Leadership is essentially a continuous process of influencing behavior. It may be considered in context of mutual relations between a leader and his followers.
The leader tries to influence the behavior of individuals or group of individuals around him to achieve desired goals.
Leadership is a dynamic process, which deserves study. It is a relational process involving interactions among leaders, members and sometimes outside constituencies. Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader.
Leadership development is an important and a recent issue in the field of management practices.
Basically, it involves developing those qualities and attitudes in managers which help them to look into the future and to bring necessary improvement pertaining to different leadership styles.
1. Definitions of Leadership 2. Concept of Leadership 3. Characteristics 4. Objectives 5. Nature 6. Importance 7. Need
8. Approaches to the Study 9. Effectiveness 10. Different Culture 11. How to Develop Leadership Skills 12. Distinction between Leadership, Headship and Domination 13. Recent Development 14. Leadership Development in Future.
What is Leadership: Definitions, Concept, Characteristics, Objectives, Nature, Importance, Need and Leadership Skills
- Definitions of Leadership
- Concept of Leadership
- Characteristics of Leadership
- Objectives of Leadership
- Nature of Leadership
- Importance of Leadership
- Need for Leadership
- Approaches to the Study of Leadership
- Leadership Effectiveness
- Leadership in Different Culture
- How to Develop Leadership Skills
- Distinction between Leadership, Headship and Domination
- Recent Developments in Leadership
- Leadership Development in Future
What is Leadership – Definitions Provided by Livingstone, C.I. Bernard, Bernard Keys and Thomas, Keith Davis, George R. Terry, Koontz and O’Donnell, Alford and a Few Others
Leadership is the art of influencing people to attain group objectives willingly. What a minister does in his State, a captain does on the playground, the manager has to do in his organisation. Leaders in all walks of life should have some basic qualities. They should be able to establish contact with their equals, deal with their subordinates and guide them, mediate in conflicts, resolve issues by weighing various alternatives, allocate scarce resources properly and take risks and initiatives.
The environment in which a leader is placed is important. The organisational culture, the economic and social set-up, the extent of unionisation and other factors may demand different types of leaders in different situations. A task-oriented leader, for instance, may be more successful in situations which are either very favourable or very unfavourable to him, while a relations- oriented leader may be more effective in intermediate situations.
Leadership is essentially a continuous process of influencing behaviour. It may be considered in context of mutual relations between a leader and his followers. The leader tries to influence the behaviour of individuals or group of individuals around him to achieve desired goals.
Keith Davis, “Leadership is the process of encouraging and helping others to work enthusiastically towards their objectives. Leadership must extract cooperation and willingness of the individuals and groups to attain the organisational objectives.”
George R. Terry, “Leadership is a relationship in which one person influences others to work together willingly on related tasks to attain what the leader desires.”
Koontz and O’Donnell, “Leadership is the process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly towards the achievement of group goals.”
Chester I. Bernard, “Leadership refers to the quality of the behaviour of the individual whereby they guide people on their activities in organised work.”
Mooney and Reiley, “Leadership is regarded as the form which authority assumes when it enters into process.”
What is Leadership – ‘BE’, ‘KNOW’ and ‘Do’ Concept of Leadership
Leadership is a dynamic process, which deserves study. It is a relational process involving interactions among leaders, members and sometimes outside constituencies. Good leaders are made not born. If you have the desire and willpower, you can become an effective leader.
Good leaders develop through a never-ending process of self-study, education, training, and experience. To inspire your workers into higher levels of teamwork, there are certain things you must be, know, and, do. These do not come naturally, but are acquired through continual work and study. Good leaders are continually working and studying to improve their leadership skills; they are NOT resting on their laurels.
Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as – beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills.
The basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to your organization. In your employees’ eyes, your leadership is everything you do that affects the organization’s objectives and their well-being. Respected leaders concentrate on what they are [be] (such as – beliefs and character), what they know (such as – job, tasks, and human nature), and what they do (such as – implementing, motivating and provide direction).
What makes a person want to follow a leader? People want to be guided by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, they must be ethical. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future.
‘BE, KNOW, DO’ Concept of Leadership:
BE a professional. Examples – Be loyal to the organization, perform selfless service, and take personal responsibility.
