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Re: Martin_charlie_facultyfocuspaper_mccall_morga

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FACULTY FOCUS PAPER

MORGAN MCCALL

By Charlie Martin

        Morgan McCall is a professor Emeritus here at the USC Marshall school of business. He has a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Cornell University where he also studied personality & social psychology and social organization & change. His main area of expertise and the topic I will be discussing is Leadership and what it takes to be an effective leader.

        From his multitude of work and research in the field, McCall has concluded that leadership is not innate but rather a learned skill that one can gain through experience. What matters most is not what kind of person you are but rather what you learn and what you are exposed to in your career. In McCall’s book “High Flyers” he demonstrates that the best executives are not the managers who possess a specific list of traits or those who have risen to the top but those who have the ability to learn from their experiences and are open to continuous learning. This means that if people are exposed to the right experiences on the job they will be able to learn new skills that will help them be a successful executive. What can be taken away from this is that it is crucial for individuals to be in a position where they are challenged and not sitting around making their way through the ranks. Leaders are experts in their field of work and one can not expect to become the head of an organization without being intellectually challenged day in and day out. The knowledge gained through this exposure is crucial to becoming an expert leader but it is not the only contributing factor.

As McCall describes in his article “Developing the Expert Leader,” “experts do not just know more but they have an array of capabilities that helped them achieve expert status.” Some of these factors include the willingness and stamina to put in the time to complete a task and the ability to fight through failure and try again. As mentioned before a constant drive to learn contributes to one’s wealth of knowledge but this drive also keeps leaders on par with other executives. Leaders are constantly competing to be the best and in order to be the best, leaders must know how to successfully work with others.

Leaders must manage a team of very unique individuals and as we have seen in “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” this can be extremely challenging. McCall sites certain demands the leaders must respond to in order to be successful. Communication is one of them as leaders must clearly communicate specific goals so that their followers know what they need to get accomplished. This can be difficult because everyone is different and one way of communication with one employee may be received completely differently by another employee. Developing a culture and values that the company stands for is another demand that leaders must fulfill. These values will not only define what the company stands for but they will be the basis for many of the hiring decisions the company will have to make. Leaders must be able to recognize individuals that align with these values and if not, they must make the difficult decision on what to do next. The founding values of an organization define the company’s atmosphere and decide whether or not individuals will succeed. Leaders must embrace these company values acting as a living example of what the company stands for. This will inspire others to do the same and align everyone with the company goals. These demands are vital to a successful organization and a leader must be able to see them an opportunity and not an obstacle.

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