Topic: Leader and Leadership
Academic level: Master's
Nuber of Sources: 15
Leader and Leadership
Leadership depends more on a situation in which a leader finds him/herself than on his/her characteristics of a leader. Leadership depends on a situation and an individual`s ability to work hard to achieve success. Leadership has been in existence for a long time. According to Samson & Daft, a leader is defined as a person who has aim, dream and obligation to achieve the aim and the skills needed to make it happen. For a long time there has been a debate about the fact that leaders are born and not made. Some scholars support the idea that leaders are made and not born. Different schools of thought have conducted many studies in the field. Leadership involves such steps: establishing an idea, sharing that idea with others so that they follow willingly; providing the information and knowledge that are required to accomplish that idea. A leader should have an ability of seeing a problem that needs to be attended to or a goal that should be achieved. Great levels of courage and determination are crucial as some of these challenging tasks tend to be avoided by many people. A leader has the responsibility of ensuring that the task is fulfilled (Baker & Richards, 2004). To achieve these, there is a need of good leadership skills. The leader must be exemplary and tactical in performance (Samson & Daft 2003). This paper focuses on leadership which depends more on a situation a leader find him/herself in.
Situational leadership is observed when a leader endeavours to adjust his or her style of leadership to meet the expectations of the team members. It calls for a leader to change his/her style of leadership. The leader should be flexible so that the needs of an organization are met based on the current situation of the firm. A true leader is that one who has the required skills, as opposed to one who is rigid and refuses to adjust. A situation in this instance plays a major role in defining the leader, as opposed to the characteristics that he/she may possess (Daft 2005). An ability to be tactical, creative and aggressive is what determines the level of success that the leader brings to an organization. It amplifies the fact that leadership depends more on a situation than the leader`s characteristics.
A leader should always take responsibility and step up in times of crisis. The leader should be able to offer leadership by thinking and acting creatively during these difficult times. These situational leadership styles go hand in hand with the traits character required from a leader. Leadership cannot be taught. However, it may be enhanced through coaching and mentoring. Leadership characteristics are important (Baker & Richards 2004). Nevertheless, situational leadership is what defines a leader. A situational approach is more based on the environment in which a leader finds him/herself. Success of leadership in such situations depends on how well a leader can handle the matters that arise at different times.
In different situations, situational leaders apply leadership styles that are appropriate for a setting. Leadership styles in different settings can either be relationship motivated or task motivated. A relationship motivated leader relies on good personal relations and group participation to accomplish a task (Sergiovanni 1996). These leaders perform most effectively in modest situations that present mixed problems that need to be handled or resolved. On the other hand, a relationship motivated leader, can mobilize a group to cooperate. It is achieved by his/her ability of being diplomatic, tactful and sensitive to the needs of his or her team members. It proves that, leadership depends more on a situation a leader finds him/herself in than on his/her characteristics of a leader.
On the contrary, task motivated leaders prefer operating with clear guidelines and standardized procedures to achieve the desired goals (Mulford 2004). They perform better in high or low control situations due to their ability of laying down a specified task. These leaders also use their power and authority to administer rewards and punishments to their team members who have either achieved the target or failed to meet the required standards. Performing in a high control situation where the leader receives strong support from his or her team members or in low control situations where everybody is against him or her represents exemplary leadership. In situational leadership, there are several approaches that contribute to the success of this significant method of leadership. They include the following:
In some situations, leaders find themselves directing team members instead of offering them a direct participation. A leader is in charge of making choices and informing the team members about what is required of them. The team members are closely supervised by the leader and they have no opportunity to implement what they feel should be done. It occurs since the leader seems to have the last word in all issues. It occurs in situations where the leader finds out that the team members cannot be relied on without supervision. The team members here do not support the leader as they are not free. In such situations, leadership depends more on a situation the leader finds him/herself in than on his/her traits of character (Sousa 2003).
In some situations, it is important to train team members and transform them into individuals who are more professional and reliable than before. The leader here is more involved in everyday activities of an organization. Ultimate decisions are still made by him or her. However, the leader finds it appropriate to consult with the team members before making decisions and implementing them. Supervision here is more of coaching as the leader is interested in developing the skills required, as well as promoting different talents of the team members. Self-esteem of the team members is increased and new learning opportunities are explored (Mueller 1994). In this case, the leader acts according to a situation instead of personal traits. This leadership style is applied in such situations when team members are understanding.
To ensure efficiency of his/her leadership, the leader should support the team members in some situations. The style is geared towards involvement of the team members in the bigger picture of an organization. More responsibility is provided to the team members when performing their duties while the leader provides support and gives guidelines when necessary. Decision making lies entirely on the team members and it`s them who make decisions regarding different issues. The leader motivates the team members by providing them with praiseworthy reports and positive feedback (Hite & Baugh 2005). Many of these team members have the necessary skills, but lack the motivation and ability to pursue them. In this leadership practice, leadership depends more on a situation the leader finds him/herself in than on his/her traits of character.
