Archive for May, 2012

ESSAY REQUIRED FOR A JOB COMPETITION

May 30, 2012

 

This essay explains why I wish to be the manager in charge of the special projects and also the executive assistant. I will demonstrate that I have what the Ministry is looking for in terms of knowledge, communication skills, leadership skills, and research and analytical skills. I will further demonstrate that I clearly understand the structure of the Ministry and the operation requirements of the branch. Above all, I have great enthusiasm and ambition for the challenges presented by the position. I strongly believe that a combination of these aspects will make me successful in supporting the director and moving the branch to the next level.

My Knowledge

I served as the Senior Tax Program Specialist at the Relationship Management and Business Development Branch from the year 2008 to 2009. Here, I was responsible for interpreting and applying tax laws, tax administration agreements and I also kept myself abreast with the trends and contents of revenue policies as applied in the government. My knowledge in audit also comes from my two year experience as the Manager, Program Advisory and Training at the Revenue Collections Branch from 2002 to 2004. During this time, I was not only responsible for reviewing but also contributing to the Auditor General’s Report. Additionally, I managed all the expenditures of the unit.

My Leadership Skills

I strongly believe I have excellent leadership skills that would propel the Branch and the Director’s initiatives to great heights. My leadership skills are well exemplified in all the management positions I have held in the Ministry for a decade now. For example, while at the Revenue Collections Branch, I guided a team of seven Training Officers responsible for design and implementation of operational and technical training programs for the branch staff across the province. This was only possible following my strong appeal and influence of the people who work under me in spite of their social class. In all the management positions I have held before, I have managed to form strong teams of employees and also stronger relationships between the department not only with other departments but also with other partners.

My leadership skills have been enhanced by the relevant leadership courses and workshops I have undertakes and attended in the course of my career. Therefore, I belief that if I am given the opportunity, the skills will be very useful to the branch. (work on it )

My Communication Skills

I have to emphasize that my success in leadership is strongly attributed to my ability to communicate clearly and impressively to the people I lead. My knowledge and skills in human resource development and management were greatly enriched.My skills in interpersonal communication have exponentially grown in the course of my ascension in the public service. I have been able to develop strong negotiation skills with partners and stakeholders of the departments I have managed. My hallmark is to retain relationships with every party I am engaged with in any professional duty. In 2005, I participated in a many trainings which conferred me indelible skills on how to advance organizational communications. Lastly, presentations have been at the centre of my professional life. Through experience, I have been able master my voice, posture and eye contact when making a presentation. I also have exceptional skills in Microsoft PowerPoint which is used in most presentations.

My Research and Analytical Skills

I am convinced that my experience as a manager in collections research will be of immense value in audit. Other than the research experience I have received so far, I am a naturally analytical person. I pay a lot of attention to details because the unknown lies in the details. As I have stated above, part of my experience was characterized by analysis of statistical reports on the collections and making intelligent judgments based on cumulative trends evident in research information.

My Understanding of the Branch

From the onset, I am aware of the additional responsibility that the position entails compared to other Executive Assistant positions. I understand very well that management of operations across the province, exclusive to this position, calls for more accountability. As stated at the beginning and also in the resume, having worked for over 14 years in the public service, I am looking for new challenges of a slightly different magnitude from what I have been doing. I understand that a high sense of accountability will be required on the part of programs, personnel, finance and material and errors. Most importantly, I am aware of the Ministry’s organizational structure, its strategic plan expectations of the branch and the implementation plan to address the five key themes for the branch including morale, understanding the branch mandate, communications, knowledge transfer and complance. (Ontario Ministry of Finance, 2012).

The Ministry of Revenue has four strategic priorities which include value for people, optimization of provincial revenues, enhancement of stewardship and championing modernization. Therefore, all the operations of the branch will be aligned to these strategic priorities. In addition, under my oversight, the branch will effectively pursue its mandate by focusing on five key themes. In the context of these themes, I will motivate the workforce, make them understand the branch’s mandate.

If given the opportunity, I will be highly responsible and accountable in delivering and accomplishing my duties. In terms of program accountability, I will use my skills in project management and research to manage the necessary resources required in the running of the branch and consequently advice the senior management, including the director on what needs to be done.

 

Reference

Ontario Ministry of Finance (2012). Organizational structure. Webpage. Retrieved from http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/about/orgchart.pdf

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ESSAY REQUIRED FOR A JOB COMPETITION

May 30, 2012

 

This essay explains why I wish to be the manager in charge of the special projects and also the executive assistant. I will demonstrate that I have what the Ministry is looking for in terms of knowledge, communication skills, leadership skills, and research and analytical skills. I will further demonstrate that I clearly understand the structure of the Ministry and the operation requirements of the branch. Above all, I have great enthusiasm and ambition for the challenges presented by the position. I strongly believe that a combination of these aspects will make me successful in supporting the director and moving the branch to the next level.

My Knowledge

Having had an expansive knowledge in the Ontario Public Service, I have acquired immense knowledge in government processes of business planning, structures of administration, processes of government financial planning and accounting practices. Before assuming this position, I worked with the Revenue Collections Branch as the Manager, Training and Internal Communications Unit. Therefore, I am well conversant not only with the principles of accounting but also with the audit standards of the Ministry. Specifically, I managed the budget of the Unit. Earlier, as indicated in my resume, I served as the Senior Tax Program Specialist at the Relationship Management and Business Development Branch from the year 2008 to 2009. Here, I was responsible for interpreting and applying tax laws, tax administration agreements and I also kept myself abreast with the trends and contents of revenue policies as applied in the government. My knowledge in audit also comes from my two year experience as the Manager, Program Advisory and Training at the Revenue Collections Branch from 2002 to 2004. During this time, I was not only responsible for reviewing but also contributing to the Auditor General’s Report. Additionally, I managed all the expenditures of the branch. All this experience combined with my academic qualifications in Accounting Fundamentals and Collecting Accounts Receivables give me the confidence that I have the necessary knowledge in government financial planning processes, accounting practices among other competencies as outlined in my resume.

My Leadership Skills

I strongly believe I have excellent leadership skills that would propel the Branch and the Director’s initiatives to great heights. My leadership skills are well exemplified in all the management positions I have held in the Ministry for a decade now. For example, while at the Revenue Collections Branch, I guided a team of seven Training Officers responsible for design and implementation of operational and technical training programs for the branch staff across the province. This was only possible following my strong appeal and influence of the people who work under me in spite of their social class. In all the management positions I have held before, I have managed to form strong teams of employees and also stronger relationships between the department not only with other departments but also with other partners.

My leadership skills have been enhanced by the relevant leadership courses and workshops I have undertakes and attended in the course of my career. Therefore, I belief that if I am given the opportunity, the skills will be very useful to the branch. My record of the courses and trainings I have attended can conspicuously be seen in my resume. For instance, in March 2010, I took an e-course at the Ontario Public Service (OPS) center on how to welcome customers with disabilities. I have found the course very helpful in my holistic relationship with people across the board including the physically disadvantaged. In 2009, at the same center, I also went through a course that focused on leadership and values. The course added a very important perspective in my leadership skills since I was able to learn that a leader without values is not a leader at all. In the context of this position I am convinced that values will be of indispensable in dealing with matters of finances and operations across the province. My leadership skills have also been greatly enhanced through more workshops and courses attended at the OPS centre between 2004 to 2010 on dealing with difficult clients, career planning, conflict of interest, security and confidentiality of information, email etiquette and information sharing within an organization. With regard to my success as the executive assistant to the audit director, security and confidentiality of information will be very helpful.

