What is your understanding of leadership? Explain the general concepts of leadership.
Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more organized and logical meaning Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership knowledge and skills. However, we know that we have personality that can influence our actions.
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If a leader has the desire and willpower, one can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience. A dedicated leader inspires his workers into higher levels of teamwork, there are certain things that an effective and dedicated leader must be, know, and, do. These do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study. Effective and dedicated leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills meaning they are not resting on their success. While leadership is learned, the skills and knowledge processed by the leader can be influenced by his or hers attributes or traits, such as beliefs, values, ethics and character. Knowledge and skills contribute directly to the process of leadership, while the other attributes give the leader certain characteristics that make him or her unique meaning skills, knowledge, and attributes make the Leader more effective and dedicated.
Factors of Leadership
Leader – You must have an honest understanding of who you are, what you know, and what you can do. Also, note that it is the followers, not the leader or someone else who determines if the leader is successful. If they do not trust or lack confidence in their leader, then they will be uninspired. To be successful you have to convince your followers, not yourself or your superiors, that you are worthy of being followed.
Followers – Different people require different styles of leadership. For example, a new hire requires more supervision than an experienced employee. A person who lacks motivation requires a different approach than one with a high degree of motivation. You must know your people! The fundamental starting point is having a good understanding of human nature, such as needs, emotions, and motivation. You must come to know your employees be, know, and do attributes.
Communication – You lead through two-way communication. Much of it is nonverbal. For instance, when you “set the example,” that communicates to your people that you would not ask them to perform anything that you would not be willing to do. What and how you communicate either builds or harms the relationship between you and your employees.
Situation – All situations are different. What you do in one situation will not always work in another. You must use your judgment to decide the best course of action and the leadership style needed for each situation. For example, you may need to confront an employee for inappropriate behavior, but if the confrontation is too late or too early, too harsh or too weak, then the results may prove ineffective.
Also note that the situation normally has a greater effect on a leader’s action than his or her traits. This is because while traits may have an impressive stability over a period of time, they have little consistency across situations.
Structural Framework – In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a social architect whose leadership style is analysis and design. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a petty tyrant whose leadership style is details. Structural Leaders focus on structure, strategy, environment, implementation, experimentation, and adaptation.
Human Resource Framework – In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a catalyst and servant whose leadership style is support, advocating, and empowerment. while in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a pushover, whose leadership style is abdication and fraud. Human Resource Leaders believe in people and communicate that belief; they are visible and accessible; they empower, increase participation, support, share information, and move decision making down into the organization.
Political Framework – In an effective leadership situation, the leader is an advocate, whose leadership style is coalition and building. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a hustler, whose leadership style is manipulation. Political leaders clarify what they want and what they can get; they assess the distribution of power and interests; they build linkages to other stakeholders, use persuasion first, then use negotiation and coercion only if necessary.
Symbolic Framework – In an effective leadership situation, the leader is a prophet, whose leadership style is inspiration. While in an ineffective leadership situation, the leader is a fanatic or fool, whose leadership style is smoke and mirrors. Symbolic leaders view organizations as a stage or theater to play certain roles and give impressions; these leaders use symbols to capture attention; they try to frame experience by providing plausible interpretations of experiences; they discover and communicate a vision.
The Key Factors for Effective Leadership
Trust and confidence in top leadership was the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization.
Effective communication by leadership in three critical areas was the key to winning organizational trust and confidence:
- Helping employees understand the company’s overall business strategy.
- Helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving key business objectives.
- Sharing information with employees on both how the company is doing and how an employee’s own division is doing - relative to strategic business objectives.
Principles of Leadership
Know yourself and seek self-improvement – In order to know yourself, you have to understand your be, know, and do, attributes. Seeking self-improvement means continually strengthening your attributes. This can be accomplished through self-study, formal classes, reflection, and interacting with others.
Be technically proficient – As a leader, you must know your job and have a solid familiarity with your employees’ tasks.
Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions – Search for ways to guide your organization to new heights. And when things go wrong, they always do sooner or later - do not blame others. Analyze the situation, take corrective action, and move on to the next challenge.
Make sound and timely decisions – Use good problem solving, decision making, and planning tools.
Set the example – Be a good role model for your employees. They must not only hear what they are expected to do, but also see.
Know your people and look out for their well-being – Know human nature and the importance of sincerely caring for your workers.
Keep your workers informed – Know how to communicate with not only them, but also seniors and other key people.
Develop a sense of responsibility in your workers – Help to develop good character traits that will help them carry out their professional responsibilities.
Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished – Communication is the key to this responsibility.
Train as a team – Although many so called leaders call their organization, department, section, etc. a team; they are not really teams…they are just a group of people doing their jobs.
Use the full capabilities of your organization – By developing a team spirit, you will be able to employ your organization, department, section, etc. to its fullest capabilities.
Attributes of Leadership
If you are a leader who can be trusted, then those around you will grow to respect you.
BE KNOW DO
BE a professional. Examples: Be loyal to the organization, perform selfless service, and take personal responsibility.
BE a professional who possess good character traits. Examples: Honesty, competence, candor, commitment, integrity, courage, straightforwardness, imagination.
KNOW the four factors of leadership: follower, leader, communication, situation.
KNOW yourself. Examples: strengths and weakness of your character, knowledge, and skills.
KNOW human nature. Examples: Human needs, emotions, and how people respond to stress.
KNOW your job. Examples: be proficient and be able to train others in their tasks.
KNOW your organization. Examples: where to go for help, its climate and culture, who the unofficial leaders are.
DO provide direction. Examples: goal setting, problem solving, decision making, planning.
DO implement. Examples: communicating, coordinating, supervising, evaluating.
DO motivate. Examples: develop morale and esprit de corps in the organization, train, coach, counsel.
The Process of Great Leadership
The road to great leadership (Kouzes & Posner, 1987) that is common to successful leaders:
Challenge the process – First, find a process that you believe needs to be improved the most.
Inspire a shared vision – Next, share your vision in words that can be understood by your followers.
Enable others to act – Give them the tools and methods to solve the problem.
Model the way – When the process gets tough, get your hands dirty. A boss tells others what to do, a leader shows that it can be done.
Encourage the hearts – Share the glory with your followers’ hearts, while keeping the pains within your own.
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