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Capstone Leadership - Signature Assignment, OLCU 681 Leadership Capstone Seminar

Capstone Leadership - Signature Assignment

OLCU 681 Leadership Capstone Seminar

Chapter I - Leadership

In order for groups of individuals to operate properly, a leader must be present. Humans are not typically capable of easily doing what is necessary for them in a given situation if they don’t have some sort of path to follow. The concept of leadership is, in essence, the study and understanding of the action of leading a person or group of people into a unified direction. Typically, this takes into consideration a plethora of actions and ideas including providing guidance, giving direction, implementing methods of control and managing groups (Glickman, Gordon, & Ross-Gordon, 2012). For many years, theories on leadership have been the subject of numerous studies. Researchers have begun to investigate why leadership is necessary, the specific characteristics of an effective leader, as well as the various aspects related to leadership and how it affects organizations in their entirety. Research has been conducted to understand in practice and in theory what separates a “good” leader from ineffective leaders (Gardner, 2011). Many professors and philosophers have published their own views on this topic. This thesis will explore various aspects of leadership including well-known theories, concepts, literature-based practices, and characteristics that have traditionally been found to benefit the effectiveness of leadership. The definition of a leader can change tremendously and is based an individual’s specific ideology. For some people, a leader is a person who has followers. For others, a leader is someone with the ability to empower people. Various world leaders of today have their own vision of what it means to be in a leadership position.

Definition of Leadership

Through an evaluation of current literature, it is obvious that theorists have tried to highlight the optimum manner and model in which an organization can work and improve. In many circumstances, organizations seek to find methods of improvement in ways such that they can accomplish their strategic goals, practices, and policies to improve overall productivity of the organization as a whole (Van Vugt, Hogan, & Kaiser, 2008). One way to improve organizational productivity that is supported through literature is the implementation of a leader or group of leaders who will help guide personnel within an organization towards the resolution of accomplishment of company-wide goals and processes. Typical leaders attempt to keep themselves well-informed on different types of research in order to incorporate it into their practice. Some leaders hire leadership coaches to help them gain insight, to plan better and to take the right actions to better the performance of their establishment.

Management and Leadership

It is common to assume that the term management and leadership are defined the same way. In reality, both terms have different definitions, uses, and functions. Managers and leaders work hand in hand, as they are complementary concepts rather than a synonymous word for one idea. Separating management from leadership does not typically work since each concept is meant to support the other. As a manager, their job and responsibility is to coordinate and organize the various activities within the organization (Sy, Cote, & Saavedra, 2005). A leader, on the other hand, is more focused on inspiring and motivating the activities of company personnel. Understanding the conceptual differences between a manager and a leader is essential in this study and to the development of leadership practices, policies, and procedures. The difference between a manager and a leader can be described as follows:

· A manager administers, while a leader innovates

· A manager is a copy of something else, while a leader is the original

· A manager maintains, while the leader develops

· A manager focuses on systems and structures, while the leader focuses on people

· A manager relies a control, while the leader inspires trust

· A manager has a short-range view, while the leader focuses on long-term results

· The manager would typically ask "how" and "when," while the leader asks "what" and "why"

· A manager’s attention is always being placed on the bottom line, while a leader is focused on the future

· A manager imitates activities, while a leader originates new ideas

· A manager accepts the status quo, why leader changes it (Bennis, 1989)

Both a manager and a leader accomplish their own individual goals, which are necessary for the development of an organization. The manager's responsibility is more focused on encouraging organizing daily routines and that are already in place within the organization. A leader, on the other hand, is more traditionally focused on initiating change within an organization, motivating people, and challenging policies and procedures, for the ultimate benefit of the organization as a whole.

Management Styles

Understanding the importance of management takes into consideration various personal characteristics common methods of direction, and attitudes related to management positions. Each manager has his or her own individualized management style, which is displayed by the way in which they interact with his or her subordinates. A management style is a grouping of characteristics that help individuals in management leadership positions make decisions in relation to their subordinates (Dereu, 2004). Typically, management styles are broken down into two specific categories. The contrasting styles represent primary methods of personality and style as they relate directly to acting as a leader. The main contrasting styles are autocratic and permissive.

Autocratic Management Style

The autocratic management style is typical of an individual who makes decisions unilaterally, with little to no importance placed on the thoughts and ideas of his or her co-workers. If a director, for example, changed company protocol and prohibited employees from wearing black shoes to work each day without discussing this decision with his or her co-workers, the business manager would be a typical autocratic leader. In many circumstances, autocratic managers have the most issues with their subordinates, as they feel as if their management team does not listen to them or take their needs or ideas into consideration. They are typically perceived as self-centred, overbearing, and somewhat dubious in their personality style. Of the autocratic management style category, there are two types of leaders: directive autocratic and permissive autocratic. Directive autocratic managers make decisions on their own as well as typically closely monitor their co-workers. This type of manager is known as a micromanager. Micromanagers try to control the way their co-workers work, complete tasks, and act in all aspects of their job. A second form of autocratic manager is the permissive autocrat. This form of leader typically makes decisions unilaterally but is more willing to allow his or her co-workers some independence in the way they carry out their daily routine. According to the literature, a permissive autocrat tends to be more accepting of diversity and varying office personalities in comparison to a directive autocrat. To a permissive autocrat, it is more important that the task is done than how it is done (Anderson, & Anderson, 2010).

Consultative Management Style

Consultative management style is a typical paternalistic form of administration. This type of leader does not typically take into account the best interest of all employees within the organization. Instead, their communication styles are significantly downward, as these individuals tend to be highly advantageous in their decision-making (Anderson & Anderson, 2010). The persuasive management style shares some characteristics with the autocratic manager, in that they maintain control over all decision making within their organization. Many times, persuasive managers will work directly with their co-workers in order to convince them that their decisions are the best for the organization. Instead of simply enforcing their regulations, they will try to persuade and convince their subordinates that their decision is correct.

Democratic Management Style

The democratic style of management allows employees take part in all decision making. This type of manager takes his or her co-workers’ thoughts and opinions into consideration before any decisions are finalized. They encourage extensive communication among all members of the organization and expect that everyone displays his or her own independent ideas about a given situation before any form of decision is made. Typically, the democratic style of management involves increased levels of job satisfaction, high-quality work produced, as well as an overall positive working environment. Studies show that employees tend to respect and appreciate democratic managers, as they feel that their voices are being heard equally rather than being told what to do all of the time (Anderson, & Anderson, 2010).

Chaotic and Laissez-Faire Management

The chaotic style of management is a relatively new style of direction and leadership within an organization, and something that there is little research about. This style gives employees the opportunity to make all decisions on their own, rather than listening to a manager or leader. In essence, the chaotic style of leadership is one in which the leader has almost no control over the organization, as all the control is being given to the employees. Similar to the chaotic style, is the laissez-faire leadership style is one in which leaders allow group members to make decisions on their own. Studies show that the laissez-faire style of leadership yields the lowest levels of productivity in comparison to other management styles (Fink, Dauber, & Yolles, 2012).

