Being a leader is an extremely challenging task due to the necessity to coordinate the actions of a number of people, promote active communication and efficient information management, maintain the participants’ motivation and engagement levels high, manage conflicts, and make sure that the current assignment of roles and responsibilities meets the set goals and plans. A range of theoretical perspectives shedding light on the nature of organizational leadership and practical approaches toward leading a team to successful completion of the set goals have been spawned over the years (Bolman & Deal, 2017). By introducing a rigid set of values into the organizational environment and compelling the staff members to accept them so that the course for continuous development and improvement could be set, as well as setting an example by meeting the existing standards impeccably, a leader will be able to inspire the target audience and, therefore, promote organizational success.
Thoughts on Leadership
The significance of leadership has always been viewed as paramount to the overall success of team performance. However, the very concept of leadership has been varying significantly, with numerous definitions being provided for the subject matter. The subject matter can be deemed as problematic as far as its interpretation is concerned, mainly because the notion of leadership can be viewed from different angles and, therefore, defined in a range of ways. For instance, from the perspective of promoting change, leadership can be defined as the “process of social influence in which one person is able to enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task (Chemers, 2014). The specified definition might seem rather basic and fairly simple, yet it gives a rather good idea of the responsibilities that a leader has, as well as a very general interpretation of leadership that ties together its various reiterations across different theories.
For example, the phenomenon of leadership can also be interpreted through the lens of continuous organizational change as the pathway to consistent improvement (Bolman & Deal, 2017). In the specified context, the definition of leadership can be narrowed down to driving a team to achieve a particular goal by means of motivation, encouragement, and other techniques. While being rather blurry, the definition in question allows determining the elusive nature of leadership as the ability to exert strong and positive influence on people, thus, compelling them to change their behaviors and accept the suggested values as the foundation for their decision-making. According to Barling (2014), leadership is the ability to lead, which “derives from the informal power that people acquire based on the quality of the relationships they develop” (Barling, 2014, p. 2). Therefore, the notion of leadership can be viewed as the ability to direct and control people so that they could contribute to the completion of a particular project, the achievement of a certain goal, etc.
Another way of looking at leadership is through the prism of motivating people to develop new skills and abilities, thus, engaging in continuous self-improvement and acquiring an increasingly large number of abilities and skills. While the specified approach of interpreting the subject matter focuses primarily on the team members as opposed to placing the leader in the limelight, it creates the premises for investing in the team members. As a result, the levels of trust and loyalty between the leader and the subordinates, as well as the skills and knowledge of the latter, rise exponentially. The specified view of the leader and their responsibilities implies that leadership is the process of motivating the participants and inspiring them by shaping their values and ethics so that they could focus on unceasing self-development (Bolman & Deal, 2017). The specified approach toward viewing leadership implies giving the team members a significant amount of independence, yet it also encourages the development of loyalty in them by encouraging communication between a leader and the project participants. As a result, the foundation for long-lasting cooperation and the further stellar success, as well as the investment in human resources, can be built.
Management and Leadership
Despite the seemingly evident difference between the two notions, they tend to be conflated rather often, which leads to drastic outcomes and a significant drop in the participants’ performance. While there are several common characteristics that management and leadership share, the two are supposed to represent different aspects of managing project-related issues. The further confusion of the two is likely to lead to massive problems with the implementation of the key goals. Furthermore, the failure to recognize the difference between leadership and management may lead to creating additional problems and, ultimately, the problems associated with the accomplishment of the essential goals. Differentiating between the phenomena of leadership and management will also contribute to a better understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the latter. As a result, the opportunities for attaining the relevant goals and meeting the established quality criteria will become a possibility. Therefore, it is imperative to draw a very thick line between the phenomena of leadership and management. As a result, the foundation for a massive improvement in the efficiency of leadership can be possible. The failure to recognize the differences between the two, in turn, may ultimately lead to the inability to keep the participants enthusiastic and engaged in a project.
The first and most obvious, the focus of a leader is slightly different from that one of a manager. As a rule, the latter focuses extensively on the idea of supervising the core processes related to production and other stages of attaining project goals. Supervision and the control of the participants’ performance can also be included into the list of a manager’s responsibilities. A leader, however, should also be viewed as a role model that the team will have to follow in order to develop the necessary skills and acquire the relevant competencies and knowledge. In other words, inspiring others can be viewed as one of the primary roles that a leader must play.
Similarly, a manager does not deal with the promotion of specific values and philosophies to the target population. Instead, supervising the decision-making processes and making sure that the number of errors made in the process should be minimized can be defined as some of the primary functions of a team manager. A leader, on the other hand, must make sure that the participants should accept the values and philosophies that make the core of the organization.
In other words, a manager focuses on the task, whereas a leader must be people-oriented. Consequently, when addressing particular problems, especially the ones regarding communication, a manager strives to stifle the conflict in a manner as efficient and possible and help the team return to their tasks. A leader, however, sees a conflict as an opportunity to learn new information and derive new strategies for inspiring the team and making efficient use of the specifics of the multicultural communication process in the team. Therefore, when dealing with conflicts, a leader sees weaknesses of the team as opportunities for the further development.
Put differently, a manager tends to minimize risks, while a leader sees risks as a chance to explore new opportunities and expand their area of influence, therefore, compelling the team members to use the promoted values and philosophies as the foundation for their decision-making and acquire new knowledge and skills on a regular basis. A leader sees every risk as a chance that needs to be explored and, therefore, can be characterized as exploratory. The specified type makes a striking contrast to the image of a manager, who prefers to choose the traditional ways of managing the key processes and, thus, is rather conservative in their choices of the available solutions to a particular problem.
Therefore, the management of specific processes implies reaching a certain goal within a set time limit and using the provided resources. Leadership, on the other hand, requires transforming people’s perspective and introducing them to an entirely new way of thinking, often inspiring them to change their current concept of decision-making. The focus on encouraging people to consider their strengths and weaknesses carefully so that they could be used for the further progress, as well as introducing the target population to the concept of a continuous improvement as a professional and personal philosophy, should be deemed as the key idea that sets the phenomenon of leadership apart from that one of management. For example, from a leader’s perspective, the process of addressing a conflict will require not only determining the immediate solution and applying it to resolve the issue, but also conducting a detailed analysis of the problem and drawing essential conclusions that will allow managing a similar issue more efficiently in the future. Moreover, a leader views conflicts as the means of learning crucial information about the specifics of interactions, especially as far as the communication process in the multicultural environment is concerned.
Management is a set of strategies used to enhance and coordinate the key processes successfully so that the set goal could be achieved within a specific time limit. Therefore, management is geared heavily toward the end result. The focus on people is minimal in the process. It would be wrong to assume that the process of managing a team does not involve dealing with the issues associated with communication and is solely aimed at arranging the available resources in a particular manner. Quite on the contrary, managers have to deal with communication-related issues, including the distribution of roles and responsibilities, addressing particular problems associated with the quality of the results and the timeliness of their delivery, etc. Nevertheless, it is the organization of the internal processes that remains the focus of managers.
