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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.(Northouse (2007, p3). It is also 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. This is called process leadership (Jago, 1982). However, we know that we have traits that can influence our actions. This is called trait leadership (Jago,1982), in that it was once common to believe that leaders were born rather than made.
I as a management student believe however that 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 (Jago, 1982). In order 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. I strongly believe that good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills; they are NOT resting on their laurels.
While leadership is learned,the skills and knowledge pocessed 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.
Being a leader one must have an honest understanding of who they are, what they know, and what they can do. It is important to note that it is the followers, not the leader or someone else who determines if the leader is successful. If the followers do not trust or lack confidence in their leader, then they will be uninspired. I believe that in order for the leader to be successful they have to convince their followers, not themselves or their superiors, that they are worthy of being followed.
On the work front, as put forward by (Rowe, 2007), although your position as a manager, supervisor, leader, 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 (Rowe, 2007). Thus you get Assigned Leadership by your position and you display Emergent Leadership by influencing people to do great things.
In a general manner the development of the concept of leadership can be traced through the trait approach and the situational approach. This view of leadership, the trait theory, was explored at length in a number of works in the previous century. Most notable are the writings of Thomas Carlyle and Francis Galton whose works have prompted decades of research. In Heroes and Hero Worship (1841), Carlyle identified the talents, skills, and physical characteristics of men who rose to power. In Galton's (1869) Hereditary Genius, he examined leadership qualities in the families of powerful men. After showing that the numbers of eminent relatives dropped off when moving from first degree to second degree relatives, Galton concluded that leadership was inherited. In other words, leaders were born, not developed. Both of these notable works lent great initial support for the notion that leadership is rooted in characteristics of the leader.
For decades, this trait-based perspective dominated empirical and theoretical work in Leadership. Using early research techniques, researchers conducted over a hundred studies proposing a number of characteristics that distinguished leaders from nonleaders: intelligence, dominance, adaptability, persistence, integrity, socioeconomic status, and self-confidence just to name a few. However, Stogdill and Mann found that while some traits were common, the overall evidence suggested that persons who are leaders in one situation may not necessarily be leaders in other situations. Subsequently, leadership was no longer characterized as an enduring individual trait, as situational approaches posited that individuals can be effective in certain situations, but not others. This approach dominated much of the leadership theory and research for the next few decades.
Individuals can and do emerge as leaders across a variety of situations and tasks. The situational 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." Different leadership styles work in different situations.
The authoritarian leadership style, for example, is approved in periods of crisis but fails to win the "hearts and minds" of their followers in day to day management. However the democratic style is more adequate in situations that require consensus building and finally the laissez faire is appreciated by the degree of freedom it provides, but as the leader does not " take charge ", he can be perceived as a failure in organization problems.
Furthermore, I believe whichever approach the leader takes; they have to be effective when caring out there work in order to be successful. The most important keys to effective leadership according to (Lamb, McKee, 2004) are trust and confidence. In top leadership this 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. Firstly helping employees understand the company's overall business strategy. Secondly helping employees understand how they contribute to achieving key business objectives. And lastly 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. So in a nutshell - you must be trustworthy and you have to be able to communicate a vision of where the organization needs to go. As said by the famous Warren Bennis;
"I used to think that running an organization was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don't think that's quite it; it's more like jazz. There is more improvisation. "- Warren Bennis
If you are a leader who can be trusted, then those around you will grow to respect you. To be such a leader, one needs a Leadership Framework to guide them. The guidelines of Be, Know and Do puts together a framework to making a leader more effective.
BE a professional. Examples: Be loyal to the organization, perform selfless service, and take personal responsibility. Also BE a professional who possess good character traits. Examples: Honesty, competence, candor, commitment, integrity, courage, straightforwardness, imagination. A leader should KNOW themselves and their human nature really well. They should know their strengths and weakness, as well as their knowledge, and skills. A leader needs to be proficient and be able to train others in their tasks. They need to know what to DO when setting goals, problem solving, decision making and planning. They also need to effectively implement strategies and motivate their staff accordingly.
In addition to that, the two famous New Zealand leaders I'm going to discuss in this essay are:
Air New Zealand Chief Executive
He was on the standout list well before the crash of one of his airline's planes in France put his leadership to the ultimate test. It was the worst of all ways to end a very difficult year when the airline was hit first with record high fuel prices, increased competition and now slumping demand as the global economy melts down. The airline makes a lot of being nimble - it has to be as a small player - and Fyfe is the quick mover in charge.
He was up front and available immediately after the crash, responding with an openness that is characteristic of his dealings with staff and passengers. He was quick to embrace the alternative fuel push, wise to the need not to displace food crops with biofuel before that became a popular issue and in looking long term has stuck to the mission, despite oil prices falling faster than they went up.
Fyfe was quick to impose an executive pay freeze as the outlook darkened around the middle of the year and for a company notorious for friction between unions and management there has been an extended spell of co-operation during his watch.
He faces bigger business headaches in the years to come - tourism forecasts are woeful and the spectre of an enlarged Qantas
Business leader of the year: Alan Bollard
Sound money and sound banks. We all rely on them, and the man tasked with maintaining that vital economic infrastructure in these perilous times is the Herald's 2008 Business Leader of The Year, Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard.
It is a tough job at the best of times and this year has been especially challenging.
Bollard has had to contend first with the steepest commodity price rise for decades and then the biggest global financial crisis since the Great Depression, which is now turning into what looks like being the nastiest global recession since the early 1980s.
