Leadership can be defined using how a person influences others. The purpose of this study is to identify leadership styles and the traits associated with an effective leader. It also seeks to clarify the difference between having power and being a leader. A person can be a leader but not an effective one; an individual can have power, but they are not good leaders. The study involved an interview with a leader of a popular organization. The respondent interviewed is a Superintendent of a K-8 school district which has approximately 2,590 students and staff of 349 in the school. Findings from the interview reveal that effective leadership is the ability to lead a group or team into attaining set goals and objectives. Results indicate that an effective leader can be defined based on the outcomes of their efforts.
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Effective leadership is defined by the successes of a leader in achieving a set of goals and objectives. Similarly, a good leader can lead others into success in their endeavors. Max is one of the most efficient administrators; he is enthusiastic about helping others achieve their dreams. Findings from the interview reveal that effective leadership is the ability to lead a group or team into attaining set goals and objectives. Through Max’s responses, it is evident that there is a difference between having power and being a leader. Whereas with power, one can direct people to do things, a leader will actively participate in the process of attaining specific targets and help individuals realize their dreams.
Definition of Leadership
Leadership can be defined in several perspectives depending on the context it occurs. However, what remains constant in most of these definitions is that it is the ability to influence other people. It also refers to how one can direct people towards attaining a particular goal or objective. (Merchant, 2019). A good leader is linked with certain character traits that define them and are unique. Some of the values include respect, honesty, integrity, and dignity (Merchant, 2019). These qualities separate them from the rest of those in power, with the title or even people with authority yet they cannot lead. Listening is also one of the virtues that Max displayed during the interview. He admits that people like to be listened to hence leaders should practice listening skills that will enable them assure their subjects that they care about their concerns.
Effective leaders are defined by the success of the people they lead or the attainment of the roles assigned to them. One of their roles of is to direct, delegate, and mentor others. A good leader is an effective communicator; communication is good for team work and team building (Williams, 2017). Communication involves identifying potential leaders, delectating leadership roles and training potential leaders identified. One’s ability to work with others and help them control their emotions is an attribute of team building (Santos, 2015). It is also a characteristic of an effective leader as it determines how they are going to influence the behavior of their followers. If they are not able to manage their behaviors, then it would be hard to earn respect from their employees.
Helping Others Accomplish Their Goals
Effective leadership is about leading others into successfully attain their goals or directing activities and operations into achieving the set goals and objectives. This can be achieved by asking them questions about their goals and how they aim to achieve them. It also involves helping them achieves these targets by empowering them with skills and competencies to do so, monitoring and mentoring them to attain these goals and objectives (Galunic, 2020). A good leader is a person who can be able to pay attention to other people’s issues, use, understand and manage their challenges. If one can assist other individuals to solve problems facing them or lead them to accomplish their goals, then they can be said to be effective leaders.
Motivating people is one of the roles of effective leaders. Empowering followers is vital for one to be an influential leader today. Well-empowered employees can produce better output since they are motivated to work. (Merchant, 2019). Authority with no influence cannot initiate successful leadership or a make a good leader. A strong relationship between employees and major stakeholders of a company is important for the success of a company. On the contrary, when followers are motivated and happy, they work harder to attain the set goals and objectives. One of how people get motivated is when they feel that they are being listened to by their leaders (Gulati, 2018). It gives them the energy needed to work knowing that their leader is concerned about their welfare and is dedicated towards seeing them succeed. Listening also assures them the that they are being valued. For example, Max acknowledges that students whose teacher accommodates their views and opinions in teaching are likely to achieve better educational outcomes since they are motivated. However, when individuals feel that they are not being heard, it is hard to encourage them to work.
How to Determine Ability
An individual’s ability to handle their weaknesses is paramount in developing a good leader. In this case, one has to understand themselves fully to be able to lead others. A good leader will accept their weaknesses and uses some the strengths he/she possesses to improve on the weaknesses (Gulati, 2018). One of the ways of identifying a person who can read is asking questions and listening to their responses (Santos, 2015). An individual who is going to be an effective leader will demonstrate good communication skills while responding to questions asked. How they express themselves when answering these queries will also determine how good they are as leaders (Galunic, 2020). However, it will take good listening skills to capture and conclude whether or not the individual is a good leader.
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Tasks to Work On
A good leader would not choose which task to do; as long as it is within their jurisdiction, they should do them without being selective. People need motivation and encouragement to give the best out of their abilities (Gulati, 2018). A good leader would therefore consider recognizing the contributions of others. None of the subjects would be willing to persist and continue to work hard if they are not encouraged (Galunic, 2020). After a job-well did even farmers would sit down and throw an elaborate feast as a form of appreciation for a bountiful harvest. Leaders should also emulate the same example ensuring that after certain goals and objectives are met, there is need to take time off and celebrate to show respect and demonstrate appreciation for those individuals who made it possible for the goals to be met.
Leadership is influence not authority, is relevant particularly in service among professionals in the modern society. Most often, partners and professionals feel that they should not be told what to do (Merchant, 2019). In cases where they are told, the normal response is usually full of resistance and ignorance. Leadership can be transformed not by authority but by the ability to influence people to follow the right steps in places of work. When it comes to leadership and management, people exercise authority thinking that it’s the best way to get things done (Galunic, 2020). Unlike many leaders who use authority to dictate to workers what must be done, a good lead has to destroy barriers that limit other employees to get to the executive. They have to create a friendly relationship with his workers and relates with the most top employee to the least with respect and equality. A leader must be present to show the way to be followed by their subjects and not to exercise unnecessary authority over them.
Empowering followers is vital for one to be an influential leader today. Well-empowered employees or workers can produce better output. It is important to note that for a leader to be successful in influencing people, he or she must find time to understand them. After understanding people, a leader ought to take responsibility to direct them towards attainment of expected goals and objectives (Santos, 2015). This will ensure the continuity of leadership in the organization after the leaders are no longer part of the organization’s leadership. Leadership is not about exerting influence over one’s subject, it is about leaving a permanent mark in the lives of many. Top notch leadership is essential for any nation to be able to deal with its challenges. Effective leaders are also expected to have high integrity in their role. In an educational context, Max suggests that they need to be instructional leaders who can direct students to perform specific tasks and demand respect from learners. He argues that teachers ought to act professionally and do their duties diligently.
Effectiveness of Teams
A team leader is a person who can organize and maintain a group of people and direct them towards a certain targeted goal and objective (Williams, 2017). This therefore demands of such a person to have some skills to be able to organize and exercise leadership in a team. Communication is one of the most vital component in organizing and maintaining a team. A leader who is communicative to his/her team members ensures that members are aware of the team’s goals and objectives.
Leadership is one’s ability to influence others and direct them towards attaining their goals. It is not about demanding authority from followers, it means being able to earn respect and honor from those you lead. It takes more than authority and power to be a leader. One of the roles of a leader is to direct, delegate, and mentor others to become future successful leaders. Max demonstrates several leadership traits that a good leader ought to have to be successful. Some of the values that can be borrowed from the interviewee include integrity, professionalism, honesty, respect and dignity.
Galunic, C. (2020). Back to the front: Foundational leadership traits and skills. Backstage Leadership, 233-268.
Gulati R. (2018). How to give employees structure without stifling them?
Merchant P. (2019). 5 Sources of power in organizations.
Santos, J. (2015). Designing and leading virtual teams. SSRN Electronic Journal.
Williams T. (2017). Building a strong team: The secrets of a successful leader. Web.