Leadership, on the other hand, involves promoting specific values, ideas, ethical standards, and philosophies to the target population. Therefore, in leadership, the introduction of a powerful role model that others could use as an example that they could follow is crucial. The concept of leadership implies appealing to the participants’ emotions so that they could be inspired to excel in their performance, strive to develop specific knowledge and abilities, etc. Management, on the other hand, suggests that the set goals could be achieved and that the most cost-efficient approaches could be identified to meet the goals in question. In other words, management requires that the successful allocation of the available resources should be deemed as the primary task to accomplish. The phenomenon of leadership, in turn, embraces much more grand and long-term goals, which concern primarily investing in the participants by promoting the development of specific qualities in them. In the context of a business environment, the identified qualities and characteristics may include the phenomenon of Corporate Social Responsibility (SCR), the idea of corporate unity, etc. (DuBrin, 2015).
Therefore, the process of management involves primarily supervision and the enhancement of production processes, whereas leadership suggests that the behaviors of the participants, including their decision-making process, the set of ethical and moral values that they use to make relevant choices, and even the idea of social justice that the target population considers acceptable, should be reinvented.
What Leaders Do
It is a common misconception to view leadership characteristics as a set of inborn qualities that cannot be developed with the help of regular training (Senge, 2006). However, studies show that being a leader is, in fact, an attainable goal and that the acquisition of the skills required for a leader is fairly achievable, though requiring a significant effort (Bridges, 2009).
When considering the actions that leaders are supposed to take when directing a team toward a particular goal one must mention that there is a plethora of theories that suggest different leadership models and, therefore, a wide variety of strategies that leaders can utilize to navigate the core processes (Kleiner, Senge, Roberts, Ross, & Smith, 1994). However, while the roles of a leader within a particular team may vary, there are several common requirements and a set of specific responsibilities that a true leader must meet in order to help the team reach success. For instance, it is essential for a leader to distribute roles and responsibilities among the staff members so that they could coordinate their work and be aware of the contribution that they make to the project so that the common goal could be attained.
To be an efficient leader, though, one must focus on several essential tasks. First and most obvious, a true leader must incorporate the principles of Servant Leadership (ServL) and the transformational framework in order to encourage consistent professional growth among the target population and at the same time make sure that the needs thereof are met fully. The framework of SL implies that a leader must focus on the needs of the key stakeholders, especially the ones of the subordinates, to promote the successful development of an organization. Thus, the foundation for unceasing growth can be built. The significance of introducing the concept of ServL into the framework for the ideas leadership strategy cannot possibly be overrated. The principles of the Servant Leadership approach shift the focus from the leader to the team members, therefore, making them the essential stakeholders.
By keeping the focus on the application of the ServL principles, a leader retains the focus on the needs of the participants and is capable of applying people-oriented approaches for maintaining the efficacy of a project. Therefore, the introduction of the specified tool into the set of strategies that must constitute a perfect leadership framework is imperative. The specified method of looking at the roles and responsibilities of a leader helps realize that a true leader strives to create the environment in which every participant benefits. In other words, these are common sense and the principles of equality that tip the scale of a leader’s decisions and define the further choice of the available strategies.
Therefore, a true leader must engage in a range of activities to sustain the viability of a project and make sure that the interests of all parties should be met. Particularly, the range of the tasks that a leader performs includes, but is not limited to the decision-making process, identification of key risks, management of conflicts, usage of the available information, distribution of responsibilities, and inspiration of the participants. As soon as one accepts the role of a leader, one must make sure that the strategies for accomplishing the specified tasks should be defined carefully; otherwise, a project will face a range of impediments.
The phenomenon of leadership is rather complex and intricate. It can be viewed from a range of perspectives and, therefore, defined in a number of ways. Furthermore, new definitions thereof emerge on a regular basis, suggesting new ways of looking at the roles and responsibilities of a leader. However, most theories tend to agree that the process of setting the core goals, determining the crucial values, and assigning specific roles and responsibilities to each team member remain the key tasks of a true leader.
At present, the concept of leadership is interpreted as the use of one’s skills and personal qualities as the means of guiding and inspiring others to achieve a particular outcome, especially as far as the improvement of a certain issue is concerned. While being rather generic, the identified interpretation of leadership allows embracing not only its nature but also the purpose thereof. As a result, the definition provides the information required for building an effective leadership strategy. Indeed, a closer look at the subject matter will reveal that a leader promotes personal change in the team members by encouraging them to accept specific values, philosophies, and behaviors. The identified change is supposed to lead to a gradual improvement in the outcomes delivered by the people involved in a certain project.
It should also be borne in mind that there is a very fine line between management and leadership. While the two phenomena are often mentioned alongside, one must not conflate them. According to the existing definition, management suggests that one should utilize the available resources to achieve a particular goal. Leadership, in turn, while also being outcome-driven, demands that the participants should alter their attitude toward a specific issue or problem, as well as acquire the necessary values that will guide their decision-making in the future. Therefore, leadership should be viewed as a people-targeted process, whereas management is primarily an outcome-oriented one.
Understanding the importance of a proper leadership strategy is crucial to the further success. The head of a team must keep in mind that the results of a project hinge on the engagement levels and motivation rates among the participants, as well as their willingness to acquire the relevant knowledge and skills on a regular basis. Therefore, it is essential that a leader should focus on the active enhancement of personal and professional growth among the team members.
As stressed above, there are many ways of looking at leadership, including the roles that a leader must assume, the impact that they are supposed to make, etc. Consequently, several leadership theories have been developed to shed light on how a leader can compel team members to excel in their performance and go on a limb as far as their abilities to perform their duties are concerned. Some of the leadership theories have become obsolete over time, while others have gained increasingly high popularity over the past few years. Among the theoretical frameworks that exist in the contemporary environment of business and economy, three frameworks deserve particular attention. These are the Situational Leadership (SL) framework, the Path-Goal Theory (PGT), and the Transformational Leadership (TL) approach. By considering the specified frameworks closer, one will be able to define the unique characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages thereof. Furthermore, seeing that each of the theories incorporates both advantage and disadvantages, it could be assumed that, after a close scrutiny of each, one will be able to design an amalgam thereof that will serve as the perfect solution to most organizational problems.
The phenomenon of the situational leadership is rather basic. As the name of the framework suggests, it implies that a leader should adopt a flexible approach based on the scenario that they are currently facing. Indeed, according to the definition provided by Northouse (2016), “the premise of the theory is that different situations demand different kinds of leadership” (p. 93). Therefore, the theory suggests that one should be very flexible in the choice of a leadership framework so that the chosen approach should meet the needs of the key stakeholders.
