Apr 8, 2019 in Management

Leadership Philosophy

Introduction

Leadership is one of the fundamental qualities required within society. Since ancient times, groups of people and communities of different sizes have required a leader in order to accomplish collective tasks. Thus, such processes as hunting, managing the resources of the community, and guiding its connections with other communities required a tribal leader. Likewise, the leaders of the business enterprises and countries serve the communities of bigger size and solve more complex tasks. Therefore, one may have a question about the fundamental qualities of leaders and the principles of their development. There are various courses which allow learning the basics of leadership and applying them towards real-life situations. At the same time, there should be the stress on connection of leading principles with personal philosophy of a future leader. This aspect is crucial since each person has a unique style of communication and social management, which create a peculiar framework for leading. Thus, in case a person is learning the approaches, which do not suit one’s framework, he or she fails to work. In such situation, the leader attempts to lead people with insufficient power causing failures in communicative strategies. Thus, there is a need for discussion of individual leadership philosophy as well as its connection with real-life leadership approaches and situations. Therefore, the paper presents a snapshot of individual values, beliefs, and attitudes that translate certain leadership behavior. The discussion of individual philosophy of leadership allows describing personal approaches towards excellent leadership and putting them into practice, when empowered by modern leading techniques.

The Primary Purpose of Leadership

In order to successfully address the phenomenon of leadership and present its individual vision, one has to denote it. Thus, leadership is a quality of leading people in their decisions, actions, or both. The followers may be presented in groups or act individually, but they require a leader in order to set goals and to be motivated for their achievements. Northouse identifies leadership as a process involving influence, which occurs in groups and comprises of common goals. Moreover, the scholar claims that leadership involves influence and presents a non-linear event being characterized by the relationships of a leader and his/her followers. Moreover, leadership defined in this way becomes available for everyone and is not restricted to the formally set leader of any group. Sometimes, leaders control the process of task performing, although this function is the domain of managers. Thus, one should differentiate the domain of a leader from the domain of a manager. Edwards, Schedlitzki, Turnbull, and Gill argue that historically, there has been a problem defined as confusion between the framework of a leader and a manager. Moreover, Ratcliffe claims that “Management is a set of processes that … are about planning, budgeting, staffing, clarifying jobs, measuring performance, and problem-solving when results did not go to plan.” Therefore, a manager keeps an organization functioning by performing the management of the processes within this organization. At the same time, “leadership is … about aligning people to the vision that means buy-in and communication, motivation and inspiration". Moreover, any organization requires a tandem of a working leader and a manager. This aspect is crucial because some processes require both practitioners in order to be accomplished successfully. For instance, some experts claim that target-setting may be effectively addressed only through tandem of a leader and a manager. Thus, the primary purpose of leadership is motivation and encouragement for accomplishing the tasks requiring inspiration because of their difficulty. In this respect, Kotter notes that, in case the world is not changing, there is no need for a leader. This statement is supported by the argument that “Leadership is always about change: it's not about mobilizing people to do what they've always done well to continue to do it well”. Therefore, the leaders are expected to accomplish tasks with inspiration, motivation, and assistance in goal-setting through a specific toolkit of communication. Moreover, leadership is a critical aspect for any organization, which requires adaptation towards changing environmental conditions. Likewise, it involves the ability for collaboration between various organizations in order to assure correct positioning of one organization among the others.

Personal Reasons for the Engagement of Leadership

A person may wonder about the reasons for one’s engaging in leadership because not every individual faces the tasks of leading people. I consider the idea of necessity absence for being a leader as a misconception. The reason for such statement is that even if a person does not lead a group of people, he or she may lead oneself. Thus, there is a need for development of the leaser’s framework in order to attain individual goals and objectives. For instance, people talk about such aspects as learning time-management and other management strategies for individual benefits. At the same time, they require personal leadership strategies for the enhancement of their goal-setting and goal-accomplishing skills through self-motivation and inspiration. Likewise, being a leader makes any person capable of communicating with other people from the position of a leader. In its turn, it stimulates the quantity and quality of business and social connections, which attract people and increase the level of socialization. Moreover, it boosts one’s flexibility and results in increased social and task-solving adaptation.  Thus, personal leadership stimulates different aspects of life and turns an individual into professional in decision-making, task-planning, communicating, adapting, and performing. 

