Leadership is a process by which an individual is able to make an impact on other people, so as to achieve a certain goal and be able to direct people in a way that will make them unified and coherent. For a person to be a good leader there are some skills and knowledge that should be applied.
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Sometimes leadership can be acquired by learning in a person, but there are some traits in which they influence the kind of leadership a person will have. These traits are; person beliefs, what a person values, his ethics, and lastly the character of a person.
Thesis statement: Everyone in an organization who wants to become a leader must learn that being an effective leader requires certain behaviors, skills, traits, motivation, characteristics, and influence tactics in order to be a successful leader.
Leadership Behaviors and Skills
There is no specific blueprint that can define a leader, but there are some qualities which can be used to define a great leader, and these are behaviors and skills which will be used to define quality leader in an organization. What you apply in terms of leadership in one situation it will be different in another situation.
“While skills may be seen over a longer period of time in a leader; these traits have little effect across various situations” (Bass, 1990). Some behaviors and skills are essential to leadership such as, direction setting, trust, asking tough questions, maintaining high standards, stability under pressure, accessibility to group members, having positive attitude (including supportiveness), and willingness to accept blame.
In every organization, a leader is supposed to bring change in organization in which he/she is working. In order for a leader to set direction in an organization, he/she must have a vision for that organization.
For example, a leader can have a vision for the company to diversify in future so that they can start producing bicycles for children, apart from producing toys for children. The leader is able to share his/her vision with the rest of the team in organization; the leader can share his skills through one on one mentoring or hold organizational leadership seminars.
To be an effective leader, it is a duty for every leader to display honesty, integrity and credibility. Many followers in an organization will measure honesty of a leader by his/her deeds and how the leader will keep his/her promises. To be an effective leader in organization, the leader must be trusted and at the same time, the leader must trust his/her followers.
Asking Tough Question
There is a common perception that a leader should be knowledgeable, but many times a leader will be effective if he/she asks tough questions rather than provides answers. When a leader asks tough questions, it will make his/her followers start thinking about their roles in organization.
Give a real life example here. For example, a store manager asks a department manager: “In this month you purchased more perishable goods, supposing that they will be sold due to summer season. What if they don’t? Why do you rely so heavily on season peculiarities? What would you do if the goods are not sold?”
Maintaining High Standards
To become an effective leader in any organization, you must maintain high standards of performance, which in return it will raise performance in organization. Most of the followers will tend to live up on the expectations set by the leader in organization (the Pygmalion effect). When a leader has high standard in organization, this will have positive effects to the general population in organization.
Give a real life example here. For example, maintaining high standards, a manager should not discuss an opportunity that the workers would not be able to meet the deadline and cause the customer’s dissatisfaction. It is preferable to mention the part of bonus depending on successful fulfillment of the assignment.
Stability under Pressure
Any effective leader in an organization must be steady in performance even when he/she is under heavy workloads in organization. Such behavior will reflect what kind of a leader the person is, and this will also help followers in organization to be effective because the followers in organization will learn from example in their leader to cope with pressure situations.
Again offer a real life example. For example, when a firm is in deep financial trouble and on the verge of bankruptcy, a leader is not discouraged, does not change the accustomed regimen, does not demonstrate one’s feelings and emotions even if the rest of employees start looking for another job.
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Accessibility to Group Members
Another trait which makes an effective leader is: Accessibility to Group Members (not approachability and openness traits). A successful leader should also be able to accept new ways of doing things in the organization in which he/she is heading. Openness in a leader will encourage creativity and development of new ideas that will enable the company to be successful.
Give a real life example here. For example, a manager joining the employees at corporate parties is expected to be much more effective that those who find excuses and ignore the invitations. The atmosphere of these informal meetings is suitable for establishing the personal rapport with employees.
When a leader has a positive attitude, it will help him/her to cope more easily with the affairs of the organization in which the leader works. The leader is able to encourage the members of the group or followers in organization and this will increase the morale and productivity of the worker or group in the organization.
