Leadership Essay

The Qualities Of A Good Leader


Leaderships have an of import function within an administration related to its success, productiveness and the public presentation of the employees. The ‘fundamental undertaking of a leader is to construct and keep a high acting team’ ( Furnham, 2005, p.566 ) . However, Yukl ( 2013, p.18 ) argues that there are legion and diverse definitions refering the construct of a leader every bit good as the term leading, although a general consensus appears to propose it involves a procedure of act uponing and steering relationships within an administration. Guirdham ( 2002, p.15 ) emphasises the importance of leaders holding good interpersonal and communicating accomplishments, which as Yukl suggest involves the ability to carry others. Yukl ( 2013, p.18 ) farther provinces there are extra factors that contribute to good leading such as the situational context and the usage of power. Another issue sing the features of leaders is that many theories and theoretical accounts have been based on Western positions ( House and Aditya, 1997, p.409 ) and typically based on research with white males ( Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, CIPD, 2008, p.7 ) . There is some cultural crossing over in servant leading, which harmonizing to Northouse ( 2013, p.219 ) , was originally proposed by Greenleaf in the 1970s, and besides has beginnings in ancient Eastern and Western doctrines ; for illustration, it is profoundly embedded in Arab-Islamic civilization ( Sarayrah, 2004, p.59 ) . A farther concern is raised by Mullins ( 2008, p.265 ) who states that finding who is a ‘good leader’ is a subjective opinion and can non be based, for illustration, on fiscal public presentation entirely. The purpose of the undermentioned essay is to look into whether certain features are related to good leading and which can be identified in theories and theoretical accounts of leading such as trait theory, transformational and magnetic leading every bit good as reliable and servant leading. Finally, there will be a brief treatment sing interpersonal features such as emotional intelligence and communicating accomplishments.

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Theories and Models of Leadership

Trait Theories

Trait theories of leading proposed that successful leaders possessed typical traits or features that differentiated them from unsuccessful leaders and subsidiaries. As Northouse ( 2013, p.7 ) references there are common phrases in usage in society such as ‘he was born to be a leader’or ‘she is a natural leader’which suggest that people tend to believe good leaders are born and non trained. The construct of leaders holding certain features dominated research prior to the Second World War. It was thought that persons could be selected for leading places if they showed the appropriate features or instead that traits could be taught to leaders ( Furnham, 2005, p.571 ) . Popular books, such as Stephen Covey’s book,The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,propose that certain traits or features can be learned. Covey ( 2004, p.46 ) states that ‘our character, fundamentally, is a complex of our habits.’ Covey continues stating that wonts are consistent, can be learned or unlearned and show an individual’s character and how effectual or uneffective they are ( Covey, 2004, p.46 ) . Covey suggests that effectual people are proactive, have a lucidity sing their life-goals, manage themselves, value and esteem other people, are empathetic and promote positive teamwork ( Covey, 2004, p.65 ) . The 7th wont involves taking clip to ‘sharpen the saw’ which Covey translates as significance clip to review physical, religious, psychological and socio-emotional dimensions of a person’s character ( Covey, 2004, pp.287-288 ) .

A figure of features and traits related to good leaders have been identified ; for illustration, Smith and Foti ( 1998, p.147 ) undertook a survey look intoing the features of emergent leaders and found that the traits of laterality, intelligence and self-efficacy were significantly higher in emergent leaders than other persons who were non classified as emergent leaders. Harmonizing to Furnham ( 2005, p.572 ) , good leaders normally possess features such as continuity, invention and a willingness to take duty for their actions. Yukl ( 2013, p.146 ) likewise identifies certain features related to good leaders which include a high tolerance of emphasis, emotional adulthood, personal unity, motive and assurance. However, Furnham ( 2005, p.574 ) suggests that although there are legion traits, there appears to be small understanding sing which features contribute to a leader being effectual.

