Friday, August 30, 2019
Foundations of Leadership
This paper examines foundations of leadership and the role behavior plays in leadership. Behavior defines a person's ability to communicate and form active and powerful relationships within the organizational structure. Behavior influences how a leader will sustain communication to their team members and defines their strategy for leadership. This influences their ability to motivate, build powerful teams and adjust to organizational conflict and change. One role model of effective leadership would Bill Clinton. This paper looks at not only organizational examples of leadership but also the political role model of president to aid in defining foundations for leadership. This paper examines how proactive leadership can be applied to the organizational structure and outcomes or implications result. In today's business world, it is important to address how change agents influence the workplace and how leaders address such issues. In today's marketplace, the pressure to succeed is intense. Never before has a company's efficiency and profitability been so closely measured and studied. Without powerful, active leadership and a well-tuned team in place to motivate and encourage teamwork, a company is doomed to fail. This paper will explore key elements that build a foundation for leadership. See, sometimes what is not completely understood is that leadership involves so many other attributes found in a person. Two main attributes discussed in this paper is the ability to effectively communicate and display emotional intelligence. This brings into focus other skills needed to manage the day to day conflict and corporate environment of today's changing business world. Not only is leadership a key to success and a reflection of the organization's cultural values but it is group of skills needed. These skills include areas of expertise such as communication, motivation, and team building skills. In order for an organization to carry on success, it must turn to role models in the community for inspiration. Rather these role models be present within the culture is important but inherently, people will look around them to leadership already within the framework. This means looking to American culture for such leadership models. It can be continuously debated rather or not the most important leader in the world is effective. This person falls under tremendous scrutiny and accountability. The President of the United States must lead by example and be active in their leadership but one aspect of leadership that must be understood is that people are human and they err in the human way, nor are they perfect. As a role model, this paper will not only look at organizational examples of effective leadership skills but also examine the leadership of Bill Clinton. A key to the foundation for leadership is effective communication and one's ability to behave intelligently. It can be easy to confuse the two concepts of management and leadership on an organizational level. George S. Odiorne (1987) writes, Ã¢â¬Å"one of the more popular definitions of management is that it consists of getting results through other peopleÃ¢â¬ (p. 13). In today's company, the role of management also involves leadership within a team structure. Managers have the responsibility to set goals, maintain moral, aid in training and communicating corporate objectives. A good leader provides vision and clarity for the employee. Such a leader will be able to communicate and create a rapport with their team. This connection begins at a fundamental level of human sociology where the use of story is central. Howard Gardner (1995) reflects, Ã¢â¬Å"the ultimate impact of the leader depends most significantly on the particular story that he or she relates or embodies, and the receptions to that story on the part of the audiencesÃ¢â¬ (p. 14). By telling stories, allows for a certain level of openness or vulnerability on the part of the leader and makes them human. By opening the line of communication, gives the employee knowledge of their environment and develops trust. The leader's role is to sell the idea of commitment within a culture. Odiorne (1987) suggests, Ã¢â¬Å"if employees know what is expected, and what help and resources are available, they can then be relied upon to govern their actions to achieve the commitments they have madeÃ¢â¬ (p. 138). This sets the stage for goals and achieving high performance. The culture in turn feeds off this energy and excitement. There are three reasons why leaders are important. First they are responsible for the effectiveness of organizations. Second, the change and upheaval of past years has left us with no place to hide. We need anchors in our lives as a guiding purpose. Third, there is a national concern about integrity of our institutions. Being mindful of own context is difficult for us. (p. 15-16) Managers with a keen understanding of leading represent these three key attributes and create a foundation from which to act. A leader must also display curiosity and have the guts to be daring. They must be a dominant force within the team. Bennis (1989) reflects, there are two kinds of people Ã¢â¬Å"those who are paralyzed by fear, and those who are afraid but go ahead away. Life is not about limitation but optionsÃ¢â¬ (p. 185). In the book Primal Leadership, authors David Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee (2001) present their research on leadership styles within the organizational structure. The research discusses the relationship that these executives have with their emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is