Leadership traits are the qualities and the features that characterize an effective leader making him/her outstanding from other leaders (Aurelius 1). They are the features that enable a leader practice strategic leadership in an organization and act as a role model for his sub-ordinates.
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The issue of leadership traits came to existence in the 1940’s in a survey carried out by Bird. Bird had an intention to identify various characteristics and traits that made up an effective leader. Bird carried out twenty different studies in which he identified seventy nine traits. Among these traits, only five percent were common for leaders. Some of the features that were complied by Bird include “intelligence, scholarship, responsibility, activity and social participation” (Geier 316).
There are different leadership traits that are possessed by leaders that make leadership more effective in any organization. For example, honesty is considered the most important trait in effective leadership. When a leader is honest it becomes easy for him/her to win the approval of his/her followers.
An effective leader should have emotional intelligence in order to control his/her emotions. The hospitality industry may at times require a lot of patience and self control since it mainly deals with customer relations. Again, an effective leader ought to inspire the people he/she is serves by the way he/she works, communicates and behaves. This may attract more clients to the business and may also motivate the staff to be more productive.
It has been noted that people with inborn characteristics for leadership usual make excellent leaders (Perry 8). Ducker has expressed similar views that leaders with innate characters for leadership easily make great leaders.
Leadership can also be viewed as the ability to influence followers towards achieving a common goal. Exerting influence on the followers can be accomplished by giving a sense of direction, alignment, commitment and then being able to agree collectively without violating their freedom (Velsor, McCauley & Ruderman 1).
Some major characteristics of leadership in any organization that make a leader to be authentic include knowledge of history of the organization one is leading. Leadership requires that the leaders address the truth about the history of the organization they are representing.
Discipline and competency is another core characteristic in leadership. A leader should carry out his/her duties honestly by for instance hiring the right and competent people for the right job.
Leadership also calls for good organizational structure which is brought about by transforming rigid organizational structures into flexible ones and designing and maintaining systems that link various parts of the organization. Organizational power is vital in any organization. Leadership recognizes shared power through togetherness. Most of these core leadership characteristics are similar regardless of the organization that one is serving (Velsor, McCauley & Ruderman 76).
However, the characteristics might take slightly different approach in different industries. In the hospitality industry leadership should be practiced with a lot of care since the industry is very interactive with the outside world.
Followership is a very distinct process from leadership. The process involves following up the directions which leaders give in an organization. Most followers are mainly fellow employees who take up the directions given by the leaders in order to achieve the required results.
However, leaders may also act as followers in an organization. This happens when decisions are made in an organization and everyone including the leaders takes their positions towards the targeted goal.
The hospitality industry touches on very sensitive areas that require direct relationship between the follower and the customers. For instance, in the hotel industry, the waiters interact directly with the customers thus calling for a lot of commitment in the business as well as competence in order to have these customers frequent the business consistently.
Followership is very important in the hospitality industry since it displays the image of the company in general to the clients. The relationship the followers will create and the image they display to their client determines whether the customers will come back for the service again. Followership determines the future of an organization because the followers make it possible for the implementation of long term and the short term goals of the company (Burton 60). For instance, consistence of the customers in a hotel is determined by the services rendered by the followers which will determine the growth of the hotel to the future.
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For a follower to be effective in the hospitality industry, he should be knowledgeable on the tasks he is undertaking and work with competence. This gives his clients confidence that they are receiving quality services and they are not likely to seek the services elsewhere. A follower should also build good relationship with his co-workers as well as the leader in order to boost the business in unity.
Furthermore, he should support and defend his leader when need arises to display a good public image of the business. This will always attract more clients to the business. Such traits can have very positive rewards especially in the hotel industry, tours and travel among others (Burton 62).
This is a kind of leadership which involves a leader who is concerned with the well being and the personal needs of his subordinate leaders. Supportive leaders are open, friendly, and approachable and create a conducive working environment for all their subordinates by treating them fairly and equally.
When supportive leadership is applied in an organization, it brings along so many benefits. For example, it is a way of motivating staff to be more productive since most of them will love their working positions thus the likelihood of them giving their best is quite high.