BE a professional who possess good character traits. Examples – Honesty, competence, candor, commitment, integrity, courage, straightforwardness, imagination.
KNOW the four elements of leadership – follower, leader, communication, and situation.
KNOW yourself. Examples – strengths and weakness of your character, knowledge, and skills.
KNOW human nature. Examples – Human needs, emotions, and how people respond to stress.
KNOW your job. Examples – be proficient and be able to train others in their tasks.
KNOW your organization. Examples – where to go for help its climate and culture, who the unofficial leaders are.
DO provide direction. Examples – goal setting, problem solving, decision making, planning.
DO implement. Examples – communicating, coordinating, supervising, evaluating.
DO motivate. Examples – develop moral and spirit in the organization, train, coach, counsel.
Following are some of the characteristics of leadership:
1. There must be Followers:
A leadership cannot exist without followers. If a leader does not have followers, he cannot exercise his authority. Leadership exists both in formal and informal organisations.
2. Working Relationship between Leader and Followers:
There must be a working relationship between the leader and his followers. It means that the leader should present himself in a place where the work is actually going on. Besides, the leader should be a dynamic person of the concerned group. If he is not so, he cannot get things done.
3. Personal Quality:
The character and behaviour of a man influence the works of others.
4. Reciprocal Relationship:
Leadership kindles a reciprocal relationship between the leader and his followers. A leader can influence his followers and, in turn, the followers can influence the leader. The willingness of both the leader and the followers is responsible for the influence and no enforcement is adopted.
5. Community of Interests:
There must be community of interests between the leader and his followers. A leader has his own objectives. The followers have their own objectives. They are moving in different directions in the absence of community of interests. It is not advisable. It is the leader who should try to reconcile the different objectives and compromise the individual interests with organisation interests.
A leader guides his followers to achieve the goals of the organisation. A leader should take steps to motivate his followers for this purpose.
7. Related to a Particular Situation:
Leadership is applicable to a particular situation at a given point of time. It varies from time to time.
8. Shared Function:
Leadership is a shared function. A leader is also working along with his followers to achieve the objectives of the organisation. Besides, the leader shares his experience, ideas and views with his followers.
9. Power Relationship:
A leader has powers to exercise over his followers. The leader derives these powers from the organisation hierarchy, superior know-ledge, experience and the like.
What is Leadership – 11 Major Objectives
The objectives of leadership in context of ethics are given here:
(i) To develop the feeling of cooperation and coordination,
(ii) To determine and provide the needful directions about good or bad as well as right or wrong conducts and behaviour as may be applicable in society,
(iii) To determine and formulate the equitable and justified behavioural norm in society,
(iv) To develop new, innovative and creative ideas, outlooks and approaches among people,
(v) To determine and make the perspective visions and missions for the well-being of human life in society,
(vi) To determine and develop the parameters on the basis of ethical values towards optimum and balanced behaviour between individual and group in any society,
(vii) To determine some learning aspects to follow the concept of truth, purity, politeness, and justifications among every people in society,
(viii) To develop enthusiasms, loyalty and devotional behaviour and attitudes,
(ix) To determine and provide needful directions for making team spirit among people,
(x) To provide due importance for common interest in a group or society,
(xi) To provide some leading guidelines for developing better work environment.
What is Leadership – Nature: Leadership as a Status Group, As a Focal Person, As a Function and As a Process
Leadership may be viewed variously as- (a) Status group (b) Focal person; (c) Function; and (d) Process.
It refers to a situation where a person moves to leadership position by reason of heredity (as when he is a descendant of a business family), or when he is elected or selected to a leadership position.
According to this view, leadership vests the people who are regarded as leaders by virtue of positions held by them in an organization, such as persons elected or selected to positions of directors, executives, administrators, managers, or chiefs of departments in an organization.
(3) Leadership as a Function:
The leadership function comprises activities that facilitate the achievement of group goals. The person who performs this function is regarded as leader. And while there are several people involved in working towards accomplishment of group goals and there are many factors, including luck, that determine the result of their collective efforts, but the credit or discredit for success or failure of the group effort will be attributed to the leader of the group.