Leadership Styles

Similar to the personality differences present in management styles, leaders typically fall into one of six individualized categories based on the way in which they present themselves and interact with subordinates. Leadership focuses on guiding people rather than simply dictating the way in which jobs and tasks are completed. The six styles resented in leadership personalities are: the pacesetting leader, the authoritative leader, the affilliative leader, the coaching leader, the coercive leader and the democratic leader.

· The Pacesetting Leader: This type of leader models excellence and direction; he or she expects others to do as they do, and motivates based on showing subordinates what the correct path is.

· The Authoritative Leader: This type of leader helps to move team members towards a common company vision, which is focused primarily on end results. This form of leader works well with organizations that require significant change in order to overcome previous issues and setbacks. These leaders are inspirational, entrepreneurial, vibrant, and enthusiastic about company missions and visions.

· The Affiliative Leader: This type of leader focuses on creating emotional relationships and bonds, and encourages a sense of belonging between co-workers and their organization. That they focus primarily on human interaction and how best to produce results based on a sense of camaraderie, belonging, and emotional bonding. This type of leader is effective in situations in a group within an organization that has experienced some form of trauma or loss of trust.

· The Coaching Leader: This leadership style focuses on developing personnel today, for the ultimate future benefits of the organization. They focus on coaching teammates and encouraging that they build long-lasting personal strengths that will result in overall improved performance in the future of the organization.

· The Coercive Leader: This leadership style commands immediate compliance, which is highly expectant that all teammates will follow their lead immediately. This type of leadership style is most effective directly after a form of crisis or extreme circumstance. Many times, this leadership style is used as a last result when all other styles have failed.

What Leaders Do

Throughout history, literature has been written and researched to contrast the different management styles and evaluate whether or not they follow any theoretical patterns. The purpose of the leader is to encourage, guide, and direct people along a path that will ensure the reorganization of policies to encourage a future of success. Leadership is highly focused on people, rather than solely focusing on management techniques, policies, and procedures. Leaders do what they can to guide individuals and lead them towards activities that will benefit the organization as a whole. It is very much a people-centered conceptualization, rather than being business-focused or organizationally focused. In order for leaders to be effective, we must understand the ways in which they guide groups of people towards accomplishing goals, strategic plans, and elevated levels of future productivity. A great deal of research and information has been gathered on ways that leadership is accomplished and improved. There are multiple models and theories present in leadership research that seek to define the purpose and goal of a leader. The ones that are the most defining and encompass the majority of characteristics prevalent among an effective leader are Paul Hersey’s original situational leadership theory and the resulting collaboration between Hersey and Ken Blanchard’s situational leadership theory, which is expressed in the book The One-Minute Manager (Hersey, 1988). Of the fundamental beliefs presented in the situational leadership theory is the idea that there is no one way to lead that is better or more effective than another. Instead, there are multiple leadership styles, personalities, and ideas that can be used in a collaborative effort towards leading groups of people in the right direction. If there is no single best style of leadership, an effective leader is highly task-relevant. Effective leaders must work on adapting their leadership style to the level of maturity present among individual or groups that they are attempting to influence (Hersey, 1988). The maturity is, in essence, the capacity to set high but attainable goals, as well as the willingness and ability for individuals or groups to be responsible for the task placed before them. Furthermore, maturity also takes into consideration any relevant education or experience within the group or individuals being guided. In order for a leader to be successful, he or she must understand what level of maturity the people they are leaving have. For example, the leader would not typically guide high school students in the same manner that they would lead that group of professionals with doctoral degrees. This takes into consideration the various personality, characteristics, competence, and experiences of the group being led as an important part of be an effective leader. Is not enough to simply use a cookie-cutter style, which is assumed to work on every individual person. Instead, leaders must understand whom they are working with, their groups’ individual needs, desires, competencies, experiences, and any other form of setback that may be present. For example, if a leader begins to work with a group of personnel within a marketing department which previously had negative experiences with their director, the leader must understand and work with the various traumas in present crisis. Furthermore, a leader who provides assistance after a company has been sold or purchased by another entity must begin to take into consideration the various emotions existing in the minds of the current employees.

Situational Leadership Model

With the help of a situational leadership model, leaders can evaluate and explain the demands of the different situations. This model has been developed as a result of extensive research. Paul and Kenneth, in their research, have described that task and relationship behaviours were considered to be styles of leadership. Task-oriented behaviour is more the authoritative style of leadership, and this is a highly proactive leadership behaviour. The authors have mentioned more labels such as autocratic and democratic style of leadership or employee-oriented to produce oriented leadership behaviours. Ohio state staff has classified most activities of the leaders into two categories: Task-oriented and relationship-oriented.

Task-oriented behaviour focuses on the amount of time a manager or leader spends explaining how and when a task has to be completed. The relationship-oriented behaviour is the extent to which a manger communicates with the employee to facilitate and support the staff in providing their duties. Research has established that leaders should have both traits and behavioral models should be followed for effective leadership. As an example of studying the traits related to task competence and the behavior related to task processes, a good integrated understanding of the leader’s qualities both in terms trait and behavioral model can be made.

High Relationship

Low Task


High Task

High Relationship


Low Relationship

Low Task


High Task

Low Relationship


Figure 1: Four Basic Situational Leadership Behavioral Styles (Paul Hersey, 1988)

o X-axis = Task Behavior

o Y-axis = Relationship Behavior

Paul Hersey and Kenneth, in their research paper, wrote that the Ohio state staff studies concluded that the behavior of some managers were classified in terms of organizing the activities relative to the tasks accomplished, while in cases of some other managers, it was characterized by personal relationship and support between the leaders and their followers.

The authors Paul Hersey and Kenneth, as indicated in Figure 1 above, explain that some leaders have styles that contain both high-task and high-relationship behaviors. Some leaders give more importance to task behavior but relationship behaviors are also visible in their styles, so it’s a combination of high-task and low-relationship behaviors. Similarly, there is a trend of low-task-oriented and high-relationship-oriented behavior, as well.

Analyzing leaders or managers with respect to the behavioral leadership model

During my own job experiences, I have had the experience of working with managers who had high-task and low-relationship-oriented behaviors in the organizations. I personally feel that high-task and low-relationship-oriented behavioral situational leadership is not so successful for an organization. In this form of managerial behavior, the subordinates or followers do not focus as much on personal growth and their socioeconomic life. In the long term, I find that it can be counterproductive and does not benefit the company if a subordinate or follower is not satisfied in his or her personal growth within the organization or in his or her personal life. I have worked under one manager whose situational leadership style was high-relationship and low-task-oriented. The employees under such managers feel more relaxed as they can communicate easily about their problems as well as their career-related or growth concerns to their managers. Such employees, as a result, end up staying for longer periods or time within the organization, and this could lead to increased knowledge about the products or services of the company. This also results in higher productivity in terms of task accomplishment.


