Leadership Priorities and Practice - Leadership Essay Example

Over the years in my career I have come to learn the different between an effective manager and a non effective manager - Leadership Priorities and Practice introduction. With all that I have learned is it possible to live up to whom I want to be. In the following essay I explore the skills and techniques used by managers that have lead to a successful career. I will also demonstrate how I plan to integrate these skills and techniques into my future as a leader. In many organizations leadership is the key to a company success, and many companies find out the hard way that managers do not always demonstrate the abilities to be leaders.

Managers who do not demonstrate these abilities are individuals, who have been given a hierarchy position, follow the “corporate code” and do not think outside the box. Also, “managers with the best intentions in the world often flub opportunities to get invaluable feedback from subordinates. Managers may send unintentional messages that they’re too busy to be bothered, not respond to subtle hints, or simply fail to schedule regular feedback opportunities” (Ashford University edition, 2007, p. 30). Many managers fail to realize that to be a great leader you must have followers; your followers believe in you, and they want to succeed.

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In my years of being a manager I have worked for leaders that think they have all the answers and do not need the help of the people that work under them. I have seen that this may work for a little while but in the long run it tends to back fire on them and the company as a whole. This leads to what I feel a leader is and how the qualities of an effective leader are spread out through organizations. Leaders are individuals who have skills and techniques that motivate individuals to use critical thinking processes, promote positive behavior patterns and are confident in their subordinates under them.

In an interview with Linda Hill (a professor from Harvard Business School) she spoke in reference to a term known as leading from behind. This idea came to her while in South Africa working on a project; where she was reading a book written by Nelson Mandela. She talks about when you demonstrate the attributes of a great leader you have to have the ability to create the context which others are willing and able to lead around you. By creating this context you allow talented people to flourish.

Linda Hill also states it is important for a leader to remember they are in a web of relationships inside and outside the organization, and as leaders you must build conclusive and collaborate approaches to these relationships. Being an effective leader is not about you, you must build diversity to bring out others talents (Hill, 2008). A effective leader who motivates its subordinates to work as a team and working as a team means working towards a common goal. “The word team is often applied somewhat recklessly to any group of individuals. In reality, an effective team is much more than that” (Larsen, 2010).

In the following paragraph I will provide an example of team work that started out on the right track, but also lost sight of the vision due to poor leadership skills. Being an effective leader means you have the skills and techniques to motivate employees around you in an organization. When employees are motivated it shows through their work and one company that has put motivation at the top of their priorities list is Calridge’s. The general manager at Calridge’s; a luxury hotel believes that “keeping staff motivated is the key to happy customers. One of the most critical ingredients in Calridge’s success is our people.

From the moment a guest walks into the hotel, each of our employees plays a part in ensuring they receive exceptional service. On the one hand this means ensuring that staffs have the training and the practical tools that they need in their roles. We have a very strong H R programmed to help deliver this. To keep morale and motivation high it also very important that we ensure our employees is fit, healthy and enjoys a strong sense of wellbeing in the hotel. We have invested much time and energy in creating a genuine culture of wellbeing at Calridge’s.

We are therefore very proud to have recently received new Investors in People Health and Wellbeing Best Practice Award, in recognition of our efforts”(Lebeouf, 2010). With employees motivated and their wellbeing and health a top priority you have fewer turnovers in the company. When employees are happy they work harder to reach company goals. When I was employed by Great American Steak and Buffet I focused on motivating my staff to ensure that guest were happy. My staff enjoyed their jobs when they had their stations scheduled ahead of time. Their behavior was more positive than if they came in and had no idea what their job was for the day.

I worked hard at mastering the art of scheduling and changing up stations in advance with each one getting a chance to do something different each night, so that they could feel a sense teamwork. Other mangers handled their shifts differently and it would show by the amount of money they returned at the end of each night. My staff was so motivated that they would turn tables to increase their tip amounts nightly and insuring each guest had good service. The motivation in my staff was driven by the need to succeed as a team. When our team succeed there were incentives given for their hard work.

