Through time, leadership styles and strategies have changed. At some point in the past, leadership was considered as the ability of an individual to exercise his power over a group of people. Leaders played a greater part in decision-making in ancient times. However, individuals that make up the group went through changes thus, the society has changed as well. Leaders remain as leaders but his decisions will not be the sole basis of the group as the role of each member of the group is also recognized and considered vital in the decision-making process (Luissier and Achua 2001).
Believing that each member of the group is imperative in attaining the goals set by the group, leadership becomes more of an association within the group rather than a solitary role. The community and even the country, as a whole, are as well exercising different leadership styles. Each department has an assigned leader who looks forward to the attainment of goals established. However, this involvement may be demonstrated in different manners (Luissier and Achua 2001).
Leadership: Its definition and significance
The success of a group depends highly on the leaders who run it – strong leadership, that is. Model leaders oftentimes provide a huge impact on the lives and future of everyone.
Leadership is defined as a process where an individual influences a certain number of people to reach the top level of success, and to reach the common goal. (Bolden 2004). In another definition, leadership is a process rather than an event. Change of situations can affect the roles and behaviours of leaders and the followers around them. Leaders are often regarded as respectable, influencing and responsible model to each and every follower. While problems may be posed on the definition of leadership, there are still qualities that make them an effective one. Williams (2005) identified seven qualities of effective leaders. These are thoroughly discussed below:
Each and every individual, old or young, has his own vision no matter what or how society may dictate it. A vision is dream of what an individual wants to be, may it be success in a certain degree of his life. This vision can only be achieved if everyone in the team will struggle and compete for it. The leader and the aspiring leaders should learn how to encourage each and every one to have a vision and hold it for the rest of their lives until this will be fulfilled (Williams, 2005).
The vision which was formed should be clearly communicated to the team. This should be done in a persuasive and effective manner to get the expected outcome in every activity. Communication is one important factor in achieving vision and goals. Early building of effective communication can build people’s confidence and communication skills (Williams, 2005).
A good and effective communication skill is only one factor but what makes it more special is the relationship with the people around. It is when an adult is faced with challenges in life he become responsible in building bridges. Motivating, resolving conflicts, listening, affirming, praising and building community are just few of the people skills that each and every individual needs in dealing the day-to-day encounters with people—these people who may in another way be an inspiration to build dreams and achieve goals in the future (Williams, 2005).
Character at its best always counts. People tend to follow and respect a leader who has a character that is true not only to him but also to the constituents. As John Maxwell observed, “People buy into the leader before they buy into the leader’s vision.” This only means that people are more attracted with how the leader is able to portray himself in front of the people rather than how he presents his vision, mission and goals. So the leaders should keep in mind that good character traits such as strong work ethic, humility, honesty, integrity, personal responsibility, social responsibility, self-discipline, courage, kindness, fairness, tolerance, and respect for others can build relationships and earn respect (Williams, 2005).
Along with character, competence of a leader should come hand in hand. From the root word compete; a leader with this quality will surely win since he has always a positive outlook with life. In a group or a team with such kind of leader, it is not a question then whenever this team wins. On the other hand, competence comes from having experience (a proven track record), learning how to delegate, and approaching every task with a commitment to excellence (Williams, 2005).
Boldness is being daring. It is like the courage of taking risks in every circumstance that might not lead to a good result but still would want to pursue it. If a leader is bold, he is willing to take chances in any way he can just to ensure that his goals and vision are met. This is sometimes a difficult quality to learn but when it is already learned, it is worth it. Leaders must learn to be courageous, risk-taker, adventurous and overcome shyness, timidity, and a tendency to play it safe (Williams, 2005).
A good leader is also a good follower. True leadership is not about being “the boss” but about being a servant. Everybody should be taught how to be humble in any way they can and not be boastful of what they have. Instead inculcate in their minds that being a leader is not an opportunity to be arrogant but always be challenged to serve and inspire every individual (Williams, 2005).
Clearly, President Obama has the making of a good and promising leader. He has a vision. He knows what he wants for the country, for the American people and for the world. And he knows how to get there.
President Obama communicates well. He reaches out to the people, may it be Americans or not. He communicates to the neighboring countries. He shares what his visions are and he expresses commitment to achieving his goals.
President Obama has excellent people skills. He would no be in his position now had it not been for his ability to relate well with the people. In the short span that he is in position as the President of the country, he has already shown that he is indeed for the people, and by the people.
President’s Obama’s character has not been tainted in any way. Yes, he may have probably admitted some juvenile activities he had done in the past but they are really in the past now. Those things are just normal acts and any teenager would have experienced doing the same. But what matters the most is he has changed and has been serving as a model, not only for his family but for the many people who have known him.
Lastly, we cannot deny the fact that President Obama is competent and daring. He is well equipped with the knowledge and experience to act as a good leader of the nation. He has been bold enough to run for president despite his color and original race. And he will continue to be daring and bold to change the nation and the world for the better.
President Obama’s Leadership
In brief, Mills (2005) stated that “leadership is about a vision of the future and the ability to boost others to pursue it while management is about getting results and if it done effectively and efficiently it will be a success”.
A good leader should have qualities that can meet the standards of the people. Some of these are passion with the work. Enjoying what he is doing and do not care with the compensation. A good leader should also be decisive. In handling matters inside the company, the people seek this kind of leader (Leadership Styles 2006).
In leading a team or an individual, there are a number of styles used. This is based on the norms and cultures, values, beliefs, and preferences of the people. Leadership styles (Leadership Styles 2006) are more varied in America today than in Asia. There are seven styles are currently used: Charismatic Leadership, Participative Leadership, Situational Leadership, Transactional Leadership, Transformational Leadership, The Quiet Leader and the Servant Leadership.
Obviously, President Obama has been using a combination of several form of leadership. From the very beginning, we can see that he has such a magnificent charm and charisma. His charm and grace becomes his major weapon to direct people. These are exactly the characteristics possessed by the charismatic leaders. True to the form, President Obama shows concern with the people around him. He approaches the individual, and talk to them on a one-on-one basis. This is his way of knowing his people and making sure that both of their expectations are being met.
President Obama has also shown that he is a transformational leader. Transformational leader is somewhat similar to the charismatic leader but is more on putting passion and energy to everything. It is also people centred where it is structured to create a vision for the people and will develop to make potential leaders. They are always visible and fight for whatever rights and let everyone know that they have something to say (Pason, 2003). Despite criticism President Obama makes an effort to do his projects successfully and will not be discouraged with difficulties along the way as it will lead to a goal. It can easily be observed that like all transformational leaders, President Obama is people-oriented and believes that commitment is one key to be successful.
Another style of leadership that is also evident on President Obama is his being a participative leader as he always involves people in the process. Participative leadership is also known as consultation, empowerment, joint decision-making, democratic leadership, Management By Objective (MBO) and power-sharing (Bolden 2004). President Obama normally does not do the decision-making alone. He normally calls his subordinates (secretaries, senators, etc) to discuss matters which will involve decision making but then depending on how important the decision making will be.
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