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Introduction To The Leadership Concept

Leadership is an issue that has undergone changes through time to transform all life disciplines such as science, finance, health and administration. The general understanding of leadership is the capacity of an individual or a group of individuals to direct, guide or persuade people to achieve predetermined goals. Notable documented leadership theories originated from Francis Galton and Thomas Carlyle who pioneered research in the leadership field. Galton argued that leadership was hereditary and leaders were born. Thomas identified physical attributes, skills and talents that encompassed powerful men. The situational approach emerged as an alternative theory to the trait based advanced by Galton and Carlyle. This supposition suggested that individuals were effective in certain situations and not all as earlier proposed. Sets of other theories surfaced ever since in an attempt to define leadership. Leadership as an authentic expression of self which creates value (Kevin Cashman, 1997).

The main factor influencing research in leadership is parsimony. Certain sections of leadership have been analyzed and the entire scope has not been sufficiently covered. An attempt by Ross resulted in a five point definition of leadership with a social science research reductionist flaw in the work (Rost, 1993). Leadership was found to contain process and behaviors only (Barker, 2002) and this study was unsatisfactory to the complete definition of leadership. Leadership can be provided by a group of people (Greenleaf et al, 2003). For instance top management groups represent a collection of individuals who complete leadership tasks as a team. Inherited leadership traits are found in leadership teams (Moxley, 2000) and since the complexity of leadership processes increase with groups, the traits aspect in individuals becomes crucial in teams (Carpenter, 2002).

Caroselli (2000), Conger and Kanungo (1998), Kouzes (1995) and Taffinder (1997) emphasize that leaders need to challenge the current state and processes through which an organization achieves the predetermined goals. Leaders have to communicate in a passionate manner to followers (Heskett&Schlesinger, 1996).

Dimensions of Authentic Leaders

Authenticity is the action and knowledge involved in executing what is deemed true and realistic. Existentialists such as Jean-Paul Satre define the word as a connotation of moral purity, openness, single-mindedness and sincerity with an expansion for possibilities. The authentic leader’s aim is to direct the energy and thoughts of followers toward a greater purpose, principle and ambition for which passionate sacrifices have been made. The process of authentic leadership entails social influence because the emotions often followers need to be imparted by the leader’s desire, zeal and ambition. Leaders must focus on authentically appending value via synergy in the team as well as getting results. For a leader to achieve authenticity, the individual must have self knowledge, listen, express, appreciate and serve genuinely. Authentic leadership involves a personal touch and integrity emanating from leaders to ensure that the planned goals are achieved and overall organizational growth occurs. Furthermore, transformation and development must be earned through authenticity in the leadership.

Authentic leadership requires hard work and moving inward to the deeper layers of leadership. A leader has an outer clearly visible side and an inner largely invisible side. The neglect of inner self is a cause of collapse for the leader and the entire organization. An assessment of one’s behavior, practices, skills, framing and character will enable a leader to synchronize the followers and organization as a whole. The benefits of authentic leadership are far reaching for the individuals affected by the results. There is increase ineffectiveness with organizational issues, purpose is injected in the team’s work and useful skills plus confidence leading to change is achieved by the leaders and followers. Moreover, the organization is empowered, a balance between work and life commitments is attained, participation in significant learning communities and an integration of the organization’s core values and performance occurs.

An authentic leader genuinely desires to serve others and empowering the followers. Qualities of the heart and mind drive the passion and compassion with which such a leader guides others. Consistency, self development and self discipline are the values that give authentic leaders credibility to the followers who know that such a person will not compromise when principles are tested. The best authentic leader is autonomous and highly independent. Examples of authentic leaders include a former AT&T executive named Robert Greenleaf who advocated service to people, the cofounder of Hewlett-Packard David Packard who was purpose driven and Marilyn Nelson, the CEO of Carlson Companies who established connected relationships within the company to stimulate growth and increased performance (William, 2003).

The fields which require authenticity in service are diverse. The local government of every nation when establishing agenda and policies that affects the inhabitants. True service to the public needs authentic leadership and integrity from the individuals placed in high positions of power and influence. Journalists also need to cut through the rhetoric of information to acquire the truth in stories. Each specialty needs effective authentic leaders who optimize effectiveness to achieve superior long-term results.