Using these effective leadership skills promoted positive work behaviors in the work environment. This all seemed to fall apart when I went to work for Esteins Bagels. My management skills where tested to the fullest extent that they have ever been. During this position I question whether or not I ever was going to be a manager again. No matter what I did I was unable to retain good employees. They did want to work the hours we agreed upon, they thought that is was a group hang out instead of a work place and I let them control me instead of me controlling them.

After this failure I decided to buckle down and get my head back into the game. Effective leaders are intuitive or possess instinctive knowledge to make successful decisions. Some people are naturally gifted with such trait but others learned and developed it through experiences. But one thing is certain when it comes to effective leadership; there is no doubting the importance of intuition. Many times leaders have to rely on intuition for successful decision-making. Being a leader is not about what you make others do. It’s about who you are, what you know, and what you do. You are a reflection of the people who follow you.

An effective leader is not a one-man show or do-it-all-yourself hero. Effective leadership is about recognizing and taking advantage of the skills and talents from different people to form a cohesive unit. Positive work behavior in organizations is a sign of a well motivated happy employee, and when employees are motivated they are lower attendance issues and lower turnover rates. “A positive work environment can mean the difference between success and failure for an organization. There are many ways in which managers and supervisors can create positive workplaces for their associates.

To begin, they must define what a positive workplace is by establishing good relationships, improving teamwork, and fostering innovations” (Crawford, Kepner, Ruth, Wysocki, 2002). In order to establish a good relationship with subordinates effective leaders need to listen to associates ideas and feedback. By honoring these ideas and feedback leaders can use then in test runs shows to show subordinates that they are sincere and value their opinions. “In addition, managers must also promote interpersonal relationships between associates. Teamwork increases productivity, quality, and customer service (Valentine, 2001).

It encourages associates to get involved and share information, which improves the overall quality of the organization (Valentine, 2001). By working together, associates disseminate new information to each other, which can produce fresh insights and innovations (Valentine, 2001). Positive workplace relationships also can have external effects. Customer satisfaction can be increased by associates’ ambiance—happy associates lead to happy customers (Valentine, 2001). It is common for management to overlook the associates and focus only on customers.

It is easy for customers to spot dissatisfied associates. Therefore, it is important to create and maintain associates’ morale to improve customer satisfaction and increase productivity” (White, 2002). I feel that this is true in organizations all over the world, if you are happy doing your job then your customers react to the tone of voice, and word choice you use when doing business. “Creating a positive workplace is critical to a company’s success. It is important for managers to define a purpose, set clear goals, and use appropriate positive reinforcement to motivate associates (White, 2002).

One way to do this is by creating and enforcing a mission statement that is beneficial to both associates and customers (HRZone, 2000). By defining what acceptable behavior is and vigorously facilitating a harmonious environment, management can create positive workplaces that benefit everyone” (Valentine, 2001). Once a leader has set the path for the subordinates to follow it is up to the leader to maintain what is acceptable by setting the example. I truly think the leadership role is an inevitable reflection of people’s needs and challenges in modern life.

Leadership is therefore a profound concept, with increasingly complex implications, driven by an increasingly complex and fast-changing world. Leadership and management are commonly seen as the same thing, which they are not. Leadership is also misunderstood to mean directing and instructing people and making important decisions on behalf of an organization. Effective leadership is much more than these. I think good leaders are followed chiefly because people trust and respect them, rather than the skills they possess (Valentine, 2001). Leadership seems to be about behavior first, skills second.

Leaders who lead by the standards they set of acceptable behavior patterns will earn more respect by subordinates in the long run. At my place of employment the reason I am thinking about leaving is due to lack of effective leadership. I feel that I have demonstrated my abilities to the fullest and they are not being taken seriously. In most situations there is a lot of “good old boys club” and it is hard for a woman to earn respect in a company that was strictly being run by men. The leaders of the organization do not live by the example of their mission statement.

