Leadership Characteristics of Administrators
To define leadership, we first have to understand that leadership is relative i.e. everyone has a different approach to define what is good leadership. There are some who try to differentiate between the tasks and approaches of an individual in terms of being a good leader or a good manager. There are others who concentrate on the necessary characteristics of an individual that make him/her a leader like intellect, risk taking ability, determination, creativity, etc. There are many others who are more focused on the different elements of leadership and believe that these elements are far more important for any researcher to catalog if they are analyzing the dynamics and aspects of leadership especially within academic institutions. This study offers a synthesis of the main findings on the leadership related to past and current trends in leadership literature; characteristics of leadership and the relationship between power and leadership. This study used analysis of publications and reviews of research from 1900’s to present, and refined these results into concise and clear findings that can be understood by the reader.
Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria
Three aspects had been taken into consideration when collecting the information. Only those scholarly books and peer-reviewed articles have been included which revealed:
1) Past and current trends in leadership literature;
2) Characteristics of leadership; and 3) the relationship between power and leadership;
In order to answer these questions, the researcher did a meta-analysis of recent publications. The researcher reviewed articles from several books and articles published in educational magazines and journals (such as QUESTIA, GOOGLE SCHOLAR, MSN, ATHENS) and analyzed information published in these sources to fulfill the objectives of this study. Furthermore, the keywords used to search for information in these databases were: LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS, POWER and LEADERSHIP, LEADERSHIP RESEARCH, ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP, LEADERSHIP QUALITIES, SUCCESSFUL LEADERS
Section 1: Overview of leadership
As already mentioned, leadership has numerous ways in which it can be defined but the one commonality in every definition of leadership is that leadership takes place as a group activity with communication and work being done between two or more individuals or groups that share the same objective (Yukl 1989). Bloom and Loughead (2006) in their paper review leadership and define it as “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal (Bloom and Loughead, 2006; pg 60)” the overall approach to making a group work under a leadership becomes the main focus hereof. The manner could be both that of dictatorship and/or teamwork. Both have different aftermaths and different circumstances. Duemer et al. (2004) asserts that teamwork and collaborative environment is essential for progress of the entire group towards their goals (Duemer et al., 2004).
In the researches available thus far, it is hard to point out or list the tangible or calculable structure of the responsibilities of the leader. Scholars, however, have been more clear and tangible in defining the roles and responsibilities of the managers. Most scholars have agreed on the following characteristics that leaders mostly have: intellect, creativity, motivated, determined futurists and magnetic (Rosenbach and Taylor 1989). In one of the most popular publications “The Manager’s Job” by Henry Mintzberg (1975), he highlighted some of the activities that the managers have to take on to do their job well; all these activities apply to the dynamics of a good leader. The activities highlighted included the allotment of all resources financial and otherwise, to resolve the problems within the working structure, satisfying both clients and employees and constantly analyzing the work settings for improvement or reformation (Mintzberg, 1975).
One of the many methods of researches carried out on leadership was to highlight the specific characteristics of a leader like determination or creativity. Intelligence or intellect was the most popular characteristic highlighted in many studies. Aristotle’s approach that only those individuals who had higher intelligence could rule over a nation successfully was a major component towards making intelligence one of the most important characteristic that a leader needed to have. The general idea is that the individual who has superior intelligence will make better and knowledgeable decisions. Other studies supported the belief that an individual could not be groomed or developed into a leader, he was either a born leader or not. This belief was abandoned with the passage of time as the notion seemed too fortune-based. Chan (2007) summed up the literature on intelligence and leadership, “Leaders were more intelligent than their followers, and intelligence was consistently associated with perceptions of leadership (pg: 183).” He further points out, “Over the years, while intelligence researchers have recognized that there is more to intelligence than the mental abilities represented in traditional intelligence tests, and have advocated broader conceptualizations and multiple facets or domains of intelligence (pg: 183).” This broader conceptualization includes emotional intelligence; he writes, “The construct of emotional intelligence and the terms of EI or EQ as opposed to IQ have now become popular and commonplace terms (pg: 183).” Within the domain of education administration, one can assume that intelligence is vital for strong and successful leadership. Highly intelligent educational leaders can assist not only students but also staff in solving issues and problems affecting education.
One other characteristic for a leader that has been rated highly amongst many scholars is that of charisma. This basically means that the individual has a high level of appeal amongst the masses or amongst the individuals he/she is working with. This massive appeal allows the leader the advantage of working around people who are motivated to work under him/her and respect his/her approach to work. The leader also has the advantage of being viewed as the visionary and the inspiration to stick to a particular goal or philosophy. Seybolt (2003) points out that a charismatic leader carries extraordinary expectations on their shoulders as they are expected to change the tide in the favor of the followers due to their personal magnetism. Followers look up towards their leaders with hope that they will work selflessly and creatively to solve their problems. Leaders in turn act boldly and innovatively to earn the respect and favor from their followers (Seybolt, 2003).