But Alan has not been afraid of recession. When we were heading into one he was still hiking rates, saying that is what is required." Bollard's predecessor, Don Brash, says he has been doing a good job. Brash knows better than anyone that the Governor is not there to win popularity contests.
"An unpopular central bank governor is not necessarily a good one, but a popular central bank governor is almost certainly a bad one."
""But there's no precedent in New Zealand's history, at least in living memory, for the sorts of things that have happened. He has had to be very quick on his feet."
Bollard says banking in this part of the world has been "pretty much vanilla", avoiding some of the more risky and arcane exposures which have laid waste to banks' capital in the northern hemisphere. The problem is not the quality of the banks' assets but the make-up of their funding, and in particular the country's reliance on imported wholesale credit.
Its role as the lender of last resort has moved from theoretical to practical with the setting up of facilities like the one under which it lends to the banks against residential mortgage-banked securities. And the retail deposit guarantee scheme, for all its distortions and problems, did one important thing, Bollard says. "It stopped any fear of depositor flight. We were starting to get very early warning signs."
During the height of the boom Bollard warned people, in a series of speeches, in effect to go easy on the borrowing, that house prices could fall, jobs could become scarcer and that banks would not always be operating in a world awash with cheap money. But he has not been tempted to say "I told you so".
These two leaders have proved themselves in trying times and have taken different approaches to address their company's problems. This is what leadership is all about in today's business world.
"There is no such thing as a perfect leader, either in the past or present, If there is one, he is only pretending, like a pig inverting spring onions into his nose in an effort to look like an elephant." -Liu Shao-Chi - Which means we must consistently strive to improve ourselves.
As Theodore hesburgh has said, "The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It's got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion."
Bass, Bernard (1990). From transactional to transformational leadership: learning to share the vision. Organizational Dynamics, 18, (3), Winter, 1990, 19-31.
Blake, Robert R. and Mouton, Janse S. (1985). The Managerial Grid III: The Key to Leadership Excellence. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co.
Bolman, L. and Deal, T. (1991). Reframing Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Jago, A. G. (1982). Leadership: Perspectives in theory and research. Management Science, 28(3), 315-336.
Kouzes, James M. & Posner, Barry Z. (1987). The Leadership Challenge. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Lamb, L. F., McKee, K. B. (2004). Applied Public Relations: Cases in Stakeholder Management. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Routledge.
Newstrom, J. & Davis, K. (1993). Organization Behavior: Human Behavior at Work. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Northouse, G. (2007). Leadership theory and practice. (3rd ed.) Thousand Oak, London, New Delhe, Sage Publications, Inc.
Rowe, W. G. (2007). Cases in Leadership. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications
Stogdill, R. M.(1989). StogdillHYPERLINK "http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/002901820X/bigdogsbowlofbis/"'HYPERLINK "http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/002901820X/bigdogsbowlofbis/"s Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research. Bass, B. (ed.) New York: Free Press.
PART B - ESSAY
Prepared by: Abdul Shazeel (zeel)
ID NO: EC1031
In light of the above observations, discuss the impact culture has on leadership???
The first result of the survey on the top workplace frustrations was;
Poor communication by senior management - 17%
17% of the 1200 workers that took part in this survey believe that frustration at work is mostly caused by Poor communication by senior managers.
Workers don't clearly understand the goals and strategies of the business and in order to get these required information they have to run around for it.
It is true that many senior managers are vague in their communication because mostly they don't want to be held accountable or the strategy they have themselves is uncertain.
Some firms have a strong culture and emphasize on creativity and openness still keeping in mind the importance of making a profit, while other firms are ruled by conformity.
However it is important for the management team to have a very positive outlook for the health and growth of the company. They are there to provide leadership and direction hence leading others to greater growth and exciting opportunities.
If the business culture is to hold back information and isolate itself then this can have a negative effect on its workers.
these frustrations can lead to:
decrease in staff morale
decrease in efficiency
decrease in productivity
workers having a negative attitude towards management
Lack of trust in management
Staffs won't have faith in their managers and start to go against the company. And also start to question their leadership style.
Office Politics - 16% AND Lack of teamwork
Office politics and lack of teamwork always overlap. Where office politics exist there is almost always a lack of teamwork. There's only one reason that teams or individuals within a company fail to work together effectively and that's when there are no incentives to encourage them to do otherwise.
When staffs of different cultural diversity work together in a department, there is always a tendency to go ahead and get promoted faster than staff from other cultures.
Or the manager may be biased and always take sides with staffs of their same culture.
This will lead other staffs to look down on the manager and question his leadership capabilities.
The staffs will lack trust in the management and always question their decisions.
This will lead to lower productivity of the team and result in lack of teamwork.
The team's performance will go down, as well as the manager's leadership.
4) The Use of Politically Correct Language - 9%
Language can be a major factor in workplace frustrations as well. How you speak to your co-workers and the language you use should always be taken into consideration.
As workers from different cultural backgrounds work together, the words that you might find appropriate in your culture maybe not appropriate in theres.
You should always be careful while addressing your co-workers or staff.
Use of in appropriate language can lead the manager to lose trust and respect amongst its employees.
This will make him an in-effective leader or manager.
5) Nosy Co-workers - 6%
Although the percentage for this is low, its also a great concern in the workplace.
Co-workers, who always undermine, criticize and chip into other co-workers business lead to decrease in team morale.
Those co-workers who can't cope with these situations always face problems of lack of confidence and always work under pressure.
These lead to them not working efficiently because they always feel that somebody is ready behind them to backbite and capitalize on there mistakes.
A good leader\manager needs to keep these issues under control to be effective.