Leadership Is An Ability To Influence Education Essay

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Leadership is an ability to influence a group of people toward the achievement of goals. In other words leader means powerful personality or individual who has a clear ideas, concepts and convincing power to attract the followers. Cammock (2003, p.17) suggested that leadership is a dance , in which leaders and followers jointly respond to the rhythm and call of a particular social context, within which leaders draw from deep wells of collective experience and energy, to engage followers around transforming visions of change and lead them in the collective creation of compelling futures.

Leadership theories are usually reviewed based on the research approach behind the models. The six categories of review most often used are: trait, behavoiur, situational or contingency, power and influence, charismatic and transformational approaches. Here I would like to discuss few theories of leadership.

Trait Theory

This theory assumes that leaders possess certain characteristics or traits, which set them apart from others. The trait approach emphasizes the personal traits of leaders, with the underlying assumption that some people have inborn uniqueness that create better leaders than others. According to this theory leaders are born, not made. There are seven traits associated with leadership:

Honesty and Integrity: According to this theory leaders should have these skills and qualities like trustworthy, reliable and open.

Drive: Leaders should have high level of efforts, high level of ambitious, energy and initiatives.

Extraversion: Leaders are very energetic and lively people. They are social, assertive and are rarely silent or withdrawn.

Job Relevant Knowledge: Leaders should have high degree knowledge of the field. It will help to make well informed decisions and to understand the implications of these decisions.

Intelligence: Leaders must be enough intelligent to collect, synthesize and interpret large amounts of information on vision to create, solve problems and make decisions.

Self Confidence: self confidence in leaders is necessary trait.

The trait hypothesis gives productive information regarding leadership and control in management. It can be useful for people at all stage in all types of organizations. Managers can make use of the information from the theory to assess their situation in the organization and to evaluate how their position can be made stronger in the organization. They can get detail understanding of their individuality and the way they will have an effect on others in the organization. By using this theory, the manager can know strengths and weaknesses and thus understanding of how they can develop their leadership qualities.

Situational leadership theory

The Situational Leadership theory was developed by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard (1977).According to this theory effective leaders adjust their behaviours to the readiness of followers, the extent to which followers demonstrate ability and willingness to accomplish a specific task .Ability is determined by the extent to which the followers possesses the skills, experience and knowledge needed to perform the task without the leader's intervention. Willingness refers to the follower's commitment, confidence and self motivation to perform the task. The model assumes that there is no one best style of leadership.

This leadership model identifies four styles of leader behaviour: telling, selling, participating and delegating. Alternatively these styles have been referred to as directive, managing, coaching and delegating (Clawson, 2006).This model suggest that leader is very much a role and that acquiring that behaviours necessary to influence others is the best path to success .Covey (1989) suggests that use of behavioral technique must be supported with the deeper level of the development of character for sustainable genuine success as a leader. This theory also includes the leadership style which I have acquired through my survey i.e. delegative leadership style in which my involvement as a leader will be less and subordinates will decide on issues.

The situational leadership model recommends detailed implication on how leaders should familiarize to different situations. First, they should categorize the task according to their importance and should be given priority .Second; they must evaluate staff skills and motivation. Thirdly, they must decide on the style of leadership - directing, coaching, supporting or observing - the best of the situation. Leaders can be a combination of these styles using different group members. Sometimes this theory also fails e.g. Hitler ruled on different places, even though his leadership style was same. Situation and environment did not affect his leadership style. In my case according to the survey result I am considered as delegative which is true, I can easily modify myself according to the situation.

Transformational Theory

Transformational leadership is considered as a development in which leaders and followers motivate each other to elevate ethical behavior. It can be used to influence both superiors and subordinates. Clawson (2006) said that transformational leadership lies in the ability of the leader to trust, loyalty and admiration in followers than their individual interests subordinate to the interests of the group to inspire Burns (1982) described a different concept of moral leadership as transforming leadership. The difference between transforming and transformational leadership is that the latter does not necessarily have to appeal to positive moral values.

Transformational leaders are those who with their own information and thoughts manipulate the behaviour of people, creating situations for change so called "soft" variables. Those variables which change is more complex, so-called "hard" than the change of variable, because it "internally", an organization's qualitative or mental changes

Hence, the managing of human resources in organizational transformation is the vital content of the process of managing the transformation. Capable and good management also take into consideration the transactional abilities and transformational abilities .Therefore, qualities of transformational leadership present the spirit of transformational management and the explanation to successful management of transformational organizational alterations.

After analyzing all these theories, we can conclude that there are certain similarities and dissimilarities in-between these theories which are as follows:

Trait Theory

Situational Theory

Transformational Theory

Leaders are born with certain qualities and traits.

Leadership qualities are acquired according to situation.

Ability to influence the followers is leadership.

