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What leadership means to me

1. Introduction

Although leading is recognised as being an of import concept, it is non a construct that holds one individual definition. What leading really is, or how to specify it right is still regarded as a enigma by many. Leadership is something that may differ depending on the people involved, the state of affairs at manus, and the ends being pursued, and is hence unfastened to subjective reading. Stogdill ( 1974: 259 ) concluded that there are ‘almost as many definitions of leading as there are individuals who have attempted to specify the construct ‘ . It could be argued that everyone has their ain apprehension of what constitutes leading, based on personal and learning experiences, and state of affairss and people, which is precisely why it is hard to capture in a compendious definition. Grint ( 2004 ) narrows down the cardinal grounds as to why it is so hard to happen a individual and agreed apprehension of leading: procedure jobs, place jobs, doctrine jobs, and pureness jobs. These jobs refer to whether leading is derived from traits or a societal procedure, whether a leader is automatically in charge with officially allocated authorization, and the inquiries as to whether a leader has knowing influence on the behavior of followings, and is leading embodied in persons or groups and is it a strictly human phenomenon.

This essay seeks to research what leading means to me, pulling on personal experience of leading as a societal phenomenon, and discoursing my positions from the position of both a leader and follower. In order to do sense of my apprehension of leading, a critical reappraisal and commentary on leading theory is included in the treatment.

2. Personal Experience of Leadership Within the Workplace

For the past five old ages I have had a portion clip occupation at Marks and Spencer, and therefore come across many types of leaders and directors. The inquiry frequently asked is whether a director can automatically be assumed to besides be a leader? Zalenznik ( 1977 ) was one of the first to contrast leading and direction as he argued that a leader uses creativeness and intuition, whereas a director solves jobs utilizing reason and control. Since so, many faculty members have agreed and argued that ‘good direction brings about a grade of order and consistence to organizational procedures and ends, whilst leading is required for dynamic alteration ‘ ( Kotter 1990: 104 cited in Bolden 2004: 6 ) . In an administration such as Marks and Spencer so, it is indispensable that they have both good direction, who offer stableness, consistence, order and efficiency, and good leaders who produce of import alteration by maintaining employees focused and motivated to accomplish the vision communicated. In my workplace, I would state we have good ‘managers ‘ based on the above premises, nevertheless, I would non state that every director is besides a good leader. For this ground I agree with Kotter and Zalenznik, leading and direction differ from one another well.

In the workplace context I am a follower, and so from this position I have seen what I would see to be good leading, and hapless leading manners. The writers who have focused on followings suggest that they are active participants in the leading relationship ( Boccialetti, 1995 ; Chaleff, 1995 ; Kelley, 1992 ; Shamir, Pillai, Bligh, & A ; Uhl-Bien, 2007 ) . The socially constructed position sees leading as being ‘in the oculus of the perceiver ‘ where it is the followings who have to hold on what constitutes leading, and who they are prepared to follow. If the followings, and in my personal state of affairs chap employees, do non esteem the leader, it is improbable they will follow at all. Unless followings recognise and orient to peculiar behaviors, which they regard to be ‘leadership ‘ , so the individual seeking to take is non a leader whatever their purposes.

There is hence no manner for an person to take unless people are prepared to follow. There have been many cases at work when one specific director has tried to take alteration in the shop, nevertheless because she is non good respected, and in my sentiment does non come across as being a natural leader, frequently her vision gets ignored until another director provides instructions for staff about the same vision. This director is viewed by employees as holding the function of merely transfusing subject, finishing administrative undertakings, and organizing the store floor, instead than pass oning visions for alteration. Furthermore, although I believe that the functions of directors and leaders are really different, in my occupation there are no seeable ‘leaders ‘ who are non directors in my shop. The direction squad automatically take on the function of leading, irrespective of whether they are a good leader or non. As it is therefore direction who attempt to supply the visions and programs for alteration, and employees like myself have no duty or state in the waies they wish to take. Uhl-Bien and Pillai ( 2007 ) argue that followings who perceive the leader as responsible for doing determinations are less likely to take an active function in the determination devising procedure, and so, they give up autonomy. Many of my fellow employees, who frequently do non bask the occupation, besides expect the leader, in this case our director, to actuate them instead than actuating themselves. The directors recognise this and frequently offer inducements, such as a bottle of vino, if we achieve certain marks. This could hence be considered to be transactional leading.

A typical manner of depicting leading manners within the administration is using McGregor ‘s ( 1969 ) theory X and theory Y. McGregor assumes that an administration and its leaders can hold differing sentiments on the motive and abilities of their employees. My line director presumes that her staff dislikes working and takes a negative position of human nature, believing we will avoid making work if possible. This is apparent, as she will frequently divide employees up on the store floor to forestall them from ‘chatting ‘ , and she invariably checks up on her staff to guarantee they are making what she has asked them to make. Her actions and leading manner concur with what McGregor describes as theory Ten leaders. My director believes that coercion and control is necessary to guarantee that people work, and she ne’er gives employees like myself any excess duties. This manner is besides referred to as the bossy manner.

Although my director is assumed to be the leader at work, I would reason that she is non a good leader, and at that place have been times when I have had better counsel from a fellow co-worker. My director has a coercive manner harmonizing to Goleman ‘s six leading manners. She expects immediate conformity, frequently provides negative and disciplinary feedback and controls tightly. This manner does non actuate employees to see her visions or follow her lead, alternatively it has frequently turned employees against her and people have refused to make certain undertakings because of her leading manner.