At this point, one must consider the very concept of a leadership style closer. According to Northouse (2016), the phenomenon incorporates two concepts of behavior, i.e., directive and supportive one. Therefore, it is the responsibility of a situational leader to navigate between the two carefully so that the target population should receive enough encouragement and at the same time remain motivated and focused on the goals of the team.
However, the identified approach is fraught with numerous challenges. Northouse (2016) explains that there are two primary dimensions for determining the strategy that a situational leader should take based on the unique characteristics of the current situation. Particularly, these are the amount of direction and support that a leader has to provide to the target population so that the goal of a project could be accomplished successfully. Therefore, determining the degree to which the team members should be provided with support and independence may be a rather convoluted process that requires taking a range of factors into account.
It should also be borne in mind that, while the levels of direction and the amount of support that a situational level has to offer to its team members are not mutually dependent on each other; therefore, both can be high or low at the same time. That being said, the degree of development is in inverse proportion to the levels of direction and the willingness of accepting the recommended directive behavior among the staff members. Therefore, when placing too much emphasis on giving the participants precise instructions and controlling their compliance with the provided information, one is likely to inhibit the development of independence among the staff members. The lack of agency and the propensity toward using solely the provided guidelines as the foundation for decision-making can lead to a massive drop in the staff’s independence levels and, which is even more threatening, their motivation rates. Therefore, employees must be given an opportunity to participate in decision-making processes independently. The latter can be explained by the fact that their involvement in the project will be reduced, hence the decrease in the emotional connection with the task and the loss of responsibility for the decisions made in the workplace environment. Therefore, the Situational Leadership (SL) framework should be used with caution and a careful identification of the correlation between the two parameters of lading the team, i.e., the number of directions and the amount of support provided to the staff (Northouse, 2016).
Because of the introduction of two parameters based on which a leadership strategy is customized to the needs of a specific workplace environment, four key SL strategies are traditionally identified is the means of navigating in a target environment and addressing the relevant problems. Particularly, there are high-directive and low-supportive style (HDLS, or directing), high-directive and high-supportive one (HDHS, or coaching), low-directive and high-supportive one (LDHS, or supporting), and low-directive and low-supportive framework (LDLS, or delegating).
When considering the environment in which the SL approach can be adopted, one must admit that its universality is, perhaps, one of its key advantages. Indeed, because of the extensive opportunities for flexibility, which it provides to the leader, the framework can be used in any context. By adjusting the degree of intensity of support and direction, on may place the framework in literally any environment to produce rather impressive results (Northouse, 2016).
That being said, there are rather rigid standards for choosing the leadership strategy that will be applicable to a particular environment. In order to identify the strategy that will have to be adopted so that the issues in a certain setting could be resolved, one should classify the participants into four categories that the use of the SL strategy implies. Particularly, it is necessary to sort the target population into D1-D4 categories that denote the level of the participants’ development, from the highest (D1) to the lowest (D) (Northouse, 2016).
Therefore, it is crucial that the choice of the parameters of the situational leadership framework should hinge in the needs of the project members, as well as their ability to make important decisions and willingness to gain independence in the identified setting. Herein lies the primary strength of the SL approach; it allows not only taking the needs of the key stakeholders into account but also wrap the leadership process around them so that the participants could be encouraged to acquire new knowledge and develop the relevant skills. The framework provides extensive support to all participants involved, thus, creating the environment in which every single member of the team feels valued and appreciated. The prescriptive nature of the leadership framework in question can be deemed as its primary strength. By customizing the number of prescriptive elements in the approach, one will be able to design the strategy that can be applied in any setting from a workplace environment to the realm of a school or any other educational institution (Greenleaf, 2008).
Furthermore, when considering the strengths of the leadership framework in question, as well as its applicability to any setting, one must mention the fact that it allows building an entirely unique approach based on the specific characteristics of a very particular setting, be it the realm of an academic institution or a workplace context (Bolman & Deal, 2017). According to Bolman and Deal (2017), there is a tendency to believe that a good school leader should be able to develop the strategy that is aimed particularly at leading “when you’re growing and adding staff than when you’re cutting budgets and laying people off” (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 345).Therefore, the situational leadership framework sets the pace for the consistent growth, at the same time leaving enough room for maneuvering in the scenarios that require due tact and patience.
The framework of SL consists of four primary elements, which include the processes of diagnosing, adapting, communicating, and advancing. The diagnosis of the problem allows placing a specific situation into a particular context so that it could be addressed accordingly. The adaptation step implies that the mechanisms for changing the participants’ behaviors so that the problem could be addressed efficiently should be determined. The communication step is, perhaps, the most complicated one since it requires that the crucial information should be delivered to the target population. At this point, the significance of understanding diversity and using flexibility and cross-communicational strategies to convey the essential ideas to the participants deserves to be mentioned. Finally, the process of advancement implies that the suggested strategies should be deployed in a particular environment and that the mechanisms for managing similar challenges in the future should be developed successfully.
The principles of situational leadership are used nowadays in a range of settings. Although the framework seems to have lost some of its popularity due to the increase in the importance of transformational leadership, it remains an important part of the leadership process in a range of industries and other areas, including education (MacCarrick, 2014).
One must admit, though, that the specified strategy also has its limitations. As stressed above, there is a need to locate the perfect combination of the degree of support and direction offered to the participants. However, the choice thereof hinges on a range of factors, including both internal (i.e., the ones associated with the project and, therefore, controlled by the leader) and external ones (i.e., the factors that are outside of the leader’s control). Therefore, the process of determining the right correlation of support and direction becomes very intricate and convoluted. In fact, in a certain way, the stage involving the identification of the specified balance is determined by the leader’s intuitive understanding of the team’s needs and unique properties. Therefore, the lack of control over the factors that define the intensity of direction and support and the process of building a coherent leadership framework can be viewed as the primary limitation that restricts one from exerting the right influence on the participants and increasing their motivation and engagement rates (MacCarrick, 2014).
Furthermore, there is a tendency to conflate the SL framework with management (MacCarrick, 2014). As stressed above, confusing leadership with management and vice versa is a rather typical mistake that can be avoided by learning the essential differences between a leader and a manager. However, the situation is slightly different with ST. As stressed above, the two dimensions that the SL framework incorporates imply placing a powerful emphasis on either the direction-related aspect of coordinating the key processes within an organization or on the support-related ones. Herein the primary problem lies since the two dimensions can be viewed as people- (support) and task-oriented (directions) one. Thus, once a leader places an overly strong emphasis on the importance of directions over support, the threat of shifting from leadership to management will emerge: “leaders need skill in managing relationships with all significant stakeholders, including superiors, peers, and external constituents” (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 348). The resulting effect of the employees or project members failing to develop the required qualities and, as a result, mismanaging the tasks that were assigned to them is likely to have drastic consequences on the overall performance of the organization, as well as on the organizational behaviors of the staff, thus, disrupting the very framework of the company’s operations. Therefore, the application of the SL approach must be carried out with due caution and care so that the balance between the support of the staff members and the provision of direction to them could be well-balanced (MacCarrick, 2014).
