Leadership is as old as mankind; it generally refers to the ability to manage groups of people to achieve a specific goal (Wyman, 2003). Charisma, organization skills, oratory techniques, and the ability to make other people believe and share in dreams can be considered as factors necessary for good leaders. Other factors that a leader must possess are good communication skills, listening skills, and being able to make the right decisions at the right time. Leadership is as dynamic as other factors of production (Northouse, 2010). Having these attributes makes me, flexible enough to adapt to the changes of the dynamic world.
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Training helps me anchor my potential and correct my weaknesses. To secure a place as an efficient and effective leader, I have identified strengths and am continuously working on my weaknesses. Training will help work on these two pillars of effective leadership. However, many leaders are today disengaged from their careers due to a lack of personal attachment to the work that they do (Gardner, 1990). I have therefore struck a chord in liking the work that I have decided to do. Time management is necessary for good leadership. Time is a factor of production and only those able to use it properly can be good leaders. Apart from time management, another benchmark of effective leadership is being intensive in the areas that one flows best (Laljani, 2009). Due to the environment of few jobs and little specialization, many people are doing jobs that are not meant for them. This can impede realizing my full potential and satisfaction in the job. Being creative and innovative requires an independent mind which allows me to find pleasure in the work. Being self-evaluating person helps me to set my standards and achieve my own goals. A good job should offer me both social and financial satisfaction, to optimize my capability in leadership. According to Vanderslice (1988), social life can at times be in conflict with the expectations of the company but making a sacrifice for the sake of the company if my aspirations are taken care of, is possible.
Employee-organization common interest
The organization must work in the interest of employees as employees work to meet the goals and objectives of the company. The vision and mission of both the company and employees meet to realize collective dreams (Leadership, Capability, and Culture, 2008). When my organization delivers on its promises then it makes me strive hard to meet my objectives for the company. There has been an inherent belief that leaders are born and not made. However, leaders must have specific characteristics that other people would be looking for to be able to evaluate them as good or poor leaders. I have known being independent-minded will create room to be innovative and creative in my work. People who are not internally in control of themselves cannot make astute leaders (Gardner, 1990). Ability to manage other people and recognize their contributions to the company as a community is necessary to help in focusing the goal of the company. Being self-motivated can help in shaping the career of being a leader. Due to the holistic nature of leadership, I must have cordial relations with both people at the same level in the organization (horizontal relationship) and those above and below (vertical relationship). Maintaining warm relationships with colleagues ensures a good working environment. While many people may have good leadership skills their teamwork relations with other key partners in the organization may be wanting and therefore need to fuse team spirit and respect between colleagues (Inspirational Management Solutions, 2009). With supportive colleagues and teamwork, I have managed to create a close network with colleagues at the workplace. Having the right feedback channels helps leaders to evaluate the effect of their activities especially to the people lower to them in the leadership hierarchy.
As a leader, I must fuse smoothly with my superiors, as information flow within different levels of the organization enhances competence and confidence in employees who are lower on the ladder? Effective leadership should be able to evaluate feedback to make progress (Kouzes and Posner, 1995). It is possible and necessary to make choices in leadership. However, every consequence of choices made by any member of an organization will affect the output of the entire organization (Laljani, 2009). It is therefore necessary to compare the choices I make with possible consequences. All the choices I make and others made by every individual employee must be geared towards the collective strategic and business objectives of the company. This makes me a leader who is a driver ready to steer the company in the desired direction.
I have always conceptualized leadership as the ability of one to make the right decision that could affect a section of society. Most of my group leaders also felt that this was a “very good” criterion in identifying and defining leadership. It was also strongly felt that in identifying leadership skills one must identify the level of communication ability within a group and whether the person can listen attentively and react to concerns of those being led. In the search for clear criteria for the identification of leaders and the definition of leadership, several factors were considered. The following table shows these factors and the criteria agreed upon.
|Sr. No.||Factor Considered||Perceived Relevance|
|1||Communication skills||Good/Very Good|
|2||Ability to motivate others||Good|
|3||Listening skills||Very Good|
|4||Ability to make decision||Good|
|5||Time management||Good/Very Good|
|6||Ability to form, belong and maintain a good relationship||Fair|
|7||Ability to give a timely and relevant feedback||Fair/Good|
The group therefore identified listening skills as the most important element of a good leader. It also emerged that once a person has good listening skills the second most important skills that should be considered is the ability to communicate effectively with others and manage time efficiently. Among the other factors considered in the group the ability to make decisions and motivate others ranked third whereas the ability to give timely feedback and maintain a relationship were in fourth and fifth ranking respectively.
