legal-rational model. Each of these considered practices and processes to organize people for specific actions and gain advantage, whether in governance, war or business enterprise.
Over time to achieve specific objectives, leadership has been applied to working groups, teams and organizations. Issues have been the scale and size of the organization and whether its operations are centralized or decentralized. There has been significant interest in team based approaches and General Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams documents much of the background in developing frameworks for management and leadership.
My personal interest has developed over 40 years of leading and managing. My experiences have been in the military, local government, and non-profit organizations. I have served as a technician, a director and general manager. Each of these provides specific insights but I have always been interested in understanding skill, processes and systems and developing new, more effective and efficient, approaches.
From this experience, education, and training, I have developed an integrating concept. Instead of focusing on either leadership or management, it presents an integration of the two and outlines how they interact in a dialectical model. The model specifies certain personal behaviors often ascribed to leaders and system functions that managers operate. The synthesis is stages of integration that may be documented or quantified as indicators of working group, team, or organizational performance.
The spring day was warming. A new public works project was starting in the rural town located in California’s Salinas Valley. The project was to beautify the town’s downtown district by constructing a planter in the middle of its Main Street. Financing had been achieved by the previous city manager with a large grant from the Economic Development Administration.
Some folks were angry because of the incessant pounding by construction equipment as the street was excavated for the median planter. They were angry because of their bread-and-butter rationale that this economic development project was blocking access to their businesses. Though the project promised to enhance the town’s commercial environment in the long and middle-run, its immediate effect was to discourage shoppers, reducing short-term business activity and maybe keeping some food off the dinner table for the families of the merchants most directly affected.
I was the new city manager and had recently arrived. It was 1976, and I was twenty-eight years old with a spouse and small child. I had served briefly as an administrative assistant in another small city. Before that I was a graduate student and an airman during the Vietnam War.
Though the town was small, the task in my mind was large. On my first general management job, how do I sort things out? Do I just respond to questions asked by the citizens of the town and stick as a robot to the directions given by the city council that had hired me?
Compounding the immediate problem, there were pressing personnel and budgetary issues for the small city. How do I understand them and sort them out? As a separate issue, the Regional Water Quality Board notified the city of clean water issues because the city had outgrown its sewer plant capacity. About the same time, there was a shooting just outside the city, where gang members had fought and one youth had died to gun-fire. How do these issues inter-relate? What do I do?
We often seek specific operational solutions to complicated problems. In addition, problems important to others may emphasize the need for an immediate solution. While there was insistence and pressure, I intuitively felt that finding a full solution now would be risky. It would be risky because from my managerial temperament, successful solutions often involve collaboration with affected stakeholders. Though short in tenure, I had learned jumping to conclusions and appeasing the moment, often boomerangs as time passes. The process of solution should carry us to a middle and long run “win”.
Often problems are difficult, if not wicked. Instant solutions may be an invitation to reaction. Reaction normally does not promise success because the solution is only an extension of the problem that created it. On the other hand, if the leader is not able to formulate a promising path forward, they are seen as vacillating, bureaucratic or even incompetent.
Interpreting the case study from the PAAS model, successful solutions normally involve the interpersonal elements of leadership and the systematically managed processes and systems. In the problem at hand of beautifying the downtown district, the solution was to engage the downtown business owners on their own turf. There was considerable outreach and providing information including sensitive time-frames for the project’s completion. The business owners must see a “face” for their local government and the small-city governance must convince them their pain will be as short as possible and the middle-run result will favor their commerce. The case must be convincing to move them from anger and skepticism to conditional belief.
There were few options, so being available to accept the downtown business owners’ frustration was all that we could offer. The only other option was to terminate the project which would have required the repayment of very large sums of money and the breaching of contracts by the local government. There was no immediate happiness with the solution, but relationships were developed that provided over time a foundation for community development. As time passed, the project did beautify the downtown and after a relatively short time the community moved on to another controversy, strengthened by the relationships developed with the median-planter issue.
While the integration of leadership behavior and management systems provided the organization to address the problem, the basic motivation again came from the spirit of the actors. The local government must be curious about the business complaints, seeking to understand the problem as the business owners perceived it. There must be an initiative towards resolution and a commitment to addressing the perceived problems.
Over the years, I relearned this lesson many times in many situations. It is hard work, and the effective leader cannot fully address any problem or challenge from afar. Instead the essential spirit of leadership emphasizes a focus on purpose, duty, passion, and resilience. These traits are obscured sometimes in conflict when the leader is denigrated and dismissed and seemingly without a friend. Always in my office I placed prominently on the wall President Theodore Roosevelt’s famous “Man in the Arena” passage taken from his speech, “Citizenship in A Republic,” delivered April 23, 1910. In a slightly modified form below, it expresses the essential spirit of leadership.
“It is not the critic who counts, who points out how the strong leader stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the leader who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends endeavor in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if the result is failure, at least fails while daring greatly, so that the leader’s place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
This statement made more than one-hundred years ago emphasizes it is the individual spirit which is fundamental for successful leadership and management. We seem to often forget that it is through spirit that we lead. It is our purposefulness, curiosity and interest. It is how we demonstrate passion and adhere to duty. It is the initiative for improvement we demonstrate and fundamentally, over the longer run it is our enduring commitment, perseverance and resilience that establishes enduring, transformational leadership.
This leader will motivate followers to affirmational action. There is no guarantee, but the purposeful and committed leader is the necessary prerequisite to affirmation and then accomplishment on the part of any group, troop, enterprise and organization. Personalities among leaders and followers vary, so how these aspects of spirit are demonstrated differs among individuals.
