The topic of effective leadership cannot be limited to one specific area. Effective leaders can be found in military, airline services, in banks, in technology, or even education. Therefore, exploring what makes a leader effective is an issue of high importance, especially with modern technological advancements, an increase in the competition, unprecedented nature of customer expectations, and the need for controlling the efficiency of costs.
The study is significant for exploring research already conducted on the topic, outlining the main trends ineffective leadership models and distinguishing primary qualities for effective change leadership. The problem addressed in the study relates to the changing business environment that relies on such factors as globalization and increasing customer demands, expanding expectations of employees who need an effective leader that will not just give orders but guide them to implement necessary changes. Therefore, the research hypothesis is the following: can there be a unified approach towards effective leadership or is the concept can only be applied to a particular environment?
The main terms included in the research are leadership, effective leadership, change leadership, project office, negotiation, and leadership strategy. According to Manning and Curtis, leadership is the ability to influence ones’ socially, leaving an important mark on someone’s life guiding and initiating in order to achieve change (2). Effective leadership is defined as a combination of leadership and efficiency skills. Change leadership implies one’s ability to influence others by means of individual advocacy, promoting one’s vision, as well as having access to the resources required for building a solid basis for change implementation.
The project office is a system that guides the project management as the primary component of change as this greatly contributes to the organization’s value (Englund, Graham, and Dinsmore 9). Negotiation implies a strategic discussion necessary for resolving a problem in a manner that is amicable and accepted by all parties of the dispute. Leadership strategy is defined by the organization’s requirements for leadership, the number of leaders, their skills, and behaviors that make them effective in moving toward change.
Since the issue of effective leadership is currently of high importance, there is an extensive amount of literature on the topic. The research aims to examine a number of studies on the topic in order to evaluate the trends in leadership effectiveness, the qualities of an effective leader in any sphere of life, with a focus on management and corporate success, as well as provide recommendations and implications for further research.
Change Management Excellence by Cook, Macaulay, and Coldicott suggested that globalization calls for the management to influence the process and the outcomes of change as well as impact the move from the present moment towards a much more prosperous future. Authors proposed a view that in the globalized world anyone can become an effective leader through influencing others, use of the intellects, and various intelligence types.
Managers that only set objectives and further create procedures to reach those objectives are no longer viewed as effective. Leaders, on the contrary, set strategic goals for the future, inspire others through coaching and role modeling targeted at enhancing the performance of employees. One of the main aspects of the examined research is the model created on the basis of John Kotter’s work. The model consists of four categories: considerable leadership and little management, little leadership or management, considerable leadership and management, and considerable management and little leadership. These categories correspond to either a high or low amount of change as well as either low or high amount of services a company offers (Cook, Macaulay, and Coldicott 3).
Furthermore, Cook, Macaulay, and Coldicott explored the “change leadership compass” (4), which includes the main qualities for leaders that want to implement and manage change in an organization. The compass consisted of four axes, such as:
- Emotional intelligence. This form of intelligence implies changes in an individual as well as changes in an environment that motivate everyone to grow and evolve.
- Spiritual intelligence provides an inner guide for changes and is represented through the visions of a certain company striving for growth.
- Political intelligence helps a leader find out the main change stakeholders as well as various methods of influence on them.
- Business intelligence is instrumental in identifying the changing context as well as providing the change rationale (Cook, Macaulay, and Coldicott 6).
Creating the Project Office: A Manager’s Guide to Leading Organizational Change by Englund, Graham, and Dinsmore explored the concept of “project office of one” (6). The concept relates to the organizational culture, which provides a basis for the project office’s essence rather than its structure. In addition, the book explores three phases of organizational change: the creation of organizational change conditions, the operation of the project office for implementing the change, and change consolidation in order to merge it with the reality of the organization.
The concept of the project office fundamentally changed how many organizations view projects since it outlined what specific projects should be implemented within the strategy of an organization, why is it necessary to reduce the number of projects implemented by a company, as well as how can a solid ground for business be built. The project office concept is also instrumental in consolidating the tasks that relate to organization projects as well as facilitating the process of project selection, managers’ training, career paths developments, and mentoring. Consequently, an effective project management system becomes more innovative and efficient in terms of production of services and products that are higher in quality compared to the initial ones.
The book is significant for outlining the basic steps needed for implementing a project that will bring effective results. These steps include:
- Development of a concise action plan for the application of effective techniques and processes, which are then implemented in the context of the project office.
- Identification of possible limitations and development of an action map, which will be instrumental in achieving the change-driven results.
- Leading change processes on a variety of organizational levels.