Understanding leadership requires a multifaceted approach to reviewing and conceptualizing the various theories, ideas and approaches to the field of management and guidance. Of all the various theories discussed throughout the program, the situational leadership theory devised by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard is, by far, the most direct and comprehensible in regard to understanding what leadership is and how a person can become a good leader. To become an effective leader, an individual needs to understand that the various tactics and procedures that they put into place will change based on the means and desires of the group whom they are leading. Based on the organizations individualized, a leader will define the way in which he or she will present large amounts of information and offer services that will benefit the overall organization.

Chapter II: Leadership Theory

Throughout the program, we have evaluated multiple theoretical approaches to understanding leadership, which include evaluating ways in which people interact with one another in their place of employment. While literature represents multiple theoretical approaches, the three theories that I find to be the most direct in exploring what is needed to acquire optimal leadership opportunities are the servant leadership theory, situational leadership theory, and the trait leadership theory.

I. Servant Leadership Model

Robert K. Greenleaf first proposed the servant theory in 1970. Greenleaf, in his theory, explains the primary motives and services of a leader (Taylor, Martin, Hutchinson, & Jinks, 2007). Carol Smith, in 2005, submitted a paper on the servant theory of Greenleaf in which he described the central tenets and attributes of the servant theory. First, the theory’s inventor, Greenleaf, sought a descriptor and challenged the assumptions that have existed between the followers and their leaders. Greenleaf suggests analysing the negative impacts that are associated with the term “servant” and taking this into account when developing our own concept of the word prior to creating a new one, keeping in mind the same concept Greenfield titled in his essay as the “servant as leaders” and not as “leaders as servants.” For example, the idea behind “servant leadership” is that those practices should be adopted which assist in improving the organization and its employees, and which create a more caring world. Greenleaf first coined this term in his essay “The Servant as Leader” and said:

The servant-leader is servant first. . . . It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. (Walumbwa, Hartnell, & Oke, 2010)

This philosophy sets forth a specific grouping of leadership practices and ideology that focuses on exercising a level of power and control within an organization that will likely lead to increased productivity and camaraderie.

Central Tenets of the Servant Leadership Framework

Below is a description and explanation of the central tenants of the servant leadership theory as described by Greenfield:

1. According to Greenfield, leaders in their interactions with the followers should act as helpers or supporters in their work. Alternatively, it can be taken as the leaders should act from the position of as a servant and not from position of power. Greenfield, in his servant leadership framework, implies that the servant leaders are those who instill greatness in their subordinates and the success of the company is an indirect result of that.

2. Greenfield advocated that a person is as important to an organization as the work. He places emphasis on taking the person, work and organization collectively in terms of the society. According to Greenfield framework, he stresses that the organizational leader encourage people not only in their professional lives, but also in their personal lives.

3. Greenfield said that the servant leaders are more effective if they instill empowerment in their subordinates and engage them in activities that help nourish and improve or enhance their skills. According to Greenfield, the servant leader should encourage the employees to take initiative, bring in new ideas and help them highlight their talents. This can be utilized as a foundation and/or springboard that could create more future servant leaders to lead the organization towards success. He suggested that the servant leaders should nurture such an environment in the organization, thus creating an atmosphere for empowering the subordinated or followers (Dereu, 2004).

Analyzing leaders or managers with respect to the servant leadership model and framework,

according to Greenleaf, is the main attribute or quality that a servant leaders should adhere to, and should not take a self-seeking position with his or her subordinates. This should be a natural inclination to serve others. Greenleaf argues that servant leadership requires personal attributes or characteristics of a leader rather than any leadership methodologies.

He argued in his description that attributed listening carefully and completely is a very important aspect of servant leadership. Only a true servant will first listen with full intention and patience and then respond to the issues. Servant leadership should encompass and require a sense of awareness, feeling and forethought that comes naturally for those who aspire to be a leader.

He suggested in the attributes of a servant leader that he or she should be a visionary in attempting to secure solutions to possible problems that could arise in the future. There should be clear and well-demonstrated encouragement for the followers. This should be appreciated by the servant leader whenever needed, and it could serve as an enhancer in developing a highly motivated team. The subordinates should be able to feel their worth, and there is nothing that is more important than their contribution in the development and success of the organization. This is the place to be, and there is no other organization they would rather be a part of.

Typically, a study of leadership styles is divided between a distinction between autocratic, participative, and laissez-faire leadership styles. As mentioned earlier, the authoritarian style requires that specific and clear tasks be defined, monitored, and executed appropriately. All of the decision making rests on the shoulders of the leader, as individual employees’ opinions are not typically taken into consideration. In contrast, servant leadership is more typical of participative leadership style. The highest priority of a servant leader is to support, encourage, and enable subordinates to do their jobs to their highest potential by integrating all of their unique skills, desires, and ideas. By encouraging employees to work together in a collaborative effort, servant leadership puts the obligation to delegate responsibility on the shoulders of all individuals within the organization rather than solely being dictated by the manager. A servant leader typically involves himself or herself in listening effectively to the needs and desires of their subordinates, empathizing with the feelings and perspectives of their co-workers, being aware of the strengths and weaknesses present within their group of employees, persuading fellow co-workers to work together, having a sense of foresight and intuition on how current activities will affect the future of the organization, as well as having a strong commitment to the organization as a whole (Anderson & Anderson, 2010).

II. Situational Leadership Theory

Apart from servant leadership, there are two additional leadership theories that help explore the various methods that contribute to a positive and effective leader of an organization. The situational leadership theory suggests that a successful leader keeps changing his or her style according to the maturity level of the people being led and the task assigned. Emphasis on relationship or task can vary according to the situation. This leadership style is broken down into four categories, which are titled S-1, S-2, S-3, and S-4. Of the four categories explored, S-1: Telling is characterized by one-way communication. In this form of communication, the leader defines the specific roles that the individual or group has, and the group decides on how, when, what, where, and why the tasks are being done. For example, S-1 is characteristic of when a manager tells the marketing department of a large firm that they are responsible for increasing sales over the next six months. Each individual employee within the marketing department would decide how he or she is going to increase company sales, when changes will be implemented, what specific changes must occur, where these operations will begin, and why the tasks are being initiated. The leader would simply initiate the change, while the individuals within organization would decide how to effectively accomplish the goals set forth. The second step in this leadership style is S-2: Selling. This step involves the leader in engaging in two-way communication, which provides both emotional and social support to the individual or group being influenced (Anderson & Anderson, 2010). Instead of simply telling the group to do something, this leadership style would encourage and help convince employees to do a certain job. For example, if a marketing department were expected to increase sales over a six-month period, the manager would attempt to convince employees within the marketing department that the sales must be increased, by using emotional and social appeals. This could include speaking with them on a one-to-one basis or using motivational speaking as a means of urging them to accomplish the organization’s goals. The third level of leadership style found in situational leadership is S-3: Participating. This method maintains a positive relationship between the leader and their staff by encouraging shared decision-making on all necessary tasks. The fourth and final style represented in this theory is S-4: Delegating. This form of leadership style is typical of a leader who is involved in decision making and gives specific responsibilities to other individuals within the group. Their only involvement is the initial delegating of tasks and overall monitoring of the job and how it is being accomplished.