Many researches have taken the characteristic of charisma beyond being necessary for a leader. They have distinguished between the levels of charismas as both positive and negative. The negative aspect of having charisma is letting the ego dominate your choices to the point where one’s personal goals and hunger for power controls all other objectives (Rosenbach and Taylor, 1989). The positive aspect of charisma is allowing one’s ego to grow in an established fashion where the leader uses his/her experience and authority for the benefit of his/her teammates and for the attainment of the overall goal (Yukl 1989). Educational leaders should note that, even though, charisma is recognized as a necessary characteristic for a leader, the actual value of having charisma lies in its use and whether it is used for personal or communal advantage.
While underlying the characteristics and distinguishing between how they can have positive and negative affects is beneficial in different ways, it still does not outline how these characteristics can be developed. Numerous studies have very easily been able to outline characteristics such as desire, determination and guts as being necessary for a leader; however, these studies have also been quick to point out that leadership skills as well as the structure of leadership changes from one situation to the next (see, for example, Stoghill’s 1948 review of 124 studies between 1904 and 1947; Stoghill’s 1974 book reviewing 163 studies between 1949 and 1970). Prior to this realization, most leadership studies failed to clearly define leadership and Stodhill in his study was the first to notice that all the characteristics were not always required for effective leadership.
After the 1960s, due to studies put forward by Stoghill, one method that surfaced in relation to the evaluation of leadership styles and characteristics was the situational approach which is still very popular amongst scholars today. As the name suggests, this approach mainly deals with the circumstances of different situations and the leadership approaches that would be most suitable pertaining to the circumstances. Lowell (2003) defined situational leadership as being “based on the interplay among: the amount of guidance and direction a leader gives: the amount or depth of relationship support or behavior a leader provides: the readiness level that followers exhibit in performing a specific task or achieving an objective (Lowell, 2003, pg 80).” Fiedler in his study (1967) designed a mock up of the leader’s approach which was based around the attitude of the leader towards his followers, those who he favored the least. This mock up is called the least preferred co-worker or LPC. In this mock-up there were three main elements that were considered for evaluation which included the authority of the leader, the leader-follower relationship in terms of fondness and respect as well as the nature and extent of the project they were working on together. Most conclusions on this approach were vague or indecisive in terms of social, psychological or mental significance (Rice, 1978, 1981; Graen et al., 1972; Ashour, 1973).
Furthermore, over the years, many scholars have come to the realization that leadership is situational and hence there are many realistic settings like the environment, the employees, the resources, etc. that determine the characteristics needed in a leader as well as his/her business approach (Hershey and Blanchard, 1977, 1984). This is why it is important to first understand the different types of scenarios that a leader can face and then use those scenarios as the foundation on which most leadership techniques and approaches are built. This idea of leadership being situational is very helpful in outlining the methods through which leadership can be developed and has taken up a good part of the last three-decade of research (Mckenna, Boyd and Yost, 2007).
There were many studies that simultaneously started concentrating on what actually was the leadership approach within many corporations instead of what they thought ought to be the approach. This brought out many more varieties in the leadership styles and methodologies that were adapted from autocratic to democratic to partnership to group decision-making. Vroom and Yetton (1973) explained in their research that the choice of the leadership style or approach was dependent upon many external factors; the most important of which were the capability and motivation of the follower, the association between follower and follower as well as follower and leader, the nature and extent of the project along with the significance or value of the assessment that needs to be taken (Vroom and Yetton, 1973).
Flamholtz (1986) in his study added insights into the notions of leadership styles and approaches that previously existed (e.g., Tannenbaum and Schmidt, 1958; Likert, 1961; Vroom and Yetton, 1973). His overall mock-up consisted of six leadership styles that the leaders could always use depending on the situations that they face, even though he emphasizes the importance of sticking with one style consistently. In his design he integrated the new laissez-faire or “hands-off” methodology. This new methodology mainly gave the leaders the option to analyze the situation and the followers and then depending on the conclusions that they made let the followers self-manage the situation and be accountable for its success or failure (Flamholtz, 1986).
Hershey and Blanchard (1988), in their study designed a model by the name of Leader Effectiveness and Adaptability Profile which has served as a very useful model to determine the vital situational approaches of a leader. In this model, they have highlighted or outlined four basic choices that a leader can chose to do in different situations based purely on the development or willingness of his/her employees which are:
Direction i.e. The leader can clearly indicate the approaches that need to be adopted for the attainment or completion of a project,
Authenticating and advertising i.e. The leader is able to clearly elucidate the reason for choosing an approach,
Contribution i.e. The leader is able to make the task an all-encompassing one by making the employees more involved in the decisions being made, and Allotment i.e. The leader is able to trust the employees and encourage the employees to complete an assignment or attain success in a project.
In this study, they also highlighted four elements of employee development or willingness, which match up to the approach adopted by the leader. This simply means that the approach chosen by the leader from the four mentioned above is based around these four elements, which are:
Capable, enthusiastic and determined employees;
Capable yet unenthusiastic employees;
Incapable yet enthusiastic employees.
Incapable, unenthusiastic and ill-determined employees.
