Leadership

Everyone has probably played the game “Follow the Leader” back in elementary school. It is a game where the leader stands in front of the line. He or she can say or do anything, and her followers (standing in a straight line behind her) must repeat exactly the same thing he or she does or says. Whoever was picked to be the leader must have loved the experience because one had the freedom to do whatever they please, while others followed miserably or happily depending on what the leader is saying or doing.

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However, if one was the follower, one would wait anxiously to be the next chosen leader. At the same time, one must meow express his or her self in a fashion that will make them stand out from the rest of the students. Whether he or she is perfectly imitating the leader or behaving really respectfully of others. Nonetheless, who determines who should be the leader? What kind of characteristics must a leader possessed? What makes a great leader (Robbins, 2005)? Is there only one kind leadership? These questions will be answered as you continue to read on.

In addition, you will come across case studies, real life experiences, and my own observation on how leaders in my work setting exhibit leadership behavior and how followers respond to it. Leadership is the capability to influence a person or a group to achieve many goals (Robbins, 2005). To elaborate, leadership is a complex process by which a person influences others to accomplish a mission, task, or objectives and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent by applying their leadership attributes such as values, ethics, knowledge, skills, and belief (Clark, 2000).

Most importantly, not all leaders happen to be managers, and not all managers are leaders (Robbins, 2005). Even though one is positioned as a manager or a supervisor (he has the power to accomplish certain tasks within the organization) it does not necessarily mean he is a leader unless he makes people want to achieve high goals and objectives. He has the authority to tell his subordinates to do the task and they will do it just to complete it but is not interested in achieving higher goals. However, “leaders can emerge from within a group as well as being formally appointed [manager]” (Robbins, 2005). What is great leadership?

According to the trait theories, some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership role. After many studies and analyses, the best thing that could be said to differentiate leadership from onlookers are the following seven traits: ambition and energy, the desire to lead, honesty and integrity, self-confidence, intelligence, high self-monitoring, and job-relevant knowledge. However, researchers have been organizing traits around the Big-Five personality framework. It was evident that most leadership traits could be summed up under the Big-Five. This approach shows strong support for trait as a predictor of leadership.

Under comprehensive review, extroversion is the most important trait of effective leaders. Next would be conscientiousness and openness to experience. However, it is better to use traits o predict leadership (emergence and appearance of leader) than use it to distinguish between effective and ineffective leaders. (Robbins, 2005) In contrast, the behavioral theories of leadership work on finding unique behaviors of effective leaders so that they would be able to provide answers about the nature of leadership. If there were specific behaviors that identified leaders, they would be able to teach leadership by designing programs.

In trait theories, leaders are natural, they are born with it. However, let’s examine the Ohio State studies and the University of Michigan studies. In the Ohio State tidies, studies wanted to identify the dimensions of leader behavior. From a thousand dimensions, they narrowed the list down to two categories that accounted for most of the leadership behavior (told by subordinates). The two dimensions are initiating structure and consideration. Initiating structure is the “extent to which a leader is likely to define and structure his or her role and those of subordinate in search for goal attainment”.

These behaviors include the attempt to organize work, work relationship, and goals. Alternatively, consideration is the extent “to which a person is likely to have job relationships hardhearted by mutual trust, respect for subordinate’ ideas, and regard for their feelings”. These leaders show concern for their fellow underneath him. (Robbins, 2005) Robert House developed the path-goal theory which is a contingency model of leadership that extracts key elements from the Ohio State leadership research (initiating structure, consideration, and expectancy of motivation).

The main idea is that the leader’s duty is to assist his subordinate in achieving their goal and providing both support and direction to make sure that their goals are compatible with the organization/group’s objectives. Hence, effective leaders help illuminate the path to help aide their subordinate get from where they are to the achievement of their work goals and make their journey easier by reducing obstacles and roadblocks for them. In the University of Michigan studies, their objective was to locate behavioral characteristics of leaders that appear to be effective.

They too, came up with two categories, which they named, employee oriented and production oriented. Employee oriented leaders highlight on interpersonal relations, which means they were interested in the need of their subordinate and will accept individual preferences. In contrast, the production oriented leaders highlights the technical or task of aspect of the job satisfaction. They have low group productivity and low worker satisfaction. Therefore, researchers favored the employee-oriented leaders since they were associated with higher group productivity and higher job satisfaction. Robbins, 2005) Robert Blake and Jane Mouton proposed a managerial grid, which is a graphic portrayal of a two-dimensional view of leadership styles (Robbins, 2005). It uses two axes, “concern for people” is plotted along the vertical axis and “concern for reduction” is plotted along the horizontal axis, which represents the Michigan dimensions of employee-oriented and production-oriented. Both axes have a range of one to nine. These two dimensions can be drawn as a graph or grid. Most people would fall in the middle, but people who scores on the far end (1,1;1 ,9;9,1;9,9) are considered leaders.

Authoritarian leaders (9 on task, 1 on people) are task oriented and are hard worker. However, there is no time for collaboration and they expect people to do what they are told without question or debate. They look for whom to blame when something goes wrong, when hey should be finding the SOUrce of the problem. Team leaders (9-9 on people and task) are the most productive team. They foster the team’s environment so that their subordinate can reach their full potential. Country club leaders (1 on task, 9 on people) uses reward power to maintain discipline and to encourage the team to accomplish its goals.