III. Trait Leadership Theory

The second theory is the trait theory, which recognizes that human beings have a wide range of characteristics and not everyone will share the same qualities. There are different combinations of traits that can be found in us which make us unique. I will demonstrate in this thesis how this concept helps in getting a better understanding about leaders and leadership. Leaders generally follow some basic core values they believe in and resort to an ethical framework of their own. I will use two theories from the literature to describe a process that guides my own leadership vision and practice. I will also use the MAOL program assessments to identify my own strengths and weaknesses.

I will further analyse practical situations that I can utilized to expound on the theories and concepts discussed in the thesis. Lastly, the cornerstones of leadership philosophy will be discussed and I will make a conclusion about my own thoughts and ideas on this subject. It is only recently, particularly in the start of the twentieth century, that many official theories on leadership have emerged. The thesis will highlight and try to categorize the qualities which distinguish followers from leaders. It will also point out other factors, which are variable, like skill set and organizational scenarios.

Trait Leadership Model

John W. Fleenor, in his research paper on trait theory, published by SAGE Publications, describes the trait theory as the study of the behavioral attributes of the leaders. He described in his paper that these characteristics of the leaders are studied under the assumption that they remain relatively stable with time and under different situations. These characteristics include personal values. Fleenor describes in his paper that most of the early research about the trait leadership theory was based on systematically determining the personality differences between the leaders and their followers. He further described that researchers came to the conclusions from their empirical findings that leaders placed higher value on such characteristics as self-confidence, height, dominance and adjustment.

Analysing Leaders or Managers With Respect to Trait Theory

Over the years I have found that many leaders who have varied traits can assist them in accomplishing their managerial tasks in the best possible way. Leaders tend to inspire their followers to reach a certain goal or accomplish a certain task. This is an example of trait leadership. There are always times during organizational projects that one is engulfed in a heavy workload and under tremendous pressure to complete the task at hand. In this situation, an optimistic leader morally uplifts his or her subordinates and engages them in positive and constructive conversation and direction to relieve them of stress or defuse volatile situations that can be counterproductive to the worker and the organization. Affective leadership should possess the ability to understand the position of the employee, so that calmer heads prevail and the best possible results are rendered. It is very important that very high degree of optimism be projected to reach the desired results.

The most important task of leaders in relation to the trait theory is that they should be decisive. The leader should make a highly responsible decision without any fear and in the best interest of the organization. Showing courage in making decisions is not an easy task, e.g., when leaders make a decision on new projects it can be quite intense and require much forethought and persistence. The leaders who possess what I refer to as the “truth trait” relative to making decisions normally make the correct decisions in regard to their employees or the organization. I have found that some leaders fail to engage in healthy dialogue because they fear the response of the subordinate and are fearful of criticisms that could possibly taint their idea of what is right or wrong, good or bad personally or organization-wise.

The good leaders or managers always give credit to others for the success of any project or task in which they deserve it. This encourages and motivates the followers to give more of themselves for their own development and the betterment of the organization. In addition, the leaders should also create an atmosphere wherein the followers are also engaged in giving credit where credit is due.

Limitations of the Trait Models

Fleenor wrote earlier research that found trait differences between leaders and their followers, but it was not substantial enough or conclusive enough to make a connection between certain traits and the effectiveness of leadership. The reason was that there were not many attributes that could be considered worthy to evaluate the effectiveness of a leader. D. Scott and Jennifer, in their research paper (D. Scott Dereu), and to discuss different research studies about the trait theory, and to have analyzed the consistency between different trait and behavioral perspectives, realized that most of the research studies from different people have concentrated on a single attribute or trait of leadership and there is a lack of integration among different personality or trait paradigms. They further elaborate that if a study concentrated on gender and leadership effectiveness, then it may not account for the effect of the traits personality, gender and intelligence in a concurrent manner.

IV. Conclusions

The servant leadership theory, situational leadership theory, and the trait leadership theory are three different theoretical approaches to help to describe methods of leadership, which can be used in organizational conceptualizations. The servant leadership theory is a leadership philosophy and set of practices that is typically seen as the way in which a leader or manager should act towards his or her subordinates. The basis of this form of leadership resulted from Asian texts displayed between 570 B.C.E. and 490 B.C.E. (Hamaker, Nesselroade, & Molenaar, 2007). These ancient books explored ways in which rulers could guide their subordinates, as well as specific ways in which members of the royal family in Asia should interact with members of their society. In 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf expanded on his ideologies in an essay titled “The Servant as Leader.” The book explores who should be a leader, and what the specific interpersonal characteristics are of a person who was deciding to lead groups or other individuals. In his text, the first step of the process is for someone to have an innate desire to be a leader. It is important, according to Greenleaf, that leaders be people who have chosen this form of management for their own reasons, rather than someone being forced into or appointed to the job. A great example of the author's ideas is an instance within a past organization that I worked with. The director of the marketing department had decided to step down and named her own predecessor, who was another person who worked in the office for great amount of time. The new director and did not want the position, as she was much more concerned with management actions rather than leading large groups. This individual was uncomfortable with public speaking, did not like motivational speaking, and was not comfortable with interacting with large groups of people on a daily basis. Instead, she was much more comfortable working one-on-one with colleagues who came to her office for assistance. Instead of actively seeking the position, the specific employee was pushed into a leadership role she was not comfortable with. She only lasted about a year in the position and quickly resigned as an employee of the organization. This situation calls to mind Greenleaf’s idea that a true leader is someone who feels drawn to the position rather than someone was appointed as a leader. The situational leadership theory focuses on importance of understanding the life cycle of leadership, and how members of management must adapt their techniques to suit and fit the people they are guiding. I find the situational leadership theory to be one of the most important definitions of supporting what leadership truly is. It is possibly a measure of controlling people, but is also a method and practice of guiding people towards higher levels of achievement in their personal and professional lives. A third leadership theory is the trait leadership theory, which focuses on corresponding leadership techniques that are predominantly focused on integrating individual characteristics, thoughts, ideas, strengths, and all other unique traits related to the individual person as a means of initiating leadership techniques and practices that better suit the entire group. I find this leadership method to be quite beneficial, as it takes into consideration the individual person rather than simply focusing on the organization as a whole. Sometimes it is easy for members of management to focus only on what the organization needs to be done. Many times, managers tend to forget the fact that they're working with individual people with different characteristics, traits, ideas, goals, and motivations. The trait leadership theory helps people involved in leadership by encouraging them to look at the details of the person rather than the organizational strategic goals. This allows them to focus on their strengths, weaknesses, any opportunities or threats that may arise, and to collaborate among the group to initiate change within the organization. In essence, the three of these leadership theories helps to craft an opportunistic way for leaders to guide their subordinates on a parallel path towards achievements.