Harmonizing to Zaccaro, ( 2007, p.6 ) trait theories are non able to explicate how leaders’ features adapt to different state of affairss and contexts and therefore a major unfavorable judgment of trait theories is that they do non see the wider context of civilization, society or the interactions with the features of subsidiaries ( Zaccaro, 2007, p.7 ) . Analyzing the features of good leaders implies that leaders innately possess certain personality traits although it could be suggested that some good leaders can larn through experience ( Bryman, Collinson, Grint, Jackson and Uhl-Bien, 2011, p.78 ) . The impression that good leaders can larn accomplishments through a dynamic learning experience is supported by other research workers ; for illustration, Rodd ( 2006, p.13 ) proposes that practicians within the Early Old ages profession can go leaders through ‘demonstrating increasing competence’ and by developing the personal accomplishments necessary to go a leader. Daly and Byers ( 2004, p.7 ) suggest that good leaders will besides guarantee that employees have the chance for preparation and professional development which in bend may assist them to go good leaders. Kolb ( 1984, p.25 ) likewise supports the thought of larning leading accomplishments through experience and suggests that larning involves a changeless alteration of thoughts, positions and sentiments which are non fixed and ideas are ‘formed and reformed through experience’ and ‘continually modified by experience’ . The importance of holding a flexible attack is emphasised by Daly and Byers ( 2004, p.187 ) guaranting that the leader is adaptable and can implement new thoughts or processs when necessary. Even early theoreticians such as Taylor ( 1911, p.7 ) argued that good leaders are non born and required systematic preparation alternatively of being reliant on ‘some unusual or extraordinary man’ .

It is farther argued by Zaccaro ( 2007, p.10 ) that because being a good leader is complex there is likely an interaction of the leader’s features every bit good as an interaction with the variables present in different state of affairss and contexts. Theories such as Fiedler’s eventuality theory ( Fiedler 1967, cited in Northouse, 2013, pp.123-125 ) were developed chiefly with leaders in the military and focused on how compatible the features and manner of the leader were with a specific state of affairs. Therefore, ‘effective leading is contingent on fiting a leader’s manner to the right scene ( Northouse, 2013, p.123 ) . A job with both trait theories and eventuality theories is that they appear to concentrate on the features of the leader and make non see the features of, the interactions with, or the function of, subsidiaries. Contingency theory does non explicate why some leaders are better in certain state of affairss than other leaders and besides how administrations deal with a mismatch between leaders and certain state of affairss ( Northouse, 2013, p.129 ) .

Transactional and Transformational Leaderships

Furnham ( 2005, p.588 ) suggests that transactional leading can be defined as a contract between the leader and a worker where the leader achieves what they want by offering some kind of wages which is desired by the employee. There is typically a limited relationship between the leader as in certain state of affairss ( for illustration in the armed forces ) transactional leading is necessary as certain actions need to be undertaken without subsidiaries oppugning or debating issues ( Bass and Bass, 2008, p.41 ; Brymanet Al.2011, p.55 ) . Transactional leading does non look to be concerned with the features of leaders and is more concerned with making constructions and systems which allow the sharing of information ( Brymanet Al.2011, p.61 ) . Transactional leading depends on eventuality support which means the subsidiary understands that a wages will be received when public presentation ends are achieved ( Bass and Riggio, 2006, p.8 ) .

Transformational leading developed from the foundations of transactional leading with four farther features viz. ; personal appeal and idealized influence which indicates that the leader is admired, respected, and trusted ; inspirational motive, rational stimulation, and consideration towards single workers ( Bass, Avolio, Jung and Berson, 2003, p.208 ; McKenna, 2005, p.411 ) . By demoing an involvement in the personal development of followings there can be a subsequent addition in public presentation and productiveness every bit good as creativeness and invention subsidiaries can frequently be originative which can so hold an impact on the competitory advantage of the company ( Bass,et Al2003, p.208 ) . Bass and Bass ( 2006, p.41 ) besides suggest that transformational leaders normally believe and support the ends of the administration and are able to joint the ends to subsidiaries and prosecute their support and committedness. Other features identified in transformational leaders is that they show consistent behavior and tend to hold a strong focal point on unity, ethical rules and values together with being flexible and able to accommodate to alter ( Judge and Piccolo, 2004, p.755 ) . McKenna ( 2005, p.408 ) states that transformational leaders have features such as vision and are able to actuate and animate subsidiaries to portion their vision. As Sir John Harvey-Jones, MBE, who was the president of Imperial Chemical Industries from 1982 to 1987 and has late helped weakness concern shown in a BBC telecasting programme calledTroubleshooterprovinces: –

The vision is perfectly cardinal to acquiring your military personnels together. It has to be qualitative, make bolding and catch the imaginativeness. The trial of it should be how rapidly people will latch on to where you are going……’( cited in Mullins, 2008, p.261 ) .