According to this view, leadership is an interactive process in which leaders and followers exchange influence, i.e., the leader influences the followers by his ideas, direction and support, and the followers influence the leader by their ideas, suggestions and contribution to the achievement of group goals.
And because there is a positive balance of influence in favor of the leader, the followers accept his positional authority and carry out his orders in the formal organization and listen to his advice and suggestions as members of informal groups. Thus, it is clear that a leader’s authority is limited to the extent of its acceptance as leader by his followers, whether in a formal or an informal group.
What is Leadership – Importance: Leaders Provide Task Support, Psychological Support, Development of Individuals, Building the Team Spirit, Motivation and a Few Others
1. Leaders Provide Task Support:
Leaders support the followers by assembling the organizational resources; and helping them accomplish their tasks in accordance with standards of performance.
2. Psychological Support:
Leaders not only help the followers in accomplishing the organizational tasks; they also help them overcome various problems they confront while performing these tasks. They create willingness in people to work with zeal and enthusiasm. They make the followers realise that their work is important so that they work with confidence towards task accomplishment.
3. Development of Individuals:
Leaders build willingness, enthusiasm and confidence in followers for accomplishment of their individual and organizational goals. This results in their overall growth and development.
4. Building the Team Spirit:
No individual can work alone. Leaders develop team spirit amongst followers to work collectively and coordinate their activities with organizational activities and goals. A leader works as captain of the team.
Leaders motivate the employees to take up jobs that they otherwise may not be willing to exercise.
6. Provides Feedback:
When people work towards well-defined targets, they want constant feedback of their performance, which helps in achieving their goals effectively. Leaders provide them this feedback.
7. Helps in Introducing Change:
Effective leaders can convince members about the need and benefits of organizational change. The change process can, thus, be smoothly carried out.
8. Maintain Discipline:
Leadership is a powerful influence that enforces discipline in the organization more than formal rules and regulations can. Members will be committed and loyal to rules and regulations if their leaders have confidence in them.
9. Affirming Ethical Values:
Leadership derives from trust. Ethics affirms trust of people (employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, regulators and community) in a leader. Thus, a leader needs to conform to ethical practices.
10. Empowering Others:
A good leader leads by empowering others. It means delegation of power. Today’s leader is not expected to retain all power with himself, he gives autonomy and power to others. He has to diffuse his power. He has to command power and respect for empowering others.
11. Reviewing the Norms:
From time to time, a leader needs to review his mission and vision statements along with clear norms and guidelines, taking into account views and experiences of his subordinates, by interactive ways like organizing workshops and discussions.
12. Setting the Ethical Example:
The ultimate leadership responsibility is modeling the behaviour of others. Employees constantly watch and learn from leaders. They rightfully assume that it is okay to do whatever the leader does. Regardless of what is written or said in the organization, leader’s behaviour is the performance standard which employees generally follow.
What is Leadership – Need: Imperfect Organization Structure, Rapid Technological, Economic and Social Changes, Nature of Human Memberships and a Few Others
It is not possible for any organization structure to design uniformly acceptable superior-subordinate relationships. This explains the existence of informal groups within the framework of a formal organization. With effective leadership, imperfection of a formal organization structure may be corrected, and the formal and informal groups may be made to work in unison.
In the face of constant technological, economic and social changes, the organization is required to effect suitable changes in its operations, superior-subordinate relationships and management style.
For example, in the event of a fall in demand, it may need to discontinue production of certain goods and services, or take up production of alternative goods and services. In the event of increasing competition, it may think of new ways to retain its customers and add to their list by gaining a foothold in new markets.
To lure more competent workers, it may offer increased compensation package. It may increase it’s spend on advertising and publicity on print and electronic media and introduce give-always like buy-one-get- one-free. It may tempt its major distributors with all-paid travels to popular holiday destinations.
It may also acquire new businesses or shed loss-making businesses. Only an effective leadership can enable the organization to meet the challenges posed by environmental factors.
As an organization grows in size and complexity, it may develop certain imbalances. For example, increase in organizational activities may lead to increase in levels of management that will add to complexity of the organization structure and create problems of command, co-ordination and control of work at different work-centers. Only an effective leadership can steer the organization through such situations.
