Assessment task 3
Title: Leadership Reflection
Details of task:
Provide an overall concluding discussion of the course which draws together your major observations about leadership as studied during the semester. This exercise should be written in the first person (I did, I learned, I will). Take your leadership definition from week one and discuss how your ideas have changed or been reinforced over the semester. What is your definition of leadership now? What have you learned about leadership through this subject that is of benefit to you and/or your organisation? What implications do your studies of leadership have for you in the future?what kind of skill have to learn to be a leader ? What more do you need to learn or do? How will you develop your own leadership knowledge and skills(mental ,job learning ,job rotation ,course, training ,relationship with professional ,travling and so on ? Do not merely summarise each week’s readings. Instead, explain how the readings, class activities , discussions, films(for example enron story ) and I have dream by martin luther king and hitler speech and his charcter , and your observations have helped you understand and apply leadership concepts to your work or life experiences and/or goals, and where you will go from here to learn more and become a better leader. Where are your developmental opportunities? How will you improve where improvement is needed?
Word limit: 2,500 words
Although you need to write in the first person, this is an academic essay and should be referenced in the normal manner.
*please note the above red lines I added it so its give you hint what is the question about
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From the onset of the semester, each and every topic covered during the course of the semester provided me with new insights into leadership and leadership concepts, and at the end of the day my understanding and perception of the various topics, concepts, and theories on leadership has greatly been enhanced. During my study of the course, numerous topics were covered that touch on various aspects of leadership, from the various definitions of leadership, differences between management and leadership, leadership theories and various leadership styles exhibited by leaders. The course was extensive enough and also included discussions on characteristics of leadership and the need for communications skills and emotional intelligence among leaders, the importance of leadership in organizations and how leadership development can be achieved. The influence of organizational culture, ethics and value among many other were covered during the course and each of these topics helped shape my leadership perceptions, attitude and beliefs. My theoretical knowledge on leadership has extensively been built by the course, and I now stand a better position to translate this knowledge into my professional situations and even my personal life situations thanks to concepts form situational leadership. Overall, the important lesson I gathered is that leadership is vital, almost inevitable not only in organization but also other aspect of our life to achieve or drive organizational or personal goals further. Leaders are not necessarily born, and this reinforced my leadership ambitions since with continuous training and cultivation of the right personality, anyone can become an effective leader since it is not necessarily a trait thing. Through various class activities, for example the film on the Enron story, the martin Luther King and Hitler’s speeches and characters, I gained useful concepts on leaderships and now I know, as a future leader, what constitute success in leadership and what may be a recipe for disaster. Discussion groups, class readings and even the assessment on leadership steered me to delve deeper into leadership literature and I am now confident that once I translate this into practice, I will succeed as a leader in whatever situation or position I intend to pursue. In the proceeding paragraphs, I shall provide my major observations about leadership as covered during the course of study of the unit and particularly what has been of benefit to me, its implications to my career prospects, how I can develop my skill and knowledge on leadership further, to better my leadership potentials.
My Current Understanding of Leadership
Prior to the leadership course, my understanding of leadership was basically within a narrow line of the boss in a team who has the power to control the rest of the team. My illusion about leadership have, however, been dispelled as a result of not only looking at various definitions of leadership, but also understanding the nature of leadership itself. I have come to learn that while power is an essential component of leadership, true and effective leadership is that which aims at achieving common goals through working together and positively influencing and motivating followers towards the attainment of identified goals ( 111Prentice, 2004). The study of leadership made me thus understand that power is essential in leadership, but that’s not the end of the story. A leader should have the ability to influence, be of high integrity, ethical, and be in good terms with followers so as to constant state of organizational anarchy. Leadership would be effective if a leader understands followers and actually accomplishes set goals through influencing the followers (HBR, 2004). My understanding and even how I define leadership now has greatly been broadened since and I now know that leadership also involves to a high degree, issues of legitimacy, inspiring, initiative, motivation, moral behavior as well as having good intentions (Bruce & Patterson, 2015). For a leader and leadership to be effective, it should be perceived as legitimate by the followers. In other words, the leader’s assistant should perceive their superiors to be in the position of leadership through merit and not imposition or something, otherwise there will be rebellion (Bruce & Patterson, 2015). I now know that one can be a leader, but one will only be an effective one if he or she has the ability to inspire followers by unleashing their best potential and steering them to action. I now also know that the issue of motivation, initiative, and morality are essential ingredients in effective leadership since a leader should be ahead of the rest of the team or followers by being initiative, should be moral enough for integrity purposes and above all, should be able of motivating followers into action (Bruce & Patterson, 2015). This has taught me a lesson that if I am to succeed in any leadership position I may assume in life, I should not just exude power, but rather, my ability to influence, inspire, encourage and empower my followers would determine my success and effectiveness. One other significant lesson that study on leadership taught me is that it is very different form management. I had always thought that managers are leaders in their respective organization, but this assumption was washed away by the discussion on leadership versus management. A manager is not necessarily a leader, and also, and effective manager is not necessarily an effective leader (HBR, 2004). The key difference that I learnt is that while leaders have followers, managers have subordinates (HBR, 2004). Again, leaders aim at achieving organization’s long term goals while management is concerned about short term gals, standardizing work, ensuring stability and meeting employee needs (Northouse, 2013). I know becoming an effective leader is challenging, but with this in depth understanding that the classroom discussions instilled in me, I sure feel I am headed to be a great and effective leader.