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Furthermore, it is significant to define the phenomenon of success for a leader, which evaluates individual efficacy in this domain. DuBrin connects this aspect with being successful as a leader in the workplace, which requires displaying loyalty, managing one’s impression, being positive, pleasant, and courteous. Simultaneously, the scholar advises avoiding such practices as criticizing people, bypassing bosses, declining offers from top management, being needlessly tactless, and rejecting dress codes. Consequently, the success of a leader incorporates a broad range of aspects starting from dress code and ending with sophisticated long-term perspective communicative strategies. Therefore, the success of a leader should be evaluated by the indicated parameters, which allow increasing quantity and quality of social connections resulting in personal benefits. Likewise, there is a need for balancing the internal and external indicators of success while being a leader. The internal sense of satisfaction allows a person to be assured in one’s steps and decisions, which increases the influence of an individual. At the same time, the minor proportion of a leader’s efficacy could be measured through a profession, community, and peers or family. This aspect is mainly presented by the characteristics of people, which had an experience of facing with one’s influence. These indicators play a minor role because in case a person lacks self-confidence, inner feeling of success, and inner power, his or her characteristics would be mostly negative. On the contrary, if a successful leader is criticized in one’s community, its opinion might be changed after he or she realizes positive outcomes of the implemented strategies. Therefore, any person should develop leading qualities within because they boost individual efficacy as well as increase the quality and quantity of social connections. In its turn, the success of individual leadership is mostly assessed to a degree of internal satisfaction and recognition of the community. Consequently, there is a need for the approval of individual trustworthiness while being a leader in order to provide efficient leadership.

Trustworthiness and Effective Leadership

Assuming that trustworthiness is critical to effective leadership, it requires adequate characteristic regarding traits, skills, and behaviors, which assure trust of the influenced people. Scholars characterize trust as a vital quality, which stimulates loyalty and obedience to the leader. Moreover, trust and liking are identified as characteristics required for forming high-quality social exchanges. Indeed, no one would trust a person with bad reputation. In its turn, the reputation for a leader is the result of one’s successful communication and the use of peculiar strategies, which resulted in a collective act of goal achievement. In this case, a leader gradually acquires reputation in a group. The first stage here might be the acceptance and collective agreement towards positioning a person as a leader. The outcome of this agreement is that the leader should meet the expectations of the group. In case this task is accomplished successfully, the leader ains more power of influence due to increased trustworthiness. Moreover, in case a person with a trustworthy reputation happens to fail, a group may ignore this fact due to the previous successfully achieved goals. On the contrary, if the leader fails to meet the expectations of the group from the start of one’s appointment, the group is likely to reject such person. Therefore, I have to become trustworthy through successful goal-setting, communicating, visioning, motivating, and inspiring those who follow me. In case my inspirational and visioning skills sufficiently impact the group of the followers, they are likely to recognize me as a successful leader. At the same time, my followers require trust as well because I have to be sure about the accomplishment of the selected strategies. Consequently, trustworthiness is a two-way characteristic, which assures the level of understanding and loyalty of a leader towards the group and vice versa. 

The Role of Communication and Decision-Making for a Leader

Since communication is one of the most crucial aspects inside any society, any leader requires possessing well-developed communicative skills. The reason for this is that communication serves as a bridge between ideas, concepts, and their implementation. In case a leader sets a goal, he or she requires its description and establishment before the group. In this sense, there is a variety of communicative methods, which allow presenting information in different ways. In its turn, such presentation plays a certain role in encouraging followers to self-regulate in distinct ways. Thus, I have to ensure that there is an effective communication in my group or organization by addressing adequate techniques that define my style of leadership. It is worth mentioning that I tend to maintain servant leadership. This means that I have to focus on the well-being of my followers. Moreover, I have to share powers and assist people in developing and performing as highly as possible. Consequently, I have to be diplomatic and do not put pressure on my followers. Instead, I have to be aware of their inner state and problems, which decrease their proficiency. Likewise, I have to assist them in overcoming these issues through moral and motivational support. At the same time, I have to assure that the information flow from me as a leader comes in understandable and laconic form. Thus, I have to avoid complicated descriptions of the tasks and their details giving preference for simple constructions, which are easy to comprehend. This means that the benefit of my leadership style is the creation of an “open” organizational culture where I could share my influence if necessary. Moreover, there should be no vivid negative reaction towards bad news within the organization or among its members. It means that each problem should be addressed as a challenge leading to self-improvement and development of the group. In this case, the group would focus on the solutions rather than on the fact of the current problem. This focus shift allows avoiding collective stress and being more productive when performing with creativity, which is not restricted by stresses. 

Furthermore, the format of an “open” organizational culture allows discussing the existing and expected problems of internal and external character. Therefore, it would be comparatively easy to learn about the processes going on in my organization. The reason for this is that there would not be a taboo regarding an open objective critique of a leader or anyone in the group, or problematic issue. The freedom of expression, creativity, and critique allows providing a transparent leadership policy, where my position is guiding people, but not managing or controlling them. Thus, a significant stress is placed upon self-regulatory principles that are monitored by me as a leader of the group. Likewise, such monitoring allows correcting the opinions of the group members in such way that their intellectual and creative potential is expressed at its full capacity. This means that the right to “speak truth to power” allows achieving transparency required for sufficient leadership within the framework of the selected style. 