Persons working in an organization come from different backgrounds and have different interests, values, beliefs and intellectual and temperamental make-up. Again, each member is part of different social groups—family, neighbourhood group, community and social organizations—that are external to the organization and beyond its control. Sometimes, such influence may result in conflict between individual goals and group interests.
An effective leadership can create a suitable motivational framework which works to satisfy different needs and motives of individual members and thus resolve interpersonal and group conflicts.
What is Leadership – Approaches to the Study of Leadership: Person-Oriented Approach, Situational Approach and Group-Oriented Approach
There are many approaches to the study of leadership and these could broadly be discussed under three heads, namely, (1) Traits or person-oriented approach; (2) Situational or situation-oriented approach; and (3) Group-oriented approach. Here, we shall discuss each approach one by one, the first being Traits or Person-oriented approach.
Traits Theory Says Leader should Possess Charismatic Qualities:
Under the Traits or Person-oriented approach, the emphasis is on characteristics or qualities of leader. The Greek and Roman historians like Herodotus and Tacitus held that the course of events is at all times shaped by the charisma of individual leaders possessed of certain magical qualities.
Conceptually, charisma is associated more with the style of exercise of power than authority. A charismatic leader owes his position to personal qualities and wields power without regard to conventional rules which considerably restrict the exercise of authority.
For a number of years, researchers in the field of management focused on qualities that will make a person an effective and successful leader. The result was that Traits theory, also called “Great Man” theory, proceeds on the assumption that leadership qualities are in-born or God-given, and that the leader is quite different from average persons in terms of these qualities.
As Linda Smircich and Gareth Morgan put it, persons emerge as leaders because “They can frame and change situations and, in so doing, enact a system of shared meaning that provides a basis of organized action.” In a way, this theory questions the usefulness of leadership training as it believes that acquisition of leadership qualities is an impossible task.
The traits approach concentrates on personal traits or characteristics of individuals who can be called leaders.
Some of these qualities may be enumerated as follows:
1. Height, weight, skin colour—though there are exceptions to this. A short person may be more effective leader than a tall one, a light-weight can be more effective leader than a heavy one, and a dark-skinned can surpass the fair-skinned in providing leadership. India’s Lai Bahadur Shastri, K. Kamraj and Jagjivan Ram can be cited as ready examples of this exception.
2. Energy, both nervous and physical; how long he can work energetically.
3. Mental ability—Being well-read and well-informed.
4. Personality—A captivating, magnetic personality.
5. Initiative—Inventiveness and boldness to implement new plans.
6. Imagination—Creativeness and original thinking.
7. Emotional stability—Mental stability in adverse situations.
8. Desire to accept responsibility—Courage to own responsibility.
9. Flexibility—Ability to adjust and adapt to changing situations.
10. Honesty—Truthfulness and openness.
11. Sincerity—Earnestness and authenticity.
12. Determination—Resolve and will-power.
13. Persistence—Doggedness and perseverance.
14. Endurance—Staying power, stamina.
15. Integrity—Reliability, uprightness.
16. Judgement—Decisive, conclusive.
17. Courage—Guts, bravery.
18. Good looks—both physical and sartorial.
Traits theory has merits. The desirable qualities it expects of a leader testify to this. But it has several limitations, too.
First, it regards leadership qualities as inherent, though it does not suggest which precisely these qualities are. As Eugene Jennings has commented, “Fifty years of study have failed to produce one personality trait or set of qualities that can be used to discriminate leaders and non-leaders.”
Second, it places considerable emphasis on personal abilities of leaders but completely ignores the qualities of followers and the situations in which leadership is practiced.
Last, it is belied by significant historical evidence. The qualities enumerated in this theory may be desirable in a leader but they cannot be said to be essential for a leader. As Solomon says, “The world has seen a number of great leaders who could hardly lay claim to any kind of formal education. History is replete with non-trained, non-academic Fords, Edisons, and Carnegies, who could not even claim a grammar school education and yet managed to become leaders whose influence was felt around the globe. As for appearance of robust health, need we mention more than the delicate Gandhi, or George Washington, or Carver, the frail, shriveled, insignificant little Negro, who was one of America’s greatest scientists? Or, so many more like them? As for high ideals, fine character, assumed to be among qualities of a leader—will Hitler or Attila the Hun fail to be described as leader?”
