Leadership denotes being able to provide direction, for instance, to followers. In essence, followers regard their leaders as role model in terms of providing direction. As such, leaders need to be more flexible in understanding the people they lead. Understanding the world views of followers ensures that leaders can make appropriate decisions. However, while leaders are expected to provide direction, it is also important to note that leadership is a learning process. In this regard, effective leadership is attained through a process of identifying one’s strengths and weaknesses. In addition, effective leadership requires readiness to accept criticism from followers. Leadership also requires a focus on team worker rather than individualism because, listening to others provides a leader with various alternatives to make appropriate decision that is acceptable to followers. On another note, effective leadership also requires individuals to be confident when leading followers. This helps to avoid sending mixed signal to followers regarding the competency level of their leader.
My values, beliefs and behaviors as an effective leader
As an effective leader I tend to respect other people’s opinion and ready to accept criticism as a way to identify my weaknesses. Further, I also value honesty in my dealings since integrity is critical when working with other people. I also believe establishing oneself as a leader takes a gradual process. As a leader, I believe the importance of learning from others as a way to understand their worldviews. In addition, I also prefer taking stock of my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. In this regard, I can improve my leadership ability and to face challenging situations (Sarwar, 2013).
On the other hand, I am decisive and this plays a role in ensuring that I do not waiver in the decisions I make as a leader. Being conscientious helps me to be organized as an individuals, and when leading other people. As a leader, I also understand the importance of adapting to new surroundings so as to avoid misunderstanding between my followers and me. I also recognize the importance of effective communication when leading followers. Effective communication is critical in developing rapport between the leaders and his or her followers. Consistency as a leader is also a quality that I appreciate as it helps to avoid sending mixed feelings to followers (Batool, 2013).
The leadership theories that I can relate with my leadership include behavioral and participative. Behavioral theories related to leadership originated from the assumption that leaders are made and not born. In this regard, behavioral theories note that leadership involves a learning process. In addition, behavioral theories mainly focus on what a leader can do and not their traits. This model also identifies a leader behavior as a determinant for leadership success. In essence, behavioral theories help individuals in leadership position to condition their behavior in a way that they can respond effectively to different leadership situations. This model also supports the notion that anyone can be a leader (Badshah, 2012).
On another note, behavioral model related to leadership originated from two studies conducted in the 1940s and 50s. The first study conducted in the 1940s lead to the identification of two sets of behaviors that included people oriented and task oriented leaders. The study was conducted at Ohio State University and identified task oriented leaders as individuals who focus their behavior on operating procedures, organizational structure, and they prefer maintaining control. In addition, task-oriented leaders also emphasize staff motivation and favors behaviors such as initiating, organizing and information gathering. Conversely, people oriented leaders tend to focus their behavior on meeting the needs of other people. As such, they are mainly involved with motivating their followers through an emphasis on human relation (Badshah, 2012).
Further, additional behaviors that are exhibited by people oriented leaders include encouraging, listening and mentoring. The other study associated with the origins of behavioral theories of leadership was conducted in the 1950s at the University of Michigan and under the leadership of a prominent psychologist known as Dr. Rensis Liker. This study not only identified the qualities of an effective leader but contributed to the introduction of a new leadership concept known as participative leadership. Behavioral theories can also be associated with McGregor’s X and Y theory developed in 1960. On one hand leaders identified by theory X consider the use of coercion, control or punishment as necessary to ensure followers achieve the intended goals. Conversely, leaders identified by theory Y advocates for team work rather than individualism in achieving the intended goals (Badshah, 2012).
With regard to participative leadership theory, leaders are required to involve their followers in the decision-making process. In addition, this model requires leaders to embrace team work in meeting joint goals. This model also notes that when decisions are made collectively, greater results are realized than when decisions are made by one person. Participative leadership theory can be associated with Lewin’s Three Participatory Leadership Styles that were development in 1939. The leadership styles that Lewin developed include autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire. In an autocratic leadership, leaders tend to make decision without involving followers. Lewin considers this type of leadership to work in situations where the leader is more experienced than the followers and his or her input is critical in ensuring that other people do the right thing (Badshah, 2012).
Democratic leadership, on the other hand, is suitable for situations where the input of followers other than the leader is also necessary for achieving the desired goals. Laissez-faire on its part is necessary where there is no need for a central coordination. In his experiments, Lewin noted that democratic leadership was more effective, while autocratic leadership increased conflicts and Laissez-faire contributed to incoherent working patterns (Badshah, 2012).
The similarities and differences between behavioral and participative leadership theories
In both cases, leadership involves a learning process rather than traits. Both leadership models emphasize the motivation of followers to achieve the desired goals. Further, the two theories also recognize the importance of leadership qualities in achieving the desired results. These two leadership theories also thrive in terms of focusing attention on people and task at hand. However, the difference between the two theories emanates from the fact that behavioral theory focuses on behaviors that can contribute to effective leadership while participative leadership focuses on the teamwork rather than individualism among leaders (Badshah, 2012).