Self-concept based motivational theory

Empirical literature on charismatic leadership has made predictions on the effects of leadership on followers rather than the actual effects. The strength of charisma is best understood by knowing the actual effects of leadership on followers. Leaders’ actions in transformation involve a change in self –concept of the followers. The leaders strive to motivate followers by improving self-esteem, self-expression, self-consistency and self- worth. Once followers believe in abilities, talents and skills possessed self improvement results. According to the self-concept based motivational theory (Shamir et al, 1993), positive influence from the motivational leaders has a positive impact on the behaviors and psychological states of followers. The theory is speculative and the assumptions are justified because it explains and accounts for the profound effects of charismatic leader behavior illustrated in previous research relate to leadership.

Empirical evidence of charismatic leadership ha been attained from organizations based on a variety of research studies. The studies were conducted across a wide range of samples such as students acting as laboratory subjects(Kirkpatrick,1992),military combat and noncombat leaders(Curphy,1990),Dutch supermarket managers(Koene et al,1991) and emergent project champions(Howell&Higgins,1990). The findings indicate that leaders engage in theoretical charismatic behaviors which produce the theoretical charismatic effects. The leaders receive high performance ratings and have highly motivated followers. Superiors and followers view such leaders as being more effective than others in similar leadership positions. Additionally, the size effect of charismatic leader behavior on follower satisfaction and performance is consistently higher than prior field study discoveries related to other leader behavior, generally ranging below 0.01 probability of error due to chance. Correlations frequently range in the vicinity of 0.50 or better. Unfortunately, theory on charismatic leadership does not explain the process of profound effects of this headship kind.

Charismatic leaders motivate followers through self-concept implication. Leaders increase the intrinsic value of efforts and goals by connecting them to valued aspects of the followers' self-concept. Such individuals change the salience hierarchy of values and identities within the follower’s self-concept thus increasing the possibility of the values and identities being concerned in action. An increase of self-efficacy and collective efficacy results through the expression of positive evaluations, communication of high performance expectations to followers, showing confidence in the followers’ ability to fulfill expectations and emphasis of the individual’s tie to the collective.

Charismatic leadership is likely to emerge and be effective when the organizational task is closely related dominant social values to which potential followers are exposed than when it’s unrelated or contradictory to such values. Currently, charismatic leadership is likely to surface in the U.S. high technology industries. The tasks are easily linked to values of scientific and economic progress and national pride. The tobacco industry would not successful in this regard because it contradicts the dominant value of health. Charismatic leadership is more successful in situations which offer opportunities for moral communal involvement.

Charismatic leadership is likely to be relevant under conditions that do not favor leadership based on the use of extrinsic rewards and punishments. Organizational conditions need to be effective for extrinsic incentives to thrive. The self concept based motivational theory proposes that charismatic leadership is more likely to materialize when performance goals are not easily measured and specified and when leaders cannot link extrinsic rewards to individual performance. In the absence of clear extrinsic behavior justifications, followers are likely to search for self-related justifications for their efforts (Bern, 1982). This makes the followers prone to the influence of charismatic leadership. Charismatic leaders are also exceptionally triumphant in conditions which are non routine requiring unusually high performance levels and uncertainty.

Some scholars (Meindl, 1990) dismiss the theory of charismatic leadership as an exaggerated perception which is too concentrated on leaders. Meindl’s view is adopted as complementary to the self concept theory. The self-processes described in the self-concept theory can be influenced by inter-follower and leader behaviors. The self concept of followers and related motivations can be engaged by social processes among peers. This does not reject the potential of self-engagement due to charismatic leader behaviors or the instrumental involvement of leaders in the initiation and orchestration of inter-follower processes. This means that an intricate relationship between leaders and followers is critical in the success of an organization. Moreover, the shared objectives can be effectively satisfied and achieved by both parties. The self- concept theory is subject to pruning, modification and extension with further empirical testing for the validation of charismatic leadership.

Transformational leadership

Transformation is one of the results of authentic leadership in addition to the actual effects of charismatic leadership discussed earlier. A case study demonstrating affirmative influence of transformational leadership is that of 290 employees and supervisors in 46 Korean companies. Transformational leadership has been intensely studied (Judge&Bono, 2000) and linked to creativity in ad hoc groups in recent years. This leadership involves influencing followers by broadening goals and providing confidence to perform beyond stipulated expectations (Dvir et al, 2002). The study theorized the role of intrinsic motivation and tested whether intrinsic motivation mediated the relation between transformational leadership and creativity. Creativity experts argue that the situational and personal factors contribute to employees’ creativity (George&Zhou, 2001). Transformational leadership consists of four dimensions which boost follower creativity and intrinsic motivation. The elements are intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, charisma and inspirational motivation (Bass, 1985). All the factors focus on stimulating, developing, serving and energizing followers.

