The context of leadership?
Why is it important for us to understand the context of leadership?
Understanding the Context of Leadership
Leadership is a common terminology used in many institutions and is associated with the administration department. It is, therefore, essential that the context of leadership is well understood for people to interact freely. Leadership is thought to be the exercise of power and superiority over the junior members, where they do everything under a leader’s supervision. However, there is more to being a leader than the traditional definition of a leader. Understanding the context of leadership and what it entails to be in the leadership position attributes to a smooth running of affairs in an organization with no interference or feeling of infringement.
Leadership could be anything depending on the organization’s culture. Many scholars have tried to define leadership, which made James McGregor conclude that the subject is one of the complex and least-understood phenomena (Daft, 2018). Daft (2018) defines it as an affluence relation between leaders and their subordinates who intend fundamental transformation and results that reflect their shared purposes. Almaki et al. (2019) mention that leadership depends on people and the activity involved; hence, the definition may defer according to the institution and the different levels involved. It is typical that leaders carry themselves with dignity and humility and not stumble over people as they make decisions hence hurting their feelings. In this understanding, there is an open space and window for anyone to step up and take over leadership, whether temporarily or permanently, provided they hold the organization’s best interest at heart.
Moreover, with the ever-changing world, there is a need for more people to step up and become a leader in their way. Therefore, leaders have to stabilize managers, from controllers to facilitators, from competitors to change collaborators, from diversity avoiders to diversity promoters, and from heroes to humble employees. Leaders in fields like education are ever ready to accept change at any time and help others embrace it as they understand that no change is permanent as whatever comes today might change tomorrow; hence act as change managers. With changes in the education sector, there are expectations to the school administration who are in the frontline of improving educational reforms (Thessin & Louis, 2019). They facilitate and walk the journey of change and employees other than sitting back and watching things getting done. In this context, better leaders humble themselves. In most cases, their excellent work recognizes them and not how long they have been in power.
Many people confuse leadership and management, concepts that are by far different. Daft (2018) defines management as attaining and achieving organizational goals efficiently and effectively through planning, staffing, organizing, controlling, and directing organizational resources. Leadership and management differ in how they deliver their roles in pushing the organizational goals towards greater heights. Management concerns itself more with drawing plans and visions for the organization, whereas leadership takes up the implementation and execution of the dream and vision at the ground level. While management provides a structure n how employees could accomplish a plan, leadership provides opportunities for employees to learn and assume responsibilities while they carry on with completing tasks. In other words, leadership entails working closely with the people and ensuring that the management plans’ end product is well-executed to their best version.
To better understand leadership, it is important to recognize how the leadership concept has evolved. Seaman et al. (2018) discuss the traits and behaviors expected of a leader as they interact with other people. As leaders, they are expected to uphold a high sense of self-confidence, integrity, and honesty as they lead by example for others to follow. As they demonstrate their qualities, leaders are encouraged to employ the best behavioral approaches for better results. For example, a leader in the education sector may decide to use autocratic and democratic behavioral techniques. An autocratic leader centralizes power and authority and derives power from the position. In contrast, a democratic leader delegates power and authority to others and encourages others to become better versions of themselves (Daft, 2018). Depending on the situation, a good leader employs the best behavioral approach for the situation.
Understanding the context of leadership aids in understanding the different behavioral styles of a leader. Leaders can be supportive, achievement-oriented, directive, and participative (Daft, 2018). A supportive leader is friendly and concerned about their subordinate’s welfare, hence establishing a personal yet professional relationship. A participative leader considers the view of their subordinates before taking major through discussions and taking suggestions. A leader directs by showing subordinates the right way to do things by drawing a layout to complete tasks. An achievement-oriented leader challenges subordinates to deliver the best and high-quality services and goods, hence improving their performance and delivery. A leader with the four behavior styles can bring out the best version of themselves and those surrounding them, thus supporting them in realizing their mission and vision.
Understanding the Persia sides of a leader helps to better understand and relate with them, hence establishing a good and conducive working environment. Natural leaders understand themselves, therefore, have a strong self-awareness. A leader who understands themselves overcomes their weaknesses and can interact and understand others as well (Daft, 2018). Understanding leadership context helps the employee understand a leader’s different personalities and devise ways of dealing with their different versions. Ozbag (2016) discuss the five character traits and personality of a leader that employees should know; extroverted, agreeable, conscience, emotionally stable, and open to new experiences. Most leaders strive to balance their characters to fit the interests of other people. A leader needs to understand their personality and then learn to understand their positive and negative attributes to establish their natural leadership style.
The leadership mind and emotions of a leader are also essential aspects to understand. It is the driving force of a leader that gives them the responsibility and not the organizations’ formality. For leaders to succeed in the current changing world, it requires them to use both their heads and minds (Daft, 2018). The heart holds the passion of their works, hence handling tasks to the best of their abilities. Their minds help them analyze and evaluate current issues; thus, making mental models enables leaders to picture their organization’s best model and achieve that dream. As time changes, leaders must be more creative and develop better plans to move with the current trends and become the best the market has to offer. For example, a technology world leader has to be more innovative as competition grows every day.
In conclusion, understanding the different leadership contexts is as essential as having the best interests of an organization at heart. People can understand each other as they work in their various institutions as it takes the whole system to achieve organizational success. It takes a lot for one to become a good and exemplary leader for an organization. Therefore, those in leadership positions need as much support in carrying out their duties. For employees to understand their leaders are likely to discover the hidden attributes they offer to help, leaders carry out their duties. Leaders, too, need to understand their place to interact freely and respect all stakeholders’ positions.
Almaki, S., Silong, A., Idris, K., & Abd. Wahat, N. (2016). Understanding of the meaning of leadership from the perspective of Muslim women academic leaders. Journal of Educational and Social Research, 6(2), 225-236. https://doi.org/10.5901/jesr.2016.v6n2p225
Daft, R. (2018). The leadership experience (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Özbağ, G. (2016). The role of personality in leadership: Five-factor personality traits and ethical leadership. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 235, 235-242. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.11.019
Seaman, C., LaPerla, J., Schwartz, E., & Bienstock, J. (2018). Common leadership characteristics, personality traits, and behaviors that generations x, y, and z leaders find effective for shared leadership: A formal, informal, and rational approach. Journal of International Management Studies, 18(3), 5-20. https://doi.org/10.18374/jims-18-3.1
Thessin, R., & Louis, K. (2019). Supervising school leaders in a rapidly changing world. Journal of Educational Administration, 57(5), 434-444. https://doi.org/10.1108/jea-09-2019-228