It focus on traits of leader

It focus on style of leadership

It focus on selflessness, intellectual stimulation, and individual consideration

One way communication

Two way communication

Two way communication

Failed to recognize individuals are actively involved in subjectively constructing their own personalities

It focus on change but on the other hand fail to distinguish between leadership and management

Hard to implement where individual has ability to do but lack communication skills.

Rigid and complex

Easy to understand and implement

Time consuming.

Differences between transactional approaches and transformational approaches to change management:

Transactional: This approach has standard norms and structure. This means an approach going by legal contract or agreement, job-description, and hence no concern with employees or managers beyond contract. It is considered a bureaucratic or mechanistic way of organizational life, essentially a fragmented approach followed by most of the developed world states, and societies are known as litigious societies.

Transformational Organizational life goes beyond the legal and bureaucratic values. Effective organizations are those where leadership is inspiring, role model, learning & grooming of followers. People feel involved because of humane care of their leaders and therefore more productive. Unlike transactional leadership style that is considered organic, holistic and comprehensive approach to leadership and management. Asian style of leadership and learning is considered transformational while that of the westerns more transactional. E.g. role of teacher to be legally bound by his contract and a role that has just been limited to classroom or he is considered a global role model, inspiring leadership and ethical values

Leadership Role Models

Leaders play most important role to attain authentic happiness of its people. Good and proficient leader leads its people and country to a peace and prosperity. Here I would like to discuss about my role model named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.

Leadership Profile

Mahatma Gandhi is the great leader of the common people in India, is the important originator and leader of the Indian freedom struggle. Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869. He was not good in study like under average student and not very confident in his school days. In 1888, he shifted to England to learn law. After finishing his study, he came back to India in 1891. Not capable to put into practice his law study in India, he moved to South Africa in 1893. His joy knew no bounds when he helped to resolve and settle a difficult, out of court legal dispute that involved his firm in South Africa. Fischer (1982) shared about his experience and joy, Gandhi wrote

"My joy was boundless. I had learnt the true practice of law. I had learned to find out the better side of human nature and to enter men's hearts".

Leadership Approach

Gandhi's leadership approach is known as 'follower-centric' and one that focus on existing circumstances before implementing the strategy. As his leadership style was reliant on the situations. When Gandhi was in South Africa, he started his remonstration in English set of clothes. When he returned to India, he favored just cotton and launched peaceful protests on a large scale; it shows that Gandhi ji's leadership style was situational leadership style.

He understood that British rule could not defeated by force. So he decided to change the strategy in a fundamentally different way. He gave a power to common people, motivated women and men in the nation to struggle for common goal. That was the motivation. This was little a transformational approach of leadership. In business; giving power and authority is all about making sure that everybody is focused toward the business goals. Gandhi has a way of doing that: making sure that everyone in the cause is connected to the goal.

Leadership Qualities

Voluntary Subordination

This quality is a revolutionary act of the will itself voluntarily leaves to others by a servant and by acts of service. Gandhi was a symbol of service to humanity. While most leaders identify with symbols of power to elevate themselves above the people they lead, Gandhi symbolized the people he was trying to serve. He tried like them to his loin cloth and his commitment to voluntary poverty. He symbolized service rather than power. Gandhi had two excellent qualities of voluntary subordination because a servant, with acts of service in his life

Being a servant.

This feature makes servant leaders themselves as servants first, not leaders first. Gandhi is one of the most important servants of mankind "Gandhi's following instruction show how he regarded as serving people as pleasure.

"Service of the poor has been my heart's desire, and it's always thrown me under the arms and I could identify myself with them".

Service can have no meaning unless one takes pleasure in. If this is done for show or fear of public opinion, it hinders the man and crushes his spirit. Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant nor the served. But all other pleasures and possessions pale into nothingness before service which is displayed in a spirit of joy


Humility is the possibility of a right estimate of himself (Sendjaya, 2005) to make. Gandhi did not seek after influential posts. He was the leader of the Indian National Congress on its formation, but as young leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru stood up, he gave way to them to become leaders of the Indian National Congress. After independence, he has not any post in the government, but remained a humble servant who sacrificed his life for the cause of India. Qadir (1939) writes: "One of the strengths of the character of Gandhi is his highest indifference to what people say about an action he has decided for himself, for good reason, that his conscience to comply".


Sendjaya (2005) defines accountability as the leaders' willingness to afford rights to a few trusted people to ask them tough questions on a regular basis, the question of the decisions and actions of the leaders, and make them accountable. An incident that happened in 1901, when Gandhi decided to return to India from South Africa after leading the South African Indians in their struggle for equality, demonstrates its accountability. On the eve of his departure he was presented with gold and silver and diamond ornaments of the Indian community as a sign of gratitude for his public service in South Africa (Fischer, 1982, p. 83).

