Leadership development has never been a unique idea to the public sector. Public organisations in different parts of the world are increasingly stepping up their leadership capacities to maximise on service delivery and register great yields. Just like in any other field of interest, public governance has been an area that depends entirely on good leadership. Governance according to Moti (2013) is categorized by the way in which the principal tenets of a public institution are managed.
The most important factor in public sector leadership is the capacity to solve problems, ability to drive change and the aptitude to moderate challenges that an institution faces from time to time. Leadership in this context is characterised by positive espousal to stimulate strategic fundamental values that are envisioned by an organisation (Moti 2013).
Leading Diverse Teams
In many occasions, researchers have maintained that diverse teams offer a greater likelihood of producing better results. The essence of leading diverse teams, therefore, warrants leaders to seek for people with different cultural backgrounds. Personality, gender and educational training are unique elements that can be moulded to leverage individuals to offer their exceptional abilities (Ibarra & Hansen 2011, p. 71).
The capacity to engage human potential to discharge preferentially their very best is the prime focus of leadership. In an attempt to establish effective leadership structure that embodies the norms of diversity, researchers have identified seven factors that must be taken into consideration. These elements consist of; mutual understanding and respect, synergy, optimism, determination, dedication and discipline (Ibarra & Hansen 2011, p. 71).
Workplace diversity is among the most challenging aspects in management for modern day leadership. Changes in the demographic trends imply that management teams will have to bear with much heterogeneous groups. With increased globalisation, many organisations and business executives have stepped up the quest to embrace diversity within the management structure (Purykayastha 2007). Most research which have been conducted in this field unanimously conclude that workforce with more diverse individuals is a formidable source that guarantees competitive advantage (Purykayastha 2007).
Diversity is also an incentive for a more extensive customer base. As teams become more diverse in their management styles, the workforce become more effective too, especially in the way they communicate to the customer subgroups. This in essence gives the organisation leverage over its competitors. While there is a popular assumption that diverse teams yield impressive results, speculation is rife that heterogeneous workforce normally offer a broad spectrum of ideas with strategic solutions.
These strategic solutions are aimed at solving a number of problems that tends to stifle an organisation given its wide outreach. Unfortunately, McShane and Travaglione (2007, p. 156) hold on to a different submission contending that minimal empirical studies have been conducted in this area. As such, they posit that it would be premature to come to a conclusion that gives diverse teams a head start (McShane & Travaglione 2007, p. 156).
Applying knowledge of diversity to produce good results
For managers to use optimally the knowledge of diversity to produce better results, Shane and Travaglione (2007, p. 156) opine that three important factors must be taken into consideration. An all-round diverse workforce must possess varied abilities, skills, strengths and weaknesses. Accordingly, under these assumptions, teams may gain abundantly from complementarities and criticism among its members. As a leader, it is always important to cushion these dissimilarities to produce the strength that is inherent in these individuals.
Again, these differences must always be sought to complement one another and be made relevant to an organizational goal. However, communication is a necessary ingredient for an organization to grow in stature. It is an organizational requirement for the management to ensure that team members perform the relevant tasks in joints that engage knowledge transfer for an enhanced productivity (Ibarra & Hansen 2011, p. 71). Normally, it is imperative for leaders to acclimatise adequately with the diverse groups they lead and position themselves to draw individual team members to yield their very best for their respective organisations.
Most researchers agree that leadership founded on diversity offers the capacity for an organisation to yield better results than leadership built on homogeneity given its reservoir of multiple abilities. For example, organisations that embrace diverse teams often tend to be more innovative and productive than those organisations that set their sights on a homogenous workforce. Through effective management, diverse teams are expected to yield abundantly; however, this advantage cannot only be achieved by merely setting up a diversified team.
Leading such teams efficiently and motivating them towards a desired objective is what the people who are charged with leading diverse teams should always aspire to achieve. The essence of diverse teams is to reach out to the optimum efficiency. It is expected that with diverse teams, different abilities can be integrated and inducted to achieve the desired goals and objectives with considerable ease (McShane & Travaglione 2007, p. 156).
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- Academic picture
Researchers, academicians and strategists throughout the world have forwarded various leadership approaches. The approach that leadership always takes is often guided by the nature of an organisation and the people working under it (Abrahamson 2000, p. 76). While there are different circumstances that shape the approach of leadership. Individual traits and personal abilities of individuals at the helm of leadership are great determinants of the choice of leadership. Under these considerations, it would be necessary to presume that no one particular leadership approach has been singled out as the best possible approach. Normally, leadership approaches are guided by the prevailing situations that inform such managements.
Similarities and differences between management and leadership
In an attempt to differentiate between leadership and management, it is always important to bear in mind that both the two elements are mutually inclusive, such that the existence of one beckons the other (Northouse 2009, p. 23). Northouse (2009, p. 24) in his study elaborates how leadership and management cannot be divorced of one another. As such, they are similar in both practice and theory. These two elements involve a variety of similar elements that makes them indivisible.