the study of emotions and their impact upon the work environment. The research investigates the different leadership styles evident in most organizations today. Mainly, leaders are categorized as either having the visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pacesetting, or commanding leadership styles. Emotional Intelligence relies upon the fact the leader will be able to have a competent level of interaction with the employee by changing leadership styles and adapting to each unique situation throughout the time at work. It reflects successful leadership by allowing for complex relationships for team members by recognizing relationship building, capacity of visions and personal development. Emotional Intelligence for a leader means being able to read people, be read and allow for open dialogue or communication. Research stresses the importance of the leader's flexibility and capability to adapt to his or her environment. An effective leader will understand not only their environment and people but also understand the potential for impact upon that environment. By understanding this key element, an effective leader will know how to define the environment. This is important because employees look to management for guidance. The leader defines the boundaries for the team and creates an atmosphere for building relationships and open communication. This in turn creates stronger teams. Any time people are brought together, behavior both positive and negative can occur. According to the American Heritage College Dictionary (1997), behavior is: Ã¢â¬Å"the manner in which one behaves or the actions or reactions of persons or things in response to external or internal stimuli. Ã¢â¬ Upon further investigating the verb form also in the American Heritage College Dictionary, the word Ã¢â¬Ëbehave' means Ã¢â¬Å"to conduct (oneself) in a specified wayÃ¢â¬ or Ã¢â¬Å"to actÃ¢â¬ (p. 123). It is human nature to behave in a certain manner while existing in society. Over a period of time, we react differently to events that happen. How we respond to those events is essentially our behavior. How we communicate with one another is how we express behavior. Organizational Behavior focuses on the study of behavior within the organizational construct. This field of study concentrates on how an individual, group and structure affects the behavior within the organization. Therefore, this has direct bearing on communication as information is vital to learning within the organization. It is important for an organization to learn from its mistakes as this information enhances the organizations' performance. This information when communicated can bring about change and growth within the organization's functions and policies. Motivation can be a complex issue for a leader to communicate when managing a team of different personalities. One key to success is having an understanding of people and the many different things that motivate people, influencing their behaviors while performing a task therefore, influencing communication. A good leader will work to understand what motivates each individual on the team in an effort to improve communications. Still this brings up the issue of needs and how to get them met by the situation. Maslow's Theory of Needs, suggests that individuals have a range of needs and will be motivated to fulfill whichever is the greatest need at that moment in time. In this construct, there are lower-order and higher-order needs. The lower-order needs are dominant until they are at least partially satisfied. Maslow predicted a normal person will turn their attention to higher-order needs once the lower ones were taken care of (Motivation 2005, par. 3). Lower-order needs include items like making a living for food and shelter while higher-order needs are more in tune with personality such as esteem and worth. A team leader will understand how his or her team members perceive themselves within the team and what needs are important to each member. This will aid the leader in knowing how to approach each individual and how to effectively discuss the every day team happenings. By understanding motivation, a leader can also understand which methods of communication work best for each employee. In this way, the leader can adapt his or her tone and body language to better convey the point. By knowing what motivates people, the leader can effectively communicate incentives to the team to boost their morale. This will lead to them offering the team ways to make work interesting and challenging while encouraging members to take ownership of tasks. This encourages the pursuit of goals. Once an employee is acknowledged, a higher level of pride and respect is achieved. This inspires them to take advantage of new learning opportunities and lead within the team. It is also important for the leader to give regular praise and positive feedback when the standard of work is high. On the other hand, it is also important for the leader to offer support during times of struggle and conflict in order to decrease the influence of stress. For managers who actively keep and open dialogue are putting their people first. They are more focused on nurturing and training. Research suggests leaders are more interested in mentoring and training their team rather than focusing on output of numbers or turn around time. This once again acts a mini-strategy to manage communication within the team. This development in team building allows for Ã¢â¬Å"providing people opportunities to learn from their work rather than taking them away from their work to learnÃ¢â¬ (Hughes, 2004, p. 4). A healthy