Leadership and Learning
In his life, the writer of this paper was able to know several leaders who are both supportive and excellent in their own ways of leadership. As a result, the writer decided to take bits of their styles to learn from and implement into his own eclectic style. Yes, basing from experience, even the bad leaders have something to teach the present learning of the new leaders of this era, certainly, they unintentionally show us what not to do.
Looking back to reflect on his learning’s has enlightened the author of this paper to a plethora of areas in which the writer himself incorporated small aspects of how each of the leaders in his past have managed their employees and company. The style that the writer has come up with is one that he intends to use to produce quality management in his workplace.
As for a fact, quality leadership is very important in almost any organization. The author of this paper thus defines quality leadership, or effective leadership as the innate ability to consistently motivate a staff of employees towards attaining the objective of an envisioned mission statement. However, several books authored by different leaders have many definitions of the term leadership.
Within the content of this paper, the writer will illustrate the key components of quality leadership and the approaches that are taken in order to achieve it, including the different leadership styles and managerial traits. The writer will also elaborate on the plan to implement the knowledge that he has gained from the class and how it will benefit organization as well.
Where to begin
In order to evaluate what styles to implement, the writer needed to determine what theories and approaches would benefit him in upholding the mission statement in his current position. An organization trying to live up to its mission statement needs individuals who are effective and competent leaders. Thus, in order to have good leaders, an organization has to have a clear and concise vision as to where it wants to be.
As stated in the text, “like definitions of leadership, conceptions of leadership effectiveness differ from one writer to another” (Yukl, 2006, 9). In the writer’s perspective, an effective leader must recognize what is minor and what needs to be strongly improved within the existing management and leadership systems within an organization. In order to attain the level of quality and effectiveness that the organization deems acceptable, certain behaviors must be displayed. These characteristics should be congruent to being more proficient in pursuing and achieving the objectives of the entire organization.
The first behavior to be discussed is the participative leadership. This style of leadership works extremely well in a setting such as the correctional facility that the author of this paper is working with. This approach as indicated by the book, “participative leadership, delegation and empowerment are subjects that bridge the power and behavior approaches to leadership” (Yukl, 2006, 82).
This style can be exercised in particular, through engaging oneself in a constant dialogue with his peers, subordinates, administrators, team members, and outside treatment providers. As an effective leader using participative leadership, the writer would continually ask questions, probing all levels of the facility for input to ensure that everyone feels empowered and involved. This particular approach has worked well for the author thus far; as for a fact, it has earned the respect of his subordinates and peers as well towards his position in the organization. Earning respect has created a record of success that has propelled the author into a new position with higher responsibility in the face of uncertainty.
Being a participative leader has allowed him a little breathing room in a period of upheaval at his own facility. Using this approach has instilled self-confidence in the writer’s subordinates, making them effective followers (Yukl, 2006, 137). Having effective followers has led to a decline in late night emergency calls, or calls to deal with otherwise trivial issues with a youth or any client that the organization deals with particularly. The staff now being effective followers will take the initiative and make decisions to deal with these trivial issues. Participative leadership is the main ingredient for the writer’s successful management style.
There are other contributing factors as well. Creative visioning and creating a verbal picture of expectations, instilling belief in my abilities, and influencing others to commit to maintaining our mission statement are some of the other factors attributed to my success. All these procedures coupled with a willingness to take risks, especially when faced with adversity is the recipe for an environment conducive to efficiency.
Power and influence
Another area of concentration to becoming a more effective leader would be the area of power and influence. In order for the writer to continue on his path to a successful career, he certainly needs to be open to new ideas, insights, and revelations that can lead to better ways of accomplishing goals. He also needs to have control over the type of power that the writer chooses and thus exercise in actual leadership performance to employ at different times.
There are five base types of power in the French and Raven power model, which includes reward, coercive, legitimate, expert, and referent power. Reward power would work in attempting to maintain fidelity in the use of our evidence based curriculum as it would allow the writer the ability to reward staff members who accept the directives that the leader particularly placed on them. It may take the form of praise, cash, a good review, recommendations, choice of the next assignment, or any number of things that encourage the desired behavior from a staff member.
Coercive power could prove useful as it is the opposite of reward power, but would be used differently than discipline because it is personal where discipline may not be much applicable enough to improve the organization’s structure. The subordinate can learn from discipline, where coercive power does not provide an opportunity for employee improvement by learning. Coercive power threatens subordinates with something unpleasant or even stressful so that staff will submit to the directives given.
This is a power that would be used as little as possible, due to the detrimental effects it has on the respect for the leader. In the daily milieu at the writer’s facility’s legitimate power is very important because this is in compliance of the social conditioning. Most employees have the notion of rank, which is a designation of who has power over whom. This has advantages because it decreases the second-guessing of assignments and directives because employees feel obligated to comply.
