Leadership is the process of motivating others to work to meet specific goals and objectives. “Leadership is deliberately causing people-driven actions in a planned fashion for the purpose of accomplishing the leader’s agenda” (Crosby 2). A leader motivates others to action. Thus, it is the motivation of others and their actions that defines a successful leader. In other words, leadership is the art and science of getting others to perform and achieve a vision. Therefore, leadership is not only reflected in performance, no matter how good that performance is, but in accomplishment.
As a leader one’s focus should be on accomplishing that leadership goals, whether in a personal, community or charitable, business, political, or industrial forum. In the business world, managers have a great responsibility of leading employees working under them. In order to achieve successful leadership, a leader or a manager should possess certain principles and essential skills.
Leadership Principles, Objectives and Problems
There are several principles a leader should follow to be successful. A few of the principles are as follows:
The most important principle of leadership is ‘listening’. “A good leader is always an active listener” (Rausch, Washbush 143). Active listening shows that the leader cares, is interested and wants to be involved, enabling the n leader to benefit from the experience.
The primary objective of a leader would be to adapt the principles of ‘listening’ into their own life. If the leader is not a good listener, then he/she should learn how to really listen. In addition to listening and carefully understanding what a team member is saying, leader should also make sure that every team member gets leader’s undivided attention (Normand, Jackson 111).
Unfortunately, as a listener, leaders have their own problems to face with. Listeners frequently have too many sound and visual signals reaching them at the same time. It is difficult for the listener to pay attention to multiple speakers all at once. Also, there could be a number of other problems the leader could be facing in their own life. The leader as a listener will never listen with understanding until other matters are forgotten for the moment and attention is given to the speaker. Another problem involved with listening is the leader not being able to understand the words being spoken. Hearing what is being spoken is just a part of listening, but understanding some of the words could be tricky sometimes.
To avoid problems involving listening, the listener should use good eye contact so that he/she can concentrate on the particular speaker. That helps the listener pay attention on the subject too. Leader should also learn the meaning of the words the speaker is using and if he is unable to understand, he needs to ask questions. This also lets the speaker know that the listener is unable to understand and the listener is paying attention.
Planning is determining what you want to accomplish, working out beforehand how it is to be done, deciding who will responsible for each step, and having every phase written down.
One of the leader’s objectives is to be able to appreciate the value of careful and complete planning. Good leader applies the steps of good planning to each part of life. The leader should visually plan the steps involved to reach a certain goal. For example, assume that an organizational agenda is “A return on assets of atleast 15 percent, revenues per employee over $155,000 annually, zero customer complaints, twenty new products…” (Crosby 33). The first step is to separate the revenue-producing areas into those that are never going to reach that performance level, those that could with the correct investment of time or money, and those that are meeting it now. Things that can must replace those that cannot meet. This sort of planning is a regular part of leaders organizational life (33).
The biggest problem with planning is it is time consuming and involves a lot of thought. In addition, it involved paperwork and other systematic procedures. Many people hate paperwork and following systematic procedures, which makes the planning process inefficient.
To achieve good planning results without any problems, the leader should set a broad goal or objective and decide what form the project will take. Then develop a step-by-step course of action to completion (Lundy 13). Keeping all the other objectives in mind, the plan should then be put into effect while readjusting the plan as necessary.
Most important of all the leadership principles is to be able to effectively manage time. The leader must determine not only how he will use his own time, but also how the group’s time will be used. Managing time effectively will allow the leader to achieve success, happiness and pride at the workforce.
As a leader, personal time management is one of the chief objectives. At work place, the leader should manage meeting time more effectively. The leader should develop and follow his own personal plan for the effective use of time.
Often times leaders find having trouble with managing time. Due to poor organization and lack of planning, time management becomes a tricky task. “Being unable to set the priorities will make time management process very ineffective and sometimes completely useless” (Washbush, Rausch 269).
There are several ways to manage the group’s or organization’s time effectively. The leader should provide a job description to each person. To save more time, the leader should train or take key people further and commit to these key people when things need to be done immediately. These key people should be kept informed and the leader should have these key people take initiative to report back. The leader should utilize only the time needed for successful completion of the group project, event or activity.
Every individual working in the team is important and every individual has varied talents and not to mention problems of their own. Knowing the person, understanding the person and identifying the strengths and needs of the individual are vital for the leader in order to be most effective with the person (Rausch, Washbush 233-235).
Leader’s objective is to perform more effectively as a leader by getting to know and understand individual members of the group. Leader should be able identify the characteristics and needs of the members of a group. The leader should be able to look for and accept the strengths of each individual (Lundy 43-45).
Getting to know a person is a very complex skill and there are several problems involved during this process. People are complex. An individual is like a mixed bag with different characteristics. Until many of the characteristics of an individual are identified, it is impossible to begin to know and understand that person.
To overcome the problems of knowing a person, the leader should spend more time with his team members. The leader should make attempts to know the needs and characteristics of his team member and fellow employees.
Every human being has need for love. If we love a person, we care for that person and we try not to hurt the person in any way. Love is expressed by doing things to strengthen, improve, support and defend the one loved.
A good leader does what is morally and ethically right and does not abuse the management power or privileges he/she has over their sub-ordinates. A good leader loves and gives individual consideration, coaches, advises and gives help to those who need it. A good leader also treats newcomers with a lot of respect and love (Row).
Leader should give love to each person he associates with. The primary objective is to overcome the fear as a leader by extablishing close feelings of love with the team members.
“Leadership involves being as well as doing. Individual styles of leadership may be quite different, yet equally effective” (Lundy 76). As conditions and situations change, leaders need to change their styles of leadership. The challenge of the leader is not to follow one leadership style all the time, but to use the leadership style needed by his followers. Leaders should maintain the power or influence of their offices by being kind and knowledgeable.
The primary objective of being the leader would be to recognize the qualities necessary for a leader to be successful. Leader should be able to recognize various leadership styles and understand when each would be appropriate. “Sometimes leader will have to follow their group member and in such situations the good leader will appreciate the leadership in other while serving the role of a follower”(Carlin).
Leader often have trouble deciding what leadership style to be used at what given instance. Another problem with leaders is that some leaders tend to follow the same leadership principles all the time and this is not a good idea to tackle special situations.
The leader must not consider himself locked into a style of leadership with any individual or group. To avoid problems leaders should always act accordingly and change leadership skills depending on the situation and need. At the same time leader should be confident enough to be able to deal with the new skills (Carlin).
Every group needs a leader and the group’s performance depends on the leader either directly or indirectly. Whether it is a hospital, private practice, health maintenance organization, government facility, or university, or a business, they all need supervisors and leaders. The behavior as a manager has a direct impact on staff performance, productivity, satisfaction, and turnover. Proper Leadership skills are highly essential for a manager as well as the company or organization to become successful. The leadership principles mentioned in this paper are just a simple guideline for managers and leaders to follow; however, a good leader does not require any guidelines. A good leader inherits leadership qualities by inheritance of leadership abilities and characteristics from their own life.