The mission statement states that each person shall be treated equally no matter race, gender or religion, but I have seen proof that is not the case. I feel that the leaders of tomorrow will need to exhibit more diversity in order to survive the changing need of the employees. More and more women are going back to school and are no longer stay at homes moms. The leaders who stuck in their old ways of doing things and think that women are better in administrative roles will need to take seminar training in order to become more emotional intelligent than they are now.

An effective leader will promote and flourish talents of individuals whether male or female. The old way of thinking is not the path to being an effective leader and organizations will suffer and not remain competitive if their leaders do not learn new skills and techniques for handling the diversity of tomorrow’s organizations. Effective leaders are trustworthy leaders; similar to respect, it’s something you have to earn from your people. Good and effective leadership can be measured from the trust and confidence your subordinates have of you.

If they trust you they will go through hell and high water for you and for the organization. However, trust and confidence don’t come easily; they are built on good relationships, trustworthiness, and high ethics. The strength of your group and the entire organization depend on the way you deal and the relationships you build with your people. This is the foundation for a strong and effective organization. The organizational identity can be shaped by its leaders and help others use their personal strengths to foster that identity and succeed at work.

Leaders can also shape organizational strengths (capabilities) to build an abundant identity or brand, turning external stakeholder expectations into internal corporate actions. The abundant organization (AO) helps leaders build both organizational strengths and the strengths of individual employees. AOs leaders are recognize and build on strengths and use them to create value for stakeholders. There are seven questions that a leader can ask if they are building both organizational strengths and the strengths of individual employees. ) Identify, what am I known for? A sense of abundance is fostered by a clear sense of who we are, what we believe in, and what we are good at. 2) Purpose and Motivation, where am going? Abundance emerges from a clear sense of what we’re trying to achieve and why. 3) Relationships and Teamwork, whom do I travel with? Our sense of abundance is enhanced by meaningful relationships. 4) Effective culture or setting, how do I build a positive work environment? Abundance thrives on positive routines. 5) Personalized contributions, what challenges interest me?

We can’t imagine abundance in the absence of challenge. 6) Learning and Resilience, how do I respond to disposability and change? Growth, Failure can be a powerful impetus to growth and learning. 7) Civility and happiness, what delights me? Abundance thrives on simple pleasures. Sources of delight include laughing at ourselves, appreciating excellence, relishing beauty, being present in the moment, and having fun at work. Leaders that explore these questions help create AOs (abundant organization) with higher commitment, better health, improved productivity and retention.

Investor confidence, increased customer commitment, increased investor confidence in future earnings and higher market value, and improved community reputation, merited by stronger social responsibility is built with a leadership brand (Ulrich, 2010). Leaders can shape an organizational identity and then help individuals use their personal strengths to foster that identity and succeed at work. Knowing how to manage your employees to live up to their potential but being to handle them when they are being difficult is important as well.

How to confront an employee when the department has played into his bad behavior for years is a question on the minds of some managers who do not understand how to handle the situation. You might be recommended to extend a sincere handshake, followed by friendly introductions. Then you need to orient your employees to your style of leadership and your expectations. You then become teacher and coach. This requires gathering data through contact with and observation of the employee. Catch him, in the moment, doing things right. Similarly, when you see behavior that violates team values, confront it as soon as possible.

This approach helps most people to improve their behavior and relationships — and improves team results. It’s not a way of controlling or manipulating others, but a way to respectfully help them. You then become a teacher and coach. This requires gathering data through contact with and observation of the employee. Catch him, in the moment, doing things right. Acknowledge when his behavior approximates a team value or principle and thank him. Similarly, when you see behavior that violates team values, confront it as soon as possible. First, describe the gap – factually detailing what happened compared with what is expected (McMillan, 2010).

