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    Leadership Theory Essay (2275 words)

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    According to Nathan F. Iannone, leadership can be defined as the art ofinfluencing, directing, guiding, and controlling others in such a way as toobtain their willing obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation inaccomplishment of an objective. Leaders are not born. .

    . sure there are somegifts-traits-attributes, natural endowments that affect relative abilities. . . butthey are not born, they are made. Any reasonably intelligent person with enoughforcefulness to develop his/her ability to inspire others to follow him can earnleadership status.

    Remember that we have both formal and informal leaders. . . . Being a Captain /Sergeant doesn’t make you a leader! Classic LeadershipTheory: Common Traits of Leaders.

    Booher and Watson refer to classic leadershiptheory because it describes an approach to understanding leadership that by andlarge is out of style. Nonetheless it is clear that one can learn a great dealby studying the important personal ingredients in the leadership equation. Studying the traits of great leaders became unpopular because it was and isassociated with the “great man” theory of leadership. This approach wasespoused in the 19th. and early 20th. Centuries, and asserted the leadershipqualities are largely inherited.

    This was called “trait theory. ” Researcherssuch as Mann and Stodgill found no consistent correlate between particulartraits and leadership. Later research, particularly more recent and moresophisticated work has found a consistent and strong relationship betweencertain traits and leadership. Possessing these core traits simply makes it morelikely that a person will take the appropriate action leading to leadershipsuccess.

    Overhead #2 The Art of Leadership. What is the nature of leadership,leadership is an art! As with any form of artistic expression, painting, music,leadership is an art form in that it: ? Is an expression of theindividual within the social and environmental context. ? Reflects theindividual’s personality. ? Can be easier to demonstrate and developwhen one has a talent for it. ? Can be learned-you may have a talent forit, you may not, either way, anyone can still become an effective leader. ? Is greatly enhanced through a disciplined regimen of learning andfeedback.

    Through science, we can study the elements of leadership and providevaluable understanding into its nature. This enables us to determine where tofocus our leadership skills and abilities, as well as measure to some extent,our effectiveness. However, the act of leading itself is largely unscientificand is far more akin to practicing an art form than studying scientificvariables. Understanding both facets of leadership is crucial to yourdevelopment as a leader. For you as a leader, remember that leadership is anart; your leadership is always a work in progress.

    OH #3 Leadership Styles. Manypeople believe that there is one type of leadership that is most effective, andif they can only develop that style, they would be effective as a leader. Someleaders have one style, and honestly believe that it is best to stick with whatcomes naturally. As with any art form, one has a number of tools at one’sdisposal. In leadership, these tools are different leadership styles.

    Althoughcertain situations call for specific styles, most situations call for acombination of styles. The four general styles of leadership are: 1. Autocratic. 2.

    Participative. 3. Laissez-faire. 4.

    Variable. Autocratic also known asauthoritarian leadership is rule by authority. As a manager or supervisor, aperson is endowed with a level of authority, which is expected to be obeyed. Anautocratic leader rests on this fact, expecting his subordinates to comply. Participative leadership is often referred to as democratic although democraticprocesses (voting etc. ) need not be present to constitute participativeleadership.

    Laissez-faire leadership (really non-leadership) is a hands offapproach. If the group’s goals are being accomplished under the management ofa LF leader, it is because the group members are self-motivated, demonstrateeffective teamwork, and exhibit expertise in their field. Variable leadership, aprecursor to “situational leadership” draws from a combination of the abovestyles. Whether this form of leadership is effective depends on how each styleis applied at what time. The styles of leadership help us understand how peoplego about practicing the art, the question how does our individual traits affectour ability to do so? OH #4 Leadership Traits.

    Traits can be described as ourgeneral orientation (paradigm) toward people and things. Regrettably we tend toview ourselves, as the way people ought to be. That is problematic. This cloudsour judgment of ourselves and others, hindering our ability to ascertainweaknesses, and objectively evaluate and develop upon our strengths. Traits aresuch a fundamental aspect of our personalities that they lead us to displayconsistent behavior across different situations. (Each of us can be described interms of our personal traits.

    ) There are certain traits that are associated witheffective leadership. They are so critical, yet difficult to pinpoint, that forcenturies, volumes have been written in an effort to define and describe them. They are the critical foundation of successful leadership. These traitsdistinguish leaders from non-leaders. OH #5: Common Traits of Leaders continued. Integrity of character is the foundation of lasting and effective leadership.