My Communication Skills

I have to emphasize that my success in leadership is strongly attributed to my ability to communicate clearly and impressively to the people I lead. My knowledge and skills in human resource development and management were greatly enriched in my recruiting roles throughout my career in the public service. My skills in interpersonal communication have exponentially grown in the course of my ascension in the public service. I have been able to develop strong negotiation skills with partners and stakeholders of the departments I have managed. My hallmark is to retain relationships with every party I am engaged with in any professional duty. I will definitely do well in managing operations and relationships because in have the fieldwork experience involving. My career has been filled with many training responsibilities especially as a trainer of trainers. In the latter, effective communication is always emphasized so that the message is clear. In 2005, I participated in a many trainings which conferred me indelible skills on how to advance organizational communications. Lastly, presentations have been at the centre of my professional life. Through experience, I have been able master my voice, posture and eye contact when making a presentation. I also have exceptional skills in Microsoft PowerPoint which is used in most presentations.

My Research and Analytical Skills

My research and analytical skills are exceptional at least in cases where I applied them. I will demonstrate this by citing my experience as the Manager of Collections Planning and Research from 2006 to 2008. I did not only receive statistical reports but also analyzed trends in those collections and the economy at large. I am convinced that my experience as a manager in collections research will be of immense value in audit. Other than the research experience I have received so far, I am a naturally analytical person. I pay a lot of attention to details because the unknown lies in the details. In analyzing trends in taxation, a high sense of judgment will be required in making decisions for future financial events. My research skills include both qualitative and quantitative techniques. I also have adequate background in inferential statistics. As I have stated above, part of my experience was characterized by analysis of statistical reports on the collections and making intelligent judgments based on cumulative trends evident in research information. The field of research today requires up-to-date information through technology. Through my knowledge and competency in internet use, I would be of help to the branch and the director in offering advice on the emerging trends. I will be keen in establishing global trends in financial processes and taxation.

My Understanding of the Branch

From the onset, I am aware of the additional responsibility that the position entails compared to other Executive Assistant positions. I understand very well that management of operations across the province, exclusive to this position, calls for more accountability. As stated at the beginning and also in the resume, having worked for over a decade in the public service, I am looking for new challenges of a slightly different magnitude from what I have been doing. I understand that a high sense of accountability will be required on the part of programs, personnel, finance and material and errors. Most importantly, I am aware of the Ministry’s organizational structure, its strategic plan expectations of the branch and the implementation plan to address the five key themes for the branch (Ontario Ministry of Finance, 2012).

The Ministry of Revenue has four strategic priorities which include value for people, optimization of provincial revenues, enhancement of stewardship and championing modernization. Therefore, all the operations of the branch will be aligned to these strategic priorities. In addition, under my oversight, the branch will effectively pursue its mandate by focusing on five key themes: morale, understanding the branch mandate, communications, knowledge transfer and compliance to March 1, 2012 stipulations of the branch. In the context of these themes, I will motivate the workforce, make them understand the branch’s mandate, push for timely communications, initiate continuous learning programs and year to achieve the highest level effectiveness. I will also seek to achieve the outcomes stipulated in the strategic plan by striving to make sure that the workforce is healthy and well engaged, accountability frameworks and stewardship programs are put in place, encourage province-wide compliance and finally seek to improve this section of the public sector by modernizing the operations.

If given the opportunity, I will be highly responsible and accountable in delivering and accomplishing my duties. In terms of program accountability, I will use my skills in project management and research to establish the necessary resources required in the running of the branch and consequently advice the senior management, including the director on what needs to be done. Other than research and project management skills, I will also apply my experience in drawing budgets to advise the director. In addition, I will use my supervisory experience in human resource management in directing the administrative staff. In a further attempt to be accountable in terms of personnel, I will diligently handle the grievances of the staff and also apply the necessary disciplinary action against the wayward employees. In this case, my skills in communication and leadership will be applied in delivering this responsibility.

My further understanding of the responsibilities of the branch has to do with my accountability to finance matters. This is a very key issue that requires a great deal of values which I believe I have. My public service record is entirely untainted and therefore I will be very accountable and also set new standards of performance for the staff. My accountability will also encompass my responsibility to errors in the advices in will offer to the director. However, I will be very cautious not to make any mistakes which will be made possible by my expansive research and consultation.

 

Reference

Ontario Ministry of Finance (2012). Organizational structure. Webpage. Retrieved from http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/about/orgchart.pdf

An analysis of The School for Scandal, by Richard Brinsley Sheridan

May 30, 2012

 

The School for Scandal” by Richard Brinsley Sheridan is generally considered as one of Richard masterful play that represents a comedy of manners. This play satirizes the deeds and customs of upper classes brought out through a witty exchange of ideas and a convoluted plot with comic situations that are utilized in order to describe the shortcomings of the characters. In regards to characters, the play entails stock type characters such as the flirt, the gossip, the wastrel, the bore, the rich uncle, among others. However, some individuals have unique qualities. There is avoidance of romantic sentimentality by comedies of the eighteenth century. In this drama, the author satirizes malevolent gossip and two-facedness in a trendy society of London in the 1770s. Therefore, this paper intends to provide an analysis of “The School for Scandal,” by Richard Brinsley Sheridan.

The School for Scandal is set or brought to the public attention at the Drury Lane Theatre in London, in May of 1777. The play marked as an enormous success to Sheridan. It was heralded the play as a “real comedy” that would succeed the sentimental dramas that had filled the stage during the time. The genre of the play is a comedy, which is usually a light, rather amusing, play that deals with contemporary issues in our daily lives. It is a drama with a satirical slant. However, it concludes happily. Sheridan used this comic as a way of correcting social absurdities (Crehan, 215).

Firstly, characterization, major part of this play is rich of characters with humorous expositions. The delineation of these characters is aimed at provoking entertainment and laughter to the audience. Main characters in the play include the protagonist: Charles Surface who is a youthful bachelor disreputable for his lavishness, indulgence, very generous, and he loves a woman known as Maria. On the other hand, there are two antagonists: Joseph Surface and Lady Sneerwell. Joseph Surface is a person who pretends to be an honorable man who is in the real sense is a scoundrel double-dealer. Lady Sneerwell as antagonist plots with Joseph Surface to ensure that Maria and Charles break up. There are other subordinate characters such as Sir Olive Surface a wealthy uncle of Charles and Joseph Surface, Sir Benjamin Backbite an annoying youth ready to pursue Maria, Mrs. Candour prolific gossiper, Sir Oliver, St. Peter Teazle, and others who are servants like, William, Trip, Rowley, and Mr. Stanley among others (Sheridan, 93). These protagonists and antagonists create the two sides of the play where other are not willing to support other people’s relationships and; therefore, the antagonists strive to sabotage the affairs of the protagonist.

