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What makes the difference in leadership?

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What makes the difference in leadership? Introduction Leadership is an influence process. It might be thought of as the ability to motivate others into following and understanding the role they play in an organisation, as well as what the overall strategy of the business is, with the interest of achieving organisational goals. If this is done correctly then high levels of motivation, empowerment, commitment and performance should result. It is equally important for a leader to be trustworthy, Viscount Slim describes leadership as being : "The quality which makes people trust you". It is important in every leadership role that the leader be as effective as possible in order to work those people he is responsible for to their full potential. Certainly the leadership skill will play an important part in determining the effectiveness of the leader. Good communication skills are another important quality for a leader to have. This means that it is important to be both good at effective speaking as well as listening in order to aim the behaviours and actions of individuals in the required direction. Leadership is the process by which a person exerts influence over other people and inspires, motivates, and directs their activities to help achieve group or organizational goals.i It has been an old and common view that leaders are born, and not made. This is known as the Qualities Approach. Those which share this view believe that some core qualities of leaders are inborn, ie intuition, will-power and intelligence. This dismisses the idea that leaders can be manufactured, and places the emphasis on the natural characteristics of an individual. Therefore in order to make leadership as best as possible in a business it is thought that the emphasis should be placed more on the selection of the manager as opposed to the training of them. However it should be noted that this idea of not being able to teach leadership has now been proven to the contrary by academics. ...read more.


Those which prevent people from being dissatisfied (hygiene).vi In order to ensure that employees are motivated it was suggested that leaders/ managers attempt to help achieve the motivator needs. The emphasis is placed on motivator needs being met, which would then result in both job satisfaction and motivation running high. Motivational theories are key strategies in maintaining dedicated individuals. It is very much up to the leader to identify the most suited form of motivation for each individual and use on the required individuals. Since different people are motivated by different things it will be necessary to be able to switch easily between the two. (Thus fulfilling the characteristic of being able to cope with change easily, outlined earlier.) McGregor's Theory X (1960vii): States that generally people cannot be trusted, that they are lazy, irrational and unreliable. It suggests that they need to be controlled, motivated by money and threatened with punishment. Without control they will pursue their own goals, which will run contrary to those of the organisation. McGregor's Theory Y (1960): States that people seek independence, self-development and creativity in their work. They look beyond immediate circumstances and can adapt to new ones. They are fundamentally moral and responsible people who will strive for the good of the organisation if they are treated as such. The assumption of these is that those people who fall under Theory X are going to require much supervision from the leader in order to control their behaviour and keep them on the "straight and narrow". Whereas those people who fall under Theory Y should be set goals by the leader in order to exercise their initiative. They will be motivated more by empowerment and positions of responsibility. It is therefore a key quality of the leader to be able to easily switch between these two motivational theories as needed for each individual on his team. The Hawthorne effect is something that should be taken into account by leaders. ...read more.


Certainly the Leadership Style plays an important role as to the leader carries out his / her role. The selection of the appropriate need theory is vital for a leader who wants to know more about the inbuilt drive within their workforce. Motivational theories are bound to make one of the largest differences in leadership, since motivation in one of the key aspects relating to the effectiveness of the leader. McGregor's Theory X & Y illustrate the basic extremes to which people can be organised. This does not make it any less viable than others though. The main point here is for leaders to be able to identify which theory a person might fall and try to motivate them accordingly, whilst appreciating that another person will be the opposite. A Key component of effective leadership is undoubtedly the power a leader has to affect other people. The amount of power that a leader has from each of the varying types described earlier, and the way in which it is used will determine to a large extent the effectiveness of the leader. Also the degree to which a leader might decide to empower his workforce will definitely have an impact on how much they will become motivated and committed. This therefore is a large constituent of the effectiveness of the leader. I would definitely urge that the Trait Model of Leadership be looked at as a guide, as I do not agree with the theory altogether. However when looking at the Contingency Models I feel these will make a deeper impact on the effectiveness of a leader, since they take into account the behavioural traits, as well as that of the situation in hand. Particular interest should be taken into Transformational Leadership, since this appears to be highly successful form of leadership that is becoming more widespread. The overall focus of people recognising their importance of their own jobs, whilst also being aware of the need for personal growth leads to highly effective leadership. ...read more.

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