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Leadership Questionnaires Leadership and ManagementEssay

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Leadership Questionnaires: Leadership Questions

Leadership can be defined as the art of inspiring and motivating people to identify with, and work towards the achievement of one's goal. Effective leadership is crucial for team and organizational success. Various instruments have been designed to help leaders assess their leadership skills and improve the same if need be. This text examines four of these instruments: the leadership trait questionnaire, the skills inventory, the leadership behavior questionnaire, the situational leadership instrument, and the path-goal leadership questionnaire.

Leadership Questions

Are leadership and management distinct concepts? Is a good leader necessarily a good manager? Is a good manager usually or always a good leader?

Often times, people use the terms 'management' and 'leadership' interchangeably; however, the two are distinctly different concepts. The difference between the two lies in the strategies that they use to get the job done. Managers carry out the planning, coordinating, and organizing functions to ensure that things within the organization flow in the right direction. Leaders, on the other hand, get things flowing by inspiring, motivating and empowering their followers. In simple terms, a manager tells his employees what to do, and expects them to follow his instructions to the latter. A leader, on the other hand, develops the goals that are to be achieved based on the organization's mission and vision, communicates to the same to his followers, and then gives them the power to innovate and come up with strategies that they deem most efficient for the realization of the said objectives. As Komives and his colleagues (2013) point out, management is about doing things the right way, whereas leadership is about doing the right things. A manager is satisfied with, and tends to settle for the status quo; a leader, on the other hand, strives to empower his followers to be better people and achieve their maximum potential so that the organization can realize its greatest heights (Komives, Lucas & McMahon, 2013). It is possible, therefore, for one to be a good manager, but not necessarily a good leader. On the contrary, most good leaders are also good managers because leadership is an extension of management.

Question Two: Complete the Leadership Trait Instrument (LTQ). Post a discussion of how this instrument might be helpful in improving leadership. Also post comments on your own individual results after completing the survey.

The LTQ assesses one's leadership abilities based on a set of 14 desirable leadership traits or attributes. The individual under assessment rates themselves on a scale of 1 to 5 in regard to each of the 14 characteristics, and then distributes copies of the questionnaire to at least five people close to them to also give their responses and ratings on the individual's leadership characteristics (UNCW, 2015a). The scores received on the LTQ provide insight on how an individual sees themselves vis-a-vis how others see them as a leader. The instrument basically provides a way for one to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and to identify areas where their perceptions are in congruent with those of others, and where they differ. I, for instance, self-rated higher than my observers did on seven characteristics: determined, dependable, outgoing, diligent, empathic, sensitive, and conscientious. These could essentially be taken to represent those areas in which I am weak as a leader, and which I need to work on to make myself a better leader in other people's eyes. Similarly, I self-rated myself lower vis-a-vis my observers in the following six traits: trustworthy, persistent, self-confident, perceptive, sensitive, and articulate. I could term these traits as my strengths in relation to how others view me as a leader.

How is this theory useful, and how is it not useful? What traits are most important, and which ones are least important?

The LTQ provides a useful mechanism for determining how one views themselves as a leader vis-a-vis how others view them. It accords one an opportunity to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and those areas where they need to put in the most effort to become a better leader. Moreover, it gives leaders and potential leaders a feel of the specific attributes that a leader ought to possess to be considered a good leader. The test's greatest weakness, however, is that it does not provide a means to rank the various traits; as such, one cannot tell which traits are most important for effective leadership, and which ones are not as important.

Question 3: Complete the Skills Inventory. Post a discussion of how this instrument might be helpful in improving leadership. Also post comments on your own individual results after completing the survey.

The skills inventory measures one's endowment of three crucial types of leadership skills: conceptual skills, human skills, and technical skills (UNCW, 2015b). Respondents are required to indicate the degree (on a scale of 1 to 5) to which each of the eighteen items of the questionnaire describes them as a person. The questionnaire items include 'I enjoy getting into the details of how things work', 'seeing the bigger picture comes easy for me', 'getting all parties to work together is a challenge I enjoy', and 'I am concerned with how my decisions affect the lives of others', to name but a few. Items 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, and 16 measure a leader's technical skills, whereas items 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, and 17 measure their human skill (UNCW, 2015b). The conceptual skill is measured by items 3, 6, 9, 12, and 15 (UNCW, 2015b). The leader is required to sum up the scores from each of the three sub-groups to obtain their overall leadership score. The higher the score, the more skilled one is as a leader. The skills inventory could be crucial in improving one's effectiveness as a leader because one can accurately compare the differences between their scores to determine where the leadership strengths lie, and which areas need to be worked on. I, for instance, recorded a total score of 46: 15 for conceptual skill, 24 for technical skill and 7 for human skills. The low human skill score is an indication that I am poor at relating with others. Once I have known this, I could take the initiative to cultivate strategies for improving my interpersonal relationships and becoming friendlier and more articulate with others.

How is this theory useful, and how is it not useful? How does the importance of the different skills vary depending on the job?

This theory could help a leader identify the specific leadership skills in which they are weak, and consequently focus their effort on improving the same. Moreover, it could provide crucial insight in regard to what level of management or leadership an individual would be most comfortable in. With my low score on human skills, for instance, I would not be effective in a low or middle-level supervisory position, where there is a lot of interaction between managers and their subordinates. However, I would be an effective leader in an executive position requiring a lot of technical expertise and technical decision-making at the individual level. The instrument's main weakness, however, is that the limited number of assessment items may not effectively bring out one's leadership characteristics. Six items may not be sufficient to measure how effective one is at relating with others.

Question 3: Complete the leadership behavior questionnaire. Post a discussion of how this instrument might be helpful in improving leadership. Also post comments on your own individual results after completing the survey.

The leadership behavior questionnaire assesses an individual's effectiveness as a leader based on how often they engage in certain behaviors such as doing personal favors for group members, maintaining performance standards, scheduling work to be done, criticizing bad work, making himself/herself accessible to group members, and looking out for members' personal welfare (Ohio State University, 2015). There are 40 items to which the respondent must respond, indicating whether their leader always, often, occasionally, seldom, or never engages in the specified behavior. The 'always' option, represented by the letter 'A' represents the highest score of 5, whereas never, represented by E carries a score of 1. The leader's score is obtained by summing up the scores in each of the 40 items -- the higher the score, the more desirable the leader's behavior. I obtained a total score of 103 out of 200, with the lowest score being obtained in the following items: 'does personal favors for the group', 'does little things to make it pleasant for a member of the group', and 'is willing to make changes'. I could use these scores to improve my effectiveness as a leader. For instance, the low scores in these areas indicate that my observers think that I do not show consideration for the welfare of members of my team. I could improve my leadership by working specifically towards improving performance in this area; for instance, I could begin building an interest in members' personal lives and understanding how issues in their personal lives are affecting their performance in the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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