Leadership Theory Essay

According to Nathan F. Iannone, leadership can be defined as the art of
influencing, directing, guiding, and controlling others in such a way as to
obtain their willing obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation in
accomplishment of an objective. Leaders are not born…sure there are some
gifts-traits-attributes, natural endowments that affect relative abilities…but
they are not born, they are made. Any reasonably intelligent person with enough
forcefulness to develop his/her ability to inspire others to follow him can earn
leadership status. Remember that we have both formal and informal leaders….

Being a Captain /Sergeant doesn’t make you a leader! Classic Leadership
Theory: Common Traits of Leaders. Booher and Watson refer to classic leadership
theory because it describes an approach to understanding leadership that by and
large is out of style. Nonetheless it is clear that one can learn a great deal
by studying the important personal ingredients in the leadership equation.

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Studying the traits of great leaders became unpopular because it was and is
associated with the “great man” theory of leadership. This approach was
espoused in the 19th. and early 20th. Centuries, and asserted the leadership
qualities are largely inherited. This was called “trait theory.” Researchers
such as Mann and Stodgill found no consistent correlate between particular
traits and leadership. Later research, particularly more recent and more
sophisticated work has found a consistent and strong relationship between
certain traits and leadership. Possessing these core traits simply makes it more
likely that a person will take the appropriate action leading to leadership
success. Overhead #2 The Art of Leadership. What is the nature of leadership,
leadership is an art! As with any form of artistic expression, painting, music,
leadership is an art form in that it: ? Is an expression of the
individual within the social and environmental context. ? Reflects the
individual’s personality. ? Can be easier to demonstrate and develop
when one has a talent for it. ? Can be learned-you may have a talent for
it, you may not, either way, anyone can still become an effective leader.

? Is greatly enhanced through a disciplined regimen of learning and
feedback. Through science, we can study the elements of leadership and provide
valuable understanding into its nature. This enables us to determine where to
focus our leadership skills and abilities, as well as measure to some extent,
our effectiveness. However, the act of leading itself is largely unscientific
and is far more akin to practicing an art form than studying scientific
variables. Understanding both facets of leadership is crucial to your
development as a leader. For you as a leader, remember that leadership is an
art; your leadership is always a work in progress. OH #3 Leadership Styles. Many
people believe that there is one type of leadership that is most effective, and
if they can only develop that style, they would be effective as a leader. Some
leaders have one style, and honestly believe that it is best to stick with what
comes naturally. As with any art form, one has a number of tools at one’s
disposal. In leadership, these tools are different leadership styles. Although
certain situations call for specific styles, most situations call for a
combination of styles. The four general styles of leadership are: 1. Autocratic.

2. Participative. 3. Laissez-faire. 4. Variable. Autocratic also known as
authoritarian leadership is rule by authority. As a manager or supervisor, a
person is endowed with a level of authority, which is expected to be obeyed. An
autocratic leader rests on this fact, expecting his subordinates to comply.

Participative leadership is often referred to as democratic although democratic
processes (voting etc.) need not be present to constitute participative
leadership. Laissez-faire leadership (really non-leadership) is a hands off
approach. If the group’s goals are being accomplished under the management of
a LF leader, it is because the group members are self-motivated, demonstrate
effective teamwork, and exhibit expertise in their field. Variable leadership, a
precursor to “situational leadership” draws from a combination of the above
styles. Whether this form of leadership is effective depends on how each style
is applied at what time. The styles of leadership help us understand how people
go about practicing the art, the question how does our individual traits affect
our ability to do so? OH #4 Leadership Traits. Traits can be described as our
general orientation (paradigm) toward people and things. Regrettably we tend to
view ourselves, as the way people ought to be. That is problematic. This clouds
our judgment of ourselves and others, hindering our ability to ascertain
weaknesses, and objectively evaluate and develop upon our strengths. Traits are
such a fundamental aspect of our personalities that they lead us to display
consistent behavior across different situations. (Each of us can be described in
terms of our personal traits.) There are certain traits that are associated with
effective leadership. They are so critical, yet difficult to pinpoint, that for
centuries, volumes have been written in an effort to define and describe them.

They are the critical foundation of successful leadership. These traits
distinguish leaders from non-leaders. OH #5: Common Traits of Leaders continued.