- Avoiding possible downfalls that often limit the capabilities of a project office.
Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in by Ury, Fisher, and Patton is a significant work that gives advice on how to effectively negotiate in every area of human life, ranging from how to settle a large lawsuit to convince a child to tidy his or her room. The book is worth mentioning for its outstanding ability to continue bringing value to potential effective leaders for almost four decades.
Since effective leadership is closely related to one’s ability to negotiate, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in addresses four crucial components of successful negotiation: the nature of negotiation, which implies the practical rather than moral side; how to deal with an individual that has a different outlook or a system of values; addressing the issue of tactics in terms of where a negotiation should take place as well as what side should be making an initial offer; the role power plays in the process of negotiation (Ury, Fisher, and Patton 10).
The significance of the work is represented in the practical case studies that included people from any area of business or private life: neighbors, couples, lawyers, customers, families, and others. Through drawing from their own experiences and backgrounds in anthropology, international law, and collaboration with practitioners from various areas of practice, Ury, Fisher, and Patton were able to develop an effective guide for negotiations that allows reaching an amicable solution in a disagreement (10).
Change the Way You Lead Change: Leadership Strategies that Really Work by Herold and Fedor is distinguishing for basing its conclusions on a significant amount of research as well as the personal experience of its contributors. The framework for change leadership utilized in the book is three-fold: understanding what actually needs changing, who is the leader and who is the follower, and what conditions should be in place for making the change. Authors also give a profound explanation for what complications can occur in the environment of the change processes, what motivates people to change, what capacity is necessary to achieve change, as well as what aspects are needed for change leadership.
All organizations, including businesses, are forced to adapt to modern realities to survive and achieve success. Therefore, change is necessary for adaptation. Authors also underline the fact that the modern landscape of competition greatly affects the change in the economic conditions as well as and consumer preferences; thus, to adapt to such changes, businesses should change their attitudes towards leadership (Herold and Fedor 4).
Effective Leadership: How to Be a Successful Leader by Adair addresses the changes that occur in the ideas and perceptions of leadership. Due to the fact that employees became much more educated and articulate in their professional lives, and they can no longer tolerate being simply commanded by their bosses, the need for effective leaders that lead for good is high on the corporate agenda (Adair 9). Effective leadership abilities, therefore, can be improved through three steps:
- Leadership awareness stimulation. This relates to the understanding of what situations require leadership and where it is just unnecessary. Additionally, leadership awareness implies being alert to the changing and evolving societal values, which often increases one’s awareness of effective leadership importance.
- Establishing an understanding of leadership functions, requirements, and principles. Due to the fact that ignorance contributes to poor leadership to a large extent, Adair puts this issue into a context of effective leadership. According to him, an effective leader views the concepts of leadership as a system, understanding what functions are needed for the system to operate efficiently.
- Development of skills required for functioning. It is important to understand not only when a certain function should be implemented but also how it should be implemented. Practice methods are particularly what should be in mind “en route” to becoming an effective leader (Adair 10).
Data collection procedures involved in the research implied a collection and review of literature in order to outline the main qualities of an effective leader, distinguish the trends related to effective leadership strategies, as well as proving or disproving the hypothesis of whether there is a unified approach towards leadership. Data analysis is connected with outlining the main points of the reviewed literature with the aim of discovering useful information on the issue of effective leadership that will then suggest making conclusions and decision making regarding proving or disproving the initial hypothesis.
The results of the research will be divided into three parts: an outline of the primary qualities of an effective leader and making a list of trends related to effective leadership. Based on the reviewed literature, an effective leader is an individual that possesses skills and resources to motivate and guide employees towards a common goal of organizational change. Therefore, it can be outlined that an effective leader is an individual that:
- Uses the “change leadership compass” to guide his or her toward change. Explored by Cook, Macaulay, and Coldicott, a change leadership compass is a fourfold approach that implies the combination of intelligence types (business, political, emotional, and spiritual) necessary for a successful leader to implement a set change in an organizational environment (4).
- Knows what projects are worth implementing and what projects should be cut off. By means of project selection, managers’ training, career paths developments, and mentoring, an effective leader will be able to develop a concise action plan for the application of effective techniques and processes which are then implemented in the context of the project office.
- Gets to the “Yes”. As mentioned by Ury, Fisher, and Patton, negotiation is a crucial aspect of everyone’s life (10). A successful and effective leader should possess the skills required for achieving a common conclusion in the most amicable way possible. The organizational environment is full of debates and misunderstandings; therefore, a successful leader is the one able to resolve such issues and reach a win-win agreement instead of just achieving what is best for him or her.
