Values, Assumptions, Beliefs and Expectations (VABES) – Leadership
Leadership is an elaborate term, which cannot be explicated in definition alone. It often requires contextualization and examples to be clearly understood by anybody seeking its true definition or explanation. Leadership involves the changing of attitudes, believes and the direction of people in a managerial context.
The role of a leader in the modern society is extraordinarily complex. Therefore, it is difficult to find an accomplished leader. Leadership is an activity that has been undergoing evolution for the past one century. As it is today, leadership is centered on four main paradigms; which are behavioral, trait integrative and contingency (Clawson, pp. 1).
With the increased call for holistic leadership in business and other organizations, it is essential to be clear on which attributes a person will be looking at in assessing leadership. This is made clear by understanding the values, assumptions, beliefs and expectations of what leadership is or how leaders should conduct leadership. The VABEs of leadership are many, but they revolve around a number of key points.
The main assumption of leadership is that, leadership is pegged on an individual. The other VABE on leadership is that, successful results of leadership often come when leadership is inclined towards development. Even in management today, there is a call for leadership. Also, another assumption on leadership is that productive development in leadership is reached through collaboration.
The units of leadership in an organization effect on the context of unity or collaboration. It has been assumed that everybody in leadership strives to maximize and realize his or her best potential. This is subject to more discussion because there are leaders who end up failing in leading raising questions on the utilization of the full potential (Best, Para. 1).
The assumption by a number of people that leaders are born and not molded bogs the minds of people. Most people in the current times believe that leadership is developed and is built on personality of an individual. This is something which many scholars of leadership have been discussing.
The other belief of leadership is that holistic collaboration in leadership requires the understanding of the participants and respecting them. Leaders must be in a position to realize the best potential of individuals in their team, and this can only be achieved through an iterative process. Therefore, leaders must initiate iterative processes to help in understanding on the potential of those working under them.
Leadership today is mostly talked about in the context of organizations. Leadership is about guiding and mentoring a group of people or groups of people towards a given course. Therefore, leadership cannot be talked without putting a person in the context of an organization which will often involve other people. Therefore, objectives must prevail in leadership as they guide the leader and the team that is being led towards fulfilling a course.
Another crucial point noted from the VABEs is that collaboration or unity forms part of leadership. Leadership does not take place in an isolated field or environment. This resonates from the fact that most of the structures of the society are inter-networked. Even the business environment, which is competitive, has its set structures of collaboration.
Collaboration in leadership begins from the internal structures and end up being replicated in the external structures. Leadership is a collaborative exercise; hence, successful leadership calls for people who are interactive and who are proficient in initiating and sustaining relationships. Therefore, leadership involves a lot of communication, which means that leaders should be people with mastery of communication skills and abilities (Clawson, pp. 2).
Critical Style Self-Assessment
The assessment of the leadership ability of a person can be done basing on the personal attributes. The first one is the manner in which a person opts to arrive at decisions – thought or feeling. The second is the way a person deals with or approaches different social situations– extrovert or introvert. Thirdly, is the way in which one processes information – sensing or intuiting.
The approaches above affects the way a person communicates with either an individual or in a group thence impacting on leadership. Decision making and implementation is one of the core responsibilities of leaders. The decisions arrived at may either make or break the course for which a person is championing. If it is a business, the decision will determine whether the business will make or collapse.
People can arrive at decisions through two main ways which are critical thinking and feeling. Thinking involves self-assessing by reflecting on the likely pros and cons of each available decision option. The risk of landing on unsustainable or risky decisions is reduced. Thinking encouraged communication by giving individuals and group opportunities to have a deeper or critical look into options.
Open communication is encouraged in thinking where a person gives his colleagues a change to think about a given scenario and present their views on the available options.
Thinking influences positively on communication as a key feature of leadership. People who arrive at decisions by thinking can develop and sustain positive relationships with many other people. They easily fit in groups and networks within and even without the organization. They are receptive to criticism. Such people can form satisfactory leaders who can manage teams in organizations (Daft, and Lane, p. 119).
Decisions can also be arrived at by an individual basing on feelings. Such decisions are made basing on emotions. Emotions hinder thinking and closes communicative options, thus decisions reached are often closed. It does not give room for exploitation of the available options.
