Leadership Characteristics And Behavior Leadership Traits Education Essay

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The scientific analysis of leadership began by focusing on leaders themselves. The trait theory of leadership, as it is often called, was originally grounded in the assumption that some people are simply "natural" leaders by virtue of the fact that they have been endowed with certain characteristics not possessed by others. Since traits appeared to have little analytical or predictive value, leadership researches shifted their emphasis in the late 1940s and early 1950s from leader traits to leader behaviors as the basic unit of analysis. The investigation of leader traits has been more productive because researchers have constructed more appropriate theories, used better measures of traits, included more relevant traits, and used longitudinal data. Consequently a variety of personal attributes, such as energy level and emotional maturity have now been linked to effective leadership (e.g. Bass, 1990). Further, traits associated with socialized or learned motivational patterns, such as the need for power and the need for achievement, have been empirically connected with effective managers. In addition, different types of skills, that is, interpersonal skills, technical skills, and cognitive skills - appear to be relevant to managerial success.

The cumulative traits in an individual make him/her decide the best for his future and lead for him the path of glory. The same goes for me as well as there lies some unrigged traits in me that drives me towards the development of a specific leadership plan for me, according to my inherited features. The trait of making people come to a common conclusion inherits in me, which gives me an insight as to being a strong leader. Though this trait is not dominant in me yet, but with the growth of my mind and body, I would want to work on this trait of mine to utilize the positives. Also, the art of misleading people at times, in order to get the work out, is not visibly seen in me. Therefore, the specific nuances that are required to become a complete leader is missing in my overall personality. The positives would be taken by me in all its valid respects, and the negatives would be scrolled out viciously.

LEADERSHIP STYLES

The path-goal model identified four distinct types of leader behaviors:

1. Supportive leadership - Leaders with this style show concern for the well being and personal needs of subordinates.

2. Directive leadership - Leaders with this style provide specific guidance for subordinates by setting standards of performance, scheduling and coordinating work efforts, and asking subordinates to follow rules and regulations.

3. Achievement-oriented leadership - This style of leadership involves setting challenging goals, seeking improvements in performance, emphasizing excellence in performance, and showing confidence that subordinates will achieve high levels of performance.

4. Participative leadership - Leaders with this style solicit suggestions and advice from subordinates and take this information into account when making decisions.

The most prominent leadership style in me is of Participative. This is because the instinct of participation has always been dominant in me, which has further encouraged me to take various decisions. The art of listening to others patiently and finalizing my own opinions yet has been firmly rooted within me. Contrary to this, stands the authoritative style of leadership. This style lies on the harsher side of an individual, and therefore, an individual like me is refrained from such a style. Moreover, if there lies any possibility of me getting prone to this leadership style, I shall make sure that I utilize it to the best of my ability, without making it a bane for anyone.

LEADERSHIP SKILLS

Developing leadership skills is a continuous process which needs to be sharpened throughout a person's career. In order to develop my leadership skills, I will first need to take stock of my existing leadership skills, strengths and weaknesses. While doing this, what would be required of me is the consideration of the difference between leadership and management. Though the leadership skills incorporate the elements of charisma, dependability, flexibility, judgment, integrity, courage, individual consideration etc, I would like to inculcate some of the dominant skills while framing my personality plan. These skills would include the element of intellectual stimulation, charisma and individual consideration. Charisma is the ability to instill faith, respect and trust, which according to me, is the most required. Another pertinent leadership skill that I would like to imbibe is intellectual stimulation. It is the ability to make others in the organization use logic and facts in order to evolve new ways to solve problems. These elements shall make my plan of personality a worth while option.

TEAM BUILDING

Another trait of leadership is team building, which can prove to be a success or a failure of a leader. "Team building is a catch all term for a whole list of techniques aimed at improving the internal functioning of work groups" (Kreitner et al., 2002). Whether conducted by company trainers or outside consultants, team building workshops strive for greater cooperation, better communication, and less dysfunctional conflict. Experiential learning techniques such as interpersonal trust exercises, conflict-handling role play sessions, and interactive games are common.

Rote memorization and lectures/discussions are discouraged by team-building experts who prefer this sort of active versus passive learning. Greater emphasis is placed on how work groups get the job done than on the job itself. Team building generally is carried out in the name of organization development (OD). The extensive use of team building appears to be justified.

The element of team building is something which I personally appreciate in any individual and therefore, talking about me, the imbibing of this very power would be addressed by me further. In order to be strong leaders and in order to develop a personal leadership plan, my emphasis would be on building and leading groups. This way a sense of team would be visible in my skills, in turn making me a perfect leader.