- Has the ability to adapt to changes. Due to the quick pace of the modern globalized society and the increase of consumer demands and expectations, adapting to changes is what will make organizations stay in business. An effective leader has the capacity to adapt to an ever-changing organizational environment and guide others through the process of adaptation.
- Understands that giving commands is not enough. Because employees have become much more educated and articulate, there is no longer tolerance of bosses that just tell them what to do. Therefore, an effective leader is the one that is able to combine leadership awareness, skills development, and leadership functions in order to guide employees toward change (Adair 10).
Effective leadership trends are set frameworks for effective leaders to implement change in an organization. These are connected with the modern way of doing business, the increased demands of both employees and consumers, as well as the escalated competition. According to the collected and analyzed data, the main leadership trends are:
- Leadership awareness. Being aware of the primary components of leadership as well as keeping up with the latest changes within the organizational environment in order to know what actual steps are in place to make the process of development much easier.
- Change management. This is required for an effective leader to get a general understanding of what actually needs changing, who is the leader and who is the follower, and what conditions should be present for making the change.
- Adaptation. Since the business environment does not stop evolving and changing, this effective leadership trend implies strategies of adaptation to the ‘flow’ of the society and its demands to withstand great competition.
On the basis of the conducted research, a conclusion can be made that the concept of effective leadership is multi-dimensional and can be addressed from a variety of perspectives. Therefore, there is no unified approach towards effective leadership models and strategies since the needs of various organizational environments rarely coincide. In addition, the personal qualities of leaders are different and cannot be summarized into one specific framework.
Some leaders tend to look for the faults of an organization to create a plan for change others prefer to only work with the strengths. For example, Steve Jobs never got into the weaknesses of the business, rather, he focused on specific traits a company had and made sure that these traits were key for success (Zenger par. 6).
In terms of leadership effectiveness, the trends distinguished from the reviewed literature include adaptation, leadership awareness, and change management. An effective leader is the one aware of such trends and is able to adapt his or her work in such a manner that is efficient for the organization.
The main qualities of an effective leader include the ability to successfully negotiate to reach a common conclusion; knowledge of the “effective leadership compass” (outlined by Cook, Macaulay, and Coldicott); skills of choosing the most appropriate projects for an organization; ability to adapt to business environment changes; a potential leading for good rather than just giving orders.
The study is limited to five works published by well-known authors. Namely, the research included Change Management Excellence by Cook, Macaulay, and Coldicott; Creating the Project Office: A Manager’s Guide to Leading Organizational Change by Englund, Graham, and Dinsmore; Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in by Ury, Fisher, and Patton; Change the Way You Lead Change: Leadership Strategies that Really Work by Herold and Fedor; Effective Leadership: How to Be a Successful Leader by Adair. Despite the fact that the reviewed literature provided an extensive ground for exploring the initial hypothesis, it did not offer an ability to conduct quantitative research on the issue.
Created on the basis of information that has been collected and analyzed, the following recommendations can be used by leaders in order to become effective:
- Adapt to the needs and expectations of employees instead of just taking orders.
- Combine four intelligence types and base future leadership attempts on them.
- Develop necessary skills for change implementation and guidance of others.
- As the business environment changes, change the way an organization does business.
- Select only those projects that are necessary for implementation.
The study implications relate to providing leaders with an extensive framework for action that will change the way they think about leadership. The research findings will motivate employees to become effective leaders themselves while some managers may disagree with the outlined principles since there is no unified approach toward effective leadership.
This study provided a ground for future research that can be in the form of a quantitative study with a large sample of employees and leaders that will express their views on effective leadership. The study will test the current hypothesis regarding a unified approach to effective leadership.
Adair, John. Effective Leadership: How to Be a Successful Leader. London, UK: Gower Publishing, 2009. Print.
Cook, Sarah, Steve Macaulay, and Hilary Coldicott. Change Management Excellence. London, UK: Kogan Page, 2004. Print.
Englund, Randall, Robert Graham, and Paul Dinsmore. Creating the Project Office: A Manager’s Guide to Leading Organizational Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2003. Print.
Herold, David, and Donald Fedor. Change the Way You Lead Change: Leadership Strategies That Really Work. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008. Print.
Manning, George, and Kent Curtis. The Art of Leadership. 5th ed. 2015. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education. Print.
Ury, William, Roger Fisher, and Bruce Patton. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In. 2nd ed. 1991. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company. Print.
Zenger, Jack. The Big Lesson About Leadership from Steve Jobs. 2013. Web.