Protecting employees from being over worked is not really a good example of having a positive attitude.
Can you give me another example maybe one that is more about positive attitudes like turning a negative situation into a positive by speaking with an employee or something to that effect? For example, in case if unpredictable circumstances resulted in employee’s failure and caused the customer’s dissatisfaction, a manager might emphasize usefulness of the received experience.
Establishing the cause-and-effect relations between the imposed measures and the achieved results, a leader focuses on preventing similar situations in future, demonstrating one’s positive attitude to the worker and one’s belief in his/her future success.
Willingness to Accept Blame
To be an effective leader, the leader should be able to take blame when he/she has failed in achieving his/her goals or the organization goals which has been set. By accepting blame for mistake the leader becomes more admirable to his/her followers. As opposed to falsely blaming others, a strong leader should accept blame when it is appropriate.
An effective leader rates the power of motivation at its true value and can find the words for encouraging employees, not to mention the appropriate self-motivation. For example, before the beginning of a new time-taking project which profits are doubtful, the workers might be discouraged and disappointed. Still, pointing at future benefits and dividing the main goal into smaller and more attainable ones, a manager can influence the future working process significantly.
Passion and Enthusiasm
Though person’s attitude to work depends on peculiarities of temperament, a manager should not demonstrate one’s bad mood or reluctance to work. For example, a researcher demonstrating sincere interest in the subject of investigation, is sure to stimulate the whole team’s commitment to further research.
Intellectual skills are required for becoming a leader and gaining authority among the employees. However, it would be insufficient for further effective management, while leadership requires further intellectual development and acquiring new knowledge. For example, if a new project requires implementation of new technologies or programs, a leader is certain that everything is possible and is the first to acquire new knowledge and to develop new skills, demonstrating one’s cognitive ability.
A person having problems with self-esteem will not be able to become a good manager. Self-confidence is helpful for preventing various problems during the communication exchange with employees. For example, a manager lacking self-confidence is concentrated on one’s presentation instead of focusing on the company mission.
Courage is one of the most important qualities of an effective leader required for gaining authority among employees. For example, if a leader is not afraid to stand for the rights of the workers before the senior management of the company, it could be helpful for further effective collaboration.
Sense of Humour
Sense of humour is one of the most effective tools aimed at establishing the personal rapport between the workers and making the working atmosphere more comfortable. For example, during brainstorming, when everyone is short of ideas, a manager might take the control over the situation using one’s sense of humour. A good joke can relieve the workers’ stress and inspire them for continuation of the working process.
Previous sentence is does not make sense, delete and revise. Also be sure to have a real life example for each trait listed above. Please re-read and revise.
Leadership Influence Tactics
“When a leader has power over his followers, this is the starting point for that leader because with that power he can be able to influence others, to achieve his/her goals in an organization” (DuBrin, 2004).
The leader is able to influence the organization by making decisions that will help the organization, controlling the organization resources, providing rewards, and lastly modeling expected behaviors in the company. When the leader is able to control the processes of influence, the leader will be in a position to effect the changes in the organization. “When a leader has control of the decision which are made in an organization, the leader will be able to mold and shape the vision of the organization” (DuBrin, 2004).
“For a good leader, he/she must be in a position to convince his followers at all times, because the followers will determine if a leader is successful or not” (Bolman and Deal, 1991). There are some other traits which will make a leader effective, and these traits are: assertiveness, ingratiation, rationality, exchange, upward appeal, consultation, and Joking and kidding.
When a leader is assertive, it means the leader is forthright to his/her demands, the leader is able to express his specific demands. “There are times when the degree of assertiveness can provoke predictable reactions by the followers, but an effective leader will use the reactions from his/her followers to gauge his leadership abilities”(DuBrin, 2004).
Ingratiation trait is when a leader will try his/her best to be liked by his/her follower, “for example, a leader will act in a friendly way towards his/her followers in organization when he/she is asking for something from his/her followers in organization” (DuBrin, 2004).