The situation-oriented approach proceeds with a framework that is diametrically opposite to the Traits or Person-oriented approach. According to it, leadership is widely dependent on a variety of factors, such as, the leader himself, his followers, and the existing situation which, on its part, will include the values and traditions of the organization, effectiveness of the group, nature of the problem at hand, etc.
Situational approach recognizes that leadership is based on an inter-play between —(a) Amount of direction (task behaviour) provided by leader; (b) Amount of socio-emotional support (relationship behaviour) provided by leader; and (c) Readiness level or maturity level of followers in respect of performance of a task.
Situational approach also takes into account environmental factors such as followers, job demands, nature of organization, and tempers of the times. But it regards followers as the most crucial factor, because individually they may accept or reject a leader, but as a group they together determine the extent of leader’s personal power exercised with respect to them.
Task behaviour of a leader would include goal-setting, organizing, directing and controlling. Relationship behaviour on his part would reflect proper support and encouragement to people—holding discussions with them in the spirit of give and take as regards work activities, listening to their opinions and grievances, facilitating interactions as between workers, and providing proper feedback on their performance and achievements.
Maturity levels of followers will be indicated by their ability (job maturity) and willingness (psychological maturity) to focus their behaviour with reference to a given task.
Depending on the maturity levels of followers, the leader will need to modify his style. For example, with regard to workers with low maturity levels, he will need to engage in a behaviour pattern that is “high on task and low on relationship”—he will, after defining their roles, strictly ‘tell’ followers about what, how, when and where to perform the tasks assigned to them.
This is because the followers themselves are neither able nor willing to take on this responsibility; they lack both job maturity as well as psychological maturity.
For followers with low to moderate maturity levels, he will need to adopt a behaviour style that is “high on task and also high on relationship”; in other words, he will need to ‘sell’ the message about performance because the followers are willing but not able to perform the task; they possess psychological maturity but not job maturity.
In the case of followers with moderate to high job maturity levels, he will need to adopt a behaviour style that is “low on task but high on relationship;” in other words, he needs to invite followers to ‘participate’ in performance of the tasks, because they possess the ability to perform but are not willing to perform; they possess job maturity but lack psychological maturity.
As regards followers with high maturity levels, the leader will need to adopt a behaviour style that is “low on relationship and also low on task relationship;” in other words through ‘delegating’, he will leave it to followers themselves to perform the tasks assigned to them. The followers in this case possess both job maturity and psychological maturity.
The concept of situational leadership has gained wide acceptance throughout the world, because it gives the practicing managers helpful ideas on what to do in which situations. However, it suffers from a major problem of determining the job and psychological maturity levels of individual followers, particularly psychological maturity levels.
Under the group-oriented approach to leadership, which only marks an extension of the situational approach, leadership is viewed as performance of those acts which help the group to achieve its stated objectives, such acts being called group-roles or functions. It also seeks to define leadership as “a role which an individual occupies at a given point of time in a given group.”
Leadership roles may be variously classified. For example, K. Benne and P.
Sheets have set out 27 different leadership roles as follows:
(1) Initiator-contributor – Originating an idea and contributing to its implementation
(2) Information seeker—Searching for information relevant to an idea
(4) Information giver—Provider of relevant information
(5) Opinion giver—Sharer of own views and outlook with others
(6) Elaborator—Expander of ideas or information
(7) Coordinator—Arranger of links between activities
(9) Evaluator-critic—Assessor of ideas, information
(10) Energizer—Energy and morale booster
(11) Procedural technician—Perfectionist in every matter
(12) Recorder—Making notes of ideas, information
(13) Encourager—Supporter of ideas, actions
(14) Harmonizer—Combiner of ideas, information
(15) Compromiser—Agreement striker, balancer
(16) Gate keeper and expediter—Protector and speeder
(17) Standard setter and ego ideal—Benchmark setter and Iconic
(18) Group observer and commentator—Onlooker and describer
(19) Follower—Disciple, adherent
(20) Aggressor—Asserter, active advocate
(21) Blocker—Speed regulator
(22) Recognition seeker—Credit desirer
(23) Self-confessor—Acceptor of responsibility
(24) Playboy—Enjoyer, merry-maker
(25) Dominator—Strong influencer
(26) Help seeker—Assistance pleader
(27) Special interest pleader—Advocate of unconventional ideas
Accordingly, a leader plays more than one role and each of it is with a view to attaining different objectives. Moreover, different individuals may emerge as leaders at different points of time to provide direction to activities of their group members.
