Determining Leadership Styles BD LDR/531 30 August 2010 Determining Leadership Styles One of the most important tasks any business leader must undertake is a personal assessment. An honest inventory of skills, strengths and weaknesses of a business leader can give insight into those areas that need improvement as well as those that can be accepted and learned to work around. A personal inventory also give the business leader the power of information, which a business leader can then use to create situations that emphasize strengths for more consistently positive outcomes.
As a business leader, it is important to adopt a positive attitude throughout the task of skill, strength, and weakness inventory. The inventory will need to be recorded without any personal judgments. In this essay, we will identify strengths and weaknesses of a leadership style via leadership assessments, then we will compare and contrast leadership theories and apply relevant theories to leadership approach. In reality, people and businesses want results. As a leader, we have to influence and move others to produce results. When we lead, others follow.
It does not matter what title is on the business card, the question is whether you can lead (Coutts, 2000). With so much at stake, it is unaffordable for a business leader to fail in his or her leadership. Leadership of a leader must be continually and diligently worked on. As a business leader, he or she must identify his or her skills, strengths and weaknesses so that leadership can be used to its potential. First, business leader has to think about what attracts him or her. What often attract him or her are strengths. Strengths are often more difficult to identify than weaknesses (eHow, 2010).
Things that one likes to do is often be strengths simply because one spends more time focusing on practicing them. One must also test his or her abilities by trying different activities, and giving the best effort put forward at each time. Activities reveal personality types. Personality graphing test can give insight into positive and negative abilities of a leader. The broader the spectrum of new activities attempted, the more data gained. One can gain conclusion on his or her ability based on the information gained from this personality test. When graphing personality test, one must do it honestly without any propensity of biases.
After graphing, one needs to write down what he or she enjoys doing. While these strengths are recorded, weaknesses must also be noted. Personal experience associated with the strengths and weaknesses may be drawn to reinforce the application of strength and mitigate the detriment of weaknesses. It is also recommended that one should review personal accomplishment often to reinforce the strengths (eHow, 2010). The next step in identifying strengths and weaknesses is analyzing them. One should ask specific questions regarding which tasks will yield more information about strength and weaknesses.
Then one can categorize, group them and think of how to make a leap of improvement in a short period of time. If putting in consistent efforts and not much improvement is seen, then this is the area of weaknesses. Ask the boss or supervisor on how you can excel and improve in these areas. When strengths and weaknesses have been identified, how does one apply these strengths and weaknesses into business setting to gain maximal output of leaderships? There are many leadership styles that have been analyzed and theorized – from LPC Contingency model, to Path-Goal theory of leadership to Situational and Multiple Linkage theory of leadership.
Among these theories, the one that I identify with the most is the Multiple Linkage theory of leadership. The multiple-linkage model (Yulk, 2006) builds upon models of leadership and group effectiveness. The model includes four types of variables: managerial behaviors, intervening variables, criterion variables, and situational variables. This model describes in a general way the interacting effects of managerial behaviors and situational variables on the intervening variables that determine the performance of a work unit.
First, let us explore what intervening variables are. Yulk notes that the Intervening variables on how the leader can influence the performance of a group or organization units is based on the following six variables: task commitment, ability and role clarity, organization of the work, corporation and mutual trust, resource and support, and finally external coordination. These intervening variables interact with each other to determine the effectiveness of a group or organizational units. They also have a serious deficiency in a way that it may lower the group effectiveness.
Yulk also adds that the situational variables that influence on intervening variables is dependent upon the effects of formal reward system and the intrinsically motivating properties of the work itself. Member commitment to perform the task effectively will be greater if the organization has a reward system that provides attractive rewards contingent on performance; and intrinsic motivation is the motivation of subordinates on interesting and challenging works that requires highly varied skills and provides automatic feedback about the performance.
A basic idea of this theory is that actions of leadership to correct any deficiencies in the intervening variables will improve performance. A leader who fails to recognize opportunities to correct deficiencies will be less effective. Although the Multiple-Linkage model is more complex and comprehensive than any other models, it has several conceptual weaknesses. It does not specify how different types of leader behaviors interact with each other in their effects on intervening variables. Leadership and management are commonly mistaken to be the same.
Leaders and managers in an organization both lead, but the two are not synonymous. Management functions can provide leadership; and leadership activities can contribute to managing. Often leadership is also misunderstood to mean directing and instructing people and making important decisions on behalf of any organization. Effective leadership is much more than these. Good leadership requires attitudes and behaviors (Chapman, A. , 2010). It requires human qualities beyond conventional notions of authority whereas management relies heavily on tangibles measurable capabilities such s effective planning. The followings are some differences between leader and manager. Manager administers, and leader innovates. Manager maintains and leader develops. Manager focuses on systems and structures, and leader focuses on people. Manager imitates and leader originates. Manager accepts the status quo and leader challenges it. Manager has his or her eye always on the bottom line and leader has his or her eye on the horizon. We now have assessed our strengths and weaknesses and have explored many leadership styles, how do we go about applying theories to approach leadership.
Many methodologies have been developed and applied by leadership researchers. All can be summarized as follows: Leader must plan and be proactive rather than reactive. Leader must involve in identifying potential problems and solving them before they reach crisis. Leader must have a vision because vision embodies dreams and passions of a leader. Leader must also share vision with others. If vision is shared with others, it helps the leader develop and strengthen visions, which in turn can turn the vision into reality.
Leader must also take charge in leadership and inspire other of good and sound leadership. Leadership is defined through action, therefore leader must involve in carrying out actions that fit the leadership vision, and integrity that gives these actions meanings. In conclusion, becoming a leader is not easy because it takes a conscious commitment and consistent effort to develop leadership skills. Good leader knows how to use situations and circumstances around him or her.
Good leader motivates followers and changes unfavorable conditions around to become favorable. Being a good leader is critical to the business and good leadership can reap reward greatly when carried out effectively. Reference Chapman, A. , 2009. Leadership. Retrieved from http://www. businessballs. com/ Leadership. htm. Coutts, P. 2000. Leadership vs. Management. Retrieved from http://www. docstoc. com/docs/ eHow, 2010. How to Identify Strengths & Weaknesses. Retrieved from http://www. ehow. com/how_5266754_identifying-strengths-weakenesses. tml Gibson, B. , 2002. Business Leadership Skills: Evaluating Your Leadership Strengths and Weaknesses. Retrieved fromhttp://www. essortment. com/career/businessleaders_sfrq. htm Maxwell, J. , 2004. Evaluating Your Strengths and Weaknesses as a Leader. Retrieved from: http://louisville. bizjournals. com/louisville/stories/2004/ Ward, S. 2010. Five Keys to Leadership for Small Business. Retrieved from: http://sbinfocanada. about. com/od/smallbusinesslearning/a/leadership Yulk, G. 2006. Leadership in Organization. 6th ed. Pearson Prentice Hall.