Personal Leadership Style Analysis

Introduction

Leadership plays a crucial role in enabling and enhancing effective performance in modern organizations. At the highest level in the organization, the vision and strategic goals of leadership determine if the organization will actively nurture creativity, or tolerate it with indifference, or “search out and destroy” it. Only when the top leadership is enthusiastic about radically new developments and values creativity will it provide the needed challenges and opportunities for people to be creative. While the top leadership defines the overall cultural context for creativity, other levels of leadership that are closer to the day-to-day operations are likely to have a more immediate impact on creativity. Leadership that is effective for creativity satisfies the expectations of creative individuals, fulfills the demands of creative work, and integrates the creative effort with the goals and values of the organization.

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Analysis of Personal Leadership Style

From my individual experience, I can say that personal expectations that have to be satisfied by the leadership are rooted in these “core” abilities and orientations, which fall into two broad categories: cognitive and personality-motivational. The main cognitive expectations to be met are: being allowed to make full use of superior intelligence; having the opportunities to apply superior intelligence; having the opportunities to apply specialized knowledge as well as acquire new knowledge, receiving acceptance for idiosyncratic styles of thinking; seeing value being attached as much to “problem finding” as to problem-solving, and respect being shown not only to analytical and rational arguments but also to intuitive and aesthetic judgments.

I would describe my leadership style as transformational leadership based on motivation and the ability to inspire others. The main personality- and motivation-related expectations to be met are appreciation for perseverance and self-motivated hard work; scope for curiosity and inquisitiveness; bearing with lack of certainty; guarding operational freedom and independence of judgment; support for risk-taking; and furthering of intrinsic motivation. My personal experience allows me to say that many of the demands of work arise from two well-understood facts about it: it is a very complex activity and it represents the cutting edge of the field(s) it is anchored in. But there are two other equally important–and interrelated–facts about creative work. First, its success hinges on change or accidental occurrences. Second, because of the element of chance involved, a particular project or piece of work is usually a part of, a “network of enterprises”–a group of related projects or activities. Given these basic facts, creative work makes special demands on the organization. Even when creativity is greatly valued in an organization, it cannot be supported just for its own sake, and it cannot be supported endlessly. Therefore, selectivity enters in where the key decision-makers place their bets, and how far they go with these bets. And when a good breakthrough is achieved–which may happen suddenly and unexpectedly–the organization needs to move opportunistically to exploit the new possibilities and identify future projects that can build on this breakthrough.

The main characteristics of leadership

Such researchers as Zaccaro and Klimoski (2001) state that leadership appears highly plausible that leadership for creativity has to be a team effort, involving different people in different roles. Concerning management of innovation, Further, researchers (Topping, 2002; Segriovanni and Glickman 2006) describe a model that balances four specific managerial roles in the promotion of innovation: sponsor, mentor, critic, and institutional leader. They also note that these roles are likely to be performed by different individuals. This suggests that in thinking about leadership, we may have to shift the focus of our search away from leadership as a quality or talent that is assumed to reside in a single individual in a given situation, and redirect it toward a vision of leadership as a vital stream of influences emanating from a constellation of people–some inside the organization occupying different hierarchical positions, others possibly outside–who individually fulfill some of the expectations of creative individuals, meet some of the demands of creative work, and satisfy some of the organizational imperatives that inevitably circumscribe creative endeavors.

My experience shows that since senior management is responsible for planning and control throughout the company in nonintrapreneurial firms, it follows that they must adopt a fairly directive leadership style. In most of these firms, managers adopt either a benevolent autocratic, consultative, or participative style. Following Armandi et al (2003) the benevolent autocratic style, the most directive of the three, involves managers telling their subordinates what to do, but emphasizing that it is what is best for them. Similar ideas are expressed by Boehnke and Bontis (2003) who state that the consultative style involves telling subordinates what course of action is being considered and asking for their input, while managers who adopt the participative style ask subordinates to help define the problem and possible courses of action and then they make the final decision. All three styles allow managers to retain a certain amount of control over the decisions of the firm and its employees. Using any of the three styles allows senior management to set the firm’s course and provide employees with enough direction so that they will follow it.

