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What is leadership. What qualities and traits do leaders have. What do leaders do and what is their role in business organisations? After more than century of modern studies, these remain cogent questions. Many writers and researchers have offered either general or specific answers over the years, but the discussion continues unabated. People have not yet resolved these questions to the satisfaction of most, and the search for acceptable answers continues.
Understanding the role and the function of strong leadership and, what is even more important, if it is really necessary in business organisations is one of the most important intellectual tasks of this generation, however it is undoubted that leading is one of the most needed skills in contemporary society. The reason is simple. Leaders play a major role in helping people shape their life and in making public and private organisations work. Leaders define business and its practice. They determine the character of society, shape, influence and lead our teams, groups and communities. They set and administer government policy. In all walks of life, leader's behavior sets the course others follow and determines the measures used to account for group or organisational actions.
The most important skills which are required to change the world are skills of leadership. It became abundantly clear after we tried to adapt to the escalating changes occurring both in our society as a whole, and on workplaces within the previous century. Effective leadership is one of the keys to people's future success and survival.
Leaders, as well as products, have own cycle of life. It is inexpedient, that the role of a leader was executed by one person throughout the whole period of work of an informal group or a team. In some situations it is completely not obligatory to have an active leader focused on the performance of the task. There are leadership substitutes - characteristics of an individual, the task or the organisation, allowing achieving good results for a lack of leadership.
Such a model is not effective in the twenty-first century. It loses if compared with the other models in which the accent is put on a subtle art of belief. The subtle art of management of relations is the purpose with the help of which it is possible to create the future possibilities.
Modern leaders understand that it is necessary to share a part of control to receive results, in other words, they act as instructors, not as bosses. Instead of considering leadership as a synonym to dictatorship, leadership is more subtle art connected with human aspects of activity. The barrier between leadership and management actively breaks.
Effective leaders possess an accurately structured system of the ideas based on knowledge and the system of values which is formulated by the leader in such a manner which can completely and without difficulties be perceived by followers. Moreover, training of new leaders in such organisations becomes a part of a corporate culture "the leadership engine" turns on.
Leadership is a process to direct the behavior of other people in order to achieve overall aims. Leadership is an influence on people in order to achieve results, showing thus standards and quality of work above the usual level.
Being the element of social interactions, leadership is a difficult activity including:
1. The process of influence;
2. Participants - both leaders, and followers;
3. The number of possible results - not only goal achievement, but also adherence of people to these purposes, an interaction improvement in a team and a change of a corporate culture.
Leadership is necessary for building a team from a group of people, their transformation into a force which is a steady competitive advantage. Leaders know how to force people within the organization to work together; how to motivate them to show the best results. Leaders also know how to balance individual aspirations of participants of a team for the purpose of synergy - the result which much more exceeds the sum of the individual contributions. Leaders direct the participants of a team to coordinate the aspiration to the achievement of the best individual results by common efforts of a team and organization as a whole.
"In leadership, loners are losers. Leaders who cling to the old idea of know-all-tell-all leadership style can't move their organisations forward in this modern time. Leadership used to be one-man command-and-control practice--but no more. The challenges of modern organisations are vast and more complex than leaders can handle solo. Leadership authority, influence and roles must be shared with subordinates down the hierarchical lines; or change efforts will suffer serious limitations" (Kumuyi, 2007)
Effective leadership and management and the system of successful motivation is an administrative ability to define the correct purposes for the personnel, for the purpose of he achievement of a definite result of work; the acceptance of the responsibility to realize the put goals. In the twenty first century a leader - a motivational leader - is capable to conduct and motivate others. A motivational leader understands that people are a source of progress and innovations, and thus they are a key of success for all business organisations in the twenty first century.
Success in the new millennium will depend on how well leaders understand their roles, the leadership process and their own values and vision as well as those of their groups and organisations they work in. Their behavior sets the course others follow and determines the values and other measures used to account for group actions and the direction their organisations follow.
