Leadership and Initial Self-assessment

Before I started writing this paper I put a lot of thought into the phrase “leadership development” and what it really meant to me. After all, I took this college level leadership class for professional development. I felt that the premise of this course was that leaders could be developed. If so, what are the factors that influence the development of leaders? Is there a single influence which dominate this development process? Do I have the ability to create my own leadership style and grow beyond the confines of conditional and environmental factors? Acknowledge the importance of a person’s upbringing, education, and environment in the creation of the person’s leadership style but these factors are largely external. I know for me, before I joined the Army, it was a common belief that leaders were born, not made. But as I grew in the Army realized that effectiveness as a leader depends less on some innate trait you are born with, and much more on specific principles that anyone can follow. During the course of this class I also realized that learning about leadership means you have to recognize ineffective as well as effective leadership.

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It means understanding the dynamic relationship between the leader and the follower. According to Bernard Bass in Standstill’s Handbook of Leadership, there are three basic ways to explain how people become leaders. The first two explain the leadership development for a small number of people and the third is the most widely accepted theory and the premise in which the handbook is based. First way; some personality traits may lead people naturally into leadership roles; this is the trait theory.

Second way; a crisis or important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion, which brings out extraordinary leadership qualities in an ordinary person; this is the great event theory. Third way; people can choose to become leaders. They can learn leadership skill; this is the transformational leadership theory. (Bass, 1989) I concur with this explanation based on my observation of soldiers assigned to me as they grow into junior leaders. Transformational leadership was a term coined by political scientist James McGregor Burns in 1978 in his book “Leadership. He wrote that: “Transforming leadership occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and leadership ultimately becomes moral in that it raises the bevel of human conduct and ethical aspirations of both the leader and led and, thus, has a transforming effect on both. ” (Burns, 1978) I submit that my ultimate goal is to adapt a transformational leadership style but I recognize that it is a development process.

In my initial personal assessment on leadership potential, assessed myself with leadership potential but lacked in the managerial department. I also stated that I didn’t see the need to change this shortfall because good leaders will have good managers working for them and they would ensure stability and efficiency. What I have discovered, after completing this course is that still believe the initial self-assessment to be true. However, I find myself to be more of a manager than a leader in my current leadership position, and that good leaders were first good managers.

Managers and leaders are not inherently different types of people, and many managers already possess the abilities and qualities needed to be effective leaders. The bottom line is that leadership cannot replace management; it should be in addition to management. Both leaders and managers are concerned with providing direction for the organization. Managers focus on establishing detailed plans and schedules for achieving specific results, then allocating resources to accomplish the plan.

Leadership calls for creating a compelling vision of the future and developing farsighted strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision. (Daft, 2005) In my initial self-assessment of leadership orientation, I stated that I was not a very considerate person and needed to modify my behavior towards people. I needed to be more structured in my life so that I could better initiate structural behavior with others. This course has shown me that according to the leadership momentum, use the boss-centered leadership style or autocratic, where a leader would centralize authority and derive power from the position.

What I should strive to practice is a subordinate-centered leadership style or democratic, where a leader delegates authority to others, encourage participation, relies on subordinates’ knowledge for the completion of tasks and depend on subordinate respect for influence. (Daft, 2005) According to Mr.. Joe Lullaby, a top aide to President George W. Bush during the presidential campaign, he stated that the President instills incredible staff loyalty because he gives everyone the opportunity to say their piece; and when you have a buy-in to the process regardless of the subject matter, you have people who are willing to do anything for you. Http://www. PBS. Org/high/pages/frontline/shows/choices/bush/style. HTML In my initial self-assessment of leadership Style, I stated that I was more focused on the task or mission than I was on the people I lead. I stated that it will be a difficult transformation for me to find a happy medium but realized that I needed to do so in order for me to become a better leader. I discovered during this course that it is important to recognize that a general leadership style cannot e used with all group members.

According to the individual leadership style, a leader must look at the specific relationship between a leader and each individual member of that group. Individual leadership is based on the notion that a leader develops a unique relationship with each subordinate, which determines how the leader behaves towards the member and how the member responds to the leader. The dyadic theory examined why leaders had more influence over and greater impact on some members than others. This theory focuses on the concept of exchange, or what each party gives and receives. Daft, 005) I recognized that a leader with a single leadership style is inefficient and ineffective. A leader is far more effective if he is a flexible leader who has the capability to use different tactics with each member under different conditions. To deal with the issue of matching style to the situation, Broom and Yes developed an approach that deals with leader-subordinate interaction. Their model explicitly recognized that an effective style depended on situational variables including the leader’s expertise, the task structure, and the employees’ willingness to accept a solution.

They found that the key elements in sharing of deader power are the minimization of technical effectiveness and subordinate motivation or acceptance. If technical effectiveness is not crucial and motivation and acceptance are not important, the decisions are made by the leader alone. On the other hand, if the technical difficulties are important but motivation is low, the leader attempts to obtain more information. When technical effectiveness is unimportant but motivation and acceptance are high, delegation becomes a useful approach.

