Concepts Of Leadership Business Essay

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INTRODUCTION

Many people today are seeking to understand and many people are writing about the concept and practices of leadership. There are a great many reasons for the popularity of the topic, including that organizations are faced with changes like never before. The concept of leadership is relevant to any aspect of ensuring effectiveness in organizations and in managing change. This topic in the Library helps you to fully understand the concept and practices of leadership.

There has been an explosion of literature about leadership lately. Leading is a very human activity. We're all human, so there are many people who consider themselves experts on leadership. Unfortunately, many people make strong assertions about leadership without ever really understanding a great deal about leadership. Understanding the concept of leadership requires more than reading a few articles or fantasizing about what great leaders should be.

Part : A LEADERSHIP

There are four are major factors in 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. This is why a number of leadership scholars think the Process Theory of Leadership is a more accurate than the Trait Theory of Leadership.

Concepts of Leadership

 

Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader. Good leaders develop through a never ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience. This guide will help you through that process.

To inspire your workers into higher levels of teamwork, there are certain things you must be, know, and do. These do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study. Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills; they are not resting on their laurels.

Before we get started, let's define 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 cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge, and skills. Although your position as a manager, supervisor, lead, etc. gives you the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization, this power does not make you a leader...it simply makes you the boss. Leadership differs in that it makes the followers want to achieve high goals, rather than simply bossing people around.

Bass' (1989 & 1990) theory of leadership states that there are three basic ways to explain how people become leaders. The first two explain the leadership development for a small number of people. These theories are:

Some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles. This is the Trait Theory.

A crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion, which brings out extraordinary leadership qualities in an ordinary person. This is the Great Events Theory.

People can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills. This is the Transformational Leadership Theory. It is the most widely accepted theory today and the premise on which this guide is based.

When a person is deciding if she respects you as a leader, she does not think about your attributes, rather, she observes what you do so that she can know who you really are. She uses this observation to tell if you are an honorable and trusted leader or a self-serving person who misuses authority to look good and get promoted. Self-serving leaders are not as effective because their employees only obey them, not follow them. They succeed in many areas because they present a good image to their seniors at the expense of their workers.

The basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to your organization. In your employees' eyes, your leadership is everything you do that effects the organization's objectives and their well-being.What makes a person want to follow a leader? People want to be guided by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, they must be ethical. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future.

Leadership is "organizing a group of people to achieve a common goal." The leader may or may not have any formal authority. Students of leadership have produced theories involving traits, situational interaction, function, behavior, power, vision and values, charisma, and intelligence among others.

The search for the characteristics or traits of leaders has been ongoing for centuries. Several leadership theories have been evolved by times.

Behavioral and style theories

In response to the early criticisms of the trait approach, theorists began to research leadership as a set of behaviors, evaluating the behavior of 'successful' leaders, determining a behavior taxonomy and identifying broad leadership styles. Leadership takes a strong personality with a well developed positive ego. Not so much as a pattern of motives, but a set of traits is crucial. To lead; self-confidence and a high self-esteem is useful, perhaps even essential.

Situational and contingency theories

Situational theory also appeared as a reaction to the trait theory of leadership. Social scientists argued that history was more than the result of intervention of great men as Carlyle suggested. Herbert Spencer said that the times produce the person and not the other way around. This theory assumes that different situations call for different characteristics; according to this group of theories, no single optimal psychographic profile of a leader exists. According to the theory, "what an individual actually does when acting as a leader is in large part dependent upon characteristics of the situation in which he functions."

Functional theory

Functional leadership theory is a particularly useful theory for addressing specific leader behaviors expected to contribute to organizational or unit effectiveness. This theory argues that the leader's main job is to see that whatever is necessary to group needs is taken care of; thus, a leader can be said to have done their job well when they have contributed to group effectiveness and cohesion. While functional leadership theory has most often been applied to team leadership it has also been effectively applied to broader organizational leadership as well. In summarizing literature on functional leadership,five broad functions are observes when a leader performs when promoting organisation's effectiveness. These functions include: environmental monitoring, organizing subordinate activities, teaching and coaching subordinates, motivating others, and intervening actively in the group's work.

Transactional and transformational theories

The transactional leader is given power to perform certain tasks and reward or punish for the team's performance. It gives the opportunity to the manager to lead the group and the group agrees to follow his lead to accomplish a predetermined goal in exchange for something else. Power is given to the leader to evaluate, correct and train subordinates when productivity is not up to the desired level and reward effectiveness when expected outcome is reached.The transformational leader motivates its team to be effective and efficient. Communication is the base for goal achievement focusing the group on the final desired outcome or goal attainment. This leader is highly visible and uses chain of command to get the job done. Transformational leaders focus on the big picture, needing to be surrounded by people who take care of the details. The leader is always looking for ideas that move the organization to reach the company's vision.