Chapter III – Self as Leader

I. Core Values

There are multiple core values that should be present in the personality and actions of an effective leader. While the principles may change based on what guides individuals in their lives, many of these values are essential. Demonstrating self-respect and respecting others regardless of their differences is a core value of leadership that is essential to contributing to the greater good for all. We should always focus on treating others with dignity, compassion, empathy, and the utmost respect. Our personal efforts must also work towards making a positive impact on the individuals around us, as well as focusing on increasing productivity and accomplishing goals within the organization we represent. Being a person of integrity is also a core value that is essential for any leader to bestow. This includes being trustworthy, fulfilling promises and expectations, as well as consistently acting in an ethical manner. A final core value that is essential in the field of leadership is humility, which is demonstrated by having an overall sense of being humble (Bridges, 2004). As leaders, it is essential that we be aware of our own limitations and be open to the perspectives of others. We may not always know the correct answer to a given situation, and it is our responsibility to do what we can to be open to others' opinions. Through a collaborative effort, leaders and their subordinates have the opportunity to bring an organization to new levels of achievement through their collaborative efforts.

II. Ethical Framework

Ethics involves an acknowledged concept of right and wrong, specifically focused on ways in which decisions are made and changes are evaluated. The study of ethics in leadership is an ever-changing field, as individual considerations regarding what is right or wrong may change based on one's own opinion. Ethics are, in essence, the underlying foundation of the way in which we interact with individuals around us, along with our expectations on how people interact with us. It is an extension of rules, regulations, and policies in place to help organizations run smoothly. Ethics is a form of higher law that takes into consideration what the general population and organizational culture perceives as correct and incorrect actions. Aside from primarily focusing on what is perceived as ethically justified, it is essential for an organization to have a working environment where ethical actions are encouraged and expected.

Theories of Ethics

As a successful leader, upholding a positive ethical climate within an organization must be a primary goal. Working towards positive ethics is a leadership activity that those in upper management must consistently uphold. The course materials studied in the program help to differentiate between ethical and unethical standards by evaluating multiple ethical theories, the process of personal ethical development, and considerations related to ethical communication, as well as transforming the ethics within an organizational system. A concept called utilitarianism is centered on weighing short- and long-term consequences as a means of devising an ethical decision. Led by ethicists Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, the concept of utilitarianism is the “Golden Rule of Jesus of Nazareth, where we read the complete spirit of ethics of utility. To do as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbour as oneself, constitutes the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality” (Mill, 1861). The general idea of utilitarianism is that in order to abide by ethical standards, one must treat others as they would expect to be treated themselves. Once it has been decided whether or not a specific action is doing harm or good to another individual, the next step in the process is to evaluate the consequences related to the decision being made. If the consequences are likely to yield significant negativity, harm, or wrongdoing, then the decision is likely to be an unethical choice. However, if the decision is more likely to yield positive results and is unlikely to cause harm, dismay, or negativity towards the other person or persons, then it is likely an ethical decision. Evaluating utilitarianism’s ideals should be a focal point for leaders, as they must consistently make ethical decisions that will affect the organization as a whole.

Unitarianism vs. Kantianism

While utilitarianism discusses a parallel between ethical decision making and consequences, Kantianism focuses on the concept of describing ethical decisions based on one's own duty to do whatever is universally considered the right thing. Immanuel Kant’s theory focuses primarily on the individual’s responsibility to do what is considered correct. This philosophy of thought focuses more on the responsibility of doing something correct rather than on the decisions and goal or underlying emotions. According to Kant, all actions performed must be in accordance with some form of underlying principle. These principles differ from one person to another, based on their own level of moral worth and how their actions are judged. Rationality is the best way to make an ethical decision, and Kant believed that the majority of people are rational. In leadership, this theory will come into play when taking into consideration how to make an ethical decision based on an individual's level of rationality. What the vast majority of what people would believe to be a correct and ethical decision would, in fact, be an ethical choice in the eyes of Kant.

Rawls vs. Etzioni

Aside from utilitarianism and Kantianism, another theory of thought regarding ethics is presented in John Rawls’ essay “Justice as Fairness: Political not Metaphysical.” According to Rawls, the concept of justice comprises two principles: liberty and equality. He believed that each and every person has his or her own individual and equal right to basic liberties, which are in essence right and freedoms to things including personal property, belongings, etc. (Jackson, 2006). Rawls’ second principle - the quality principle - focuses on a means of establishing distributive justice, which is, in essence, equality of opportunity. In his opinion, society as a whole cannot arrange inequalities in a way that maximizes the share of the least advantaged as a means of elevating one group over another (Jackson, 2006). Rawls contended that for the elite to acquire what he considered offices and positions is unethical, as these opportunities should be available to all. The concept of fair equality of opportunity is an integral part of leadership because it encourages leaders to treat all members of an organization equally. No one individual should be limited from an opportunity to move up the corporate ladder due to his or her social background, sex, ethnicity, or religion. For example, if a female employee in an organization applies for a position in upper management, she should not be denied the opportunity based on the fact that she is a female. If she were denied the opportunity based on her sex, this would be an unethical decision. Furthermore, ethicist Amitai Etzioni further contributed to the discussion of ethical decisions by stating that making a decision based on ethics should solely be based upon the premise of assisting others with no regard to personal gain (Robbins & Judge, 2013). In the above-mentioned example, hiring the female candidate for the sole purpose of making oneself appear to be a better person is wrong. Instead, leaders should make decisions based on assisting their fellow man or woman, instead of making decisions based on what would benefit them.

