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The Four Frames of LeadershipEssay

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Leadership

The author of this report has been asked to write a report regarding leadership and ethics in organizations. The author has been asked to choose between a non-profit situation or public organization and the author went for the latter. Indeed, the ethics and calculus involved with operating and managing a public agency or governmental group is certainly not the same as wit a profit-based organization. Even so, there are plenty of challenges and themes that are shared in both and this pertains to leadership, strategic objectives, ethics and so forth. As just intimated, the main focuses of this report will include leadership theories/concepts/ideas, ethics-based theories/concepts/ideas and a focus on the four frames as discussed in How Great Leaders Think. It will also be answered to why it is important to maintain and uphold things like versatility in understanding and applying one's efforts to all four frames at the same time. The author will also discuss which frame is the most useful and why. While some talk of leadership and ethics in the public sphere is akin to navel-gazing and over-analysis, there are some key concepts and ideas that should be taken extremely seriously.

Analysis

Leadership Topics

The first thing the author of this report will focus on is the leadership style that is employed in any given organization. Indeed, there are many buzzwords and overall leadership types that are discussed and debated in the scholarly and governmental spheres. Of course, there are concepts and leadership styles such as transactional, transformational and so forth. Also important to loop into this discussion is change management, keeping a proper focus on all objectives and so forth. While assessing the different leadership styles is important, it is also a good idea to realize and absorb the idea that a leader cannot remain in a rut when it comes to leadership style. While there is absolutely a time and a place for a leader to take on a transformative form, there are other times where a transactional approach or even a leader that extremely assertive or even authoritarian is probably the better course. While the latter may be an eyebrow-raiser for any reader of this report, the author of this report is absolutely serious.

For example, leadership in a jail or prison has to be based on maintaining the safety of the prisoners, the safety of the personnel and compliance from the prisoners. If any of that is missing, then very bad things can happen. As such, the leaders and guards of the prison are not going to "ask nicely" when they tell a prisoner to do something. Prisons are an extreme example of a situation where the rules are not really negotiable. This is not to say that guards and other prison personnel should always be harsh and punitive. However, they must react swiftly and decisively when non-compliance is rendered by a prisoner and this remains the case even if the prisoner does like it or resists. In a situation where crudely made knives and blades, not to mention the throwing of bodily fluids and fights, are commonplace, a culture of force compliance is a must. Any branch of the military is a lesser example of this. While the methods used with military personnel are not nearly as harsh as with prisoners, the rules are what they are and they are expected to be followed. At the same time, both prisons and military units will have moments where being aggressive and harsh is not called for, necessary or ethical. Whether it be coworkers on break or in a situation where a prisoner is getting counseling, harsh leadership styles are not called for (Dretke & Serio, 2011).

Coming back to the main points of this section, the leadership styles used (or not used) should align with the goals of the organization and the individual situations that are dealt with. A "one size fits all" approach is less than wise and will most certainly not work over the long-term. There are situations, for example, where exquisite attention to detail and compliance is a must but there are other times where breathing down employees' necks is uncalled for and is actually counter-productive. For sure, the proper guidelines and desired outcomes should be defined in advance. Further, procedures should be defined and followed to the letter every single time unless there is a clear and tangible reason why doing so is not the best path forward. However, discretion and tact are sometimes called for in leadership situations and a good leader needs to know when such a situation exists. For example, if a person is absent a lot to the point where they would normally be punished for it but it's due to something out of the employee's control like a sick child or a tragedy in the family, some mercy is probably called for. At the same time, being consistent in similar situations that are not like this is also key. Any perceived or actual situation where the people involved think that favorites are being chosen is going to lead to massive issues. It must be remembered that perception of malfeasance and information vacuums from leadership can both be very devastating and distracting and these should be avoided at all costs. There are situations where a "need to know" mentality is not a bad idea. At the same time, it has to be remembered that employees are very big stakeholders in an organization and they should be respected and kept informed as such (Darling & Leffel, 2010).

Finally, there should be no ambiguity about the strategic executives and motivations of an agency. Whether it be sticking to a budget, achieving a certain level of satisfaction or upgrading systems so as to perfect and improve usability, what makes the agency "tick" from day-to-day should not be a mystery to everyone. Further, there needs to be an alignment between the strategic objectives of the firm and what every part of the agency is doing as it relates to the same. This can and should include customer service, information technology, operations, maintenance and so on. This should not be beat over the head of people in the government sphere, but they are funded by the taxpayer dime and this demands a higher level of deference and transparency from that agency. At no point should money be wasted or used on items that are outside of or, worse yet, contrary to the objectives that are (or should) be in place (Mihm, 2015).

Ethics

Another proverbial elephant in the room when it comes to public agencies and government organizations is ethics. Whether one is speaking about religion, politics or anything else along those lines, the personal ethics and professional ethics involved with the agency and the people in it can cause major clashes. For example, a person may be personally against the idea of abortion or other forms of family planning and/or contraception but the agency that this person works for may be involved with funding or counseling about the same. The worker in this situation needs to realize that the personal ethics he/she has must become and remain secondary to the ethics and standards of the organization that he/she works for. If the person cannot or will not do that, they need to find another job in the agency or leave the agency altogether. A crystal clear example of what happens with personal and agency ethics clash is the Kim Davis debacle in Kentucky. Kim Davis was clearly against gay marriage even after it was legalized by a recent Supreme Court decision. In stating that she could not issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she cited not the government's rules or laws but her own personal ethics and religious beliefs. This is a line that no government agency employee, elected or appointed, should ever cross. The fact that Davis was jailed for a time was unfortunate but she was actively disobeying a lawful order from the highest court in the land and she had a duty to either resign or comply. In the end, she chose the latter by allowing her deputies to do the licenses even though she is still against it (Etherington, 2008).

At the same time, the definitions of what is ethical or not ethical from a public agency standpoint can be murky at times. For example, there are many agencies around the country that involve the monitoring and intervention with children and families when it is obvious or at least likely that something untoward is going on. These agencies, of course, are the ones that are called Child Protective Services (CPS), Department of Children and Families (DCF) or something else of that nature. While many would agree with the concept that these agencies can and should intervene or even remove children from families if things are obviously all wrong with a situation, there are some times where the decision is not clear. One example is marijuana. There are some situations where children are yanked due to… [END OF PREVIEW]

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