Despite the limitations and threats that are typically associated with the SL approach, one must give it credit for its potential. As long as SL is adopted in an appropriate manner and used wisely, it will contribute to a massive improvement in performance levels due to the support and assistance that employees receive.
The opportunities for navigating in the two-dimensional framework of which the SL approach consists, in turn, creates additional opportunities for customizing the leadership strategy to a specific setting. Moreover, the tools used by a situational leader can be adjusted to a rapid change in the internal or external environment, therefore, allowing the organization to retain its performance levels (MacCarrick, 2014).
The importance of the SL framework as the means of keeping the participants engaged should also be mentioned. There is no need to stress that flexibility is crucial in the realm of the global business environment. With the increase in diversity rates, by which the modern organizational setting of any institution can be characterized, the significance of applying culturally sensitive approaches is growing increasingly high. Therefore, a leader must navigate between the needs of the representatives of different ethnic, national, cultural, and social backgrounds, creating the environment in which every participant can function efficiently. Herein lies the importance of the situational leadership as an extraordinarily flexible framework for managing the relationship between the participants. The incorporation of the SL tools into the process of leading people toward success will allow not only promoting specific values to the identified population but also introducing a set of powerful tools for conflict management. Indeed, conflicts should be viewed as an integral and, therefore, inescapable part of the communication process in the context of the global environment. Therefore, it is crucial to learn to not avoid conflicts but, instead, use them as the means of learning more about the people that are under the leader’s control, their needs, value systems, and culture. As a result, conflicts are resolved efficiently by introducing the principles of cooperation and compromise as the crucial negotiation strategies (Cawsey, Deszca, & Ingols, 2016). Consequently, the outcomes of confrontations can be used to shed more light on the unique characteristics of the stakeholders, their needs, and the tools that can be used to meet these needs efficiently, which aligns with the idea of a comprehensive leadership strategy to be designed.
The concept of the Path-Goal Theory (PGT), in turn, should be viewed as an essential addition to the list of theories that can be used to create an entirely new and outstandingly efficient tool for lading a team toward continuous success. Bolman and Deal (2017) define the framework of the PGT as the approach that is aimed at motivating people to carry out specific tasks: “Path-goal theory is about how leaders motivate followers to accomplish designated goals” (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 115). Despite the fact that a significant emphasis is placed on the importance of motivating participants to carry out the suggested tasks similarly to the way in which the TL framework suggests, the PGT approach is traditionally compared to the philosophy of the SL (Bolman & Deal, 2017). The specified phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that both frameworks imply scrutinizing the relationships between a leader and the participants of the project.
The PGT suggests that a leader should exert their influence with the help of the strategies based on a directive supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented approach (Bolman & Deal, 2017). As a result, the path to success can be determined, and the obstacles that the participants of the team may encounter on their way to it can be isolated. Consequently, the framework for addressing the impediments to success or avoiding them can be drawn to facilitate the success of a project and encourage the team members to engage in the accomplishment thereof.
The reasons for choosing the specified approach include mainly the idea that the PGT framework serves as the middle ground for meeting both the needs of the participants and the objectives of the project. Indeed, according to the description of the strategy, it helps take both the characteristics of the team members and the task into consideration when drafting the plan for meeting the set goals (Chemers, 2014).
When considering the context in which the PGT framework allows administering change, one must mention that the theory implies the necessity to choose the appropriate leadership style based on the needs of the participants and the goals that the project pursues. One might argue that the specified application of the theory to a particular context is very similar to the application of the SL strategy. Indeed, the focus on the necessity to adapt toward the ever-changing environment of a particular organization or setting, therefore, encouraging change, adaptability, and flexibility as the primary characteristics of a good leader. However, the fact that PGT tends to place the goals of the project into the limelight and, thus, view the task just as important as the people that complete them should point to the key difference between the two approaches. Therefore, the use of the PGT is sensible in the environment where there is a need to balance between the two key priorities, i.e., the delivery of stellar performance and the willingness to meet the needs of the staff.
The components of the PGT include the elements such as the identification of the organizational goals, the choice of the path that will be used to administer changes to the organizational environment, the isolation and the further removal of the obstacles that may stand in the way of introducing improvements to the organization, and the support offered to all team members involved in the management of the change process (Bolman & Deal, 2017). In the specified framework, each of the elements serves its specific purpose, therefore, contributing to the further progress of a team and allowing a leader to focus on directing the participants to a specific objective.
In the contemporary environment, the PGT framework is typically viewed as an auxiliary tool for meeting the corporate gals (Jex & Britt, 2014). The specified interpretation of the PGT does not diminish its role or significance, however. Instead, it places the specified theory into the context of the modern leadership theory hierarchy, thus, cementing its importance and value as a leadership approach.
Despite having a range of advantages, such as the enhancement of harmony in the management of company’s and staff’s needs, the PGT tool also has several problems that may hamper the process of addressing organizational issues and exerting influence unless the specified shortcomings are managed successfully. For example, the framework under analysis is often criticized for its complexity and a convoluted nature. Indeed, establishing the links between its elements and transferring the concept into the real-life environment so that it could be applied to a particular case is a rather problematic task. While the application of PGT is not impossible, it definitely demands that a range of notions and parts of the system should be simplified; otherwise, the success of the leadership process may be jeopardized (Chalofsky, 2014).
The theory can be deemed as an important element of a new leadership strategy. Since PGT provides a leader with an opportunity to navigate between the needs of team members and the goals of a project, it should be recognized as an important device for mediating between employees and leaders and reaching a compromise. Therefore, it has to be included into the list of frameworks for developing a new and improved approach toward lading a team.
The Transformational Leadership (TL) framework remains one of the most popular and widely used strategies for exerting influence on people, and there are good reasons for the specified approach to gain so much weight within a comparatively short amount of time. The TL framework implies that positive change can be promoted within an organizational context, at the same time affecting each of the participants individually and compelling them to improve (Chalofsky, 2014). According to the existing definition, TL can be explained as the “process that changes and transforms people” (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 161). While being seemingly simple, the identified definition opens a plethora of opportunities for encouraging the consistent progress among the target population and, thus, transforming their value system so that they could recognize the importance of responsibility, lifelong learning, efficient communication, etc. In other words, the TL approach allows reinventing the very idea of personal development as the members of a particular team see it.