COMMUNICATION

The issue of communication is vital for the successful functioning of any organization. All organizations normally establish formal mechanisms and processes of vertical and lateral lines or channels of communication to provide the means by which information, facts, ideas, proposals, emotions, feelings, opinions and problems can be exchanged.

According to Kelly, the term "Communication may be defined as the field of knowledge which deals with the systematic application of symbols to acquire common information regarding an object or event." Communication and information feed the quality of all human relations in organizations. Good communications underlie good relations and exchange the general quality of working life, motivation and morale. Bad and inadequate communications lead to frustration, and enhance feelings of alienation and lack of identity and unity.

Choosing the right kind of communication is crucial in forming a leadership plan and it depends a lot on the culture of a region. My communication style depends partly on whether the addressees make a high or low contribution in the communication process. My communication style is more participative as I belong to a culture in which there is more of a democratic style of functioning. The style of communication also depends on whether a culture is individualistic or collective. Since there are some traits of collective culture, therefore, my emphasis is more on the group achievement, rather than on the individual achievement.

The leadership skills primarily incorporate the element of communication, which in turn exhibit the vital ingredients that are necessary to be referred while communicating with an individual. I would certainly like to acquire some of the pertinent communication skills that would make me a jack in the field of leadership. These skills would incorporate the tinge of activeness and vigor to impress the one standing on the other side. Another important communication skill that I would like to imbibe is the ability to convince the other. This would make several doors open for me while planning my steps in the development of the leadership plan.

II. STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES

My utmost and peripheral strength is my ability to work hard. Hard-work and perseverance are considered the most vital elements for gaining an upper hand on the other individual. While developing the leadership development plan, the foremost thing that I shall adhere to is gathering my strengths together and making the best possible use of it in my career. My ability to lead shall make me more eligible for succumbing to the development of my leadership development plan. The only way to lead in life is therefore, to accumulate all the hidden strengths and wave off all the imbibed weaknesses, which spoils the entire plan in a go.

Being a bit of short tempered, I tend to lose my patience at times. This can prove to be a very negative trait of mine while developing my leadership plan. Therefore, in order to become a successful leader, I would have to eradicate this flaw or weakness of mine and work on the further inevitability of the same. This shall make the whole process of developing a plan reach the set targets. Patience is said to be the key of success, therefore, this trait would be duly inculcated by me in its set limits.

III. PERSONAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

CONTENT THEORIES OF MOTIVATION

The earliest content theory of scientific management was pioneered by Frederick W. Taylor, Frank Gilbreth and Henry L. Gantt. The scientific management theory of motivation considered money to be the only incentive. Subsequent theories began to consider factors such as working conditions and work security to be incentives. Still later, the possibility of satisfying "higher level" needs or motives also came to be considered as incentives. Examples of such needs are: the needs for esteem and self- actualization, identified by Maslow; responsibility, recognition, achievement and advancement as proposed by Herzberg; and growth and personal development as identified by Alderfer.

The most popular extension and refinement of Maslow's theory of needs is the one proposed by Alderfer (1972). While Maslow's model was not developed specifically for work organizations, Alderfer's theory attempted to establish a conceptualization of human needs that are relevant to organizational settings. In extending Maslow's theory Alderfer argued that the need categories could be grouped into three more general classes: Existence, Relatedness and Growth.

Under the content theories of motivation, Maslow's hierarchy of needs goes best with my actual self. The five step needs are essential for any individual to survive. In order to form a leadership development plan, the scope of motivation must be wide and diverse. To begin with, the physiological and safety needs are the foundation that makes me stand stiff towards the commencement of leadership plan. Furthermore, the love, esteem and self actualization needs stand erect in strengthening my base and applying such a theory in my practical life to grow higher. Also, Alderfer's ERG theory of motivation plays a great role in growing higher and leading high. This will help in developing a synchronized plan of leadership for me.

PROCESS THEORIES OF MOTIVATION

There are three process theories of motivation namely Equity Theory, Vroom's Expectancy Theory and The Porter-Lawler Model.

First articulated by J. Stacey Adams, equity theory is based on the simple premise that people want to be treated fairly. The theory defines equity as the belief that we are being treated fairly in relation to others, and inequity as the belief that we are being treated unfairly in relation to others. Adams describes the equity comparison process in terms of input/outcome ratios. Inputs are an individual's contributions to the organization, such as education, experience, effort and loyalty. Outcomes are what he or she receives in return, such as pay, recognition, social relationships and intrinsic rewards.

