The Key Features Of Leadership Commerce Essay

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This is my extended thankfulness to the 'strategic leadership' module to give me an opportunity to depict the big ideology of strategic leadership with respect to my demeanour towards current thinking and research in the fields of leadership, strategic learning and change intervention. In this errand I have explored and identified the key features of leadership, team work, planning and implementing ideology (decision making) and involving changes where ever required. After undergoing the critical analysis, my research work shows certain developments in my leadership skills, benefitting me as a manager and also benefitting the organisation in return.

Executive Summary

The purpose of this assignment is to develop an understanding of and an enhanced capacity to enact the roles and tasks of the below mentioned key features of strategic leadership.

Strategic Positioning Map

Story telling

Cognitive Mapping

Distributed Leadership

"Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable market position supported by a system of activities that fit together in a complementary way" (Porter, 1980). It is about making choices, trade-offs, and deliberately choosing to be different. Changes are important and changes for good are even more important. Realizing that decision for change in an organisation is a critical task to perform. The above definition talks about the role of a leader at every step in an organisation. A leader must be able to communicate his or her vision in terms that cause followers to buy into it. He or she must communicate clearly and passionately, as passion is contagious. A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly, as well as to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal. Action is the mark of a leader. A leader does not suffer "analysis paralysis" but is always doing something in pursuit of the vision, inspiring others to do the same.

"All men can see the tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which great victory evolved."(Sun Tzu, March 21, 2005). It proves the work of subtlety and paradox that shows how to succeed effortlessly in rising to challenges faced in life. Success is always a result of good work and smart work. Although it's a tough task, however the reward is amazing. A leader with vision has a clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it. But it's not enough to have a vision; leaders must also share it and act upon it.

"When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision." (Coelho, 1988) The statement is strong to convey my idea of the concept of decision making in strategic leadership for any individual.

Further on the research speaks about the different styles and ways of a leader to sustain rather enhance the leading skills in favour of the organisation. In this assignment I have shown the use of different tools and the importance them, after viewing the application of each tool critically. Each tool is essential and a crucial one for any leader. These tools not only improve the leading skills, they also talk about the strategies which leader should grasp and implement where ever required.

In addition to forecast and amiability, the characteristics that leader must have are ability to recognize employees' talents, the know-how to make teams work and an open mind. Leadership does vary to some extent as per the positions i.e. it may be slight different for manager and different for a union leader but the basic qualities of leadership does not change.

Strategic Positioning MAP (SPM)

The purpose of this activity is to allow us to take a strategic view of a current issue of importance which occurred after my promotion in the organisation I was serving. After getting promoted I was in a situation "How to lead a team?" Gather the thoughts, ideas and measures to be taken under considerations to maintain the quality work up to the mark. By using SPM we can measure the amount of ideology to be implemented. It describes what you want to measure and the and also defines the measurements.  If you can't measure it, you can't manage it.  Most strategic execution fails because it is not measured and tracked with diligence and vigour. It is a communication tool that graphically displays your mission, vision and strategy.

There are roles, duties, morals and responsibilities at every stage of working in an organisation. The key individuals and group of people having an impact or would be affected by this issue are mentioned below:-




Clients/ Companies


After having the responsibilities on your shoulders, one has to mould him or her as per the demand of the organisation. This means that once an issue occurs, it has to be dealt with proper understanding of the situation, planning, choosing a plan and then executing the correct plan.

"The capacity to know oneself and to know others is an inalienable a part of the human condition as is the capacity to know objects or sounds, and it deserves to be investigated no less than these other "less charged" forms".

Howard Gardner (1983, p. 243), Frames of Mind

"Strategy Mapping is an invaluable resource that will help you determine how to best use your resources, and provide insight into how business flows from potential to profitability".

Kenneth Kring(2009), Business Strategy Mapping

With a superior strategy, small companies can overthrow larger ones. With a superior strategy, large companies can maintain leadership positions. 

Kring Strategy Mapping (KSM) can give you a better feel for how your efforts need to come together into a balanced strategy to guide you and your business to where you need to be.