Because of a rather fine line between two similar concepts, TL is often confused with the Transactional Leadership (TrL) approach. Although both imply that the process of change should be launched and that the communication between a leader and their followers should remain consistent, TrL does not suggest that the leader should change. TL, in turn, focuses on the significance of progress among all parties involved (Chalofsky, 2014). In fact, based on the tenets of TL, it could be argued that the personal and professional progress of a transformational leader is even more important than that one of the participants since it is the leader that defines the course of the further progress and selects the strategies that will have to be used to encourage the further progress. Therefore, the two ideas should not be conflated; otherwise, the efficacy of the TL application is bound to drop significantly.
However, one must admit that the gravity of personal and professional progress among the participants of a particular project is also regarded as high in the framework of TL since the latter implies that independence and self-directed learning should be encouraged among the target population (Chalofsky, 2014). Therefore, the job of a transformational leader can be interpreted as the active promotion of independence and professional growth among the participants that they could engage in self-directed learning and, therefore, gain independence in their professional and personal progress. In other words, the TL framework also implies that a significant amount of attention should be paid to the team members as well.
Context. The TL approach is used in nearly every context of the modern environment, including business, education, healthcare, politics, etc. (Chalofsky, 2014). It helps change people’s vision of a problem and, thus, search for the available solutions. Therefore, TL is lauded as one of the groundbreaking frameworks that are bound to reinvent the global environment.
Of all the elements of TL, charisma is, perhaps, the best-known concept. Although the framework of Charismatic Leadership (CL) should not be conflated with the idea of TL, the presence and active use of charisma as one of the key tools for exerting influence over the target population is crucial to the further success of implementing positive changes in the target environment. Scrutinizing the interpretation of TL as Bolman and Deal (2017) see it, one must mention that their perspective of TL includes evident traces of the CL approach, particularly, the active use of charisma as the means of influencing people, thus, defining a transformational leader as the person that is capable of transforming people’s philosophies and values so that they could accept the idea of the unceasing growth and be willing to contribute to the further development of a particular project:
According to House’s charismatic theory, several effects are the direct result of charismatic leadership. They include the follower trust in the leader’s ideology, similarity between the follower’s beliefs, unquestioning acceptance of the leader, expression of affection toward the leader, follower obedience, identification with the leader, emotional involvement in the leaders’ goals, heightened goals for followers, and increased follower confidence in goal achievement. (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 165)
Put differently, the active use of charisma as the tool for motivating the target population can be viewed as the key element of the TL framework. At this point, one must mention the element of TL known as the ability to inspire people. Although there is a difference between the TL approach and the one of the Charismatic Leadership framework, the use of charisma as the means of convincing people to follow into the footsteps of a leader must be recognized as an admittedly efficient one.
As explained above, the popularity of TL is growing increasingly. TL is deployed in the context of a range of organizations from academic to business to governmental ones so that the principle of consistent knowledge acquisition and unceasing personal and professional development could be instilled into the target population successfully (Schüppel, 2014). What makes TL so popular among the participants of the modern global environment is that it allows taking the needs of every single stakeholder into account without any exception. As a result, TL is viewed as an opportunity for improving the process of intercultural communication and addressing the conflicts that occur due to misunderstandings and misconceptions, including the ones based on the differences in languages, cultures, values, etc.
Despite its stunning popularity and the immense effect that it has on all stakeholders involved, TL also has its problems, the lack of specific details being the key one. Indeed, while the TL approach is extraordinarily popular, it suggests that the leader should define most of its elements independently, while general guidelines are provided. On the one hand, the identified characteristic of a leadership framework can be deemed as positive since it offers a plethora of room for a leader to make decisions independently and adjust the framework to the needs of their organization. On the other hand, the lack of detail is likely to lead to the development of numerous loopholes that may finally lead to a gradual demise of an organization or a failure of a project (Birasnav, 2014).
Moreover, there is a threat that a transformational leader may fail to determine the limitations of their employees or team members. As a result, even when using the best inspirational techniques, a transformational leader may fail to encourage the staff members to perform in the required way. In fact, the specified problem is even deeper than it might seem. Once setting the standards too high for the team members to reach, a leader may create the environment in which each of the participants may question their abilities and competencies, finally, developing the systematic lack of confidence and viewing themselves as a failure.
The significance of the TL as a framework that allows shaping the organizational values and promoting them to the target population, at the same time increasing their motivation levels consistently, can hardly be overrated. The principles of TL are used in nearly every area possible so that the productivity levels could be boosted and that the communication process could be enhanced. However, when it comes to specifying the factors that have made the TL framework so popular for the contemporary organizations and modern leaders, one must bring up the fact that it serves as the basis for encouraging continuous improvement and the consistent growth, including both personal and professional development (Caillier, 2014).
Therefore, the specified theoretical framework should be deemed as the basis for the further design of a new and improved comprehensive leadership framework. Two primary concepts on which TL is based, i.e., the active promotion of knowledge acquisition and the emphasis on the needs of all stakeholders involved, should be regarded as the key tenets on which a new leadership approach must be based.
The extensive opportunities for improving the communication process should also be considered as essential for the application of TL in the environment of the modern globalized world. Seeing that the diversity rates are growing increasingly high in modern companies and organizations, it is imperative to engage in an unceasing process of communication, during which misunderstandings may occur due to the differences in the worldview, the culture specifics, the language, etc. Therefore, the TL framework can and should be incorporated into the leadership theory that will represent their needs and improved interpretation of a leader’s roles, responsibilities, ethics, and values. Particularly, the focus on providing participants with enough independence so that they could acquire the necessary information and skills on their own seems a very suitable tool for encouraging the gradual improvement.
Furthermore, the opportunities that the TL approach opens for multicultural communication should be deemed as an essential addition to the comprehensive leadership framework to be designed in the paper. The idea of a leader as a “social architect” (Bolman & Deal, 2017, p. 177), which is actively promoted in the context of the TL framework, seems an essential addition to the overall concept of efficient leadership that the current paper strives to define and promote.
There is an abundance of leadership theories as the ways of shedding light on the phenomenon of leadership. While most theories seem to focus on the same concepts of the ability to assign specific roles and responsibilities to each participant, the active promotion and use of core values, etc., there are significant differences in the definition of the amount of influence that a leader must exert. Nevertheless, all theories seem to agree that taking the specific needs of the participants into account is essential for the design of a proper leadership strategy.
The concept of leadership can be defined as a continuous promotion of essential values, philosophies, and ideas to participants so that specific goals could be met. While being rather loose, the specified definition seems to embrace every possible scenario where a leader may be needed.
Self as Leader
It is crucial for a leader to have a set of values based on which the decision-making process occurs, the communication processes are managed, and the essential goals are set. The core values in question also serve as the basis that one can use to build the ethical standards in accordance with how one should act as a leader. Therefore, determining the principles that will guide one’s leadership strategy and inform the choices made in the process is essential to the successful management of the identified issues.