The research made by Conger (2002) process that in firms that encourage entrepreneurial behavior, managers tend to adopt a very non-directive style. The most effective style under these conditions is a positive laissez-faire style in which the manager gives subordinates a great deal of freedom in both setting goals and how they are achieved. Cunningham and Hyman (1995) concluded that there is a great deal of trust between these managers and their subordinates. The philosophy is that employees know what they are supposed to do so they will do it with little direction. This affords subordinates a great deal of creativity in accomplishing their goals and may result in innovative products, production processes, or procedures that increase the unit’s efficiency.

Leadership and organizational culture

My work experience proves the ideas mentioned above and shows that employees of firms look to senior management for the direction they need to accomplish their jobs. The culture stresses rules, and it is the employee’s responsibility to determine what the rules are and then to follow them. There are, in fact, sanctions against rule violations. The culture of intrapreneurial companies stresses that employees are responsible for their destinies. They, in essence, create their futures within the parameters of the company and operating unit and have the freedom to do so. This provides employees with the freedom to experiment and do things they cannot in more structured settings.

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Charan et al (2001) suggest that modern leaders are different from those who typically assume management roles in large, established firms. Managers in larger firms tend to be functional specialists, rather than general managers who develop the vision for their area’s future. Companies that seek to become more intrapreneurial, then, must train their managers to be more entrepreneurial. Reward systems must be created to support entrepreneurial behavior. The culture of a large organization that desires to become more intrapreneurial must be managed so that it encourages and reinforces entrepreneurial behavior. Rather than supporting “standard ways of operating” and rewarding individuals for playing by the rules, the culture must be changed so that mavericks who violate rules in the service of improving the company are heroes. Hoyle and Wilmore (2002) state that leadership is closely connected with the overall culture of the organization. In my exuberance, the culture needed to emphasize trying to “hit a home run” rather than just “getting on base.” In other words, the culture should emphasize risk-taking in the hopes of creating new products or services that can benefit the company in the future rather than playing it “safe” by continuing to operate traditionally. Another important piece of a culture is an emphasis on people. To become more intrapreneurial, a company must teach its leaders how to promote organizational commitment and motivate employees to achieve the organization’s goals while at the same time giving them the freedom to be creative. In a sense, the culture must break down the barriers between work and play so that employees gain an intrinsic reward (in the form of pleasure from actually doing work) rather than just extrinsic rewards (in the form of pay).

I agree with Hoyle and Wilmore (2003) that in companies striving to become more intrapreneurial, managers must be taught to avoid creating plans that are more form than substance. Leaders of operating units need to be given the freedom to set their directions and they need to begin thinking like entrepreneurs in planning their futures. Karaman (2006) supposes that since leaders are closest to the markets they serve, they need to learn how to critically assess their position in the market, their competitive strengths and weaknesses, and what they can do to be more effective in the future. In this regard, the company needs to promote the notion that numbers are not the only thing that matters, but it is what the numbers represent in terms of the long-term goals of the company that matters (Kouzes and Posner 1995).

The bottom line is that to survive in today’s changing economic environment, organizations must learn how to create “business within existing businesses;” that is, to behave more entrepreneurially. This can best be accomplished by allowing divisions that specialize in certain areas the freedom to experiment, promoting a culture that emphasizes a big hit, creating compensation systems that reward individual and group creativity, and implementing an accounting system that emphasizes business development rather than the bottom line. A company’s executive leadership can be instrumental in making the needed changes (Papadopoulou et al 1995). The first step that a CEO can take is to perform an organizational audit of the strengths and limitations of the company in terms of its entrepreneurial capabilities. Once the audit has been completed, the next step is to develop some action programs for improving the company’s entrepreneurial capabilities. This will typically involve some sort of leadership planning exercise and possibly a management development program designed to help managers make the transition from technical specialists to more entrepreneurially oriented general managers. Once the plans have been implemented, it will be important to monitor the firm’s progress toward creating and maintaining effective collaboration. There will probably be some resistance to the changes that will need to be made. Organizations that fail to make these changes, however, will be placing themselves at a disadvantage in today’s rapidly changing business environment. They will, like the dinosaurs, find themselves unable to compete effectively and may, therefore, run the risk of extinction (Jackson and Parry 2003).

