Leadership is essential for the efficient performance of every organization. However, being a successful leader can be rather a challenging task. Although trait theory of leadership states that leaders are born with particular features, the modern practice proves that being a leader requires times and energy. One has to work hard to develop specific skills and abilities. The idea of leadership has always been of great interests for many people. In the following paper, I am going to evaluate my personal approach to leadership, define strengths and weaknesses of leadership style, and suggest solutions for the future improvement and development.
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Reflection on the Results of Seven Habits Profile
Seven Habits Profile is a useful tool for the evaluation of one’s leadership style. I would like to dwell on my findings in each category and then provide a conclusion about my leadership abilities. The first category is the emotional bank account. I am very good in this perspective of leadership. I always try to display respect and kindness to other people and keep all my promises. However, I should note that there are cases when I can speak something negative about people when they are not present. This feature is not of extreme use for leaders. It shows that I lack professionalism. I am good at the second category of profile — life balance.
I always try to combine different activities in my life because I understand that all aspects of life are essential for well-being. However, I should admit that, sometimes, I forget about the concerns of others. I have demonstrated better results in the next category that refers to being proactive. I control my life and never blame others for something bad. This feature is of great significance for the leader. One cannot supervise and direct other people when he or she is not able to take control over the personal life. My results are worse in the fourth category that reflects the ability to predict endings and plan everything in advance.
In my opinion, I should work on this ability as far as it is crucial for every leader. I have demonstrated outstanding results in term of my capability to organize the working process. I value time keeping and avoid procrastination. I cannot afford any delays because I understand that time is priceless. Results from the sixth category are good. They prove that I am aimed at cooperating with others and finding solutions that are beneficial for everyone.
This fact exemplifies that I should work in a team. My scores are the best in the seventh category. This category is “Seek First to Understand” that evaluates one’s readiness to understand and accept opinions and feelings of others. As far as my scores are the highest in this category, I should become a part of the team and promote team-based decision-making.
Results in the eighth category are good. Although I respect thoughts of other people, I face difficulty in encouraging them to express their opinions. Finally, I am very good in the last category that describes my attitude towards personal well-being and building rapport with other people. Having analyzed my scores, I conclude that I am the best at being proactive, organization, and understanding of others. I consider that I can be a participative leader.
Participative Leadership Theory
Before the evaluation of my personal leadership practice, I find it useful to provide general information about the participative leadership theory. According to Bell and Mjoli (2014), “participative leadership is defined as the process of making joint decisions or at least sharing influence in decision-making by the superior and his or her subordinates” (p. 451). This theory was developed more than thirty years ago when the idea of human resources management became popular. The primary task of the participative leader is to listen and take into account opinions of other employees. By doing so, a leader can enhance the self-esteem of personnel and promote the better performance at work.
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The participative leadership theory is recognized in two models: motivational and exchange-based. According to the motivational model, the participation in decision-making processes motivates employees. Consequently, they will show better results of their work. The exchange-based model presupposes that the leader’s taking part in decision-making is essential for creating the feeling of trust. Workers who trust their leader are more likely to display an excellent working performance as well.
It should also be noted, that the participative leadership is appropriate only in some situations. For instance, when the company faces the crisis, employees may not like the idea to make decisions. In such a case, they want to be guided by a strong leader. Nevertheless, when the company is flourishing, the participative leadership should be regarded as the best approach for the efficient teamwork.
The Evaluation of Strengths, Weaknesses, and Changes
As a participative leader, I should actively engage people in the decision-making process. The primary strength of this approach to leadership refers to the fact that employees become highly motivated when their ideas are taken into consideration. It is of great significance to create the positive professional atmosphere among members of staff. When employees feel that their ideas are valuable for the company, they become more interested in the positive outcome of the particular project. Human psychology presupposes that people are more committed to ideas and decisions that are connected to them.
Thus, when one’s idea has been used in the organization, he or she is more likely to do everything possible to achieve better results. Employees feel high self-esteem in such cases, and it is crucial for the efficient performance (Bell & Mjoli, 2014).
The second strength of the participative leadership practice is the generation of new ideas. Teamwork has numerous advantages. The most significant benefit is that many ideas are discussed, and it is easier to find the best solution. The collective discussion of problems is valid as far as it makes it possible to hear different opinions and create the overall picture of the problem. As Ricketts and Ricketts (2010) write, “problems that members work on collectively often generate new ideas, created as a result of the interpersonal exchanges and discussion of various options” (p. 30).