The individuals conducting the study examined the leader-member exchange (LMX) on creativity. The conclusion was high LMX resulted in greater creativity among employees due to consistent confirmatory interaction. The study also reflected the external validity of creativity and transformational leadership theories in developed in Western countries. Taking into account individual differences is crucial to training leaders and designing leader-follower relationships. Intrinsic motivation is also an important mediator in directing the influence of transformation leadership to proper psychological processes and greater creativity among the employees in a company. The training of supervisors to exert transformational leadership will be helpful in the acquisition of creativity skills among employees who may have little experience or low levels of creativity skills and strategies. Charismatic leadership is beneficial to an organization but such leaders must use the skills and knowledge judiciously to avoid the creation of corporate cults (Arnott, 1999).

Collaborative theory

The collaboration theory (Huxham&Vangen, 2000) in social environments has three methods of execution. These media are the participants, processes and structures. Collaborative defines organizations rather than individual in the context of the theory. This emphasizes the involvement of people who reside in a particular locality and interest groups. In the charismatic and transformational approach, leaders are viewed as “managers of meaning” (Bryman, 1996) who raise the aspirations of followers to form a united objective (Bass, 1985; Burns, 1978; Shamir et al, 1993). This approach has been applied to the contemplation of successful top managers and CEOs (Waldman&Yammarino, 1999). The supposition applied is that a formal leader influences or transforms the followers into achieved predetermined goals. This does not apply to the collaborative setting which involves diverse individuals with different goals.

The collaborative theory of authentic leadership accentuates shared responsibilities (Murrell, 1997) and getting the most out of the diverse competencies, perception and resources (Vansina, 1999).the collaborative theory holds true with the reconciliation of goals set for overlapping collaborative initiatives, power fragmentation and shared leadership. Collaborative governance experience in the U.S.have applied the concepts of shared power and collaborative leadership. Studies done in this regard focus on the inspiration, nurturing, support and communication with individuals, teams, networks and communities (Bryson&Crosby, 1992; Chrislip&Larson, 1994). Studies which conceptualize aspects of what actually happens in practice complement the theoretical discussions (Feyerhern, 1994; Purdue&Razzaque, 1999). The latter studies focus on the role of community leaders in urban partnerships. Feyerherm presented members of a collaborative group as contributing different leadership forms to the collaboration using a wide range of facilitative behaviors. The role of emergent or informal leaders is highlighted based on the findings (Hosking, 1988; Kent &Moss, 1994).

Nonetheless, other individuals focused on the role of formal leaders in collaborations (Berger, 1997; Galaskiewicz&Shatin, 1981).Berger assessed the role of top public executive positions and politicians whose influence or lack thereof was critical on outcomes. Galaskiewicz was concerned with the conditions influencing the technique executives in neighboring organizations form cooperative relationships with others. The collaboration theory exposes the possibility of considering organizations rather than individuals as leaders. Research from Stewart was more concerned with the identification of how organizations will emerge as leaders or coordinators of overlapping collaborative initiatives in a region. Numerous writers on collaboration make the assumption of a “lead organization” when analyzing leadership (Alexander, 1995; Lynch, 1993).

The leadership concept as the processes in which flexible social order is negotiated and practiced with the aim of protecting and promoting values and interests is highly applicable to collaborative circumstances. A research focus which identifies the dominant role of an external leader and discretionary leadership take into account the necessity for cooperation in “delayered” organizations (Korac-Kakabadse&Korac-Kakabadse, 1997). The focus implies a facilitative and relational outlook that is transferable to collaborations.

The collaborative theory placed an emphasis on participants, processes and structures. The participants are the individuals who comprise the teams which make the collaboration leadership a success. When the objectives of a given organization are integrated despite the diversity of individuals, collaborative leadership has transpired. Processes influence the structures which emerge and the people who can influence agendas. Structures influence process designs and participants’ activities. Participants are likely to be more productive and beneficial to an organization when the management and control of the overall agenda is clearly understood. Furthermore the representation and mobilization of member organization will generate growth in the organization since the members will feel the strength of unity for the predetermined objectives. Authentic collaborative leadership becomes evident when all the participants reflect the vision and passion of the entire organization. This is easily acquired once the leader is able to instill empowerment strategy on the participants of the team.