The importance of change and improvement should be listed among the key core values that I tend to uphold. Furthermore, the introduction of efficient conflict management strategies is crucial for me as a leader. Although I find conflicting situations rather uncomfortable, I do believe that conflicts must be used as the means of determining the further routes for self-improvement and the enhancement of the core processes within a team, especially as far as the communication-related issues are concerned. Therefore, the focus on managing conflicts by analyzing them carefully and deriving essential lessons from them can be deemed as the next essential core value that I consider imperative as a leader. Herein the significance of the appropriate choice of negotiation and cultural awareness lies for me as a leader of a team. I realize that it is crucial to take the unique characteristics of different cultures into account so that the process of managing the crucial processes within a team and guiding people toward excelling in their performance. Consequently, I believe that it is crucial to focus on viewing conflicts as a source of learning about other cultures and the means of promoting compromise- and cooperation-based negotiations.
The significance of following ethical standards is also crucial for me as a future leader. I believe that, by following a set of rigid ethical standards closely, a transformational leader will be able to set the expectations for the staff’ behavior that will allow improving the quality of their performance and encourage the consistent personal and professional growth among the target participants. Indeed, according to Johnson (2016), the concept of ethics in business is grounded deeply in the tenets of the Social Learning Theory (SLT), which states that the members of a team will be able to develop the required behaviors and accept them as appropriate only after they are provided with a role model that they can follow (Chen, Eberly, Chiang, Farh, & Cheng, 2014). Therefore, by using the image of a transformational leader as the example of ethical behavior, one will be able to encourage the team members to meet the set ethical expectations when delivering their performance as well: “Social learning theory is based on the premise that people learn by observing and then emulating the values, attitudes, and behavior of people they find legitimate, attractive and credible” (Johnson, 2016, p. 240). Therefore, it is imperative for me as a leader to focus on instilling the essential concepts of organizational ethics into team members. At present, the following values must be considered: people-oriented ethics and management standards, emphasis on diversity, and the active promotion of change.
While viewing ethical behavior as one of the core values of leadership clearly is an important step in improving the leadership strategy and promoting the appropriate standards among the target members, one must also consider choosing one of the available ethical standpoints so that its postulates could be incorporated into the organizational setting. Personally, I believe that a true leader must view the benefit of all stakeholders involved as the foundation for the choice of the ethical strategy and the standards to be followed in the context of the organization.
The use of the Utilitarianism approach, in general, and the adoption of virtue ethics, in particular, should be deemed as an essential step in the right direction. The specified frameworks will allow focusing on maximizing the positive outcome, at the same time keeping the needs of the involved stakeholders in mind. Thus, the enhancement of change will become a possibility.
Organizational Change Frameworks
As the powerful emphasis placed on the importance of the Transformational Leadership (TL) shows, my leadership strategy is based on the promotion of unceasing improvements in the realm of an organization. While admittedly challenging, the specified approach must be credited for its potential and the options that it provides for further progress. Therefore, it is imperative to introduce the principles of organizational change into the target environment. For this purpose, several models of change will have to be considered as the basis for encouraging the consistent improvement in the environment of an organization. Edgar Schein’s (2016) Change Model seems to be the most legitimate tool for administering the process of continuous improvement in the organization. The specified approach is rooted deeply in Lewin’s Model of Change, yet it has also added several lasting improvements to the specified framework, thus, making it much more viable in the environment of the global economy (as cited in Al-Haddad & Kotnour, 2015). Schein (2016), in turn, suggested that the concept of the organizational culture should be taken to a higher level, thus, compelling the staff members to evolve and accept the suggested change as a necessary step toward developing a deeper understanding of the significance of the organizational culture, the goals of the company, and one’s place in the company’s hierarchy (Prado, Kalid, &Archibald, 2017). Furthermore, Schein invites leaders to consider the phenomenon of the organizational culture as a multi-layered concept. Thus, the mechanisms of changing it can be defined in a more accurate manner. For instance, Schein (2016) suggests the following stages of exploring the organizational culture as the foundation for successful change in the context of an organization: 1) external adaptation issues overview (assessment of the company’s mission, vision, and values); 2) assumptions regarding the process of management of internal integration (i.e., common conceptual categories, such as the identity of the group, the system of rewards and punishments accepted at the organization, the interpretation of the status, as well as the concepts of power and authority in the organizational context, etc.); 3) in-depth cultural assumptions (e.g., the definition of the human nature, the phenomena of time and space form the organizational perspective, etc.) (Schein, 2016). Therefore, the theory provided by Schein (2016) allows for a massive organizational change through a deeper understanding thereof. As a result, the process of altering the structure and nature of the organizational relationships will not be forced and, instead, takes a natural shape. Consequently, the employees will have more opportunities for adjusting to the innovations and, therefore, will be more inclined to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for using the introduced challenges. In other words, the application of Schein’s (2016) Theory of Change will contribute to a huge drop in the levels of resistance to change in the context of the organization. Herein lies the importance of Schein’s (2016) framework. The application of the specified change management tool will help keep the level of motivation and enthusiasm among the participants comparatively high despite their possible unwillingness to develop new competencies and skills, as well as accept an increasingly large number of responsibilities (Schein, 2016).
Argyris and Schön’s (2015) model
Another tool that will have to be incorporated into the set of change management frameworks is the framework designed by Chris Argyris and Donald Schön (2015). The specified approach is known as the Three Levels of Learning in the organizational context, and it places a very heavy emphasis on the active promotion of the relevant skills as the means of spurring the process of positive change in the organizational environment (McCalman, Paton, & Siebert, 2015).
The fact that the authors view the process of change from the perspective of learning as opposed to the process of controlling the staff members makes it especially useful for the design of the ultimate leadership framework. As explained above, it is essential for me as a leader that the employees should be provided with enough room for developing independence and acquiring the skills necessary for the further process of self-directed learning. The fact that the model offers a significant degree of flexibility and enables the participants to engage in the process of unceasing knowledge acquisition, therefore, appeals to me as a future leader.
Furthermore, the change model designed by Argyris and Schön in 2015 provides extensive opportunities for a leader to develop a deep insight into the phenomenon of the organizational culture. While seemingly simple and ostensibly controlled by a leader, organizational culture is more than a set of behaviors and standards set in the realm of a particular company. Instead, it must be viewed as the phenomenon that is heavily influenced by the people that interact within its environment. Specifically, one must view the needs of the leader’s subordinates as the factors of paramount importance to the success of the change management process, as well as the overall performance of the company. Argyris and Schön’s (2015) framework, in turn, helps recognize the significance of the organizational culture, including the unique characteristics of the participants. As a result, a leader can develop a good sense of the participants’ needs and aspirations, therefore, promoting change in the way that will not affect the target population negatively.