The features of transformational leaders are of import in an administration because they are viewed as a more effectual leading manner than transactional leading for illustration. Bass and Riggio ( 2008, p.10 ) suggest that many subsidiaries are really loyal to transformational leaders and are committed to the administration so productivity additions and improves which Bass and Riggio ( 2008, p.10 ) suggest is one manner of showing the efficiency of the leader. The features of transactional and transformational leaders are non reciprocally sole and there may be occasions when a leader has to demo transactional features every bit good as transformational features. An illustration is cited by Bass and Bass ( 2008, p.51 ) which states that celebrated leaders such as John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln displayed features of both transactional and transformational leaders. Transactional leading, for illustration, has been found to be more effectual in a well-ordered, stable environment whereas transformational leading is suited in administrations that are altering quickly such as in times of fiscal turbulence ( McKenna, 2006, p.418 ) .

Features of Charismatic Leaderships

As discussed antecedently, one feature of transformational leaders is charisma ( Bass,et Al.2003, p.216 ) although there are some leaders who are characterised as being so magnetic that they are referred to as magnetic leaders. Chio ( 2006, p.24 )defines magnetic leaders as holding three extra, nucleus features which are an ability to foretell future tendencies and be airy ; being a originative mind, and demoing empathy and authorising co-workers. Harmonizing to House, 1977, ( cited in McKenna, 2006, p.411 ) magnetic leaders can actuate subsidiaries to execute efficaciously without holding to raise their place of power ; they have a vision and the ability to convert subsidiaries to back up that vision. Further features include finding, energy, assurance and ability ; in add-on they are non afraid to be unconventional ( McKenna, 2006, p.411 ) .

Although magnetic leaders are unusual and exceeding in the concern universe, Hellriegel and Slocum ( 2007, p.240 ) usage as an illustration Richard Branson who demonstrates the feature of both a transformational and a magnetic leader. Branson is characterised as person who is prepared to follow his inherent aptitudes and take hazards, embarking into new districts ( Boje and Smith, 2010, p.308 ) . Branson has a genius for being somewhat bizarre and is non afraid of being unconventional which Choi, as discussed antecedently, describes as a feature of magnetic leading. Branson makes a clear statement about his company, Virgin, as being ‘different, colorful, iconoclastic and fun-loving’ ( Crainer and Dearlove, 2008, p.43 ) . Branson’s character appears to reflect the character of his company ; for illustration, he appeared dressed as a Virgin bride and besides abseiled down a skyscraper to advance his company ( Business Pundit, 2011, n/p ) .

The CIPD ( 2008, p.8 ) study that there is some disfavor for the ‘celebrity-like focus’ on alleged magnetic leaders. In the US a survey investigated 59 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and investigated the nexus between personal appeal and public presentation over a 10 twelvemonth period and found there was no relationship ( Tosiet Al.2004, cited in CIPD, 2008 p.8 ) . A unfavorable judgment made by Alvesson and Spicer ( 2010, p.9 ) claims that by induing leaders with features such as personal appeal, gives them a heroic and unselfish quality which enables them to carry followings to prosecute ends about unquestioningly. Furthermore, Alvesson and Spicer ( 2010, p.64 ) maintain that some transformational leaders can be perceived as ‘saint-like’ . Chio ( 2006, p.37 ) claims that often the positive facets of magnetic leading are emphasised and dysfunctional features, such as the maltreatment of power, are frequently minimised. Chio ( 2006, p.36 ) reports that there can be really strong emotional bonds between a magnetic leader and their subsidiaries and in certain state of affairss persons may ‘sacrifice themselves for the interest of the group to keep harmonious relationships with others’ ( Triandis, 1995, cited in Chio, 2006, p.36 ) . Thus magnetic leaders can utilize their influence malignantly ; for illustration, there have been studies of magnetic leaders of spiritual religious orders who are able to carry followings to perpetrate mass self-destruction.

The CIPD ( 2008, p.8 ) besides study on the ‘dark-side’ of personal appeal and suggest that although some leaders may superficially look magnetic they hide unwanted features such as dishonesty and greed. By the clip such features are discovered the administration and employees may hold suffered irreparable injury. Research undertaken by Collins ( 2001, cited in CIPD, 2008, p.8 ) investigated common features in US companies quoted on the Stock Exchange whose public presentation was ‘outstanding’ . The findings indicated that common features included an firm belief in their company and besides a ‘deep personal humility’ . These CEOs were non at all magnetic and appeared to be rather retiring. Collins besides noted that neglecting companies had a CEO ‘with a elephantine ego’ doing the company to neglect ( Collins 2001, cited in CIPD, 2008, p.8 ) .