Dictatorial format of leadership and its realistic aftermaths have also been the focus of numerous studies. The two most popular studies that focus on this form of leadership were the ones carried out in the years 1950 and 1960 at the Universities of Michigan and Ohio (Yukl 1989). The results of these studies show that the leadership styles that incorporate the employees and are more monitoring then dictating result in higher employee performance, loyalty and contentment. These studies, even though, were very helpful in outlining the approach that the leaders should develop for durable success and support from the employees; they still lacked in giving thorough results related to the leadership styles in other dimensions such as how well the objectives of the group were met, how much was the profit percentage affected, etc.
The researches that have focused on dictatorial leadership thus far have only been able to make concrete conclusions on how the behavioral approach of a leader can affect the capabilities, approach and job satisfaction of the employees. Creehan and Rahman (2003) points out that highly successful leaders use both attraction coercion to get things done. They point out that these leaders are able to understand the situation they are facing and have the ability to adapt their behavior to achieve success (Creehan and Rahman, 2003).
Leadership and authority
Authority was categorized by French and Raven in 1959 and this categorization was later used by Hershey and Blanchard to clearly define the kind of authority and power suitable for the different behavioral patterns of the leader as well as with the different capability levels of the employees. Through this model the main idea for the leaders approach was clearly defined as the model showed that the leaders need to use intimidation and force for the unenthusiastic employees, while use their charismatic charm for the capable yet unwilling employees for motivating them to work and use the dexterity on the issue for the capable and willing employees in a way that they don’t feel insecure or inferior (Yukl 1989).
Even though the aforementioned model is useful in defining leadership approaches, the risk associated with it is that it can sometimes generalize an idea or present an uncomplicated situation. The important thing to note here is that most businesses and organizations have intricate structures and solutions are not always that simple to apply practically. Furthermore, the environmental, social and cultural settings within the organizations also vary from one company to the next and have to be taken into consideration before leadership approaches can be designated. This makes the overall relationship of the leader and the employee far more complex. However it has to be said that this model does present the researcher as well as the specialists in the field with a fundamental designation of behavioral approaches that they can refine and reform in accordance to the situations and cultures that they are in (Yukl 1989).
Leadership and Culture
Kleanthous and Anastasiou (2005) define culture as “a pattern of basic assumptions invented, discovered, or developed by a group and taught to new members of that group as the correct way to behave.” Edgar Schein who is a reputed organizational psychologist in one of his studies (1985) explained that leadership and culture are interlinked and co-dependent phenomena. He explains that one of the tasks of the leaders is to monitor and guide the culture within an organization and goes on to explain that it is the lack of understanding of the cultural dynamics within organization that leads to the selling of businesses and the breaking of contracts.
The fact that it is the leader who constructs the culture and the social setting within an environment leads many researchers to believe that different leadership approaches and choices contribute to the variances in cultures from one organization to the next. Perhaps a good example to prove this point would be that of John Scully who had working experience within the Pepsi Corporation where he basically worked in a practically proficient and casual environment and was able to use that to establish a non-interventionist managerial section at the Apple Computer Corporation. Here he was been able to rise to the CEO position and works under a more official environment (Frank, 1993).
The trickiest part of working within an organizational structure is perhaps the political games and scenarios that come with it. No company can survive without a political side and it is important for the employees of all companies to come to grips with the fact that they will need to not only understand the political games but play them as well. It is perhaps in these scenarios that a motivational leader is needed who can clarify the political ploys between businesses and can modify the culture and social setting of the business accordingly. Katsva and Condrey (2005) in their study point out, “Motivation is an inducement to action or effort expenditure. Employees exerting large amounts of effort are said to be highly motivated. High effort expenditure is generally associated with high performance levels. The central question of motivation in the workplace is how to encourage people to accomplish more in less time and to be satisfied with this effort. Incentives for motivating people to work include material incentives (money, physical conditions), personal inducements (distinction, prestige, personal power), and associational rewards (stability).”
Sir Francis Galton in his publication Hereditary Genius of 1860 mentioned the methodology of trait development for the first time. According to Galton an individual inherits the attitude of a leader from his family and the environment he/she grows up in. Ever since this theory was put forward, scholars started to concentrate on the approaches and attitudes that categorized the individuals as leaders. Some studies focused on the intangible qualities of a leader like intelligence, insight and guts while other studies concentrated on the physical or material qualities of a leader like genders, outlook, the way they carried themselves, social contacts, etc. The fact of the matter though is that most studies could not come up with consistent, similar or concrete results when following the trait methodology and hence this method of viewing leadership had become very unpopular amongst scholars (Stogdill, 1948; Mann, 1959).
Modern view of studying leadership traits has taken a somewhat different approach. For instance, Evans and Evans (2002) in their study point out, “the trait approach views the group leader as the one who possesses the characteristics or traits that contribute to leadership. That is, for some groups, a young, energetic, humorous leader is selected, such as the captain of the track team, or for other groups, an older, more experienced leader is viewed as more effective, such as one over a research team or the chief justice in a state (Evans and Evans, 2002; pg 18).”