Is there a best approach to every leadership problem?
There is a best approach and it based upon the temperament of the individual leader and their followers. The PAAS model emphasizes personality, which manifests through the leader’s spirit. Spirit is how individual leaders project their personality to affirm those they lead and then to accomplish their mission.
We hear often about leadership techniques. The discussion in many cases focuses on one best way to lead and often emphasizes specific “tricks-of-the-trade”. This singular approach may be enlightening and entertaining, but for many, it will not be optimal because the technique proposed is not necessarily most consistent with the temperament of the leader. Leaders are most effective when they lead towards their strength. It is important to grow and learn other personality dimensions, but effectiveness is often found in a personality’s strength.
My immersion to individual leader temperament and style occurred in 2001 when I participated in the Senior Executive Institute at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia. The City Council for a Central California coastal city had sponsored me for the training. Before we attended the Institute, each of the participants completed a Myers Briggs questionnaire. When we arrived at the session, we had to write our Myers Brigg’s profile on a card and then wear the card for the duration of the institute. There are a total of sixteen (16) combinations and while a number of the combinations were more commonly worn, we learned that even for senior career city managers around the United States, a variety of temperaments were represented.
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) analyzes personality in terms of four (4) dimensions. They are relative introversion and extroversion, sensing and intuiting, thinking and feeling, and judging and perceiving. Each of these represents an aspect of temperament. For short hand, they are presented as four letters such as ESFJ for an extroverted, sensing, feeling, judging individual.
Two books are basic sources. The first, Please Understand Me Character & Temperament Types was written by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates. Its copyright date is 1984. The second written by David Keirsey was copyrighted in 1998 and is titled Please Understand Me II Temperament Character Intelligence. These books define four groups: SP, SJ, NF, and NT. Individuals within these groups are distinct and have different interests and, therefore, different capabilities.
Sensing Perceiving (SP) individuals are seen as having superior skills with troubleshooting and negotiation. They have a sharp nose for opportunity and are in the moment but generally are impatient with theories, concepts and goal statements. The internet has many analyses of the Myers Briggs types for famous individuals and sometimes they define different types for the same historical individual. With this caveat, Donald Trump (ESTP), both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt (ESTP), Ronald Regan (ESFP), and Steve Jobs (ISTP) are categorized as SP. Individuals who demonstrate SP characteristics work well with concrete issues, involved in a tactical role which focuses on smart moves that betters one’s position. Their MBTI types are crafters, promoters, composers, and performers.
Sensing Judging (SJ) leaders are seen as traditionalist stabilizers that are most comfortable working within organizations through establishing policies, rules, schedules, routines and hierarchy. This group operates based on facts in logistical roles. Examples of SJs are Harry Truman (ISTJ), Hilary Clinton (ESTJ), General David Patreus (ISFJ), and General Colin Powell (ESFJ) are all categorized as SJ. Individuals who demonstrate SJ characters look for the concrete and excel with logistical roles requiring the smart handling of goods and services. . They include protectors, providers, inspectors, and supervisors.
Intuitive Thinking (NT) individuals are generally conceptualizers and visionary leaders that work best in strategic roles. Exemplary leaders in this group are Abraham Lincoln (INTP), Julius Caesar (ENTJ), Dwight Eisenhower (INTJ), and Newt Gingrich (ENTP) who are categorized as NT. Individuals who demonstrate NT characteristics work well in the abstract and excel with strategic challenges and demonstrate the ability of working with systems figuring out complex ways and means to accomplish well-defined goals. As types, they include field marshals, masterminds, inventors and architects.
Intuitive Feeling (NF) leaders are catalytic and people oriented. Exemplary of this group are Barak Obama (ENFJ), Gandhi (INFJ), John Kerry (INFP), and Ralph Nader (ENFP). Individuals who demonstrate NF characteristics work well in the abstract and excel with diplomatic assignments, often with a natural gift for working with people. As types, they include teachers, counselors, champions and healers.
Using these groups to understand leadership does not provide complete certainty in analyzing any leader. Understanding the differences, however, provides the opportunity that people are different, but their leadership superiority depends upon the task with which they are challenged. Each of the groups has a greater ability to lead in specific circumstances, depending upon the challenge presented. For example, if someone is an INTJ such as General Eisenhower is often typed, his capacities would shine greatest with strategic problems, second with diplomatic challenges, third with tactics and finally in a logistical role. He was chosen to lead the Allied invasion of Continental Europe against Nazi Germany which primarily involved strategic and diplomatic challenges at his level of command. At this he excelled and the war was won for the Allies. President Roosevelt, a “smart mover” selected General Eisenhower for this role, understanding how he had the temperament to facilitate success with a historically critical task.
Please Understand Me II explains the other case. “Leaders of different temperament have difficulty appreciating those intelligent roles that they have not practiced very much and therefore have not developed very well.” To improve organizational leadership an important consideration is to cast individuals with different temperaments in the rolls that will serve them best and then allow them to be their temperaments. Leadership development is another important activity and this includes for every leader the understanding and development of temperament skills outside their normal area of comfort. This will facilitate individual leadership ability and the understanding of other leadership actors, if the leader understands their skills are greatest in the temperament areas they practice most and, therefore, have developed their greatest intelligence.
We have focused on the spirit of leaders and have not investigated closely what manager’s accomplish and how temperament affects them.