Secondly, there are various themes presented in the play such as defamation of character whereby Sheridan with the aim of bringing out his principal theme of comedy, he employs the act of criticism of the odious practices of slander in the form of written letters and libel. Another theme is the theme of Hypocrisy whereby Joseph Surface pretends to be an honorable man while he tries to sabotage his brother’s affairs with Maria. Mrs. Candour and her ilk also act as if she is against gossips while, in the real sense, she delights in spreading rumors. For instance, she lies to Maria when Maria attempts to advise her to stop meddling in other people’s affairs. In addition, she asserts that there is nothing that can be done, as gossiping is part of people’s daily lives, and no one can restrain them (Sheridan, 62).

Thirdly, there is also the theme of deceptive appearance, and this is brought out clearly through Charles Surface who is considered a scoundrel double-dealer who in reality is an upright man, and supremely a decent fellow.

Steadfast Integrity is another theme, in spite of all the wrongdoing portrayed in the play while in reality when one looks at the moral resolve of characters like Maria who utterly refuses to gossip and denounces the practice and clearly brought out in Act 1 in the conversation between Lady Sneerwell and Sir Benjamin and later between Maria and Mrs. Candour.

Finally, there is the theme of Pitfalls of Idleness, which is an implied theme within the play. Most of the characters live on inherent property and money, and such a kind of idleness is the leading cause of their mischief. They engage mostly in telling and listening to scandalous stories, as well as gambling and drinking amongst the youths.

The climax of the play occurs towards the end of Act 5 after Rowley introduces Snake through a warm welcome. Snake and Lady Teazle then give a testimony against Lady Sneerwell, and this implies that they are against Joseph. Through this frank confession, we see Lady Teazle throwing herself on Sir Peter’s mercy (David, 93).

The major aim of Sheridan’s play was to create a caricature of his own time and society by using comic characters from civilized urban society. The structure of the poem is that of a succession of scenes with several plot strands and this can be seen with the delay of Charles Surface until halfway through the play (Christian, 258).

Conclusion

Sheridan’s play can be considered as a hallmark of witty and sparkling dialogue through amusing characters, jaunty and ridiculous situations, funny intrigues, incisive social satire, human foibles and the penetrating insight of human relationship. In short, the play is full of epigrams, and aphorism, and this is shown through Sheridan’s epigrammatic dialogue, which creates comic suspense. Most importantly, The School for Scandals can be considered as a blend of satire and compassion rather than a play that exposes scandals.

Works cited

Crehan, Coser. The School for Scandal. University of London Press, Ltd, 1967, pp. 217-340.

David, Damrosch. Teaching British Literature, New York: Longman Publishers, 2003, pp. 67- 249.

Deelan, Christian. “The Original Cast of the School for Scandal”, the Review of English Studies, 13 (1962), 257-266.

Richard B., Sheridan. The Plays & Poems of Richard Brinsley Sheridan: The school for scandal. University of Michigan; B. Blackwell. 2007, pp. 6-93.

 

 

 

 

Obesity in USA

May 30, 2012

 

The US has a crisis in the name of obesity. A sizable number of the US population can be said to be obese, that is to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30-plus. The US government is thus compelled to fight obesity with as much valor as it is fighting the terrorists in the mountains of Afghanistan. In deed, the fight against obesity in the US has been as long as the fight against terrorism. The fundamental issue that needs to be addressed, both at the national and individual levels, is the cultural cause of obesity, the physiology behind it, and how to address it.

Obesity is the condition in which an individual has a body weight that is at least twenty percent higher than it should be (Medical News Today, 2010). An overweight individual is said to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 25 and 29.9 while an obese individual has a BMI of 30 and above (Medical News Today, 2010; Szalavita, 2010). About 1/3 of the US’s adult population is obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). And nearly 21-29 percent of American children are either overweight or obese (Szalavita, 2010). The result has been that about 10 percent of our health costs are linked to obesity (Szalavita, 2010). The causes of obesity are not well documented. However, experts have linked the prevalence of obesity among Americans to their lifestyle. This is more so to their eating habits (Szalavita, 2010; Rose, 2010; Roan, 2011). Their sedentary lifestyle is also to blame, as most of them work in offices and drive to and from their workplaces. But the most acute cause of high levels of obesity among the American people is their eating habits.

Due to the changing economic times, Americans have fittingly adopted different eating habits. They would like to go to work very fast, so they will eat fast foods (ready –made, ready-packed). Moms find no time to breast feed their babies, they will instead leave them with nannies who will bottle-feed them (Szalavita, 2010; Rose, 2010). In the 1950s, from which the epidemic of obesity traces its roots, women (pregnant and non-pregnant) smoked as much as men. This, according to Rose (2010), had the effect of making the babies in the womb obese. And this is the generation of the obese adults we have in America today. Add this to the fact that Americans have come to “treat food as a source of gratification” and the puzzle is complete (Rose, 2010). Americans like it when the food is tasty, cheap and prepared “now” (Rose, 2010).

The food manufacturers have responded accordingly. They have put more sugar, salt, saturated fats, hydrogenated oils, dyes, preservatives, and artificial flavors to their food (Rose, 2011). The effect of these additives and preservatives has been to “replace all the nutrients and fiber that is removed from the original food source” (Rose, 2011). Now, these processed foods might taste better but they do not have the needed nutrients that are vital for the nourishment of the body, maintenance of blood sugar levels, and to facilitate proper digestion (Rose, 2011). Indeed, all the chemicals and synthetic ingredients that can be found in many processed foods are foreign to the body; and the body stores everything that the digestive system cannot process-mostly this storage is in the form of fat tissue (Rose, 2011).

One thing about the obese people is that they eat a lot (eating a lot per se, is not the driving factor behind obesity). This can be explained through the “empty-calories” theory. The “empty calories” are the calories that can be found in fried foods and sugary soda (Rose, 2011). These calories are normally quickly broken down as soon as they are ingested. They then cause the blood sugar levels to rise, “body secretes more insulin which leads to hunger signals” (Rose, 2011). So an obese individual will eat more in his or her next meal.

However, this is not the case when people take organic grown produce and products that have been made with organic ingredients (Rose, 2011; Szalavita, 2010; Roan, 2011). Wholesome plant diets are the most viable options. These include grains, fruits, legumes, vegetables, and seeds. These foods are not only good as a preventative measure against obesity, they also help prevent national killer diseases as cancer, strokes, diabetes, and heart diseases (that, apparently, have been notably higher in those people with obesity ) (Roan, 2011; Rose, 2011). These foods, also known as real foods, are nutrient dense and are full of vitamins, enzymes and minerals (Rose, 2011). Real foods, unlike those with empty calories, require more time to digest and so will stay much longer in the stomach. When the stomach is always full an individual will feel satisfied longer, and will eat less at his or her next meal (Rose, 2011).

Obesity is a huge health crisis in the US. To tackle it, there is need for concerted efforts at the national as well as individual level. Obesity is a creation of American’s lifestyle which has become more and more sedentary; life in the US has also become fast-paced than ever before. So Americans will have fast foods that are laden with additives and preservatives but will exercise less. The result has been a crisis, with about 1/3 of the adult population being said to be obese. The solution to this epidemic lies in encouraging people to eat more of organically produced foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds and so on. People should be discouraged from taking sweetened beverages and instead take diet soda, for example. A reduction in the levels of obesity can also result in the reduction of such killer diseases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). U.S. Obesity Trends. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html.

Medical News Today. (2010). All about Obesity. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/obesity/.

