This week, as proud citizens of the United States, we will once again take the time to celebrate and reflect on the many services provided by our veterans as we honor all the great she-roes and heroes that have served this beautiful country. In honor of these heroic leaders, we decided to re-post our favorite blogs on the topic of leadership for the Veterans Day Holiday this week. In the meantime, we will continue the discussion we began on strategies for effective decision making next week.
Until then … we hope you enjoy this week’s blogs!
Styles of Leadership
(Original post, December 2012)
The nature of today’s business world produces constant change. Strong leadership expertise is required to handle potential problems with intelligence, diplomacy, and efficiency. Every leader exhibits talent in a different way and no one way of leading is better than another. In fact, everyone can lead to a certain degree but not all leaders are effective (Glanz, 2002). Generally, visionary leaders that demonstrate a charismatic style tend to experience higher levels of success. This class of strong leader copes with change, delivers guidance, and institutes direction by communicating a vision that generates enthusiasm. These transformational leaders propagate trust, encourage development leadership skills in others, exhibit self-sacrifice and serve as moral representatives. They focus on objectives that transcend their own immediate needs (Baack, 2012). In addition, they increase levels of fulfillment and performance in their organization by formulating and communicating a vision while building a bond with their staff. They are able to combine personal capability, group skills, managerial aptitudes and motivational proficiency with individual humility and professional determination.
Many studies have been conducted to determine the best style of leadership. Most conclude that effective leaders exhibit varying degrees of the following virtues: (a) courage, (b) impartiality, (c) empathy, (d) judgment, (e) enthusiasm, (f) humility, and (g) imagination (Glanz, 2002). The best leaders continue to re-examine outdated business paradigms to maintain smooth operations, high production rates, while diligently working to keep morale up. In his book, Leadership Aikido, John O’Neil (1999) introduced six concepts inspired by the martial arts tradition that stresses victory without harm. The six master practices he outlines that enable leaders to assess and develop their potential are:
- Cultivating self-knowledge;
- Practicing the paradoxical art of planning;
- Speaking the language of mastery;
- Letting values drive our decisions;
- Turning failure into success; and
- Heeding the law of unintended consequences (O’Neil, 1999).
He believes through the elements of aikido, leaders are able to identify and overcome five inner enemies that impede progress: (a) failure to grow emotionally; (b) failure to make creative decisions; (c) failure to empathize; (d) failure to manage ego; and (e) failure to overcome alienation and boredom (O’Neil, 1999). This perspective embraces personal power and energy as vital traits to effective leadership.
The bottom line is, individuals are not required to be well liked to become effective leaders. What is important, however, in an effective leader is their ability to garner high levels of trust and respect. The truth is, leaders are not always in a position to produce satisfaction in the workplace because not all policies and regulations enforced are popular. It is imperative, nonetheless, that leaders are accepted and command respect in their leadership role. To sum up, if a leader is not acknowledged or venerated on some level, it will be difficult to achieve objective goals and high levels of success in their position.
“What each of us believes in is up to us, but life is impossible without believing in something.” ― Kentetsu Takamori
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Glanz, J. (2002). Finding your leadership style. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).