An Integrated Theory Case Study

Wendy Kopp was a 21 year old senior student at Princeton University when thoughts of making a difference in the world became her passion. Reforming education to reduce disparities was an important goal for her thoughts to materialize. She organized a conference for students and business leaders to examine methods of improving the country’s education system. During the conference, an inspiration to start Teach For America occurred. Having observed the extraordinary isolation and disparities in educational opportunities, Kopp made it her mission to get the community involved. Moreover, Kopp recognized the challenges teachers faced in closing the achievement gap among students in schools. She became involved in various fundraising activities as she restructured budgets to cover financial deficits. Her passion kept the organization running through trials and tribulations.

Today 60% of college graduates who pass through the program have remained in the teaching profession. In 2006, Koop was credited as one of “America’s Best Leaders” by the US News and World Report (William et al, 2007). The organization is the most successful secondary educational program for recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in public schools. Kopp was able to integrate her passion for public school education with the people who received inspiration from her work.

Kopp possesses the qualities of an authentic leader because she was able to generate a passion and make others believe in her vision. The element of self discipline and self knowledge is demonstrated through the inspiration of her team during crises and financial difficulties. The award she received honoring her leadership qualities is a reflection of the transformation acknowledged by the nation fro her efforts. Furthermore, 60% retention of recruited college graduates in the teaching profession is another indicator of the organization’s success. The team driven by Kopp’s focus and dedication is a manifestation of collaboration within the organization. Thus, the integrated theory if authentic leadership is deemed plausible in the Teach For America organization.

Academia and authentic leadership

Academia is the communal term used to define the society of scholars and students involved in education and research. The accumulation, development and transmission of knowledge across generations are the essence of the academia. The teams involved in research generated various concepts of leadership in society. Academic institutions are classified as bureaucratic and political institutions (Palmer et al,2006). Such institutions are the sources of knowledge from which the society matures. When an academic establishment has authentic leaders, effective ways of changing society are acquired because other disciplines turn to the academia for redemption during leadership crises for research and investigative purposes.

The desire for excellence in such crises has resulted in the maturing zone of leadership development in academics. The normal reaction recorded for crises resolution among the academia is stimulus-response reaction which does tackle issues accordingly. Further research shows that 50%of appointed academic leaders leave the position in a span of 5 years due to stress (Elash et al, 2001). If talented and knowledgeable individuals leave, what affirmative action can be given to the organizations that approach the academia for assistance? The question has highlighted the need for authentic leadership in the academia with the purpose of cultivating a successful community culture starting with the students who are future leaders of the nation.

Conclusion

Authentic leadership is a contentious issue with various approaches and theories associated. From the 1970s to the 1990s, leadership was viewed with a top down management manner. This means that leaders were the ultimate decision makers in the organization. Such individuals worked from the bottom of the company ranks till the top or were selected and placed via appointmentment. The latter choice reflected Galton’s theory of born leaders and Carlyle’s theory of particular physical attributes possessed by leaders. The situational approach theory followed suit to define leadership properties which manifested depending on the circumstance. Some theorists suggested that authentic leaders are driven with passion to become leaders during times of crises such as Mahatma Gandhi during British occupation of India.

A paradigm shift occurred in the 1990s to the 21st century with regard to the authenticity of leadership. True leaders were now viewed as people who interacted with followers. Various theories on the techniques of authentic leadership structures and processes brought contention to the issue. Despite diverse opinions, it is generally acceptable to perceive an authentic leader as one who has self awareness, self- discipline, passion and good communication skills. The charismatic approach highlights the quality of leadership as being the motivational force in an organization. The leader possesses the energy and passion which is disseminated to the followers based on organizational goals. The transformational approach was defined using the Korean company case study in which creativity was stimulated among the employees and supervisors after careful studies and use of charismatic leaders to execute the planned agendas of the conservation issue. The collaborative theory placed emphasis on a team effort to achieve the goals of an organization.

The Kopp and Academia analysis is a thought provoking approach to authentic leadership. The Kopp case brings to light an integrated approach of most leadership theories established. The elements of charisma, transformation, growth, success and collaboration are present. The practicality of the time tested theories are evident in the case. This means that research in the field of authentic leadership has been successful thus far. However, the situational approach comes into play since Kopp started the organization through self-initiative. Does this mean her heir will not be as successful? This will depend on the inward qualities possessed and the influence of the knowledge acquired through academia. The structures within academic institutions play an important role in authentic leadership because the thoughts and development of individuals occurs. An investment in the academia will bring far-reaching benefits to the development of more practical authentic leadership theories.

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