Neo-emergent theory

The Neo-emergent leadership theory espouses that leadership is created through the emergence of information by the leader or other stakeholders, not through the true actions of the leader himself. In other words, the reproduction of information or stories form the basis of the perception of leadership by the majority. It is well known that the great naval hero Lord Nelson often wrote his own versions of battles he was involved in, so that when he arrived home in England he would receive a true hero's welcome. In modern society, the press, blogs and other sources report their own views of a leader, which may be based on reality, but may also be based on a political command, a payment, or an inherent interest of the author, media or leader. Therefore, it can be contended that the perception of all leaders is created and in fact does not reflect their true leadership qualities at all.

Environmental leadership theory

The Environmental leadership model describes leadership from a group dynamics perspective incorporating group psychology and self awareness to nurture environments that promote self sustaining group leadership based on personal emotional gratification from the activities of the group. The Environmental Leader creates the psychological structure by which employees can find and attain this gratification through work or activity.It stems from the idea that each individual has various environments that bring out different facets from their own Identity, and each facet is driven by emotionally charged perceptions within each environment. The Environmental Leader creates a platform through education and awareness where individuals fill each others emotional needs and become more conscious of when, and how they affect personal and team emotional gratifications. This is accomplished by knowing why people "react" to their environment instead of act intelligently.

CHARACTERISTICS

Following are the characteristics of a good leader.

1. Authenticity

It is the main aspect of leader's personality. Leadership begins and ends with authenticity.

2. Desire to Serve Others

Authentic leaders genuinely desire to serve others through their leadership.

3. Empowering People

They are more interested in empowering the people they lead to make a difference than they are in power, money, or prestige for themselves."

4. Guided by Heart, passion and compassion

They are as guided by qualities of the heart, by passion, and compassion, as they are by qualities of the mind.

5. Recognize their shortcomings

Authentic leaders use their natural abilities, but they also recognize their shortcomings and work hard to overcome them.

6. Lead with Purpose

They lead with purpose, meaning and values.

7. Build Enduring Relationships

They build enduring relationships with people.

8. Clear Where They Stand

Others follow them because they know where they stand.

9. Refuse to Compromise

When principles are tested, they refuse to compromise.

10. Develop Themselves

Authentic leaders are dedicated to developing themselves because they know that becoming a leader takes a lifetime of personal growth.

Good Business Leaders

Meg Whitman : Former CEO of online auction website eBay.

She joined eBay in March 1998 and immediately began restructuring the marketing, graphics, and online approach of eBay. Eager to appeal to both individual sellers as well as larger companies and stores, Whitman helped guide the changes to create equality in the marketplace. Once all the necessary changes were in place, Whitman took eBay public in September of 1998. Within hours of their first public offering, eBay was listed as one of the fastest growing internet companies in the world. Whitman quickly became a miliionaire.

Within a few short years, Whitman helped eBay grow their customer base from 750,000 to over seven million. Although other internet auction sites tried to follow the eBay formula, the company had already established itself as a leader in the industry and remained almost untouchable. Whitman continued to restructure eBay services, making sure that the customer (the buyer) was always protected and that the site maintained a degree of quality control over the merchandise listed. Satisfied customers continued to spread the word, bringing more business to both eBay and the sellers on site. It was a win-win formula for everyone.

Throughout her work with eBay, Whitman continued to remain open to criticism, advice, and opportunities, frequently fielding phone calls from consumers and working in a cubicle to remain connected to her employees. As a result of her connection with customers, and at the urgency of her staff, Whitman agreed to purchase the online checking and banking site, PayPal, in 2003.

Donald Trump : Real Estate mogul and star of The Apprentice.

Donald Trump owns some of the most prestigious pieces of prime real estate in New York City. Trump has slapped his Trump brand name on some of the finest hotels, casinos and building complexes in the city.

Trump is a self confident and extravagant businessman that has made himself instantly recognizable wherever he goes. His interests include real estate, entertainment, gaming, and sports. Trump also owns part of the three largest beauty competitions in the world, consisting of Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. He is also a successful author with several best selling business books published that include The Art of the Deal, The Art of Survival and How to get Rich. Among his many other pursuits, Donald Trump was briefly interested in running for President, is a member of several civic and charitable organizations and is a generous philanthropist.

Part : B Impact of Culture

1. Poor communication by senior management:

As in any relationship, communication is key to a strong business relationship.  This can be the relationship between business and customer, or, equally as important, the internal relationships among different employees within the company.  Communication can be improved in virtually every workplace, no matter the industry or size.  After all, it is the only way for information to effectively spread throughout the business so that everybody can be informed to the degree that they required to properly achieve their goals.

There are many opportunities for poor communication in a workplace, and awareness of these hindrances is the first step toward discovering and solving them within your own business.

