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Becoming a leader is a complicated and time-consuming process. It is necessary to pass through a number of stages, learn a number of details, and combine theoretical knowledge and practice. It is also important to remember that there may be certain obstacles and challenges on the way, and a successful leader should be strong enough to overcome them, them other people to do the same, and choose the actions that make him/her self-sufficient.
This kind of choice can be made on the basis of the theories offered to the students, who are involved in studying the peculiarities of leadership. For example, the situational approach helps to understand that the process of adaptation is crucial in leadership. Even if people are mature and know exactly what to do and how to choose the most effective approach, they need to learn how to behave and understand the expectations.
In these terms, the ideas of the path-goal theory are also effective: leaders have to motivate employees not just to give orders or pieces of advice. It is more interesting and effective to communicate and cooperate to have a number of mutual goals and the desire to meet all of them. The contingency theory teaches me how crucial to pick out the style and consider the variables in regards to a situation. Finally, the leader-member exchange theory makes people focus on the roles and influences of a particular person or a group of people. The current week makes the idea of people’s influence evident in leadership. It is not enough to understand that leadership is a kind of relation between people. It is a chance to demonstrate individual approaches and abilities on how to solve and develop the concepts.
The existing variety of goals and methods that can be used by a leader makes me believe that I am still able to become a good one representative. I get a chance to learn that good leaders should be able to recognize the employees’ needs, adapt them in accordance with a personal style, and meet the majority of them (Northouse, 2010). The evaluation of the knowledge gained and the practice observed helps me realize that leadership is not only about people, orders, and work that should be performed. It is more about the relationship that has to be properly developed within a group. It is not a difficult task to give an order.
It is more difficult to understand the importance of the task and ability to get ready for those changes and obstacles. Kouzes and Posner (2003) created a powerful assessment tool with the help of which any person is able to check his/her readiness to become a leader. I wanted to check if the knowledge about different leadership theories changed my attitudes to some aspects, made me better, or led to the development of my uncertainty. This time, I paid more attention to such statements like treating people with dignity and respect and setting a personal example of what I can expect from other people in similar situation (Kouzes & Posner, 2003).
The assessment of my personal skills and abilities on the basis of Kouzes and Posner’s tool is a unique chance to observe the differences that take place as soon as some new material is studied. I cannot even imagine that one assignment and one theory can change my attitude to the same concepts within a short period of time just because I get a chance to learn deeper a particular issue.
This week I deal with several chapters of the Northouse’s book that focus on the analysis of people, their actions, and their needs. Leaders have to understand the essence of the relations to be developed between leaders and employees. Northouse (2010) teaches the reader how not to lose the right path in a variety of styles, approaches, and theories. It is wrong to make one certain decision and stick to it during the whole working period. It is appropriate to make corrections or even choose an absolutely diverse point of view because different situations may require different solutions. Leaders should not be afraid of changes.
They have to be ready to listen, adapt, and motivate the rest to do the same. This is what the chosen course reading teaches me this week. As for another reading material chosen for this course, the assessment instrument developed by Kouzes and Posner (2003), it helps me realize that I am already ready to change my opinion and understand that it is not bad to make a decision, realize that there are more options, and make another choice.
It should not be considered as a mistake. It is an experience that helps to analyze the same situation from a new perspective. In fact, I like the way of how the chosen readings influence my understanding of leadership. Now, I want to read more to define what changes can be done more to improve my abilities and skills and make me a good leader in terms of the challenges, obstacles, and opportunities that appear, disappear, and leave a kind of “aftertaste” (sometimes, it is sweet, and sometimes, it may be bitter indeed) within a short period of time.
Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2003). Leadership practices inventory (“LPI”) Self-Scoring Instrument. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Northouse, P. (2010). Leadership: Theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.