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A Review of Leadership Theories, Principles and Styles

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It is widely known that there are certain traits that make leaders what they are. There are also some traits that are seen less in leaders and therefore can be considered as less needed. Intelligence, dominance and extroversion are some of the traits that are seen in leaders.

Models have been developed in order to understand these traits and how they affect leaders and they have been significant in research amongst scholars. Models have shown that the congruence of a pattern of dispositional traits with environmental demands can contribute to performance prediction. Other models suggest that some individuals may need a specific environment to thrive in, while other individuals are not affected by the environment in which they operate in.

It has also been suggested that a leader of an organization, with or without his knowledge, creates an environment in the workplace hat is similar to his/her patterns of personality traits and therefore a culture is created which is similar to the leaders values/personality characteristics. Another study reveals that in senior leadership roles, only a certain type of individual can arrive and last long term. On the other side, some scholars argue that that is not true, and that diversity exists in senior leadership roles as each organization asks for different roles and tasks.

Best Leadership Skills

Being a Leader is probably the most difficult position in the world. Trying to be a good and effective leader is an integral part of the success. That’s why we are going to analyze some crucial leadership qualities and characteristics of 100 regarding the article by Brian Downard.

  • Self-Motivation. Leaders desire to achieve the best expectations. They want to become better and do things better than everyone else and believe that no one can to it better than himself.
  • Confidence. Have confidence is something that you born with but some people believe that it can be practice and learned. Trying to build your confidence must be willing to fail but have the strength to find your limits.
  • Passion is one of the important characteristic that a leader must have. Passion and desire make people following you.
  • Integrity. Strong moral values recognized by people and stuck with you.
  • Listening. Most of people are waiting to speak and heard. But great Leaders listens first and then speaks.
  • Ability to teach. Sharing the methodologies and processes of the business with people that work with you, is very important for the business. If a manager cannot share those information with employees it will be reflect to the sales and operations.
  • Trust in your team. Trust your team doing things, is not so easy. But that depends from the ability to train them and work with them. So you must trust them getting the results you want.
  • Ability to Inspire. A great Leader should inspire people work with him. The team needs to know that what they doing has bigger impact than they realize.
  • Sharing your vision. Great ideas never achieved by one person. A leader must share his ideas with people work with him, so they can buy them.
  • Turning vision into reality. A Leader not only shares the vision but must have the ability to make it happen. So he needs to make the vision a strategy to execute over time.
  • Strategic thinking. A leader plan for the long-term, but first makes small and actionable steps.
  • Focused. A great Leader knows that he must remain on truck and avoid distractions.
  • Help other succeed. Being generous is an important characteristic of a great Leader. Helping people succeed and become leaders of themselves is recognized by them.
  • Patience .Being patient is very difficult. Leaders know that patience is not about waiting the results but is about the journey, not giving up and work hard for the plan.
  • Leaders make the futures

    Regarding Bob Johansen, “if a Leader wants to survive, lead and create the future must build and apply new skills”. Above the new skills that a Leader needs to have and build:

    • Maker instinct: A leader must have the ability to connect with people while making the plan. He needs to have the -can do- and -can make- spirit.
    • Clarity: Needs have the ability to see things that other people can see. He must read the future, recognize problems and find solutions in confusing times.
    • Dilemma Flipping: The ability to see the opportunities through the dilemmas and turn this situation to an advantage for him.
    • Immersive learning ability: Ability to being in unfamiliar environments and learn from them in a first-way person.
    • Bio-empathy: Ability to understand and respect nature. Learn from nature and trying to see things from nature’s point of view.
    • Constructive depolarizing: Ability to work with people with different cultures but also bring people together so they can achieve a plan. Also a leader must calm and improve situations when people do not agree.
    • Quiet Transparency: Ability to see what matters and not being self-promoting. Needs to inspire people with credibility and trust.
    • Rapid prototyping: Ability to create innovation and learn from the failure
    • Smart mob organizing: Ability to choose for using the right range of media for the best communication challenge.
    • Common creating: Ability to seed, nurture and grow shared assets that can benefit other players.