All this comes from the ability of a leader to communicate to it subordinates. Communication is very crucial to effective leadership. The vision, goals, knowledge and technical expertise must be clearly communicated and imparted to all the people in organization. Remember that having a communication skill is only part of the solution; it must also flow smoothly and openly and this can only be achieved when there is trust in your organization. If the trust level is low, it’s very difficult to communicate your vision or messages even though you have a high communication skill.

A leader who has poor leadership communication will find leading far more challenging than a great communicator. Respect and confidence on the part of staff, the executive team and board will be much harder to earn. A poor performance during a media interview can permanently damage a leader’s credibility. And investors may lose confidence in a leader struggles during an investors annual meeting. I think one of the most effective communicators I have ever seen was President Clinton. I think his charisma and communication skills made him a very effective leader during his terms in the white house.

I think he made the art of communication look so effortless I could only hope to be having the communicator in my future. The leaders of tomorrow are the generation Y group and this group will have more demands, less patience and will use technology in ways my generation has never seen. I feel that social responsibility will be demanded of corporations and there will be more business overseas than now. I feel the leaders of tomorrow will need to have a strong sense of global trends in order to keep up with the constant change of the world.

I also feel that the leaders of tomorrow will have to be creative due to the lack of nature resources. At the rate the world is growing eventually we will run out of some resources and need to find other ideas to complete the same tasks but with different methods. The challenges the leaders of tomorrow face will a world growing so fast that ideas will not remain new for very long and problems will emerge just as quick. A good resource for helping leaders of tomorrow is the “future search conference which focuses on five tasks: 1. ) Reviews the past 2. ) Explores the present 3. Creates idea future scenarios. 4. ) Identifies common ground among participants. 5. ) Makes action plans” (Ashford University, 2007). I also see future leaders employing EQ (emotional intelligence) more often to gauge the emotions of their teams and groups to better get the required result from them. EQ will allow a leader to make more appropriate decisions instead of relying on typical autocratic decision making. I think getting the proper education in which I am going after is in a line of things that I need to accomplish before I am able to go any further in my career.

I think taking this step is going to give me the confidence in myself to take me to that next level. I think that with all the practical years I have in the work force. I feel leadership today needs improvement in various ways. Leadership of today is still highly structured in that segments of leadership are compartmentalized. I feel that diversity has come a long way, but I feel there is still room for improvement. I also, feel that some leaders are not prepared for disasters and misfortune. Leaders today need more training in motivation, emotional and global interactions skills.

I think a person cannot be effective as a leader without developing leadership skills. But one must know what to develop. The skill approach to leadership means I need to develop many different skills. In order to become a leader, I need be aware of nitty-gritty of the work that my team has to handle. Unless and until I know about the work, I will not be able to lead the team in the right direction. I need to make sure to set example for my team members and become a role model for them. I need to learn how to a leader who is totally unbiased.

I need to learn patience and be able to give my team constructive feedback. I need to be able to motivate my team and I need to be able delegate duties as well as responsibilities amongst my team members. I need to sets goal for my team and help them achieve it. Lastly I think I should always be receptive to new ideas and I should have loads of understanding and always focus on the betterment of the group, as a whole, and not individual members. Throughout my classes here at Ashford I believe that I have concord a big step in becoming a good leader.

This is one of many steps I feel I need to ensure my future and become a future business person I want to become. My vision statement is a reflection of who I want to be and how I want to be perceived in my future career. I want to be an effective leader who motivates individuals around me to be the very best they can be. I also want to promote positive work environments that are healthy and friendly. I feel that if you are happy at what you do and where you are doing it, you will strive to be the best you possibly can be. I want to be a leader whose character is strong and shines through all the hard times.

I want to be known for having a strong work ethic, integrity, and kindness; but not afraid to speak up for myself or others. I want to be passionate about what I am doing and give one hundred ten percentage of myself. In conclusion, I feel that an effective leader demonstrates traits and characteristics that a manager does not have. I feel that effective leader is a talented individual who is not consume by oneself and motivates employees to be the very best they can be. I also feel that an effective leader is someone who promotes a positive behavior work environment and their employees want to succeed as teams.

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