Leadership entails enormous responsibility. To become an effective leader, one has to possess the right characteristics and implement only the right principles. However, an accurate description of a leader is yet to be determined. In fact, there are a number of faulty assumptions when it comes to what an outstanding leader really is. And these faulty assumptions, if applied to certain scenarios could actually be destructive. It is then very important for a potential leader to determine these assumptions so as not to apply them in their managerial processes.
The first faulty assumption is the idea that the development and use of one’s charisma is good enough trait to become an outstanding leader. While it is true that charisma alone may allow a leader’s subordinate to follow relentlessly, it is the be all and end all trait to ensure good leadership. Charismatic leadership may be responsible for a very remarkable impact that leaders have on their followers, but leaders should strive to use charisma with innate leadership and decision making skills in order to be successful in their respective fields (Bedell, et al 2006).
The extraordinary gifts, vision, problem solving skills, and even the repeated success of the leader are all going to be important and are also used as a basis to determine whether or not the leader had effectively guided his group towards the right course. Charismatic leadership is all about vision.
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This means the greatness of a charismatic leader is based entirely on the way he percieves his members and the way his members percieves him. That principle alone is not sufficient. A leader that is equipped with a good vision for his organzation and a harmonious relationship with his members should also be able to make the right decisions and execute the proper solutions to problems as well. The mere use of charisma is not going to be enough (Bedell, et al 2006).
Another false assumption when it comes to leadership is the idea that the possession of transformational characteristics is all that is required to lead. Transformational leadership corresponds to the creation of job satisfaction, as well as leader satisfaction among subordinates. It is also the principle that stimulates follower motivation that brings about superior group performance. These are all evident in transformational leaders because its principles allow all members to percieve their leaders as somebody exceptional purely due to their excellent job performace and overall effectiveness (Judge, 2004).
But even if this is the case, transformational leadership alone is not the backbone of an efficient leader. It is a big part of a good leader without doubt, but it is definitely not all of it. Actually, transformational leadership is only the outcome of transactional leadership. This will further prove that transactional leadership is not a concept that works in direct opposition to transformational leadership. To differentiate the two, transactional leadership pertains to a leader’s ability to provide contingent rewards to members and manage his subordinates by being both exception-active and exception-passive.
The false assumption behind transformational leadership can then be corrected by directly applying the concepts behind transactional leadership so that the two principles merge in complete harmony with each other. Transformational leadership should be practiced on the foundation of transactional leadership - for an outstanding leader possesses both the characteristics of a transformational leader and a transactional leader (Judge, 2004).
But then again, both transformational and transactional leadership is not everything that a leader should be composed of. Authentic transformational and transactional leadership should be based on ethics as well (Kanungo, 2001). There should be some sort of a moral foundation as far as the views, action, and ideas of the leader are concerned. Although the morals of transactional and transformational leaders are based on values entirely different to each other, the idea applied is still the same (Harland et al, 2005).
Transformational leaders tend to have moral altruistic motives and organic worldview on the matters they have at hand. On the other hand, transactional leaders have mutual altruistic motives and an atomistic worldview. Transformational leaders have their pricinples grounded on deontological perspective while transactional leaders ground theirs on teleological perspective (Kanungo, 2001).
These are three examples of false leadership assumptions. Therefore, to become a good leader, one needs to know and apply the intellectual, social, and emotional requirements that come along with the job. The intellectual prerequisites of a good leader correspond to the level of education he or she attained to acquire the right amount of knowledge so as to create only the right rules that the whole organization should follow (Smith et al, 2005).
A leader should be both psychologically and intellectually capable of predicting, deciding, and acting in favor for the betterment of the organization. This metal capability can be achieved primarily through proper schooling and advanced studies. Ideally, the leader should have finished at least one distinctive degree that is very much related to the organization that he heads. Without proper schooling, the intellectual competence of the leader will be doubted not only by his direct subordinates, but the rest of the people who works around him as well.
The emotional prerequisite of a leader corresponds to his ability to feel what’s good for the group and all its members. A leader should be human enough to understand the every situation that his organization and subordinates are in. He should be able to use not only his mind but his heart as well when it comes to formulating and enacting decisions for his own company or group. A leader who uses purely his mind while at work is cold. The one who uses his sentiment along with his mind is a better picture of a good leader.
A leader should also be socially competent. This means he or she should be able to relate and interact with all his members in a fair and equal manner at all times. Social skills should both be learned and practiced so that its principles can be applied in a very efficient manner. Most organizations fail because the leaders are painstakingly unreachable by their own members. The leader then should always be the first one to create an air of warmth and in the process, produce a healthy social relationship among members. This ensures that all the members working relations are always at optimum levels.
Harland, L., Harrison, W., Jones, J., & Reiter-Palmon, R. (2005). Leadership behaviors and subordinate resilience. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 11(2), 2.
Judge, T. (2004, October). Transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-analytic test of their relative validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5), 755-768.
Kanungo, R. (2001, December). Ethical values of transactional and transformational leaders. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 18(4), 257.
Smith, B., Montagno, R., & Kuzmenko, T. (2004, Spring). Transformational and servant leadership: Content and contextual comparisons. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 10(4), 80.
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