Table of Contents
- Definitions of Leadership
- Models of Leadership
- Approach to Leadership
- Development Goals as a Leader
- Ethical Leadership
- Background of a Familiar Company
- Ethical Leadership of VW
- Recommendation on Improving Ethical Leadership
Good leadership is pivotal to the success of any organizations, and the role of leadership cannot be underestimated. Leadership moulds our way of living, working and playing such that good leaders raise strong team-work which forms the basis of realizing organizational goals and success. The paper will delve at what leadership is within an organization and discuss at length different leadership styles/ theories as well as ethical leadership. The goal of the article is to help one develop goals that will enable him/ her to be a well rounded and effective leader. Besides, I will be able to identify my approach to leadership and develop objectives which will shape me as a leader.
Definitions of Leadership
Leaders impact the team for work triumph and failure to have good leadership leads to informal guidance in addition to lack of authority. Hence the question begs what direction is? Andrea Walker-Leidy, the owner of Walker Publicity Consulting, defines leadership as the ability to see a problem and be the solution. It takes real leadership for a leader to perceive a problem as a challenge, rises to the occasion and provides a solution / be part of the resolution. Leadership is being confident even when things are wrong and having the willpower to forge forth past the mistakes according to Darcy Eikenberg, founder of Red Cape Revolution.com. Leadership is the foundation of an organization’s success and can change the impossible to reality. The direction is a unique trait, and it does not happen automatically. Leadership is a journey of social influence whereby a manager optimizes the efforts of others towards the realization of a common goal as well as having the ability to transform a vision into reality. Keith Davis describes leadership as the ability to persuade an individual/ team to seek defined goals with enthusiasm.
Further, it is the human element that binds a group together and catalyzes it to move towards realizing goals. A manager can induce the subordinates to work passionately with self-confidence and ardour. Leadership is also defined as the process by which a manager directs, guides and influences the behavior and work of others with an endeavor to achieve specific goals in a given circumstance.
Leadership is situation bound and such that there is no best style of leadership since every leader possesses the different attitude, manner of executing issues and getting things done. However, situations such as the kind of people the leader interacts with will determine the type of leadership style to embrace. A leader is a magnet who attracts followers hence there are numerous leadership theories which aid leaders get the best out of their supporters.
Models of Leadership
Participative Leadership Style: Also known as democratic leadership embraces team players as part of decision makers where they have an opportunity to air their opinions/ views regarding a matter although the final decision rests with the leader. He /she is the ultimate decision maker but invites the suggestion of others which leads to a synergized work environment, promotes creativity, motivation and job satisfactio. The down low of democratic theory is that it can be time-consuming because the leader must guide team members on what to do and how to perform it then get wait to get feedback.
Bureaucratic Leadership: Unlike democratic leadership, in bureaucratic theory, the team players have no chance to participate in the decision-making process. Leaders follow strict rules and policies set by the organization. Also, the leader has to ensure that the workers observe organizational rules. The more an employee adheres to company rules and regulations the higher the chances of a job promotion. The disadvantage with bureaucratic leadership is that it is restrictive and does not encourage either creativity or innovation. Also, the employees achieve no job satisfaction due to lack of motivation which can easily lead to low productivity in a company.
Autocratic Leadership: Here, the leader gets all things done and the team follows. The team members have no opportunity for questioning or criticize the leader or have their input heard in a bid to enhance the company’s agenda. The autocratic leadership works best in a risky and short-term project or where the job is routine and monotonous. The advantage of an authoritarian style is speedy – decision-making process since there are no consultations and feedback to be made. The style is not motivating which leads to poor performance and high staff turnover rate / frequent employee absenteeism.
Laissez Faire Leadership Style: Unlike the styles mentioned above of leadership, this style is appropriately applicable in an organization where the team is highly skilled, trustworthy and intellectual such that the leader fully trusts the team members to execute duties by themselves. The team players are responsible for sharing their opinions and give suggestions which can improve the enterprise. The leader’s role in Laissez Faire style is to deal with rational or intellectual matters in the company and is least concerned about the management wing of the firm.