Study on leadership behavior was mainly a phenomenon of the Personnel Research Board at Ohio State University from 1940 to 1960. The main method or tool that the Ohio University used was questionnaires. They designed the questionnaires to inquire the attitudes and characteristics of leaders and distributed these questionnaires across many small and big U.S. corporations. The questionnaire concentrated on nine behavioral tasks of the leaders when they were handling a project and these nine tasks included: creation, instigation, association, amalgamation, management, demonstration, power, interactive abilities and appreciation. The main approach of the researchers was to concentrate on the managerial and objective-attainment qualities of the leaders as well as their charisma and attitude towards their peers and followers. All of the conclusions made were then represented on the Leader Behavioral Descriptive Questionnaire. This particular model of the questionnaire has been popular in its use over the years with few situational modifications (Cook et al., 1981). But the downside of this questionnaire was that it did not highlight the pattern of leaders in corporations and the concentration shifted from behavioral patterns to leadership styles which basically focused on the guiding patterns of leaders i.e. The nature of pointers they gave to their followers as well as the approach that they adopted to give the pointers for the accomplishment of a common objective. The leadership styles included the democratic leadership approach as well as the dictatorial approach both yielding different results. The former resulting in higher job satisfaction, while the latter resulting in high productivity (Lewin, Lippitt and White, 1939). Hard (2006) sums up the current literature on leadership behavior and points out, “leadership behavior often polarizes into either task-or production-orientated leaders or socio-emotional leadership. It seems that effective leaders demonstrate moderate levels of both behaviors, with subordinates more satisfied by leaders with high socio-emotional behaviors (Hard, 2006; pg, 40).”
The transformational leadership method was mainly an aftermath of the development of the situational contingency theories. Many researchers started to focus mainly on the association between the leaders and the followers and the aftermath of those associations on the entire team or group. Hard (2006) points out, “Transformational leaders often exhibit a charismatic style, have vision, are risk-takers, and usually see themselves as agents of major change.” Burns (1978) in his study explained that the transformational method was different from previous studies as it invited for reformation in the motivations, principles and requirements of the followers not the leaders. Numerous studies like Bass (1985), Schein (1985), and Khunert and Lewis (1987) analyzed the relationship between the leaders and followers in order to see if the managerial structure was in fact affected by the transformational approach or not. All conclusions made in the different studies showed that the overall impact of the transformational methodology was more constructive for the leaders’ attitude more so then anything else. Similarly, Robbins, Millet and Waters-Marsh (2004) asserted that transformational leaders provoke, stimulate and motivate their followers in order to attain the determined goals and objectives (Millet and Waters-Marsh, 2004).
Section 2: Characteristics of Leadership:
Focus on teamwork
It is important to recognize here that not everyone can be a leader because for leaders to exist there have to be followers who follow their lead. This stands true for all formats of groups irrespective of their size. This is one of the main reasons that the leader needs to be a team player at the same time as be the one who calls the shots on the big decisions. More importantly still, the leaders have got to recognize that they need to transfer authority to their followers and inspire them to feel determined towards submitting their creative and innovative ideas to the projects. Hard (2006) points out, “leadership is moving towards a team-based environment where there is less focus on the leader and the follower and more on the process of leadership (pg: 40).” With regards to team-based approach, he asserts, “Here leadership involves coordinating the efforts of the group in moving together, with all participants playing an active role. In such a leadership landscape, the process of supporting the team demands collaboration and openness in order to achieve a shared meaning that elicits commitment from group members (pg: 40).”
One of the most recent additions for the criteria for hiring employees within the Fortune 500 companies has been the level of team chemistry and work that the new and older employees will have. The survey conducted by Creative Education Foundation (1990) confirmed this by comparing today’s hiring criteria to that which existed in 1970 and explained that the team scenario was growing in importance in the modern era making it an important trait or characteristic for all those employees and leaders of the future (Cassel & Kolstad, 1998a). Additionally leaders in the modern era also have to be able to promote a strong inclination of unity, correspondence and accountability amongst their followers. This can only be achieved if there is mutual respect between the leader and the follower (Cassel, 1973).
Group leadership throughout a project
One of the most useful surveys done on the subject of team activities and approaches was conducted by the Educational Policy Commission (1940) of the National Education Association where they analyzed the decision making bodies and approaches within 90 schools and came up with four clearly distinct patterns: the laissez-faire setup is where the leader makes all the decisions and is the only guidance made available to the followers. Further the leader is not obligated to criticize or praise his/her followers and this was perhaps one of the main reasons why this methodology failed quickly and extensively. The second approach towards group activity was that of democratic cooperation where group discussions are the main source for making all decisions and the main task of the leader is to promote, support and monitor all cooperative measures stepping in with the final word when the need arises and is always critical and full of praise based on the professional inputs of the employees. The third is the autocratic approach which is very official, methodological and logical; here the leader looks for the projects and choices available for the completion of the project and is at times accompanied by a committee elected by the employees where all credit or criticism is given based on the practical evidence. Another format of the autocratic setup was one dominated by a purely ego-centered manager or leader who characteristically took over all the decision without incorporating the teammates’ opinions. Also the leader only gives selected info to the relevant person and this makes the entire communication within the organization disjointed. Furthermore, all credit and blame given by the leader is more personal then professional; this methodology has also seen much criticism and collapse (Educational Policy Commission, 1940). These four approaches have been instrumental in revealing the role of leaders and followers within a group. Duemer et al. (2004) assert that during activities, decision making hierarchy and accountability processes within the group plays a significant role in the success/failure of the group. They further point out that leaders need to clear and precise in their communication so that everyone in the group understand their roles and responsibilities and are able to coordinate and produce effective results (Duemer et al., 2004).
