Effective Leadership Approach

Leadership goes hand in hand with power. In order for a person to be an effective leader, there must be an ability to influence the actions of the subjects in a positive manner. However, leadership is also about exercising power that a leader has to make sure that he controls him or herself. One can never be a good leader if he or she does not have the ability to lead oneself in the right direction. If one can be a leader that he or she is supposed to be inside, he or she will also be able to become a leader on the outside. It is only after a person experiences the continuum of events that he or she can tackle anything in the leadership world. Therefore, leadership is about exercising personal restraint even in times when it is extremely hard to do. It is also about the sacrifices that one can make in order for the subject to have the best opportunity. Leadership is about making decisions that focus on the ramifications that are bound to face the subjects before focusing on the gains that one can have from a choice. Therefore, leadership is like a selfless exercise of power.

The meaning of leadership has changed completely to me after the course. The perception I had about a leader was that it is the person that gets the things done irrespective of how he or she does it. The approaches that a person uses to have work done are different, but as long as they have a positive effect, they are good approaches. This notion on leadership is misguided, since there people who have power but are not really leaders. The ideal leader has to work having the bets interest of the subjects in mind. However, the old ideals about leadership leaned more towards tyranny. The tyrant uses the subjects to reap the most benefits for himself. It is not in agreement with the selfless nature that a leader should possess (Yammarino & Dansereau 138). The other misconception about leadership was that a leader is a privileged human being who has all that he wants at his disposal. This relieves him from stress. However, such notion is a fallacy, since there are many different causes of stress in leadership that most people do not see. The challenges that leaders have to face in order to keep themselves relevant are the main cause of leadership woes. One of the most common challenges is ensuring that the subjects have an absolute trust in the direction that their leader provides. This means that a leader has to make sure that he or she provides the subjects with the direction that does not fail. Therefore, the attitude and approach that a leader takes in tackling a situation must be consistent in all situations. The challenges that leaders face still allow them to retain their power. The other misconception was that a leader could actually become a servant (Strang 450). It was unthinkable, since the term ‘servant leadership’ was foreign. It sounded a little different from the image that I cultivated of a strong leader. It sounded equivocal and obscure, since a leader could not be also a servant. The unit enabled me to learn that a leader has to show that he can be led before he leads.

I have come to realize that I have some leadership skills since the time that I have been taking this unit. Most of the skills that I display are inclining towards servant leadership. One of the traits I have is the ability to display empathy, to understand what other people are undergoing in order to make the right decision in correcting the situations that they face. The intentions of the subjects are important in coming up with a way forward even in the times when the intention of the subjects leads to undesired outcome. Listening to the subjects with empathy is one of the traits that make me excel in all the leadership capacities that I have demonstrated in the past. Another trait is listening skills. I have the ability to listen to the subjects and take their points of view on different matters. When I listen to the subjects I understand the reasoning behind their claims or proposals and come up with the best way of handling the situation (Sczesny & Bosak et al., 638). Another leadership trait that I have developed is the ability to reconcile relationships. The hurts that people have faced may be from the intentional or unintentional actions of their leaders. Therefore, effective leaders have to understand the approaches that can reconcile the relationships between themselves and other people. A right relationship mindset means that a leader has a high chance of being effective. The ability to heal relationships means that a leader has power over risky situations. Awareness is another leadership trait that I wield. It is a general awareness of the things that are happening in the sphere of my influence and control. The other awareness is self-awareness, which is the knowledge of the weaknesses and strengths that a person possesses as a leader. This awareness is very instrumental in coming up with a holistic view of the things that face a person. The decisions made from a position of awareness are all inclusive (Gunter 2).

The challenges that face me as a leader are numerous. They emanate from the shortfalls that come from my part, as wells as from the subjects. Making the most out of the shortfalls that I make is never easy, since I have to consider the image that I create among the subjects. In some of the instances, deciding on the exact course of action that should be taken in times of uncertainty depends on what impact the action will have on me as a leader. The separation of the commitment that I have to my personal activities and the ones that come from my duty is a challenge. I have the risk of failing in the social circles but achieving success in my leadership position. Therefore, the main challenge that I come across is how to manage my time how to allocate it between my personal activities and the leadership duties. The other challenge that I face comes from my temper. A difficult temperament is a possible fault line that can cause leadership of any person to crumble. However, the job stress can make a person display his or her most unattractive characteristics (Eagly & Johannesen- Schmidt et al., 569). Controlling the temper for the sake of a good leadership image is always a challenge that I have to grapple with as I lead.