Understanding leadership and its role in business organisations is, like all of the important aspects of life, a thing of the mind more than of an objective reality. Traditionally, leadership has been thought of in terms of the heads, or chief officers of organisations, regardless of the tasks or functions they may perform. It is easy to think about leaders and leadership in terms of authority and headship and to talk about leadership as management.
Management, as a role for heads of organisations, involves control over others' behaviors and actions. For most people a position of leadership centers around the management role, its tasks and techniques â€‘ its technology. It conjures up ideas like controlling interpersonal relations, making decisions, aligning individual member actions and perceptions with corporate goals, planning, budgeting and directing the effort of the several followers engaged in the work with us. The manager role involves insuring that group activity is timed, controlled and predictable.
The idea of business management is pervasive and powerful in society. It defines those human attributes which are thought appropriate to success in the formal corporation, like competition, ambition and financial astuteness. The Western myth of managerial man is one of the dominant myths of our age. The central feature of this concept is the idea of management. Since the early days of the twentieth century until today, management has been given prominence over other, some arguably more important, human activities related to emotional needs, wider family relationships and social or intellectual aspirations. For many people, management has become the metaphor of the twentieth and twenty first century, encompassing work, workers and work cultures.
In accordance with www.businessdictionary.com, a leader is "a person who holds a dominant or superior position within his or her field, and is able to exercise a high degree of control or influence over others". Eight major traits that differentiate leaders from non-leaders are: responsibility, integrity, ability to make decisions, ability to deal with facts, vision of the big picture, optimism, resilience and excellence.
There are two types of leaders: transactional and transformational. Transactional leader "approaches followers with an eye to exchanging one thing for another", while transformational "recognizes and exploits an existing need or demand of a potential follower and looks for potential motives in followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs, and engages the full person of the follower" (Burns, 1972)
In order to manage one-on-one communication within the organization effectively, a leader has to meet four basic criteria. They are: achievable, inspiring, measurable and shared. Since the result is probably the most important thing in any human activity, it is extremely important for a leader to be achievable. A good leader also has to be inspiring in order to make others achieve.
Some people are leaders because of their formal position in an organisation or a group, whereas others are leaders because of the way other group members respond to them. These two common forms of leadership are called assigned leadership and emergent leadership. Leadership that is based on occupying a position in an organisation is an assigned leadership. Emergent leadership, in its turn, is not assigned by position; rather, it emerges over a period through communication of a leader with his followers.
In our contemporary society in order to survive any business has to reshape itself to the needs of constantly changing world. It is not enough to just satisfy consumer's needs and wants. In order to withstand severe market competition it has become important to follow consumers' ever-changing requirements.
Leaders reshape their teams using two ways: episodic and continuous change methods. Each method is used depending on the scale of changes needed and type of the environment a person works in. Also, different exhibition of leadership is needed to perform such changes.
Continuous changes take place when a company or a team adapts to the external environment constantly and during a long period of time. Changes appear as endless modifications to working and production processes on micro levels. Working environment constantly evolves, trying to recognize, track and respond to changing market conditions, putting an emphasis on long-run adaptability. This, however, sometimes means organisation's or team's inability to remain stable. Leader in this particular case plays a role of a sense maker who redirects changes, however does not play a role of a person who leads the changes in the company. Leadership is revealed through a success of the team in long-run.
Episodic changes, on the other hand, are occasional, infrequent and discontinuous changes that dramatically alter the way of doing business inside the company or the team. During a short-run period a group of people strives to adapt to the external environment, being inert and unable to do this using continuous adaptation. Changes take place on macro levels and are usually very distant and global. Leaders are considered as one of the five triggers to such changes. They provide a strong sense of purpose of the change, are passionate, inspire others, making people follow them, and actually make changes happen within the organisation.
The leader's job is to encourage and sustain high-quality products and service to all who have a stake in the group's work. Excellence leadership incorporates ideas that energize and inspire followers to unified action to increase and maintain high-quality services and products. Leaders focus on high-quality performance in all aspects of work. They foster team approaches to task activity that delegate more discretion over the work to the team and to individuals. They set standards of conduct and performance that implement cultural values and behaviors. The leadership model includes encouraging the formation of traditions that foster and inculcate the core-value vision. Often it includes dramatizing the core-value vision in ways that explain and interpret it to organisation members.