The third strength of the participative leadership concerns the organizational culture. Organizational culture is a set of values, beliefs, moral rules, and regulations of the company. The results of the research conducted by Bell, Chan, and Nell (2014) demonstrate that participative leadership is the most efficient for the creation of the positive organizational culture. When people are motivated and believe their leader, it is much easier to direct their attitudes and behaviors towards the work and each other.
The first weakness of the participative leadership style refers to the potential apathy among employees (Ricketts & Ricketts, 2010). Thus, not all people prefer working in a group and sharing their ideas with others. Some individuals demonstrate better performance when working alone. Such people do not like communication and collective discussions. When the person is not interested in participating, he or she will become apathetic. Apathy is the worst thing for leaders.
The second weakness concerns the fact that the participation may not be enough in some cases. According to Bell et al. (2014), a leader has to direct employees towards the particular decision. Authors suggest that the combination of participative and directive leadership is the most efficient.
Finally, some leaders do not possess necessary traits to be participative leaders (Ricketts & Ricketts, 2010). This weakness is of great significance for me. According to the results of Seven Habits Profile, I face difficulty in engaging other people in decision-making process. Though I respect others, I cannot always successfully communicate in a team because I am an introverted personality.
I would recommend the following theory-based changes to maximize my success:
- To work on the development of intrinsic motivation of employees as suggested by Bell and Mjoli (2014). An intrinsic motivation of employees is of great significance for the organizational commitment. A high level of organizational commitment, in its turn, positively influences the general performance in the working environment. Thus, the task of the participative leader is to develop the feeling of self-value and self-determination of employees. The leader should be able to enhance a psychological empowerment of employees as far as it is another significant element of the intrinsic motivation;
- To enhance the level of workers’ involvement in the decision-making process by combining the participative and directive leadership styles (Bell et al., 2014). The combination of two opposite types of leadership is crucial for the development of the organizational culture as far as such leader can engage workers in the decision-making process and direct their vision towards the particular goal. The combination of two is also useful for the promotion of employees’ involvement that refers to responsibility and ownership. Thus, the participative leadership empowers employees through the intrinsic motivation while the directive style enhances the thinking processes. Finally, two types of leadership can be useful for the definition of the important long-term mission of the company. Thus, the participative leadership promotes employees’ beliefs in the shared vision and enhances their participation. The directive leadership is significant for the formation of the common long-term purpose;
- To use participative leadership in all aspects of work including planning, organization, and implementation of changes (Ricketts & Ricketts, 2010). It is impossible to achieve the particular goal if the leader is not ready to engage employees’ in the decision-making processes in all aspects of the working environment. Thus, workers of the organization should participate in various activities. Otherwise, they may become demotivated.
The first short-term SMART goal is to engage passive workers in the decision-making process.
- Specific — this goal is specific as far as it refers to the involvement of those who are apathetic;
- Measurable — I can evaluate the level and effectiveness of commitment after the implementation of the particular strategy of the promotion of involvement;
- Achievable — every employee can participate in the work. It is the task of the leader to find the method to promote participation. The combination of directive and participative leadership should be used here;
- Realistic — the goal refers to the particular team;
- Time-bound — as soon as the task is achieved, the effectiveness of leadership style has to grow.
To accomplish my goal, I have to evaluate the situation in the team with the help of observation and interviews. When passive employees are identified, it is necessary to give them such tasks that require combined efforts and mutual respect.
The second SMART goal is to create the initial feeling of trust to the leader.
- Specific — it is related to the development of my professional skills;
- Measurable — I know features that I should improve. I have to develop my personal skills and pay particular attention to the communication with others.
- Achievable — I can work on myself and accomplish specific results;
- Realistic — it is directly connected to my abilities as a leader;
- Time-bound — I have to create the positive atmosphere before employees become uninterested and disintegrated.
First, I should organize meetings and present my knowledge and skills for employees to believe that I am a professional in the sphere. Second, I have to be patient to everyone and always pay attention to new ideas. It would be much more efficient to prove that ideas are used in practice.
The results of Seven Habits Profile have assisted me in the identification that participative leadership style is the best option for me. This model presupposes that all members of staff should take part in the decision-making process. It is of great significance to be able to motivate workers and create the feeling of trust. Once these goals are achieved, it is necessary to promote active participation in decision-making processes.
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Bell, C., Chan, M., & Nell, P. (2014). The Impact of Participative and Directive Leadership on Organizational Culture. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(23), 1970-1985.
Bell, C., & Mjoli, T. (2014). The Effects of Participative Leadership on Organizational Commitment. African Journal of Business Management, 8(2), 451-459.
Ricketts, C., & Ricketts, J. (2010). Leadership: Personal Development and Career Success. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.