The next type of power expert power is one that is frequently employed by the author of this paper. This is the power that comes from knowledge and experience that is appropriate for the current situation. For example, a physician has expert power over patients due to the years and years of education, training, and practice that he or she has completed. This same individual may not have expert power in other areas, such as administration or management. Individuals with expert power may need to adjust their approach in situations where they do not have expertise, but are expected to lead.
When a problem arises on the living unit and the author of this paper is called in, to make a decision, he enters a situation where he is in a position to use expert power. This is due to his years of experience, and the many training seminars he has attended over the years. This is the reason why this particular leadership power is one of the most effective preferences of the writer. Last but certainly not least is referent power.
As a leader with referent power, that author is the one that others refer to In particularly owing mutual respect. This respect comes from a successful record of accomplishment over a period of time involving common interests between individuals. This is why subordinates according to the text, “comply because he/she admires or identifies with the agent and wants to gain the agent’s approval” (Yukl, 2006, 148). Having a proven record of achievements carries a tremendous amount of influence with subordinates as well as with colleagues. This mutual respect is paramount in having a positive and productive work environment.
Having said all of that, the writer finds himself deciding to implement each of these types of power in order to achieve his goal of having an eclectic style of leadership. Now more than ever the writer needs to employ many different approaches and styles into his daily managerial duties. With all of the recent chaos in the writer’s facility, he has found himself behind the eight ball so to speak.
The writer feels that it is important to implement all five of the different kinds of power so that he can be proficient in the appropriate use of power and have a positive influence over his subordinates. Gaining and maintaining influence over employees is a difficult task if the leader is not careful. In this situation the writer would have to first visualize specific, measurable and attainable tasks that when achieved, will allow the writer to feel affecting and appreciated by others as being a positive influence.
Next, the writer would need to identify the tools, or resources, that he already possesses as an influential leader. These resources would be the factors that assist in displaying my knowledge or power in a situation. Unfortunately, due to modesty and lack of awareness many leaders do not use or are even aware of the internal tools at their disposal. In this case, the writer is well aware of his internal resources to increase his influence positively over my subordinates.
Some of the tools that the writer has at his disposal are intelligence, good judgment, knowledge of the industry, past success in institutional settings, and of course charisma. In order to achieve success in using the internal tools the writer has, he would need to use proactive influence tactics (Yukl, 2006, 166). To do this the author of this paper would implement rational persuasion first. This technique involves managing his subordinates using valid, rational reasoning.
When addressing employees, the writer would carefully in a clear, unemotional and orderly manner, explain issues, ideas and protocols. Then he would be sure to solicit their questions and concerns, then explain any uncertainties and proposed discrepancies in a manner that they could easily comprehend. Remaining unemotional about the objectives that need to be achieved, the subordinates would come to regard the writer as an effective leader.
The Multiple linkage model gives a great starting point for growth. To be a good leader, the author of this paper must know his subordinates and be aware of their abilities, and knowledge of the task. A clear and concise job description needs to be provided for the employees to ensure clarity. As the leader, the writer would need to define the roles of subordinates and direct them on what, how, when and where to do different duties.
The need for a set criterion for employees to follow is essential as Max DePree states in his text, “at times in business, the congruence of principles and practice-or their incongruence-comes sharply into focus” (DePree, 2004, 113). In laymen’s terms the defined guidelines need to be clearly defined and enforced. Using this style, writer would influence subordinates to internalize the values and beliefs of the organization.
Then over a period of time the subordinates would develop the desired skills and traits through choice and training. This, along with the styles, theories and approaches discussed earlier will help the writer to develop into an effective leader who through learning will have a powerful influence over the subordinates under him.
This course has given the writer many different tools that he can implement at a moment’s notice, to help him become an effective leader in his own organization. This will have a tremendous impact on his professional life particularly in helping him in continuously upholding his integrity in his profession. This will also help him maintain congruence and consistency in his personal life. The writer has come to realize that there is no secret recipe or any formula to become an effective leader. It is a process of trial and error, successes and failures.
Thus, the author of this paper can never stop trying, and with practice, he will certainly increase his chances of success in leadership by absorbing all the information that is passed on to him by other leaders who ought to inspire him continuously. It is important for the writer to remember that no one style of leadership is appropriate for every occasion or situation. In addition, the author of this paper must ensure his awareness of a situation and how others perceive his approach.
There must be readiness to choose the leadership style that is the most appropriate for the occasion. When a leader has the proper tools in place to effectively run a department, or facility they can use these tools for guiding the organization towards its mission statement. Since beginning this class my awareness of how remarkable the art of leadership is has grown immensely. The writer can now say without a doubt that he has chosen the correct career path.
DePree, Max. (2004) Leadership is an art; New York, NY: Random House Inc.
Yukl, Gary. (2006) Leadership in Organizations; Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.