Leadership refers to the process of influencing people to follow a desired course of action. Through such influence, the leader ensures that the goals of the organization are achieved (Zarrela, 2015). There are multiple types of leadership styles and behavior. The focus of this study is on learning on leadership between week one and week seven in this semester. Unless one has understanding of the various roles played by a leader, it is often difficult to adopt an effective approach to leadership. The paper entails a discussion of three of the most important leadership aspects for every week’s topic and the importance of understanding them.
Week 1: leader as a visionary
Leadership versus management
Over the years, many scholars have tried to make a distinction between management and leadership. Management is viewed as the process of ensuring that in an organization, things are being done in the right manner. On the other hand, leadership is viewed as a process of influencing individuals to pursue a desired course of action. Management is also viewed as being mechanical while leadership results to innovation and development. Through influencing others, it will be possible to attain individuals’ goals and objectives as well as the goals and objectives that are being pursued by an organization ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
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Traits of leaders
In week one, student were exposed to understanding of what exactly constitutes the traits of a leader. Some of these traits include persistence, good communication skills and sociability. Leaders do not shy away from interacting with people and shaping their views. Leaders are also expected to exhibit self confidence and adaptability. By exploiting these traits, the leader is thus in a position to pursue opportunities as well as to influence other people (Zarrela, 2015).
In 1950s, many scholars tried to identify specific pattern of behavior among leaders. There is consensus that the leadership behavior is highly dependent on the circumstances at hand and the behavior of the followers. Leaders who are considerate of the feelings and needs of their followers end up realizing better outcomes as compared to those who are not considerate of the same. Understanding the right leader behavior is thus critical if leaders are to realize their desired goals and objectives. Being friends as well as informative is a vital leadership behavior ( Howell, & Costley, 2006).
Week 2: leader as a problem solver
Importance of supportive leadership
Supportive leadership is characterized with showing concern on status as well as well being of the followers. Leaders are expected to be considerate as well as understanding attitude towards their followers. They are also supportive of professional development of the staff or followers that they lead. This results to employee empowerment ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
Traits of supportive leadership
There are identified behaviors that are attributed to supportive leaders. Such leaders are expected to be considerate and understanding. They also expected to show concerns on the needs of the people that they lead and act in a friendly as well as informative manner. Showing trust and respect are also important attributes among supportive leaders ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
Ineffective supportive leadership
Ineffective supportive leadership results to minimal realization of the desired goals and objectives. For instance, when leaders focus on manipulating others, they may end up negatively influencing employee perceptions, hence limiting their trust in the leader. As a result, the leaders may end up being encouraged or discouraged from providing supportive leadership (Zarrela, 2015). The leaders may also end up acting in the same manner as followers. The culture of the organization may also result to ineffective support. For instance, in societies where women are looked down upon, the leaders support from a female leader may not be fully appreciated resulting to a scenario where such leaders end up failing to deliver sufficient support. In organizations where supportive leadership is not promoted there ends up being a gap in leadership process and reducing the level of support ( Howell, & Costley, 2006).
Week 3: leader as a team builder
Importance of directive leadership
Directive leadership is a mode of leadership where the leader is engaged in activities that guides the structure of followers actions. The leaders seek to understand the needs of the followers while at the same time directing operations in a manner where these needs are met. Such leaders thus view employees as a team and invest in team development. Such leaders usually make follow-ups on assignments that they provide to the employees ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
Ineffective directive leadership
While leaders may adopt directive leadership style, they may not always attain the desired outcomes. Directive leadership style should be based on the right information, otherwise its value declines. When the leader fails to provide appraisal to employee performance and continues employing a to directive approach, the followers may interpret this as an indication that they are underperforming. As a result, they may end up altering their behavior ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
Situations that enhance effectiveness of directive leadership
The directive leadership approach ends up altering the views of the followers. Consequently, the leaders are expected to ensure that such alterations are objective. There is a need for such leaders to make clarifications on expectations. Monitoring and making follow ups on tasks as well as motivating and conveying expertise. Often, many leaders adopt their directive behavior ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) . Directive leadership is often required in high technology industries where employees may lack full understanding of the processes involved. At the same time, such leaders end up adopting directive approach to leadership when dealing with employees with low experience.
Week 4 leader as a manager of EI
Today, many organizations are looking for employees with both high intellectual quotient as well as emotional intelligence. Leaders manage emotional intelligence by ensuring that employees absorbed in the organization are trained on emotional quotient, and development of empathy in their day to day operations. Unless people are aware of themselves, it would be difficult to understand others. Lack of the same may also hinder the ability of individuals to think in a rational manner ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
Emotions versus reason
Leaders are expected to make well calculated and reasoned moves. The need to apply logic in situations and in handling day to day stresses and in planning is high. There is also a need to develop ways through which emotions should be handled. Failure to do this would result to failure of individuals to manage their feelings as well as actions ( Howell, & Costley, 2006). 3. Understanding rather than judgment
When dealing with other people, the leaders are expected to focus on understanding them as opposed to judgment. Focus on judging others may hinder empathy and reduce the ability of leaders to make objective decisions. It would thus be important that leaders seek to understand the reason as to why followers are behaving g in particular manner and identify objective way of intervention. When faced with threats, there is a need to calm, down as well as assess whether such threats are real or not. This process will increase the ability of individuals to make objective decisions. This process would further boost ability of leaders to make objective decisions in spite existence of emotions (Zarrela, 2015).