However, they are almost incapable of employing the more disciplinary powers because they are afraid they might ruin the relationship they have with their subordinates. Impoverished leaders (1-1 on task and people) hand over the work and disappear. They are not committed o either task or maintenance; therefore they allow the team to do whatever it wants while they separate themselves from the team. (Clark, 1999) On another note, it is very interesting how Max De Pre compared great leadership to jazz (1992). He states, “Jazz-band leaders must choose the music, find the right musicians, and perform-in public”.

He continues on how the performance is affected by many things. It is affected by things like the environment, the people playing in the band, the need for everybody to perform as individuals and as a group, the absolute dependence of the leader on the embers of the band, the need of the leader for the followers to play well. I agree with him that jazz band leaders “combine the unpredictability of the future with the gifts of individuals”. In addition, in Hay’s study, they examined over seventy five key components of employee satisfaction.

They found that trust in leadership was the single most reliable predictor of employee satisfaction in an organization (Clark, 1997). Trust is a “positive expectation that another will not-through words, actions, or decisions-act opportunistically” (Robbins, 2005). Basically, trust is the willingness o take risk and it needs time to be built so he can get to know and familiarize himself with the other party. When one has developed a trust between someone else, one expects that person not to take advantage of him/her. Under the concept of trust, lie integrity, competence, consistency, loyalty, and openness.

When followers trust a leader, they feel more assure that their rights and interest will not be abused (Robbins, 2005). At this point, I would like to talk about how leadership’s critical role is needed in preventing deadly conflicts since we are in a war right now. For the essence of adhering, the historical tendency of many kinds of leaders was as being strong, aggressive, and even violent. It is ironic how Valentine, George, and Hamburg continue to state, “They [leaders] have massive killing power at their disposal, a power that threaten to increase in the coming century” (1999).

It’s ironic because two year right after, we had the incident with September 11. Therefore, what is needed is a deeper understanding of the critical determinants of the kind of leadership that can contribute to the prevention of violence between groups, nations, and states. International leaders can help prevent deadly conflict by mediating dispute, monopolizing international coalitions and domestic constituencies in support of peaceful resolution. Without innovative political leadership, deadly conflict that might have been prevented will not subside.

This will take high toll in human lives, sustainable development and hard-won international norms of human justice and democratic governance (Valentine, George, and Hamburg, 1999). I have found another interesting survey prepared to compare the effectiveness of women’s and men’s leadership approaches. The meta-analysis of 39 studies is consisted of questionnaire answered by leaders and their followers in different organizations in America and countries abroad. It has shown that women’s approach to leadership may be more effective than men.

The author noticed that the meta-analysis showed a positive correlation between effectiveness and transformation leadership as well as transactional leadership. Transformational leaders “state goals, encourage innovation, win the trust of the people they work with, and inspire and motivate subordinates while allowing them the power to aka decisions on their own” (President and fellows of Harvard College (FCC), 2004). Transactional leaders “operate mainly by providing inconceivability’s responsibilities, rewarding subordinates for meeting goals and correcting them when they fail” (FCC, 2004).

Women are more likely to provide transformational leadership because they are less remote, consult more, pay more attention, and encourage new ideas while men are more likely to provide laissez fair style (not as effective as the other two). However, the interesting part is how men and women would equal as transactional leaders. And the differences still existed when both men and women held the same job description. Therefore, women contain both transactional and transformational leadership that makes them appears to be more effective in leadership compare to the men in this study.

I work as a secretary at my daddy’s shop. My father is a dealer and the owner of an auto mechanic shop. He has two employees. The interesting thing is that he gave them an option on their salary. Option A is a fiat rate of $10. 00 per hour for 40 hours or option B, a 20% of the business income every week with a minimum of 30 hours. For example, if the business makes $2000. 00 that week, they get $400. 00. In option B, they are taking a chance. And surprisingly, the one that was hired first chose option A and another chose option B.

It makes sense because employee #1 came in when the business had just started, so he wanted stability. The second employee came in a year later when everything was up and running. My dad as a leader wanted to select the percentage rate for both of them so that they will work hard because the harder they work, the faster one job will be completed, the sooner they will jump to the next car, and more money or the business and for themselves. However, he wanted to give them a choice so they feel it was their decision.

As a result, both employees are enrolled under the percentage rate and they are satisfied with their paycheck and my dad is satisfied with their work. In this case, my dad is a leader because he made his employees to want to achieve higher goals. For example, to beat the number of cars repaired yesterday so that he will be granted more money. In conclusion, to be a good leader, one must truly understand oneself always seek self-improvement. And one should ALWAYS put oneself in everyone’s shoes o see their point of view. A good leader must be technically proficient; one must know his job and the duties of his employees.

A leader should always look for new ways to guild your organization to new heights. And if it does not work, re- evaluate, take corrective action and move on to the next challenge. However, do not look for someone to blame. A good leader is not an authoritarian leader. A good leader sets good examples (employees should also see and hear what they are expected to do) and work as a team. A good leader always look out for the well being of their people and always keep them informed. Clark, 1999). Leadership is like an ART!