For example, they both demand influence, cooperation, insight and professionalism among other things. Researchers and academicians have attempted to differentiate between leadership and management, and most scholars have indeed consented that the difference between the two is their similarity. More than that, the difference lies in the assumption that is within the managerial structure, that is, managers are drivers of change and workers are implementers of change. While within the leadership context, it is presumed that both the leaders and the workers alike are drivers as well as implementers of change (Northouse 2009, p. 25).
Response to the point of view suggested by the CMI
Effective leadership style in managing subordinates relies on different variables ranging from a leader’s own personality and the individual subordinates’ mien. While most researchers agree that authoritative leadership yield better results, cooperative leadership styles have of late shown greater impetus among the subordinates. To better govern an organization, Goleman (2000, p. 85) posits that people in such leadership capacities must always be well-acquainted with individual personalities that inform their subordinates.
For leaders to know what works best for their teams, it would be necessary to build bridges that cut through a cross-section of their teams. Of much importance is to be well-versed with the individual people they lead and build a rapport with each member of their team. Building a formidable knowledge base is vital, especially in establishing respect as well as building a rapport founded on the basis of mutual trust and understanding (Goleman 2000, p. 88).
As with leading subordinates, leaders must carry alongside some of the most infinite elements of leadership, including but not limited to a willingness to listen and ability to be flexible and accommodative. Generally, a leadership style affects the rate of service delivery of subordinates in an organisation. A leadership style that yields the much coveted results, such as high productivity, innovation, flexibility among the subordinates should be cultured within the management. Leaders, on their part, must reciprocate and position themselves as team players and mentors who champion the change agenda (Kotter 2007, p 23).
The type of leadership that an organisation embraces could be a measure of one’s personal leadership style; most people at the helm of leadership tend to choose a leadership style that best suits their situation (Neal 2008, p. 34). Borrowing heavily from Goleman (2000, p. 83) management and leadership have shifted to command and control, implying that the modern forms of leadership have opened a lot of democratic space. Lately, employees just like their leaders have been enabled to offer meaningful suggestion to their managers and leaders without fear of victimisation (Goleman 2000, p. 89).
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Change management comprises of activities that drives the organisational process of reaching out to its future ideals. Research has consistently shown that managing organisational change becomes successful under thoughtful planning and thorough implementation of the planned change (Lorenzi & Riley 2000, p. 5). Change management, according to Lorenzi and Riley (2000, p. 3), cannot be complete in a situation where consultations and involvement of the stakeholders concerned are not done. Change management consists of tasking people to the change as well as bringing the ‘desired’ change to the people.
Forcing change on people are some of the elements of change management approach. For change to be effective, achievable and realistic, there must be a quantity of measure for the desired change. For example, what has to be achieved, how and why? Change management is people centred, and it is always imperative to ensure that people tasked with the responsibility of change management ensure that the process is thorough, smooth and cordially implemented (Kotter 2007, p 23). Creating change consists of empowering individuals to see its essence, and championing them to act as the agents of that change (Lorenzi & Riley 2000, p. 2).
The role of managers in overcoming resistance to change
Scholars and researchers have touted change as the indomitable wave that no one can resist and whose impact has the ability to influence an organisation in many ways (Mullins 2010, p. 753). Within their capacity, managers have a lot more that they can always do to overcome a popular resistance. External forces that are concomitant with the organisational housekeeping normally dictate the need for change (Ford and D’amelio 2008, p. 34). These external forces are sometimes obscure and not everyone can recognise them before they physically hit upon the organisational structures (Levasseur, 2001 p. 71).
While some external forces such as economic trends and government policy are obvious, others like globalisation and new technologies may escape the vision of many people (Mullins 2010, p. 755). Resistance to change naturally brings to the managers a difficult scenario to deal with. Nevertheless, leaders can deal with these situations amicably without causing many bruises. Ford and D’amelio (2008, p. 365) observes that handling resistance professionally requires that leaders remain composed, seek better ways to communicate the change initiative, negotiate and consult widely with various stakeholders that the change drive may affect in one way or the other, and guide the stakeholders through the change process (Neal 2008, p. 33).
Managers in the public sector or governmental institutions may react to change resistance by facilitating employee understanding of the change desired. This may be achieved by providing workers with the relevant materials that outline the organisation’s agenda in noble time to avoid misconceptions and miscalculations (Gratton 2010, p. 18). With these considerations in place, it would be easy to penetrate the workforce and mould their conscience in readiness for the desired change.