The leadership approaches that work for me include free rein and participative leadership. The modern world acknowledges charisma. However, the same world has a favored opinion on the leaders who are able to display participative leadership. The hand off approach to leadership does not really work for me, since I need to have the awareness on how the operations of my leadership unit are progressing. This makes me have a hand in most of the activities of the leadership unit. This leadership approach may create an opinion that I am suffocating the capabilities of my subjects. It is the main reason behind the use of another leadership approach that is the free rein. This leadership approach allows me to give the people under me the freedom to act as they deem fit as long as they are adherent to the laid down tenets. The freedom that this approach gives to the employees can be both good and bad. It is good if it leads to the development of trust among the subjects and me. However, it is bad if people are able to run amok with all sorts of ideas. The ideas formulated in the latter work against the general good of the leadership unit. This approach works with servant leadership, since people are able to see my hand in the operations when I actively participate in the activities of the leadership unit. In the case of free rein the subjects are able to make their decisions on the ways how to lead themselves and any delegated group according to the experience that they have as servants (Eagly & Johannesen- Schmidt 789).

The ideal leadership model must be made of some traits. One of the most important traits is the ability of a person to develop character (Stone& Russell et al., 358). Leadership is a challenge that calls a person in the position of power to rally the people towards a common goal and character. A leader can rally others to develop the right character if and only if a leader himself possesses the exemplified character. The other trait that a leader has to build is charisma. It is because the first impressions made by a leader are effective enough to seal the deal (Spears 11). The best way of displaying this trait is being able to make other people feel good about themselves just as they feel about the leader. Charismatic leaders can use this trait to attain the highest levels in their careers. The other trait that a good leader must have is the commitment (Day & Zaccarro, 46). One of the ways of defining commitment is that it is the distinguishing factor between a doer and a dreamer. A leader has to belong to the previous class. The commitment that a leader displays is capable of influencing the success of any undertaking that is placed under him or her.

The factors that embodied a good leader before the assignment were different. The assumption that leaders are to be pampered and treated in a special way changed after knowing that the most of the successful leaders owe their success to their ability to get down from their high horse and empathize with the subjects (Ayman 15). Good leader was the one who was efficient. However, I have come to know that being good at what one does is not enough to make a good leader. One has to make sure that his or her subjects have the requisite levels of satisfaction.

The lessons I learnt this term are important for the eventual creation of the working relationship between me and the people that are under me. I will endure to be a listening leader. This is the key to the development of fruitful strategies. It will also help me in pinpointing the areas that demand my rectification (Casimir & Waldman). I also plan to display much commitment in my work. Commitment is important in determining the effectiveness of the plans laid down. The performance of a committed leader is also guaranteed. The other leadership trait that I will integrate in my leadership is vision. I will be able to communicate my vision with courage to my subjects in order to get their opinion. I will also practice empathy.

Leadership entails more than exercising power over people. The most effective leaders display the traits mentioned above in everything they do. The best approach to leadership is the servant leadership. In this mode, a leader is not raised on a pedestal. A leader does not rely on an ivory tower to be efficient (Yukl & Heaton 52). The servant leader is a person who looks at the best approaches that he or she can use to benefit those who are under him or her. This mode of leadership is the one that I would like to develop.

Works Cited

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Casimir, Gian, and David A Waldman.”A Cross Cultural Comparison of the Importance of Leadership Traits for Effective Low-level and High-level Leaders Australia and China.”International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 7.1 (2007): 47–60. Print.

Day, David, and Stephen J Zaccaro. “Leadership: A Critical Historical Analysis of the Influence of Leader Traits.”Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers. 2007. Print.

Eagly, Alice, and Mary C Johannesen-Schmidt. “The Leadership Styles of Women and Men.” Journal of Social Issues, 57.4 (2001): 781-797. Print.

Eagly, Alice H, Mary C Johannesen-Schmidt, and Marloes L Van Engen. “Transformational, Transactional, and Laissez-Faire Leadership Atyles: A Meta-Analysis Comparing Women and Men.”Psychological bulletin, 129.4 (2003): 569. Print.

Gunter, Helen. “Critical Approaches to Leadership in Education.” The Journal of Educational Enquiry, 2.2 (2009): Print.

Sczesny, Sabine, Janine Bosak, Daniel Neff, and Birgit Schyns.”Gender Stereotypes and the Attribution of Leadership Traits: A Cross-Cultural Comparison.” Sex Roles, 51.11-12 (2004): 631–645. Print.

Spears, Larry C. “Practicing Servant-Leadership.”Leader to leader, 2004. 34 (2004): 7-11. Print.

Stone, A Gregory, Robert F Russell, and Kathleen Patterson. “Transformational Versus Servant Leadership: A Difference in Leader Focus.” Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 25.4 (2004): 349-361. Print.

Strang, Kenneth David. “Examining Effective Technology Project Leadership Traits and Behaviors.” Computers in Human Behavior, 23.1 (2007): 424–462. Print.

Yammarino, Francis J, and Fred Dansereau. “Multi-Level Nature of and Multi-Level Approaches to Leadership.” The Leadership Quarterly, 19.2 (2008): 135–141. Print.

Yukl, Gary A and Heather Heaton.”Leadership in Organizations.”Prentice Hall Upper Saddle River, NJ. 2002. Print.