Leadership characteristics depend on a multitude of factors such as specific tasks, the presenting situation, leader and member relationships, leader personality, and group characteristics.
Six leadership styles have been identified in Chapter 10 of your Social Justice Counseling text (pgs. 160-162).
a. What constitutes a leader?
b. What qualities must a leader have?
c. What leadership style do you identify with and why?
d. How do you think your role as a leader will affect (positively or negatively) your clients?
e. What are some of your fears or concerns about becoming a leader or advocate?
- What constitutes a leader?
According to Northouse (2004), a leader is someone who influences a group of individuals to achieve common goals. A leader can be in any role or position and not necessarily a bureaucratic hierarchy. A leader is concerned with the quality of interactions and not hierarchical level. Leadership is about having conversations as opposed to instructions, solving problems as a team, valuing honesty, desire for the common good and shared values and beliefs. A leader induces change and provides directions through having a vision and alignment of people with vision and strategy inspire and motivates staff. Parker (2004) explains that a leader can affect the capacity of management through the design of organizational systems. A leader must “assess contingency factors in the environment and in staff and the situation, considering staff characteristics and using leader-member processes to shape organizational climate and culture.”
- What qualities must a leader have?
A good leader should be a good coach. Leatherman (2008) define coaching as focusing on the whole person and his or her job with the aim of helping them become more effective. To be a good coach is to be a partner and to be concerned with achieving the best performance from the people one is responsible for. A leader must be able to create awareness in his followers the possibility of change, determine the available change alternatives, help select an area to focus on, and assist in creating action plans that will lead to achievement the desired goal.
Interpersonal skills are valuable in any level of leadership. A leader should have a strong interpersonal relationship with clients, top managements, team and any other concerned party. Leaders are not only expected to connect and connect in individual relationships but also expected to “create strong and strategic relationship across groups, communities and organizations” (Leatherman 2008).
A leader is faced with decisions every day. To be effective as a leader, it is important to be able to make good decisions. According to Leatherman (2008), the process of making good decisions includes choosing the best alternative and planning and implementing it while anticipating problems. However, sometimes especially in a crisis there isn’t enough time to adequately go through the process and a good leader should be able to make a decision regardless. Indecisiveness during such a time only serves to worsen the situation.
A leader should be able to create strategies and visions for his or her team (Walsh & Trovas, 2014). When people are aware of the end result and the importance, they are more likely to perform as opposed to when the vision and strategies are vaguely stated. It is important for a leader to appear confident in the vision in order to inspire confidence in the rest of the team. A leader can also help his or her team create their own goals that align with the overall goals. Personal goals give a sense of purpose which is important in carrying out duties.
- What leadership style do you identify with and why?
Authoritative leadership is a style that focuses on the end result and the means is left to each individual. The ability to choose how to go about achieving results motivates people to be creative.es that people take ownership of the success or failure of a project which creates a feeling of togetherness in achieving the set goals. It ensure It is also effective since people are given an opportunity to choose the best way to achieve goals unlike when direction is given and it is either not effective or hard to implement. It also creates an enthusiasm that would otherwise not be present or as vibrant.
- How do you think your role as a leader will affect (positively or negatively) your clients?
As a leader, one of the roles is to motivate and inspire your team. It is the team that most often than not will be in contact with the client. When the team is not motivated, it is has a negative trickle-down effect to the clients. The services provide to the clients will not be of quality. As a result, there is a risk of losing the clients due to dissatisfaction. However, when the team is inspired, they get motivated and are enthusiastic with their roles. Subsequently, they provide quality experiences to the clients which in turns create a loyalty in the clients. A motivated team is able to achieve the goals that have been set enthusiastically.
- What are some of your fears or concerns about becoming a leader or advocate?
Fear of failure is one of my greatest fears. As a leader, am not only responsible for myself but also my team and other stake holders. A failure will not only mean failing myself but also failing all the others. It can make me question my smartness.
The world is filled with uncertainties. Not know what will happen in the future prevent me from sometimes making decisions about the future that are not guaranteed to succeed. Changes are inevitable and so are the uncertainties that come with it. It is therefore important to manage this fear.
Leatherman, D. (2008). Quality leadership skills: Standards of leadership behavior.
Amherst, Mass: HRD Press.
Northouse, P. G. (2004). Leadership: Theory and practice. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Packard, T. (2004). The supervisor as transformational leader. In M. Austin & K.
Hopkins (Eds.), Supervision as collaboration in the human services: Building a learning culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Walsh, R., & Trovas, S. (2014). Leading with Impact How Functional Leaders Face
Challenges, Focus Development, and Boost Performance (p. 20). The Center for Creative Leadership. Retrieved from http://insights.ccl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/leadingWithImpact.pdf