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Leadership style is depended on individual traits with the will to guide people toward a collective goal. An efficient leader is the one with the capacity to motivate others and to make a difference in society and the world. There are various leadership styles, and most capable leaders operate through these styles adopting the ones important and fitting to his or her character improving great leadership (Buchanan & Huczynski, 2016). Great leaders are very influential to those they meet and the rest of the public. Despite the fact that leaders always lead because of the rank they hold, if the right leadership approach is used the outcome can change. If no leadership or the wrong leadership approach is used this can lead to conflict, confusion and a consequence that does not help the people that want assistance. According to Douglas MacArthur, “A true leader dares to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent” (Yukl, 2013). One vital aspect for leaders is Listening to the needs of others.
1. What are some points of convergence in the four major lines of research on effective leadership (traits and skills, behaviors, influence processes, situational variables)?
Mostly behavior, situation variables, power, traits, , influence and skills are the four lines in which leadership research are conducted. The decisions made by leaders are influenced by various situational factors that are external and internal to the organization like standards, policies, procedures, labor laws and budget. Leaders have to comprehend the circumstances or situation and respond accordingly. Leadership behavior is evident in the development of strategic objectives by the top management to manage unplanned and planned change. Effective leaders have to identify tasks, relations and change oriented behavior to be appropriate for a given situation. Leaders have to influence the attitude and behavior of their followers, superiors and the stakeholders. Power and influence exercised by the leaders is situation and the degree to which it is exercised decides their effectiveness. Finally, leaders need technical, interpersonal and cognitive traits and skills to be successful in their roles. Their value, culture, beliefs and attitude go a long way in determining their effectiveness.
2. What are some of the most important findings about effective leadership in organizations?
Some of the major findings about studies in the field of effective leadership covers leadership traits, skills, behavior and influence processes. Findings indicate that leaders face a continuous stream of challenges and demanding situations. The circumstances or situations necessitate leaders to take decisions accordingly. The descriptive research on effective leadership finds that leaders develop a mental agenda for short term and long-term objectives and strategies. Studies also find that influence is the essence of leadership and power determines its effectiveness. Power in position is secured from the amount of formal authority exercised, control over distribution of rewards or punishment and controlling information and its access to other people in the organization. Research findings on the relevance of traits and skills for leaders that is largely situational given the uncertainty and turbulence that exists in the current business environment. There are certain traits and skills for effective change oriented leadership, task oriented and for relations oriented leadership.
3. Which leadership theories do you think apply to yourself? If you were studying your own leadership style, which line of research would you pursue?
The two leadership approaches that I find to be most important in the field of social work are the situational life cycle and the authentic approaches. In the situational leadership approach, the leader will not use just one style, but will adapt their leadership style to conform with the maturity of the subordinates and the tasks that need to be accomplished. Situational leaders will be able to adjust the amount of emphasis on the tasks or the relationships with the subordinates in order to complete the mission. For me this means that the situational leader is very flexible depending on what the mission calls for.
If I were studying my own leadership style, the line of research I would pursue is situational variables. This is also a very good leadership style to use in any setting because the leader can show their willingness to be flexible and make changes when necessary.
4. What improvements could be made in the way leadership is studied? If you were asked to identify the 10 most essential functions of leadership, what would be on your list (which may differ from the list suggested by the author)?
The ten most important functions performed by a leader are listed as below
Influence people and subordinates to get the tasks done efficiently
To align the objectives, strategies and priorities of the organization
To increase the morale of the team and generate more optimism and better commitment to work
To build mutual trust and cooperation among people in the organization
By promoting a sense of collective identity in organization, where boundaries are undefined and unclear
Help in providing and environment of collective learning
Empowering followers to achieve the desired results for the organization
Get necessary support and resources to get the projects working and thereby to effectively carry out organizations mission
Help in protecting individual rights, oppose unethical acts and instill social responsibility among people
Organize people and ensure coordination to complete complex tasks
Buchanan, D & Huczynski, A. (2016) Organizational Behavior. Pearson Education Limited.
Yukl, G. (2013) Leadership in Organizations. Pearson.
Heneman, H., Judge, T. & Mueller, J. (2014) Staffing Organizations. McGraw-Hill Education.
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