Szalavita, M. (2010). Obesity in America. Retrieved from http://health.msn.com/health-topics/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100261061&page=2.

Roan, S. (2011). Obesity Epidemic may have Roots in 1950s. Retrieved from http://www.latimes.com/health/la-he-obesity-causes-20111219,0,6170668.story?page=2.

Rose, C. (2011). Obesity in America. Retrieved from http://www.downtoearth.org/health/nutrition/obesity-america.

The Significance of the Natural-Supernatural Dichotomy in Macbeth

May 30, 2012

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The Significance of the Natural-Supernatural Dichotomy in Macbeth

There is an apparent natural-supernatural conflict in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. The power of the supernatural is represented by the witches who act to seduce and cheat, and adds to the symbolic agents of evil dominating the play. The natural-supernatural dichotomy is one of the most conspicuous instances of imagery that Shakespeare uses as an indicator of the key theme in his work, goodness versus evil. He uses the imagery of natural versus supernatural to set the moral atmosphere, as well as, the mood of the play. The play starts with three characters, all of whom are witches, which to date are symbols of supernatural powers. The witches are portrayed as brewers of all sorts of troubles and chaos because of their clandestine actions. Throughout the play, the witches meet in dark hours or are either in dark caves. The association of witches with darkness emphasizes their supernatural disposition and influences the reader’s understanding of the play in a number of ways.

Throughout the play, the natural-supernatural dichotomy helps build the tragic destiny of the protagonists besides making the operative functions of the tragedy prominent. A critical analysis of the novel reveals that the natural-supernatural dichotomy is a fundamental component of plot development and that it is the dark presence of the supernatural that adds the essential element of suspense. The atmosphere created by the opposing forces of the natural and the supernatural is instrumental in bringing out revelations in character and the resentment that the society has towards forces and phenomenon which they do not understand (Campbell & Guinn, 71-73).

Undoubtedly, the underlining of the plot is highlighted in the interaction between the natural and supernatural forces. For instance, the bloody daggers that entice Macbeth into Duncan’s chamber and the ghost of Banqhuo that he sees later cannot be dismissed as mere illusions of his imagination. In the play, it is obvious that the three witches conjured up the images so as to fulfill the prophecies they gave Macbeth. After Duncan’s death, his horses eat each other, symbolizing an apparent disturbance in the natural order. This then shows that the supernatural forces had a stake in the murder of Duncan and conjures feelings of imbalances in nature.

Interestingly, the first set of prophecies precipitate the evil and the subsequent prophecies in the first half of the play. The prophecies keep the audience in suspense and make them feel that some actions should be taken to make the prophecies come true. In other parts of the play, there are a number of apparitions that give another set of prophecies. For instance, in Act IV, Scene I Lines 78, 85-86 and 100, it is prophesied that ‘none of woman born shall harm Macbeth…. Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane hill…’. When Macbeth learns this prophecy, he becomes confident and decides to kill Macduffy’s family. It is clear that he could not have made this gruesome mistake had he not visited the witches. Naturally, he could have been afraid and cautious of the consequences of his actions, but he was convinced by the improbable words of the witches. Nevertheless, the incident directly leads to his downfall. Although it was Macbeth who made the decision, there is no doubt that it was what the ‘weird sisters’ wished to happen (Campbell & Guinn, 83).

Clearly, Shakespeare’s portrayal of the opposing forces of natural and the supernatural helps reinforce the reader’s understanding of the plot, key themes and the destiny of the characters. Shakespeare portrays the witches as evil and malicious people, whose only means of amusement is to interfere in the normal lives of other people by causing chaos and troubles (Campbell & Guinn, 78). Unlike ordinary people, the witches have incredible powers, although the powers are flawed and incomplete. For instance, when one witch turns herself into a rat, she is conspicuously missing a tail. Moreover, the witches can not control people’s actions directly. They are only able to influence the actions of those with evil intentions or wicked motives. This reinforces the idea that God’s power is complete while that of the devil is not.

Shakespeare does not use the word witches directly and instead uses the word ‘hag’ to refer to the witches. However, during Macbeth’s time, he uses the word to refer to a wise woman. This was perhaps part of Shakespeare’s plan not to cause unnecessary tensions with the witches. There is no doubt that the power of the supernatural is extremely influential in the play as shown by the actions of the witches. As the representatives of the supernatural, the witches inspire more of the plot than merely their evil scenes (Campbell & Guinn, 78). As such, the unique role of the witches sheds light on the political, as well as, the social climate of the time. This makes the opposition created by the interaction between the natural and the supernatural define the various subplots in the story. For instance, the opposition serves as the silver lining, which distracts the reader’s awe in the midst of the endless river of blood and piling bodies.

In a way, the natural-supernatural dichotomy brings out the true nature of the play with regard to major characters such as Macbeth and the ‘weird sisters’. It is this existence that provides the charming under layer, which the play is famous for. Without the mysterious presence of witches and acts of supernatural forces, the play could not have been a classic tale about the greedy nature of mankind. This is well exemplified by the portrayal of witches as child eaters and blood drinking monsters. Essentially, the natural-supernatural dichotomy creates an inexplicable complication whose obvious effect is that the audience feels relieved and superior, while still not comprehending the power of the magic. The complication also adds to the mystique nature of the play and acts as a warning for impending evil (Campbell & Guinn, 74-76).

In conclusion, the natural-supernatural dichotomy is an integral part of plot and structure of the play Macbeth. The interaction of the two forces creates an eminent opposition that provides insight into the destiny of the characters and augments the impact of major scenes. All supernatural revelations in the play are symbolic of the characters’ evil intentions. The various apparitions which appear throughout the play are evident of the greedy nature of mankind and confirm people’s fear of the consequences of their actions. Essentially, the depiction of the supernatural forces and their interaction with natural forces not only makes the play captivating but also aids in understanding of the main themes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work Cited

Campbell, O. James and Guinn G. Edward, eds. The Readers Encyclopedia of Shakespeare. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1966.

Mauritania

May 30, 2012

Introduction

Mauritania is located in the western region of Africa, which is also referred to as the Maghreb. The country is strategically positioned with Atlantic Ocean on the western front, the western Sahara desert on the northern border, the Mediterranean economy of Algeria in the northeast, and by Mali in the east, and Senegal in the southwest. The country got its name from the ancient Roman province of Kingdom of Mauretania. The country’s capital city is Nouakchott, which is ideally located on the Atlantic coast.

History

The history of the country, similar to its neighbours goes back to more than thousand years – with the region being populated by the Berbers and the Bafours, who were primarily agriculturists and amongst the first in the African region to abandon a nomadic lifestyle. The country was then conquered by Arabs, who were on a Islamic conquest, and ruled most of the known world at that time.

The Arabs were successfully beaten by the Beni Hassan tribe, which gave the tribe an elite reputation in the Mauritanian history – as has been suggested that they comprised the upper strata of the Moorish society. Nevertheless, influence of Arabic is strong throughout the country’s history – with Hassaniya (a language derived from Arab dialect) becoming the dominant language of the country’s population.