Developing trust in the group
The main tool for developing confidence and trust in the leadership is through the dynamics of credit or blame. The leader’s intelligence and credibility is lost if he/she does not give blame in tasks that lead to failure or does not praise on ideas and applications that have brought success. Similarly if the leader goes soft on certain employees, prefers some over others or gives undue praise/criticism then as well the followers will loose confidence in the leader. Hence the establishment, development and growth of confidence in the leadership can be achieved with an objective, unbiased and professional attitude from the leader (Cassel, 1993). Plus, the leader needs to acknowledge whether or not a task was tough for an employee irrespective of whether that employee was able to achieve the desired result in it, this aspires encouragement and faith from the leader’s part. Furthermore, all blames or praises must be based on concrete evidence. Jentz (2006) asserts, “As long as they remain blind to these discrepancies, leaders inadvertently foster mistrust — and lose the very credibility they are attempting to gain. Without trust and credibility (surely, the bedrock of effective leadership), they have no hope of advancing their agendas (Jentz, 2006; pg, 521).”
The rationale approach towards making decisions mainly revolves around the clear cut definition of the objectives both long-term and short-term and how much the leader can motivate the followers in the accomplishment of these goals (Bandura, 1997; and Cassel, 1954). Furthermore, the leader must be able to eradicate all the unnecessary goals that arise as short-term goals that might eventually hamper the accomplishment of the main objective. The leader must also be able to diminish or remove the restrictions of the projects or the employees wherever necessary. The rationale approach also allows the leader to take in all the personal perils that might be involved in taking on a project and make careful decisions before taking on a project that has higher risks. Additionally, the leader should be open to considering all forms of substitutes i.e. those which are reflexive, aggressive or run of the mill so that all situations can be modified with relevance to their circumstances. Furthermore, the leader should assess all the possible effects (both positive and negative) and the dangers involved for each available substitute. The rational decision making approach also allows the leaders to conduct regular and all-encompassing evaluations and necessary modifications towards their business method and structure (Nutt, 2006).
The “person-centered” structure is an offshoot of two other similar theories namely the “free association” theory by Sigmund Freud and the “need” notion put forth first by Henry a. Murray. These two theories like the person-centered approach focus on one element which is the personal motivation of the individual as well as the personal benefits that he/she will get from fulfilling a task. Maslow in a similar study highlighted that the individual’s needs went beyond the basic necessity of water, food, air and shelter. In other words an individual needs security, a sense of belonging to a society or group, the freedom to act on one’s beliefs and principles, a satisfactory lifestyle amongst others. He continued to explain that all these were placed in a pecking order and the individual chooses all his activities in accordance to his satisfaction level of these needs (Maslow, 1954).
The main connection of person-centered structure with leadership is that when the leaders are going after the accomplishment of an objective they have to also keep in mind that the followers are not only going to stay loyal to that objective but also feel its need like the leader feels it. Furthermore, the leader should also be capable of incorporating the aims and objectives of the group members on a larger scale if they are corresponding with main objective so that the employees are not only satisfied with their work but feel valued at a personal level. Mckenna, Boyd and Yost (2007) point out that this can only happen when leaders exhibit these four dimensions: “people agility (self-awareness, treating others well, resilience under pressure), results agility (getting results in tough conditions, inspiring others, and self-confidence), mental agility (problem-solving ability, comfort with ambiguity) and change agility (curiosity, openness to experimentation) (Mckenna, Boyd and Yost, 2007; pg, 190)”
Encouraging and Promoting Democratic Development
Democracy has probably been most accurately explained for the business world by John Dewey who says that it is mainly a process through which individuals comes together to work co-dependently for a similar objective. He also goes on to say that the format of democracy in group dynamics allows one individual to stand out as the preferred leader and all the individuals in the group have the ability to interact with each other irrespective of their culture or race. The Democratic Maturity Test (DEMO) first introduced by Cassel and Kolstad (1998) in their study was basically aimed to identify and evaluate the development of democratic skills in individuals within different groups. The test incorporated two elements to determine if the individual had developed democratic skills and these two elements were the level of personal achievement that the individual had achieved and the level of maturity he/she had achieved in his/her interactions within and outside the circles of race, culture or religion (Cassel, 1998b). Leadership that promotes and foster democratic norms within his/her group/team, “provide directions, but allows the group to make its own decisions. Specifically, the leader encourages members to determine goals and procedures, and stimulates members’ self-direction and self-actualization. In addition, the democratic leader offers suggestions and reinforces members’ ideas. After offering these suggestions, providing information, and clarifying ideas, the leader allows the group to make the decision. In leadership styles, the democratic leader is in the middle of the styles (Evans and Evans, 2002; pg 18).”