When leaders incorporate their subordinate needs in to their day to day life, it reduces the instances of employees creating excuses to avoid reporting to work. Furthermore, communication breakdown between the employees and their leaders exposes most of the information to the leaders thus making their roles easier to carry out (Burton 65).
Some of the supportive behaviors that have been greatly rewarding in the hospitality industry include courteous and friendly interaction, genuine follow up of the well being and the personal needs of the employees and creating an environment that allows subordinate staff to follow up the leader freely. Friendly interactions allow the employees to share most of their thoughts concerning the company with their leaders.
When employees know that their leader not only requires them to work but also considers their needs, they are motivated to work harder. When the leaders are approachable, there is no communication breakdown in the company and most of the burning issues are resolved before they get out hand. Taking an example of a tour guide, support from his manager would mean that he will deliver the best to the tourists.
Power refers to the art of achieving goals though influence. For example, a manager of a restaurant may come up with means of improving the income of the business by improving the services rendered by the followers. He may achieve this by influencing the employees through promising them a better package, giving them incentives or even acting as a role model. Different kinds of power are employed in companies to achieve the stipulated goals, some of which are discussed below.
Reward power refers the use reward as a means of appreciating what the employee has contributed towards a certain goal. Reward power is composed of two components. First, the employer must see the power to reward in his employer and secondly, the reward must have some kind of value. For instance, a hotel manager may take the best followers for a summer holiday together with their families.
Coercive power refers to the kind of power that involves punishment or withholding something valuable to the employee in case he fails to meet the stipulated standards. It is composed of the fact that the employee is always aware of the repercussions that are accompanied by his failure to deliver accordingly. For instance, a hotel waiter may receive less pay or be stopped from working for a while if he does not deliver quality to the customers.
Legitimate power is the kind that a person possesses depending on his role or position. It has three components namely culture, social structure and delegation of power. This involves the power associated with the male or females in a hospitality company like a hotel, age or a position in the hotel.
Managers have a challenging task of effectively exercising power in the hospitality industry. For instance, a manager may create a sense of obligation to a good chef by doing her a favor knowing that it will be backed with applying her abilities in the industry. Other means leaders can employ include building their reputation on their areas of expertise and creating a sense of dependence among the employees.
Drucker’s Definition of a leader
Drucker exclusively refers to a leader as someone who has followers. A leader is key component in strategic planning since he is responsible for every success or failure in an organization (Drucker 28). The hospitality industry has employed so many followers thus it has very good examples of leaders.
Leadership effectiveness is mainly judged on personality basis mainly by looking at the effectiveness of the leaders. The followers are the best placed people to judge leadership effectiveness since the work of the leaders affects them directly. The main areas that are considered by followers of leaders when judging leadership effectiveness are mainly technical competence and knowledge.
However, subordinates mainly judge leadership effectiveness through personality features especially honesty. Most of the effective leaders have been found to possess emotional intelligence, a trait that enables them to have self control under all circumstances when dealing with their clients (Lande & Conte 575).
The questions leaders ask are varied and may be directed to diversified groups of people. First, there are those questions they need to ask themselves and come up with the answer in order to be competent in their leadership roles.
or example, ‘What does leadership mean, what would I like to be remembered for, Am I happy? What am I afraid of? Some of the questions leaders should ask their employees include, ‘How do you contribute to the success of the business? How could you make your work more effective, How do we make money, How do we save money? Some of the questions directed to the clients include ‘How can we effectively appreciate your contribution to us? How and when did we make our business relationship hard? These are just some of the questions that leaders ask (Lande & Conte 575).
Leadership behaviors influence the outcomes of the subordinates or the followers to a great extent. When leadership behaviors are acceptable by the followers, they tend to contribute towards positive performance and satisfaction. The supportive leadership style supports mutual understanding between the leader and his followers whereby the leaders puts in to consideration employees’ well being and personal needs among other features.
This is therefore a friendly style of leadership. Directive leadership on the other hand is accomplished through guiding the followers on methods and means of planning and scheduling work according to the stipulated standards in order to obtain the results (Pang 18).