Leadership and motivation of others

My work experience proves that business and human resource trends, along with the present and ideal future state of modern organizations, make the identification and discussion of human resource success requirements important, particularly in terms of leadership/followership (Ibbotson, 2008). These boundaries will need to be permeable so that roles are interchanged as needed. For instance, everyone in the organization, whether a part of the leadership or followership, may be required to get extraordinary results from people over whom they have no direct control. Power must be viewed as infinite and interchangeable, with the thought that there is enough for everyone, and that the exercise of power depends on project and purpose rather than where one sits in the organization. There must be a sense of self-control rather than control of others, with employees understanding that no matter where they sit in the organization they can make a difference. There also must be an understanding of the power of cooperation. Many times in large organizations, maintenance, and linear thinking and acting have been the paradigm rather than creativity and innovation. Whole-brain thinking, therefore–operating comfortably from both analytical and creative bases–will be required. Also, both leadership and followership will need to understand both how things get done (process) and what things get done (content). In terms of values in large-scale bureaucracies of the future, the major requirement is truth. Employees in large organizations must become masters of information rather than disinformation since it is difficult to make quick, sound decisions without honest information. Employees in large organizations need to say in public what they many times say in private, thus bringing issues out into the open (Ibbotson, 2008).

To handle an organization in a changing environment, an important requirement is to embrace paradox, or at least handle the anxiety that paradoxes create such as the struggle between the forces of wanting change and avoiding it (stability versus change); the forces of maintenance and the forces of transformation (managing versus leading); the forces of evolution and the forces of revolution; and the forces of caution and the forces of courage. Courage seems to be a requirement in creating and handling the future, particularly in large-scale bureaucracies. Each time we act, it is a living example of how we want things to be. The organization and the associated dilemmas are our creations (Cunningham and Hyman 1995).

Conclusion

The analysis of my leadership qualities allows me to say that I have a transformational leadership style thus lack such important qualities as intuition, mental toughness, and a stung personal image. In a rapidly changing, diverse workforce, the capacity to value differences is required. Also, the development of skills and favorable ways of behaving and interacting with people from different cultures and ethnic groups is required. Based on business and human resource trends and the gap in the present and desired future states of large-scale organizations, human resource success will depend on organizations’ ability to change/modify beliefs, values, and behaviors, establishing the context for their remaining competitive and creating desirable futures. Change should be planned, as a conscious part of designing the program, to provide the most efficient possible utilization of national resources. It is not at all easy for a company to identify what best satisfies objectives, those that are superordinate to those of our space program.

References

Armandi, B., Oppedisano, J., Sherman, H. (2003), Leadership theory and practice: a “case in point. Management Decision. 41 (10), 1076 – 1088.

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Boehnke, K., Bontis, N. (2003). Transformational leadership: An examination of cross-national differences and similarities. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. 24 (1/2), 5.

Charan, R., Drotter, S., Noel, J., (2001). he Leadership Pipeline How to Build The Leadership-Powered Company, Jossey Bass: San Francisco.

Conger, S. (2002). Fostering a career development culture: reflections on the roles of managers, employees and supervisors. Career Development International 7 (6), 371 – 375.

Cunningham, I., Hyman, J. (1995), Transforming the HRM vision into reality: The role of line managers and supervisors in implementing change. Employee Relations..17 (8), 5-20.

Hoyle, J.R., Wilmore, E.L. (2002). Principal Leadership: Applying the New Educational Leadership Constituent Council (Elcc) Standards. Corwin Press.

Ibbotson, P. (2008). The illusion of leadership: Directing creativity in business and the arts. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jackson, B., & Parry, K. W. (2008). A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about studying leadership. Los Angeles: Sage.

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Lagone, C. A., & Rohs, F. R. (2003). Community Leadership Development: Process and Practice. Journal of the Community Development Society, 26 (4), 252-267

Karaman, M. S. (2006). Leadership and Productivity – Jack Welch’s Productivity Triumph.

Kouzes, J., Posner, B., (1995), The Leadership Challenge, Jossey Bass: San Francisco.

Papadopoulou, A., Ineson, E. M., Wilkie, D.T. (1995), Convergence between sources of service job analysis data. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 7 (2-3), 12 – 47.

Segriovanni, Th., Glickman, K. (2006). Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articles. Corwin Press; 2nd edition.

Topping, P. (2002). Managerial Leadership, McGraw-Hill: New York.

Zaccaro, S. J., Klimoski, R. J. (2001), The Nature of Organizational Leadership: Understanding the Performance Imperatives Confronting Today’s Leaders. Jossey-Bass.

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