Moreover, the described approach regarding leadership allows communicating adequate decision-making strategies within my organization. Thus, as it was described earlier, the decision-making should be the priority of my followers. At the same time, my role as a leader is directing the group towards the increasing of the power of collaboration. The reason for this is that united mental resources of intellect and creativity may lead to unexpectedly proficient results regarding any task. The format of an “open” organizational culture determines my approach towards the followers as if being a mentor and not controller or decision manager. In this sense, my responsibility is the assurance of mutual trustworthiness within a group along with open discussions involving the maximum of one’s intellectual potential. 

Leadership, Power, and Balance in Life

The position of a person as a leader requires a peculiar degree of the use of power. It depends on the style of leadership and should be balanced with other aspects of life. The leader is always a person, which is delegated a power to govern a group. Therefore, the aspect of the power application involves certain ethical issues. Johnson claims that there are several kinds of power: reward, legitimate, expert, and referent one. This means that any leader may lead on the basis of delivering something valuable to followers, one’s position, knowledge, and skills or admiration of the followers. Moreover, leaders typically possess several sources of power. At the same time, the selected style of a servant leadership means that I do not focus on my powers. Therefore, I may delegate some type of power to a person among the followers with the former being capable of increasing the potential of a group. To my mind, this approach allows assuring flexibility regarding problem-solving tasks. The reason for this is that in case I hold my power while lacking some competence or knowledge in a certain domain, the work would not be efficient. On the contrary, free sharing of power to trustworthy and competent members would increase the performance of the whole group. Thus, the only privilege I may require from my group is the respect towards my knowledge, skills, loyalty, and trustworthiness. Therefore, I do not require any formal characteristics. Even the position of a CEO might not be critical since I preserve the power based on recognition of my leadership skills. Consequently, one more positive feature of this approach is that I cannot abuse my power since it would decrease my trustworthiness and the group’s loyalty towards me. 

Moreover, any leader should understand that he or she may hold a leading position only regarding certain domains of activity. The reason for this is that leadership involves a wide specter of loyalties such as loyalties to self, family, religion, community, organization, and profession. In case a leader attempts to perform fully in every domain, it may involve certain problems decreasing one’s efficacy or recognition. Thus, a person should state priorities addressing key domains and putting other ones to the background. Therefore, prioritizing one’s loyalties allows decreasing the level of stress and revealing additional potential. In my case, I would give priority to my religion, family, organization, self, and community. Such choice is based on my contemporary observations and may be changed with time, but I believe that religion, while addressing “right” decisions, gives the basis for any person. Any individual is supported by his/her family, which assist morally and bring sense to life. Organization is the place where I actualize my potential and assist other people. Likewise, I give one of the least priorities to self and the community since I know that my family supports me, and my organization supports the community. I realize that the priorities might be changed, but I focus more on religion and family values, which I believe are permanent in any community.  

Creating Environment and Assuring Growth and Development

One more crucial aspect for a leader is creating a stable and progressive environment while assuring collective and personal growth. Environment plays a significant role for an organization because it may either foster or deteriorate the links between the leader and the followers. Moreover, it may boost or decrease the efficacy of a group. Therefore, my task as a leader is assuring positive psychic environment within organization. Such environment should be based on optimistic corporate culture. I would develop a positive organizational climate through freedom of expression, respect towards the others’ rights, and a feeling of collaboration. This task requires team-building initiatives, which assure the will of the group to maintain high standards of performance with a special focus on self-development and innovations. At the same time, I would encourage rational risk-taking in terms of increasing the potential of workers and raising their stress resistance. 

Therefore, the described structure and measures would allow assuring continuous personal and group development achieved through interaction and collaborative problem-solving. Consequently, the core of my organization should be focused on family and corporate values. At the same time, I would encourage innovative approaches regarding goal statement and goal achievement in case they are effective. I associate my future success with efficient team-building that allows designing a group of collaborative followers with shared powers, freedom of expression, and criticism. This transparent model would allow obtaining a timely feedback regarding any process occurring within an organization including leadership itself. In its turn, it allows identifying the internal and external goals and reaching them in the most successful way.  

Conclusion

Summarizing the presented information, the paper comes to a conclusion that leadership is a complex phenomenon, which considerably impacts the efficiency of any organization. My personal philosophy of leadership is focused around the model of servant leadership. This means that I tend to assist my followers in increasing their potential and knowledge for the sake of the running of my organization in the most efficient way. Likewise, I would reject holding the power of a leader but share it with trustworthy and competent members, who demonstrate better proficiency regarding crucial task management. At the same time, I give priority of being loyal to religious, family, and corporate values since these aspects are the most important in my life. Thus, the religion allows me doing ethically right decisions, the family supports me, and I support my followers. Therefore, I create a positive working environment based on the “open” organizational culture. I also assure personal and group development achieved through interaction and collaborative problem-solving. Consequently, I consider that my leadership philosophy allows boosting the potential of my organization.

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