culture inspires options and the innovations that grow out of creativity. Another issue when creating an intimate team experience is building trust. In an example, the South African Breweries, plc or SAB found itself needing to create trust in a post Apartheid era where racism was still very much causing conflict and lack of communication among workers. As part of implementing an integrated management process, the organization carried out workshops to target its 6,000 employees. These workshops encouraged open discussion about South Africa's past, Apartheid's influence and how shared values increased a sense of workplace community (Supporting workplace learning for high performance working, p. ). The President of the United States has a tremendous pressure on his shoulders as he represents our country to the world. The President can be considered the most powerful man in the world. Is he a good leader, effective in his communication, motivation, team orientation skills? Does he understand the needs of the people and actively lead on this premise of continually making the country a better place or is he a puppet acting out the agenda of his political party? From this standpoint, the United States government can be seen as the ultimate organization with the President as the CEO. Within this structure, is the foundation of leadership present or is the term just used to clean up past mistakes and create new policies only to be changed by future leaders? In this respect, it can be difficult to separate the human from the leader while in public view. He will be analyzed from every angle. From an Organizational Behavior standpoint, it is only logical to believe how one conducts his personal life also reflects his business integrity. Many would argue because of President Clinton's indiscretions that he was a poor leader. He lied and therefore, that changes the public view of him and the level of trust that can be instilled in him. This indiscretion calls his accountability into question or does it? In order to examine Clinton's leadership ability and skills, one must have a handle on their own Emotional Intelligence and be able to separate his business practices from his moral decision of his personal life. There is a reason the business world leaves the personal life at the door; there is a job to be done. Leon Panetta (2001) reflects, Ã¢â¬Å"Clinton is a paradox. He can be described as brilliant, dedicated, slick and dishonestÃ¢â¬ (p. ). Liberals claim he was passionate about the issues and succeeded in changing many policies concerning civil rights, education, the environment, medical ethics and women's rights. Conservatives liked him because he was able to balance the federal budget, fight for free trade like NAFTA and create tough crime programs. Still does addressing these issues make him an effective leader? Panetta (2001) explains, Ã¢â¬Å"to get a better measure of the man and his presidency, it helps to look at him, both accomplishments and failures. Only then can we understand Bill Clinton, the leaderÃ¢â¬ (p. ) Discussion, Application and Implications The issue of ethics raises another concern for Organizational Behavior and how one conducts themselves within the construct. Communication can lead to misunderstanding but so does lack of action. Sometimes it is not evident that taking action could have changed the outcome. What is important to an organization is that they follow through with every possibility. This is where employees pick up on non-verbal communications from management. If a leader appears not to be concerned, then more than likely the team members will not be either. Internal cues, both verbal and non-verbal are extremely important to not only success but just day-to-day functioning. First leadership must be put in place then a change of policy can be put into place. There must be consistent with the chain of command where both the product and the use of the product are concerned. Everyone must have the same perception of the organization's objective. By having a trusting, open door policy with people creates an atmosphere of safety where communication can take place. Also another idea is to have a program of due diligence where people back each other up and support each other through periods of conflict. This will enable teams to have not just one chain but multiple chains of communications where information is double-checked and triple checked before put into use. This will ensure that any new issues or mistakes are found and addressed before they are put into real-world situations. This can also lead to teams thinking outside the box to create new innovative ideas to fix the problems. By building this type of culture, allows the organization to maintain a high level of integrity with the public but to also remain competitive within the market. The implications of doing business in today's world means constantly being open-minded and remaining comfortable knowing that not every day is same. Some people cannot work in such conditions. As Stephen Robbins (2001) comments, Ã¢â¬Å"As humans, we are creatures of habit. Changes substitute ambiguity and uncertainty for the knownÃ¢â¬ (p. 546). People, by human nature, inherently resist change. Management may find older employees are more loyal but have a harder time embracing new ideas like the Internet because they remember the old days. This resistance to change can result in conflict but it also creates opportunities for innovation. The practice of innovation also begins with embracing or adopting the unexpected. Peter Drucker (1998) describes, Ã¢â¬Å"unexpected successes and failures are such