What makes a leader or manager exceptional and why are there so few of them? "l suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it meaner getting along with people. " Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) From ancient times, when people Just started living in groups and organizing communities, they have been choosing a man who would take responsibility to lead them. In other words, they needed someone who would coordinate their lives and work, so they would survive not only as individuals, but also as a community. Nowadays, leaders still serve a similar purpose, but under a different context.
Kruse 2013, paragraph 13) defines leadership as a "process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a (common) goal. " Yet, does achieving every goal that was set up is a definition of an exceptional leader? The result of this research shows that it is not - there is a big difference between being a good leader and an exceptional one. The first type of leader would make the Job done; "exceptional" one would do the Job without harming his or her team. Researchers usually differentiate the terms "a leader" and "a manager"; yet, an exceptional manager must be an exceptional leader.
Thus, for the purpose of this essay, we will interpret these terms as synonyms. This research identified several important leadership qualities which may be considered the necessary attributes of an exceptional leader. These qualities include the ability off leader to be humble, to take the initiative, to effectively delegate authority, and to be inspirational. Humility is not typically associated with successful leadership. Collins (2001) in his research examines companies that were included in top rankings of "Fortune 500" magazine from 1965 to 1995, trying to find out what makes them transfer from being considered good to great.
After evaluating the sample of 1435 companies, he ended up with only 11 examples. More surprising was the fact that all of the top-managers in those companies have shown a similar personal trademark - humility. This characteristic indicates dichotomy from traditional definition of leadership; yet, it appears to be essential for excellent management (Collins, 2001). One of the most important characteristics of a humble leader is ability to admit that he/she is not an expert in everything.
This particular perception of the world is reflected in several positive things. First of all, humble leaders are constantly looking for progress; they re willing to learn and experience something new. Secondly, they aren't afraid to seek for help, even from their subordinates: primarily because leaders perceive their subordinates not Just as tools, but as associates in collaboration, striving to achieve the common goal. Another thing is that deferential humble leaders are able to accept responsibility and credit for their team.
If the project is accomplished successfully, such leaders tend to "blame" their team or "Good Luck" (Collins, 2001); on the other hand, when things are going bad, the only person the leader accuses is himself/herself. Humble leaders do not seek success for their own honor; their goal is to make their organization or company thrive. They know that they are doing their job "not for themselves"; therefore, decisions they make are based only on what they believe will bring future benefit to the company, regardless of how these decisions may influence their image.
Another trademark that was identified as crucial to excellent leadership is ability to take the initiative, which meaner a leader is expected to be the first one to take action, without being told what to do. Evidence (Frees, ; Fay, 2001) suggests that people who have long-term career plans show tendency to be more initiative. They have a clear vision and understanding of what they are doing. What is more, a person who displays initiative usually has more knowledge on a subject than others, which is also associated with a high quality management role.
Leaders who take initiative are most of the time perceived by their employees as smarter and more competent than those who Just follow the instruction; this feature helps to establish trust and collaboration in a team. Such managers are also able to react quicker in case off problem and to solve it faster. In the business world, where time is so valuable, the ability to take initiative may be the difference between winning and losing. Furthermore, initiative leaders are not afraid to take responsibility for their actions, which - as discussed above - is also an important feature of humble leaders.
Coming from this, most employees in a difficult situation try to avoid any liability and prefer to follow the leader; in this case, the successful manager has to be proactive. Brute ; Beseecher (2010) in their research also support this idea. Their analysis off number of studies done on group behavior suggests that groups with a leader nutrient more to the task, rather than groups without one, and mostly due to the active involvement of the leader; hence, groups with initiative leader have better tendency to be successful.
Delegation in a business environment meaner the ability of a leader to distribute work between employees according to their responsibilities. Inability to effectively delegate authority and/or responsibility belongs to the top ten causes of management failure (Daft ; Marcia, 2013). Human brain is able to process only a certain amount of information. If people try to process more information, they may lose details off whole picture (Privet, 2012). In a real life situation, it can lead to the decline of the quality of work; it can also create a stressful environment that may negatively influence the whole team.
Delegation in management allows leaders to concentrate on important aspects of the business, while routine work is done by employees. A great leader is able to see a bigger picture and control the direction of the business. As we know, a leader does not have to be an expert in everything; instead, one of the attributes of a great manager is the ability to use all resources wisely. Big companies spend a lot of money on recruitment process, trying to find the est. employees with great expertise in a field.
Delegation of responsibilities helps bring benefits from this investment. To employees, delegation meaner that their leaders trust them. It usually has a positive influence on their self- esteem and helps create trust in a team, which - according to Moscow - lies in a top hierarchy of human needs. It encourages team members for self- development and motivates them for a better performance. Last leadership trademark we will discuss is the ability of be inspirational. According to Forbes statistics (Gallo, 2011), 1/3 of US employees isn't happy and is considering quitting Jobs.
With this kind of attitude, positive progression of the company is impossible; hence, an effective leader should be able to inspire his/her employees. Seine (2011) claims that most successful leaders put the Reason (or "why? " question) in a top corner of their business. First of all, they themselves are inspired by why they are doing what they are doing. One of the best examples to illustrate this idea the Google. Sergey Bring and Larry Page, founders of Google, were inspired not Just by the idea to create a search system, but they wanted to create the best search system that would satisfy the users' needs.
Since Google has been improving and developing for a number of years, we can say that they are still inspired by this objective. That is why nowadays most of the English-spiking world uses the word "Google it" as a synonym of the word "search. " Another thing that differentiates inspirational leaders from everyone else is their ability to listen to their employees. Such leaders regard employees not Just as a work force, but as a valuable source for business. They know how to make their employees feel in control of the success of the business and, at the same time, be responsible for this success.
Seine (2011) argues that if people believe what their leaders believe, they would do the work not for the leader, but for themselves, with as much effort as they can provide. This approach gives an opportunity not only to find new ways to deal with problems, but also encourage self-development, which is essential for success in a quickly changing business environment. Since the age of industrial revolution and development of psychology, a lot of books have been written on what leadership is and how to become a great leader. But in reality, we can find only a small group of leaders who can be described as exceptional.
This fact can be explained by several reasons. First of all, for a long time a successful leader was considered to be a person who was independent, determined, fearless. All of these qualities correspond with Darning's selection process - the process that separates leaders from their followers. Only several years ago, researchers (Hookiest, Bell, & Peterson, 2008) started to question this approach to leadership and emphasized humility, ability to inspire, to delegate authority - Just to name the few - as important qualities of a successful leader.
Yet, most of today's traders have been raised with old ideas of leadership, and it will take a lot of hard work to change their old leadership style. What is more, their willingness to change is not enough because they should also change their beliefs. Collins (2001), talking about the transformation process of great leaders, maintains that all of them in a time of transformation had some kind of dramatic changes in their life: serious illness, religious turn, or loss of child/spouse. He argues that these changes helped these people to re-evaluate their life and values.
However, Collins admits that aromatic life circumstances only triggered what already was there. Does it mean that it is impossible to learn to become a great leader? Every year, large organizations spend huge amounts of money on leadership programs, reputable universities offer courses in leadership all over the world. Wicked they be doing it if leadership skills were impossible to be acquired? The best answer to this question is the following: great leadership requires a lot of self-evaluation and self-development, and this is probably the hardest work of all; not everyone is ready to do it.