There are four common Ingratiation tactics which a leader can use: follower’s enhancement, rendering favors, opinion conformity and self-presentation in organization in which the leader leads other followers. Strong leaders in an organization will rely on various tactics that is available to him/her to achieve his/her goals in the organization.
“Rationality as a virtue is when a leader uses reasoning to make decision in an organization” (DuBrin, 2004). The leader is able to recognize and accept reasoning as the only source of knowledge when he makes decision in organization. When a leader point out facts in a situation in organization, and tell his/her followers to act, this is an example of rationality.
When a leader tries to exchange favors to influence his/her followers in organization. This trait is mostly used by leaders who has a limited personal and position powers in organization in which the leader is working. “An example of exchange is when a leader would promise a pay bonus at end of financial year, when his/her followers increase company sales” (DuBrin, 2004).
“This tactic is used by many leaders when he/she want to exerts influence to his/her followers in organization. For example, the leader will send a follower who is indiscipline to his/her superior to fix the follower” (DuBrin, 2004). This type of tactics usually weakens the leader in that organization.
When a leader consults with his/her followers or superiors before making any decision in organization, The previous sentence is a fragment revise. This is the most effective way a leader can influence his/her followers to meet the goals in an organization.
I also need an example here. For example, before making a decision to make a deal with a certain company, a leader should consult with the rest of the specialists. Being involved in decision-making, the employees are expected to demonstrate better commitment to the project.
Joking and Kidding
In the organization the leader should be humorous; this will remove the tension that might be there between the followers and the leader. For example, in tense situations a leader can make a joke to easy the tension.
Different types of organization in a country will represent different types of leadership styles in organization. There are various types of leadership styles that have been seen in many organizations and the most ideal, in my opinion, is the transformational style of leadership. Is this 1st or 3rd person, we need to be consistent revise accordingly.
“Transformational leader is a leader who helps organization and people in the organization to make positive change in the way they do their business” (DuBrin, 2004). This is a leader who has the ability to make positive change to organization, and people in that organization.
Transformational leaders may want to change an organization even though the organization does not need any change and the people in organization are satisfied and happy as they are. “If the transformational leader is not careful he/she may be frustrated, these leaders the good about them is that given the right situation they can save the entire organization” (Burns, 1978).
In this type of leadership, all the workers have a say in the organization. The management is chosen through a democratic process. There are two concepts in this type of leadership, firstly all the workers in the organization have equal access to power in the organization, and all the members in the organization will enjoy universally the freedoms and powers in the organization.
Leadership and Gender
“It is know that men and women have different leadership styles, many studies have been conducted, and it has been found that women are having certain acquired leadership traits and behavior which are different from men” (DuBrin, 2004).
It has been found that the difference between men and women leadership style is; women will find participative management more natural when they are in leadership than men, because they always feel more comfortable interacting with their followers in an organization than men. “Women being sensitive to other people will give them an edge over men if they are in the same organization” (DuBrin, 2004).
Leaders in organizations should always be ready to transfer knowledge and skills to their followers. This process should be constantly encouraged in organization, because it will act as a ground to educate and develop future potential leaders. There are different people in an organization; this difference in people should be taken into consideration for effective performance of the organization.
There are forces which affect a leader; these factors can either be the relation between a leader and his followers or between a leader and the authority. Everyone in an organization who wants to become a leader must learn that being an effective leader requires certain behaviors, skills, traits, motivation, characteristics, and influence tactics in order to be a successful leader.
Bass, B. (1990), From transactional to transformational leadership: learning to share the vision. New York: Winter Publisher.
Blake, Robert R. and Mouton, Janse S. (1985). The Managerial Grid III: The Key to Leadership Excellence. Houston: Gulf Publishing Co.
Bolman, L. and Deal, T. (1991). Reframing Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Burns, J. M. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper & Row Publisher.
DuBrin, A. (2004). Applying psychology: Individual and organizational effectiveness (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson / Prentice Hall.
Ivancevich, J. and Matteson, M. (2007). Organizational behavior and management. New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.