productive sources of innovation opportunities because most business dismiss them, disregard them, and even resent themÃ¢â¬ (p. 3) and this type of behavior represents people's resistance to change but at the same time creates recognition of new opportunities within the market. Change in the global market, including multicultural demographics and new technologies, has required perceptions to change. The attitude toward knowledge has evolved because more than one type is needed in order to implement a new idea. This changes the needs of workers and organizations as diffusion of innovation takes place as many different points of view are considered. This adds value as it spawns creative thinking but it must also fall within economic reality. It is important to carry out a detailed implementation but also to remain on budget and schedule. The concept of innovation brings up other implications, however. It produces a whole new reality that employees may not be prepared to handle. Product diversification could mean failure. Technology, while it is wondrous and makes jobs easier, can also be dangerous. With telecommunications, a new breed of crime has been created with identity theft and corporate brand protection becoming important. Technology can be disastrous if put in the wrong hands. Antibiotics used to cure infections have saved numerous lives while there is a continued threat of biological weapons of mass destruction. With innovations come new inventions that make our lives easier but also have a higher risk when used. This is the nature of the realm of possibility. This can backfire as it can also destroy and impose new rules of conduct upon communities. As much as many like the idea of innovation, for those scared of change, it is difficult o embrace fully. This means as change rapidly flourishes out of control, those resistant aim to gain control of laws and rules to make change more difficult. This leads to Big Brother watching every public move and return to conservative leadership. One can look to the events of recent months to see the value of Bill Clinton's leadership. He has not retreated from the limelight but instead applied his passion and hope for people in his daily life of action by carrying on his role as a leader. Rather it be his participation in aiding Tsunami victims or right here at home, recent victims of Katrina, he continues his objective of serving the people of the United States. This communicates to us that he cares. Panetta (2001) reflects. Ã¢â¬Å"only in crisis is a president fully tested as to what part of his character will prevailÃ¢â¬ (p. 6). He may have failed many times but he also used failure as a positive means to evolve as a better man and leader for today's people and their needs. His ability to reach the every day man still defines his leadership power. This paper explored key elements that build a foundation for leadership. Two main attributes discussed in this paper is the ability to effectively communicate and display emotional intelligence. This brings into focus other skills needed to manage the day to day conflict and corporate environment of today's changing business world. Not only is leadership a key to success and a reflection of the organization's cultural values but it is group of skills needed. This paper also discussed how leadership skills have implications and define the work environment for employees. It discussed how leaders must be mindful of change agents and possible outcomes due to innovation and new technologies available. In this respect, the workplace is constantly evolving and without leadership as a framework, the organization would be motivated or able to communicate and teams would dissolve. In order for an organization to carry on success, it must turn to role models in the community for inspiration. Rather these role models be present within the culture is important but inherently, people will look around them to leadership already within the framework. This means looking to American culture for such leadership models. It can be continuously debated rather or not the most important leader in the world is effective. This person falls under tremendous scrutiny and accountability. The President of the United States must lead by example and be active in their leadership but one aspect of leadership that must be understood is that people are human and they err in the human way, nor are they perfect. As a role model, this paper looked at organizational examples of effective leadership skills but also examined the leadership of Bill Clinton. It is important in leadership to embrace change and stick to a vision. By having Emotional Intelligence one can Ã¢â¬Å"recogise the physical and mental signs of our feelings/emotions before we can act on them meaningfully and constructivelyÃ¢â¬ (Eby Ruin par. 20). It is by recognizing these attributes that one can build an effective team structure. A leader acts as a coach to not only reinforce the game plan with directions but also encourage creativity, new ideas and acquiring new skills. Foundations for Leadership include: effective communication, motivation and team building. In order to better understand leadership, we must look for role models within the organization but also outside to society. The President of the United States can be considered the ultimate definition of leadership but can he live up to the standard? This allows an organization to build a value system where the foundations of leadership are prized and seen as tools for success. And in order to survive in the business world, leadership and its foundations must be valued by the organization.