Leadership: Theory, Application and Skill Development

Introduction

Leadership refers to the process of influencing people in order to achieve certain goals, objectives, or desired outcomes (Tracy 22). Research has shown that effective leadership is characterized by an array of qualities such as integrity, honesty, vision, creativity, open-mindedness,, people building skills, integrity, job knowledge, effective communication, and the ability to interact with people. Leaders adopt various types of leadership styles based on their values, ideals, and organizational goals. Examples of leadership styles include visionary leadership, democratic leadership, transformational leadership, authoritarian leadership, and Laissez-faire leadership (Lussier 35). Characteristics of effective leaders include competency, ability to produce desired results, integrity, accountability, good planning, responsibility, and effective communication. Organizational success depends on many factors. However, the ability to lead employees in ways that foster strong relationships is the most important.

On leadership qualities

Integrity, job knowledge, and people building skills are traits that all effective leaders possess. An evaluation of these traits reveals that I possess various strengths and weaknesses that influence the quality of my leadership.

Integrity

My strengths include the ability to control emotions, readiness to make decisions based on personal ideals, and unwillingness to compromise good leadership. These strengths are founded on personal ideals that include honesty, accountability, and fairness. I always uphold these ideals in all situations without any compromise. I do not allow impulsive urges and emotions to control my decisions and behavior. For that reason, I reflect on the possible outcomes of all decisions before taking action. My weaknesses include poor anger management skills and a propensity to make irrational decisions. During certain situations, I allow anger to dominate my thinking to the extent that I yell at people and decline their propositions. On the other hand, I do not engage in an extensive analysis of situations in order to determine the possible outcomes of different approaches. Good leaders control their emotions, take time to make critical decisions, and act ethically regardless of the situation (Lussier 41).

Job knowledge

With regard to job knowledge, my strengths include the ability to master the knowledge and new skills quickly, a high level of competency, and curiosity that promotes personal and professional development. I learn something new every day and use it to improve my performance. My weaknesses include specialization and focus on problems. I focus so much on solving problems that I overlook opportunities that can make significant contributions to the organization. Specialization results in poor skills and little knowledge in disciplines that are outside my area of expertise. Good leaders possess knowledge in different fields outside their areas of expertise (Tracy 25).

People building skills

I am good at organizing people, engaging them in productive conversations, and directing them in ways that facilitate the achievement of common goals. These traits enable me to embrace feedback, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. My weaknesses include poor communication skills and an inability to motivate people. Effective communication and the ability to motivate employees are important traits that every leader should possess (Lussier 45). Poor communication skills affect my charisma and ability to motivate employees.

Managing strengths and weaknesses

In order to maintain my strengths, it is imperative to listen to people, maintain an open mind, learn from mistakes, make necessary changes, and participate in activities that encourage personal and professional development. On the other hand, it is important to attend a professional development program in order to improve my weaknesses. Seeking feedback from colleagues is also important.

On transformational leadership

Transformational leadership refers to a style of leadership that focuses on improving employee performance and productivity through increasing their motivation (Northhouse 52). Transformational leaders are passionate and visionary. They do not impose their values and ideals on people but give them the freedom to make decisions on matters that affect their jobs. In addition, they involve employees in the decision-making process because they value innovation and creativity. The late Steve Jobs is the leader that sets the benchmark for me as a transformational leader. Through his leadership, Jobs transformed Apple into one of the greatest brands in the world because he valued innovation and creativity. One of the common traits that transformational leaders possess is the ability to manage change (Adair, 76).

They always find ways to challenge the status quo. Jobs was inspirational, trustworthy, and charismatic. These traits facilitated the transformation of Apple because Jobs used them to evaluate employees and determine their strengths and weaknesses. His level of commitment made him a role model for his employees. He engaged them in developing common goals that characterized the mission and vision of the corporation. Setting high goals and developing ways to achieve them is another trait of transformational leaders. The four most common traits of these leaders include a consideration, motivation, influence, and stimulation (Adair 76).

Job’s character and commitment encouraged loyalty and trust among employees. The main leadership trait that enhanced Job’s effective leadership was a vision. This trait made positive changes in employees and the corporation. Setting high goals encouraged creativity and innovation among employees. However, it had negative outcomes too. Jobs ensured that employees were working to achieve high goals that put them under a lot of pressure. High goals had the effect of reducing effectiveness and productivity among employees. The trait transformed the organization because it facilitated the development of products that have dominated the technology industry. For instance, the development of the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes introduced change and new experiences to consumers. Transformational leaders are visionary and passionate (Northhouse, 57).