Leadership Theories and my Perception of Leadership
When it came to the study on leadership theories, the perennial question that I have been having concerning whether leaders are born or made was well addressed. This reinforced my ambition to become a future leader in my organization and community since through the study of the leadership theories, I have come to the conclusion that leadership is not a natural preserve of the few. Through the class lecture, discussions and readings on leadership theories, my understanding of leadership was further enhanced to an advanced level. Theories in leadership provide essential knowledge through which concepts, approaches, and variables in leadership can be addressed (Ciulla & Lewin, 2015). In this topic, I learnt several theories that are important in the furtherance of my understanding of leadership and they included behavioral theory, trait, the great man, and contingency or situational theories (Ciulla & Lewin, 2015). Behavioral leadership theory reinforced my confidence in leadership capabilities because generally, it tell us that leaders can actually be made through proper training, mentoring and cultivating the right attitude (Holden Leadership Centre, 2009). Since behavioral theorists focus on what leaders do, I got to learn that a leader can be among others, transactional, transformational, dictatorial, democratic, or even a laissez-faire leader (, CMI, 2013). I will certainly wish to become a transformational leader in future since I find this leadership effective, inspiring, and the fact that I have instituted a lasting change would make me feel a great achiever. Unlike transactional leadership that aims to fulfill follower’s basic needs such as money and food, transformational leadership aims at appealing to follower’s high level needs for example, their self esteem and competences (Ciulla & Lewin, 2015). Transformational leaders aim at bringing about significant changes through appropriate leadership of the organization and followers, energizing, empowering, and encouraging integrity and ethics among followers (Conger & Kanungo, 1987). Why I found transformational leadership particularly more appealing is that while a transactional leader will use his or her position, instrumental values, and power to obtain influence, transformational leaders engages followers, cultivates an environment of mutual respect, is driven by ethics, appeal to large audience and importantly raises the status of followers by creating a positive change in their lives (Conger & Kanungo, 1987). I also identify with the fact that transformational leadership has a wider application and therefore it can help me in various aspects of my life and career. Trait theory contrasted behavioral theory by posting that effective leaders have certain common characteristics or traits (Ahmed & Bach, 2014). In other words, it is of the assumption that leaders are born, hence personalities like Hitler or Martin Luther for example, had certain traits that favored their leadership success (Bert, 2012). I noticed, however, that this theory is controversial since research has shown that one could possess the so called leadership traits such as communication and decision making skills, initiative, motivation, assertiveness among other but fail in leadership (Ahmed & Bach, 2014). For great man theory, I noticed it had some semblance to the trait theory in that they both suggest that leaders are born (Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1991). Great man theory posits that when a situation demands, a leader would certainly emerge form to distinguish themselves from followers. I can help thinking about the two personalities again, Hitler and Luther King. These two leaders became great leaders because of circumstances and they used this opportunity and rose to prominence as renowned leaders (Bert, 2012). There may also be situational leaders who become effective based on myriads of situational factors such as motivation, relationship with followers, and the force a leader has ( xxx)
Impact of the Course on My Leadership Style
On leadership styles I got to know the kind of leadership style that I may apply in various situations. Leadership style, I now know, are basically the preferred ways of a leader to pursue or influence followers into action (Holden Leadership Centre, 2009). Understanding and embracing appropriate leadership style, I learnt, has the ability to lead followers and the organization to extraordinary achievements (Harvard, Business Review, 2004). A leader’s style consists of his or her relationships with others and the organization, how he perceives self and position, and how he or she prefers to get things done during task execution, emergency situations, mobilization among others (Conger & Kanungo, 1987). Leadership style impacts on an organization’s image because it reflects the very nature of the organization and how it relates to its employees and the general community at large (Treviño, Brown, & Hartman, 2003). All in all, my understanding was that an organization should champion a leadership style that is congruent with the organization’s missions, visions and core culture. Examples of leadership styles that I learnt include authentic, servant, ethical, aesthetic, responsible, and directive and supportive leadership (Ahmed & Bach, 2014). Other leadership styles that a leader may adopt