    Kouzes and Posner assert, “Honesty is absolutely essential to leadership. After all, if we are willing to follow someone whether it is into battle or intothe boardroom, we want first to assure ourselves that the person is worthy ofour trust. We want to be fully confident in the integrity of our leaders. “Professional competence includes a solid grasp of the methods, processes,procedures, and techniques of a leaders organization. This competence can beeverything from “rocket science to parking tickets,” without it leadersquickly lose the respect of their followers and find it difficult to makewell-informed decisions.

    Certainly it is critical that given the pace of lawenforcement, leaders are capable of making intelligent, quick strategies thatsolve problems. Make good decisions or you wont be around long as a boss. Geniusis not required, above average intelligence is. Typically we imagine leadersdoing only exciting things, letting others do the real work. This mental frameignores the hard reality that being the boss isn’t easy. High levels of energyare needed physical vitality helps leaders overcome the often unrelentingdemands of leadership.

    Drive to excel, high desire for achievement, outstandingleaders drive themselves and their organizations to complete challengingassignments and achieve extraordinary results. OH #6 Traits of Leaders. CarlWatson and Carl Chimers (UC-Santa Cruz) tell us that confident leaders are moresuccessful than ones who lack confidence. Self-confidence is important becauseconfident leaders remain calm under pressure, persist doggedly in the face ofadversity, and act boldly and confidently which helps encourage and emboldenfollowers. A person riddled with self-doubt may not be able to act effectivelyunder pressure or command respect of followers. “By demonstrating grace underpressure, the best leaders inspire those around them to stay calm and actintelligently.

    ” (K. Labich. ) People who lack emotional stability are moreprone to moodiness, angry outbursts, and inconsistent behavior. This underminestheir relationships with followers, peers, and superiors.

    Highly successfulleaders, on the other hand, remain even-tempered and are calm, confident andpredictable during a crisis. Lastly, outstanding leaders have a strong desire tolead” they want to be in charge. To fulfill this desire they are more willingto accept responsibility and subsequently take decisive action. Leaders have astrong desire to have influence and impact others. In short, they accrue and usepower.

    Power can be used pro-socially (responsibly) and it can be usedcapriciously. The fact that power can be abused should not blind us to the factthat it is necessary for organizations to function. Excellent leaders use theirpower to build up their organizations, develop their people, and make themsuccessful. OH #7 Leadership Principles. Let us talk about leadership principlesthat guide people toward the actions that lead to successful leadership. Iftraits are the necessary preconditions for leadership; then principled actionsare the fulfillment of the promise.

    OH #8 Moral courage is not an all or nothingproposition. Exceptional leaders consistently exhibit the unwavering courage oftheir convictions, often refusing to follow the easy path because it violates amoral standard. To become an effective leader, one must establish or adoptclearly defined moral standards, then adhere to then relentlessly. To developtheir followers, you must know them well. Think how people are constantlychanging.

    . . makes your job even more difficult. Managers (as opposed to leaders)restrict information to their people as a method of maintaining control andimportance to the team. Leaders empower their people with information so thatthe entire team, and through this leader, can excel. Keeping people informedalso provides feedback and points of reference to monitor success.

    Human beingshave a tendency to form cliques. Although this natural tendency has advantages,its drawbacks tend to inhibit effective teamwork. The most significant way thishappens is by stifling contrary points of view. Although we normally think thatwe want total agreement during all stages of a project, in reality contrarypoints of view provide more choice and help avoid unethical decision-making.

    Exceptional leaders demonstrate loyalty not only to their organization, but alsoto their followers. Being loyal means that they deeply consider what is best forothers, despite what you may want or need for yourself. Do, as I say, not as Ido is the best way to fail in leadership. Remember the old clich?: Actionsspeak louder than words, people can be inspired by words, but they followactions. OH # 9 Johari’s Window.

    Self-knowledge is critical for people todevelop and grow in every aspect of our lives, and that includes leadershipskills. By being familiar with our strengths and limitations, we are able to useour strengths to best advantage and create a plan to expand the abilities wefind limited. Alternately, we can surround ourselves with people who compensatefor our limitations. Whatever approach we eventually take, self-knowledge is thefirst critical step. Johari’s Window is a concept used by self-developmenttrainers. It describes degrees of knowledge about the self in two dimensions,(1) that which is known/unknown to the self and (2) that which is known/unknownto others.

