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Whilst considering someone who is an effective leader I researched well-known historical individuals such as Churchill, Gandhi or Napoleon all of which had completely different personalities and attitudes. After careful consideration I then decided to focus my attention on Sir Winston Churchill (Churchill) his unique story of success provides an excellent example of someone who is an effective leader.
During Churchill's years in politics he developed his leadership skills and mental abilities and at the beginning of the Second World War these matched the requirements of the situation better than those of his political contemporaries. During the 1930s Churchill spoke out vigorously on the rise of the Nazi party. This ensured that when conflict between Britain and Germany unsurprisingly occurred, Churchill stood out as a statesman who had fought against the threat of Nazism for many years while other politicians had tried to appease Adolf Hitler. At this point in time Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister of the time, lost the confidence of Parliament and resigned and new national support was given to Churchill the British public felt that he was a politician who understood the situation and someone who could be trusted to lead the country in a difficult time, it was clear at that point that Churchill had the skills and spirit to unite and lead the nation.
Churchill used his personal skills and patriotism to motivate and inspire the British public to endure the hardships they faced with good humour, strength and resourcefulness. Churchill also used his extensive diplomacy and communication skills to forge alliances between nations with differing political and social philosophies, such as the communist Soviet Union and the capitalist United States. Churchill played a major role in the outcome of the Second World War, he had confidence in himself and was able to handle the crisis and he fully trusted his leadership abilities. He knew that would solve the problems, (Kotter, J. P., 1990), and so also will lead the people who trusted him.
There is no doubt that his central leading style (Kotter, J. P, 1990) was nothing but excellent. One of the main properties Churchill had as a leader was the capability of inspiring people, regardless of the circumstances; he challenged people to make a unified effort. "Let us go forward together" (Churchill 1940) this was his favourite slogan. Churchill had a skill of inspiring people to delivery and contribute above their limits, making them deliver more to a situation. Churchill constantly demonstrates enthusiasm, determination and optimism. Churchill used his personality to encourage individuals to work hard and excel in the jobs they were given.
An effective leader accepts that challenge is a corporate asset and they have a legitimate responsibility to their followers (Howell and Shamir, 2005). When challenge is met with appropriate leader responsibilities the appropriate meaning leaders just need to get the job done, but in a way that encourages vision and considers cultural values (Kouzes-Posner, 2007). Winston Churchill was a man of immense courage and creativity, these and his other qualities shaped the war during Britain's "darkest hour" without such a strong leader results could have been very different.
Question 1b - Forms of Leadership
There are two forms of leadership:
Firstly, transformational leadership (Burns, J.M., 1978) that focuses on what a leader delivers rather than on their personal characteristics and their role within the team.
Secondly, transactional leadership (Burns, J.M., 1978) demonstrated by leaders this involves directing followers motivating them motivating to appeal to their own self-interest. Transactional leaders often comes from formal responsibility in a company. The main goal of the follower is to carry out the instructions of the leader.
Churchill encouraged people to find a way to win the world war and created an environment that persuaded thinking and instinct. He also emphasized methodical problem solving, rethinking, and gave careful reasoning rather than giving unsupported opinions (Kouzes-Posner, 2007).
Churchill made a big change for Britain by saving the nation that almost had no chance to win the war against Germany. Transformational leaders are inspiring because they expect the best from team members as well as themselves. This approach to leadership often leads to high productivity and commitment from everyone in their team. The drawback of transformational leadership is that while the leader's enthusiasm is passed onto the group the leader needs to be supported by people as a result often transactional and transformational leadership styles are used. Transactional leaders ensure that routine work is carried out reliably, whereas transformational leaders look after initiatives that develop and add enhancements to a situation.
Transformational leaders appeal to followers' higher sense of morality, ethics and vision. Typically a Transformational leader must encourage the same motivational values they believe and allow followers to share similar beliefs. Churchill motivated followers to action by encouraging people to shared values and by satisfying their aspirations and expectations.
Transactional leadership is based an exchange of something of value in which the leader possesses or controls in substitution for the followers return for their services, i.e. jobs for votes, subsidies for campaign contributions. The transactional style is typically what happens in a contracting scenario.
In contrast, transactional leadership is a more conventional style in which work is exchanged for resources. A transactional leader influences subordinates by rewards in exchange for their efforts, follows workers closely and takes corrective actions when required. Transactional leaders ensure that routine work is done reliably, while transformational leaders look after initiatives that add new value to a situation.
Word count: 910
My Progress as a Leader
Question 2a - Inquiries and Opportunities
My inquiries to date have been focused around my part-time job in Tesco. Since TMA01 I have received feedback from my manager about my performance since joining the team and my efforts are being recognised and are helping me to progress further within the company.
I have been working with Tesco for two months now and since starting I have been working for all of the different departments, this is now giving me the experience I need to achieve my goal as a Team Leader. Lots of my time has dealing directly with customers, often working very long hours and sometimes weekends. I am currently working with five people and I plan to apply for the team leader role within the next few months. My career goals of becoming a team leader will require strong management practices as well as strong leadership practices. My current activities and interests will help to educate myself and become a stronger leader. I will monitor the competition as well as the industry changes and if changes are made in the company I will understand why because I will have the knowledge of what is going on in the market sector. I will integrity inspire people with a shared vision of the future, set clear goals and motivate people towards them, manage delivery, communicate well with a teams (Kouzes-Posner, 2007). If promoted I will continue to make decisions based on what is best for the company and customers. When making these decisions I will make sure they will coincide with our company's vision and values along with the company's strategy. When change is necessary I will ensure that I am proactive about making the change as well as positive about the change to minimise resistance.
Question 2b - Aspects of Leadership
Leadership is ultimately about getting things done. It is the ability to influence, motivate and provide support others so that they can best contribute towards the successful attainment of the goals of their community or organisation. Productive inquiry is about taking action (Ramsey 2010).
Recently I moved to another area within the company focusing on customer service, since moving I soon realised that there were many things that could be done much better. I quickly adapted to the environment, decided on taking corrective actions; helped developed operational goals and daily objectives to measure our success. The first item I noticed was that the morale was very low, people were pointing fingers and the productivity was awful, people were spending lots of time complaining rather than focusing on ways to improve the situation. Straightaway I implemented some changes after observing what was going on and after two weeks colleagues attitudes started to change and morale has become much better.
I feel that by using all the practices of leadership and management described above I will excel in my current position as well as leverage myself into a better position within my company.
Word count: 491