Strategic Positioning Map

Story Telling and Strategic Thinking


After good seven months of working I was promoted as Marketing Manager from a marketing executive with SVLL. As SVLL is a logistic firm, which offers services like transportation by road, provides stockyards and manufactures trailers as per the demand from the clients, therefore for marketing executive, it requires immense amount of quality effort in terms of approaching the companies given in different areas of the country, understanding their requirements, offering accurate solutions and then finally reporting to the higher authorities.

After giving several clients to the company, I was promoted. It felt good, however at the same time I was a little bit nervous. There were certain questions like, how am I going to lead the department? What difference can I make? Can I meet the expectations of the company? These questions were making my life miserable. Then finally one day, I was been reported by one of the executives about a company named INDOFARM. They were the manufactures of Tractors, Generators and Cranes. It was my turn to visit the client and get the contract signed. I went to the their plant situated in Baddi(Himachal Pradesh).

After reaching the plant, I was supposed to see it as programmed by the General Manager. I got to know a very interesting fact about Indofarm, that is, for their products they used to order engines from a company named USER in Poland, Later on they did good amount of R&D and finally now Indofarm is producing engines for USER, which according to me is commendable. Ideology was fantastic and it also enlightened me to make my own unique identity in my company. I understood the interdependence in the business and gave an idea to my company of being a trailer manufacturer as well, so that we can design the vehicle as per the client's requirements, this gave us an edge over the other logistic companies in the market. The idea worked. We were not only able to gather good client base, also fetched contract from the industries, which we could not even dream of working with. It became easy for us as well, after having big players as our clients; it was less of us approaching the market and more of the market approaching us. Marketing Department by now was big and grown. Department was still facing a trouble, which was operational client calls coming to marketing department, because of it marketing was not speedy enough. After observing this, I proposed an idea on introducing a team of not more than 6-7 people. This department would be known as Network Operating Centre (NOC). NOC would take all the operational based calls and would be giving accurate information about client's queries. This was again worked amazingly. Clients were happy to see the support and marketing team was in turn happy to devote adequate time, for which they were hired.


Storytelling is a key leadership technique because it's quick, powerful, free, natural, refreshing, energizing, collaborative, persuasive, holistic, entertaining, moving, memorable and authentic. Stories help us make sense of organizations. Storytelling is more than an essential set of tools to get things done: it's a way for leaders - wherever they may sit - to embody the change they seek. Rather than merely advocating and counter-advocating propositional arguments, which lead to more arguments, leaders establish credibility and authenticity through telling the stories that they are living.( Steve Denning , 2005) As I was promoted, it felt good, however at the same time I was a little bit nervous. There were certain questions like, how am I going to lead the department? What difference can I make? Can I meet the expectations of the company?

Storytelling is often the best way for leaders to communicate with people they are leading. Why? It is inherently well adapted to handling the most intractable leadership challenges of today - sparking change, communicating who you are, enhancing the brand, transmitting values, creating high-performance teams, sharing knowledge, taming the grapevine, leading people in to the future. Storytelling translates dry and abstract numbers into compelling pictures of a leader's goals. Although good business cases are developed through the use of numbers, they are typically approved on the basis of a story-that is, a narrative that links a set of events in some kind of causal sequence. (Steve Denning, 2005)

Storytelling is, by design, a co-creative process. Storytelling audiences do not passively receive a story from the teller, as a viewer receives and records the content of a television program or motion picture. The teller provides no visual images, no stage set, and generally, no costumes related to story characters or historic period. Listeners create these images based on the performer's telling and on their own experiences and beliefs.

Storytelling is a process, a medium for sharing, interpreting, offering the content and meaning of a story to an audience. Because storytelling is spontaneous and experiential, and thus a dynamic interaction between teller and listener, it is far more difficult to describe than is the script and camera directions of a movie, or the lines and stage direction notes of a play. Storytelling emerges from the interaction and cooperative, coordinated efforts of teller and audience.

Such situations teaches us that, we can let go the urge to control, and the fear that goes with it, learning that the world has the capacity to organize itself, recognizing that managing includes catalyzing this capacity, as well as sparking, creating, energizing, unifying, generating emergent truths, celebrating the complexity, the fuzziness and the messiness of living.( These characteristics come from Kouzes and Posner's research into leadership that was done for the book The Leadership Challenge.)

I believe that interdependence in business can really be productive.

Strength: Very high

Assumption: I feel it is right as it reduces cost and time.

