All about Leadership

  • ·     Leadership Definitions

    Many definitions of leadership involve an element of Goal management vision — except in cases of involuntary leadership and often in cases of traditional leadership. A vision provides direction to the influence process. A leader or group of leaders can have one or more visions of the future to aid them to move a group successfully towards this goal. A vision, for effectiveness, should allegedly:
    appear as a simple, yet vibrant, image in the mind of the leader
    describe a future state, credible and preferable to the present state
    act as a bridge between the current state and a future optimum state
    appear desirable enough to energize followers
    succeed in speaking to followers at an emotional or spiritual level (logical appeals by themselves seldom muster a following)         


    For leadership to occur, according to this theory, some people “leaders” must communicate the vision to others “followers” in such a way that the followers adopt the vision as their own. Leaders must not just see the vision themselves; they must have the ability to get others to see it also. Numerous techniques aid in this process, including: narratives, metaphors, symbolic actions, leading by example, incentives, and penalty penalties.

    Stacey (1992) has suggested that the emphasis on vision puts an unrealistic burden on the leader. Such emphasis appears to perpetuate the myth that an organization must depend on a single, uncommonly talented individual to decide what to do. Stacey claims that this fosters a culture of dependency and conformity in which followers take no pro-active incentives and do not think independently. Many definitions of leadership involve an element of Goal management vision — except in cases of involuntary leadership and often in cases of traditional leadership. A vision provides direction to the influence process. A leader or group of leaders can have one or more visions of the future to aid them to move a group successfully towards this goal. A vision, for effectiveness, should allegedly:
    appear as a simple, yet vibrant, image in the mind of the leader
    describe a future state, credible and preferable to the present state
    act as a bridge between the current state and a future optimum state
    appear desirable enough to energize followers
    succeed in speaking to followers at an emotional or spiritual level (logical appeals by themselves seldom muster a following)

    For leadership to occur, according to this theory, some people “leaders” must communicate the vision to others “followers” in such a way that the followers adopt the vision as their own. Leaders must not just see the vision themselves, they must have the ability to get others to see it also. Numerous techniques aid in this process, including: narratives, metaphors, symbolic actions, leading by example, incentives, and penalty penalties.

    Stacey (1992) has suggested that the emphasis on vision puts an unrealistic burden on the leader. Such emphasis appears to perpetuate the myth that an organization must depend on a single, uncommonly talented individual to decide what to do. Stacey claims that this fosters a culture of dependency and conformity in which followers take no pro-active incentives and do not think independently. Kanungo’s charismatic leadership model describes the role of the vision in three stages that are continuously ongoing, overlapping one another. Assessing the status quo, formulation and articulation of the vision, and implementation of the vision. Some commentators link leadership closely with the idea of management. Some regard the two as synonymous, and others consider management a subset of leadership. If one accepts this premise, one can view leadership as: centralized or decentralized broad or focused decision-oriented or morale-centered intrinsic or derived from some authority

    Any of the bipolar labels traditionally ascribed to management style could also apply to leadership style. Hersey and Blanchard use this approach: they claim that management merely consists of leadership applied to business situations; or in other words: management forms a sub-set of the broader process of leadership. They put it this way: “Leadership occurs any time one attempts to influence the behavior of an individual or group, regardless of the reason. Management is a kind of leadership in which the achievement of organizational goals is paramount.”

    However, a clear distinction between management and leadership may nevertheless prove useful. This would allow for a reciprocal relationship between leadership and management, implying that an effective manager should possess leadership skills, and an effective leader should demonstrate management skills. One clear distinction could provide the following definition:
    Management involves power by position.
    Leadership involves power by influence. Abraham Zaleznik (1977),for example, delineated differences between leadership and management. He saw leaders as inspiring visionaries, concerned about substance; while managers he views as planners who have concerns with process. Warren Bennis (1989) further explicated a dichotomy between managers and leaders. He drew twelve distinctions between the two groups:
    Managers administer, leaders innovate
    Managers ask how and when, leaders ask what and why
    Managers focus on systems, leaders focus on people
    Managers do things right, leaders do the right things
    Managers maintain, leaders develop
    Managers rely on control, leaders inspire trust
    Managers have a short-term perspective, leaders have a longer-term perspective
    Managers accept the status-quo, leaders challenge the status-quo
    Managers have an eye on the bottom line, leaders have an eye on the horizon
    Managers imitate, leaders originate
    Managers emulate the classic good soldier, leaders are their own person
    Managers copy, leaders show originality

    ·     Leadership Ability

    Well, leaders are born, but only in la la land!!! You can be born with the traits of a leader but the right encouragement is a must for developing leadership skills.

    While developing leadership skills at an early stage has its advantages, it’s never too late to start if you haven’t yet discovered the leader in you! And that’s not a whole load of motivational hogwash.

    In this piece, let’s take a look at the why and how of developing leadership skills.

    Successful management requires more than just assigning tasks to the team. It calls for a leader who can inspire team members to achieve their full potential. People want to be guided by a person they respect, someone who has a clear sense of direction. To be that person, there are certain things that you must BE, KNOW and DO. And that’s what developing leadership skills is all about.

    Robert K. Greenleaf
    ”The only test of leadership is that somebody follows.”

    If you want to set an example for others to follow, may we suggest the following check-list?

    1. Test the waters: find out what people think about your style of management. This could be a real eye opener, and the key to making changes to your leadership style. Employ a 360 degree approach wherein you receive feedback from your team members and peers. Let your team in on the objective behind the survey. A relaxed and open environment will help draw out their honest opinion.

    2. Listen hard: when your team members speak to you about all their work related worries, hear them out. You could convey empathy, suggest alternatives and create harmony within the team. GREAT LEADERS ARE GREAT LISTENERS!!!!!

    3. Connect: take complete responsibility for how you are heard. Always rephrase your message to make it sound positive. Effective communication is a fine art.

    4. Be a people’s person: an integral part of developing leadership skills is to learn to respect your team’s capabilities. Let the team members take decisions on certain issues. Trust them with their work; don’t be a watchdog.

    5. Lead by example: your team must believe in your integrity, and that you really mean what you say. Be prepared to put your money where your mouth is. It works like a charm!

    6. Share leadership: distribute tasks among group members depending on the situation and individual strengths. You become a better leader by involving more people in the leadership process.

    7. Evaluate your success in tandem with that of the team: your prime responsibility is to ensure success and development of the team. Focus on building their skills as this will enhance motivation and team performance. Remember, their success is yours too!

     

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