Integrity of character is the foundation of lasting and effective leadership.

Kouzes and Posner assert, “Honesty is absolutely essential to leadership.

After all, if we are willing to follow someone whether it is into battle or into
the boardroom, we want first to assure ourselves that the person is worthy of
our trust. We want to be fully confident in the integrity of our leaders.”
Professional competence includes a solid grasp of the methods, processes,
procedures, and techniques of a leaders organization. This competence can be
everything from “rocket science to parking tickets,” without it leaders
quickly lose the respect of their followers and find it difficult to make
well-informed decisions. Certainly it is critical that given the pace of law
enforcement, leaders are capable of making intelligent, quick strategies that
solve problems. Make good decisions or you wont be around long as a boss. Genius
is not required, above average intelligence is. Typically we imagine leaders
doing only exciting things, letting others do the real work. This mental frame
ignores the hard reality that being the boss isn’t easy. High levels of energy
are needed physical vitality helps leaders overcome the often unrelenting
demands of leadership. Drive to excel, high desire for achievement, outstanding
leaders drive themselves and their organizations to complete challenging
assignments and achieve extraordinary results. OH #6 Traits of Leaders. Carl
Watson and Carl Chimers (UC-Santa Cruz) tell us that confident leaders are more
successful than ones who lack confidence. Self-confidence is important because
confident leaders remain calm under pressure, persist doggedly in the face of
adversity, and act boldly and confidently which helps encourage and embolden
followers. A person riddled with self-doubt may not be able to act effectively
under pressure or command respect of followers. “By demonstrating grace under
pressure, the best leaders inspire those around them to stay calm and act
intelligently.” (K. Labich.) People who lack emotional stability are more
prone to moodiness, angry outbursts, and inconsistent behavior. This undermines
their relationships with followers, peers, and superiors. Highly successful
leaders, on the other hand, remain even-tempered and are calm, confident and
predictable during a crisis. Lastly, outstanding leaders have a strong desire to
lead” they want to be in charge. To fulfill this desire they are more willing
to accept responsibility and subsequently take decisive action. Leaders have a
strong desire to have influence and impact others. In short, they accrue and use
power. Power can be used pro-socially (responsibly) and it can be used
capriciously. The fact that power can be abused should not blind us to the fact
that it is necessary for organizations to function. Excellent leaders use their
power to build up their organizations, develop their people, and make them
successful. OH #7 Leadership Principles. Let us talk about leadership principles
that guide people toward the actions that lead to successful leadership. If
traits are the necessary preconditions for leadership; then principled actions
are the fulfillment of the promise. OH #8 Moral courage is not an all or nothing
proposition. Exceptional leaders consistently exhibit the unwavering courage of
their convictions, often refusing to follow the easy path because it violates a
moral standard. To become an effective leader, one must establish or adopt
clearly defined moral standards, then adhere to then relentlessly. To develop
their followers, you must know them well. Think how people are constantly
changing…makes your job even more difficult. Managers (as opposed to leaders)
restrict information to their people as a method of maintaining control and
importance to the team. Leaders empower their people with information so that
the entire team, and through this leader, can excel. Keeping people informed
also provides feedback and points of reference to monitor success. Human beings
have a tendency to form cliques. Although this natural tendency has advantages,
its drawbacks tend to inhibit effective teamwork. The most significant way this
happens is by stifling contrary points of view. Although we normally think that
we want total agreement during all stages of a project, in reality contrary
points of view provide more choice and help avoid unethical decision-making.

