Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners
In This Issue…
The Paradox of Leadership: Cooperating to Compete, Following to Lead
The Stewardship of Service Excellence at the City of Vaughan
Flashback Feature: Women’s Issues and Collective Bargaining
The Paradox of Leadership: Cooperating to Compete, Following to Lead Bernie Mayer, Ph.D., Queen's IRC Facilitator, 2016
For most of my adult life I lived at the foot the Rocky Mountains (the Colorado ones), and I have frequently led family, children, and others on hiking, ski touring, and mountain biking trips. I wasn’t mostly the formal leader (and others in my family may dispute this characterization), but I often felt that it was my responsibility to make sure we got to where we intended to get to, when we intended to, safely. Almost always, the best position for me to take to make sure we stayed together, that those who needed help or encouragement received it, and that the needs of the group were attended to, was at the back of the pack.
“Leading from behind” is a natural approach in the outdoors. It is natural in organizations too. It may sound like a passive or ineffective way to approach the challenge of being an effective leader, but I found, both in the outdoors and in organizational leadership positions, that this is the most powerful way to guide a group. The idea of leading from behind is not a new one for organizations or for communities,(1) but learning how to do this, particularly in a hierarchical structure, is no easy matter. One key dimension of this is defined by our approach to conflict. How we set the stage for the effective use of conflict and how we respond to conflict is critical to our effectiveness as leaders and to our capacity to “lead from behind.”(2)
The Stewardship of Service Excellence at the City of Vaughan Reflections on Sustaining Momentum, Building Capacity and Focus During Transformational Change Beverley Patwell, Christina Bruce, Leah Zilnik, Laura Mirabella-Siddall, 2016
This case study examines how to recognize the desire for change and harness that energy to build and steward the development and implementation of a Service Excellence Strategy that yields concrete results and sustains the momentum required for long term success.
The City of Vaughan embarked on a six-month transition process called ‘Building Capacity and Focus’ to design and implement an innovative approach to developing a refocused strategic plan aimed at fostering a shared vision and culture of Service Excellence throughout all City services and operations. At the end of this process, the City achieved the following critical milestones: unanimous council approval of the Service Excellence Strategy, a shared mindset and commitment to Service Excellence, and an organizational design and alignment of the City’s three-year budget with the priorities and goals of the Strategic Plan, while keeping the tax rate in line with targets set by Council.
Given the short time frame in which these remarkable results were achieved, this case study illustrates the value in capitalizing on a desire for change at the right moment and ensuring the proper leadership team and strategies were in place to preserve the momentum and commitment required for change in the long term. It also stresses the criticality of measuring and evaluating change at each stage of the process. The Sustainable Leadership Development Framework was used to measure and evaluate the alignment, integration, actions and impacts of the change process. The lessons learned provide valuable insight for the practice of leadership, management and organizational development.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the bargaining agenda of selected major Canadian unions on women's issues and the effectiveness of their efforts towards incorporating these issues into their collective agreements.
The first section highlights the union agenda and the common provisions the unions have been pursuing at the collective bargaining table. The second section analyzes the frequency of the collective agreement clauses on women's issues overall and of selected unions. The final section summarizes the finding and their implications. The Appendix provides a profile of labour organizations included in the study.