The framework also encourages the leader to experience a significant change, which is a crucial characteristic of a change model. Indeed, a good leader must be able to grow, and the model in question creates sufficient premise for the leader’s further development. To be more specific, it encourages the leader to work on the relationships with the staff members, as well as the reconsideration of the organizational culture, thus, developing a deep insight into both issues. As a result, a leader goes from being able to set measurable and achievable goals to gaining an insight into the human nature and the essence of human relationships in the context of an organization (Gorder, 2014). Consequently, the leader gains a range of new skills and abilities along with profound knowledge about the issues associated with interpersonal and cross-cultural interactions (Gorder, 2014).
Self-assessment (Leader-Member Exchange (LMX))
When considering the issue of core values from a personal perspective, I must admit that I tend to be very self-aware, which means that I am capable of a careful self-evaluation and, therefore, understand the significance of the change, as the LMX Questionnaire results show. Herein the foundation for my concept of leadership lies; I realize that it is crucial to focus on the areas that require further improvement. In addition, I value the very concept of lifelong learning and continuous improvement. The tests that I have taken so far reveal that I have a propensity toward acquiring new information and skills as a part of my leadership philosophy. In other words, I view the tendency toward learning and the development of new abilities and skills as one of the core values on which my leadership framework is based.
The LMX approach has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it is crucial to focus on self-improvement since it will allow for a more efficient process of managing the communication process in the realm of the global environment. Indeed, as Figure 1 shows, the promotion of compatibility, competency, and personality becomes possible once the tool is used. As stressed above, the contemporary communication process in any domain, be it business, education, politics, or any other area, requires a profound knowledge of other cultures, their values, communication standards, etc. Thus, misunderstandings and conflicts can be avoided and managed successfully. The focus on unceasing self-development, in turn, can be viewed as the basis for forming a strategy that will allow learning more about other cultures and the means of establishing a dialogue with their representatives. Therefore, the tendency to question my competencies and acquire new knowledge and skills can be deemed as an important component of the image of a leader who is willing to encourage progress in the context of their organization.
Furthermore, the results of the analysis of my leadership abilities based on the Leadership Grid show that I have a strong propensity toward coaching people and supporting them throughout their professional development. The specified characteristic of my personal traits aligns with my current concept of efficient leadership as the active use of the situational approach that implies guiding people toward the completion of a particular goal. It should be noted, though, that the test has shown that coaching seems to be one of my greatest assets, which means that I will most likely tend to use the high-directive, high-supportive (HDHS) situational framework when building the environment in which the team members will experience the need for the consistent growth and will have to engage in teamwork and management of the relevant projects. While the specified strategy offers a lot of positive outcomes, as well as enables one to control the key processes occurring within a team in a more efficient way, there might be problems associated with the promotion of independence among participants. Indeed, with unceasing coaching process and the provision of regular support, the members of the team that I will lead are likely to refuse from engaging in the development of independence in the context of the organization. The specified issue may lead to further hiccups in the progress of the team. Therefore, as a leader, I will have to learn to control my need to support and direct the staff members throughout project management processes, as well the ones associated with decision-making. Furthermore, it will be crucial for me to learn to give team members an opportunity to develop independence and, thus, offer them enough room for developing enough independence.
The situational leadership test provided by Northouse (2016), in turn, showed that I need to incorporate the principles of TL into the framework that I will, later on, develop as the basis for defining my leadership style. Indeed, as stressed above, I believe that the principles of TL, which allow transforming people’s concept of working in a team, performing their duties, and communicating in the workplace environment seem filled with opportunities. While it is crucial to offer team members enough flexibility and independence so that they could evolve personally and professionally, I should also exert a positive influence on them so that they could engage in the consistent acquisition of new knowledge and skills. As a result, the foundation for their professional growth can be built.
The leadership style of my personal choice incorporates the principles of the Transformational Leadership (TL), Situational Leadership (SL), and the Path-Goal Theory (PGT). The specified combination serves as the foundation for encouraging the team members to work on their ability to learn new information and acquire new skills. Furthermore, the application of the specified framework helps navigate between the options of giving the members of the team enough room for making project- and company-related decisions and at the same time introducing the elements of control into the workplace. The specified combination creates opportunities for a steady improvement of the participants’ skills and competencies. Furthermore, the adoption of the identified framework performs the task of motivating the team members and, thus, helps make sure that the quality of their performance will be kept at the required levels.
Leadership in Context
Description of Situation
Although I am only working on my definition of leadership and the design of the framework that can be used to manage the relevant tasks, I must admit that I have already faced a range of situations in which I had to use my skills of a leader to manage the problem and determine the available solutions. When considering the one that is the most suitable for the analysis, I believe that I should choose the scenario the outcomes of which have had the longest lasting impact on me and changed me as a leader to a considerable extent. Therefore, the situation involving the management of a group project that took place in 2015 seems to be the most sensible choice. In retrospect, the problem that I had to deal with was minor, yet , with rather humble experience of a leader, I had to make the most efficient use of the available knowledge and the few skills that I had at that point to make sure that the conflict could be resolved and the problem could be handled in a manner as efficient as possible.
My partners and I were working on a group project that had a very rigid schedule and, therefore, had to be managed successfully so that it could meet the set criteria. Despite the fact that my partners were very resourceful and intelligent, the project started to fall apart at the stage where we had to coordinate our actions and contribute to the further progress of the task. To be more accurate, my partners lacked the sense of time and did not have the time management skills that would help them avoid defaulting on their deadlines. While the results that they delivered were admittedly good, we could not arrange the process of coordinating our actions; as a result, each of the participants was pulling in their own direction, leading to the possible untimely demise of the project. The problem became even more drastic as we realized that, by refusing from choosing a leader and preferring to give each enough room and flexibility for decision-making, we made the process of managing the project chaotic. Therefore, it was essential to introduce a leader that could coordinate our actions into the project. Since I was the best organized of the four of us, I was selected as the project coordinator and the person that was closest to a leader based on the roles and responsibilities to which I was entitled based on our agreement.
The introduction of a strictly define the schedule and the reconsideration of the project values and goals toward academic excellence and knowledge acquisition was given the cold shoulder by each of the participants at first. Looking back at the decisions that I made, I have to admit that the refusal from creating the environment in which the participants would be motivated to accept the suggested changes was my key mistake that led to building resistance among the people involved in the project. As a result, conflicts started to occur between me and the rest of the project members.
The conflicts, however, were resolved after the communication process had been improved. After a meeting that involved a detailed discussion of our priorities, key goals, and the tools that we could use to attain the specified objectives, it was agreed that we had to strive toward a common goal, and that missing deadlines was not acceptable. Furthermore, the participants recognized the necessity to reconsider their approach toward cooperation; for instance, the need to incorporate certain cohesion to our actions was viewed as a necessary step toward improving the quality of the outcome. The focus on using the available technology (particularly, cell phones and other communication devices) as the means of keeping in touch and updating each other on our progress was the most crucial outcome of the strategy that I used as a leader to promote positive alterations in the team.