Approach to Leadership
My approach to leadership is leaders are born and not made. Leadership in my perspective is part of an individual’s DNA and cannot be taught. Leadership is not learning an acting role or a new role. Besides, having leadership traits does not make a person a leader. For example, the ability to empower and inspire is not an attribute which can be trained or instilled in somebody. Extraversion forms the basis of leadership effectiveness and having some ‘raw ingredients’ which are inborn characteristics predispose an individual to be born a leader. Leaders are born since general and social intelligence (IQ) form important nuggets of one’s leadership. A person with a high IQ is smart enough to analyze situations and make up informed decision. IQ is inborn and cannot be taught. It is linked to leadership since a leader can fathom social conditions, processes, and dynamics. Moreover, a leader can quickly identify what followers want, the moment they want it as well as what inhibits them from achieving it as a result of intelligence. Notwithstanding, it is possible for one to learn leadership skills but that does not make him an actual leader. The implication is that leadership cannot be taught. For example, an individual can acquire language skills and still struggle to be perfect. The same scenario applies in leadership since if a leader learns skills, it is not the skills only which transform him into a leader. Notably, a leader can be trained to follow, but the follower cannot be prepared to be courageous enough to lead. My Preferred LeadershipI identify with democratic leadership which is based on mutual trust and equality. Participative leadership calls for teamwork and collaboration between the leader and the team members. The approach works best for me since it is open and each team player has an equal chance to take part in sharing ideas freely without intimidation and be part of the company decision making. In the collegial leadership style, employees have different expertise and are the centre stage of contribution although as a democratic leader I still hold the mandate to make the final responsibility as well as decision. Democrative approach unlike autocratic gives the leader the opportunity to delegate authority to the subordinate. It ensures that there is upward and downward communication within the company which is active.
Additionally, the approach creates a positive work environment which promotes motivation and productivity. Besides, fairness, intelligence, mutual respect, honesty, and competence are instilled in the employees. Sometimes making a decision can be quite complex and integrating different people with different expertise in the day- to-day decision making creates an excellent environment for collaborative problem-solving. As the saying goes, problems shared are problems halved, effectively delegating chores to workers who best fit the issue helps to make decisions rapidly. Analysing the participative leadership critically, the approach encourages active participation of employees since workers develop a great sense of belonging and self-esteem once their ideas and suggestions are considered. Also, it builds a strong vision for the future of the organization because of a commitment towards the final objective. For example, employees will not always agree about a decision. Additionally, the consensus could go against that of the leader. Sometimes they agree to disagree such that those who oppose will somehow understand the reasoning behind the dissent taken since they have ownership of the task. If workers contributions are taken with the seriousness they deserve, they will contribute to the decision process to the best of their abilities.
Moreover, when employees have strong ties, they will be creative and invest in the positive outcome. The benefits of democratic leadership outweigh the disadvantages. My preferred style of leadership enhances employees to be more vibrant at work and feel that they are a crucial part of the organization but not just ‘warm bodies’ expected to pump up results. By having an equal role in making decisions gives them a sense of empowerment thus great productivity as well as profitability. The approach promotes honesty and integrity from all members. The leader is the role model while the subordinate staff emulates their leader. The implication is that the leaders ought to be honest while sharing their ideas even when they are the final decision makers on the same level for discussion. In this manner, the employees will embrace the same traits as their leaders.
Development Goals as a Leader
One of my development goals is to divert my leadership style guiding and directing as well as work with each direct report to create their development program. Training and mentorship play a pivotal role in leadership development. Besides, leadership is a continuous journey where every leader is a continuous learner. I will continuously advise others through my life experiences. I would set a leadership vision and develop an action plan that would change my perception of reality attainable via investing time in making others successful.
Moreover, I will invest more in building a relationship that will boost the confidence of the team. Further, I will implement leadership behavior that will improve other people’s trust and morale through the delegation of duties, besides, to follow up. For success to be realized, teamwork is essential, positive attitude and being intentional. Empowering employees more frequently with leadership training and skill development is a sure way of mentoring subordinates.
I intend to be an ambassador and champion of change beyond any defined boundary. Employees are more responsive to top leadership inspiration. I purpose to take the initiative to work with other people to break bottlenecks and solve complex issues. Thinking outside the box will be more encouraged since it catalyzes finding ‘flow’ in every job one is performing. Flow works hand in hand with the right kind of ‘good stress’ leading to an increase in performance. Flowing in an individual’s job implies an entire focused motivation and aligning emotions positively with the task assigned. Resultantly, I will take pleasure in executing a mandate as a leader and taking pleasure in what I am doing which eliminates burn out.
Ethics and morals are words which are interchanged frequently. However, ethics is defined as a belief, principle, and values which define what right and wrong behavior is. Ethics defines morals while ethical leadership is phenomenal in influencing others via beliefs, policies, and values which defines good behavior. Poor ethical leadership is on the rise with the majority of corporates being victims of ethical scandals. However, the media plays a paramount role in bringing into limelight such organizations in today’s transparent technology-driven world. Unlike before, ethical leadership practice is taking recognition globally as more leaders are under more scrutiny. Ethical leadership determines how a leader acts and interacts with colleagues professionally and plays a critical role in attracting new talent.Also, ethical leadership can be defined as a leadership theory which is based on moral concepts as a manner of monitoring and managing junior staff. It is influencing others via ethics and the principles of right behavior with the aim of achieving objectives. Ethics leaders Michael E. Brown and Linda K. Treviñ define ethical leadership as a form of explicitly paying attention to ethical standards via accountability, transparency and communication concepts. Ethical leadership is substantially a shared process which endeavors to empower, mentor and encourage others to take leadership positions. In the long run, leading with difficult is eliminated helping an individual to make better and sound decisions.