The main cause of Apple’s success is Job’s transformational leadership. His vision and passion led to the development of products that revolutionalized the technology industry. Finally, Jobs was a role model for employees. This source of motivation and inspiration catapulted Apple to the top in the technology industry. Despite the absence of Jobs at Apple, the corporation continues to perform well because of its focus on innovation.

On leadership effectiveness

Effective leaders produce results because of their competency. Competency results from traits such as adequate job knowledge focus on opportunities rather than problems, responsibility for communication and decisions, development of action plans, and involvement of employees in organizational decision-making processes (Northhouse 61). Effective leaders engage in personal and professional development. They always search for knowledge that their organizations need in order to improve their operations (Adair 79).

With regard to competency, my strengths include ability to solve problems and make good decisions, excellent skills in developing organizational strategies, high self-awareness, and ability to manage teams. My greatest strength is the ability to make good decisions and solve problems. I possess great capability with regard to making decisions that achieve desired outcomes. Before making decisions, I analyze situations based on available data, explore available alternatives, and act based on the analysis. This strength is founded on patience. Even though I make rush decisions at times, I am always careful when making decisions that affect not only me but also other people.

On the other hand, I brainstorm and engage other people in the decision-making process. Through seeking feedback, ideas, and opinions from other people, the process of making decisions becomes easier and more effective. I refrain from making decisions that are based on personal opinions and ideals. Another approach I apply is delegation of responsibilities to employees. Delegation bolsters creativity because employees develop effective decision-making strategies that fit their jobs. Effective leaders delegate responsibilities to juniors in order to improve their creativity and commitment. I apply the same approach to solving problems. Brainstorming is an effective method that many leaders apply. Brainstorming generates ideas, opinions, and new perspectives from different people (Northhouse 63).

Involving employees in problem solving processes exercises their creativity and makes them feel valued by the organization. In addition, it takes into account the various needs of employees with regard to their personal and professional ideals, goals, and values.

My weaknesses include fear of taking risks, aversion to organizational change, and unwillingness to innovate. Among these, the greatest weakness is unwillingness to innovate. As a leader, I am risk averse and often refrain from making decisions that could affect the performance and productivity of employees. Unwillingness to innovate results from risk aversion. This weakness has severe effects on the output of the organization.

For instance, it does not challenge the status quo, which is important for exceptional results. Effective leaders embrace risks and implement change because they are effective approaches to achieve exceptional organizational outcomes. Every organization needs to change often in order to adjust to the modern business environment that is characterized by stiff competition and volatility (Adair 83). The effects of my unwillingness to innovate include poor performance, inability to compete effectively, and low employee productivity. Inability to manage change also affects the quality of my leadership significantly. Innovation is one of the most important aspects of organizations in the 21st century. In order for an organization to compete effectively with other organizations and achieve exceptional outcomes, innovation is imperative (Adair 86).

I will exploit my strengths by making more decisions and developing more ways of solving problems. This might require additional training on ways to improve my skills with regard to making decisions and solving problems. I will repair the weaknesses by delegating roles that require innovation to employees. In addition, I will start to implement little changes in the organization.

Conclusion

Leadership refers to the process of influencing people in order to achieve certain goals and desired outcomes. Three of the most important traits that leaders possess include integrity, job knowledge, and people building skills. With regard to these traits, I posses several weaknesses and strengths that affect my style of leadership. Examples of my weaknesses include inability to control my anger under certain circumstances, pr communication skills, and focus on problems rather than opportunities. My role model in regards to transformational leadership is Steve Jobs. His vision and creativity transformed Apple and made it one of the leading technology companies in the world. However, setting high standards for employees was unproductive at certain times because it exerted great pressure on them to produce desired results. Competency is an important trait of effective leaders. Effective leaders possess sufficient knowledge and skills regarding their jobs.

Works Cited

Adair, John. Effective Leadership: How to be a Successful Leader. New York: Pan Macmillan, 2011. Print.

Lussier, Robert, and Acha Christopher. Leadership: Theory, Application, & Skill Development. New York: Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.

Northhouse, Peter. Leadership: Theory and Practice. New York: SAGE, 2001. Print.

Tracy, Brian. Effective Leadership. New York: Jaico Publishing House, 2008. Print.