Interpersonal Features of Leaderships.

Features of Authentic Leaderships

As discussed in the old subdivisions at that place have been concerns sing unscrupulous leaders ; for illustration, although they may look to be magnetic they may in fact have ‘exploitative’ motivations ( Bass and Riggio, 2008, p.5 ) . Consequently there is a desire for leaders who are echt and reliable ( Bass and Riggio, 2008, p.xii ) . There appears to be some analogues between reliable leaders and servant leaders although presently there is limited research in this country harmonizing to Northouse ( 2013, p.235 ) . Servant leading focuses on the empathetic features of a leader towards subsidiaries and fostering each employee’s endowments and possible which is good for the administration ( Northouse, 2013, p.233 ) . Servant leading proposes that leaders want to function others and emphasises the selfless features of leaders who are focused on the demands of their subsidiaries ( Greenleaf, 1977, cited in Northouse, 2013, p.219 ) . The feature of the servant leader are legion and the implicit in rules involve the manner in which the leader treats subordinates in footings of honestness and handling them reasonably. A successful relationship between the servant leader and followings is a bipartisan procedure and followings must be accepting of the rules of authorization and the chance to turn.

A feature of leaders which seems to be related to good leading is emotional intelligence. Goleman ( 1998, p.317 ) defines emotional intelligence as ‘the capacity for recognizing our ain feelings and those of others, for actuating ourselves and for pull offing emotions in ourselves and in our relationships’ . Emotional intelligence involves five cardinal factors ; self-awareness, self-regulation, motive, empathy and societal accomplishments ( Goleman, 1998, p.9 ) . It is argued that emotional intelligence is of benefit to leaders as it contributes to an consciousness of their ain emotions and how to modulate them every bit good as recognizing emotions in others and holding the societal accomplishments necessary to cover with other people’s emotions ( Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee, 2001, n/p ) .

Guirdham ( 2002, p.545 ) suggests that there are certain qualities that followings look for in leaders and that a leader does non automatically derive the regard from subsidiaries. However, such qualities vary with different state of affairss and the type of subsidiaries who are expected to follow. Deriving credence as a leader is besides more hard where there is prejudice refering gender, race and cultural group, and disablement. Guirdham ( 2002, p.545 ) states that in general to be accepted by subordinates the features of the leader demand to include cognition, competency, position, designation with the group, motive, being proactive in advancing the group’s ends and good communicating accomplishments. As Sir John Harvey says: –

You merely acquire a company traveling where you want it to by leading by illustration and by honest and endless communication’( cited in Mullins 2008, p.261 ) .

Communication appears to be a really of import feature of a good leader together with interpersonal relationships which is besides related to emotional intelligence as discussed antecedently. It has been found that directing, consistent and positive communicating is an effectual manner for leaders ( Guirdham, 2002, p.550 ) . However, other features are besides necessary such as trust, the manner in which leaders try to carry or act upon followings and the manner in which subsidiaries are encouraged to take part in determination devising.


It can be seen from the grounds presented that placing the features of a good director is a complex undertaking as there are many different traits or personality features involved. Additionally features can non be identified in isolation and the state of affairs or context must besides be considered. Early research, for illustration trait theories, focused on the leader and did non see the function or features of the subsidiaries. This would look to be relevant in modern-day society as employees are more sceptered than they were in the yesteryear and are hence less likely to blindly follow a leader. Transformational and magnetic theories of leading identify many positive qualities in leaders ; nevertheless, there is the issue identified by many research workers of fallacious leaders who can do a company to prostration as in the instance of Enron and other similar illustrations. The features of a leader demand to be echt and reliable and the theoretical position of servant leading emphasises the caring facet of leaders towards their followings. Typically servant leaders are selfless and are concerned about the wellbeing of others. There are a figure of features which appear to be more of import than others although it is hard to insulate merely a few. However, one feature that does look to be high on the list for good leaders is good communicating and interpersonal accomplishments ( Guirdham, 2002, p.550 ) .


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