During the last 100 years, Mauritania was primarily a French territory – with the French forces gradually occupying tracts of Mauritania via encroaching from Senegal. Xavier Coppolani was in-charge of the French mission in the area – who via initiation of strategic alliances with Zawiya tribes, and via tactical pressures on the ancient Hassane warriors was able to extend the French rule over the area. With a key tribe already a French ally, other main tribes such as Trarza, Tagant, and Brakna also joined the French camp on the back of negotiations. However, the emirate of Adrar showed strong resistance to French imperialism, holding up resistance for over a decade before they were finally defeated – and were amalgamated into Mauritania. With all key tribes under French control, Mauritania was annexed to be a part of the French West Africa in 1920.

The French imposed strict rules against slavery as well as warfare between various clans. Mauritania was able to gain independence from French rule in 1960, despite a nomadic lifestyle of most of the population. Interestingly, post independence people from Sub-Saharan Africa started migrating to Mauritania – and capitalized on their knowledge of French language and customs to take up key administrative posts. Meanwhile, the French continued to suppress the original tribes of the land – trying to shift the balance of power, and planting roots for an armed conflict.

Since independence in 1960, Mauritania has witnessed a number of governments, with the first single party state staying in power for more than 16 years. President Moktar Daddah, who was the first President, ruled during this period and was ousted in a coup in 1978 after dragging the country through a lethal war in southern part of Western Sahara – in order to conquer incremental tracts of land, and create a Greater Mauritania (Mauritania).

The coup led to successive military governments over a course of six years, but they were not able to induce stability in the region. Colonel Mohamed Khouna did attempt to make peace with key tribes, and its neighbours – but was not able to make peace with the French, which led to greater instability in the region, and numerous coup attempts. However, during his era – slavery was legally abolished in the country, making it the last country to legally abolish slavery in the world.

Following the military coups, stability was brought to the country by Colonel Maaouya Ould, who relaxed standards for creation of political parties, and further improved relationships with Morocco and Algeria. Political parties thrived during this era, due to which they have been able to hold parliamentary and senate elections over the years – although the influence of army in the country remains at large. Mauritania remains plagued with military and civilian coups, implying weak democratic institutions – mainly because of inability to attain a progressive stance, and lack of leadership (Mauritania, 2012).

People

Mauritania is predominantly a young economy, with more than 70% of the population aged 25 or below. The population of the country is estimated to be 3.2mn – with an annual growth rate of 2.5%.

Key ethnic groups present in the country are Arab-Berber (also referred to as White Mood) who belonging to the upper strata of the society due to their historical contributions to Mauritania. The Arab-Berbers are followed by Arab-Berber-Black African (Black Moor), Pulaar, Wolof, and Soninke. The main religion in the country is Islam, given strong Arab dominance in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

In view of Islam being the dominant religion, Arabic remains the lingua franca, followed by Hassaniya – which as explained earlier is also an Arabic dialect. Correspondence is also done in French, as a result of colonial rule and presence of laws and regulations from colonial times. Despite having a poverty rate of more than 40%, increasing focus on education has led to improvement in literacy levels – which for the country is estimated to be 51%.

Geography

The country is located on the western coast of Africa and has been bestowed as an ideal trading location. The area of the country is estimated to be 398,000 square miles, making it the twenty ninth largest country in the world.

The country is largely flat, and is composed by magnanimous dry plains which are interrupted by ridges and outcroppings. The highest point in the country is the Adrar plateau is the highest plateau in the country with a height of 500 meters. Roughly 75% of the country is either desert or semi-desert. Lack of agriculture, severe droughts, and extended periods of dryness and heat have led to expansion of deserts of the lsat four decades.

Government

Mauritania after successive military coups and civilian administrations is currently a presidential republic. The bureaucracy is largely composed of parastatal companies, special agencies, and ministries. The French system of local administration has been adopted by the government, with the Ministry of Interior controlling a system of prefects and regional governors. As per the adopted system, the country is divided into thirteen regional, which are also referred to as wilaya and include the capital district, Nouakchott as well (Government of Mauritania).

Efforts to decentralize government and devolve power to the grass roots level are being consistently made – with municipal and national elections producing considerable decentralization of the government since 1992. The country’s bicameral legislature is mainly made up of the National Assembly, which is the lower house and is directly elected for a five year term via universal suffrage – and the upper house, members of which are elected for terms of six years by municipal councilors. Recent national elections were held in 2006 and that for Senate were held in 2009.

Economy

Despite being bestowed with an extensive coast line, and enormous natural reserves, Mauritania continues to have the lowest GDP rate in Africa. Population is largely involved in the meager economy of agriculture and livestock in the country. Despite a push towards urbanization following French independence, a large chunk of population in the country prefers to stay as nomads rather than settling in urban areas.

Interestingly the country has large deposits of iron ore, which is a key export commodity for the country – making up more than 50% of total exports. The recent escalation in metal prices globally has led to increase in attractiveness of Mauritania as a key iron ore resource, which has led to opening up of numerous mines in the vast interiors of the country. Furthermore, a long coastline makes the country’s access to the Atlantic Ocean one of the riches fishing areas in the world – true benefits of which is not being utilized by the economy.

As is the case with many emerging economies, particularly in the African region – economic mismanagement coupled with inefficiency of institutions has led to burgeoning debt levels. The country in order to maintain its debt levels became a part of the World Bank and IMF austerity measures, but due to recurring political changes – the progressive covenants of multilateral institutions are not being complied with.

Recent estimated provided by the World Bank indicate that the size of the Maurtianian economy can be estimated to be USD3.8bn – with a growth rate of 4.7%. However, absence of a large population base does allow Mauritania to maintain per capita income levels of USD2100 – which is higher than that attained by other emerging economies likes Pakistan and India. Industrial sector makes up roughly 46% of the economy, followed by services and agriculture at 41% and 12% respectively – despite contribution of industries, the population of the country remains largely employed in the agrarian economy (The World Factbook, 2012).

The inflation of the country is estimated to be in the range of 7-9% and continues to hover in this range due to supply-side inefficiencies, rapid escalation in food prices globally, and a burgeoning debt and deficit position (IMF and Mauritania).

More than 40% of the population remains below poverty line, which remains a serious concern – particularly considering the nomadic nature, and the dry climate of the country, which can lead to severe food security issues. An unemployment rate of t least 25% is also a major drag on the economy – as despite having a labor force and numerous resources, it is not able to reap the benefits largely due to structural inefficiencies (Mauritania – Country Note).

Exports of the country are in the range of USD2.5bn, most of which is directed towards China, and France. It is essential to note that China with its insatiable requirements for resources has been acquiring mining rights all across Africa, which includes Mauritania as well. Although such investments are certainly supporting the economy and the local population – but there is a possibility of a neocolonialist move by China.

Despite all its resources the country remains one of the poorest in the world. The annual budget of the country is estimated to be USD928m of which roughly 90% is to be generated via internal revenue, while the rest is in the form of aid from Arab countries. The share of national security as an expense in the budget is excessive at 17%, with similar rate for education, followed by transportation at 4% (Mauritania, 2012).

Key risk for the country remains that of food supply as more than 70% of its internal food requirements are imported – with any spike in food prices resulting in excessive trade deficits. Droughts and diseases put the country at hi-risk for malnutrition and food security.

Theme Discussion: Slavery

A key social and human rights issue which continues to be a burden on the economy and a progressive state is the issue of slavery – which lies right at the heart of Mauritanian social traditions, roots of which are entrenched in its history. Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery after French independence, but since then another two attempts have been made to abolish slavery, but to no avail – with the most recent attempt being made in 2007.