Exceptional leaders demonstrate loyalty not only to their organization, but also
to their followers. Being loyal means that they deeply consider what is best for
others, despite what you may want or need for yourself. Do, as I say, not as I
do is the best way to fail in leadership. Remember the old clich?: Actions
speak louder than words, people can be inspired by words, but they follow
actions. OH # 9 Johari’s Window. Self-knowledge is critical for people to
develop and grow in every aspect of our lives, and that includes leadership
skills. By being familiar with our strengths and limitations, we are able to use
our strengths to best advantage and create a plan to expand the abilities we
find limited. Alternately, we can surround ourselves with people who compensate
for our limitations. Whatever approach we eventually take, self-knowledge is the
first critical step. Johari’s Window is a concept used by self-development
trainers. It describes degrees of knowledge about the self in two dimensions,
(1) that which is known/unknown to the self and (2) that which is known/unknown
to others. Using these categories produces a two by two matrix of potential
circumstances of knowledge regarding the self. The first quadrant, public
knowledge describes things about us that we are aware of and so are others. The
second quadrant, blind knowledge, can be what derails us from success as a
leader. This quadrant describes things about us that others are aware of and
that we are not; thus, we are blind to our true natures. Often, it is as simple
as thinking we are better at something than we really are. Because this is such
a large problem in organizations, many companies in private business have
instituted multi-rater (360 degree) feedback processes. These allow superior,
subordinates, and peers. To arte how effective leaders are on a variety of
dimensions (usually based on a validated competency profile). Multi-rater
feedback provides a great opportunity for leaders to reduce their blind spots.

The third quadrant describes that which is neither known to us that we hide or
keep private from others. Keeping things private is both expected and necessary
OH #10 E-Cubed. Lets talk about how all these traits and principles fit
together. First, we propose that integrity of character and moral courage are
the foundation or basis of principled leadership. After the foundation of
integrity and courage, we turn to what is called “e-cubed” which describes
some leadership fundamentals. Extraordinary leaders enable their followers. That
is, they set them up for success by ensuring that they have the right
experiences, skills and resources. They also actively remove obstacles or
barriers to success. In order to enable their people, leaders must be
professionally competent, have the smarts to make right decisions, and have a
through knowledge of the strengths, limitations, and preferences of their
followers. Extraordinary leaders empower their followers. In other words they
share information, power, and authority to make decisions and take action. How
do these traits and principles come into this? Emotionally stable leaders do not
allow their strong desire to lead to lure them into hoarding power, acting
capriciously, developing cliques or playing favorites. These leaders understand
that sharing information and power leads to better performance and more
motivated followers. Extraordinary leaders energize their followers. They excite
their followers by challenging them to met difficult goals, expressing
confidence in their ability to meet the goal, and setting the example by their
own enthusiasm, energy, and hard work toward the goal. OH #11 When Do You Know
You Are a Great Leader? If people continue to write about your effective
leadership 50 years after your death, that’s a pretty good sign that you were
a great leader. For everyone else, it’s very difficult to tell. Some of us,
whom have adoring followers, have failing organizations. Some of us who have
successful organizations have burnt out and bitter followers. Few of us have
both for a sustained period of time. When we do, it is easy to become with our
leadership qualities. We suggest we should seek to raise our art to an even
higher form, constantly seeking to become, and help others become, better
leaders. With this view, we never become so enamored with ourselves that we say,
“Yeah, I am a great leader.” Instead, one recognizes that many factors
contribute to leadership success, No small measure of our success is due the
efforts, smarts, and tenacity of our followers. And, as the environment in which
we do business change, so too must our leadership skills grow and expand. Three
Lessons in Leadership: People from top to bottom in most organizations exercise
leadership. It does not require charisma; it is not mystical or mysterious. What
is Leadership? Leadership is the process of giving meaningful direction to
collective efforts. ? Giving meaning. ? Setting a direction
? Willing support and cooperation. Leadership vs. Management: ?
Planning vs. Setting a Direction ? Organizing and staffing vs.. Aligning
People ? Controlling and problem Solving vs. Motivating People. Three
Lessons in Leadership or 3E’s ? Envisioning. ? Energizing.

? Enabling. The Three E’s of Leadership. ? Articulating a
Compelling Vision. Set the direction. ? Setting High Expectations.

Encourage excellence. ? Modeling Consistent Behavior Walk the talk. The
Three E’s of Leadership. Energizing: Demonstrating Personal Excitement:
Enthusiasm is contagious. Expressing Personal Confidence: Confidence inspires.

Seeking, Finding, and Using Success: Celebrate and leverage success Enabling.

Expressing Personal Support: back people up. Empathizing: Understand other’s
feelings. Expressing Confidence in People: believe in them and they will
believe. Leadership Competencies: ? Action oriented. ? Building
team spirit. ? Command skills. ? Ethics and integrity. ?
Interpersonal savvy. ? Managing vision and purpose. ? Motivating
and inspiring others. ? Problem solving and decision quality. ?
Results orientation. ? Strategic agility.


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