3. Myself as a Leader – Badminton Coach and Captain

From a immature age I have been told that I am a natural leader, perchance because I am autocratic and like to acquire things done! Ever since I remember I have had certain personality traits, which I consider to be those of leaders: I am confident, ambitious, dominant, and so of course take the lead in most state of affairss. Based on what I have learnt from leaders I have come across, when taking my badminton squad I keep in head what styles I believe will be most successful.

I consider myself to be a transformational leader ( Bass and Avolio 1994 ) when in the function of badminton captain. As a leader I believe it is of import for me to hold a clear vision, and most significantly, be able to pass on it efficaciously to the whole squad. Unlike the traditional transactional theory of leading, which emphasizes disciplinary action, centralised control and wagess merely when public presentation outlooks are met, transformational leaders trust their subsidiaries and it is a more developmental and constructive signifier of leading. In a athleticss squad context it is besides of import for me to joint our squad ‘s ends, which should be realistic and accomplishable. For illustration, before come ining a tourney I will province where I expect us to complete, and that the vision is to win a gold decoration. In order to accomplish this end I besides have to actuate the squad, and do certain they put the squad and tourney at the top of their precedence list, above any other opportunisms at that clip. Additionally I have to acquire the squad members to understand how their manner of drama affects others, hence promoting them to see their game from others positions. And eventually I have to develop the squad in many ways, both physically to fix them for a large tourney, and mentally so they reach their highest degrees of ability. It could hence be argued, that as a leader I follow what Bass and Avolio ( 1990 ) name the ‘four I ‘s ‘ : Idealised Influence, Inspirational Motivation, Intellectual Stimulation, and Individualized Consideration.

As a individual I have antecedently been told that I am really magnetic. I think this besides shows in my leading manner and I think I am besides a magnetic leader. Northouse ( 2004 ) described the major features as: dominant personally with the desire to act upon others, strong function theoretical account behavior and competency, articulation of ideological ends with moral overtones, and high outlook of followings and assurance that they will run into these outlooks.

Although I believe I have the personality traits required to go a leader, I am cognizant that there have been occasions when my leading manners have been unsuccessful, as I have become impatient or intolerant of the followings. From these experiences I believe I have learnt a batch and therefore besides see the importance of situational leading and holding the ability to change the leading styles I adopt.

4. Could Parents be considered to be Leaderships?

When sing leaders and leading, and what it means to me, I thought about what my first experience of leading of all time was. Although leading in an administration is the cardinal focal point of the faculty and class, it can non travel ignored that my parents were the first influential leaders in my life. My parents have been really influential leaders in my life. As pull offing managers of their ain company, they have ever played the function of directors, nevertheless in our place their leading manner varied to that of in their work topographic point, and to the manners of each other. My parents have ‘led me in the right way ‘ . Unlike the traditional theories of leading such as The Great Man Theory I would reason that my Dendranthema grandifloruom is the strongest leader in our place. It has been argued that adult females are more likely to utilize transformational leading ( Rosener 1990 ) , and as the follower, this is the manner I find motivational, inspirational and hence successful. She uses more synergistic leading manners in comparing to my pa as she encourages engagement, power and information sharing and enhanced self worth.

Although the leading manners of parents are arguably really different to those of leaders within an administration, my parents and their manners have had a monolithic influence on my apprehension of leading and on my whole life! They have led me to where I am today. I have been highly lucky to be able to see their leading manners whilst running their company, hence within an administration. In this state of affairs they both use different methods of taking than they do at place, therefore back uping Hersey and Blanchard ‘s ( 1969 ) theory that leaders could accommodate their manners to accommodate the state of affairs. Situational or contingent leading theoretical accounts recognise this, and back up the statement that what constitutes effectual leading will be influenced by the situational factors such as the people involved, the undertaking to be carried out, and the organizational civilization. It is hence indispensable that leaders employ a assortment of attacks across a scope of state of affairss.

5. Decision

From taking the clip to see what leading means to me, it has merely become more evident about how complex the construct of leading really is. I believe ‘leadership ‘ is different to different people. Whom I consider to be an effectual leader, others may non, and what I consider to be traits that create a successful leader, others may non. Leadership to me is something that comes of course, nevertheless in different state of affairss, there needs to be different signifiers of leading in order for your followings to ‘follow ‘ . Although there have been many surveies on leading, and many theories produced, I agree with Burns ‘ statement that ‘leadership is one of the most ascertained and least understood phenomena on Earth ‘ . ( Burns, 1978: 3 )

5.1 My theoretical apprehension of leading

I have found it hard to truly understand and stipulate my theoretical stance of leading. Generally speech production, it is assumed that a individual either believes that leading is a effect of a set of traits or features possessed by leaders, or that leading is a societal procedure that emerges and is learned throughout life and from group relationships. I, on the other manus, believe there is truth in both attacks. I would reason that some people are merely born leaders due to their temperaments and personalities, nevertheless they besides need to larn and understand how to utilize these traits to go a successful leader, therefore leading capableness must besides be partially learned. I have this sentiment because of my experiences. I frequently become the leader in group undertaking state of affairss, at university for illustration, and although I know it frequently comes of course to me, I have had to larn how to utilize my leading trait efficaciously in order to win and take the followings. I agree with Gallie ‘s statement that ‘Leadership appears to be, like power, an basically contested construct ‘ ( Gallie 1995 cited in Grint 2004: 1 ) . Furthermore, I have the same sentiment of the situational leading attack due to personal experiences with leaders, and as a leader myself. Zaccaro ( 2007 ) , Sternberg ( 2007 ) , and Vroom and Jago ( 2007 ) argue that neither trait nor situational properties entirely are sufficient to explicate leader behavior and effectivity. It is the interaction between traits and state of affairss that counts.