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Leadership is a process that helps in directing and mobilizing people. It has for the past 100 years been a subject of many studies. These studies have come up with theories of the nature and exercise of leadership. Some of these theories include trait theories of leadership, theories of emergent leadership, leadership style theories, psychodynamic theories, and the path goal theories among others. The second section of this paper focuses on evaluation of behavior of selected leaders. Leaders of different organizations exhibit specific behaviors that are in line with models and theories of leadership. Their behaviors can guide the behavior of individual followers, groups, or even teams. The analysis section touches on how leaders perceive their roles and what makes them develop as leaders. The summary wraps up all that the paper is about and what I have learnt.
Management and leadership are interchangeably used in our everyday lives. Leadership is normally used to refer to a process that helps in directing and mobilizing people (Kotter, 1990). For the past 100 years, much attention has been paid to leadership. Some of the current theories of the nature and exercise of leadership are authentic leadership, new-genre leadership, complexity leadership, shared/collective/distributed leadership, servant leadership, and transformational leadership. Bill (2005) described authentic leader as one with a genuine desire to serve others through their leadership. Such caliber of leaders is more interested in empowering their juniors to make a difference. He reiterated that authentic leaders are never born that way and those born with natural leadership gifts have to be fully developed to become outstanding leaders.
Bass (2008) referred to a transactional leader as one that dangles the carrot and stick at the same time. Employees are rewarded with carrot for meeting agreements and standards or beaten with stick for failing to meet the standards. Through transformational leadership, followers are encouraged to perform beyond expectations while transcending self-interest. Northouse (2010) described the style approach as emphasizing the behavior of a leader as opposed to traits approach that exclusively emphasize on what leaders do and how they act. According to style approach, leadership is composed of task and relationship behaviors. Gill (2011) highlighted a number of leadership theories.
Notable among them were trait theories of leadership, theories of emergent leadership, leadership style theories, Bradford model of leadership, psychodynamic theory, the path goal theory, and contingency and situational leadership theories. Trait theories according to Gill are also referred to as Great Man theories. They touch on common qualities and characteristics of effective leaders. Theories of emergent leadership adduce that leaders may emerge who have characteristics and skills that meet the needs of their group, organization, or society. Psychodynamic theory avers that effectiveness of leaders as a function of psychodynamic exchange between leaders and group members.
Avolio, Walumbwa & Weber (2009) posited that cognitive leadership entails broad range of approaches to leadership. It does emphasize how leaders and followers think and process information. They averred that transactional leadership is founded on exchange of rewards contingent on performance.
Evaluation of behaviors of selected leaders
Leaders in an organization where I worked embodied human handling skills like attention through vision, meaning through communication, trust through positioning, and the deployment of self through positive self regard and the Wallenda factor. Since our leaders were result oriented, their visions and intentions were compelling. This pulled many people to them. They simply got attention because of their intensity and commitment rather than coercing those whom they led. At formative stages in my work station, I noticed that some of my line managers were very unique in the way they carried out their duties and responsibilities. They never wasted any time and were very clear about what they wanted done from his juniors. They were so precise and emphatic about what they wanted done at any given time. That they were fixated and had undeviating attention to outcome was not in doubt. They were so obsessed with whatever they wanted done implying that they were visionary. They were burning with passion that was mirrored in their actions. Their passion could only be compared to a child who says that he wants a castle built for him and that comes to pass. The visions they conveyed gave us employees a lot of confidence and we finally came to believe that we could perform the necessary acts. They were literal challengers and not coddlers (Bennis & Nanus, 1997).
Our leaders made us believe that an undertaking was very important and equally nearly impossible. Such beliefs made us develop some kind of drive that actually made us strong. It gave us a strong resolve to pursue the issue intellectually. Because of their burning desires to transform purpose into action, our leaders had power of concentration. They clearly knew what they wanted. They in deed had limitless dimensions of a conscious self, it conditions and capacities of deployment. This made them capable of delay, double-talk, maneuver, hesitancy, and compromise. Their resolve was founded on the belief that the harder they worked the longer they lived. My leaders were also conversant with the fact that leadership was a transaction between leaders and followers and the fact that leaders could not exist without their followers. They ensured that there was some sort of resonance between them and us. They therefore paid a lot of attention to us and in the process caught our attention. Our leaders ensured that they brought the best out of us. This created some sense of unity (Bennis & Nanus, 1997).
Our leaders also perfected the art of communication. They seemed to have known that belief in ones dreams was not enough and that there can be a lot of intoxicating visions and lots on noble intentions. They knew that without communication, rich and deeply textured agendas cannot be actualized. Because of this, they portrayed images that induced enthusiasm and commitment in others. They were so engrossed in ensuring that they captured our imaginations and getting us aligned behind our organization's overarching goals. They were aware that workers have a knack for recognizing and getting behind something of established identity. They were not ignorant of the fact that effective leadership must integrate management of meaning and mastery of communication. Majority of our leaders were tremendously articulate with good communication styles. Those who were silent had intensely commanding appearance. Some of our silent leaders managed to make us know what they expected by drawing models. Some of them used metaphors. We liked it like that. Our leaders effectively used communication to rally us behind a given idea (Bennis & Nanus, 1997).
Our leaders were capable of packaging whatever information they wanted to pass around in the sense that its form and meaning made sense. This facilitated coordinated actions. They were capable of articulating and defining what previously remained implicit by inventing images, metaphors, and models that provided focus for new attention. This enabled them to consolidate and challenge prevailing wisdom. Our leaders were capable of conveying and shaping meaning through visual exercises, symbolic "letting the sunshine in," and exquisite verbal imagery.
Our leaders were quite aware of the fact that it was imperative that they communicated the blueprint to shape and interpret situations so that our actions are guided by common interpretation of reality. They were also aware that there was some disparity with regard to what was meant by "meaning" and "communication" and that the former has little to do with facts or even knowing. Our line managers specifically dealt with problem solving that involved a problem, a method, and a solution. Our leaders had a taste for problem finding and this gave our organization a new direction and vision. This characteristic made them stand out distinctly.
Our leaders seemed to have noticed that without trust, it was almost impossible for an organization to run. They seemed to have taken notice of the fact that trust was synonymous with accountability, predictability, and reliability. With trust an organization was capable of selling its products and also maintained an organization's integrity. To earn our trust, our leaders ensured that they were predictable. They also made themselves known and their positions clear. They knew where they were taking themselves from the being that has been to the one that wishes to be. They were reliable and tirelessly persistent. They appeared to be willing to face death for causes they believed in by choosing to stick to them. Theirs was persistence and determination. The leaders engaged in positioning so as to implement their visions. Through positioning, they established trust. They wore their visions like clothes and enrolled themselves then others in belief of their ideals as attainable. Their behaviors exemplified their ideals in action. They never wavered but instead maintained constancy. They stuck reasonably to the directions they chose (Bennis & Nanus, 1997).
An organization with a healthy structure has a clear sense of what it is and what is to do. This is why our leaders chose a direction and stayed with it. In this…[continue]
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