Theories of Leadership and Followership Thesis

Pages: 7 (2341 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  Level: Doctoral  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … leadership that influenced me.

Leadership self-analysis examination

An evolving standard for going the extra mile

Generally, it seems to me that leadership is all about 'doing' rather than 'thinking' or simply 'managing'. Margaret Wheately (2002) talks about challenging the world's problems, and about fear or intimidation generally being the impediment to doing so. This it seems to me is the crux of leadership for life often throws us hardballs, particularly when we place ourselves on the foreground of it as we do when we assume a leadership position. We are then apt to procrastinate, delegate, or lie low until the bang-bang situation has passed. However, Margaret Wheately (2002) talks about challenging the world's problems, and about fear or intimidation generally being the impediment to doing so. An evolving stance, therefore, for leadership is not only simply to act, but also to exceed one's actions and go the extra mile.

b. Consensus building vs. direct decision making styles

Leaders can view their organizations in multiple ways according to various frames and each frame determines the response the leader will take. Per example, one of the frames that Mintzberg et al. (1998) suggest is the primal leadership perspective where the leader assumes the guise of a concerned parent heading his huge and growing family through the morass of difficulties (and I can identify with that!). The leader might, according to this approach, be best enabled to achieve his objectives by recognizing his followers as humans possessing characteristic human strengths and failures. Reframing his shift to seeing the employee per individual as the center of his organization and the organization as external to that of the employee/more intrinsically individual, he might assess the needs and desires of his followers and then drive the organization to meet those needs and desires. Doing so would win him a devoted band of followers aside from indicating the direction in which his organization needs to tread.

To make that work, leaders are advised to engage in consensus building, listening to and discussing topics with their employees, rather than decision-making styles apart from and above them. This leads us onto the next case of:

C. Philosophy for treating people right

My philosophy is to see all people as inherently worthy of respect, to understand that each of perceives things in a different way as based on our particular experiences and culture, to, as much as possible, zone into the other and attempt to see where he or she is coming from. Furthermore, I prefer Aristotle's perspective (whether correct or incorrect) that most individuals err from ignorance; in other words that we do not deliberate commit wrong. Perceiving errors that way (as occurring from circumstance rather than willfulness) will enable patience and me to have better an understanding with for the other and help me to better treat them correctly.

In a pragmatic sense, my philosophy of treating people right comes from Sun Tzu who remarked that motivation and commitment are the keys to leadership. People are motivated by profit.. Success of the organization is built upon the individual motivation -- consequently efforts, consequently success -- of its members. Treating people right, therefore, will help me obtain my goals.

Am I a follower or leader

I think that we are all combinations of both some to greater extent than others. We are followers in that we are born in a certain time and place and, accordingly, conditioned by certain ways of thinking and, as Bandura shows, we naturally model others. The trick is also to serve as model to others too. So I think that we all have percentages of following others, consciously or not. At the same time, some of us have a greater percentage of leadership than others do.

In a different way leadership is also about being simultaneously leader and follower in the following sense: we each tend to think in different ways to the other; each of us has our own particular way of thinking based on culture, background, hereditary, personal experience, and so forth. As a consequence, Ayers (2002) demonstrates how personal inferences are apt to trip us up, therefore it were advisable to share our thoughts and perceptions with another. Finally, by doing so, 'Thinking Out of the Box' entails not only 'getting out of my box' but also 'crawling into the box of another'. In that sense, we tend to follow another in a certain way of thinking that we are not totally secluded but have, in some way, merged with the other for better understanding. Only when we are with the other, really understand the other, can we see how things are done, understand why the other has acted in a certain way, and better understand whether or not actions or circumstance do merit reform.

Ayers (2002) recommend these exercises on a regular schedule. None of these exercises are simple or easy to do on a continuous basis. Nonetheless, the benefits of doing them are enormous since they make us into more effective communicators, hence better leaders who become more self-aware of ourselves and aware and respectful of others.

Referential analysis

Sun Tzu's military treatise when applied to business situations made an impact on me. I gained a lot from SunTzu's, "Art of war' but one of his recommendations that made the greatest impact on me was simply: to know the facts. When in a difficult situation, or before concluding on any major business decisions, ascertain that you know all the facts of the situation or potential outcome of your plan. In connection to business life, this applies in all cases: strategy planning, conflict moderating, administrative dealing and so forth. Information, or the lack of it, determines the outcome, and sometimes it is the overlooked seemingly insignificant point that may make all the difference.

Congruent to this, is Sun Tzu's observation:

If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, of every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle." (p.18).

On a pessimistic but realistic note, SunTzu says that the best leader is always prepared for the worst. Superior strategy and plentiful budget does not assure outcome. Rather it is the prudence and the tendency to closely observe the competitor and to focus on his weak spots. Always be adequately prepared.

*Course readings as reference

*Peer discussions on blackboard as reference

My experiences as references

I worked in private practice as substance abuse counselor / social worker. In that capacity, I provided leadership and modeling to others -- both clients and co-workers. The former in that I attempted to provide myself as some sort of model or example. The latter in that I listened to them and we worked together in effecting positive change.

As substance abuse counselor, I learned that treatment for co-occurring disorders requires more then drug rehabilitation; often it requires helping the client achieve life transformation. Clients who suffer from co-occurring disorders usually have physical, psychological, behavioral, and social-interpersonal needs that need to be attended. Part of the recovery process is to help the client rebuild these issues and, if at all possible, to explore family and spiritual needs. All of this requires an excellent counseling-client relationship that is facilitated through qualities that include empathy, non-judgmental ness, excellent interpersonal skills, and a certain level of intelligence on the part of the therapist. These are qualities that are part of, and necessary in all leadership interactions.

Finally, in capacity of mother, I also provide leadership in that naturally I tell my children what to do but the principles of leadership come into play in all areas of motherhood, from modeling -- the best sort of parent is one who leads by example- to active listening and attempting to understand my children when they wish to tell me something and listening to them. In fact, all the principles of leadership come into being in effective parenthood. When this essay was first given, I was convinced that I had many leadership experiential reminisces to draw on. Combing my experiences produces none. Close monitoring of my actions will, hopefully, merge me into that specific person that "if my grandchildren one day come to me and ask, "Why didn't you do something" (Wheatley, 2002), I, at least, will be able to tell them what I did.

The evolution of leadership -- the future

Warren Bennis notes that: "To survive in the 21st Century we're going to need a new generation of leaders, not managers." (Bennis, "Managing the Dream," 2000).

There is a huge difference between 'leading' and 'managing'. The first denotes an active voice -- making oneself in charge of aspects, guiding, directing, and leading the way. The second indicates a more passive tone; relaxing and allowing things to remain as are.

The 21st century is one of fast and continuous change with transformations and events occurring in the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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