Speaking about the Vroom's Expectancy Theory, Vroom (1964) presented the first systematic formulation of expectancy theory developed specifically for work situations. According to Vroom (1964) employees rationally evaluate various work behaviors (e.g. working overtime versus leaving work early) and then choose those that they believe will lead to the work related rewards that they value most (e.g. promotions). Put another way, employees will decide to apply effort to those tasks that they find attractive and that they believe they can perform. The attractiveness of a particular task depends upon the extent to which the employee believes that its accomplishment will lead to valued outcomes.

Porter and Lawler (1968) refined and extended Vroom's (1964) expectancy model. They agreed with Vroom that employee effort is jointly determined by the valence that employees place on certain outcomes and the degree to which people and their efforts will lead to the attainment of these rewards. However, Porter and Lawler emphasize that effort may not necessarily result in performance. Furthermore, they contend that the relationship between valencies and expectancies, on the one hand, and effort or motivation, on the other, is more complicated than Vroom's model suggests.

When it comes on which process theory suits me, I think the Porter- Lawler method suits me the best. It webs my efforts, performance, rewards and satisfaction in a systematic queue that enhances my work motivation and makes me a more worthwhile individual. It is generally said that "a happy worker is a productive worker" and I personally desire to inherit the same within me. The "how" of motivation is explained under the process theory of motivation. The deep down cognitive antecedents are subdued in my personality, making my ladder of career taller and taller. My desire to perform in every field and extract wonderful results boosts me to apply certain elements of process theories of motivation in my very self.

5 FACTOR PERSONALITY QUESTIONNAIRE

The five factors that I espouse to inhibit within me in its complete respect are the elements of extraversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, neuroticism and conscientiousness. The quality of extraversion is deep seated in my personality but as and when I am progressing towards the overall grooming, I am quite inquisitive to form such a leadership development plan that brings out my inner talent and positive qualities. I would certainly go by the factors of agreeableness and conscientiousness too. This would in turn strengthen my plan in totality.

LEADERSHIP THEORIES AND CONCEPTS

There are many different leadership theories that have been developed. The first one is "Leader Traits". The scientific analysis of leadership began by focusing on leaders themselves. The trait theory of leadership, as it is often called, was originally grounded in the assumption that some people are simply "natural" leaders by virtue of the fact that they have been endowed with certain characteristics not possessed by others. Since traits appeared to have little analytical or predictive value, leadership researches shifted their emphasis in the late 1940s and early 1950s from leader traits to leader behaviors as the basic unit of analysis. The investigation of leader traits has been more productive because researchers have constructed more appropriate theories, used better measures of traits, included more relevant traits, and used longitudinal data. Consequently a variety of personal attributes, such as energy level and emotional maturity have now been linked to effective leadership (e.g. Bass, 1990). Further, traits associated with socialized or learned motivational patterns, such as the need for power and the need for achievement, have been empirically connected with effective managers. In addition, different types of skills, that is, interpersonal skills, technical skills, and cognitive skills - appear to be relevant to managerial success.

The apparent failure of trait approaches to the study of leadership, by the end of the 1940s, led researchers to adopt a new focus for their work during the 1950s. Instead of personal attributes, investigators began to concentrate on leader behaviors as explanatory variables. This approach compares the behaviors of effective leaders with those of ineffective ones. Two major research projects investigating leader behaviors were initiated at about the same time. One was a research effort conducted at Ohio State University. The other was a program undertaken at the University of Michigan by Likert and his colleagues.

Leadership theories though are self explanatory and inviting to plan a better development plan of leadership, yet my development plan focuses on the "trait theory of leadership". This gives an insight to the different traits that are present in every individual differently, irrespective of its form and format. The leadership traits that I found to be the most tempting are leadership motivation, which implies having a desire to lead but not being hungry for power at the same time. The drive, honesty and integrity are other related traits in the trait theory of leadership, but out of all these traits, the best suited for me is the drive and cognitive ability. It insinuates me to lead in a better way, no matter how hard a circumstance I am being put in. Drive is a force that incorporates energy, initiative, achievement, ambition and tenacity and I feel all these traits are present in me, somewhere or the other, but are not yet prominent. But I shall nourish these traits within me, without any hustle and bustle.

IV. CONCLUSION

Hence my leadership development plan would be such that it makes me an overall groomed individual, inhibiting the leading traits of empathy, patient listener, leadership motivation, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Also, since I inherit features like extraversion, cognitive antecedents and strong determination, I would aspire to go smooth on the path of success, by droving along the aforementioned inhabitants. Group achievement is another aspect that I would be dealing with in order to form a strong place for myself in the dynamic world of leadership. My plan of leadership development would therefore be inclusive of all the positive traits and skills quoted by me above and would exclude most of the unwanted features.

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