The country has imposed tough legal penalties for holding slaves, such as a prison sentence of 10 years, or a two years sentence for promoting slavery. Despite presence of such laws, the practice of slavery remains prevalent with roughly half a million of Mauritanians being classified as enslaved – which makes up approximately one-fifth of the total population of the country. Slavery is a heinous and archaic crime which continues to thrive in Mauritania – with the country’s slaves forbidden from having a last name, legal custody of their children , or even ownership of land or property.

The government continues to maintain a stance that slavery has been completely abolished, however it continues to pass laws to make the trade more and more difficult. The Mauritanian government which is facing multi-pronged crisis in the form of numerous coups, a disastrous economy, and encroachment of Chinese of in its fishing reserves – it continues to face tough challenges in orchestrating a makeover of the society, and completely eliminating slavery. As surprising as it may seem, slavery continues to thrive as a normal practice in the country – despite its abolition in rest of the world for more than hundred years (Slavery lives on in Mauritania, 2001).

Recent roots of slavery can be traced to French colonialism in which it tried to centralize a nomadic population, enabling various tribes and ethnic group to compete for resources. Droughts in the 1970s led to mass urban migration which led to emergence of an escalating unemployment rate, and search for resources.

With a drought and an agrarian background, as well as ethnic hierarchy which places the Moors on top – the black African Arabs were forced to be subservient to the Moors – who had been historically belonged to the upper echelons of society.

Furthermore, many of the displaced children during that time found a guardian in form of an Arab Moor – who eventually became a master. A similar enslavement cycle was also witnessed during the 1980s, when roughly seventy thousand black Africans were expelled from Mauritania due to various circumstances – which left behind a large number of children, of which a large percentage was enslaved.

The self-perpetuating cruel cycle of slaver continues to-date, with second generation of slaves trying to survive. Such is the atrocities of slavery, that a first generation slave accepts degradation from a master for survival, following which a second generation slave does not know anything else, and continues to blindly follow the master and the first generation of slaves.

Post-colonial struggles of Mauritania have further perpetuated the practice of slavery – mainly due to presence of Arab Moors, and black Africans – which led to discrimination on the basis of color. Furthermore, discrimination has also been witnessed between sedentary and nomadic classes, where the nomadic communities were suffering due to their inability of recovering their children who have been enslaved (Modern Mauritania ‘a slave state’).

The roots of slavery can be traced back to the eighth century when the conquering Arabs used to command black slaves – such a practice continued with arrival of European colonialism which did not put a stop to the heinous practice of slavery. Perpetuation of slavery became a norm, making it practically impossible to pass any legislation against the activity (Fisher, 2011).

Despite transitioning towards the twenty first century, Mauritania continues to struggle with its social infrastructure. Even though a significant number of Mauritanians (from the upper echelons of society) continue to hold slaves, a populist movement against slavery has certainly started up in Mauritania which continues to demand for emancipation, for freedom, and more importantly elimination of slavery from the core.

Although the movement for abolition of slavery has certainly gained traction, but political instability due to numerous coups and changes in political structure has not led to any firm controls over rules designed for abolition of slavery.

As has been observed over the last few decades, Mauritania has failed to come up with a concerted effort for abolition of slavery – thereby passage of incremental laws may not necessarily lead to complete abolition.

In order to completely eliminate slavery, it is essential that an aggressive campaign is initiated to emancipate slaves, and more importantly to assist those homeless children who may be pushed into the self-perpetuating cycle of slavery. Such a campaign would certainly not be supported by the upper strata of the Mauritanian society, since they are the ones who control most of the slaves. However, a concerted effort is required, which unifies the nation against the evil of slavery – assistance from international community may also play a key role, and can be pivotal in bringing about a change in the country.

Mauritania has rich reserves of iron ore, and has been an attractive destination for many countries – who can link investment with improvement in humanitarian standards, and more importantly complete elimination of slavery.

It is essential to note that slavery is a function of depressed economic circumstances – which implies that investment, which is contingent upon improvement of social infrastructure can certainly make a difference to the people of Mauritania, as well as the long term interests of the investors.

The international community, the western countries, the colonial forces who pushed the country into such a quagmire, the Arab countries who are flushed with oil money – need to step up to save this country of three million people from sinking into a never ending pit of self-perpetuating slavery. Strengthening the economy, the political institutions, and emancipation of people would certainly assist in eliminating the evil in the shortest possible time – although it would require an aggressive and genuine effort.

 

 

 

Bibliography

Fisher, M. (2011, June). The country where slavery is still normal. Retrieved from The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/06/the-country-where-slavery-is-still-normal/241148/

Government of Mauritania. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.mauritania.mr/#

IMF and Mauritania. (n.d.). Retrieved from IMF: http://www.imf.org/external/country/mrt/index.htm

Mauritania. (n.d.). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Brittanica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/370109/Mauritania

Mauritania – Country Note. (n.d.). Retrieved from IMF: http://www.imf.org/external/np/country/notes/mauritania.htm

Mauritania. (2012). Retrieved from U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/p/af/ci/mr/

Mauritania. (2012). Retrieved from World Bank: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/AFRICAEXT/MAURITANIAEXTN/0,,menuPK:362346~pagePK:141159~piPK:141110~theSitePK:362340,00.html

Modern Mauritania ‘a slave state’. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.africandictator.org/?p=2981

Slavery lives on in Mauritania. (2001). Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/programs/specials/racism/010828.mauritania.html

The World Factbook. (2012). Retrieved from CIA: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/mr.html

 

 

 

 

Cybercrime

May 30, 2012

Nations have jointly raised attention as per the crimes that taking place against information on computers. It seems that laws that have been put in place so as to govern such crimes will not be able to be effective as expected. Consequently, governments and businesses will continue to suffer as they will only be able to rely on technical measures in order ensure their enterprises are well protected from any attempt of theft, accessibility denial or even making attempts to destroy useful information to the enterprise.

It has been proved that cyber protection may not be essential as it does not sufficiently assure total security for business operation. Enforcement of law should therefore be done. Countries with little legal protection may not be in a position to go through in the new economy.

With increase in cyber crime beyond a country’s borders has become a great worry to many nations as their electronic massages may be blocked by the network and has turned out to be a risk. It is therefore the role of the government to scrutinize this kind of crimes and find ways possible to combat all kinds of crimes that are associated with cyber.

Uniqueness in cyber crime

Cyber crime is considered a draw back to the growth of any business. A country should arrest and prosecute anyone with such criminal prospects. This kind of crime does not only affect the trust that exists between an entrepreneur and its client but also threatens the security of the country. Basing on the past statistics, security breaching has risen by about 50 percent. Moreover, there are several instances or attempts where illegal access were made were done and were not reported have occurred across the world. This has been as a result of victims fearing to be exposed vulnerable to copycat crimes.

Basically, cyber crimes may be termed acts that are done either from or against a network or computer and are harmful. They vary greatly with terrestrial crimes through a number of ways.

They are easily committed. The fact is that for this kind of crime to be committed, few resources are required, not necessarily present but committed in a jurisdictions, they can be easily learnt and their illegality is not well defined.

Nature of cyberspace in its transition has complicated how law effectiveness could be enforced. Cooperation mechanisms across a nation’s boundaries that are to be used in solving this kind of crimes through prosecution have been proven to be complicated and slow.