Finally, if the problem is high on the technical level and there is a need for acceptance, then the decision is shared with the group. Daft. 2005) I also recognized that my job as a leader is to help my subordinates see and understand the larger context in which they are operating. In my initial self-assessment of Research’s Instrumental and End Value, I found myself to be very goal oriented and self centered. I felt that I needed to be socially recognized for my capability and loyalty. I typically will do whatever it takes to achieve my goals and to get the job done, even compromise ethics.

I wrote that I realize I had to work on my ability to make the right decision when it comes to ethical dilemmas. What I realized is that I should not compromise my aloes. Values are fundamental beliefs that an individual considers to be important, that are relatively stable over time, and that have an impact on attitudes and behaviors. Values help us recognize whether people or ideas are good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, ethical or unethical, and so forth. (Daft. 2005) I also realized that as a leader, you have a duty to accomplish the mission you are assigned but you have a greater mission and that is to take care of those who follow you.

There will be situations where sometimes the mission must come first but a leader should never forget the people who help achieve success n that mission. In my initial self-assessment of my approach to motivating others, I stated that my ability to motivate others by managing expectations was very average. I attributed this to the fact that I was not very considerate of people and their needs. My ability to modify people’s behavior in a positive direction was very good. I attributed this to the fact that I was more task oriented than people oriented.

I realize that in order for me to be an affective leader I must learn to recognize peoples needs and learn to use that to motivate people towards the accomplishment of the mission. According to the needs-based theories of motivation, people have basic needs such as those for food, achievement, or monetary reward. These needs are the source of an internal drive that motivates behavior to fulfill the needs. Once leaders recognize these needs they can design the reward system to reinforce employees for directing energies and priorities toward attainment of shared goals. (Daft. 005) According to Mason’s hierarchy of needs theory, humans are motivated by multiple needs and those needs exist in a hierarchical order. Physiological needs being the most basic, consisting of DOD, water and oxygen; followed by safety needs, belonging needs, esteem needs and finally self-actualization needs. According Moscow, the lowest needs take priority and must be satisfied before the higher needs do. (Daft. 2005) I have come to the realization that there are extensive research on the topic of leadership available to anyone who wants to continue their leadership development.

This lends to my belief that good leaders are made not born and becoming a leader is a constant journey of learning and developing. According to William A. Cohen, who conducted a research of 200 effective leaders, he dated that his research showed conclusively that effectiveness as a leader depends less on some innate trait you are born with, and much more on specific principles that anyone can learn and follow. (Cohen. 1998) All of the leadership theories we’ve studied contain elements of relational leadership within them; bottom line is that building relationships with people is the most important part of leadership.

The relationship the leader has with their subordinates will determine how effective the leader will be. I stated in my first essay that find myself to practice transactional leadership and I still stand by that tenement with the exception that I also believe that, to some degree, I practice transformational leadership too. I believe that most leaders have dealt with transactional leadership in order to persuade followers to participate in efforts to benefit the group and with transformational leadership in order to persuade followers to bring about change.

In order for a group to effectively work together to accomplish shared goals, leaders and followers must form working relationships in which everyone benefits from the process and the end results. There is an unlimited supply of books on leadership and it is amazing how any shelves are burdened with books about how to become a successful chief executive of a major corporation. The reality is that most of us will spend most of our lives not being chief executives of a major company but most of our leadership time will be invested in eyeball to eyeball, unity-gritty, sweat producing confrontations in less than glamorous surroundings.

Leadership is often mundane and thankless, but a good leader should never expect gratitude or work with the expectation of personal reward or recognition. According to Stephen R. Covey, he states that principle centered leadership is the true dervish and he stated that the characteristics of this leadership style is that they are continually learning, they are service oriented, they radiate positive energy, they believe in other people, they lead balanced lives and keep control, they see life as an adventure and problems as challenges, they are synergistic and they exercise for self-renewal. Covey. 1991) This course has taught me that leadership is not a substitute for management. An organization can exist with woefully deficient leadership, but cannot exist without applied management skills. Leaders are not necessarily liked but they are respected. Leaders praise publicly and reprimand privately. Leaders are builders of people they promote pride among followers. Leaders are decision makers and risk takers. They are visionaries and think out of the box. They accept responsibility for their actions. Leaders delegate authority and lead by example. Leaders are organizers and set goals.

The most important lesson that I have learned is that leaders make mistakes, that they are not perfect because they are human. I plan to use everything that have learned in this class to continue my development in becoming a more effective leader. Rely feel that I have a lot of new tools in my leader’s tool box because of the things that I learned in this class. The True Leadership Treasure I went on a search to be a leader, Searching high and low above the meter, I spoke with authority that I remember, all would follow, all but one member, “Why should I trust you?

The one did ask,” “What have you done to achieve the task? I thought long and hard of what I did wrong, than I rolled up my sleeves and worked right along, shoulder to shoulder we got things done, we worked side by side, all were one, a mate of mine stumbled, I stooped to assist, my hand he did Arab, a smile did persist, one was lost, didn’t know what to do, I showed him how, the ropes, something new, I praised them one and all for their work, all were unique, but I encouraged each quirk, when the task was done, one did shout “you’re a great leader! They all turned about, “without you there to support our plight, lost would we be with no end in sight,” I learned that day that I lead best, when I get off my butt and help the rest, to lead by example is the true treasure, the secret of leadership, in one simple measure.