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Effective leadership is a product of several qualities. Many researchers have often researched the elements that make a good leader. For instance, Katz (1974) explored the components of an effective leader and concluded that an effective leader possesses three skills: interpersonal, technical and conceptual skills. First, he explained that Interpersonal skills focus on the relationship skills of leaders. He also explained that technical skills relate to the ability to undertake tasks, and conceptual skills relate to the ability to come up with a clear vision aimed at motivating other people to work towards the realization of a common goal (Katz, 1974). This paper agrees with Kat’z assertion by explaining that, the characteristics of an effective leader fall in any of the three categories of leadership skills defined above. This paper supports this assertion by singling out the elements of communication and high-performing teams, charisma, trust and respect, and a strong focus on key elements, as key components of an effective leader.
Communication and Charisma
In effective leadership, the importance of having good communication skills cannot be underestimated. Researchers such as LeFasto and Larson (2002) hint that, cultivating a culture of effective communication and openness in the workplace is likely to lead to the creation of high-performing teams. Hurley (2006) also supports this assertion and notes that high-performing teams are realized if effective communication is nurtured because problems can be easily solved in this framework.
Charisma is also been identified to be an integral quality of a good leader because, with it, certain positive elements in team building, such as motivation, and enthusiasm are realized (Kouzes & Posner, 2007). Though there is an ongoing debate if good leaders are born or made, there is little disagreement that charisma is a crucial element of effective leadership. Pentland (2010) explains that charisma is the ability of a leader to make his subjects believe in a common vision to enable him to lead the people in the same manner.
Since charisma and interpersonal skills are seen to be crucial elements of effective leadership, it comes as no surprise that Katz’s assertion of interpersonal skills being a pivotal element in effective leadership is true (Clocke & Goldsmith, 2005). Charisma is part of interpersonal skills and it is perceived as a crucial tool in coordinating team efforts towards a common goal. From this standpoint, it is important to note that, an effective leader must have strong interpersonal skills.
Trust and Respect
Some researchers have explained that effective leaders do not have to be liked on a personal level (though in some instances, this may be false) (Tarkovsky, 2011). However, some researchers note that effective leaders need to be trusted and respected by the people they lead. They also note that it is difficult for a leader to be effective if trust and respect lack (Tarkovsky, 2011). However, it should be understood that people do not necessarily have to be liked so that they are respected or trusted. Researchers have also noted that the quest for many leaders to be liked by their followers often amounts to ineffective leadership because respect and trust may be lost in the process. In this regard, researchers affirm that effective leadership cannot be realized without trust and leadership.
This analysis exposes the importance of trust and respect in leadership but in the same manner, it exposes Kutz’s assertion that an effective leader needs to have the element of “technical expertise”. Depending on the type of leadership in question, there is a strong relationship between technical expertise and respect. Often, respect is accorded to individuals because they are in a better position to handle certain tasks (better than the rest). This expertise gives them respect. For instance, it would be difficult for a leader to be effective if he or she lacks the expertise to do the task laid out in his team’s role. From this point of view, it is therefore difficult to exclude the element of technical expertise in effective leadership. From this understanding, Kutz’s analysis stands true.
Strong Focus on Key Elements
An effective leader ought to have a clear foresight of the intended aims or goals of an entire team project. In this regard, an effective leader also needs to break down the overall goal of the project into small segments. This skill defines a crucial element of leadership which is having a strong focus for the entire team or organization. Since leader’s head teams, it is impossible to realize good leadership if a leader lacks the “foresight” element. This skill is in line with Kutz’s assertion that effective leaders ought to have a strong conceptual skill, which entails having a clear vision of the organization. This vision is often broken down into several goals discussed above. From this analysis, Kutz’s assertion stands true.
This study notes that Kutz’s analysis of effective leadership is true. This analysis is based on the fact that effective leadership cannot be achieved if crucial elements of leadership, such as focus, trust, respect, interpersonal communication, and charisma are not factored in. These elements can be summarized in Kutz’s categories of effective leadership elements (technical skills, conceptual skills, and interpersonal skills).
- Clocke, K. & Goldsmith, J. (2005). Resolving conflicts at work. Eight strategies for everyone on the job. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
- Hurley, R. F. (2006). The Decision to Trust. Harvard Business Review, 89(2), 35-36.
- Katz, J. (1974). Gout: Recent Studies. New York: Ardent Media.
- Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2007). The Leadership Challenge. CA: Jossey Bass.
- LeFasto, F. J., & Larson, C. E. (2001). When teams work best: 6,000 team members and leaders tell what it takes to succeed / Frank LaFasto, Carl E. Larson. Thousand Oaks: Calif.
- Pentland, A. (2010). We Can Measure the Power of Charisma. Harvard Business Review, 88(1/2), 34-35.
- Tarkovsky, S. (2011). 8 Key Character Traits That Make a Great Leader (Online) Web.