Leadership Born or Made Sneha Research Paper

  • Length: 16 pages
  • Sources: 7
  • Subject: Leadership
  • Type: Research Paper
  • Paper: #42023624

Excerpt from Research Paper :

One reason has to do with the intellectual hurdles that senior executives jump in obtaining their jobs. It takes at least an IQ of about 110 to 120 to get an advanced degree such as an MBA. There is thus a high selection pressure for IQ in order to enter the executive ranks." (p. 250)

The text goes on to argue that the result is that there is not a great deal of variation in the intellectual properties possessed by most leaders. In a sense, this is a further confirmation that certain qualities are inborn, insofar as most leaders can be expected to fall within a specific range of proven intellectual capacity. To go a step further to this point though, Goleman et al. indicate that the difference between the excellent, the average and the inadequate leader will be founded on the high variance of emotional intelligence capabilities. This suggests that leadership excellence is found in the exclusive cross-section of those with both a high IQ and a high Emotional Intelligence. To this point, Goleman et al. go on to indicate that "there is little or no systematic selection pressure when it comes to emotional intelligence, and so there is a much wider range of variation among executives. That lets superiority in these capabilities count far more than IQ when it comes to star leadership performance." (p. 250-251) Here, it is contended that the unique qualities of intellectual capability and emotional intelligence help to define one as an exceptional leader. These are inborn traits that provide grounding to the argument that leadership itself is inborn.

For its own reasons, the text by Koestenbaum (2002) is also oriented to describe leadership as something which is more notably facilitated by internal and inborn features than by skills which can be learned through either education or experience. Accordingly, Koestenbaum proceeds from the argument that leadership is attended by a wide array of challenges and that the truly great leader will have a distinct internal composition that allows him to weather, rise above and even thrive in the face of these challenges. Koestenbaum refers to this composition as 'inner greatness' and argues that the best business leaders will demonstrate this quality. Accordingly, Koestenbaum notes that "it is clear that, worldwide, the need for leadership is unprecedented. Yet few appreciate how difficult it is to be an authentic leader. Just having money or authority does not make people leaders. One feels gratitude toward real leader, for they have the courage to serve others in circumstances that many individuals avoid or simply cannot handle." (Koestenbaum, p. 5)

To Koestenbaum, leadership is often defined in the midst of conflict, controversy and crisis. One who is not naturally gifted with the talents of even-keeled emotional balance and equanimity in the face of tumult will naturally be exposed for his incompetence or, if failing the oversight for this to occur, will always be suspected or accused of incompetence by those over whom he is expected to preside. It is to this end that Koestenbaum makes authenticity a primary determinant of what it means to be a competent or even an excellent leader. Koestenbaum states that leadership must be differentiated from the mere occupation of a position of power. One can certainly be made to occupy a position, serve its nominal functions and presume to register a meaningful influence over his followers. However, without exhibiting the traits described as emotional intelligence in the account by Goleman et al. And described as inner greatness in the text by Koestenbaum, one is likely to be exposed for his lack of authenticity.

Koestenbaum does indicate that those who rise to positions of authority are more often likely to possess these abilities than not however. Particularly, this is because it requires a certain inner-drive to reach a position where leadership has been vested in one. So reports Koestenbaum when he notes that "leading requires ownership of the meaning of personal responsibility and accountability. It means fully internalizing the human truth that, in your world, nothing happens unless you make it happen. You must understand that the consequences of your action and inaction are like your children: you create them, they are extensions of you, you are responsible for them, for you are they, but they live their own lives nevertheless. It is therefore a 'fact' of the structure of human nature that you are responsible for your world." (p. 6) Koestenbaum goes on to note that the world is inherently designed for the self-starter, for the independent individual, for the free-thinker and for those who are relentlessly driven to be released from traditional patterns of success. This denotes that leadership will be founded on at least a certain measure of innate uniqueness, will-power and resistance to conformity. Again, we are presented with an argument that largely favors the view of leadership as being best served by the individual with inborn talents.

This view, however, does not fully capture the consensus on the fulfillment of leadership roles in the modern era. Especially within the framework of a fast-changing and constantly shifting business atmosphere, those talents and abilities which are inborn may not be sufficient on their own to render one a good, effective or fully prepared leader. To this point, the text compiled by Tepe (2008) offers a collection of essays composed by organizational theorists and relating to the challenges inherent to leadership. The text is particularly instructive for its examination of leadership in an increasingly globally interconnected business community. The pressures, challenges and demands for adaptation which are attendant to leadership in a context of outsourcing, offshoring and internationalizing are unlikely to have been inborn. To the contrary, the leadership traits which are demanded in this context are gradually being learned by the collective global business community. The evolution of the current business landscape suggests that the traits of leadership demanded there within are also in a state of evolution. if, as we have reported above, leadership is to a degree inborn, it is also true as the Tepe essay compilation demonstrates, that one must be in a constant state of development as a leader as patterns and industries transform.

Accordingly, Tepe reports on some of the perspectives that have driven the theoretical discussion on leadership traits over the course of its recent history. Here, Tepe demonstrates the perspective that leadership approaches must necessarily reflect some of the external features of the sectors, industries, businesses and even the moments in history in which they are taken. Tepe notes that "according to Burns (1978), leadership is the 'reciprocal process of mobilizing, by persons with certain motives and values, various economic, political and other resources, in a context of competition and conflict, in order to realize goals independently or mutually held by both leaders and followers.'" (Tepe, p. 2)

It is the idea of reciprocity expressed here which is especially important to our understanding of leadership in the changing global landscape. On some level, there is a growing appreciation for the fact that a leader must not simply lead from within but should reflect some of the conditions which contextualize this leadership. For those who have functioned as leaders over a sustained period of time and up to the present day, many significant transformations have occurred. Over just the last twenty years, we have seen an exponential advance in global treaties and alliances aimed at reducing the barriers to free trade and pushing further the agenda of international collaboration within and between corporations and their personnel. This has substantially altered the landscape of leadership for those who must navigate the inherent challenges of a local operation while overseeing collaboration with operational partners in other countries and cultures. Tepe refers to the notion of transactional leadership here, noting that there are inherent cultural and social challenges which must be met in achieving the influence accorded an effective leader. Here, Tepe tells that "Leadership involves disproportionate influence, and all over the world, the leadership role associated with power and status. Thus the way in which power and status are divided in society is relevant to the leadership role. Hofstede defines power distance as 'the extent to which a society accepts the fact that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally.' In cultures with large differences in power between individuals, organizations will have more layers and the chain of command is felt to be more important." (Tepe, p. 18)

This seems to suggest almost indisputably that many of the skills which will be required to thrive in the current business environment must be learned. Certainly, the Tepe source notes, this is also true of adjusting to the technological transformation of business as well. During this same scope of time and certainly in association with the evolution of global free trade initiatives, businesses have transformed around the communication opportunities afforded by the proliferation of the world wide web. Likewise, the popular penetration of mobile communication devices like cell phones and wireless smart…

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