What is Leadership – Leadership Effectiveness
In business enterprise, managers at various levels assume the role of leadership in relation to their subordinates for getting the right things done in a proper manner to achieve a certain set of goals. The effectiveness of managers as leaders is critical to organisational survival and success. Hence there is a high premium on leadership effectiveness in business enterprise.
There are at least three major views on the determinants of leadership effectiveness. One view is that effectiveness is a function of the personal qualities or traits of the individuals who assume the role of leadership. Although possession of these qualities does not guarantee effectiveness, all we can say is that they increase the probability of leadership effectiveness.
The second view is that leadership effectiveness is not a matter of what leaders are but rather a matter of what they do and how they behave. This is known as the behavioural approach. The two most important dimensions of the behaviour of leaders are productivity orientation and employee satisfaction orientation. Leaders who score very high in both the above behavioural dimensions are said to be very effective.
They give equal importance to the tasks and goals of the organisation and to their employees. Effective leaders do regard high productivity and employee satisfaction as consistent and complementary to each other.
The third view is that leadership effectiveness is a function of interaction among at least three variables; the leader, the group of followers and the tasks situations. This is known as the situational or contingency approach to leadership. Here effectiveness is defined in terms of the task performance and satisfaction of the group of followers.
It is determined by the qualities of the leader, his authority or power position (how much authority or power he possesses, the extent of his knowledge, skill and competence and the degree to which he can utilize them), the aspirations, attitudes and skills of the group members and the task situations, technology, organisational or task structure, relationship among tasks, division of labour, freedom available for doing the tasks, the degree of imposed control and the rewards associated with performance.
Leadership effectiveness in this context depends upon the ability of the leader to adopt different behavioural styles to match different situations. There is no one best leadership style for all situations.
On a careful examination of the above discussed three views on the determinants of leadership effectiveness, we may make the following observations:
(a) Effective leadership requires certain basic qualities among persons who assume the role of leaders. These are necessary but not sufficient.
(b) There is no ideal leadership style or behaviour generally applicable for all situations. Leadership effectiveness can be secured or enhanced by tailoring the style to the demands of each situation.
(c) The important situational factors which exert considerable influence on leadership effectiveness are – task complexities, the skill and attitudes of the group of followers, their relations with the leader and the position power of the leader himself.
What is Leadership – Leadership in Different Culture: Equalitarian Culture and Hierarchical Culture
In the competitive scenario, the workforce in a modern organization is the amalgamation of several cultures. An organization may have employees of different nationalities speaking different languages and following completely different cultural norms. Therefore, various cross-cultural issues have emerged, which can influence the work environment of an organization.
Employees of an organization find it difficult to work in foreign countries because of cultural differences. In such a scenario, a leader must be efficient in dealing with cross-cultural issues.
The organizational cultures can be categorized as egalitarian/equalitarian or hierarchical according to the perception of a leader.
Let us discuss each of these in detail:
1. Egalitarian/Equalitarian Culture:
Egalitarian/Equalitarian culture refers to the culture that gives equal status to all individuals regardless of their demographics, age, and sex.
Leaders in such cultures exhibit the following characteristics:
i. Prefer self-direction and seeks no or less guidance from anyone
ii. Need to take care of the flexible job requirements of their subordinates
iii. Need to be honest and careful while dealing with subordinates since they believe in reserving their rights so as to challenge authority whenever required
iv. Require to have justified expectations, comprehendible rules, and general conscience
v. Need to treat all subordinates with equal respect and mutual trust
2. Hierarchical Culture:
Hierarchical culture refers to the culture in which social hierarchy is followed. For example, high status people differentiate with the low status people. Some people are in power while other are bound to do as desired from them.