Analysis of the Situation
Viewing the problem from the systems perspective, one must admit that it was the lack of cohesion between our actions, as well as the absence of efficient communication tools and the set of values to bring us together that defined the presence of the problem. From the systems theory perspective, it is crucial that every single element of the leadership process should work like an well-oiled mechanism, where, in our case the was an evident discord between the participants and a complete absence of general directions that could contribute to the enhancement of the communication process and help us recognize our roles and responsibilities as team members (Ramosaj & Berisha, 2014).
Organizational behavior perspective
The situation described above, however, can be viewed from a different standpoint. For instance, closer attention can be paid to the issue associated with the organizational behavior of the participants involved. Indeed, as stressed above, there was a tangible lack of direction during the implementation of the project, which must have led to a significant drop in motivation levels among the people involved in it. According to the principles of the organizational behavior framework, it is imperative to create the environment in which every single participant has a specific role and a set of responsibilities that they are supposed to meet. Without clear guidelines, each of the team members set their own pace for the completion of the project and lacked instructions significantly.
In fact, the scenario described above is a clear-cut example of the inappropriate use of the SL framework. By giving the participants too much independence and at the same time providing them with a bare minimum of directions so that they could determine their own understanding of its goals requirements, etc., one built the premises for a massive failure.
However, the right course was set after the conversation between the participants. As soon as the priorities of each of the team member were set straight, it became evident that the adoption of a more efficient time management framework and the incorporation of innovative information management techniques would spur the process of communication. Consequently, the opportunities for the successful implementation of the project in question were set.
In fact, the applied strategy for managing organizational behavior issues shows that an essential factor that works to the detriment of any teach was removed from the environment of our group project. To be more specific, the resistance toward change that can often be observed in a team once a set of rather harsh boundaries is set was prevented successfully. The outcome mentioned above was achieved by shaping the organizational values of the team members in the course of the communication process mentioned above. Particularly, all those involved in the project recognized the value of the positive outcome for their further professional development. As a result, the threat of resistance among the participants was managed efficiently (Dumi & Sinaj, 2013).
Organizational change perspective
Apart from considering the subject matter form the viewpoint of the system and organizational behavior, there is also a necessity to incorporate the perspective of the organizational change into the assessment framework. In the scenario described above, the situation can be described as lacking the drivers that would help change the behaviors of the parties involved toward a more constructive shape. Put differently, there was a glaring absence of any motivation that could keep the members of the team organized and respecting the deadlines of the project. Indeed, with the absence of the values on which the behaviors of the team members would hinge, as well a the promotion of a specific set of rules that would help organize the behavior of the people involved in the project, the latter was falling apart.
The unwillingness of the participants to recognize the significance of change can also be deemed as a major problem that hindered the further development of the project. Unless the issue had been addressed by promoting openness and seeking possible compromises, the further management of the project would have been impossible. Without a proper value system on which a leader could rely so that the behaviors of the team members could be altered, the project was simply non-viable. However, with the introduction of negotiation tools that allowed setting the priorities straight and redefining the roles and responsibilities of each member, as well as determining the significance of the end result for each of the participants, the further progress became an option.
The problem with the lack of guidance and positive leadership described above could be viewed from multiple perspectives, yet the factors that have caused its development could be observed when viewing it from every single viewpoint listed above. Particularly, there was a lack of guidance from the team leader and motivation from its members; as a result, the project stalled for a moment, with no further impetus received by the people involved in it. However, the further rearrangement of the participants’ priorities, as well as the establishment of clear goals and the promotion of specific behaviors, helped change the situation and inspire the team members to contribute to the further progress substantially. In retrospect, the communication issue and the lack of common values that would have helped keep the project together from the very start could be considered the key factors that built the basis for the issue to exist. Nevertheless, by introducing the elements of TL and SL, as well as incorporating the elements of the PGT by setting a clear goal that the team members had to achieve, I managed to save the project form disintegrating.
Essence or Major Cornerstones
An in-depth overview of the existing leadership strategies and the ways of looking at the core organizational processes, including the problems associated with the motivation of the team members, has shown that each leadership strategy has to be unique and based on the specific characteristics and needs of the participants, yet it must be based on the principles of fairness, openness, and uninhibited communication. It is also crucial that the core values based on which decision-making processes will occur in the organizational environment should be established so that the staff members could use them as the examples of model behavior. Furthermore, the importance of balancing between meeting the needs of the staff and those of the project should be recognized as an important ability of a true leader. Last but definitely not least, the importance of encouraging the consistent growth and development among the participants must be viewed as one of the primary goals of an efficient leader.
Evolution of Thinking
I must admit that my perception of leadership has been altered significantly over the course of the project. I used to believe that the personal growth of the team members should not be the concern of a leader, yet a detailed overview of the existing opinions on the issue has shown me that it is crucial to invest in the professional growth of the team members so that they could not only improve their performance but also develop loyalty toward the leader. Furthermore, the gravity of failing to provide the team members with enough independence finally became evident to me. I used to believe that a leader must carry out a close supervision of every single step that the participants of a project make. However, after a scrutiny of the existing evidence, I realize that it is paramount for a leader to introduce the team members to the concept of independence and self-directed learning.
Because of the need to introduce several options for a choice and a powerful impetus for the staff members to excel in their performance, a true leader must incorporate the concept of flexibility into the transformational framework so that a wider choice of options could be available when directing the target audience. Furthermore, it is crucial that a leader should become a role model for the staff to follow, at the same time inviting the participants to develop independence in decision-making based on organizational values and ethics.
Therefore, an overview of the existing evidence has shown that the adoption of leadership techniques shows that the current approaches toward leadership, while being rather effective, could use a significant improvement. Particularly, a comprehensive framework that could embrace the advantages of each strategy and address some of the essential weaknesses by which the specified frameworks can be characterized is essential. For this purpose, one will have to consider focusing on the issues such as communication and cooperation between a leader and the rest of the participants. Herein lies the importance of adopting the appropriate tools for introducing the participants to the concept of continuous improvement. It is crucial for a leader to inspire people to participate in an unceasing process of learning. Consequently, people will be able to develop a significant amount of curiosity toward organizational processes and receive a powerful impetus for professional and personal growth. Therefore, the ultimate leadership approach for guiding one toward the desirable outcome and help invest in the further evolution of the employees will have to incorporate the elements of two types of leadership. To be more specific, the principles of the Transformational Leadership (TL) approach and the Situational Leadership (SL)-based strategy will have to be combined. Indeed, in the contemporary globalized environment, cross-cultural communication demands a significant amount of flexibility. The TL framework, in turn, will serve as the means of introducing a specific role model that the target participants will be able to follow so that the required skills and behaviors could be acquired successfully. As soon as all stakeholders involved in a project recognize the necessity to improve the quality of the end product consistently, a massive progress is expected.
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