There is a number of definitions of what leadership is all about. Everyone who tries to define it comes up with a new definition. This is just like democracy and love, where people know what they are about but cannot find a common definition. However, from the books, course readings, and other research I carried out, all the definitions revolve around the art of being a driving force to people who view you as a leader. Leadership hence involves acting in ways that will motivate your colleagues or employees in achieving the set goals and objectives.
From the various leadership theories that were covered in class, I have been able to identify specific ideas about being a good leader, and how it applies both in my personal and professional lives. This has been greatly influenced to the positive by trying to adopt different leadership models that suit best my personality. One important thing that I identified as I tried to come up with my leadership model is that self-concept plays a very integral role in defining everyone.
Therefore, to come up with the best theory, I decided to do a personal SWOT analysis. This helped me in identifying my strengths and opportunities that would help me in improving on my weak areas and also prevent the possible threats. By doing so, I was able to identify the difference between leading and executing. For example, before this, I had a hard time trying to distinguish between leadership and power. The readings together with the personal analysis enabled me to understand that with leadership comes power. This has a very great impact on how well you will perform as a leader. For example, Adolf Hitler used his personal and leadership powers to rule in a dictatorial government (Ciulla 15). However, leaders should use their power to oversee the delegated duties and make sure that the followers do what is expected of them.
The books and course materials have also transformed my definition and perception of power. Before that, I imagined power to be the ability to command your juniors and see that things are done as per expectations. However, power is very complex and can generally be divided into two: positional and personal power. The former refers to the capacity one acquires from a given position in hierarchy either in an organization or a small group of people. This comes from the perception from the leader that the followers are below him or her. On the contrary, personal power is the moving force derived from being seen as able and knowledgeable by the followers.
Leadership and coercion are other important points to note before identifying the different models and theories. In brief, coercion in this context can be used to mean the ability of a leader to manage and effect change in organization or group. However, much this may be an effective tool in ensuring that everything is done as delegated, this is a bad choice of leadership. The main reason behind this is that as a leader, you will have to use threats and punishment to ensure things are done. Leaders such as Hitler and North Korea’s Kim Jong-il are considered to have used coercion.
In line with this, the course has as well helped me to distinguish between leadership and management. The main difference between them that should be mentioned is that a leader follows people, while a manager makes people work for him or her. Being a good leader will make you a good manager. The main reason behind this is that through leadership, you will be able to inspire people into producing better. The main difference between leadership and management were brought up by the different principles by people such as Henry Fayol. According to him, managing is all about planning and controlling the human resource.
From the principles and other works by researchers on management and leadership, there is a clear contrast between the two. Firstly, as stated earlier, managing is about planning and budgeting, while leading entails mainly directing. While a manager may focus on controlling and organizing people, a leader will put strategies that will ensure his or her followers are motivated and inspired throughout. Therefore, I believe that when developing a leadership plan, you might face challenges when deciding which sides to take. It is advisable to try and manage the aligning of people and the planning of events. This will not only make you a good leader but also a manager. Through this, you will automatically derive personal power from your followers.
From the journal and readings, I have been able to identify that personality traits play a very important role in defining a true leader. This has had a great impact in my life since I have been able to change a few things that limited me to becoming the leader the people desire. Although different models may have varied characteristics or perception of leadership skills, all of them are connected with the traits of a good and responsible leader. This has had a very long history since even during the 20th century, scholars and researchers used traits to study leadership.
In general, as a leader, you should possess both communication and interpersonal relationship skills. This will enable you to interact with your followers easily and hence make better decisions. Also, a good leader will have vigor and be persistent in the desire to achieve the desired goals. Leadership comes with challenges, and hence, a good leader should be ready and willing to bear stress. This will require appropriate methods of dealing with the depression. Also, analyzing all the models, they all expect that leaders should be able to influence great masses of people into shaping their behavior or culture in an organization.
Peter Northouse’s book Leadership: Theory and Practice has been very useful in helping me understand better theories about leadership. The author in one volume discussed various leadership models that are being used globally by various people. Also, Northouse identifies the various transformations that have happened not only on the leadership theories but also definitions that have changed throughout history (Northouse 6). One of the most effective points that I took from the books is about the team leadership perspective. The main reason behind this is that it directly applies to both my personal and professional life since I have been able to lead small groups of people from time to time.
According to Northouse, a team can be defined as a group of people, who work together to achieve a common goal. The people should be independent and coordinate activities in order to be successful. From the definition, I was able to pick out some important ideas that made my team better. For example, the author explains that every member of the team should be independent. By letting members of a team to decide what to do, you will give them a chance to improve and will be motivated at all times. This will hence ensure productivity, economical use of resources, and production of quality goods and services.
Also, another important thing to take from Peter’s works is the clear and concise Hill Model for team leadership. This is divided into various steps that make the leadership process easy and successful. For example, the leadership decisions are at the top of the model. As a leader in this position, I have learned that you need to make rational decisions that will affect both the internal and external environment of the team. Therefore, this explains that the leadership actions can be divided into two: the internal and external leadership actions. All these are aimed at focusing on the goals, coaching of followers, networking, and most importantly, at improving the efficiency in performance and development.
Recently, there have been increased debates globally on the gender equality not only in education but also in leadership. This has been a matter of concern even in the United States of America as it was seen in the 19th century where women were neither allowed to view for political seats nor vote. This has however changed a lot even in countries such as Saudi Arabia where women were not allowed to drive. However, the desired level of equity has not been attained, and Peter Northouse identifies the role of gender fairness in any organization.
Northouse’ book has helped me in identifying that there is no any difference between men and women when it...