In a hierarchical culture, a leader:
i. Gives clear cut directions to his/her subordinates
ii. Provides clear information about roles and responsibilities of subordinates
iii. Tends to keep his/her power in use to influence subordinates most of the times
iv. Enforces the guidelines, rules, procedures, and regulations onto subordinates
What is Leadership – How to Develop Leadership Skills: Have Vision, Make Decision, Take Risks, Motivate Others, Build Teams, Process Self-Knowledge and a Few Others
Managers don’t become leaders overnight. Even “born” leaders don’t start out possessing all these skills.
To be a strong leader, you need to:
1. Have Vision:
Leaders have a clear sense of where they want to go and how they intend to get there. They see the big picture, and then create a strategic plan for achieving their goals. Learn how to develop your vision – Befriend top business leaders in your community (not necessarily just those in real estate), read new and classic business books and great leaders’ biographies, and formulate a mission statement for your company.
2. Make Decisions:
Leaders aren’t afraid to make difficult or unpopular decisions because they have confidence in themselves and in their abilities. They know that indecision wastes resources and opportunities. Learn to hone your decision-making skills – Practice making decisions in areas where failure isn’t critical to increase your confidence. If a decision turns out to be wrong, learn from it and move on.
3. Take Risks:
Leaders have the courage to act in situations where results aren’t assured. They’re willing to risk failure. Learn how to take risks – Analyze the situation, listing pros and cons for each option, then assign each choice a risk factor rating from 1 to 5. Next determine the likelihood that each outcome will occur. This will help you determine how much risk you want to take. TIP – Don’t expect perfection. No one wins all the time. Leaders grow by making mistakes.
4. Motivate Others:
Leaders can articulate their vision and ideals to others, convincing them of the value of their ideas. They can inspire people to work toward common goals and to achieve things they never thought they could do. Learn how to motivate people – Explore the different needs that motivate people and recognize that the same rewards don’t motivate everyone. Listen carefully to others to learn what motivates them. TIP – Motivate employees by making sure they understand how their work contributes to a larger goal.
5. Build Teams:
Leaders create productive teams that draw the best from people. They effectively coach teams in collaboration, consensus building, and conflict resolution. Learn how to improve your teambuilding skills – Avoid preconceived answers to every question. Concentrate on appreciating different points of view during discussions rather than just trying to prove your point. This same willingness to include others is the key to successful teambuilding.
6. Possess Self-Knowledge:
Leaders know their own strengths and weaknesses and are able to view their behavior objectively. They recognize their shortcomings, open themselves to feedback, and are willing to make changes when necessary. Learn how to expand your self-knowledge. Study yourself closely and practice self- assessment techniques to learn how you behave and the effects you have on others. Ask others for their opinions or criticisms and what you can do to become a better leader. TIP – Keep a journal of critical incidents; look back and learn what you did well and what you might have done better.
7. Display Integrity:
Leaders must be trustworthy before others who follow them. Qualities that establish trust are competence, constancy, caring, candor, and congruity, which he defines as authenticity, reliability, and feeling comfortable with oneself. Learn how to assess your integrity. Actively seek feedback from others friends, co-workers, and even employees to determine if your values and sense of responsibility coincide with those of your peer group.
8. Pursue Lifelong Learning:
Leaders have a desire to continually learn and grow and are open to new ideas. Learn how to expand your knowledge – Maintain a broad focus. Look beyond your colleagues and your own industry for ideas and inspiration and read books on new management theories and ideas. TIP – Wise managers look for support staff or partners who complement their weaknesses.
9. Communicate Effectively:
Leaders can convey their ideas to diverse individuals and adjust their styles to meet the needs of the people they lead. Learn how to improve communication skills – Practice communications skills such as – active listening. Read between the lines during conversations, especially when dealing with subordinates who may be reluctant to say what they think. Restate important points in several ways or ask listeners to reiterate your point to you to ensure that your meaning is clear.
10. Help Others Succeed:
Leaders empower others and go out of their way to help them achieve their full potential, thereby benefiting the organization. Give a boost to others – Mentor individuals you feel are able to assume leadership roles.
