A leader is an individual who holds an influential position such as manager, supervisor, lead person, or president. According to Riggio (2013), leadership “is the ability to lead a group toward attainment of goals” (p. 334). The success or failure of a company is highly dependent on the leadership style adopted by the management. Thus, holding a title or a position of responsibility does not mean that someone automatically becomes an effective leader. The prevalence of cases of business failures in America and across the world is proof that leaders should possess the knowledge of character building. For many years, companies have spent millions of dollars trying to recruit managerial staff that have the qualities and characteristics necessary to be productive leaders (Riggio, 2013). Based on the leading case of the U.S Military Academy at West Point, I believe that the eleven leadership principles are essential in character development for effective leadership.
I think that the building of character is key to achieving important leadership traits. Crucially, the character creates trust, which plays a critical role in guaranteeing group members’ loyalty to their leader (Riggio, 2013). Typically, a person with a good character is described as someone who scores high on compassion, integrity, forgiveness, and responsibility. In turn, a bad character is associated with an individual who lacks energy, is a self-centered, untrustworthy, and poor communicator. The development of a strong character among leaders has been connected to five fundamental building blocks: moral courage, self-discipline, sense of identity, core values, and integrity (Riggio, 2013). Moral courage plays a significant role in helping leaders to face risks, dangers, and fears of following what is right. In addition, self-discipline instills the practice of self-control, which enables a leader to balance their desires and their followers’ needs. Moreover, a sense of identity means knowing oneself and own beliefs. Core values entail having a clear understanding of what guides an individual’s daily behaviors. Finally, integrity includes aligning one’s feelings, thoughts, and actions with personal values. Essentially, character is among the key components of effective leadership.
The leadership case reveals that the U.S Military Academy at West Point has an Army manual that equips people with eleven leadership principles, which greatly contributes to character building in a leader. While I believe that each of these values is crucial in leadership development, some are more instrumental than others (Riggio, 2013). First, the principle of making sound and timely decisions help a supervisor or a manager reach a workable and right solution. In addition, involving followers can enhance their satisfaction with the ultimate decision. Second, seeking and taking responsibility for one’s actions are connected to leader effectiveness. Moreover, this principle enables a person to demonstrate concern for both the people and the task, which is instrumental in successful leadership. Third, keeping the subordinates informed is key to becoming an effective communicator. Research has established that 80% of a leader’s job entails communication (Riggio, 2013). An informative manager facilitates a constant and smooth flow of information in an institution, improving followers’ corporation during task execution.
Considering my experience, I believe that my leadership profile corresponds to most of the principles of leadership. For instance, I always focus on knowing myself and seeking self-improvement. Typically, understanding my identity has helped me build leadership self-efficacy, which has played a critical role in developing confidence in my leadership abilities. In addition, the principle of setting the example is related to my desire to ensure that I instill leadership skills in my followers. For instance, I maintain persistence in my way of doing tasks even under stressful working situations to pass the same quality to my subordinates. Moreover, I would state that my philosophy of avoiding procrastination corresponds to the principle of ensuring that a task is supervised, understood, and completed. However, I know that I have to work on attaining some leadership values for future success. For instance, I need to develop a sense of responsibility in my followers. According to my experience in various leadership positions, my subordinates are highly reliant on my directions. I believe that this is an indication that I have to improve and make my group members independent in situations that do not require my intervention.
In conclusion, character-building plays a significant role in achieving effective leadership. Character development is guided by five key building blocks: moral courage, sense of identity, self-discipline, integrity, and core values. In the same vein, the eleven principles of leadership are instrumental in the process of becoming a successful leader. These values include but are not limited to making sound and timely decisions, seeking and taking responsibility for personal actions, keeping the followers informed, knowing one’s identity, and setting the example. Concerning my experience, I believe that most of these principles are related to my leadership profile. For example, I always concentrate on understanding my identity, seeking self-improvement, and instilling my leadership skills in my followers. Nonetheless, I need to work on some principles, such as developing a sense of responsibility in my subordinates, which is critical to their practice of independence in conditions that do not require my presence.
Riggio, R. E. (2013). Introduction to industrial-organizational psychology (7th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.