Decisions are guided by moods or tamper, and such decisions are devoid of rationality and objectivity. A person who makes decisions basing on feeling is more likely to arrive at wrong decisions because he is not guided by logical reasoning but the mental setup at that time. Feelings are barriers to communication occurring at both the group level and between individuals. People with lots of feelings or emotional cannot keep relationships with other people since they are quick to arrive at decisions (Daft, and Lane, p. 119).
Extroverts are people who are outgoing, more open, more interactive and active. They are more vocal and proactive and like crafting solutions rather than sitting back and waiting for others to craft solutions.
From their interactive character, they easily develop relationships. Introverts are excellent communicators who like being engaged in constructive communicative interactions. Conflict and challenges characterize many organizations. Thus, organizations need to have extroverts to help in developing relations and seeking for solutions to organizational constraints (Morse, pp. 100)
Introverts are people who are closed. They are segregated and are poor developers or relations. They are self-withdrawn and do not like taking part in developing relations and finding solutions to problems in their surroundings. They are self-withdrawn and do not fit in groups in society.
Such people will usually have remarkably little fiends. The extroverts take too long to make decisions, yet they mostly end up arriving on wrong decisions because they make decisions solely. They cannot easily fit within groups because they are not vocal and do not contribute even when they are placed in groups. However, these people are suited to perform some functions in organizations. They often perform well in technical tasks, which do not need groups like individual product development (Morse, p. 101).
The ability of people to process information differs. While some people process information through sensing, other process information through intuition. Sensors process data basing on sense and experience at a given time. They base on practical, real and immediate information in assessing and responding to situations. They like employing the skills they have in responding to tactical situations. They are proficient at crafting immediate solutions to emergent problems in organizations (Hiebert and Klatt, p. 89).
Intuits process data in a more comprehensive way by even going beyond conscience. They are more visionary and look for prolonged solutions. They also like acquiring new skills and preforming strategic tasks. Intuits are suitable for developing long-term and visionary plans for organizations (Klimoski, Schmitt and Zaccaro, p. 32).
Sources of meaning and social/world issues
While there are many opportunities for people who are aiming at becoming excellent leaders who can match the highly profiled leaders, a lot of pitfalls also exist. While there is a lot of literature about different aspects of leadership, the society still lags behind because of lack of strong leadership.
Leadership is more meaningful when it is applied than when it is just understood from leaders. The challenge of leadership lies in the application of leadership in real organizations. Leadership as applied in the current society entails a combination of many traits by one person– the leader.
It is difficult for a person to have the many traits that define leadership and leaders. Many organizations have collapsed while many others are performing the way below expectation. All these problems are blamed on the leadership of these organizations. This denotes a gap between knowledge and understanding of leadership and the real organizational world in which leadership is to be applied (McCauley, p. 163).
The best thing is that people and organizations have discovered the need for not only management but also incorporating leadership in management. There are many institutions that are training people on leadership. Organizations are embracing leadership programs and are either running leadership training programs or are sending their staffs to leadership training institutions.
Organizations are exercising the need for organizational leadership by hiring people with potential leadership skills. Leadership qualifications are enlisted on the qualifications lists which are used in conducting interviews. Organizations are also encouraging the exercise of leadership at all levels of the organization.
Leadership that is exhibited at the organizational level emanates from individuals and life experiences that they have. Therefore, by studying the society and events therein, one can be able to alter character thereby influencing leadership at different levels (McCauley, p. 163).
Definition/model of leadership and core leadership principles
Leadership has numerous definitions. In a nutshell, leadership is the ability of an individual or groups of individuals to initiate implement and even institutionalization of efforts in ensuring that certain objectives are met. Similar to its definition, there are many principles of leadership applying to different contexts or types of leadership (Best, para 2).
Vision – Leaders must what they want and set the right objectives and methods of achieving them. Responsibility must exist in leadership and thus is a principle of leadership.
- Responsibility and commitment
- Spirit and meaning
- Growth and development
- Mobilization and
Leadership is an all-round activity which is governed by ethics. The course that is being pursued by leaders, irrespective of the level at which it is must be beneficial to the society. This is the core ethical pillar of leadership. Leadership principles are valuable since they act as a reminder and a reference point which keeps leaders on course (Best, Para 3).
Leadership skills are developed basing on the leadership principles. Some skills that are needed for leadership are common and are possessed by almost everybody. These include a sober mind, basic communicative skills, and basic problem solving skills. However, most other skills are acquired, adopted and developed as a person gets experience in leadership.
