The ability to transform an organization to the next level, through specific leadership techniques, and to have the vision to carry out the task, is called transformational leadership. Transformational leaders influence by becoming the teacher, mentor and/or coach -- or a combination, rather than a hierarchical tyrant. Key is the empowering of others to achieve and surpass their own goals. Communication is the basis for this theoretical model -- the leader is highly visible and uses a chain of command to get results, but is never satisfied and is constantly looking for ways in which the organization can reach beyond the current vision (Avolio, 2002). It is this constant search for efficacy, the move to "transact" the organization or specific project to a new level that keeps this theory alive -- and continual feedback and stimuli are as necessary as food and water to this leader (Karl, 1993). This type of leader might not be satisfied with lengthy tenure in an organization -- they thrive on crisis, their ego feeds on the ability to constantly prove themselves and move into even greater challenges -- these are not detailed personalities, but visionaries of the highest degree (Yukl, 2006).
What then, is the ideal leader and what theory explains that ability. Ideally, say most scholars, the leader must be surrounded by strong people -- good teams of well-qualified individuals who might not necessarily excel leading the organization, but certainly do a superior job in task and localized management. "Excellence is achievable, but only if leaders are dedicated to tapping the vast potential within each individual. Most of all, this does not mean that… more transformational leaders are needed to & #8230;.carry out the vision. Rather, the vision itself needs to reflect and draw upon the vast resources contained within individual employees" (Wren, 219-20). Additionally, more and more data is showing that to be a great leader in the contemporary business climate, at least, one needs to develop into a "resonant leader." This leader, through innate abilities or training, focuses on the four domains of emotional intelligence -- self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management-- and how the development of these four EI competencies spawns different leadership styles that match the situation rather than having the opposite occur. The best leaders maintain a style repertoire, switching easily between "visionary," "coaching," "affiliative," and "democratic," and making rare use of less effective "pace-setting" and "commanding" styles (Goleman, 2004).
What is the ideal, then? Easily, the idea is to combine the two into a synergist approach to the subject in which the best of both definitions contribute to the greater good -- for this, we will call our new person a Team Leader (Kouzes). Team leaders are super coaches, they see the best in the individual and are happy to provide opportunities for that individual, or group, to maximize their potential. Yet this type of leader also leads by example -- team leaders not only create a standard -- they embody that standard. One of the most interesting things about observing managers at almost every level -- from ground floor to the corner office, is how quickly and effectively they tend to shut down dissent. In most cases, they are unaware that their body language, verbiage, or actions are doing just that. Most are surprised and believe that shutting down dissent is the last thing they want. It is important, then, to note, that it is not just the intent of the message regarding dissent, but the actual words, tone, timbre, and interpretation. In this case, it is more important to understand how the message is perceived as opposed to how it is given. As the team leader, a signal is sent. Since leadership is ultimately about the combination of honesty and professional dissent; management should be on goals, not thing, and should invigorate. This role is becoming even more important as globalism continues, barriers are diminished, and the workforce becomes more diverse (Wagner, 2005; Bolman, 2008).
Leadership within Organizations - Within any structure or organization, motivations are crucial for both the health of the organization and the longevity and contentment of staff members. Motivation, though, is fickle -- everyone needs something a tad bit different to succeed. For example, within organizations, rewards are typically given as monetary salaries, bonuses, etc. Many leaders, however, respond better to public accolades, media attention, or the awareness and admiration of their peers. Since many leaders tend to be psychologically more Type-A, often with huge egos, the idea of an adoring public is often worth far more than any tangible, monetary reward could be. Leaders of this type are driven to succeed, their ideas and their views MUST be the ones that triumph, and those ideas must also be translated into the public's view so the leader can be congratulated and awed for such innovation (Baylor, et.al., 2004).
There are a variety of reasons that some leaders succeed and some fail. Sometimes, however, leaders will succeed despite themselves, others will fail using all the right tools. Some believe that it is the historical period that defines the leaders, others, that the leaders define the period. Circumstances are often serendipitous when calling on certain leaders to make decisions or move into the forefront of particular circumstances. Leonard Bernstein was an unknown young assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic when, one afternoon, the conductor became ill, no replacement could be found, and Bernstein was catapulted to national stardom. Had he not been a natural leader, and ready for this, what might have happened?
Another example might be President Harry Truman, picked by Franklin Roosevelt because he was the least "controversial" and most "mundane" politician Roosevelt could find, yet, when Roosevelt died, it was Truman who made the tough decisions at the end of World War II, and the controversial dropping of the Atomic Bomb -- was it the circumstances that made Truman, or something in his innate character?
Many have asked if one can learn to be a leader, or if leadership is a talent. The examples above show that leadership decisions, thrust upon people, allowed certain individuals to do great leadership things. Yet, it is also apparent that leadership is a skill, and can be taught. Just because someone is born a prodigy for, say a musical instrument, does not mean that another individual cannot learn to play that instrument without being a genius -- but still have abilities that are enhanced by learning and skill development. This is why different leaders manifest different characteristics -- for some, "the principles of leadership remain constant, it's how leadership is put into practice that keeps getting smarter," (Sarner, 2007).
Within the resource allocation rubric, though, leadership degree may be likened to uncovering an as yet hidden "Pandora's Box," but instead of releasing chaos and havoc, it will open up new avenues of intellectual stimulation, theoretical discussion, and solutions for real-world -- day-to-day, issues and concerns.
Formal Mentoring - According to Hoigaard and Mathisen (2009), "mentoring should be based upon a formal program or informal relationship" (p.1). Formal mentoring should be based on expectations and goals given by the mentor. The mentee should be able to carry out these expectations through guidance, but also the mentee should be able to have personal goals for themselves. The authors also indicate that mentoring can be a form of counseling. The authors also describe the eight elements of mentoring functions: [a] Coaching behavior is related to task-specific and career concerns. [b] Counseling behavior is related to personal and emotional-related issues. [c-d] Listening and communication structure assess the mentors' active listening and question skills and their ability to organize and structure the mentor conversation. [e] Similarity is based on the concerned intelligence, personality, ambition, approach to work, social attributes and communication skills. [f] Perceived leadership performance is based on how the leadership behavior that was developed. [g] Job satisfaction gives a purpose to the mentor that contributed increased success in employment as a leader. [h] Career planning a measure which was developed to assess the extent to which mentoring has contributed to career planning development as well as a plan or strategy for achieving the person's career goals. (Hoigaard & Mathisen, 2009, p. 3)
The Freedman (2009) mentoring model states "Formal (or informal) mentoring within an organization -- This is a traditional mentor/protege relationship between a senior and junior. An informal mentoring relationship is one that happens spontaneously based on mutual respect, rapport, and relationship. How the relationship is developed distinguishes the formal from the informal" (p. 177).
Formal mentoring is set-up between the mentor and the mentee to establish goals for the mentee. The direct benefits of…