A leader alone cannot manage all the departments of an organization. Therefore, he/she has to delegate some of the duties to his/her team members. A leader delegates duties depending on the seriousness of a situation (Razik & Swanson 2001). The employees are responsible for choosing a task and direction. The leader’s participation is minimal. The major focus is on giving positive feedback. The team members know their roles and accomplish them; moreover, they want to guarantee that the overall goals of an organization are achieved. Minimal supervision is required if any. Here, a situation is more important that the leader`s traits of character.
According to this approach there are two aspects of leadership; skills and talents of the team members determine which approach will be used. Those who are slow and are not able to perform on their own are supervised and encouraged by the leader as opposed to those who are responsible and can perform tasks with minimum supervision. However, the team members are required to work together. Working as a team is more productive as those who are more efficient and self-reliant help those who happen to be weak in one area or another. It will increase the ability of the team members to perform and achieve the stipulated goals and vision (Fowler 2004). Development defines the aspect of situational leadership in a clear way. It explains that a leadership style adopted by a leader depends on the nature of a situation.
Characteristics of Leaders
Leadership depends more on a situation a person finds him/herself in than on his/her traits of character. However, similar to situation leadership traits of character are also important. Not everybody can become a leader. There are traits of character that a leader should exhibit that demonstrate his/her ability to become a leader. These characteristics are crucial as they are the factors that distinguish an individual from the crowd. They also enable that individual to perform exemplary well as a leader. The characteristics develop when an individual is expected to offer leadership guidelines in a given situation. In other words, an individual develops his/her leadership characteristics in a specific situation.The key characteristics of a leader are the following:
A leader is a person who can understand feelings of others. The ability to relate well to team members is crucial. It creates a legitimate bond that provides a platform that ensures that the personal interests and issues of the team members are met and addressed. As a result, the team members are more willing to collaborate with the leader and offer all they can to ensure that the vision and goals are achieved and the required set tasks are performed.
A good leader should always be focused on all that he or she sets in her mind and heart to do. Undivided attention is vital to accomplishment of a mission or vision stipulated. A consistent leader is respected, which is essential when tackling the leadership role as a whole. Acting according to the same rules and principles enables the team members to be disciplined and committed to a vision or task ahead. A leader who sets a good example of credibility and fairness inspires the members of the team to act in the same manner.
Honesty is an important feature of a leader. The ability to be truthful in good and bad situations calls for high levels of self-respect and integrity at all times. Trust is built in team members that have an honest leader. They are sure that whatever the leader does is geared towards the achievement of the goal and their welfare. It is a key principle that enables the team members to share the leader`s vision and perform at their best in order to accomplish the goal against all the odds. Leaders who are honest about different aspects and concerns that may arise are most likely to address obstacles encountered instead of avoiding them.
The ability to pass information and respond to the information provided is crucial for a leader. A leader must be able to relate well to his or her team members. It helps in ensuring that the team is working on the assigned projects in ways that are required, thus resulting to a positive attitude that is required to ensure that the task is accomplished. A leader should communicate his/her expectations and issues, which are to be addressed, in a clear and effective way; moreover, he/she should advise the team members accordingly. The team members` reactions should be positive. It enhances the effectiveness and efficiency required to achieve the stated goals leading to success (Daft 2005).
A leader should be a person who believes in the vision that he/she pursues. It is what motivates him/her to pursue the goals and vision to the end. Success is a result of the leaders’ beliefs in what he or she pursues. Leaders who possess this characteristic influence their followers in a positive way making them dedicated to the vision and, thus, yielding positive results.
It is one of the key characteristics of leadership. A leader who is flexible is easy to work with as opposed to that one who is rigid. Such leaders can change according to circumstances (Sousa 2003). In order to find effective solutions, new ideas should be explored. However, this calls for open mindedness and courage to explore new frontiers. It is what increases the likelihood of finding a possible answer to the problem at hand. As a result, it encourages leadership in all situations that a leader may find him/herself in.
Leadership is not an easy task. There are individuals who have characteristics that are right and necessary in order to become a leader, but they are not good leaders. A leader should have all the characteristics stated above but most importantly, he or she should be able to provide good leadership in different situations. Situational leadership is what makes and entails good leadership. One can never be said to be a good leader if he/she lacks the ability to provide leadership in different situations. As leaders, there is a challenge to be flexible. Leaders should fine-tune their governance styles for the benefit of an organization. It can be achieved through focusing on the organization`s vision, as opposed to personal interest. Lastly, leadership depends more on a situation the leader finds him/herself in than on his/her traits of character.