Comment: I can state it because previously company was getting trailers from other manufacturers and once we started manufacturing ourselves it saved us plenty of money.

I believe that to climb the ladder of glory one has to go through the steps of hard work and smart work.

Strength: Very work

Assumption: I think "best work" is a combination of smart work and hard work.

Comment: As I worked hard as an executive, did my duties faithfully and was also able to meet all the targets, company promoted me.

I believe that life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you going to get.

Strength: Very High

Assumption: I assume opportunity is a gift from god; one should make the most of it.

Comment: As I was promoted suddenly, I was wondering how I can work differently to prove myself in the company, finally I got to visit Indofarm and got my way straight.

Conclusion: Narrative is the instrument of continuing creativity, a power that inexorably propels us forward into the future, the unknown, building new worlds and structures. Storytelling is part of the creative struggle to generate a new future, as opposed to conventional management approaches that search for virtual certainties anchored in the illusive security of yesterday. Narrative can help transform even gargantuan organizations through the unanticipated power of the imagination. Narrative champions freedom, interaction, and organic growth. It operates beyond the scope of simple, linear logic. It is as interested in the unknown as in the known. Narrative is a key tool for leadership, because it helps us deal with organizations as living organisms that need to be tended, nurtured and encouraged to grow.

Cognitive Mapping:

Fig 1.02 cognitive mapping

Cognitive mapping may be defined as a process composed of a series of psychological transformations by which an individual acquires, codes, stores, recalls, and decodes information about the relative locations and attributes of phenomena in their everyday spatial environment.

(Downs, R.M. and Stea, D.

Cognitive Maps and Spatial Behavior: Process and products

In Image and Environment1973:8-26)

Cognitive Mapping may be used for a variety of purposes although a "problem" of some sort usually forms the focus of the work. It is a technique used to structure, analyse and make sense of accounts of problems. These accounts can be verbal - for example, presented at an interview, or documentary. Cognitive mapping can be used as a note-taking method during an interview with the problem owner and provides a useful interviewing device if used in this way. Alternatively, it can be used to record transcripts of interviews or other documentary data in a way that promotes analysis, questioning and understanding of the data. (Kelly, 1955)


The idea of choosing MBA as a master's course was not a tough decision. The vision was simple and straight. It had to be done to shape up my career better and to enhance the skills, in order to survive in the corporate jungle, where only one law rules 'survival of the fittest'. In order to the reach the place where I want to see myself, MBA turns out to be 'must'. Idea was to gain knowledge, which I could have implemented further in my career path. It gave me clarity and a sense of direction. It further helped in balancing the negative and positive sides of taking the decision of doing an MBA. Thus cognitive mapping is important in giving a pictorial presentation of a problem and is very helpful in executing a strategy in an organisation to achieve its objectives.

Conclusion: As per being an integral part of the SODA methodology (Eden 1990) creating a map of the perceptions of the client or group may act as a precursor to other forms of analysis with great effect. As mentioned above, Cognitive Mapping allows users to structure accounts of problems. As such it may provide valuable clues as to the client's perceptions of the problem giving indication as to where the "nub(s)" of the issue may lie. Aims and objectives can be identified and explored, options examined to see which are the most beneficial and whether more detailed ones need to be considered. Dilemmas, feedback loops and conflicts can be quickly distinguished, explored and worked upon. Moreover, it may increase the user's understanding of the issue through the necessity of questioning how the chains of argument fit together and determining where isolated chunks of data fit in. Finally, it may act as a cathartic medium for interviewees who, through the process of explaining the ideas and how they fit together, begin to gain a better understanding of the issue.

Distributed Leadership

Leadership is about ascertaining a method for people to contribute so that it can result in a significant achievement. It is a process that enables a person to influence others to achieve a goal and directs an organization to become rational and consistent. Leaders carry out these processes by leveraging their leadership traits such as values, ethics and knowledge.

Amitabh shukla, 2009, june1

Good leaders are not born. They are made. If a person has the willpower and the ability to learn, he can become a successful leader. A good leader engages in a continuous process of education, experience and training. He studies to improve his leadership skills and does not rest on past glory. One's position as a manager or supervisor gives one the authority to handle responsibilities and achieve the desired results making him the boss.

Of course, a leader is not always the leader of a country or a 'movement'. A leader can be in so many different walks of life, be it business, entertainment, sport, politics, charities etc... But, in whatever field, it seems there are these certain traits that characterize a good leader.