Nation’s Information security

Basing on the information security of a nation, the trust that a client has towards that particular information is put into much concern and its security of storage on networks of every nation is what should be considered. Information security is all about the level of strength that a nation has in protecting its useful information and how they proceed to protecting intellectual property rights mainly to the software. Secondly is the level of effort that is needed in order to assure electronic privacy. Finally is the productivity of legal framework in authorizing digital signatures.

There should be also efforts to examine how E-Readiness to the existence of legal framework so as to prosecute cyber criminals. Useful information need that they be protected as they are critical in terms of usefulness.

Despite the fact that majority of the countries have considered solving the issue o information security a wider topic, few have managed to effectively, take into action what they have put across concerning the perpetrators of cyber crime being held accountable.

Generally, approximate of up to 50 percent have been realized to need more on information security improvement so as to meet the current demands. Laws and regulations that are outdated, baseless enforcement mechanisms that can be used to protect networked information has brought about a unfavorable environment where e-business is suppose to be conducted either within or without the nation’s borders.

A country’s exchange is usually threatened when the legal protection seem to be inadequate of digital information thus bringing about barriers and endorsing a stunted growth of e-commerce. With e-business expansion to the global market, the growth of both strong and consistent ways of protecting networked information should be ensured.

Conclusion

Many countries are still adopting the terrestrial laws to prosecute cyber crime. Many countries depend mainly on archaic statutes which are the main cause of the cyberspace.

Statutes are characterized by their weaknesses of increasing the importance of private sectors efforts of technical solutions development in information security.

Most of the developing countries are looking for a good model to follow. This type of countries has seen the usefulness of adopting a good environment for information security.

Recommendations

In order to ensure well secured property, laws governing property rights should therefore be enforced as a first priority. Governments being a dominant authority to look upon the cyber crimes should fight against the bad behavior from their boundaries.

 

Servant Leadership Research and Application Project: Annotated Bibliography

May 29, 2012

 

Annotated Bibliography

Autry, J. A., (2004). The Servant Leader: How to Build a Creative Team, Develop Great Morale, and Improve Bottom-Line Performance. Three Rivers Press, ISBN: 1400054737, 9781400054732.

This book is important in the field of servant management. Some the main important points that are useful in the book include how to use servant leadership to build a creative team, develop great morale, and improve bottom-line performance. The book has also got relevant information on the main roles of a servant leader.

Baron, T. (2010). The art of servant leadership: designing your organization for the sake of others. Tucson, Arizona: Wheatmark.

This book has critical information that can help the leader to design an organisation for the sake of others. The book is significant in the research since it gives an insight on how to create a new kind of leader. The book also has relevant information on the personalities of servant leader.

Frick, D. M., 2004. Robert K. Greenleaf: a life of servant leadership. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.

The book provides information on Robert K. Greenleaf as the pioneer of servant leadership. This was the main reason that drove the author to do a book on him to show his best practices as a servant leader. Therefore, this book is important since it provides a real life story of how servant leadership should be practiced. It is important in this research since it gives an insight on what should or should not be practiced in servant leadership.

 

 

 

Greenleaf, R. K. & Spears, L. C, (2002). Servant leadership: a journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

This book gives an insight on the movement into the nature of power and greatness. The book explains that the times have changed and the time when managers used to oppress the employees is long gone. Some of the arguments in this book that are relevant to the research include information on taking the servant as a leader and taking the institution as a servant. Other argument will include servant leadership in various institutions such as business and education sectors.

Greenleaf, R. K & Spears, L. C. (1998). The power of servant-leadership: essays. San Francisco, Calif.: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

The book gives a brief history of servant-leadership. It explains how it originated and how it has progressed over time. The authors, who have served as students of how things are done in organisations gives their take of the servant leadership. Apart from the history of servant leadership, the book will also gives an insight on the retrospect and prospects of a servant as well as the leadership crisis and how it can be solved.

Spears, L. C. & Lawrence, M. (2002). Focus on leadership: servant-leadership for the twenty-first century. New York: J. Wiley & Sons

This book focuses on the servant–leadership in the twenty first century. One of the most important aspects of this book is the bringing together of significant and current issues on servant leadership. Some of the element useful in the research includes essentials of servant leadership, servant leadership, and community leadership in the twenty first century and taking leadership as a form of partnership.

Sipe, J. W & Frick, D. M. (2009). Seven pillars of servant leadership: practicing the wisdom of leading by serving. New York: Paulist Press

This book gives an insight on the pillars of servant leadership. It explains how to practice leading by serving. The most important arguments in this book are the seven pillars that the book gives. These pillars include being a person of character, putting other people first, being a skilled communicator, being a compassionate collaborator, having a foresight, being a system thinker, and having moral authority.

Greenleaf, R. K. et al., 2003. The servant-leader within: a transformative path. New York: Paulist Press.

Robert Greenleaf has written this book with the help of others through personal experience. He has applied servant leadership concept in the educational and business institutions. This book is very important since it shows the transformation of leadership from the old form of leadership to servant leadership. In particular, the critical points include gaining an understanding on the growing impact of taking the servant as a leader.

 

A Personal Definition of Leadership

May 29, 2012

 

The concept of leadership is broad thus leadership is defined differently by many people. People have developed a culture where much emphasis is put on the end results rather than the meaning. It’s on this ground that the definition of leadership needs to be personalized. I would define leadership as the art relating to the ability to cause and make others to follow. Three ideologies crop up from this definition. The essence of the term “art” is in the sense that, different leadership methodologies exist yet only a few lead to effective leadership. “Causing and making” bring the implication that, leadership is about influence (Doh, 2005). An individual has to elicit some actions from his/her followers in order to be referred to as a leader. Leadership should also be followers centered thus the influence should be directed to “others”.

On the basis of this definition, I would identify the main purpose of leadership as that of inciting or stirring individuals to work towards achieving a common goal. Ability to influence only comes in when the leader has the interests and attention of all his followers thus incitement is necessary to ensure there is a coordinated flow of actions. Therefore, my leadership statement of purpose would be,” Stirring all for efficient achievement of common goals”. As a good leader, I would work towards ensuring that individuals, organizations, communities and societies exhibit the following values. First is ambition and competence where I will gauge the relevance of each individual in a group, organization or society as per his/her performance. A leader is of no importance if his followers are unproductive. Another value would be encouraging a sense of responsibility among my followers. It’s only when individuals become responsible that they deliver to their level best in order to achieve the group’s, organization’s or society’s goals. Responsibility is closely associated with integrity where individual shouldn’t engage in corrupt practices. I would strive to ensure that each individual becomes accountable for his action. Another value I would be interested in is innovativeness. Innovations bring more easier and efficient ways of accomplishing a certain task. Innovation also assists in bringing specialties within the group members.

Another important value I would consider would be flexibility. Flexibility among my followers will help ensure that should there be changes in the way things are done, their productivity won’t be affected for they will adapt quickly to the same (Maak, & Pless, 2006). Lastly I would encourage dependency among my followers while at the same time supporting interdependency. Encouraging dependency aids in ensuring each of the people under my leadership can make their own decisions without necessarily relying on my help. Interdependency on the other hand assists in maintaining coordination and cohesion of the group, organization or the society. I would inform my followers that, even though working as an individual encourages innovation and personal growth, they should also bear in mind that through team work, solutions to all problems are borne hence an easier way of meeting the common goals.