    Using these categories produces a two by two matrix of potentialcircumstances of knowledge regarding the self. The first quadrant, publicknowledge describes things about us that we are aware of and so are others. Thesecond quadrant, blind knowledge, can be what derails us from success as aleader. This quadrant describes things about us that others are aware of andthat we are not; thus, we are blind to our true natures. Often, it is as simpleas thinking we are better at something than we really are.

    Because this is sucha large problem in organizations, many companies in private business haveinstituted multi-rater (360 degree) feedback processes. These allow superior,subordinates, and peers. To arte how effective leaders are on a variety ofdimensions (usually based on a validated competency profile). Multi-raterfeedback provides a great opportunity for leaders to reduce their blind spots.

    The third quadrant describes that which is neither known to us that we hide orkeep private from others. Keeping things private is both expected and necessaryOH #10 E-Cubed. Lets talk about how all these traits and principles fittogether. First, we propose that integrity of character and moral courage arethe foundation or basis of principled leadership.

    After the foundation ofintegrity and courage, we turn to what is called “e-cubed” which describessome leadership fundamentals. Extraordinary leaders enable their followers. Thatis, they set them up for success by ensuring that they have the rightexperiences, skills and resources. They also actively remove obstacles orbarriers to success. In order to enable their people, leaders must beprofessionally competent, have the smarts to make right decisions, and have athrough knowledge of the strengths, limitations, and preferences of theirfollowers. Extraordinary leaders empower their followers.

    In other words theyshare information, power, and authority to make decisions and take action. Howdo these traits and principles come into this? Emotionally stable leaders do notallow their strong desire to lead to lure them into hoarding power, actingcapriciously, developing cliques or playing favorites. These leaders understandthat sharing information and power leads to better performance and moremotivated followers. Extraordinary leaders energize their followers. They excitetheir followers by challenging them to met difficult goals, expressingconfidence in their ability to meet the goal, and setting the example by theirown enthusiasm, energy, and hard work toward the goal.

    OH #11 When Do You KnowYou Are a Great Leader? If people continue to write about your effectiveleadership 50 years after your death, that’s a pretty good sign that you werea great leader. For everyone else, it’s very difficult to tell. Some of us,whom have adoring followers, have failing organizations. Some of us who havesuccessful organizations have burnt out and bitter followers. Few of us haveboth for a sustained period of time.

    When we do, it is easy to become with ourleadership qualities. We suggest we should seek to raise our art to an evenhigher form, constantly seeking to become, and help others become, betterleaders. With this view, we never become so enamored with ourselves that we say,”Yeah, I am a great leader. ” Instead, one recognizes that many factorscontribute to leadership success, No small measure of our success is due theefforts, smarts, and tenacity of our followers. And, as the environment in whichwe do business change, so too must our leadership skills grow and expand. ThreeLessons in Leadership: People from top to bottom in most organizations exerciseleadership.

    It does not require charisma; it is not mystical or mysterious. Whatis Leadership? Leadership is the process of giving meaningful direction tocollective efforts. ? Giving meaning. ‘setting a direction? Willing support and cooperation.

    Leadership vs. Management: ?Planning vs. Setting a Direction ? Organizing and staffing vs. . AligningPeople ? Controlling and problem Solving vs. Motivating People.

    ThreeLessons in Leadership or 3E’s ? Envisioning. ? Energizing. ? Enabling. The Three E’s of Leadership. ? Articulating aCompelling Vision.

    Set the direction. ‘setting High Expectations. Encourage excellence. ? Modeling Consistent Behavior Walk the talk. TheThree E’s of Leadership.

    Energizing: Demonstrating Personal Excitement:Enthusiasm is contagious. Expressing Personal Confidence: Confidence inspires. Seeking, Finding, and Using Success: Celebrate and leverage success Enabling. Expressing Personal Support: back people up.

    Empathizing: Understand other’sfeelings. Expressing Confidence in People: believe in them and they willbelieve. Leadership Competencies: ? Action oriented. ? Buildingteam spirit. ? Command skills. ? Ethics and integrity.

    ?Interpersonal savvy. ? Managing vision and purpose. ? Motivatingand inspiring others. ? Problem solving and decision quality. ?Results orientation. ‘strategic agility.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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