Ultimately, the goal of providing these necessities is to give a window period for the relevant induction to take shape. Managers, as observed by Mariana and Violeta (2011, p. 698), must be able to cushion the change initiates in a way that they do not interfere with the traditional practices that are long cherished by the workforce. Change initiative must also be injected into the blood system of an organisation in small doses so that its impacts do not present drastic consequences on employees (Ford and D’amelio 2008, p. 366).
Leaders in the public sector normally face numerous challenges in an attempt to respond to change management. Change in the public sector must be born out of purpose and be within the acceptable parameters that govern the institutions of change (Kotter 2007, p 23). Changes in the public sector may require organisations to reshape their roles while guiding employees and their leaders to take up new challenges and new approaches that shape their relationship and behaviour at work (Chen 2013, p. 85).
Under good management practices, change can promote the overall well-being of public employees or civil servants by facilitating innovation among the workforce. Notably, organisations that moderate change accordingly can reap exceedingly from the benefits that change often present. In addition, leaders in the public sector have to play an integral part in assisting the workforce to adapt adequately and respond optimally and positively to the desired change (Gratton 2010, p. 20). Change in an organisation needs not to be drastic since attempts to force it on stakeholders may result to its outright rejection.
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Ethical leadership recognises the fact that it is the sole prerogative of the leaders to ensure that the principles that govern an organisation are preserved and followed to the letter. Ethical leadership demands that individuals within an organisation are cognisance of the fact that core values cherished by the organisation are its yardstick. Therefore, striving to live by the set principles are the drivers of its common good.
According to Duggan (2003, p. 1) the essentials of ethical leadership inform individuals to embody a most inestimable level of integrity while making commitment their sole priority. Ethical leadership guarantees the relevant modern concepts that guide business organisations and provides the foundation that widens individual and corporate social responsibilities. Ethical leadership is informed by moral factors that influence public sector or governmental institutions to offer quality services under proper considerations.
According to Duggan (2003, p. 2), ethical leadership encompasses modulating employees to see the essence of the relationships that is founded on mutual trust and respect. The essence of ethical leadership also recognises the fact that leaders have to uphold high ideals in forms of integrity, equity, fairness and honesty of purpose. The basis of ethical leadership is to tender compassion in all areas of interaction within the organisation while aiming to achieve sustainability and success.
The different sides of the debate
Debate on whether or not there is one best approach for ethical leadership continues to form various leadership researches. Lately, studies on ethical leadership assume that there is no single acceptable way to practice ethical leadership. Rather, the approach depends on the prevailing conditions that inform an organisation’s business. Most empirical and theoretical studies hold that ethical leadership should be the preserve of exemplary leadership (Van Wart 2005, p. 27).
The moral goal of ethical leadership in this view is to uphold organisational principles within an organisation’s structure. Another significant view of ethical leadership, according to Palanski and Yammarino (2009, p. 413), concerns the characteristics and the considerations of leader-follower relationship. This view holds that leaders’ behaviours and ethical decisions have a bearing on the conduct of the follower and directly affect both the leader and the follower in equal measure (Chen 2013, p. 87).
In situations where leaders accountability is widely seen to be having an impact on the fabric of an organization such as in the public sector, such leaders are expected to uphold high levels of integrity that conforms to the set standards of the wider organisation. Ethical considerations have been a driving force to reckon with. Within the public sector administration, several researchers, scholars and strategists have always attempted to address this concern (Chen 2013, p. 88).
Currently, majority of the values that have hitherto been documented to be working harmoniously with the public sector administration have been explored within the vortex of independent mindedness and the broader question of leadership. Generally, most of the factors that are associated with ethical leadership are those values that are also associated with the leadership theories, such as transactional and transformational leadership models. In essence it is important to associate the ethical values with the expectations of the public. Virtually, there must be guiding principles for ethical standards to take root in all the departments that offer various services (McShane & Travaglione 2007, p. 158).
The public sector or governmental activities have wide ranging deliverables stretching from social security planning, to the administration of defence and perpetuation of common good. The public sector is organised into two branches, the political wing and the administration branch. Whereas at the political level, policies are formulated and decisions reached upon, on the administration scale, the same policies are implemented and synchronized in the running of public administration.
The question of ethical leadership in the public administration has deeply rooted historical concerns. In the public sector administration, ethics has often been an element that guides the character, conduct and morals of individuals. In both the administration of public affairs and politics, ethics is supreme. According to Moti (2013) ethics is viewed as the ability to strike a difference between right and wrong, and that ethics is different from law given that it does not involve any formal sanctions.
Again, ethics is totally differentiated from religion or antiquate since it is not tethered to social conventions and neither does it subscribe to theological assumptions. Ethics should also be viewed from a totally different angle from individual prudence since it transcends the boundaries of individual self-interest. In fact, ethics is generally a process that builds and strengthens individual codes of conduct (Moti 2013).
