Leadership is having the ability to give guidance to those that will follow. Those that follow will help to complete the mission. Leadership is an immature science and the body of knowledge in the field has developed through a series of fits and starts. Leadership is a soft science, just as anthropology, sociology and psychology. It cannot be proven exactly what it is. Leadership is an art; the skillful application of leadership behaviors beyond techniques is much the same as the skillful application of brushstrokes by a master painter. Leadership is both rational and emotional.
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Some people take several years and even several classes and still cant quite be a good leader. I even took a test, which more or less states that I need to relax and calm down. The test covers several different areas ranging from personality quirks to communication and even how I prefer to handle conflicts. Introduction This paper will be discussing several areas that were examined through the test on leadership and personality that was taken by the author.
Some of the major points that will be discussed are how the author rates himself against others on his team or in his group. A couple of other major points that will be touched on are conflict management and communication skills. Also, the author will be covering some of his ideas on leadership and whether or not any one individual can perfect it. The author has quite a bit of experience in these areas and conveyed some of his ideas in this paper. Leadership is a social process shared among all members of a group. Leadership development comes through experience.
We all learn from our different experiences. Whether positive or negative, they are our tools for growth and development. What is management? Management is a position of authority. Management says what needs to get done and supplies the material to get it done. Management tends to be the more educated than the experienced. Managers can be trained to hold a position. Management is a position of leadership. Can leadership and management be the same? Leadership and management are not the same. Anyone can be a manager and not have any followers. A manager should always know the aspects of any mission.
A leader knows the aspects, has the knowledge and the skills to accomplish the mission. But leadership and management work hand in hand with each other. Leadership is a human relationship process. No scientific method can be used for testing leadership. Managers are not only interested in status quo, but also production, expansion and growth. Management was a system to control machines. Leadership can never be controlled. To be a good manager one must look at views from different perspectives. As situations change, leadership relations change. Leadership cannot be transactional.
It can only work if both parties keep their agreements. A survey was held to compare leaders to managers. The overall opinion was that they are similar in many ways. A leader and a manager can be one in the same. The difference between a leader and a manager is that a manager directs and a leader motivates. When both are doing their jobs, they are performing their leadership roles. If one looks at leadership, one will see good management at work. They both need support from each process in order to achieve its goals. Leadership is not just based on the leader.
In assessing leadership one must look at the leader, the follower and the situation. Assess the reaction of what one expects from the follower. Look at the situation and environment that surrounds the whole concept. A leader is a servant to his followers. The followers must also serve the leader. Both must serve their common goal. Leaders have nothing to do with leadership. Leadership is 100% service and 100% partnership. To maintain good leadership, one must keep a good relationship between leaders and followers. Leadership and follower-ship are both like a two way street.
One must give respect both ways in order to have good relations. Followers will follow someone they respect, just as leaders like to lead someone who they respect. There are different types of followers. There are alienated followers, conformist followers, pragmatist followers and exemplary followers. The alienated followers are the ones that are irritants, who like to always point out the negative aspect on everything. They always overlook the positive aspects. The conformist follower is the yes person of the organization. As long as things are in conformance with social and organizational standards its okay.
The pragmatists are not committed to workgroup goals but have learned not to make waves. The exemplary follower is almost like a self-leader. They can adjust to any situation. They are independent, innovative, creative and willing to stand up to superiors. A strong follower like that would help a good leader to become a better leader. This could also bring on a well-bonded working relationship. In evaluating the leadership process, a lot of things come into play. Followers usually play a key role in organizational successes and failures, yet these outcomes are often attributed solely to leaders.
Values play a central part of a leaders psychological makeup. Values also serve to organize attitudes, which are general and enduring, positive or negative feelings about some person, object, or issue. There are two sets of attitudes that play a role in leadership. They are the attitudes leaders have about themselves and the attitudes leaders have about others. Managing stress is also an important skill for leaders and followers to have. They both must learn to monitor their own stress levels and each others. If symptoms of stress are detected, they must work together to pinpoint the cause.
Many studies have been done and no one still knows what makes a true leader. We are far from finding conclusive answers to them. Even those individuals with extensive knowledge of leadership may be poor leaders. Even though no one really knows what perfect leadership is, a good leader still must know how to handle conflict and power struggles. Disagreements and conflict happen everyday and in every group. How they are handled will define the group or teams success. The main thing to remember is no matter what; a leader is always needed to make a final decision.
When one member is having a problem with another the worst thing to do is not discuss the problem and believe it will just go away on its own. Every problem has to be brought out in the open so everyone can deal with it together. The five powers I found very interesting. The most evident in the military is the legitimate power, however the referent power in certain situations is very obvious. For example, the supply sergeant has control of all the supplies and the food service controls the distribution of all the food. So in turn, those two individuals have referent power in certain ituations due to the position they hold.
