Leadership Essay, Research Paper
Statement of the Problem: Leadership is a constantly changing and as managers we must be able to understand what type of leadership motivates our people and incorporate that leadership style into our management techniques.
Background: Leadership is a complex process by which a person influences others to accomplish a mission, task, or objective as well as directs the organization in a way that makes it more effective and efficient. A person carries out this process by applying his or her leadership peculiarities (belief, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills). Although the position as a manager or supervisor gives the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization, this power does not make a leader; it simply makes an individual the boss. Leadership makes individuals want to achieve high goals and objectives, while on the other hand, bosses tell people to accomplish a task or objective.
Discussion: Good leaders are made not born and they are developed through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience. The two most important aspects of leadership are represented by the ability to gain the trust and confidence of both subordinates and superiors and by effectively communicating within the organization.
To inspire people into higher levels of teamwork, there are specific things leaders must be, know, and, do. Such things do not come naturally and they are acquired through an ongoing process.
First is to be professional. Professionalism entails being loyal to the organization, performing selfless service and taking responsibility for one s actions. A professional possesses good character traits such as honesty, integrity, courage and imagination.
Second is to know: yourself, your job, your organization, and human behavior. In order to be an effective leader you must know your own strengths and weaknesses and be able to incorporate them into the overall vision of the organization. Furthermore, having an understanding of human behavior is vital in effective leadership and being aware of the fact that no two people are going to react the same way to stress becomes an essential component to leadership.
Finally there are things that leaders must do. These include providing direction such as goal setting, problem solving, decision-making, and planning. Leaders do implement. For example, communicating, coordinating, supervising, and evaluating are essential. Additionally, leaders do motivate. This is the most important aspect of leadership. Leaders must develop an esprit within the organization by using tools such as training, coaching, counseling, and providing feedback to the employees. Having developed an appreciation for the attributes and the framework of leadership only represents the basic foundation. Leaders must be able to adapt their leadership style to the environment.
Every organization has a particular work environment that dictates to a considerable degree how its leaders respond to problems and opportunities. This is a direct result of the legacy established by both past and present leaders. Culture and climate are two distinct forces that dictate how leaders act within a specific environment. Each organization has its own distinctive culture, which is a combination of the founders, past and current leadership, crises, events, history, and size therefore creating routines, rituals, and the “way we do things”
The climate is the feel of the organization, the individual and shared perceptions and attitudes of the organization’s members. While culture is a deeply rooted nature of the organization resulting of long-held formal and informal systems, rules and traditions, climate is a short-term trend created by the current leadership. This very specific perception comes from what people believe in regards to the activities that take place within and that in turn influence both individual, team motivation and satisfaction. While understanding that culture and climate establish the acceptable behavior within the organization, we need to also recognize the five common elements utilized by all successful leaders.
First, leaders challenge the process as they identify the need for improvements. . Next, leaders inspire a shared vision by communicating in a way that can be understood by the followers. Third, they enable their followers to act by providing them with the tools and methods to solve problems. Fourth, leaders model the way. A boss tells people what to do, but a leader shows it can be done. And finally, a leader encourages.
With an understanding of the framework and attributes of leadership and how the environmental factors affect its style, the next question is how do we orchestrate the leadership process? Good organizations and good leaders convey a strong vision of where they will be in the future. Establishing this vision requires goal setting, which includes three important points. First, goals should be realistic and obtainable as difficult goals lead to increased performance only if they seem feasible. If goals are set too high, employees will give up when they fail to achieve them. Second, goals should aim to improve the organization and conform to its big picture. Leaders and teams subsequently develop the objectives, concepts, and means (resources) to achieve the vision. Finally, all personnel should be involved in the goal-setting process. Employees who actively participate in the process generally set higher personal goals than those set for them by the norm. If the goals are obtainable, the employees believe they can achieve therefore increasing their motivation.
Once the goals have been established, managers and leaders have the responsibility to supervise. Supervising is a close monitoring of the situation and ensuring that plans and policies are implemented properly. It includes giving instructions and inspecting the accomplishment of a task. There is a fine line between lack of and excessive supervision. Over-supervision stifles initiative, breeds resentment, and lowers morale and motivation while under-supervision leads to miscommunication, lack of coordination, and the perception by subordinates that leaders do not care. All employees benefit from an appropriate amount of supervision. The leaders difficult tasks are to know and understand where to draw the line. Training and coaching are additional supervising methods that may help leaders balance the amount of supervision needed. Training is a structured lesson designed to provide the employee with the knowledge and skills to perform a task. Coaching, on the other hand, is a process designed to help the employee gain greater competence and to overcome barriers so as to improve job performance by providing daily feedback.
Leadership is crucial within any organization because of the effects it has on the organization. The organization’s foundation rests on management’s philosophy, values, vision and goals. This in turn drives the organizational culture that is composed of the formal organization, informal organization, and the social environment. The culture determines the type of leadership, communication, and group dynamics within the organization. The workers perceive this as the quality of work-life that directs their degree of motivation. The final outcomes are performance, individual satisfaction and personal growth and development. All these elements dynamically build the model or framework by which the organization operates.
There are four organizational models utilized that provide for a different need felt by the employees. The first model is autocratic. The basis of this model is power with a managerial orientation of authority. The employees in turn are oriented towards obedience and dependence on the boss. The performance results utilizing this model are minimal. The second model, custodial, is and economic resources model with a managerial orientation of money. The employees in turn are oriented towards security and benefits and dependence on the organization. The need that is met is security. The performance result is passive cooperation. The third model is supportive. The basis of this model is leadership with a managerial orientation of support. The employees are oriented towards job performance and participation. The need that is met is status and recognition. The performance result is awakened drive. The final model is collegial which is a partnership with a managerial orientation of teamwork. The employees in turn are oriented towards responsible behavior and self-discipline. The need that is met is self-actualization. The performance result is moderate enthusiasm. Although there are four separate models, almost no organization operates exclusively in one. There will usually be a predominant model, with one or more areas over-lapping in the others.
Conclusion: We have discussed at length many different leadership techniques and strategies but what is the meaning or the significance we are trying to convey? We have all observed good leaders as well as bad. As managers we need to be able to learn from experiences and develop a style that works for us. Leadership comes easy for some people as a natural or inherited trait but we can all strive to become better and more effective leaders. As Edward E. Hale once said I am only one, but I am one. I can t do everything, but I can do something. And what I can do, I ought to do. And what I ought to do, by the Grace of God, I shall do.