Barack Obama

My whole life I have always looked to Mahatma Gandhi as an inspiration, because the nature of the alteration embodies the change that can be made when ordinary people come together to do extraordinary things. These are the lines spoken by Obama by learning Gandhi's lessons. Barack Obama is another role model which I would love to discuss.

Leadership Profile

On 4 November 2008, 47-year-old Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States, two years after a closely fought presidential campaign. He took an oath as president on 20 January 2009.The Nobel Committee declared President Barack Obama was for Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. Obama was chosen to the U.S. Senate on November 2, 2004.He is the writer of books which are considered most selling books. Obama was considered by Time magazine as one of the 100 most important people in the world.

Leadership Approach

Leadership style Obama following was Transformational style. Before the election, President Barack Obama drew the attention of the U.S. and foreigners alike with a seemingly charismatic character. An appealing leader has an supernatural capability to describe others to his side and move them to a cause greater than themselves to attain. A charismatic transformational approach is based on a permanent change in the people who embrace the leader's vision. During his first term, President Obama provoked at least some of his vision by showing the potential to make a huge difference in both the domestic and foreign affairs.

Slogans like "Yes, we can!" And "Change we can believe in!" built intention of a radical change, the healing of the concerns of the Americans and the promise of a better life. But in his time in office he showed that a number of its properties to improve a transformational leader. He made a number of errors, for example in the health insurance reform, because he was not as personal as everyone expects. President Obama is not a transformational leader as John F. Kennedy or Martin Luther King, but in different situations, he proved that he has a lot of the characteristics of this type of leader.

Leadership Qualities


Barak Obama gave ethical message of creating a life to make noble the human spirit. He is courageous with his main beliefs and values. In the beginning his attitude against the war in Iraq was not admired, but he did not lay down arms against political strain and disagreement. In retrospect, his decision was absolutely correct and further gives voters a clear insight to his true moral character.


Obama's decision to refuse money from federal lobbyists unlike Hillary Clinton receives the most money from the Washington special interest groups. The corrupting influence of Washington lobbyists in conflict with the democratic principles on which our country Founding Fathers strove. Fascinatingly, when Obama gave ​​his decision which was supported inflexible ethics; many specialists thought he could not win the election. History has confirmed them incorrect, because he has so far resulted in more money from more than 470,000 individual donors in comparison to Clinton.


Obama's personal education and family background showing his true character. Obama's father was an immigrant in America. He came as a foreign student in America from Kenya and a English mother from Kansas, Obama is new American citizen to go beyond the racial boundaries. Obama has deep understanding and personal fellow feeling for the Asian Culture. Obama is a comprehensive citizen, who spend his 4 years as a child in Indonesia, and afterward, in Hawaii.

Mobilizing Skills

Personal character and leadership demonstrated by the ability to change and influence others. In this respect, Obama's campaign has been building broad grassroots support for change. He has galvanized and united people across ethnic, racial, gender, age, geographical and political divide and have inspired them with his call to action. His capabilities to assemble and motivate new voters bring together and re-enable ordinary citizens. America is a demonstration to his extraordinary management characters and transformation potentials.

Benchmarking Criteria

Every business and society needs leaders at all stages. Leaders can be found and nurtured if they have following look for the following character qualities.


Good leaders create a dream, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion. 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.


Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions, and an absence of bad temper and harsh outbreak are all signs of integrity. A leader who is centered in integrity will be more approachable by followers.


Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows. Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a foundation of sand. It may have a nice coat of paint, but it is ultimately shaky at best.

Good listening Skills

A leader must have good listening skills for good communication between leader and follower. It will help to understand things better.


A leader inspires dedication by example, doing whatever it takes to complete the next step toward the vision. By setting an excellent example, leaders can show followers that there are no nine-to-five jobs on the team, only opportunities to achieve something great.


Good leaders are able to suspend judgment while listening to others' ideas, as well as accept new ways of doing things. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and followers, and it also keeps the team well supplied with new ideas that can further its vision.


Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and thus lead followers in new directions.


A leader must check all the facts and hear everyone out before passing judgment. He or she must avoid leaping to conclusions based on incomplete evidence. When people feel they that are being treated fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.


A leader must be self-assured to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader.

Many leaders have difficulty striking the right amount of assertiveness, according to a study in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, published by the APA (American Psychological Association). It seems that being under assertive or overassertive may be the most common weakness among aspiring leaders.

Sense of humor

Effective leaders know how to use humor to energize followers. Humor is a form of power that provides some control over the work environment. And simply put, humor fosters good camaraderie.

Intrinsic traits such as intelligence, good looks, height and so on are not necessary to become a leader. Anyone can cultivate the proper leadership traits.

