These days, misconceptions around leadership persist, with some still linking it with inborn qualities. Thus, to realize that everyone can be a leader, one may want to learn the more up-to-date definition and concepts, which support the idea about the phenomenon’s skill-based and situational nature. The leading figure’s roles can also be misunderstood because they should be a visionary, a team-builder, and a problem-solver simultaneously, which is not achievable by everyone, causing disillusionment with the position. This paper will attempt to establish what being a leader entails and which functions one is expected to perform.
A Manager and a Leader
Debates continue over the relationship between leadership and management, which are closely connected but associated with different qualities. A leader engages in motivating or influencing others to execute certain actions to accomplish an objective previously defined by them (Cutler & Steptoe-Warren, 2014). In other words, a leading figure makes an activity meaningful with their vision (Cutler & Steptoe-Warren, 2014). Many views on leadership exist proposing different approaches to establishing relationships with subordinates, and the recent one, the shared social identity, implies that it is done through influence rather than force (Cutler & Steptoe-Warren, 2014). On the other hand, management is related to social activities within an organization that have common goals and involve various stages, from decision-making to controlling the resources (Wu, 2013). Some believe that the two are separate, and others support their integration.
Both sides have several valid arguments stemming from those disparate views on leadership. For instance, for Drucker, management and leadership are equal and cannot exist without each other; a milder stance is that they are complementary due to having different missions (Wu, 2013). The former focuses on how something is done, and the latter’s priority is the activity itself (Wu, 2013). However, some view management as operational and conservative, which are not desirable qualities for a leader who is supposed to transform the system and create new meanings (Storey, 2011). In conclusion, it would be prudent to say that a manager needs to be a leader, and a leading figure outside of an organization, such as a politician, requires managerial skills.
The Most Interesting Parts
I wish to apply talent management, transparency through social media, and the happiness principle in a work environment. I believe they will help facilitate a productive and positive atmosphere where employees will be satisfied with their working conditions. For instance, talent management is instrumental in advancing the organization to new heights and developing meaningful relationships with recruits and the existing staff (Cutler & Steptoe-Warren, 2014). Furthermore, not only the best from the top level will benefit from the initiative – everyone will be positively impacted, preventing inner conflicts (Cutler & Steptoe-Warren, 2014). As an active social media user, it will be interesting to implement them to facilitate communication with employees and customers and ensure that the organization is transparent (Cutler & Steptoe-Warren, 2014). Although such platforms are not perfect and can be used against the company, their potential makes them a viable tool (Cutler & Steptoe-Warren, 2014). Lastly, the happiness principle seems extremely important due to its association with job satisfaction, and those dissatisfied with capitalism might find themselves in a more comfortable position (Cutler & Steptoe-Warren, 2014). Altogether, the discussed elements seem beneficial for improving employee retention and trust.
Leader as a Visionary
For a leader, being a visionary is an inherent quality. It means that one should be able to present a strategy to the world and oversee the implementation process (Wu, 2013). Ideally, a leading figure’s vision is unified and shared by everyone in the company (Wu, 2013). Other features include being long-term, well-developed, and somewhat idealistic, although not to the point of being unachievable (Manhgam, 2011; Wu, 2013;). While being a visionary is essential for a leading figure, some emphasize it and expect employees to possess inventiveness (Zhou et al., 2018). Thus, a distinct style develops when the leader encourages the subordinates to be creative and facilitates their enthusiasm through knowledge-sharing (Zhou et al., 2018). Goal orientations are also important because a vision implies a certain goal, although they are not necessarily equal since the former is more general and long-term, potentially encompassing several objectives (Zhou et al., 2018). Overall, a visionary leader has a strategy that the staff understands and applies as the guidance to one or more objectives.
Not all cultures share the same sentiment regarding a vision’s importance. For instance, Chinese philosophy, such as Taoism, is not particularly compatible with the idea of constructing a long-term plan (Zhou et al., 2018). However, the success of Western companies makes leaders from China reconsider their approaches and implement visionary leadership because they acknowledge the importance of employees understanding the common goal (Zhou et al., 2018). Thus, the idea of a leader as a visionary is becoming more prominent.
Leader as a Problem-Solver
In their activities, leaders tend to encounter obstacles and face challenges of various kinds that eventually require a solution. Therefore, being a problem-solver appears a crucial step to succeed in reaching the goal while overcoming the difficulties. Resolving a complicated situation is not only beneficial for business – it is an important aspect of leader development, which includes self-problem solving (Antonacopoulou & Bento, 2011). The latter could mean that one constantly reflects and attempts to resolve certain issues within themselves. Such an approach is instrumental in realizing responsibility and refraining from blaming others for personal mistakes, which requires sufficient emotional intelligence (Wu, 2013). However, how a leader solves the problems is also relevant because those who apply some creativity manage to be more successful (Puccio et al., 2018). Moreover, the dilemma of whether using the existing solutions can be considering problem-solving exists (Puccio et al., 2018). Another point is that a leader cannot be solely responsible for amending everything – employees should also be involved in the process (Puccio et al., 2018). Thus, a leading figure constantly resolves problems, which are to be approached creatively.
Leader as a Team-Builder
A leader does not exist in a vacuum as they work with other people to realize their vision. However, one may find it difficult to cooperate with a dispersed group not connected by anything. Thus, the leading figure must make a whole and construct a common goal, which is essential team-building (Aga et al., 2016). Without such a procedure, a project is likely to be a failure even if other aspects are present (Aga et al., 2016). Before attempting to connect all the employees, one might want to start with a smaller leadership team, which will be useful for distributing responsibilities and organizing the body in manageable parts (Aga et al., 2016). When leaders are discussed, their activities always include teams instead of other associations, further highlighting the importance of team-building (Wu, 2013). Overall, a leader cannot advance further without uniting the employees first.
In the long debate of leaders and managers, the idea that both rely on each other prevails, and their complementary functions make one a prepared professional. Talent management, social media, and the happiness principle seem crucial for establishing fruitful relationships with employees. A leading figure possesses such roles as a visionary, a problem-solver, and a team-builder, all of which are connected because a team may be impossible without a vision.
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