Analysis of my leadership in relation to the behavioral and participative leadership theories
In relation to behavioral leadership theory, effective leadership revolves around learning and observing what other people are doing in terms of providing leadership. My morals, values and beliefs align with behavioral theory of leadership in that; I tend to adjust my leadership depending on the prevailing situation. Through learning or observing others in leadership position, can understand how to integrate my belief systems to accommodate the needs of other people. The behavioral model also ensures that am in a better position to understand my strengths and weaknesses (Ronald, 2014).
On the other hand, a participative leadership theory aligns with my belief as a leader who is open, consults widely and prefers working in a team rather than a focus on individualism. As an individual, I am against the idea of dominating other people when in leadership position. Instead, I believe in working as a team where each person’s view is regarded to be important. Further, I also understand that a participative process would help me to improve my leadership ability. This is because, working with other people helps me do understand divergent views on how to deal with issues about effective leadership. I also do not prefer making decisions on my own, and a participative process ensures that I interact with the people I lead to finding a solution that is acceptable to everyone. As someone who is open, working as individuals can impact negatively on my development as effective leaders. As such, a participative process ensures that I engage in hands-on leadership where I can exchange my leadership views with other people (Ronald, 2014).
In addition, I also believe that I cannot improve my confidence as a leader by working alone. In this regard, a participative leadership provides me with an opportunity to showcase my leadership qualities to a large audience. As a leader, I prefer an environment where there is more autonomy rather than controlling other people. Such an environment plays a role in ensuring that I develop a working alliance with my followers. I am also accustomed to face to face communication with the people I lead and a participative process gives me an opportunity to be involved directly with my followers. As a result, can understand their needs and to minimize conflict of interest between that is often common between leaders and their followers due to lack of proper communication channels (Ronald, 2014).
I also like encouraging others to excel in their assigned task and a participative process helps me to achieve that goal. On another note, I value honesty when working with other people, and such a virtue is more achievable in a participative process. This is because; the success of a team is dependent on being honest with one another (Ronald, 2014).
Comparison of my leadership with that of Nelson Mandela in relation to the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership
Model the way
I consider myself similar to Mandela in the sense that I prefer putting the interest of others first when in a leadership position. I am always guided by the need to show a good example to my followers who themselves aspire to be in a leadership position one day. Further, I also prefer putting myself at the same level with the people I lead. Such a measure ensures that my followers do not view me as an authority figure, but as a team player. However, my leadership is different to Mandela in the sense that I tend to be coercive in certain situations where I feel my followers’ needs to be pushed to achieve a particular goal. Conversely, Mandela was more accommodative and provided greater autonomy to the people he led (Kouzes & Posner, 2001).
Inspire a shared vision
Similar to Mandela, I believe that I can make a difference by convincing others to follow a particular direction in achieving a particular goal. I have always strived to establish an environment where I can work closely with the people I lead. However, I tend to use different measures when compared to Mandala. For instance, while Mandela used his charisma to encourage South Africans to share his visions, I prefer exploring with my followers the shared visions that can bring growth (Kouzes & Posner, 2001).
Challenge the process
My leadership is similar to Mandela’s in the sense that I always strive to bring changes in the team. Changes ensure that the team becomes flexible rather than a focus on the same principles for a longer period that can affect working relationship. On the contrary, my leadership is different when compared to Mandela’s because am more coercive in terms of demanding for changes that can improvements to the team I lead (Kouzes & Posner, 2001).
Enable others to act
Just like Mandela, I consider collective action to be vital in achieving the desired goals. When people work as a team, they can explore various alternatives of solving a problem and coming up with a suitable solution that is accepted by everyone. However, while Mandela was more accommodative in allowing others to take leadership role, I tend to be more cautious in delegating leadership roles to people I lead (Kouzes & Posner, 2001).
Encourage the heart
Like Mandela, I believe in hard work as the basic tenet of realizing the desired goals. As such, by taking an active role in the team I lead, I believe they are also motivated to improve their performance. While Mandela used effective communication skills to encourage people not to give up on their cause, I prefer being assertive in terms of demanding results from the team I lead (Kouzes & Posner, 2001).
The development that I need
The development that I need to become the leader I desire to be in relation to the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership including, for instance, gaining more experience in terms of dealing with different leadership scenarios. While I have the necessary leadership qualities, there is still need for exposure in leadership roles that are more demanding compared to leading a small team (Kouzes & Posner, 2001).
Effective leadership requires individuals to have various leadership qualities that can help them to become successful in leading other people. Leading others is challenging and thus the need for individuals in such positions to understand the needs of their followers. Further, knowing the needs of followers would allow leaders to use appropriate leadership styles.
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Ronald, B. (2014).Comprehensive leadership review: literature, theories and research. Advances
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Sarwar, C. (2013). Future of ethically effective leadership.Journal of Business Ethics, 113(1),
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