Following the discussion and the evaluation of the leadership traits I carried out my own evaluation using the same model and this can be summarized in the subsequent table.
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|Sr. No.||Factor Considered||Perceived Relevance|
|2||Ability to motivate others||Weak|
|4||Ability to make decision||Very Strong|
|5||Time management||Very Strong|
|6||Ability to form, belong and maintain a good relationship||Weak|
|7||Ability to give a timely and relevant feedback||Very Weak|
Benefits Derived from Peer Feedback
As observed by Beehr (2009), the adoption of peer feedback in personal perceptions over issues helps in diversifying the concepts learned as opposed to the cases where feedback solely comes from the tutor. This is because during peer discussions the learners can integrate more freely the instructions given by the tutor and gauge them against the diverse perceptions of their peers. In such an environment the anxiety of the learners is low a fact that ultimately motivates the learners to enquire and learn more (Nohria, Groysberg and Lee 2008). Another important benefit from peer-based feedback is that members of the group can build their confidence through open and free sharing and critiquing one another’s opinions. This also motivates the peer group members to search deeper for knowledgeable facts that can be defended during such sessions (de Valk, 2008). This in essence leads to the build-up of more knowledge, experience, and confidence. The peer feedback scenario has also made me more responsible in the acquisition of knowledge. As (Leslie et al, 2002) advice, I have realized the importance of not only relying on learning materials given by tutors but also concentrating on searching for more information that could be more suitable for me as an individual. Finally, peer-based feedback goes a long way in equipping learners with appropriate societal effective strategies (Buckingham, 2005). This is because this feedback strategy is focused on an interactive knowledge-building process where social affective strategies are molded and exercised through listening, individual expressions, appreciating other people’s feelings, and making compromises when necessary.
Limitations for Peer Feedback
As observed by Beehr et al (2009), in most cases peer feedback can be taken for granted by members while feedback from a senior authority is given more weight. This means that students are more likely to treat peer feedback more lightly when compared to a teacher’s feedback. This attitude may lead to failure to articulate and retain the knowledge meant to be learned from such sessions. Moreover, some learners may not be in a position to participate actively in peer feedback sessions due to a lack of relevant knowledge or availability. In such cases, such sessions may not be helpful to such learners who may need specialized attention and therefore the approach would fail to meet its objective.
A good career is an as good leader must have easy upward mobility (Kouzes and Posner, 1995). Career progression is a motivation where my efforts will be duly rewarded. A clearly defined path helps me to figure out how the career is likely to benefit me in the future. Clearly defined communication channels will help me to understand the organizational decisions made at higher levels of management. It is through these communications channels that a leader is expected to have good communication skills. Being able to get along with people is necessary for effective leadership. Diversity in any career is a strength. Being allowed to experiment on different areas in an organization will help to identify the areas of strength and improve intensity in those areas while working on areas of weakness.
List of References
Beehr, T.A et al, 2009. Antecedents for achievement of alignment in organizations. In Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 2009, Vol. 82 Issue 1, p1-20.
Buckingham, M. 2005. What Great Managers Do, In Harvard Business Review; 2005, Vol. 83 Issue 3, p70-79.
de Valk 2008. Global Management Challenge: China vs. the World, London: Institute of Leadership and Management.
Gardner, W. 1990. On Leadership, New York: The Free Press/Macmillan.
Inspirational Management Solutions (2009). Developing Company Talents. Web.
Kouzes, M. and Posner, Z 1995. The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations, 2nd ed., Wise: Jossey-Bass.
Laljani, N 2009. Making Strategic Leaders, London: Macmillan.
Leadership, Capability and Culture (2008). The CIO’s silent Revolution. Web.
Leslie J.B et al 2002. Managerial effectiveness in a global context, Greensboro: Center for Creative Leadership.
Nohria, N., Groysberg, B., and Lee, L., 2008. Employee Motivation, Harvard Business Review, 2008, Vol. 86 Issue 7/8, p.78-84.
Northouse, P 2010. Leadership: Theory and Practice (Fifth edition), New Delhi: SAGE Publications.
Vanderslice, V. 1988. Separating Leadership from Leaders: An Assessment of the Effect of Leader and Follower Roles in Organizations. Human Relations, 41 (9), 677-696.
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Wyman, O. 2003. Building Leadership Capability: Creating new value and competitive advantage. Web.