Individual and Group Objectives
Good leadership and managerial approaches take into account both the personal and group goals. This basically means that the leader understands that all team members are individuals first and they all have personal accomplishments that they want to achieve and that some of those accomplishments may be related to the work that they do with the team (Cassel, 1998c). A good leader will be able to incorporate a flexible structure within the organization that allows the members to follow their own goals simultaneously with the objectives of the team. The main personal aim, in majority of the cases, for individuals is to achieve a higher level of personal performance by having customized managerial concepts as well as his/her approach and dedication to whatever task he/she has been given. Duemer, Christopher, Hardin, and Olibas (2004) point out that a leader should be able to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of all their team members. This will increase the likelihood of success as tasks will be delegated according to the skills of the team members (Duemer, Christopher, Hardin, and Olibas, 2004).
It is important to note here, however, that the team goals cannot be sidestepped by the personal goals. Each person has to be aware of the responsibility and the task they have for the completion of the team goal and that this particular role has to be their first priority. It is important that the goal is articulated clearly and is approved by the entire team and at no time during the execution of a plan should team members lose sight of the long-term goal or hamper the communication process. Communication is the key in the attainment of the group goals and a good leader will always not only be an effective communicator but also be a good facilitator of communication (Cassel, 1998a).
Allocation of Power and Responsibility
Perhaps one of the most important characteristic of a leader is to be able to realize that he/she cannot do everything and that the team will need to be made accountable for numerous important tasks. It is important for the leader to be able to allocate the important tasks amongst the members keeping in mind their abilities, their attitudes, their skills and their knowledge in relation to the tasks. This, the distribution of responsibility, is one of the main elements that distinguish a good and efficient leader from an average one. Allotment of responsibilities is extremely necessary for the sustenance of any company and for the attainment of any long-term goals (Cassel and Heichberger, 1975). Furthermore, it also allows team members to develop and fine-tune their skills while performing the tasks delegated to them (Fernandez, 2005).
Before allotment of course, a good leader will always pay extra attention to who he/she allots the task to. Numerous factors beyond the personal capabilities of the individual are included in this, like for instance the individual’s reputation amongst the team members, his/her communication skills, trust amongst peers and with the leader, his/her public relations skills etc. Only the person who is most likely to handle the task best and attain the desired result should be the one who is allotted the task. If the individual is incapable and fails in his/her task, it shows a loop hole in the selection and strategy of the leader and in turn the leader becomes accountable for the subsequent failure (Cassel, 1999).
Providing a solid platform for strategic planning
Perhaps one of the most intricate yet important aspects of a good leader is his/her ability to provide platforms for strategic preparation for all team members. The main idea is to provide the members with all the relevant knowledge and strategies that they might need to make their performance better while keeping in mind both the short- and long-term objectives of the group. The main idea is develop a sense of unity and a sense of cooperative coalition amongst the team members where each member has his/her own place and significance. The most popular strategic preparation courses revolve around development, supervision, administrating differences and hurdles, references and team discussions, team construction, encouraging, communication, appreciating, mutual understanding and compensating (Cassel, 1999).
Being ethical in decision making
This concept of “ethical decision making” in a leader is perhaps most closely related to the democratic-orientation characteristic already mentioned. Ethical leaders understand that work activities need to be targeted towards the greater good of not only the society but also the environment and all other species on the planet. The belief driving this characteristic is that everything has a reason for existence and that every existence is co-dependent so the decision and actions of one specie affects every other specie. In leadership, this characteristic is important because in this way the leader allows his/her goals to have bigger and broader meaning and one that allows the rest of the co-dependent environment to be influenced in a positive way or be benefited by the team’s short- and long-term goals. In short, Erickson (2006) revealed four characteristics of a successful leader; namely, “(1) Honest leaders are truthful, ethical, and principled. They are admired as trustworthy people, who do not lie or deceive. Honest leaders do not mislead those who trust them. (2) Forward-looking leaders demonstrate a sense of direction and concern for the future. They adopt a long-term view and set or select a desirable destination for followers. (3) Competent leaders are able to execute the vision of the organization. They have relevant experience, a record of success, and an ability to get things done. (4) Lastly, inspiring leaders are enthusiastic and energetic communicators of a vision. They speak of the meaning and purpose of their plans and communicate the vision in ways that encourage followers to join in the journey (Erickson, 2006; pg, 62).”
Section 3: Power and leadership
The word “power” is derived from the Latin word “potere” which simply means the ability to do something. So in essence power basically means to influence or to be influenced (Kalisch & Kalisch, 1982). Yoder and Kahn (1992) in their study made two clear distinctions within the phenomenon of power. According to them power can be dominating i.e. one individual can strongly influence or control the choices and perceptions of another or it can be empowering i.e. allow an individual to feel more confident in their abilities and be more comfortable with who they are in the long run.