Ethical Communication

Aside from deciphering the various theories describing how to make an ethical decision, the study of ethics and leadership also takes the consideration communication tactics and techniques. The ability to effectively and consistently listen to another individual is a positive interpersonal and ethical communication leadership tactic. In order to truly listen to a staff member, one must communicate expectations in an ethically sound manner and implement usage of power as it pertains to ethical influence over subordinates (Johnson, 2007). Instead of simply using one's power as a leader to demand that his or her subordinates follow his or her directions, it is a leader's responsibility to treat his or her co-workers with respect and dignity. According to author Craig Johnson, there are two ways of communicating to subordinates: I-it and I-thou communication. In the I-it communication technique, communicators treat other individuals as objects. They do not listen to the other individual and are simply engaging in communication as a means of accomplishing a personal goal. This is a very self-centered and negative way of communicating with fellow co-workers. I-thou centred communicators, on the other hand, are typically interested in understanding the ideas and thoughts of the individual they are speaking to, and treat the people as equal human beings (Johnson, 2007). In order to be an ethical communicator, a leader must take into consideration consistently demonstrating effective listening components, which include hearing, interpreting, understanding, remembering what is said, and responding appropriately (Johnson, 2007). By following this path, leaders have an opportunity to learn from their subordinates and co-workers, who allow organizations the opportunity to accomplish higher levels of productivity and achievement.

Transforming Group and Leadership Ethics

One of the difficulties individuals with leadership positions may find themselves in is a necessity to transform group and leadership ethics. It is very common for new leaders to walk into an environment where previous ethics were not up to par. This may lead directly to a plethora of communication, intellectual, and other related staff issues that the leader must work towards mitigating. Organizations, regardless of their size, typically have various groups that make up the entire organizational structure. Understanding the various levels of interpersonal dynamics and potentially dangerous ethical conundrums prevalent within an organization is an issue that a leader must mitigate. When group ethics have been challenged, there are typically a plethora of undesirable behaviours. These behaviours can include escalating commitment, morality seclusion, excessive control, and mismanaged agreement (Johnson, 2007). A leader must work towards finding ways to overcome these issues as a means of transforming the negative ethics into a future that will encourage a positive working environment. In a circumstance in which a leader enters an organization where the environmental climate has depleted due to negative ethical considerations in the past, the first step would be to work towards a positive ethical climate. This could begin by discussing concerns with each member of the group and detailing where the issues began. If, for example, multiple members of the organization have complaints about a specific employee who is displaying excessive control over fellow co-workers, the first step would be to confront this individual directly about his or her actions. In understanding both sides of the issue, the leader would have the opportunity to mitigate issues and work towards overcoming previous setbacks.

III. Organizational Change Framework

In leadership, we must take a multifaceted approach to evaluating each individual person that creates the foundation of the organization. There are a wide number of constituents involved in enhancing organizational performance and understanding how each person makes up the entire entity. In order for leaders to understand the inner workings of the organization, they must take into consideration the importance of communication, the fact that an organization is a living and dynamic entity comprised of individuals, as well as the fact that the organization will experience change and stress as time goes on (Spreitzer & Porath, 2012). The first component of an organization that must be understood is the level of communication individuals engage in. Effective leaders focus on engaging in conversation with as many people within the organization as possible in order to yield a high degree of commitment to understanding each other's ideas, concepts, and goals. Communication serves four functions within an organization, which include motivation, control, information, and emotional expression (Robbins & Judge, 2013). Communication helps to control actions within an organization. For example, a manager communicates to his or her subordinates the rules and regulations implemented to ensure proper financial distribution of funds, adequate customer service, and measures in place to monitor expenditures. This form of communication is involved in controlling the actions within the organization so as to assure that key players are following the steps necessary to accomplish the organization’s goals. Motivational communication is used to encourage and positively affect fellow co-workers. This may be in the form of acknowledging a job well done or producing a positive evaluation that details what an employee did well during the past year. Relaying information is one of the primary goals of communication, as it is the way that we express thoughts or ideas to fellow co-workers through the use of written communications, electronic devices, and oral speaking. Emotional expression is a means of communication that focuses on informing a fellow co-worker about how we feel. This may be in the form of telling a cashier that his or her positive attitude brings joy to our day, or speaking with a driver and showing empathy towards a loss of life that he or she experienced in his or her family. Emotions of empathy, respect, or happiness are positive emotions displayed through this form of communication. Not all emotional communication is positive, as we can sometimes display anger, resentment, or stress through communication from one person to another. As leaders, it is important to find adequate ways to communicate so that we do not berate our subordinates, but instead encourage them to achieve a higher level of productivity.

Understanding the different methods of communication related to organizational dynamics is important to leaders in their goal of achieving organizational change. Typically, change is not seen as a positive implementation. Instead, it is likely that co-workers may feel that organizational change is a negative circumstance. However, many times it is a central part of leadership's responsibility to guide the organization into an environment of positive change. In order to do this, there are multiple ways of adapting to change and managing stress. This includes identifying forces related to planned and unplanned change, drafting a list of sources for resistance to change, as well as implementing a comparison of Lewin’s three-step model and Kotter’s eight-step plan. Lewin’s model focuses on explaining change in a three-step process: unfreeze, change, and refreeze. This three-stage process describes how organizational change is comparable to the way that a block of ice melts. By drawing a parallel, we can better understand one theory of organizational change, which states the first step is to "unfreeze," which is, in essence, the initial shock the people within an organization experience when change is beginning. The next step in the process is the actual change, which is represented by unfrozen water. Once people with an organization understand that the change must occur, they begin to work towards altering the way things were towards a better, more solidified level of resolution, which is called "refreeze" in Lewin’s model.

Kotter’s eight-step plan is a bit different, as it explores methods of communication that relate directly to the process of change within an organization. The first step is to create a sense of urgency, which places a high level of importance on necessary change within an organization. The second step is to create a powerful correlation among key players within the organization so that collaborative efforts towards change can begin. This may include the leader initiating conversations with stakeholders, community members, office personnel, and other management directors in order to work towards initiating a change. The third step is to create a vision for change, which is an ultimate goal that organization desire to achieve. The fourth step in the process is to communicate his or her vision to all staff members so that everyone understands clearly what the goals are. The fifth step is to remove obstacles, which can be one of the most difficult parts of change. Obstacles may include policies and procedures that are no longer working, or sometimes personnel who have unethical practices. Removing these obstacles is a central part of working towards change. The sixth step is to establish and create short-term "wins," which are ways of communicating small steps that have been achieved towards the long-term goal. The seventh step in the process is to build upon the change by expressing what has gone right in areas of improvement. The eighth and final step is to anchor the changes in corporate culture. This involves talking about progress whenever possible, publicly recognizing key members who work towards change, as well as encouraging those involved in the process. Both Lewin’s and Kotter’s models are interesting methods of initiating and implementing change within an organization. Regardless of which method is chosen, encouraging change is one of the most difficult responsibilities that a leader has. Is important to understand the needs and desires of current staff members, evaluate what went wrong in the past, and make careful decisions to encourage positive change in the future.