What is Leadership – Distinction between Leadership, Headship and Domination
Leadership is different from headship or domination. Headship refers to placement in positions of official power or authority in the organizational structure. The head may be in position of official power or authority because of his election or selection to that position. This may be either because his electors or selectors want him to occupy that position or because his family owns the organization and he, by accident of birth, happens to be head of that family.
For example, exercise of authority by the head of a family or an educational or military organization does not automatically make him leader of the family members or subordinates in an educational or military organization. His authority is accepted only because he heads the family or educational or military organization. He will significantly influence the behaviour of members of these organizations only if they accept him as leader.
Leadership is essentially an influence process. When a manager directs his subordinates to work to achieve predetermined objectives, he is acting as the head all right, but not necessarily as leader. Subordinates will carry out his orders but only because he has authority over them as manager, and not because they accept him as leader.
The influence exercised by leader is quite significant and subordinates quite willingly accept his authority, because it sees him as an effective instrument for fulfillment of their individual and group goals and, urges and aspirations. To put it differently, a group only accepts leadership on its own terms.
If the power of his position goes to the head of a leader, he will suppress creativity of his group members. When he speaks, his members will not speak; they will not express their ideas and suggestions on how a different plan or method of work will deliver better results. A true leader is like conductor of an orchestra waving his baton to direct players on different musical instruments but with his back towards tine audience.
What is Leadership – Recent Developments in Leadership: Empowerment, Leadership Succession Planning, Coaching and Importance of Technology
In today’s competitive scenario, the concept of leadership has undergone a radical change.
Modern leaders are expected to play multi-dimensional roles in organizations, which are explained in the following points:
Means putting employees in charge of what they do. Leaders are being advised that for being an effective leader they are supposed to share powers and responsibilities with employees. Empowerment requires leaders to ask for suggestions and lets employees make decisions. It is easiest to implement empowerment in smaller, less bureaucratic organizations. Empowerment presents the employees with an opportunity for taking initiatives.
2. Leadership Succession Planning:
Refers to identifying future leaders and ensuring their continuous development. Succession planning helps to find talent in an organization and encourage them to not only excel in whatever they do, but also to motive others by setting examples.
Implies that leaders are expected to provide instruction, guidance, advice, and encouragement to help employees improve their job performance. This is the contemporary role given to a leader; however, its usage is still not pervasive, persistent, and very apparent. Several authors have defined coaching as a method of directing, instructing, and training an individual or a group, with the aim to achieve some goals or develop specific skills.
4. Importance of Technology:
Indicates that modern organizations are highly technology intensive. Decision-making has become more result oriented and time bound with the advent of technology. It is expected that a modern leader should be fully aware of the impact of technology within and outside the organization.
What is Leadership – Leadership Development in Future
Leadership development is an important and a recent issue in the field of management practices. Basically, it involves developing those qualities and attitudes in managers which help them to look into the future and to bring necessary improvement pertaining to different leadership styles.
In management field a recent emphasis has been put on leadership development through various learning and behavioural aspects. It is more or less dependent on the personal development of executives and other leaders in context of group dynamism.
The ingredients with some aspects of leadership development are given here:
(i) It is needful to learn and understand the qualities and capacity of leaders in present business scenario,
(ii) A knowledge of strength and weaknesses and the areas where the complimentary skills and strength can be brought to develop in a better way may be considered,
(iii) The essential qualities of leaders may be created and developed by way of personal development,
(iv) A learning process may be developed to know about the multiple socio-culture environment and to know about the wide range of spectrum of life styles in the society,
(v) The emotional competencies also generates and sustains trust, empathy, belongingness and morale value in leadership development,
(vi) Within the leadership development process, there is a need to avoid and discourage the autocratic behaviour, monopolistic attitude, social evils, resistance to change, unethical norms in organisation and different critical approaches in organizations.
(vii) The leadership styles may develop the humanitarian ground which is duly based on employee oriented aspects in the organisation,
(viii)The financial supports must be provided for continuing education and training programmes,
(ix) To provide rewards and appreciation for those who create new concepts, improvements and are innovative,
(x) To develop proactive in establishing a learning organisation that embraces new visions, approaches and openness.