Leadership and You Consequently, he is renowned as a contemporary, transformational leader who envisions leadership and creates an environment for employees to pursue their passion, which results in delivery of excellent customer service and experience as well as generating huge revenues.
Leaders play a crucial role in the society and organizations, especially with regards to helping the organization achieve its objectives and purposes. These individuals use varying approaches to leadership that inform their practices in motivating organizational members towards the accomplishment of common objectives. Through their practices, leaders not only influence the behaviors of their followers or subordinates but also help in shaping organizational culture. The use of different leadership styles and philosophies is also attributed to the difference in concept and practices of the leader. Moreover, leaders can improve their effectiveness through adopting strategies that address the weaknesses of their leadership approaches since every leadership style or approach has certain weaknesses.
Definition of Leadership
Leadership is a term or concept that means different things to different people depending on the context of where the leadership practice takes place. As a result, different people have different definitions of what leadership is, which generates considerable problems in attempts to effectively define leadership. From a personal perspective, leadership is a means for talented individuals to influence others towards common objectives through sharing their knowledge and perspectives (Mielach, 2013). This is probably the most suitable definition of leadership given that the basis of leadership is to influence others regardless of whether the influence is positive or negative. Leaders utilize their knowledge, perspectives, and charisma to influence other people towards the achievement of certain goals either through becoming more or doing more.
In essence, leadership has relatively nothing to do with position, though position is important in some cases, but strongly linked to the influence the leader exerts on followers or subordinates. This is primarily because leaders are not measured or evaluated based on the positions they hold in an organization or society but on the influence that comes with it. Therefore, leadership is a process of influencing others to carry out certain actions that they may otherwise not do in order to realize certain objectives or goals. The changes in the definition have been informed by the realization of the significance of influence in the leadership process. Leadership cannot exist without influence and therefore the definitions of leadership must incorporate influence.
Example of a Leader
An example of a leader who has had considerable influence and impact by influencing his subordinates towards the realization of common objectives is Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos.com, an online business that sells shoes to customers. Tony Hsieh is renowned as an exemplary leader because of his contributions to Zappos.com in terms of transforming the firm from a small start-up enterprise to a large, productive company. Through his leadership style and practices, Hsieh enabled the company to generate billions of dollars on an annual basis.
The concept and practice of Hsieh's leadership is based on Blake and Mouton's Managerial or Leadership Grid, which is the best known model of managerial behavior (Northouse, 2012, p.78). Hsieh's leadership concept and practice is based on this model because he constantly demonstrates concern for production and concern for people throughout his leadership decisions and actions. The concern for production is associated with how a leader focuses on the accomplishment of organizational tasks through a variety of activities. In contrast, the concern for people is basically associated with the actions the leader undertakes to attend to people in the organization who help in the achievement of organizational goals and objectives. In this case, the leader develops organizational commitment and trust, promotes good social relations, and offers good working conditions.
These two aspects of leadership are quite evident in Hsieh's leadership concept since he constantly focuses on creating a suitable working environment for his employees, promoted the delivery of excellent customer service, and generating more revenue. According to Fanning (n.d.), Hsieh constantly empowers the firm's employees to develop and maintain a distinctive company culture that is embedded on happiness. Moreover, he focuses on developing a unique organizational culture where the company focuses on its brand of providing the best customer service and customer experience. In this case, he does not consider ...
Recommendations to the Leader
Even though Tony Hsieh is a modern, transformational leader who developed a collaborative culture at Zappos.com and positively empowered employees, he could improve his effectiveness through adopting certain strategies. The first recommendation for Hsieh to improve his effectiveness in leadership is through embracing a team management strategy or approach. Despite his successes, Hsieh's use of transformational leadership approach was characterized with an intermediate concern for the task as well as intermediate concern for his employees. As a result, he relatively preferred compromise and the middle-ground instead of encouraging employees towards the maximum achievement of company's goals. Through embracing a team management strategy, Hsieh would enhance his effectiveness by promoting a high degree of participation and teamwork in the company rather than relatively settling for less (Northouse, 2012, p.80).
Secondly, Hsieh should adopt the paternalistic/maternalistic style in his leadership style and philosophy to enhance his effectiveness. While he empowered employees by sitting with them and showing concerns for them, Hsieh could enhance his effectiveness by considering the organization's employees as a family. The adoption of this style would involve rewarding employee contributions and loyalty while punishing non-compliance. This would generate healthy competition within the company since employees will focus on enhancing their contributions, which in turn enables the firm to generate more revenues.
Third, Hsieh could enhance his effectiveness through the style approach since he is currently involved in task and relationship behaviors. In this case, he should constantly assess his leadership philosophy and style to determine its effectiveness and identify measures for improved effectiveness. The incorporation of this approach would enhance his effectiveness because it provides him with a mirror through which he can determine his effectiveness and identify needs for any improvements (Northouse, 2012, p.86). Moreover, the style approach will enable Hsieh to become proactive in determining his effectiveness instead of waiting for leadership training and programs to achieve this objective.
As previously mentioned, there are various leadership styles that are effective in varying situations depending on the context in which the leadership process is being applied. These leadership styles and approaches are characterized with varying strengths and weaknesses because they are effective in varying settings. One of the most meaningful leadership styles from this course is Blake and Mouton's Managerial or Leadership Grid. This model is more meaningful because it incorporates the two aspects that are important in the leadership process i.e. people and tasks. This leadership style focuses on concern for people and concern for tasks, which are the bases for the accomplishment of organizational goals and encouraging employee satisfaction. The leadership style entails focus on a wide range of activities as well as developing organizational commitment and trust, creating good working conditions, promoting the self-worth of employees, and developing good social relations (Northouse, 2012, p.78). I will implement this leadership style in my own leadership approach through embracing a team management strategy. This strategy will be characterized by promoting a high degree of organizational participation and teamwork and strong emphasis on production and inter-personal relationships. I will encourage and stimulate employees to participate in all organizational processes and enhance their contributions through various employee motivation strategies.
The second leadership style is the style approach, which focuses on the establishment of effective leadership behaviors. The significance of this style in my own leadership approach is attributed to the fact that it offers a mechanism for evaluating leadership is a wide way, as behavior with a relationship and task dimension. This style helps in providing a balance of what is effective in varying situations and enhancing the overall effectiveness of the leadership process. I will apply this leadership style in my own leadership approach by conducting periodic evaluation my leadership practices to determine their effectiveness and identify areas of improvement where necessary. This will be followed by identifying situations that need to be more task-oriented and those that need to be more relationship-oriented.
In conclusion, leadership is a process that basically focuses on influencing people towards the realization of common objectives and goals. This process entails the use of varying approaches and styles depending on the context where leadership is being applied. However, while leaders use these varying approaches, they should constantly examine the effectiveness of their approaches and adopt strategies towards increased effectiveness.
Fanning, B. (n.d.). Tony Hsieh and Zappos.com: Leadership and Corporate Culture. Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://static.squarespace.com/static/52fae3d6e4b071a64a8aac54/t/535c505ae4b009fc847df281/1398558810086/Tony+Hsief+and+Zappos.com+-+Leadership+and+Corporate+Culture.pdf
Mielach, D. (2013, March 6). Defining Leadership: 8 Ways to be a Great Leader. Business News
Daily. Retrieved December 16, 2014, from http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4069-business-leaders-define-leadership.html
Northouse, P.G. (2012). Leadership: theory and practice (pp.78-128). New York, NY: SAGE
Consequently, he is renowned as a contemporary, transformational leader who envisions leadership and creates an environment for employees to pursue their passion, which results in delivery of excellent customer service and experience as well as generating huge revenues.
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