LEADERSHIP DISCUSSION 7
Fromthe readings and the understanding of the text in the course,leadership is a dynamic and an important phenomenon in anorganization. Leadership is an art practiced by people to influenceothers. As an art, leadership is a dynamic function that focuses onthe ability of a person considered to be a leader to influence thebehavior or decisions of other people, considered to be followers.According to Heifetzand Laurie(1997),the work of leadership is to offer the influence that mobilizes anorganization that shapes the adoption of the determined behavior forthe progress of the organization (Heifetz& Laurie,1997).This means that leadership shapes the type of business environmentand culture an organization adapts to in a bid to progress in acompetitive organization.
Theargument by Heifetzand Laurieindicatesthat leadership in an organization is an essential tool for managingchange and dynamic business environment. This is because Heifetzand Laurie(1997)suggestthat organizations face challenges of managing change, which is basedon the effectiveness of the leaders. This affirms that leadership isa complex aspect that involves the initiation of a structure andplatform for setting and achieving goals (Nahavandi, 2014). Whileleadership is considered to be a group process, its effectiveness isbased on the perspectives of an individual leader. This determinesthe definition of a leader as a person who can effectively influencethe behavior of others.
Agreementwith My Beliefs
Itis my belief that leadership is a human relation function that ispracticed through the art of influencing behavior of others. Theargument by Kotter agrees with this belief that leaders engage withpeople to promote organizational goals (Kotter,1990).Since leadership is a process that relates to people, it cannot beseparated from the aspects of organization of people and the abilityto manage them to achieve certain pre-determined goals. According toNahavandi (2014), leadership involves the ability of influencinggroups and people by helping them set goals, and guiding them towardsthe attainment of those goals. This influence does not only makepeople effective in their work, but also imparts certain personalcharacteristic to the followers.
Tohandle human relations in a professional manner that influences theirbehavior I believe leaders must have higher skills, other than thenormal abilities. Goleman(2007) arguesthat leaders posses higher capabilities and highly admired skillsthan the followers. This is what makes followers look up to theleaders. I believe that human beings possess almost similarcharacteristics in terms of intelligence, behavior and workrelations. However, leaders seem to have a higher level of skills andtraits that make them be who they are, and effectively influence theother people to follow them. According to Goleman(2007),the trait that helps leaders to relate to other people is effectivehuman relations that are powered by emotional intelligence
Goleman(2007) describesthe elements of leadership and characteristics of a leader that agreewith one of my strongest philosophies. I believe that emotionalintelligence is the aspect of a human being that contributes to thesuccess of a person. In fact, my belief the biggest differencebetween a leader and a follower is their levels of emotionalintelligence. While both have the intellectual capacity, the leaderis ought to have a higher emotional intelligence to control hisbehavior in a way that influences the follower. Goleman’s argumentthat leaders have a high level of emotional intelligence thereforeconfirms my belief that the ability is the most important aspectcompared to technical skills and IQ.
Inan agreement with George, I believe that leaders are not born butthey are discovered. According to George (2007), leadership is anauthentic aspect that is unique to each and every person. This meansthat leadership is an art that is unique to each and every person andcannot be transferred or imitated by another person. According toGeorge (2007), there is no way a person can discover his authenticleadership by imitating someone else. The only way a person canincorporate the traits of others in his or her leadership style is bylearning from their experiences and mistakes. In an agreement, Ibelieve that through understanding the leadership styles of otherpeople, a person can learn how to discover or her leadershiporientation.
Thereadings by Heifetz,Laurie (1997)andKotter (1990) agree with another aspect of my belief that the leaderknows the way, goes the way, leads the way and perfects the way. Thismeans that if a leader cannot understand the dynamics, vision andmission of an organization, he or she cannot influence people and socannot lead people.  Therefore, my commitment to the belief isto get acquainted with the mission and vision that I want to achieveand translate that to goals of all the people I lead. This enables meto organize and influence others towards the vision and mission to beachieved and not towards my ideology.
Inaddition, Heifetzand Laurie(1997)introducethe aspect of a leader understanding the environment to anticipatechange and know how to manage it. It is my belief that a leadershould understand the environment of an organization better andfaster than the group or the people he or she is leading. This agreeswith the examples and arguments by Nahavandi.According to Nahavandi(2014),this is the main element that defines the character of a visionaryleader. Through the readings and the practical assessments done inclass, this has been a constant aspect. In addition, I have confirmedthis belief with my experience in with group colleagues where find myinfluence was significant due to my acquaintance to certainknowledge.
Understandingand Improving Leadership Skills
Fromthe readings and the practical assessments, I have learnt theimportance of people and groups in the leadership orientation of aperson. According to Nahavandi(2014), being in a group allows a leader to utilize the diverseabilities that each of the members of the team posses. This helps thewhole team to work together, each at his best placed task.Consequently, the achievement of the final goal is attained as agroup and not as an individual. This in turn creates a bond among themembers of the group and between them and the leader. One of the mostimportant leadership characteristics that a leader should have is theability to form and lead teams of different characters. I believethat as a leader, I should be more of a team player since it is animportant ability to apply at all times.
Toimprove my leadership skills, communication is a key element tounderstand and to practice. Effective leaders are effective in theircommunication in terms of application of the most appropriatestrategies in every situation. According to Enconaet al(2014), communication provides the basis of a leader to pass thevision to the people he is leading. This brings the leader and thefollowers in the same page by creating a common image of the futurethat they want to achieve. Goleman (2007) affirms that a leadershould be able to his passion and the vision of the organization tothe team members in order to influence their behavior towards theattainment of the organizational goals.
Anotherelement of my leadership that I have learnt to improve is changemanagement. Through the understanding of the dynamics that come alongwith change, I have realized that I need to practice the elements ofmanaging change and dealing with the potential resistance to change.According to Nahavandi(2014), a leader should be able to handle the challenges that arepresented by unplanned change. This explains the importance of aleader understanding his or her leadership style, especially indynamic environments that pose differences in situations. This makesa leader effective in guiding the organization or a team towards theachievement of the organizational goals despite changingorganizational environment.
Adeeper understanding of leadership as a topic, an art and anorganizational function has been achieved through the readings andthe text assessments. More importantly, I have understood leadershipas a dynamic process of influencing people and handling teams with aview of achieving the organizational goals.In agreement with the readings, my beliefs about leadership have beenaffirmed that it is a human relation, requires higher skills andallows change management in an organization. Through the learning, Ihave gathered the knowledge that has permanently improved myunderstanding of leadership and how to improve my leadership skills.
Ancona,D., et al, (2007). In Praise of the Incomplete Leader. InHBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership. HarvardBusiness Review Press.Boston, Massachusetts, 978 (1) 4221-5797-8
George,B. (2007). Discovering Your Authentic Leadership. In HBR’s 10 MustReads on Leadership. HarvardBusiness Review Press.Boston, Massachusetts, 978 (1)
Goleman,D. (1996). What Makes a Leader? In HBR’s 10 Must Reads onLeadership. HarvardBusiness Review Press.Boston, Massachusetts, 978 (1) 4221-5797-8
Heifetz,R., & Laurie, L.(1997).The Work of Leadership. In HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership.HarvardBusiness Review Press.Boston, Massachusetts, 978 (1)
Kotter,J. (1990). What Leaders Really Do. In HBR’s 10 Must Reads onLeadership. HarvardBusiness Review Press.Boston, Massachusetts, 978 (1) 4221-5797-8
Nahavandi,A. (2014). TheArt and Science of Leadership, Seventh Edition.Upper Saddle River, New York: Pearson Prentice Hall