There are several ways they can communicate whether or not that referent power will be used. There are so many aspects to communication now with everyone having to be politically correct. For example, nonverbal communication is a very simple way for one person to be able to tell if another is interested and wants to hear what that person has to say. Also, the networks, formal and informal, are both used whether businesses want to admit it or not. In fact, the grapevine may be used more than a formal network than some are willing to admit.
The last thing under communication Id like to mention is the barrier that exists between men and women. The barriers exist because men see communication as a way to express their power and status, while women see communication as a way to connect on a more intimate level. (Robbins, 296) These tests were very comprehensive in that they covered every aspect having to do with personality and leadership capabilities. I came across as a bit of an overly aggressive person in some of these tests. For example, in the leadership style and effectiveness test I was effective but a little overly obsessive in some areas.
Of course, I didnt agree with the whole evaluation, I get stuff done and that is all I know. I apologize to people if I offend anyone but in the end the mission is accomplished. Strengths I maintain are that I push people beyond their normal thresholds and some people could do without the assertive way I do this. That would be a strength I dont think I need to improve on. I would capitalize on that strength by motivating people to be more aggressive in the way they accomplish certain tasks. Some of my weaknesses in that test would be my assertiveness and obsession towards details.
There is really only way I could improve on that which would be to try letting other people take charge instead of always feeling like I have to be in charge. That is going to be a hard thing for me to do because Ive always been the one to step up and take the helm. Team member capabilities are a sensitive subject to deal with. One never knows when a persons personality is going to take over and that person stand up and reacts in a stressful situation. So far as how I did on that part of the test, wasnt too good like the last one. Again, I came across as a little overbearing and pushy.
Of course, I dont believe it because I let my team members make their own decisions when there is enough time to allow such freedom. However, if an individual is in charge of everything then they should want to know when certain things leave the office so they are able to approve them. Once the team is totally synchronized with each other then these restrictions wont be necessary because each will know what needs doing and when it needs to be done. When it comes to communication I did very well because I like to let everyone know when everything is happening.
I know when I was the one waiting for orders to be told so we knew what to do I hated getting surprises. In fact, that is the main thing that the people I am in charge of despise is surprises. Communication is actually very easy to keep open between several people in an organization. All that needs to be done is make it like an unwritten rule that when someone has a problem with another person, they have to the courage to speak and be heard. In the case of timid people however, a leader can always have an open forum once a week, like on a Friday, at the end of the week.
My individual performance capabilities test stated that I basically have a belief that I can do no wrong. Which I dont believe is true because I can name several mistakes that Ive made in the past and I actually took the blame, of course. On the other hand however, I can name several situations where I was blamed for something that wasnt my fault and I just kept my mouth shut. Thats one of those unwritten rules in the military, we never complain, just take the blame and it will just blow over eventually. As far as my individual performance capabilities go, I believe I can eventually figure out anything and accomplish just about anything.
The question is how do I plan to handle these little quirks I have with details and other peoples idiosyncrasies? Actually, it isnt as hard as one might think. First of all, I could attend some classes on how to handle stress, because that is a major problem; I blow up if an individual makes a few small mistakes. I need to understand that is how individuals tend to learn. On several tests I was described as a little too assertive. That is just my personality and the only possible method I can see to improve on that is attempt to let others take responsibility and maybe back down sometimes.
Communication is one of my strong points according to the test so I dont believe I need to improve on that aspect. I handle conflicts similar to any other assertive male, which are to seperate the two individuals until we can all discuss the problem like adults. The main subject I need to focus on is my assertive way of accomplishing tasks and my tendency to be pushy when it isnt needed. This will not be easy because I have always been very outspoken and aggressive. I believe this a large factor behind accomplishing so much at such a young age.
A reasonable time frame to actually reach a calmer state of being and a little subtlety in my life would be six months to a year. I have many things going on in my life right now. I know we all do but Im serious. I am an instructor, so people who maintain influential power in the organization are always evaluating me. Im not nervous but they do bring with them a bit of tension every time they enter the room. I also believe six months to a year is a safe timeframe so as not to put any more pressure on myself than that which exists already.
In this paper I discussed several different aspects and beliefs of leadership and conflict management. I believe the reader should be able to walk away with maybe some ideas of how they could possibly improve their team or workgroup. Maybe some people are just going to throw these ideas in the trash but I do believe they deserve some thought. The goal of this paper was not to cause some people to totally change their way of doing things but if there are some problems, I hope those individuals were able to pull some ideas out of this in the long run.
While writing this paper I concluded several different things about leadership. Most people are very mistaken when it comes to the topic of leadership. It is a common belief that everyone has the potential to be a good leader, which is not true. This is proven time and time again by people who try to start their own business and it goes under in one or two years because they dont know how to get the most out of their employees and keep them happy at the same time. In the end, a leader will always accomplish the mission and never fail his subordinates.