    Skills Leaders Need at Every Level

    This article refers in a research that is analyzing a competency model for leadership development. It is based on the assumption that once people develop a skill, they will continue to exercise it. 332.860 bosses, peers, and subordinates asked what skills have the greatest impact on a leader’s success in the position currently hold. They selected the top four out of a list of 16 that provided to them. Competencies that were voted as the most important for all management positions are:

    • -Inspires and motivates others?38%
    • -Displays high integrity and honesty?37%
    • -Solves problems and analyzes issues?37%
    • -Drives for results?36%
    • -Communicates powerfully and prolifically?35%
    • -Collaborates and promotes teamwork?33%
    • -Builds relationships?30%
    • -Displays technical or professional expertise?27%
    • -Displays a strategic perspective?24%
    • -Develop others?21%
    • -Takes initiative?19%
    • -Innovates?16%
    • -Champion change?16%
    • -Connects the group to the outside world?12%
    • -Establishes stretch goals?10%
    • -Practices self-development?9%

    As we can see from the results, we understand that the fundamental skills will not change as people move up the organization. Middle managers believe that most important skill is solving problems. Then the senior managers believe that communicating powerfully and prolifically is the top one competency. And only the top executives move from the lower level to fifth position a new competency, the ability to develop a new strategic perspective.

    From this analysis, we can see that there is a logic explanation about the usage of competency at different stages of development. But some skills are very important and crucial from the beginning of your career. So you have to demonstrate this skills before is too late.

    The most important leadership competencies.

    This article is referred to a research that is focusing on “what makes an effective leader”. Participants of research were 195 leaders in 15 countries over 30 global organizations. They were asked to choose the 15 most important leadership competencies from a list of 74. The answers were:

    • 67% Has high ethical and moral standards.
    • 59% Provides goals and objectives with loose guidelines/directions
    • 56% Clearly communicates expectations
    • 52% Has the flexibility t change opinions
    • 43% Is committed to my ongoing training
    • 42% Communicates often and openly
    • 39% Is open to new ideas and approaches
    • 38% Creates a feeling of succeeding and failing together
    • 38% Helps me grow into a next-generation leader
    • 37% Provides safety for trial and error

    These competencies were grouped into five major themes:

    1. Demonstrates strong ethics and provides a sense of safety. This theme is a combination of the two major characteristics: “high ethical and moral standards (which is selected by the 67% of people) and “communicating clear expectation” (56% of people). This theme is talking about the feeling of safety and trust in your environment. A leader with ethical and moral standards can provide this feeling to employees and also that rules will be honored by him and them.
    2. Empowers others to self-organize. The next most important leadership competency is the ability to provide a clear direction so employees can organize their own time and work. A Leader can’t do all things alone. So he needs to distribute power through the organization.
    3. Fosters a sense of connection and belonging. People want to feel a sense of belonging and consistently trying to connect with other people. So Leaders who provide this feeling, by “communicate often and openly’” (#6) and “create a feeling of succeeding and failing together as a pack” (#8) are building a strong connection. Achieving this, is not so complicate as there are many simples ways to promote it (smile at people, call them by name, etc)
    4. Shows openness to new ideas and fosters organizational learning. Leaders with “flexibility to change opinions”(#4),”being open to new ideas and approaches”(#7) and “provide safety for trial and error”(#10) are leaders who encourage learning. Is not so easy to admit that you made a mistake, so having all those strengths build o strong connection.
    5. Nurtures growth. The final category includes “Be committed to my ongoing training”(#5) and “helping me grow into a next-generation leader” (#9). When a leader show commitment to growth then employees is motivated and being loyal.

    19 soft skills every leader needs to be successful

    A successful leader except technical skills must have soft skills like negotiating, building morale, communicate with people and etc. Some of those soft skills are analyzing below:

    • Listening: A great leader first listens and then speaks. He understand how important is to listen other’s opinions and ideas.
    • Communicating: Building relationships with others is a result of good communications skills, that is help a leader to manage employees.
    • Negotiating: Most Leaders negotiating
    • Dealing with difficult employees.
    • Managing change.
    • Building morale.
    • Recognizing good work.