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The type of a Leader I am
Two management consultants and researchers, Goffee and Jones, have always posted this question on executives, and to their amazement, the question has often beckoned mixed reactions with leaders weaning off (Goffee & Jones 2006, p. 4). Accordingly, the two academicians reckon that people do not necessarily become great leaders by being in possession of required traits for good leadership (Goffee & Jones 2006, p. 5). Recognizing that effective leadership calls for individual strength and personal will, the researchers reveal that suitable individuals for leadership positions are those with authentic character and well versed with the terrain that characterise their roles.
Good leaders, according to Goffee and Jones (2006, p. 5), are those who engage followers to yield their utmost; such individuals are adept and constantly exhibit sound judgment. Research has shown that majority of the people subscribe easily to leadership built on honesty, decisiveness and confidence. More precisely, being in possession of great vision and exhibiting the ability, including the willingness to drive change are the exemplary contexts that gauge good leaders. Above all, knowing yourself, portraying good communication skills and demonstrating personal charm are the hallmark of an exemplary leader. I want to be a leader who leads by example by guiding my followers towards the desired objectives.
My vision of leadership
Having gained some of the most important ideas on leadership, I can optimally assume that vision is the foundation that guarantees good leadership. My vision of leadership entails a broad spectrum of things that must be realised within a given period. Among the things I cherish in leadership includes keeping my followers utilised while presenting them with challenges that does not necessarily overburden them. In essence, the challenges I have to pose are those that strengthen my followers thinking skills.
Above all, I seek to inject a culture of innovation within the bloodstream of my followers. The basis of my leadership is one that is founded on understanding, commitment and service delivery. I seek to share my personal vision with my followers such that it would be easy to effect the necessary changes that shape the organisation’s paradigms. Under these considerations, I believe it would be easy to have in place a viable organisation that concentrates on nothing but the quest for better results (Goffee & Jones 2006, p.8).
What inspires my understanding of effective leadership
Many successful organisations can inspire individuals to think critically about leadership. These successful organisations, though cannot be successful on their own, have inspirational leaders who have put all their strengths, interests, imaginations and creativities into good use to position their organisations in these scales (Kotter 2007, p 25). Some of the world leaders who have shaped and transformed my thinking of leadership include, the former Apples’ Inc. CEO, Steve Jobs, the Microsoft Company CEO, Bill Gates and Larry Page of the Google Company.
However, the most significant element that has inspired my understanding of effective leadership is my educational tutelage on leadership. My university professors and class lecturers have showed me that bosses are those individuals who dictate things, while leaders are those individuals who motivate and inspire followers. Being mindful of my training, I have chosen the latter. In order to pass out as an effective leader, I am well aware of the high calling to which I am positioning myself.
Feedbacks from my colleagues
Interactions among peers and colleagues provide platform for both criticism and compliments. The cross age colleagues and peer interactions offer conditions for group intervention along with guidance, support, and positive relationship development as well as the ability to practice the developmental skills obtained from and educational leadership program (Colts 2013, p. 19).
As students, we have been able to undertake leadership projects and mentorship programs that aim to leverage the benefits of academic training on leadership, career development and the growth of personal-social standards. Peer mentoring activities have necessitated effective role modelling within me as an individual and as one who aspires to make a good leader. Learning objectives, learning to adjust to criticism and to cushion compliments are some of the benefits that my colleagues have made me to factor.
Some of the envisioned leadership skills I aspire to possess
The capacity to lead various teams effectively is a duty that requires key competencies and skills. After learning various leadership skills that are highly marketable within major organisations and in the public sector, I intend to be an exemplary leader who inspires his teams, motivates them to be innovative and enthusiastic of their abilities. I aspire to be a leader who masters credibility and sense of purpose in any undertaking that affect the running of my organisation.
In my opinion, being able to think strategically and to give sound judgment is my first priority in effective leadership. Alongside strategic thinking, I am aware that organisational abilities and action planning are both essential incentives that drive vision and strategy. Since leadership is an arena of varied outcomes, being in a position to manage risks and uncertainties is a rare ability that I must always strive to achieve. However, the ability to make good decisions to support my strategies, coupled with good communication skills are going to be my areas of focus if I am given both time and chance to lead (Colts 2013, p. 20).
- Academic picture
Leadership in the public sector is among the most important assets of management. Acknowledging and reconstructing the cadres that inform the public sector leadership are key elements for the success of organisations and public institutions. All nations of the world and even our traditional communities look upon leaders to transform them in ways that inspires development and sustainability.
In many parts of the world, success in the public sector is increasingly becoming the sole prerogative of the people who have been entrusted with leadership positions. As such, the individual leaders who have the interest of their organisations at heart should always attest to the willingness to embrace new opportunities, be able to drive change and take cognisance of innovative and visionary approaches to pursue better outcomes.
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