IV. Self-Assessment

Through multiple assessments completed throughout the program, I have had the opportunity to assess my personal leadership style. After careful evaluation, the personality style that represents me the most is called steadiness. This is typical of a person who is both open and indirect. A person who displays steadiness can be unassertive, reliable, and warm with others in a group. This type of person is very compliant and willing to take direction when given. As a leader, I present myself as someone who is willing to listen to the needs of others rather than simply listening to the sound of my own voice. In comparison to Johnson's theory of communication, I'm more of an I-thou communicator than an I-it leader. Concern is placed on the thoughts and ideas displayed rather than simply having an attitude of knowing everything and always having the right answer. Instead, this form of leadership style takes into consideration multiple essential core values, including humility, honesty, integrity, and openness. Being very considerate of others thoughts, feelings, and ideas and focusing on what others bring to the table are great ways for a leader to bring his or her organization for higher level of achievement.

VI. Conclusion

For years, theories on leadership have been the subject of many studies. Research has been conducted to understand in practice and in theory what separates a “good” leader from others. Many professors and philosophers have published their own views on this topic. A true leader is someone who listens to the thoughts and ideas presented by others, focuses on ethical standards that will benefit the organization as a whole, and presents himself or herself as an optimal communicator (Schacter, Gilbert, & Wegner, 2011). Furthermore, integrating core values that are typical of being a quality leader is an important and tool used in understanding what constitutes an effective leader. Demonstrating self-respect and respect for others, being a positive and open communicator, and exuding humility are all core competencies and personality traits of an effective leader. While multiple theorists have devised various methods of evaluating ethics, it is certain that a leader must be sure to uphold ethical standards whenever possible. This includes making decisions that take into consideration the organization as a whole rather than simply focusing on one’s own benefit. For example, it is better for a leader to step down from a position of authority in order to benefit the organization in its entirety in comparison to keeping his or her position as leader when he or she is failing. Decisions such as these are difficult and are not something that most people are able to do with ease. Instead, we must understand that being a leader is a difficult yet essential role.

Chapter 4

While the study of multiple theories and practices related to leadership is important, it is also essential that we understand how and when these theories come into play and their effectiveness in the real world. By evaluating the serving leadership theory, the situational leadership theory and the trait theory, we have an opportunity to understand how leadership can be best integrated within an organization.

I. Description of Situation

As mentioned previously, the servant leadership theory is highly focused on the way in which those in power relate to their subordinates. Once a person has decided that he or she wants to step up to the leadership role, the process of being an effective voice of guidance begins. An example of this is a person who has the desire to take part in politics within the local community. The media presents politics as an unfair realm of questions and answers where bias, discrimination, and argumentation become the norm. Yet, in reality, the study of politics shows us that it is essential in exuding the democratic approach to leadership that is found in the United States. People are able to make decisions on their own within our country, which is a right that is not found in many other countries throughout the world. If a student decides that he or she wants to step up and become a political voice in the United States, it begins with a personal acknowledgment of the desire to lead others. This innate desire must come from within, and according to Robert Greenleaf, is not something that cannot be pushed or forced against another individual. Once an individual has decided that he or she wants to step up and become a leader, the next step in the process is to evaluate who the leader is in comparison to the followers. In the example of a person wanting to become involved in politics, he or she must understand that being a political activist means that he or she will in essence become the leader, while all others in the country will become followers. The president of the United States is a common example of the servant theory (Van Dierendonck, 2011). The president displays himself or herself as a leader. That is not to say that people within the United States do not challenge the president. Instead, we see daily how opposing parties, commentaries, the media, and individuals with alternate opinions challenge what the president says on a daily basis. One example of this is an implementation of gun control that was recently taken into consideration after recent violent issues had occurred in the country. The president and his staff voiced their opinion on what should and should not be altered, while opposing parties discussed what they believed to be correct. Instead of simply telling government officials what to do, the president displayed a democratic leadership method, which involves exploring and discussing possible changes before they are implemented. A recent example of an effective servant leader was Richard Murphy, an innovative social entrepreneur who made many changes within the country and contributed to multiple community events and organizations. He contributed directly to the community and founded multiple organizations that benefited individuals from low-income backgrounds, dangerous neighborhoods, and lowered economic opportunities. Instead of simply telling people what they needed to do, Murphy focused on educating, informing, and motivating communities. For example, he founded the center for children and families, Harlem Children's Zone, which today serves over 12,000 youths and their families each year. He saw that there was an issue in the community related to youth violence, economic hardship, and a lack of education within Harlem, New York. Instead of simply telling committee members and government officials in New York to put money into the system and improve these areas, he began by exposing the various issues related to these communities and motivating others to work towards encouraging change within the community. Today, the Harlem Children's Zone is being replicated throughout the United States and is becoming the model for changing low-income communities throughout the United States. Furthermore, he also created a free program in New York specifically focused on helping low-income working families complete tax returns and maximize tax benefits, in order to help them financially. In total, studies show that his program helped needy families acquire over $60 million in tax gains since 2012. Again, this is a great example of a serving leader. Instead of simply dictating what should be done, Richard Murphy went out and actually integrated various programs that would benefit society as a whole. This form of leadership not only encourages others to work towards higher levels of being, but also communicates the necessity or camaraderie and companionship among organizations throughout the environment. In my opinion, this is a primary example of one of the best forms of leadership theories available in literature today. It is not enough simply to dictate what should and should not be done, but instead leadership embraces an overall focus on encouraging people to achieve higher levels of being, to help their fellow man, and to work towards improvement rather than simply pointing the finger and dictating what should or should not be done.

The situational leadership style was introduced and popularized through the theories presented by Paul Hersey and Kenneth Blanchard. This leadership model requires that leaders adapt to specific situations, and alter their leadership style to meet the needs of the group or individuals that they are guiding. The most important part of this leadership style is the ability to adapt and hold oneself specifically to the needs of the people they are working with. One example in which the situational leadership model is important is when a leader finds a task that his subordinates must accomplish and initiates this change by closely monitoring and supervising their activities. For example, if a hospital has found that their finance department is misrepresenting insurance claims, which is costing the organization thousands of dollars in lost revenue, a situational leadership model would be ideal in helping the organization rectify these issues. Instead of simply forcing members of the staff to make changes in how they work toward and process insurance claims, a better option would be to initiate conversations about why these issues have occurred. Sitting down and discussing the issues with staff members, including those involved in billing, receivables, and accounts payable, would be the best way to start this process. The leader in this part of organization could begin the conversation by exploring ways and areas of improvement, as well as engaging in open conversation among office staff members to find out where the issues began. Once they have been able to pinpoint where the issues began, the leader can begin to motivate and direct the office members towards policies and procedures that would help the organization remove the barriers previously present. In this example, it is possible that there were issues related to financial disbursements and the recording of insurance payments. Instead of simply arguing and punishing the staff members who are misrepresenting insurance claims, the leader could instead approach the group in a more positive manner. By directing and telling them where the issues began and how these issues can be fixed, the situational leadership model is being put into effect. Furthermore, if one or more staff members had previously seen that a personality issue has occurred, the leader in this situation could adapt his or her leadership style to a more emotional and social style so that he or she can begin to rebuild trust in the office. Furthermore, it would be important for the leader to discuss ways that the organization members can work together and collaborate so that the issues will not continue to occur in the future. The situational leadership model is one of the best models in the way that it approaches a methodology related to adapting to the change within organizations and working with people instead of against them.