This virtual leadership environment assumes a culture of excellence. Culture includes experience, expectation for the future and values that condition behavior. Without general agreement on acceptable behavior and the values context within which we operate, corporation members are free to follow divergent paths. Coherent, cooperative action is impossible where at least implicit agreement in a common culture is missing. Creating and maintaining a culture conducive to attainment of personal and team excellence goals is, therefore, a hallmark of leadership excellence in any organisation.
The principal mechanism for implementing values and purposes the leader desires is the vision statement. A vision statement is a short, memorable motto or statement that encapsulates the core values of the organisation. Creating the statement is a personal task done primarily by the leader. The excellent leader adopts a core-value vision that emphasizes quality improvement values.
The impact of vision setting is powerful. It pervades all else the excellent leader does. It is both part of the definition of the excellent leader and the mechanism for integrating context (culture) and technologies. It is the core idea binding the leader and the followers in a common purpose.
Also critical is the need for the leader to address questions of high-quality service in attaining corporate goals. In doing this, leaders act to prepare and then empower followers to be of service. This aspect of the service dimension is similar to the training and education programs managers and leaders have been doing routinely. Excellence leaders see value in helping followers broadly develop their capacity to be of service. They also emphasize high-quality, excellent service levels.
The second aspect of the service dimension has to do with the service role of the leader toward followers. The leader's job is not only to encourage and sustain high-quality service by all stakeholders but to provide needed services to all those who have a stake in the group's work. Leaders serve coworkers as their needs arise, so they (the followers) can accomplish their set tasks.
Leaders serve followers in ways that energize and inspire them to unified action. The service role casts the leader as a steward in relationships with coworkers. The stewardship role asks the leader to hold in trust the organisation, its resources, its people and the common vision of the future.
Leaders foster innovation in groups. The leadership model sees the leader's role as transforming the self, followers and the institution to achieve the strategic vision. Leaders see their role as transforming the group and the organisations they work in. Leaders have a bias for change. They are alert to the expressed and implied needs of customers, employees and clients. They respect both the techniques and the pressures for change.
Leaders develop their followers in appropriate ways to enhance them and improve their performance. Leaders love people. They expend large amounts of energy in seeking, developing and expanding the capacities of those around them. Leadership is in the business of making champions. Champions are group members imbued with the leader's vision and capable of moving an idea through all the development phases to full implementation.
Productivity improvement is also a part of the definition of the excellent leader. Leaders take responsibility for improvement in the productive capacity of the group and its members. These leaders have a results-oriented, not activity-oriented, service style. There is an uncompromising commitment to the customer. They inspire others to think, plan and act with the customer's need in mind (Fairholm, Real Leadership: How Spiritual Values Give Leadership Meaning, 2011).
Productivity, therefore, becomes a function of directed service. Excellence leaders encourage productivity through reward structures contingent upon the demonstration of desired productivity behaviors (Bernard & Avolio, 1994). Leaders are focused on reward structures that encourage high-quality work. Leaders provide incentives for stakeholders to change to accommodate the vision values. Rewards in excellent leadership emphasize development of individual capacities and respect for group values, norms, work processes and productivity results.
The researches show that 2/3 of the basic knowledge and the abilities which are necessary today for an effective leader within a business organisation concern the sphere of the emotional competence. Great leaders set people in motion by means of emotions. Being a leader, a person should direct emotions of a team. If he or she operates emotions positively, people start to show their best abilities. Leaders inspire people, cause a resonance in them, and they start to work excitedly, showing the first-rate qualities. As Bruce Avolio has said, "Leadership is being number one, leadership is producing excellence" (Avolio, 2004).
Ultimately, as we can see from analysis above, leaders and leadership are vital for any business organization fruitful operational development and growth. Leaders shape the environment they work in, contributing to their organisations and pushing people forward. Strong leadership in all business organisations is a