The fact of the matter is that power or authority has probably been around since the beginning of mankind as one individual tries to control another in order to achieve what they want. Freud (1932) in his study explained that whoever between two individuals had more power or authority was the one who always tried to manipulate the other into doing exactly what they wanted. Rollo May (1972) in his study also explained that the presence of authority and power was not only a facet of life but it was more often then not necessary. He explains that survival is based around how well one individual can fight back or influence those around him/her in order to get what he wants from a situation.
Most of the recent studies show that power is being treated as more of a necessity in the modern era as everyone is working towards empowering themselves to get ahead in the long run. Numerous studies also propose that most of the advertisements or promotional campaigns all have the underlying hint of empowerment for the people whether it be in terms of health (physical or mental) or occupations, etc. Heifner (1996) in his study explained that the phenomenon of power was also a very useful tool for recovering addicts, alcoholics or those who have been in severe depression especially in the case of women.
Numerous studies have also highlighted that usually power, or lack of it, is also misconstrued as an excuse for everything terrible that is happening and also as the most likely solution for getting rid of whatever is terrible or useless. If an individual feels that he/she can solve all his/her problems with the attainment of a certain level of power then he/she will work towards its attainment and if he/she feels that he/she cannot attain it then he/she will loose hope and will not find logic in looking for an alternate solution to his/her problems. This fact, however, does not undermine the significance of power especially in today’s world.
Power as Safety
Freud, Adler, Maslow, and Burns in their respective studies have concentrated or highlighted the fact that power can be a form of precaution or defense for an individual. Burns (1978), in his study, highlighted that in order to link power and safety one had to analyze the intention behind the hunger for power for an individual. He explained that numerous individuals might have different reasons like using power as a stepping stone for the attainment of superior objectives or acknowledgment or reputation. Freud (1932) follows the survival of the fittest phenomenon and explains that individuals, in order to survive, need to emanate power and intelligence and even resort to violence to establish their authority. Maslow (1954) in his study concentrated on the less powerful or less confident individuals saying that they needed power in the form of empowerment to feel more valued and worthy. He explained that in order to achieve a certain degree of power these individuals adopted ways that at times felt forced, over the top, overly passive, large-scale, antagonistic, violent, chauvinistic, or cutthroat. In a follow-up study Maslow (1968) focused on the constructive aftermaths of having power of authority and explain that through the phenomenon of power an individual could allow himself/herself to see his/her truest and highest prospective. Adler (1946) in his study supported Freud’s finding of the survival of the fittest and how it allowed an individual to sometimes violently overpower another individual.
Relationship of Power to Leadership
Power and leadership go together hand in hand. Numerous studies have analyzed the formats of leadership and have come up with two distinct ways that power can be measured with leadership. One is that power or authority allows the leader to create, renovate and develop the overall success and capability ratios of the entire group. Two, power is more of an equilibrium tool and the increase in the authority or power of one individual in the group will be balanced by an equal decrease in the power or authority of another individual in the group.
The relationship between power and leadership is significant in today’s era when the conventional methods are being replaced by more technically advanced structures and where the society goes through reformation everyday (Curtin, 1995). Old occupations are at the risk of being undermined and new associations are being formed at the turn of this era both of which are going to drastically change the position of the society as well as the position of power and leadership that has sustained through the years. Now a good leader is going to be the one who has the power to use technology flexibly, make new bonds, survive in the competitive market, have great communication skills and social contacts, and has the ability to filter through all the unnecessary alternatives and strategies and be able to only exercise those notions that are bound to be successful in the changing market.
Characteristics of a Powerful Leader
Numerous researches have speculated if the characteristics or personalities of individuals makes them a good leader or is it their experiences that do so. Bowman (1980) and Fiedler (1967) both in their studies had analyzed if it was in fact a personality trait that allowed an individual to perform a certain task within a group or whether its was the support of the leader from his followers who shared similar interests and experiences as the entire group. There are, however, very few studies that have actually combined the personality traits or characteristics with past experiences as a source of power for the leader. In the paragraphs below are mentioned some of the commonly accepted and demanded characteristics of a powerful and successful leader.
Charismatic or Appealing Leadership
The phenomenon of charismatic or captivating leadership has been a popular field of study in the dynamics of leadership. Tucker (1968), in his study, was able to link charisma to higher degrees of power for the leader by saying that a charismatic leader would charm his way intelligently into making many individuals work willingly for him which would increase the production of his team thus increasing his overall power. Haley (1969) in his study took the example of a religious charismatic leader: Jesus Christ. In his study he explained that Christ was able to attain such authority in the society of his time because he was not only aware of the needs of the society but also was aware of his own extensions and limitations. His experience as a poor struggling earner made him appealing to the vast majority of the population who were also struggling and also he had a very minimal and non-aggressive approach of gaining support. The leaders of today also need to find a balance between being too appealing or accessible for their supporters and being too aggressive or forced.
