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We welcome feedback as one way to keep improving this course. Students are encouraged to provide course feedback through eVALUate, the University’s online student feedback system. eVALUate will be available to students during Weeks 10 and 11 by the Student Survey dashboard system using FedUni student user names and passwords.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge

K1 Define the purpose and scope of leadership theories using evidence-based research

K2 Evaluate management principles and practices with respect to leadership theories

K3 Interpret influences on leadership styles through variables including culture and gender

K4 Appraise leadership approaches contextualised by the different organisational situations and settings

Skills

S1 Assess the multifaceted nature of leadership in Australia and internationally

S2 Evaluate, by formal research-based literature review, the trends in and implications of leadership and management in organisations and the ensuing impacts on work environments

S3 Critically analyse and report on theoretical developments in leadership understanding with regard to current research and practical applications

S4 Communicate leadership learning through a variety of formal and informal channels

S5 Reflect on one’s own leadership skills in the workplace or comparable settings

Application of knowledge and skills

A1 Apply management principles and practices supported by suitable leadership approaches to achieve organisational goals.

A2 Use initiative to identify suitable applications of leadership theories to real-life situations

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge

Reflective writing refers to those methods that allows students step back and look into their learning experiences to develop critical thinking skills and getting improved for future performances by making analysis of past experiences. These kinds of learning not only help students in moving towards the surface of critical authentic learning but also includes variety of activities, including peer-review and self-review to develop personal skill and intellect (Shum, Sándor, Goldsmith, & McWilliams, 2017). Understanding assessment criteria along with giving feedback to it is a way through which students are encouraged to reflect upon what they have learnt throughout the course and how can they get improved through it. This can aid in personal as well as Academic tutors to discuss with issues realised during the course for example, how to make finest use of feedback. Peer review is another fruitful means that allows students to reflect initially over other students work and contributions and sequentially reflect on our own experiences. Reflective learning can be done in various manner among which reflective journal and report is particularly very useful to keep a record of personal learning experience. Lew & Schmidt (2011) defined reflective writing as “those intellectual and affective activities that individuals engage into explore their experience, which leads to new understanding and appreciations”. Indeed, with regards to the statement and significance of reflective journal as mentioned in present literature, the following report has been prepared to reflect on my personal experience and journey that evolves understanding the concept of leadership theory and practice studied during my 12 weeks course. As I look back at the time when I started this course, I recognised that my present interest in complexity and leadership has evolved from the issues that I have antagonized and endeavoured to overcome. This report chronicles the development progress of my thinking related to challenges, theories, practice and contemporary leadership styles.

This report has been divided into several parts discussing on literature review and how my class activities have affected and given shape to my understanding about leaders and team work. For the same, research articles as well as books related to leadership and organisational behaviour will be reviewed while focussing upon my own thought and ideas of leading and leadership that have emerged in my life. Additionally, I will also use printed and online journal articles to make myself fully knowledgeable with the concept of effective leadership and how effective leaders manage organisations. This discussion will help in considering about how my peers influences my learning and methods that were used to motivate other classmates. Both negative and positive side of leadership style will be discussed along with reflecting upon my own ideas and recommendations based on leadership theories present in credible sources. The final section of this report will conclude after reflecting my personal observation and findings on leadership and organisations management.

Skills

Leadership can be referred as an ability to develop vision and move others to achieve a common objective. According to Schein (2004), in an era where leadership is hyped over and over as a critical element in defining success or failure of firms, it becomes more significant to look at different aspects of leadership like how does an effective leader create organisational culture or how organisational culture create leaders. This reflective report will discuss my reflection about what I learned about leadership theory and practice during the 12 weeks course. During the course, I found that to achieve objectives, organisations rely on individuals whom it employs. These employees in turn collaborates with each other to perform specific task. However, to monitor and see if the task is performed accordingly or not along with motivating employees to perform the job, organisations appoint an individual who is given responsibility to perform above mentioned duties. A leader is a person who motivates, directs and monitors individuals and followers to achieve a common goal (Kumar, Deshmukh, & Adish, 2014). According to Xiong (2008), leader comprises an important element within the organisation who ensures that organisational objectives are fulfilled within a specific time limit and scope.

According to me, leadership is largely about application of influence in a way that encourages followers to follow to achieve desired outcome. Many authors have given various definitions along with the leadership models that can be applied by individuals to perform leadership duties while working for achieving organisational goals. Among all, the article written by Brown (2012), “Challenges to Business Excellence” have influenced me the most where the author identifies challenges related to leadership while building support from subordinates throughout the organisation for decades. In the article, one incident was mentioned where the new CEO was appointed. Since the organisation had another appointee who acted as driver of excellence, no significant changes in strategic focus or direction was encountered. According to the author “The need to have a critical mass of leaders who are supportive of the business excellence drive was identified as a key requirement”. Here the author emphasises on influence leaders have upon mases where only few champions reinforce, drive and push excellence efforts that are required in leaders as well as team managers. Leadership is all about relationship, strategy and dynamic that aligns organisational vision that calls upon several actions, out of self interest or requirements to ensure the completion of task with effectiveness (Schein, 2004). This definition also identifies the collaborative dynamics that followers and leaders share in participation process where common vision benefits and provide risks to both of them. Understanding our innermost dynamic of common vision is also supported among other schools of thought that I have gone through. Drescher, et al. (2014) further supports the above findings where the authors mention that learning organisational theory strengthens personal mastery and leadership dynamics as defined in openness to question regarding self-perspective and mental models to understand how the learning works. The author additionally familiarized me with systems thinking and how organisations are integrated into an effective workplace.

