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Leadership Thesis - the World View

Essay by   •  August 1, 2011  •  Essay  •  3,007 Words (13 Pages)  •  1,469 Views

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Executive Summary

Section One: The World View

* Leadership defined

o Leadership vs. Management

* Leadership theories: Great Man, behavior theory, influence theory, relational theories

* Qualities and characteristics: Charisma, passion, Transformational Leadership

Section Two: The Organization View

* Mission/Vision

* Learning leadership

* Sustainability of the industry

* culture

* Power of leaders; personal, referent, expert power

* Leadership style

Section Three: The Self View

* Who am I?

* Insight quizzes

* End values personal not social

* Shared vision with The Atlantic Club

* Cultural preferences: clan

* My mission

* Skills needed

Section Four: Rationale, Recommendations and Action Plan

* Rationale; Three steps

* Steps to goal

* What I need to do to become the leader I would like to be?

Section One: The World View

"Leadership is an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purpose." (Daft, 2008, p.4) Is there a difference between leadership and management? "Management can be defined as the attainment of organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner through planning, organizing, staffing, directing, and controlling organizational resources." (Daft, 2008, p.14) Unlike leadership though, management does not look at the horizon to see if what is effective and efficient today is what will help the company tomorrow. "Leadership calls for creating a compelling vision of the future and developing farsighted strategies for producing the changes needed to achieve that vision." (Daft, 2008 p.17) One major difference between a manager and a leader is the variance between a boss and a coach. Bosses give orders to get the job done; coaches give direction to energize subordinates to accomplish the organizations goals.

Through the study of leadership a few theories have emerged. Leaders can be found throughout history who emulate these different theories which are still in existence today, although to less of a degree, as they are not as applicable in today's' environment. These theories include the Great Man theories, trait theories, behavior theories, contingency theories, influence theories and relational theories. The approach used being dependent upon the organization, their needs and the societal expectations of the time. The Great Man theory for example is contingent upon a stable organization and makes the assumption that a man of great character brings with him the necessary requirements to lead the organization to an even stronger place. The assumption being that the qualities needed were inherited and of course, only applicable to men. This theory reminds me of Abraham Lincoln as he was certainly not developed into a great leader at a prestigious university.

The second theory of focus, the behavior theory which utilizes rational management to explain the theory of leadership where subordinates are essentially told what to do. This style of leadership seems particularly well suited for the industrial revolution and in particular the industry that was at the forefront of the American Industrial Revolution; the automobile.

The third theory is influence theory which focuses on team and shared leadership, takes hold during a time of great change in our society, and our world. The iconic leader who steps onto stage seems almost godlike to his subordinates as he heroically saves the day by waving his magic wand and making everything right. The image that comes to mind is Lee Iaccoca. Ok, so it's hard to deny that he is a great leader, but how much of the momentum was due to his timing? If only Chrysler had him at the helm now...

The fourth theory of leadership is one which is now coming into the spotlight is relational theories, which focuses on learning leadership. This type of leadership seams to go outside of the boundaries of any other style of leadership. It uses teams, but teams are not the focus, the focus is the whole; the whole organization. This style of leadership takes place in an organization which is ever changing. This is the age of the knowledge worker. Knowledge workers are the most significant portion of the United States workforce, but under this leadership environment we know that we must keep our skills sharp and our options ever plentiful to avoid becoming unemployed at the hands of a computer programmer or outsourced overseas.

What qualities are found in leaders? What do they share in common? Well, as we discussed in class, charisma is certainly one characteristic of a leader. As per Answers.com charisma is "A rare personal quality attributed to leaders who arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm". This certainly does sound like some leaders of history, but not necessarily ones of whom I would like to be a follower. I would rather find leaders with a better quality of character then Adolph Hitler or Jim Jones. But charisma is certainly one trait in which they did not lack.

Of course it takes more than charisma to make a leader. It also requires a passion for a cause, a vision, "an attractive, ideal future that is credible yet not readily attainable." (Daft, 2008, p. 389) It is this ideal that makes a leader summon his talents, influence, self-confidence and display the behaviors that will allow him to build trust in his followers.

Many styles of leadership are discussed in the text, including Transformational Leadership which appears to be the most comprehensive theory on good leadership covering all bases from developing followers, inspiring leaders to incorporating a vision. The bottom line though is that to be a "good" leader requires not only leadership skills, but ethics, motivation,

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