Dependence on the Logic-Based Approach
If one looks at the opinions of what the characteristics of a good leader should be, one would not see too many reformations in accordance to the changing times. The standardized characteristics of a good leader include the following: problem solving abilities, identification of shortcomings and alternatives, risk-taking, finding and filtering relevant information, time-management skills, having political wit, have critical and analytical thinking skills and being socially affable (Yura, Ozimek, & Walsh, 1981). Curtin (1995) in his study, however, pointed out that while these characteristics are not outdated and still apply in today’s world there still need to be additions made to incorporate the changing dynamics of the society and the business world. According to Curtin, leaders nowadays will have to be creative and innovative with the ideas that they put forth, have the ability to present these ideas logically, be able to transfer or articulate these ideas to their followers and investors while at the same time take into consideration the rising social and environmental concerns related to the idea or purpose that they want to attain (Bennis & Nanus, 1985). A good example of this can be seen through the works of Hildegard Peplau (1989) who is more popular as the “Mother of Psychiatric Nursing.” She was a nurse working during the aftermath of the 2nd World War and was the first in her field (nursing) to introduce the faculty of female nurse consultant during a time period which was mainly domineered by males in all fields.
Sense of Identity
Burns (1978) in his study highlighted that the business world was of the highest caliber of competition that there was and even though leaders need to be friendly towards there followers and peers, they must not let them step on their toes and be too nice. The leaders must be willing and ready to make tough decisions, be criticized and critical as well as be open to the fact that they will have antagonists. Furthermore, Burns said that the leaders must feel confident in their abilities and be able to not only take on a corporate battle but also know how to win it. In addition to recognizing and advertising his/her own identity, a good leader must also be capable of acknowledging the identities and personalities of his/her followers.
A good leader must always be able to evaluate and analyze the choices that they have made as well as the choices that their followers have in terms of both success and failure for the group as whole. The strength of character of leader should make him recognize all professional mistakes made and own up to them in both critical and relaxed situations (Bennis & Nanus, 1985; McClure, 1989; Yoder & Kahn, 1992). Pam Maraldo (1984), in one of her studies explained that power was an intricate phenomenon and had no set structure for its development. Power was all about an innate sense of confidence and knowledge within an individual. A good leader in the modern era has to have a healthy ego and a strong sense of self.
Fiedler (1967) in his study highlighted all the elements that influenced the overall association between a leader and his team. He took on three formats of leadership: 1) the leaders who were mainly working towards the accomplishment of a goal had to deal with highly tense and unsatisfied group members; 2) the leaders who had a more democratic and relaxed approach dealt with stressful situations too but at manageable rates; 3) the leaders who had a more dominating and calculating approach were the ones who dealt with least level of stress in their work environment. Janeway (1980) explains that the phenomenon of power is an ever-changing exchange between a group of people and the changes are completely relevant to the circumstances that the groups of people are facing. Curtin (1995), in his study, highlights a very important point that the followers are actually making the leader who he is and without dedicated followers, the leader would be able to achieve nothing.
The Encouragement of Transformational Leadership
Burns (1978) in his study highlights the two most useful forms of leader-follower exchanges: the transformational exchange and the transactional exchange. The transformational is an intricate network where the leader analyzes the requirements of the followers and then uses that information to his advantage in the business world. Simultaneously the leader also tries to fulfill the followers’ privileges and try to involve the follower completely in the project instead of capitalizing some of his abilities. The transactional approach of leadership is much simpler and allows consistent and lucid communication to take place between the leader and the follower where both can have an equal input in the majority of the project.
Bennis and Nanus (1985) explained that the transformational leader has the ability to not only transfer their ideas and goals to the followers but also make the ideas and the purpose behind the ideas come to life. Furthermore, a transformational leader is able to develop a strong unity within the team members through the empowerment of all his followers which is one of the main reasons that this format or approach of leadership is finding much success in the modern era (Flamholtz, 1986; Reverby, 1987).
Summary and conclusion
This paper was divided into three sections. The first section provided an overview of leadership and revealed current and past trends on leadership literature. This section included: (1) Leadership Intelligence; (2) Charismatic Leadership; (3) Situational leadership; (4) Dictatorial Leadership; (5) Leadership and authority; (6) Leadership and Culture; (7) Leadership traits; (8) Leadership Behavior; and (9) Transformational Leadership.
The second section revealed some of the most important characteristics of leadership, which included: (1) Focus on teamwork; (2) Group leadership in activities; (3) Developing trust in the group; (4) Rationale decision-making; (5) Person-Centered approach (6) Encouraging and Promoting Democratic Development; (7) Individual and Group Objectives; (8) Allocation of Power and Responsibility; (9) Providing a solid platform for strategic planning; and (10) Being ethical in decision making.
Lastly, the third section, revealed the relationship between power and responsibility. This section included, (1) Power as Safety; (2) Relationship of Power to Leadership; and (3) Characteristics of a Powerful Leader.
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Leadership characteristics of Administrators
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