Background of a Familiar Company
The organization that I am familiar with is Volkswagen (VW) a German-owned automobile manufacturing industry. The company was initially formed in 1937 by the German government and has evolved over the years. According to research conducted by Fortune Global 2015, the firm is the 9th largest company globally. It is renowned for car brands such as Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi among others. The organization has branches in America, Europe, and Asia and has a history of performing excellently. VW has 340 subsidiary automotive divisions with a different kind of bases such as market and geographically based divisions which enhances management and decision- making process. The organization falls under categories namely the Financial and Automotive divisions which play numerous roles. In more than seven decades, more than 21M automobiles have been produced with the last original Beetle launched on 30th July 2003 in Mexico, South America.
Ethical Leadership of VW
The VW is actively involved in Corporate Social Responsibility as a way of giving back to the society. However, in 2015 the company hit the media waves all for negative reasons. VW demonstrates ethical leadership to a lesser degree since it was involved in a scandal. The issue entailed episodes of lack of accountability and transparency and ever since the Company is struggling in regaining its reputation. The company claimed that they had invented a car engine which has a clean groundbreaking diesel. Consequentially, the engine was eco- friendly and met the American threshold of emission standards. The automobile company failed in ethical leadership since they lied that they adhered to vehicle production of cars with better fuel economy consumption in addition to general performance. The firm was granted an award, Green Car of the Year award as we learn from the Green Car Journal. The ethical issue was that VW acclaimed an award out of non -accountability, and lack of openness. Notwithstanding, the company cheated its client of manufacturing automobiles which are outstanding, fuel friendly and at an affordable price only to discover that the cars were not environmentally safe. The company failed in ethical leadership and was overtaken by bias. If managers do not lead from the front, then the rest of the team follows suit which leads to mediocre performance. The VW exposed bias was unwarranted for and can impinge discomfort on subordinate employees. Leaders refrain from disclosing their flaws, but VW did not practice self-awareness which led to stagnation of sales volume, tainted reputation, and loss. The company did not maintain a better relationship with its stakeholders and workers due to the lack of being unopen minded.
Recommendation on Improving Ethical Leadership
Mission is king and engaging people that you share the same values is critical. I would recommend that VW promotes an open line of communication, feedback in addition to being transparent. Top and down communication will create an atmosphere of honesty and integrity giving employees confidence in taking a firm stand, sharing ideas and appropriate measures whenever necessary. One of the significant pitfalls of ethical leadership is a lack of accountability. Leaders should instill a culture of transparency in a bid to achieve aligned goals and well set out responsibilities. Hence, VW will have safeguarded itself from loopholes and inevitable failure.
I recommend that employees need to be actively involved in decision making. They are part of the company and have a right to know what is going on which gives them a sense of belonging. Transparency is catalysts for low staff turnover and therefore low company overheads. VW leaders should avoid default accountability as well as openness by being role models.
The company needs to hire individuals who have the company’s interest at heart such that there is established common ground as envisioned by the VW vision statement. Leaders ought to align themselves with the priority of the firm which encourages the rest of the team to imitate since everybody shares the same objectives.
In a nutshell from the report, I have been able to realize that there is a distinct difference between a leader and a manager. Leaders influence others to work voluntarily towards a common goal and must create a cordial relationship between the employee and the organization. The companies which are over managed for instance via autocratic leadership and are under-led do not perform as expected. Employees become demoralized and lack job satisfaction which is pivotal in productivity. Leadership together with management sets a path necessary for optimization of resources. Both leadership and management are deemed essential for an individual as well as organizational success. A leader is one who influences the behavior and work of others in group efforts towards the achievement of specified goals in a given situation. They have a role of continuation and are followed by people willingly. A leader commands followers and influences the behavior and work of team players in an effort towards achievement of specified goals in a given situation. Leadership is a trait which is both inbuilt and can be acquired also. Leadership is unique and calls one to flow within his/ her flaws without imitating somebody else. Nobody is perfect however an effective leader must be highly confident, robust, know his job well, be intelligent and have integrity for a company to succeed. Leadership encompasses helping employees grow professionally and solving complex matters amicably. I reverberate those excellent leaders are born and not made, but a good and efficient leader is one who knows his character and that of his followers. Besides, it is essential to be aware of the leadership style to adopt in different situations.