The paper 'Becoming a Better Leader of People and Organisations" is a great example of management coursework. Effective leadership does not just happen; rather, it takes knowledge, expertise, and to some extent, one’ s innate personal qualities and knowing how to optimise the same for good results. One of the most important things that leaders must be aware of is that leadership involves the effective use of power to, as Pfeffer (2010, p. 91) indicates, mete resources, shape behaviour, make progress on multiple fronts, take initiative, work with antagonists, remove rivals, and make relationships that are important work among other things.
A leader also has the responsibility to make the organisation’ s vision compelling to the followers. Other important qualities of a leader include his/her ability to use a personal touch, and persistence (Pfeffer 2010, p. 91). The best analysis of how effective leadership is obtained is perhaps offered by Snowden and Boone (2007, p. 76) who observe that “ business schools and organisations equip leaders to operate in ordered domains. .. but most leaders usually must rely on their natural capabilities when operating in unordered contexts” .
In other words, Snowden and Boone (2007) are stating that in addition to the knowledge and skills obtained through education and/or on-the-job training, leaders mostly need to use their natural instinct especially for purposes of understanding context, embracing complexity and even resolving paradoxes. The aforementioned notwithstanding, George, Sims, McLean and Mayer (2007 p. 129) observe that while everybody has the capacity to empower and inspire others just like leaders are supposed to, only those who want to succeed in leadership must be willing to devote themselves to “ personal growth and development ” .
From George et al. ’ s (2009) observations, one can, therefore, infer that at the very basic, a leader must have the abilities to inspire and empower others. However, striving for personal growth and development is also an effective aspect of leadership, especially if one understands that leaders and followers are not very distinct. In fact, Zust (2003, p. 1) observes that the best leaders are indeed the best followers. The trick according to Zust (2003, p. 1) however lies in knowing “ how and when to follow” . Goleman and Boyatzis (2008) support such a line of thinking by stating that beyond emotional intelligence, leaders need to develop social intelligence.
Social intelligence is a concept that refers to a person’ s ability to build interpersonal competencies, which inspire other people to be effective (Goleman & Boyatzis 2008, p. 81). A person with social intelligence is more able to encourage people within an organisation to bond hence building a more cohesive internal work environment. However, and is indicated by Drucker (2005, p. 100), “ Success in the knowledge economy comes to those who know themselves – their strengths, their values and how they best perform” .
Knowing oneself comes after self-reflection and evaluation, which apparently, each leader must be willing to take up. A good leader also possesses what is now referred to as positive psychological capital (PPC). As illustrated in the figure below, PPC has four dimensions namely: efficacy/confidence, optimism, hope, and resiliency. Figure 1: The four dimensions of PPC Source: Luthans and Youssef (2004, p. 152). Although PPC is still is a concept under development, Luthans and Youssef (2004, p. 152) observe that it provides a link between positive psychologies in a leader to organisational performance.
Ideally, all four dimensions indicated in the PPC model above inspire similar positive psychologies in followers. Followers are more likely to be resilient, optimistic, hopeful and/or confident if leaders ‘ lead from the front’ and exhibit corresponding traits. Peterson et al. (2008) observe that leaders with high levels of PPC are likely to grow and thrive even when faced with difficulties and setbacks, and by so doing, they are able to not only perform better than they had previously but also to inspire increased trust, hope and confidence amongst followers.
By so doing, both the leader and the followers find value and meaning in the organisational processes (Peterson et al. 2008).
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