can also include the earlier discussed transformational, transactional, and also autocratic, dictatorial and collaborative leadership styles. Leadership style can set individual leaders apart as in the examples of the current Australian president, Malcolm Turnbull and the ousted former president Tony Abort. Malcolm managed to topple his rival because of his leadership styles that is more transformational, since he believes in respecting the followers and leading through the people. This kind of leadership, as earlier stated, is effective in terms of winning support of large audience and this could be the reason why President Malcolm won to begin with. The transactional leadership that characterizes Abbot leadership which emphases power to influences may not be as effective as the transformational kind of leadership. Currently, there is an increasing need for leaders to be ethical, uphold high values and be in sync with organizational culture (Burkus, 2011). This has made me lean mostly towards authentic and transformational leadership since my observation is that this type of leadership is less likely to become victims of ethical abuse as was the case in the Enron Company which collapsed because executives focused more on achievements than ethics and organizational culture (Stephens & Behr, 2002). Authentic leadership is the most ideal according to me because it is the root of all aspects that form positive leadership in an organization and create a sustainable ethically sound organization (Flynn, 2008). The implication for organization is that they should make deep rooted organizational culture and ethic their bottom line otherwise they may end up form grace to grass like the case of the Enron company.
The Role of Emotional Intelligence and Personal Development
The films and the speeches on martin Luther King and Hitler made me gain deeper insights into the qualities, characteristics and skills and knowledge that may contribute to an effective leader. I learn that to be an effective leader, I would have to cultivate certain traits which are very essential components of effective leadership. Generally, the course enabled me to learn and appreciate the importance of traits such as honesty, integrity, self confidence, and having clear vision and goals as principal traits which are essential in any successful leader (Ahmed & Bach, 2014). One important aspect of these leadership characteristics that struck me is that possessing them does not necessarily translate to effective leadership (Ahmed & Bach, 2014). While I strive to shape my personality be ethical, visionary, initiative and confidence, at the back of my mind I know that I need to do more to enhance my leadership potentials, such as engaging in continuous education, mentoring and exposing myself more to leadership situations hence gaining some sort of experience in leadership. I however learnt from Martin Luther’s speech and his personality that communication skills and emotional intelligence count a lot in influencing followers to action (Flynn, 2008). Martin Luther was visionary, had a goal, rather a dream, and he had a road map on how to get there. This has taught me that to be a leader I not only need clear focus on my vision and goals, as well as organizational goals, but also have a definite road map on how to get there. I also picked a lot form Martin Luther king’s speech and character that emotional intelligence can have a great impact for a leader, since in his speech, he managed to use emotional intelligence to influence and inspire crowds from all walks of life (Ling, 2012). while communication skill are essential in a leader for effective communication of goals and instructions, emotional intelligence involves awareness of one’s emotions and that of followers and such knowledge is a recipe for success in leadership (Bert, 2012). Hitler, another renowned leader, use emotional intelligence skill to draw the support of his followers and pursue them into action (Megargee, 2011). It seems to me that emotional intelligence is a vital component and for a leader to inspire followers and achieve their cooperation, emotional intelligence is a prerequisite (Burkus, 2011). I have also come to the conclusion that since knowledge is power, a leader need to be knowledgeable, and this regard, I know I still have opportunity to improve on my leadership skills through education and training on appropriate courses such as this one on leadership. Mentors too can be of great assistance in shaping and building leaders. I am however confident that the education and training I have had so far can give me a head start on my leadership ambitions, career wise and in the outside community.
In conclusion, this course on leadership has been very inspiration and an enriching experience in enabling me have a broader scope of leadership and use the theoretical knowledge acquired in class to improve my leadership potentials in the outside world. I know effective leadership is essential for an organization to be successful. I also know what entails bad leadership and effective leadership and through the various leadership development opportunities that are available, I can greatly constantly improve my capacity to be an effective leaders and crate change wherever I go, because that is my mission and ambition in career and personal life.
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