What Makes Good Leadership  Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Leadership has often been described as both an art and a science. Having the ability to influence other's decisions is paramount in order to be considered a good leader by one's followers. Good leadership is a necessity in all facets of today's world and within its daily operations. Each specific leadership situation is also different in its own way. This specific and relative facet of this phenomenon makes this topic interesting and very deep with example and information. The purpose of this essay is to describe what specific attributes contribute to a successful leader. In order to fully understand this topic, it is necessary to divide the topic into three separate stages in order to properly put into context the many different ideas that can contribute to positive and successful leadership.

To me, leadership development occurs in three distinct steps. The first step is a base line understanding of one's own individual skills. In order to understand the skills, one needs to have the courage for proper and frank self-analysis. Once understanding the basics of one's own skill set, then the individual may be able to order those skills into a rational and cohesive logical conglomeration to realize what skills can be used and in what situation. The final step of the developed leader involves transforming others into the same mold of understanding towards leadership, in other words actually having subordinates adopt behaviors and skills that the leader presents and expects.

Individual understanding of one's place in the world becomes a necessity if that person is expected to lead others into a situation where success is necessary. Therefore, self-analysis becomes a very important undertaking in order to fully bring together the skills necessary to reach potential and full understanding. This is often overlooked in many cases. The current environment and situation presented before the leader must be taken in account before employing any leadership skills. Leaders in one area of industry may not be proficient in others due to these distinctions and lack of basic information about culture of the group. "Besides practical needs, there are important reasons to examine the impact of culture on leadership. There is a need for leadership and organizational theories that transcend cultures to understand what works and what does not work into different cultural settings" (House et al. 3).

Culture plays an important role within any society. Leaders need to understand what is accepted and what is not accepted at all levels of their particular organization. The leadership skills and leadership style that may be useful within a military context certainly would not apply in a department store or not-for-profit organization. While many of the same skills such as listening skills, communication skills, empathy and time management skills are useful in almost all types of opportunities, it is finding the best and most applicable types of skills that the leader can master that will provide the most efficient and effective leadership style for that particular situation.

In order to locate the skills within one's leadership tool bag, self-analysis becomes prerequisite. There seem to be many ways of finding one's own inner self and locating the strength within themselves that Can be used towards a potential goal. Religion and meditation offers some types of paths for self-reflection that can be used in a proper and useful way if applied in a certain direction that can be used for the entire group. Regardless of the style of self-reflection, taking inventory and understanding one's own best strengths and weaknesses is primary before doing that for the rest of the group. Leaders should not expect their subordinates to do things that they are not willing to do themselves. It is therefore most important to complete this first step in applying any leadership style.

Once a leader has fully developed and understood the basic definitions of his or her own leadership style and has taken an accurate inventory of the particular e skills that they possess and have identified the certain skills they need to improve upon, the leader may begin to fully develop a leadership style. A leader does not always sit at the top of the hierarchical chain and leadership can be evident throughout any organization. It is important for those who are seeking to improve their own leadership acumen to realize what specific styles and behaviors may work and at what that particular job or assignment. "Management from into which a particular leadership style is adopted is important in the significance or not significance of the leadership style. It also suggests that differences in leadership style practiced by managers may be blurred in organization resort chains of command, while attending the pronouncing organization with long chains of command, other things being equal " (Oshagbemi & Gill 104).

Not all seem to agree on the specific impacts of culture and leadership, "while some evident exist of links between organizational culture and performance in between leadership style and performance, the combined study of all three of these concepts has been lacking" (Ogbonna & Harris 781). This is most likely due to the many different types of culture and the individual leaders omission of the first step of finding one's own self skills and strengths. There seem to be many different types of culture that may blend into one environment at the leader must understand at least certain components of each one of these types of influences. A high-level manager will often have to understand the religious and cultural practices of its different subordinates. There's less likely chance for this to happen, and therefore less need for lower-level managers to have such broad leadership skills.

At this critical second step of leadership development towards a path of leadership excellence, putting together a logical style requires a full understanding of many different components including the aforementioned culture. Besides culture other critical concepts need to be taken into account before recognizing great leadership. The bureaucratic and systematic influences of any system must be understood before applying one's own additional leadership force. Fullan suggested ways to handle this type of situation in a discussion about leadership within schools and principals specific challenges."The constant bombardment of new tests and the continual interruption keeps principles off balance. Not only are the demands fragmented and incoherent even good ideas have a short shelf life as initiatives are dropped in favor of it latest new policy. Overload in the form of a barrage of disarray demand fosters dependency " (1). In this particular essence school principals need to understand that schools are a dependent type of an organization where children heavily rely on guidance from others. In other business situations where salesmen and other freelance workers have more autonomy this type of leadership would not fit.

The final and third stage of leadership development occurs when a specific leadership style begins to emerge. At this point of the leader development the individual has taken stock of him or herself in order to realizewhat strengths and weaknesses they may possess. As a leader in the second stage of combining their strengths certain questions should be answered at this point. What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? What is the specific environment my leadership skills may be best utilized? How many subordinates require my leadership and guidance? Where the cultural and societal limitations and expectations of this particular leadership challenge? What is my leadership style?

Burns developed a model of leadership that divided leaders into two categories. Transformational leadership or transactional leadership are two broad categories in which most leaders belong (Boje par 10). Transformational leadership "recognizes an exploit existing need or demand of a potential follower and looks for potential motives and followers, seeks to satisfy higher needs and engages the full person of the follower "while the transactional leader "

approach his followers with an eye to exchange one thing for another: jobs for votes or subsidies for campaign contributions" (par14). These two styles have been adopted and exploited throughout most leadership theories for the last 30 years. Within these two categories however it is my opinion that all leadership styles are accurately described.

Transformational leadership seems to be a more difficult and tasking style of leading subordinates. It requires much more training and assuring that the subordinates truly understand what the missions, goals and principles of the leading organization. Transformational leadership requires a certain personality that is willing to work with subordinates and inspire them to behave in a similar fashion as him or herself. This is the essence of leadership for me. Asking subordinates to do tasks that the leader has never accomplished or refuses to participate in does not resonate well with my personal tastes and style. For me I will try to follow the transformational leader due to the extra effort and requirements needed for its success.

The transactional leader, although not my preferred style, still has much value within an organization. Most subordinates throughout the world obviously choose not to think for themselves in many aspects and appear to be…

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