The communicative ability of the leader and the ability to develop strategic moves are developed over a long time. Problem solving skills also grow with time as a person goes through different experience. Leaders must also portray a deeper understanding of the field in which they are leading (Caroselli, p. 3).
Motivational and inspirational skills are essential for sustenance of teams. Therefore, leaders must learn the different methods or means of inspiring and motivating people working under or with them. The group that is being led plays a highly active role in implementing the set objectives. In fact, they are the determinants of success. This is what many leaders especially in organizations in the business world are struggling to understand and implement (Caroselli, p. 4).
As mentioned earlier leadership is developed. Any person who has aspirations of becoming a successful leader must learn how to lead. In the course of learning, people are encouraged by a number of factors. One factor of learning and developing leadership skills are people who have prospered in leadership.
These may include successful entrepreneurs and managers in different fields, scholars among many other categories of leaders. One of the most successful leaders and entrepreneurs in the world is Bill Gates of Microsoft Incorporated. The role models act as examples for the upcoming leaders who work on emulating of following their footprints. There are many other successful leaders who have grown to become prominent leaders by emulating the steps that were followed by the successful leaders.
As one decides on taking a step towards succeeding in leadership, it is necessary to have a trusted person to guide the person. This is called a mentor. Mentors are people who have made achievements in life and leadership who can guide and model the aspiring leader. They correct and offer counsel and direction to the aspiring leaders. When best selected, mentors can aid in skill development and are besides acting as the first role models. The role of mentorship is being emphasized in leadership development (Bass, Bass and Bass, p. 3).
Leadership Development Plan
Strengths of leadership development
Leadership development in the contemporary society has been boosted by a number of factors. The first one is the emphasis for leadership in management. The second supportive point is the availability of literature on leadership. The other point is that there are many leaders who have become successful in leadership who can serve as role models and mentors to the upcoming leaders.
Weakness of leadership development
Factors that impede the development of leadership include the existing leadership theories and the real world in which they are applied. The other weakness of leadership is that there are examples of leaders who have failed in some aspects yet succeeded in others. This bogs down the essence of holistic leadership, which is emphasized in texts. Also, there are many challenges in the economy and society at large which keep impeding people from exploiting leadership potential
Time frame of leadership development – 6 months
The main aim of leadership development is ensuring that the potential leaders gain leadership skills
The Schedule of events
To ensure the attainment of this, I have to ensure that all the resources for leadership development are availed. Among these resources is the leadership learning materials and resource persons – teachers and mentors/role models. The collection of the learning materials will take place in one month – the first month.
The identification of resource person will follow the collection of materials. This will take place within the first two weeks of the second month. The second two weeks of the second month will be used for familiarization. The real program will start in the sixth month and run up to the sixth month.
Expected challenges and outcomes
The main challenge, which is expected, is the tight schedules of the resource persons and incompatibilities which may arise as the program progresses. Otherwise, at the end of the six months, it is expected that a person will be able to exercise leadership effectively. The person will be equipped with all the basics of leadership.
Bass, Bernard M., R. Bass, and R. R. Bass. The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications. New York: The Free Press. 2008. Print.
Best, Candis K. Holistic Leadership: A Model for Leader-Member Engagement and Development, Journal of Value Based Leadership. 4(1): 2011. Web. 13 June 2012. http://www.valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com/issues/vol4issue1/holistic_leadership.php
Caroselli, Marlene. Leadership Skills for Managers. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. Print.
Clawson, James G. Level Three Leadership: Getting Below the Surface. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2012. Print.
Daft, Richard L, and P. G. Lane. The Leadership Experience. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western, 2008. Print.
Hiebert, Murray and B. Klatt. The Encyclopedia of Leadership: A Practical Guide to Popular Leadership Theories and Techniques. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001. Print.
Klimoski, Richard J, N. Schmitt and S.J. Zaccaro. The Nature of Organizational Leadership: Understanding the Performance Imperatives Confronting Today’s Leaders. San Francisco, Ca: Jossey-Bass, 2001. Print.
McCauley, Cynthia D. The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development. San Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass, 2004. Print.
Morse, MaryKate. Making Room for Leadership: Power, Space and Influence. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Books, 2008. Print.