II. Analysis of Situation

In order for the traits theory to be properly implemented, one must see the importance of evaluating an individual's personality traits, behaviors, actions, attitudes, strengths and weaknesses rather than simply focusing leadership styles based on the leader's preference (Ziegler, Ehrlenspiel, & Brand, 2009). In order for a leader to understand the necessities of his or her group of personnel, he or she must focus on understanding and detailing the various trades present among the group. Working with one or two people, it may not be that difficult for a leader to evaluate the various personalities present. Yet, if a leader comes into a situation where he or she must work with a large group of personnel, understanding and evaluating each individual personality traits may take more time. For example, if the new director of the art and marketing department within a major corporation decided to use the trait theory as a method of encouraging greater work productivity, he or she would have to begin by sitting down and speaking with each individual member of the art e-marketing team. This would give the new director the opportunity to learn who each person is, what his or her goals are, what his or her behaviors are, the individual’s specific attitudes, actions, and other aspects of his or her personality as a means of understanding who the individual is as a person. The purpose of utilizing this theory is to try to bring about positive personality traits instead of focusing on negative ones. For example, being honest regardless of consequences is a personality trait that all members of an organization should aspire to. A leader can help to encourage this by speaking with staff members and encouraging them to be open and honest about any situation that arises. By informing them that they will not be judged, harmed, or penalized for their honesty, a leader can encourage this positive personality trait (Brown, 2011). Another positive personality trait that can be yielded through this theory is encouraging individuals within a group to have responsibility for all of their actions and to strive for a higher level of participation than simply doing the bare minimum. Employees and coworkers should be encouraged to work towards a higher level of accomplishment than what they are used to doing on a daily basis. This helps to elevate the entire organization's ability to be productive and efficient, and to meet their strategic goals. A leader utilizing the personality traits of leadership theory can help to encourage this by focusing on means of improvement within the organization, and encouraging each individual person to work a little bit harder towards common goals. Adaptability and compatibility should also be encouraged, along with motivating one another and having a compassionate understanding for members of the group. Being patient, encouraging others, and be open to talk about any issues that may arise are leadership traits that are suited through the use of the trait theory (Lussier & Achua, 2009).

III. Conclusion

Understanding how individual theory helps to resolve issues present within an organization is an essential part of understanding the importance of leadership methods and practices. Each individual practice and theory has its own benefits and drawbacks, and is highly dependent upon of the group as a whole. Through a collaborative effort of understanding each theory, we can better understand how and why the processes and ideas can help a leader to organize, establish, and create policies and procedures that benefit the company as a whole.

Chapter 5

I. Essence or Major Cornerstones

Understanding the various aspects of leadership, as well as reading all of the necessary theories on the subject, have given me an opportunity to have a well-rounded and comprehensive understanding of the field. Leadership is much more than simply dictating what should and should not be done. It is a much more integrated process than simply directing people and telling them what to do. Instead, leadership embraces many positive aspects of motivation and encouragement, and a more comprehensive understanding of the way people interact with one another. My own personal leadership philosophy begins with understanding how and why leaders are needed. Throughout life, we are faced with many circumstances that require our attention. This can be in the form of making a life choice regarding one's education, career path, whether or not to have a family, whether or not to get involved in a business opportunity, deciding upon where to live, whom to marry, and so much more. In order for us to understand what the right choice is, we must have some form of leader who displays the primary example that we can follow. The theory of leadership comes into play in all major environments, including work, personal life, religious and personal beliefs, as well one's own personal life. It is not enough simply to listen to what others tell us to do. Instead, the person who is speaking, reading, and guiding us towards a different path must be someone who is worthy of this position. By understanding the various leadership theories, practices, and procedures presented through this program, I have gained a better understanding of what characteristics are typical of a good leader (Jordan, Brown, Treviño, & Finkelstein, 2013).

An ideal leader is someone who takes this position with the utmost seriousness, importance, and responsibility. A leader should be a person who wants to guide people into a positive and more efficient experience, rather than someone who has a love of power or control. Leadership does not embrace the ideology related to control, as seen in many countries around the world. For example, in the nation of Cuba, their leader is, in essence, a dictator. Fidel Castro has been in power for over 40 years, yet the people have a disdain and significant amount of hatred towards their president. This is because, instead of focusing on leading his people to a lifestyle of improved opportunities and fulfillment, he has instead utilized power in a negative manner. He is an example of someone who controls people rather than motivates and encourages them. Leadership is a very tricky subject, as it can be taken positively or negatively. Leadership is meant, in my opinion, to encourage and support people rather than negatively control them.

II. Evolution of Thinking

When I first started this program, my idea of leadership was quite different than what it is today. I felt that leadership was, in essence, a means of management or a way to control people. Focused primarily on the business aspect of leadership, I felt that a leader was someone who has power over others. In the beginning, my opinion was that leadership embraced the ideology that there must be someone who is the head of a department, principal of the school, or the manager or boss at an organization (Lee, Almanza, Jang, Nelson, & Ghiselli, 2013). I did not realize until later on in the program that leadership instead focuses on motivation and people-related tasks and ideas, rather than simply dictating what should or should not be done. This thought process transitioned over time as I realized the importance of understanding how human interaction requires a leader to step up to the plate and guide people towards a common goal. It is not enough for us to simply believe that we should be dictated to, or that in order for a large group of people to abide by specific regulations, they must be managed. Instead, there is a more humanistic approach to guiding people toward a common path, which is the essence of leadership. Motivating people and understanding their unique needs, characteristics, traits, and desires are all part of the field of leadership

III. Conclusion

The concept of leadership is, in essence, the study and understanding of the action of leading a person or group of people in a unified direction. The study of leadership displays a plethora of theories, practices, and procedures related to the field to help us understand how important human interaction is in the field of guiding people towards a common goal. Leaders are much more than simply managers; they are, in essence, the voices of reason, guidance, and direction found in our society. True leaders are found in all organizations, including for-profit and not-for-profit companies, as well as within the field of politics and in our government. Leaders help to give a voice to the unknown thoughts, ideas, and concepts that will help to solve our country’s problems and issues. Through a comprehensive understanding of leadership, we are better able to see where and how we, as a society, will be able to collaborate together and overcome issues that have previously held us back from initiating change in our communit


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