Section 2: Self Assessment

2.1 Benchmarking

Being an effective leader starts with the self. If we want to build leadership in organization, we need to model what we want others to know and do. This short rating explores the strengths and weaknesses of mine seen as a leader. The assessment is divided into the five sections as follows:

Excellent = 5

Very Good = 4

Good = 3

Average = 2

Below Average = 1

Leadership Criteria








Good listening Skills










Sense of Humor


Rationale for Current rating:

Vision: I am clear in my vision as a leader. I want to carry on my future in teaching field. To do this I did masters in education from New Zealand. Because of some problems I have to quit my teaching job, but I didn't lose my hope. I am still doing my best to keep my future in teaching.

Integrity: I ranked myself very good in this but not excellent. I love to work in team and accepting my team ideas. I am very honest to do work. Only thing I am lacking in this is my temper. Sometimes when things get out of my control, I feel like everything irritating me.

Confidence: If I will look on my confidence. I am standing in the middle. I need some improvements. My confidence level was very low in India. I am able to speak in front of class, but not that much capable that I can speak in front of whole college. I don't hesitate to speak what I am feeling about others.

Good Listening Skills: My listening skills are better than my speaking skills. As a teacher in child care centre, my main motive is to listen and observe the kids. I got 6.5 bands in IELTS.I can say that I have good listening skills. As a leader working in group, I am always last to speak at after listening my whole team.

Openness: I define openness as "the freedom to discuss any personal issue (both my own and in response to others' issues) without fear of the issue being mishandled in any way, and with a confidence that sharing this issue with the group is in an individual's best interest.

Creativity: I am creative but not at the top. I always love to do something different. My fear that things might go wrong becomes hindrance in my work. Working in group, I always care about others and always love to do things according to others. According to me I need improvement in this field.



Sense of Humor

2.2 Reflection

By analyzing the above leadership theories and by using the benchmarking criteria, my leadership style preferences will be democratic and delegative both. In today's knowledge based organizations, leadership must be distinguished and shared to a far greater extent than it was in the past. As a democratic and delegative leader I always value what others can do, and ready to highlight those capabilities. Unlike many aristocratic and bureaucratic leaders, I am deeply respecting the values and dignity of individuals.

As democratic leader skills, I always respect the individual regardless of race, gender or religion for what they can do and how they can do it. We can look at the positive impact of great leader Mahatma Gandhi and Obama how they changed the thinking of people. As a leader I would love to share my ideas with individuals and also will learn from them. I have potential to adapt according to the needs and future purpose of any organisation. We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our circumstances. I have learned that in this exquisitely connected world, it's never a question of critical mass. It's always about critical connections (Wheatley, 1999).

Leadership is greatly affected by cultural aspect. From my personal experience back from India and now here in New Zealand, I have developed a lot in myself. One important aspect of trait theory Self confidence, that's what I was lacking at that time. I was not able to talk in front of people. I was not shy but my background, culture always stopped me doing so. In our society girls education is almost ignored but with the help of my parents. I got good education. Everybody in the society was saying that my parents are wasting money. But now those people are realizing that I have gained those skills which their kids don't have.

Section 3: Personal Development Plan

Personal development planning is the process of creating an action plan based on awareness, values, reflection, goal-setting and planning for personal development within the context of a career, education, relationship or for self-improvement.

My PDP (personal development plan) includes a statement of my aspirations, strengths or competencies, education and training, and stages or steps to indicate how the plan is to be followed. It includes some short term and some long term opportunities, strategies.

Short- Term Opportunities

To get Diploma in Management

At my present situation I am studying full time. My first aim is to complete this study to gain skills like leadership qualities, basic of computer, organisation and management skills, and communication skills. All these skills are essential in all the fields of job.By attaining all these skills through my diploma I can perform much better at job. It is very similar to the skills which I want in myself to grow as a leader or manager at my work place. There is ever‐increasing awareness that best use of an organization's limited resources is achieved through effective project management. The Diploma of Management provides a sound theoretical knowledge base and managerial competencies to plan, carry out and evaluate your own work and/or the work of a team.


I am a good worker at my work place. To stay for longer time at same work place, I need a theoretical study as well to fulfill immigration requirements to extend my visa. Another reason was my background study. I was in teaching field. Study I did in New Zealand was totally different from my present job. I need to complete this course to gain the skills for a career in management. Also to develop a good understanding of the business environment.


After our classroom session, we are required to apply their learning to an actual project and produce all necessary documentation like assignments, plan and surveys. I have done lots of role play, group discussion. I am watching DVD's as well related to my study and skills. This week we are having a final examination for our courses in which there will be a case study. I will prepare my answers for case study. To develop these skills in future, I will start working as full time so that I can apply my knowledge practically.


The duration to achieve this diploma is 1 year. I am very near to complete it. For me duration now is just around 2 weeks. Duration to learn skills is unlimited according to me. We are learning at each and every stage.


If I will pass the assignment and final exam by attaining 50% in total. Then I will achieve the objective.