1. Vision

I believe also that a good leader needs to have the ability to convey his vision to others and to win them over to his side and get them to support the vision. As in a short period of working I was promoted, however vision was to make the marketing department to be the no.1 in the organisation.

2. Inspiring

A good leader would appear to be one who is inspiring; that is to say that they inspire people to follow them and support their aims. After promotion I felt whatever I dreamt about turned true. Similarly I passed this learning ahead to my team. I told them on the day of my joining that, first thing you do is dream and dream the best for you. My work would be to make sure that you get your dream in the best possible, deserving way.

3. Value Others

Leaders make other people produce their best, either as individuals or collectively. A good leader makes other people feel valued and genuinely values their worth and their contributions. As I was having a vision, I as a leader felt it's the best to be a 'people's person'; in order to influence people, to win people over and to make them feel valued.

4. Takes Action

A leader is a person who takes action, either directly or by encouraging and directing others. In spite of sitting back and relaxing, I had to realize that it's not good to wait for something to happen; unless waiting is what is required in order to prepare for acting at the correct moment. Correct utilization of power and appropriate distribution of power was my act for most of work accomplished by the team lead by me.

5. Confidence

A leader has confidence. They have confidence in themselves; they have confidence in their vision. Perhaps above all, they have confidence in other people and in their skills or abilities. We as a marketing team conveyed this confidence in their words and our actions and I had this confidence into those who worked together for the marketing department.

What is a concise explanation of strategic leadership? It is nothing more than the ability to anticipate, prepare, and get positioned for the future. It is the ability to mobilize and focus resources and energy on things that make a difference and will position you for success in the future. It is the courage to think deeply about what you want to do. Applied strategic leadership is about creativity, intuition, and planning to help you reach your destiny. Strategic people think and act before they have to, before they are forced to take up a defensive or reactive position.

As humans, we have the capacity to think broadly and beyond the immediate movement. We can choose and learn how to think consciously and deliberately about the future and the big picture. But unless we change our traditional thinking patterns and develop this thinking capacity more fully, our success will remain mediocre or possibly come to an end.

Real strategic leadership means taking responsibility for the future, as well as for what is happening today. A primary goal of a strategic leader is to gain a better understanding of the business conditions, the environment (the market, customers, and competitors), and the leading indicators that identify new trends and situations that may arise. A leader must be "tuned in" to the signals that provide insight about the needs and wants of team members, senior management, and suppliers. As a leader, you must know who your customers are, why they come to you and your organization, what they will be looking for in the future, and how your environment is evolving. A leader must be tuned into the competitors (what products they offer and how customers see them)

(Steven J. Stowell and Stephanie S. Mead, 2005)

Distributive leadership is an idea that became prominent through the teachings and lectures of Richard Elmore, a professor of educational leadership at Harvard. The traditional notion of leadership is the vision of one person at the head of a group, directing, teaching, and encouraging others. This notion of "heroic" leadership, however, is rapidly changing, and "post-heroic," also known as distributive leadership is taking hold.

Distributive leadership is the sharing of leadership between two or more individuals. This type of leadership has many names, such as shared, dispersed, relational, roving, collective, group-centred, broad-based, participatory, fluid, inclusive, and supportive leadership. In schools today, as the workload of administrators is constantly increasing, shared leadership is becoming widespread.


Because organisation administrators (I and peers) cannot be everywhere at one time, they have begun to implement this type of leadership. Some organizations distribute the leadership power between two administrators, while other organisations involve vendors and sub-contractors, creating a group where there is no central leader in charge. As a result, numerous aspects of the organization and their internal systems are attended to more fully and improvement is significant.

Distributing the leadership allows administrators to focus on a few areas and really make an impact. They do a better job in a few areas than if they were over numerous activities, administrative duties, and student and teacher responsibilities. In return, administrators tend to find their jobs more fulfilling and feel like they are actually making a difference. Shared leadership may also help reduce the high number of administrators who quit their job.

In developing a distributed perspective on leadership, we moved beyond acknowledging leadership practice as an organisational property in order to investigate how leadership might be conceptualized as a distributed practice stretched over the social and situational contexts of the school.