Strangely enough, it seems that it is always the employers who are the last to find out that there does indeed exist poor communication within their own companies.  This, ironically, is a direct result of the poor communication!  It only makes sense that when information isn't properly flowing down within a business; it isn't flowing up very well either.Among the most trying elements of poor communication in today's workplace is a lack of information for the proper accomplishment of the tasks necessary within the business.  Even in today's information overload society, employees often lack the information they need to do their jobs.  They may have the data that they require from external supplies; however, it is the information that their supervisors and co-workers have, but have not properly shared, that remains unsaid.  Frequently, this poor communication is a result of the fact that the people with the information are still processing it themselves, and haven't distanced themselves enough from the problem to discover that there are other people around them who will also be requiring that information.

Furthermore, the way in which people communicate can actually be the cause of poor communication in the workplace. Even if the person with the information believes that s/he has shared this information with all of the right people, this may not exactly be true.  After all, some people are better at communicating than others, and when someone who struggles to express themselves is the source of the necessary information, this causes a problem. 

Ideally, people should communicate clearly, at a comfortable rate, with a practical vocabulary, and in an engaging tone.  They need to get to the point before the listener can lose interest or miss the point altogether.

2. Office Politics:

Office politics is the use of one's individual or assigned power within an employing organization for the purpose of obtaining advantages beyond one's legitimate authority. Those advantages may include access to tangible assets, or intangible benefits such as status or pseudo-authority that influences the behavior of others. Both individuals and groups may engage in Office Politics.

At the root of office politics is the issue of manipulation which can happen in any relationship where one or more of the parties involved use indirect means to achieve their goals. In the workplace, individuals have an incentive to achieve their goals at the expense of their colleagues, where resources are limited. For example, if six people apply for one promotion, they might expect the selection to be made purely on merit. Where one of the people believes that this would put them at a disadvantage, they may use other means of coercion or influence to put themselves into an advantageous position. When the people being manipulated begin to talk to each other directly, or when other evidence comes to light such as financial results, the manipulator will have an explanation ready but will already be planning their exit, because they would rather stay in control than face a revelation which exposes their behavior.

Office politics is a major issue in business because the individuals who manipulate their working relationships consume time and resources for their own gain at the expense of the team or company.

In addition to this problem, the practice of office politics can have an even more serious effect on major business processes such as strategy formation, budget setting, performance management, and leadership. This occurs because when individuals are playing office politics, it interferes with the information flow of a company. Information can be distorted, misdirected, or suppressed, in order to manipulate a situation for short term personal gain.

3. Lack of team work:

In many situations it's taken for granted that work and fun cannot coexist. Most executives have never existed in a workplace where teamwork was the rule rather than the exception. People are scared of moving out of their comfort zone into a cooperative workplace; building teamwork is hard.

There seems to be two major reasons for peoples' fear:

People often value security over happiness in their workplace: They're willing to sacrifice happiness and mental health for the knowledge that they'll have a job tomorrow. Security seems to be the enemy of joy and teamwork.

People dislike change, and teamwork is big change. This is the logical result of the fact that security is represented by a stable, non-changing workplace.

Teamwork in the workplace brings joy to the organization or team that can accept it, and develop a system that infuses the organization with it. Teamwork is fundamental to human nature. Especially when the benefits of working together are clear, what's holding people back? Most business organizations operate in a manner that fundamentally conflicts with human nature. Sure we are all individuals, but we all shared certain important characteristics. In business however, the conflict almost always comes when our core values conflict with our organizations bottom line.

4. The use of politically correct language:

No one invented language. it simply spontaneously evolved as a system that enables us to communicate with one another. Language is never static because, in the process of progress, new words emerge for new tools and concepts. Some of today's new language, like cosmetics, conceals and confuses. Since I've been on earth a sufficient interval of time to see some of this, let's look at it.

You might think they've also disappeared, because we never hear of them. They're still with us. We call them homeless people. Linguistically, that puts bums in the same category as people who are homeless because of fires, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes. That means there's moral equivalency between flood victims and bums. After all, who can be morally judgmental about someone who's lost his home?The new millennium finds other missing persons. What happened to insane people, stutterers, crippled people, deaf-and-dumb people and slow learners? Today we refer to them as being challenged or disabled one way or another, and sometimes even exceptional.

5. Nosy co-workers:

Privacy can be difficult to maintain in the workplace. Nosy co-workers love to get in your business, and then spread their information through gossip and innuendos. Avoiding a nosy colleague may be difficult, if not impossible. Sometimes the more you avoid a gossiping employee, the more he believes you have something to hide. Try a few of the following tips to nip that big nose in the bud.

CONCLUSION

This review has summarized a broad range of empirical research and related literature. Its purpose was to summarize the starting points for a major new effort to better understand the concepts of leadership. Furthermore, effective leadership has the greatest impact in those circumstances in which it is most needed. This evidence supports the present widespread interest in improving leadership as a key to the successful implementation of large-scale reforms.

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