Week 5: leader as a communicator
Traits of participative leadership
Participative leaders have very clear traits that separate them from leaders who adopt other approaches to leadership. Such leaders tend to consult with the groups, enabling them to understand the potential challenges that such individuals could be facing in the organization. They also seek opinions regarding various alternatives and consult with other individuals at various levels of operations within the organization. They also tend to seek information from the followers. This process facilitates performance of employees within the organization ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
Ineffective participative leadership
Ineffective leadership has the potential of significantly reducing leader performance. There are scenarios and approaches that may end up rendering this approach to leadership ineffective. For instance, when there is no clear agreement on authority and responsibilities, participative leadership may not generate the desired goals. At the same time, when group objectives are not well understood, the contribution of the individuals to the organization is limited ( Howell, & Costley, 2006).
Traits, skills and sources of power
Participative leaders are expected to act with the highest level of integrity. Equally, they are expected to execute tasks with high level of skill. It is through understanding of what is expected of them that they are in a position to assist others pursue their goals and objectives. Follower loyalty as well as commitment to the leader also increases their power especially when such followers recognize the unique skills and the participation of such leaders. Leaders may derive their power from having control of key resources. At the same time, the followers may realize the high expert power in the leader and hence respect him for that ( Howell, & Costley, 2006).
Week 6: leader as a liaison
Importance of boundary spanning
Traditionally, organizations are viewed a operating within fixed boundaries. The role of the leader is viewed as facilitating exchange of resources as well as information within the organization. The leaders are also tasked with the defense of the integrity of the organization. As a result, these leaders are viewed as figurehead in such organizations. They are also expected to play liaison roles, forming as well as maintaining networks within the organization as well as from external sources. They are expected to act as disturbance handlers ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
Effects of boundary spanning
Boundary spanning has in the past generated positive results in organizations. It enables the organization to effectively manage their operations. Through such boundary spanning, individuals are also in a position to coordinate their operations. This process is expected to significantly boost their operations. Boundary spanning is a major requisite among leaders especially in research firms where the operations are expected to be directed only towards the research topic as opposed to taking a more broad approach. Through boundary spanning, the organization is also able to avoid distractions that may deter them from effectively pursuing their goals and objectives ( Howell, & Costley, 2006).
Boundary spanning behaviors.
The need to execute tasks within specified boundaries is critical if organizations are to realize the intended goals and objectives. Leaders are expected to exhibit certain behaviors in boundary spanning. They are expected to define as well as manipulate the boundaries. They are also expected to respond to the external demands as well as influences. It is also their role to obtain, filter as well as disseminate information in the organization ( Howell, & Costley, 2006) .
Week 7: leader as a planner 1. Importance of fellowship
Historically, followers are viewed as dependent individuals. Heroic leaders are expected to determine the direction, pace as well as results of their operations. These goals are attained while at the same tome ensuring that the organization is operating in an objective as well as optimal manner. The followers are no longer seeking to be dependent on decisions made by the employers. Rather, they also expect to make significant contributions in the decision making process in such organizations. Employee empowerment is gaining prominence. Nevertheless, it is evident that through such empowerments, employees’ level of commitment to the organization has been on the rise. Popularity of the work teams have increased the willingness of individuals to participate in operations of the organization ( Howell, & Costley, 2006).
Fellowship skills and traits
Fellowship results to sharing of information as well as more participation in the affairs of the organization. Employees and leaders end up undertaking highly effective operations and they are expected to act in an autonomous manner. Organization boundaries are also set and the participation in projects is high (Zarrella, 2015).
Effects of boundary spanning
As a result of boundary spanning, employees are in a position to make their committed contributions towards the realization of the organization goals and objectives. Through boundary spanning, the scare resources in an organization are directed towards the most profitable causes. This process is important in ensuring that the organization pursues their operations with a shared purpose. This process would enable them to effectively pursue the organization vision and mission ( Howell, & Costley, 2006).
From the study during the seven weeks, my ability to lead has been enhanced significantly. I have come to understand the need to influence others as a leader as opposed to merely focusing technical aspects of management. I have also noted the importance of supportive leadership where leaders assist employees in execution of tasks and in offering guidance. Directive leadership also helps in guiding employees when they lack the right skill levels. Participative leadership on the other hand enables leaders to work together with employees, often inspiring them with their high skill. A leader also facilitates communication and ensures that there is effective management of emotional competencies in the organization and training employees on how to develop apathy. Through effective fellowship, employees’ commitment in the organization is enhanced. Finally, I have realized the importance of boundary spanning where organization efforts are directed only towards the relevant goals and objectives
Howell, J. P. & Costley, D. L. (2006). Understanding Behaviors for Effective Leadership. New Prentice Hall. Pearson Education.
Zarrella, D. (2015). Strategic management. Beijing: O'Reilly. Internet resource.