    7 ways

    According to the article “Leadership is the key driver of best practices, innovation and productivity. It’s not surprising that there is a strong correlation between leadership development and how companies perform.” In response to this statement, an analysis about the 7 ways to build stronger leadership skills is provided below:

    1. Understand the importance of leadership. A Leader must share his vision with company’s people and make them feel that they are part of this vision. They must know where the company is heading and what the expectations are. So the leader must be positive and willing to face all the problems which may arise.
    2. Know your weaknesses and strengths, then delegate. It is very important for a leader to know and recognize all of his/her weaknesses. But he/she must also acknowledge all his strengths so that he can use them for his advantage. Nobody can do all things himself. So a leader must recognize other’s people skills and surround himself by competent people.
    3. Implement coaching. Leadership training is also very crucial for the company. It is very important for the employees to have the skills to be able to move the company forward. Therefore, a leader must ensure that his knowledgeable personnel will share their experiences with the other teams.
    4. Be transparent. For a leader, being transparent is very important too. A leader must be direct with his colleagues and let them where the company stands and where it is going. The more information employees know, the better.
    5. Earn respect, not love or fear. Earn respect isn’t as easy as it sounds. However, a leader should earn it. By getting respect you can get the results that you want.
    6. Reward people. A team needs to be rewarded for their hard job. It’s a reward for all their effort and the future effort they will put into the company’s mission.
    7. Network. According to Halde, Networking is necessary for strong leadership. .”Strong leaders know how to reach out and build beneficial partnerships and alliances.”

    Top ten leadership

    According to Alison Doyle who was a good leader, being an office manager or a project leader, one has to use some soft skills that will help him interact with employees. Those soft skills are analyzed below:

    1. Communication. The skill that will help you build a healthy relationship with your team. Being open to discuss makes employees feel that you are available to listen to them.
    2. Motivation. A great Leader needs to inspire other people. And he can achieve this by finding ways that work for his team.
    3. Delegating. A good distribution of workload to employees can help a leader achieve his goal. Giving duties to employees is not a sign of weakness but a key to success.
    4. Positivity. Being positive at the work-place can help create a healthy and beautiful environment. If employees work and feel happy at the office they will then be willing to put in the long hours when needed.
    5. Trustworthiness. People need to know that their manager is an honest person who they can trust.
    6. Creativity. Creativity comes from the way that a manager tries to solve problems with nontraditional ways.
    7. Feedback. It’s very important and useful for employees to be given feedback on their work so that they can feel confident or improve when needed.
    8. Responsibility. A Leader must take responsibility where needed. In bad times and in good times.. People will respect it.
    9. Commitment. If a Leader does not show commitment, he/she cannot expect from commitment from the employees.
    10. Flexibility. Things can change last minute. A leader needs to show flexibility and openness to make the necessary changes.

    Essential skills for leadership

    The evolution of the market globally has created the need for international businesses. How effective global leadership can be, is a subject that has been a major issue in the world of business for some time now. It can be considered as a very important part of every organization, as the world faces new challenges and new trends.

    Leadership depends on many factors, one being the ability of the leader to react and handle situations which may be diverse and or complex, as the modern world identifies with more cultural groups, lifestyles, ages and abilities.

    A leader must also have a specific approach for every circumstance and different personality of an individual. A group’s dynamic varies from company to company, and judgment or appraisal can affect individuals differently, as everyone cannot be treated with the same concept.

    A leader must be flexible. In the modern business world and societies, people have different values, work ethic, behaviours and communication styles. All of these factors should be taken into consideration before any action that a leader takes.

    Vision is also a very important component. A leader should think outside the box according to the global changes and also his teams’ capabilities. A look at the bigger picture is also required in order to plan long term and not short term.

    Actions speak louder than words, and leaders should always prove that to their employees. Help and motivation is also required in order to get the maximum of every individual. One of the most important components of being a leader is the ability to communicate. Negotiation skills are vital while getting the message across to the team is also of great importance.

    Leadership chapter 3

    The following article is based on the theory that a leader must have 3 skills which are the following: technical, human and conceptual.

    Technical skill is the knowledge and the specific skills that are required for one to be good at a particular area of work. A leader must be aware of the standards and activities of his organization in order to be aware and knowledgeable.

    Human skills are the opposite of technical skills. These are the skills that can make a leader trustworthy to his employees. It is a leader’s proficiency in working with people, analyzing and understanding their behavior and therefore acting in accordance to what is needed for each individual to get maximum performance.

    Conceptual skills are the skills that help leaders see through and work on a specific idea. Leaders with good conceptual skills will be able to see a company’s vision long term, plan for the future while also being able to express their thoughts in a manner that is understandable by everyone.

    Leaders must have the ability to handle complex situations and find solutions where there seem to be none. They must understand human behavior and act in a manner that will be motivational to individuals either by showing sensitivity or ruthlessness.

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