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“What Leaders Really Do?” by John Kotter Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2021

Describe in full the author’s key ideas and points, and any models or frameworks used by the author.

In his article, Kotter (1990) sheds light on the phenomenon of leadership. According to the author, leadership is only a part of management. Furthermore, being a leader does not imply having any extraordinary character traits. Quite on the contrary, Kotter stresses that leadership skills can be acquired by anyone (Kotter, 1990).

Kotter emphasizes that there is a significant difference between leadership and management. The latter suggests that guidelines for maintaining order should be introduced into an organization. In contrast to management, leadership implies producing changes and handling them (Kotter, 1990).

Furthermore, as a rule, a leader does not engage in planning and budgeting. Instead, a leader sets a course for the further development of the organization. Planning is often confused with setting a direction, as Kotter (1990) stresses. However, the latter requires introducing a specific vision into the organizational design, whereas planning only suggests the ways in which the company’s goals should be implemented (Kotter, 1990).

Furthermore, Kotter (1990) stresses that, instead of organizing people, a leader aligns them. Put differently; a leader reinforces the impact of corporate ethics and values among the staff. As a result, the leader does not execute direct control but fosters the proper behaviors in the workplace. The identified goal is accomplished by catering to the employees’ needs. Therefore, leaders motivate rather than control by creating opportunities for the target population.

Finally, a leader has to create a specific corporate culture. Thus, the foundation for promoting the appropriate behaviors and making a change can be created. Establishing a leadership-centered culture is an essential part of the change process.

Explain why the author believes it is important that we understand his/her point of view.

Kotter (1990) promotes his concept of leadership because he believes that it is crucial to promote change in the organizational environment. He also stresses that the lack of understanding of the difference between a leader and a manager will lead to drastic outcomes for an organization. Therefore, one must have a clear idea of what leadership is.

Explain how you think the topic or subject of the reading deepens our understanding of people in groups, group behavior, and group

Kotter (1990) provides an insightful analysis of the way in which people cooperate by focusing on the role that a leader plays in creating the environment for successful interactions between the team members. The article, therefore, shows not only what group dynamics represents but also how it can be changed so that the participants could deliver top performance. Therefore, the information about group dynamics is implied through the analysis of leadership as a phenomenon.

Furthermore, Kotter (1990) sheds light on group dynamics by examining the issue of motivation. Particularly, Kotter specifies that, by affecting the participants’ emotional state and helping them develop an enthusiastic attitude toward the work-related processes and routines, a leader will be capable of maintaining the engagement and motivation levels high (Forsyth, 1990). Therefore, Kotter (1990) makes it clear that a leader must keep a close focus on not only the general needs of the team but also the individual needs of its members.

The philosophy suggested by Kotter can also be interpreted from the perspective of the systems theory. As stressed above, the article helps view a team as not an entity but a group of people with unique needs, abilities, and aspirations. As a result, a uniform framework that can appeal to every member can be designed. As a result, one may lead the team to victory by maintaining the enthusiasm and satisfaction levels high (McCollom, 1995).

In other words, Kotter points to the need for creating a group identity that can become the foundation for success. The leadership-related concepts that he promotes allow the participants have a sense of belonging during their cooperation. As a result, a team of competent and efficient staff members can be built (Forsyth, 1990).

Present your own view on the topic – for or against – using logical reasoning based on a premise, facts, and course content.

The approach suggested by Kotter seems legitimate. It is important to interpret the idea of leadership as the process requiring not intrinsic but acquired skills. Furthermore, the focus on collaboration as the foundation for successful performance is crucial for the further improvement of staff’s efficacy.

References

Forsyth, D. R. (1990). Group dynamics. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Kotter, J. P. (1990). What leaders really do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University.

McCollom, M. (1995). Group formation: Boundaries, leadership, and culture. In J. Gillette & M. McCollom (Eds.),Groups in context: A new perspective on group dynamics (pp. 34-48). Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

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IvyPanda. 2021. ""What Leaders Really Do?" by John Kotter." May 14, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/what-leaders-really-do-by-john-kotter/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) '"What Leaders Really Do?" by John Kotter'. 14 May.

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