Assessment: Leadership Challenge: Leadership Credibility

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Leadership Challenge: Leadership Credibility

A leader is who one is and a manager is what one does. Dr. Warren Bennis originally made that observation in studying the interaction of leadership characteristics including the level of emotional intelligence (EI) relative to traits of exceptional leaders (Bennis, 2001). The best leaders create a strong foundation of trust, build on the elements of transparency, competency and a compelling future vision (Kouzes, Posner, 2012). Leaders who are transformational often balance the qualities of individualized consideration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence, using EI as a means to intuitively navigate between each (Purvanova, Bono, 2009). The intent of this analysis is to provide an overview of the four characteristics of effective leaders including their capacity to be honest, forward-looking, competent and inspiring (Kouzes, Posner, 2012). These four leadership characteristics are more indicative of a skills-based approach to leadership development as they can learned over time, and are often assimilated in organizations that have exceptionally well-led cultures (Singh, Krishnan, 2008). While Northouse argues they could feasibly be considered traits, there is ample evidence that leaders often evolve over time and learn. This analysis also includes an example of a leader who demonstrates these characteristics and has inspired me to do the same.

Analysis Of Kouzes & Posner Leadership Characteristics

Through a series of empirical studies corroborated with interviews, in addition to their combined decades of management and leadership consulting, Kouzes & Posner have identified the four characteristics of a leader being honest, forward-thinking, competent and inspiring as critical to their effectiveness (Kouzes, Posner, 2012). What makes these four characteristics so vivid is their reflection in the behavior of the greatest leaders who are studied today and those known today. What's important to recognize about these four characteristics is how they form of foundational platform for creating authenticity, transparency and trust with subordinates, peers and superiors (Kouzes, Posner, 2012).

The first of the four characteristics, honesty, is critical for creating any level communication and a stable, consistent working relationship. Honesty is also essential for creating and necessary foundation for ensuring consistent feedback -- both positive and negative -- is given on performance. When subordinates received feedback on how they are doing, when it's delivered by a leader who has proven their honesty, the subordinate is more likely to change their behavior and seek to improve (McKnight, 2013). Honesty then is a catalyst for creating more effective change management strategies over time, as leaders must continually strengthen and add to their credibility if they are going to be effective in evoking change in subordinates so a compelling vision can be achieved (Singh, Krishnan, 2008). Honesty, like all characteristics defined by Kouzes & Posner (2012) must be continually, consistently and equitably evident in decisions, actions and direction. All of these many decisions and actions taken together will create the critical mass of credibility and trust the leader needs to keep the entire organization moving towards the fulfillment of the compelling vision defined.

The capacity of a leader to be forward-thinking is integral to their ability to transform organizations and progress from being transactional -- or driven by short-term gain -- to define a compelling vision that motivates subordinates to excel. This characteristic is critical for becoming a transformational leader that also earns respect and is seen as competent (McKnight, 2013). All of these factors combine together to create exceptional leadership, orchestrated by the EI levels and intuitive sense of direction for one given leader relative to another (Purvanova, Bono, 2009). Kouzes & Posner (2012) also illustrate throughout these leadership aspects, when taken together, create a more inspiring and charismatic leader as well. This aspect of a leader's ability to provide inspiration is an essential element of their ability to transform organizations (McKnight, 2013). When leaders are honest, forward-looking, competent and inspiring, theorists have also seen higher levels of EI and situational intelligence.

Leadership Skills: Characteristics vs. Traits

Northouse (2012) argues that the traits of leaders are more indicative of their ability to sustain and grow trust, and that traits are the most… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Leadership Challenge: Leadership Credibility.  (2013, December 23).  Retrieved May 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/leadership-challenge-credibility/7881321

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"Leadership Challenge: Leadership Credibility."  Essaytown.com.  December 23, 2013.  Accessed May 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/leadership-challenge-credibility/7881321.