According to Hersey and Blanchard Situational Leadership Model, several leadership styles combine directive and supportive leadership behaviors. Let us look at some of these styles. The delegating leadership style is a kind of style that allows the followers to take responsibility of some decisions made by the leadership.
This style has proved to be a low task and a low relationship style since followers are rarely involved in decision making. This kind of leadership style may be seen in cases where managers for instance in a hotel make decision without involving the subordinate staff and later on direct the staff to implement them (Schermerhorn 320).
A participating leadership style emphasizes on sharing of ideas between the employees between the leaders and the followers. It encourages followers’ participation during decision making. It can be viewed as a low task but a highly interactive leadership style. In the hospitality industry, it may be seen in a situation where a manager involves all the employees probably in a hotel for most of decision making. In this kind of style, followers are likely to respond more positively (Schermerhorn 320; Clarke 1).
The selling leadership style involves explaining the task in a highly supportive and persuasive manner. It is generally a high task and a high relationship style. It may be applied better in the hospitality industry when the followers are taken through the already made decisions carefully so that they may feel as part of the team and if possible, they are included in decision making (Schermerhorn 320).
The telling leadership style involves a situation whereby the followers are given specific task directions after which they are closely monitored to confirm effectiveness. This leadership style is highly tasking but has a very low relationship profile (Schermerhorn 320). This may be viewed in situations where employees are employed and are not completely involved in decision making.
Leadership vs. Management
Leadership and management are two very distinct terms which may assume very different meanings and roles. Traditionally, leadership was viewed as a hard, higher and a totally different subject from management. Though leadership may not be as complicated, there is some truth in this traditional view of leadership (Krause 47).
Most people assume that leaders are very rare to find since they are mostly born but managers can be trained to be. However, every business requires both leaders and managers. In several scenarios, you may find a leader who can make a good manager or you find a manager who can make a good leader but this does not necessarily mean that a leader and a manager refer to the same person (Aurelious 1).
It is necessary to differentiate the two terms in order to have a clear distinction of what each of these terms could be referring to and avoid instances of using them interchangeably. Leadership refers to being able to influence followers towards achieving a common goal by giving a sense of direction, alignment and commitment and then influencing a collective agreement.
On the other hand, managers mainly tells the workers what to do by engaging their mind and causing them to take action. Managers are mainly involved in scheduling of tasks, telling workers when to perform what task or when to start working among others (Aurelious 1).
This traditional approach has greatly changed today due to complexity of these organizations. The two terms are used interchangeably whereby leadership is inclusive of all positions including management. People portraying leadership roles are usually appointed to management position. This lack of distinction has led to poor leadership in many organizations (Landy & Conte 1).
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Throughout history, the leadership of Dwight Eisenhower has been very significant and successful. His leadership traits were majorly influenced by nature. First, his physique portrayed him as a very able leader. He had a strong, tough, big, athletic body which was accompanied by very significant good looks, a notable grin coupled with a lot of intelligence.
Apart from the physical body, Dwight D. Eisenhower inherited a strong outstanding streak from his parents, uncontrollable temperament, unquestioning love, self discipline, religion as well as great ambitions (Ambrose 1).
Some of the features that this great leader possessed were not very interesting, for example bad tempers which would trigger him to take up some task in order to manage it properly. His ability to control his tempers and emotions gave him a strong Victorian look on the relationship between men and women and also on proper conduct. He was also very careful on the way he carried himself in front of ladies (Ambrose 2).
Dwight D. Eisenhower continued participating in leadership positions continually which helped him to develop his leadership traits that made him a very effective leader. With time he is said to have demonstrated great decision making abilities, diplomacy and was always true to his word (Ambrose 2).
If a leader today is able to employ some of the character traits demonstrated above by the leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower then such a leader can be termed as a great and effective leader. The emotional intelligence of Eisenhower was one of the most outstanding traits that made his leadership so effective. This enabled him to manage his bad tempers and treat all his subordinates with understanding.
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