Leadership, as previously described, is about influencing people. I term this description as satisfactory for it stresses the main function of a leader which is to show direction to others. The problem with majority of previous definitions is that, there emphases have been more in defining a leader’s personality and roles, ignoring the fact that leadership is defined by the example he/she gives to others. Other definitions concentrate more on motivational aspect of it, while forgetting that a leader can only motivate his followers if he has the ability to influence their actions. Therefore in my view, leadership is the art of influencing or making others follow.

 

 

References

Doh, P. (2005). Handbook on responsible leadership and governance in global business. London: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Maak, T. & Pless, N. (2006). Responsible leadership. London: Routledge.

 

 

 

Servant Leadership Research and Application Project

May 29, 2012

 

A clichéd adage implies that a good leader should also be a good follower. Leadership is a skill which comes in handy in this modernizing world where the need for communication, governance and authority is an imperative. Organizations and companies find the need for an effective leader who is not only knowledgeable and competent, but also responsible and sensitive to the needs of his employees. There is an emerging form of leadership which takes into consideration the amount of power that is bestowed on the leader.

Stemming from the philosophy which asserts that “every person can become a leader by first serving, and then, through conscious choice, leading”, servant leadership is a new style of leadership that is gaining popularity nowadays (TDIndustries, 2010). Proponed by Robert Greenleaf (1970), servant leadership is a revolutionary concept wherein the process begins with the “natural feeling that one needs to serve, to serve first” and followed by the “conscious choice to bring one to aspire to lead” (GCSL, 2010). In this regard, the leader is differentiated from the usual stereotypical helmsman of the conventional concept of leadership in which the mindset of the leader is fuelled by the need to “assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions” (GCSL, 2010).

For companies like TDIndustries (Formerly Texas Distributors Industries), servant leaders are required in order for them to be able to provide their clients with the quality and the service that they deserve. In a service-oriented, customer-facing business in which TDIndustries specialize in, servant leadership is almost imperative for leaders to embrace this new form of leadership so as to spur his employees into action. TDIndustries provideIn this paper, we will look at the different aspects and components of this new philosophy, and the discussion in this paper will generally center on the fact that since the world is advancing and the workplace is expanding in order to adapt to the changes and the demands of development, there is a need for leaders to be good servants do that they can lead their subjects effectively by setting an example.

Company Profile

TD is one of America’s premier mechanical construction and facility service companies. It has 60 years of experience and it has all the equipment, the know-how and the manpower to handle any size project because of the “people, processes, technology and the manufacturing” that people need in order to get a job done (TD Industries, 2010).

It specializes in construction, operation services and maintenance work for commercial, industrial and institutional buildings, and it offers services in various technical aspects such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning, safety, plumbing, refrigeration (TD Industries, 2010). It has been cited in the Fortune Magazine’s top 39 company to work for in the United States. It has a sound reputation for being an employee-owned construction firm (CNN, 2010). The facility service and specialty construction company is also one of the greatest advocates in workplace safety and risk prevention (TD Industries, 2010).

Servant leadership and TD Industries

In line with the company’s initiative of total customer satisfaction and excellence in everything that it does, TD employees go through Basic Servant leadership training. Leaders are bred through these trainings, and they are taught on how to create an environment where “partners trust leadership to listen to their thoughts and ideas, and in turn, leadership has learned to trust the judgement of partners” (TD Industries, 2010).

The TD Industries website states all the characteristics that a good servant leader should possess. According to the site, Greenleaf’s philosophy on servant leadership, in a nutshell teaches that:

  • A company should be a concerted effort of the people who live up to the fundamental missions and visions of the organization.

  • Leaders are simply people who have followers, and they are aptly called leaders because they have earned the recognition and respect of his partners.

  • Leaders are sources of information, and they set and enforce standards that will aid in achieving success for the company.

  • Leaders put themselves in the shoes of their followers (TD Industries, 2010).

TD Industries believes that servant leadership is a “way of life that deeply enhances [its] culture and business. It is what makes the company such a great place to work for. The company encourages its leaders to walk out in front with a banner, instead of walking behind with a whip. In the context of TD Industries, the major stakeholders are the business managers, district supervisors and the team leaders who are in charge of keeping track of the operations and the people who work for the company. The company is an advocate of Greenleaf’s philosophy, and it invests in the training of its leaders in order to extend the benefits of the new mindset.

When looking at the drawbacks, one can almost say that there are no cons to this philosophy aside only from the fact that people may resist change in the leadership style. Change can bring about hurdles that people need to encounter, and old habits can make it hard for people to adapt to new concepts or ideas. Another cliché implies that one cannot teach an old dog new tricks, and the same goes for employees who have habitually subscribed to the conventional manner of governance.

With servant leadership, however, they are required to adapt a new philosophy and it may be hard for some people to change course immediately. The shift may take time, and unless the company’s servant leadership policy has been fundamentalized in the company’s inception, then there would be some minor kinks that need to be smoothened out by proper communication, counseling, open forums and brainstorming sessions. This,after all, is a collaborative concept which has to deal with the cooperation of all the stakeholders including the leaders, the managers, the employees and the workers from top to bottom of the hierarchy. In this case, the “hierarchy” becomes blurry, as things go horizontal from here on in, which is actually good because employees can also upgrade their status.

Whenever a company follows ethical guidelines, the results may not be very encouraging in the beginning but later on when people start realizing what the company is doing for their betterment, the later results are much encouraging. So would be the case in the mentioned organization as it seems. The company is already doing a few good projects as one is just mentioned in the previous paragraphs, but there is proper leadership required to carry it forward. Once that is done, it would definitely have a positive impact on the organization. Initially it may show a rise in the expenses of the company, but when the message is conveyed to all the stakeholders properly, it would start adding to the reputation of the company and to the numbers as well (DeWitt, 2010).

 

Part 2

Harold MacDowell : The Servant Leader

Being the CEO of TD Industries, Harold MacDowell holds true to the commitment of the company in providing outstanding career opportunities. As a servant leader, MacDowell should be an active listener. Among the traits that are expected of him are the concern and belief in individual rights, honesty, fairness, and responsibility and high standards in business ethics. Among MacDowell’s thrusts are the observation of long term goals, continuous development and investment in tools, facilities and equipment to enable his people to do their work better.

MacDowell has contributed greatly to the excellent working environment. He seeks to engage the skilled workers in the servant leadership culture wherein he encourages everyone to lead effectively by serving first. He also believes in the increase in the skill levels of his employees which can further boos productivity and efficiency. He takes charge of holistic, long-term solutions that carries long haul satisfaction. According to the TD website, its clientele cannot expect anything but the best and the superior service from the company owing to the experience, leadership and the insight that it offers. MacDowell has led by example by starting from being a worker, to being manager and then later on, as the executive of the company. He rose from the ranks and showed initiative, earning him the right to lead the prestigious company.

Macdowell, his initiatives and his contribution has changed the way the employees see their value and their worth. The leadership values everyone through fostering an environment of respect, dignity and pride. Ideally, his aims and thrusts should work wonders for just about any other company. With the same blueprint, excellence in service should also be achieved.

References

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