(Spillane et al, 2001)

Distributed leadership is a kind of leadership where every stakeholder (i.e. principal, teachers, students, parents, community) of an educational institution collaboratively work and do leadership tasks for the achievement of common and specific goal. In this form of leadership, each one's opinion towards certain matters is sought before any decision is being done. This form of leadership is democratic and delegated.

In an organization where distributed leadership is employed, it is important to view distributed leadership not only as management or a leadership technique but more than that as an attitude. It simply means considering every individual of the organization as an important source of ideas. Through this kind of leadership, respect is seen and felt in every corner of the organization. It must be understood that distributed leadership is a call for responsibility from the members of the organization. This way, important leadership tasks can be achieved while working collaboratively and examining each one's mistake as source of ideas for development. In this kind of leadership, everybody is expected not just to become part of the solution but to the prevention itself as well.

(, 2009)

Below information shows the analysis for step by step roles of leader for the development of the organisation in terms of distributed leadership. By saying roles means duties and responsibilities as a leader and set by the leader.

Team Building

Significant energy is lost in organizations because of interpersonal work and communication problems. These problems often seem mired in personality conflicts. Through appreciation of the roles people see the contribution brought to the organization by different perspectives and can more easily accelerate the effectiveness of their teams.

Organization Development

The framework can be used to analyze the organization's strategy and future direction to determine the role strengths necessary for its success. The whole model can be tied into the organization's job description, job placement, and career development processes and systems.

Combining Leading and Managing to Create the Roles

Each role is a unique combination of a significant process of leadership and a critical focus for managing. Mastery of any role requires integrity with one's core values.

Leadership Process

Creating Order -- developing insight to make choices in complex, ambiguous, and seemingly chaotic conditions

Inspiring Action -- energizing people to strive for their potential in the attainment of worthwhile objectives

Improving Performance -- continually seeking ways to raise standards and quality of efforts


In the Mentor role a leader:

Is committed to ongoing personal and professional development.

Helps people advance their careers through various learning opportunities.

Honours the development desires of each person.

Is devoted to the uniqueness of each individual.

Motivates by creating an environment for people to find their own inner drive.


In the Ally role a leader:

Builds partnerships by seeking ever higher standards of effective, mutually beneficial collaboration.

Sees the benefits of productive work partnerships in teams, informal interactions, and work with suppliers, customers, etc.

Realizes conflict is often a sign of opposing valuable perspectives and seeks dialogue to extract benefit from it.

Is expansive in a willingness to extend trust to others.


In the Sovereign role a leader:

Is always thoughtful in the use of power.

Takes risks and faces uncertainty in being decisive.

Accepts responsibility for consequences of decisions.

Takes a stand even when it is unpopular.

Empowers others by extending decision authority to them.

Remains completely reliable in honouring commitments.


In the Guide role a leader:

Is a flexible organizer, keeping people and things in directed motion?

Achieves goals by applying clearly stated principles, based on core values, to guide actions on tasks.

Makes the journey as worthwhile as the goals.

Is excited and challenged to keep things moving forward regardless of the obstacles and restraints.

Uses expertise to do the work and support the efforts of others.


In the Artisan role a leader:

Devotes efforts to the mastery of a craft.

Pursues excellence by continually questioning the quality standards of the product and the processes used to create it.

Balances aesthetic with practical standards.

Sustains attention to detail to find ways to ensure simplicity, effectiveness, and efficiency.

Remains impatient with indifference.

Pushes the limits of everyone's expertise.


This assignment began with the brief on the key factors of leadership skills, styles, traits in an organisation. We also analysed the role of each tool and its points of implementation. Also we have tried to set out some of the elements of a 'classical' view of leadership. We have seen how commentators have searched for special traits and behaviours and looked at the different situations where leaders work and emerge. Running through much of this is a set of beliefs that we can describe as a classical view of leadership where leaders:

Tend to be identified by position. They are part of the hierarchy.

Become the focus for answers and solutions. We look to them when we don't know what to do, or when we can't be bothered to work things out for ourselves.

Give direction and have vision.

Have special qualities setting them apart. These help to create the gap between leaders and followers.

However I would conclude that this assignment is just carrying a generic idea of what strategic leadership is all about. We can also say that implementation of all the important tools leads to nothing else but SUCCESS. This little research work of mine has given me great directions in life.