Leadership is a complex issue that is subject to many discussions and research. Its definition will depend on the situation where it is studied. Leadership is a field of study and a skill crucial for successful managers and other leaders. Leadership is not only the feature of politicians or managers in offices. Leadership skills can be useful in many professions.
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Moreover, a person with developed leadership skills can save others in a critical situation. On the contrary, a person in power but with poor leadership skills can bring harm in case of an emergency. History has examples of disastrous situations where men in power could not manage critical situations, which led to people’s deaths (Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy, 2009). Thus, a person can be described as one possessing leadership skills when he or she can have an influence on “an organized group toward accomplishing its goals” (Hughes et al., 2009, 88).
Managerial incompetence may have unwanted consequences. The minimum negative impact of incompetence is the failure to achieve goals. However, when an incompetent manager works with people or in a serious industry, the consequences can be much worse. There are two dimensions of managerial incompetence (Hughes et al., 2009). They include the inability to build teams and achieve the wanted results. According to these dimensions, managers can be divided into four categories: Competent Managers, Cheerleaders, In Name Only Managers, and Results Only Managers (Hughes et al., 2009). They differ in their ability to organize efficient teamwork and reach the intended purposes.
I used to know a person who was in charge of the sales department of a small retail trade company. He had five sales managers in the department. They were not making billions of dollars but had a steady income and clear perspectives of growth and development. The person was a typical Cheerleader in his management strategy. The definition of this manager type suited him best of all: “very people-centered and made it a point of getting along with everyone” (Hughes et al., 2009, 91). He tried to make friends with everyone from the company’s staff. He always initiated team-building activities, collective trips on weekends, and all his managers went for dinner together if they were in the office. The sales department looked like a family with warm relations.
On the one hand, it was a pleasure to look at their spending time together. The working process was organized in an atmosphere of fun. On the other hand, the efficiency of the department was decreasing every month. According to Hughes et al., “the problem is Cheerleaders spend so much time making the workplace enjoyable that they forget why they are paid in a leadership position, which is to get results” (2009, 91). It is a precise characteristic of my acquaintance.
His position of an understanding and kind friend could be efficient in case the other managers were responsible and knew what to do. However, three of the five managers he was responsible for were lazy enough to be satisfied with what they had. They did not want bonuses for sales increase and were not conscientious. Taking into consideration his inability to control the work of the staff, the results of the department were predictable. He tried to avoid any conflicts or confrontations. However, his eagerness to follow the orders of superiors and talent to get on well with people led to his promotion as ahead of a company branch in a rural area. At that position, his capacities would be more useful.
I often think about whether the man could become an efficient leader in his previous position. He had a good education, many certificates from various training, and an absolute talent to communicate with people. Nevertheless, it was not enough to make a successful leader. Hughes et al. state three crucial components that make good leaders (2009). These components include the “ability to solve problems and make sound decisions, local/functional know-how, and the ability to get things done through others” (Hughes et al., 2009, 92).
It appears that at present, employees face a problem of hiring efficient managers. I suppose that the man could become more effective in his work if he were more oriented on the result. The image of a friendly and understanding person is good when one looks for a friend, not a manager. When an employer hires a person in a managerial position, the employee is expected to demonstrate the eagerness to achieve goals and fulfill the plans set by a company. If a manager is in charge of a department, he or she should not try to win the false authority by being good. If managerial decisions are fair, no one will object.
Thus, an efficient manager should be able not only to make the team, but to manage it effectively. This effectiveness presupposes the manager’s knowledge of the work details, the orientation on the result, and fair and equal treatment of his colleagues. Consequently, my acquaintance could have been a more fruitful and efficient manager if he had cared more about the result than about his perfect image of a nice person.
Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C., & Curphy, G. J. (2009). Leadership: Enhancing the lessons of experience (6th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill Irwin.