Application of knowledge and skills

The key learning journey for me was based on the principle in which a person with flexibility exercises the influence which the system makes on the person. In other words, the course introduced me with various significant topics like leadership significance, contemporary models and theories of leadership along with others like organisational culture, ethical leadership, leadership power and development etc. During the entire course, I made commitment to make difference to myself about how I see the world along with developing my personal flexibility to adapt contemporary corporate systems. At first, I found this conscious decision to be very challenging, but at the similar time the course proceeding as well as tutor’s guidance made me liberated from within and now I feel more confident than before to explore challenges in progression of leadership within me.

The advancement of leadership qualities is very significant as they help us in achieving professional as well as personal success. However, people might face difficulties while developing leadership abilities and skills within themselves. In this regard, focussing on development for becoming effective leaders becomes very significant and shall be educated at different phases of life to remain ahead in this competitive business environment. Today, leader’s role has become extremely significant to ensure firm’s success and at the same time, the application of effective leadership quality is also necessary (Baldonado, 2015). Among various leadership styles, transformational leadership style has influenced upon me greatly as most of the present and popular CEO’s like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg follows transformational leadership style. Under this context, it can be underlined that transformational leadership do not come with benefits only, but also has many risks associated to it that can threaten normal progress of organisations. The basic fundamental of transformational leadership style is making organisation successful by giving value to leaders associates in such a way that develops positive relationships within organisational culture. The significance of organisational culture and interpersonal relationship has been emphasised greatly in present literature where authors signify increased role of human resources as assets of organisations (McCleskey, 2014).

Early researchers like Kurt Lewin identified three basic styles of leadership namely: democratic, autocratic and laissez-faire. All the three kinds of leadership can be used in teams and can be changed depending upon the situation. The autocratic leader generally leads others while focussing upon their own set of discipline and controlling nature. They usually dominate others and is most suitable during initial stages in organisational setting. The democratic leaders are more responsive and considers ideas and views of subordinates while encouraging them to participate in group activities. These kinds of leaders are able to build strong relationship among members. Laissez-faire leaders do not implement responsibility and authority and let subordinates do every task (Billig, 2015). This kind of leadership style proves very useful where all the subordinates are highly talented and understands their role completely. During the course, I learnt that leader must utilise a strong communicational skill that includes giving direct instructions and close monitoring of group activities. When followers are unable to understand or shows unwillingness to perform, a strong leader will use his/her style will explain in detail and provide opening for the subordinates to seek clarification. The participative leadership style involves group decision that was recognised by me during my class activities when my peers including myself led us into long discussions regarding former assessments. We helped each other by exchanging ideas and viewpoints about how the task could be performed to give us fruitful results (S & G, 2016). Thus, it can be said that I possessed participative leadership style during my class interaction hours.

Reflective writing and feedback

Ethical considerations in leadership was one of the chapters that were taught to us during the course which according to me is very essential to be known particularly in the times of moral lapses and corporate scandals. In recent years, due to growing ethical stances, researchers and management of organisations are giving much importance to ethics in leaders as well as in organisational culture. According to Mihelic et al. (2010), the growing apprehension for “ethical consciousness” arises during the times when the leadership legitimacy concept is questioned. At times when public trust is lost towards corporate social responsibility, leaders must become critical and a source of ethical supervisor for subordinates. At the similar time, leaders also require taking responsibility for giving moral support to the organisation (Miheli?, Lipi?nik, & Tekav?i?, 2010). Now I know that how we behave or reach our goals might not seem significant as long as they seem legitimate and legal. During the course I learnt that ethics in leader-follower relationship shall be a procedure rather than single sporadic event. To influence others, ethical behaviour among leaders and their communicational style shall evaluate real life examples also to remain ahead of the game. In other words, writing ethical codes only is not sufficient and leaders must step forward to implement ethical behaviour throughout the organisation.

By the end of 20th century, the concept of international leader has emerged as new managerial reality. In the scope of temporal, geographical and cultural, international leaders have come into prominence both in terms of effectiveness and managerial skills (Haque, Aydin, & Uysal, 2017). The unit demonstrated us a comparative study on effectiveness of international leaders with traditional leaders in present business environment. In short, traditional leaders worked in home country whereas international leaders operated in boundary less environment. In broader perspective, the capabilities and skills to perform and execute tasks in global environment denoted specific leadership competencies where considering organisational setting was brought in front of me during the unit (Brusseau, 2012). Furthermore, the literature suggests that to understand the concept of leadership competency models, leading yourself and leading others along with leading organisation shall be elaborated through particular competency. Narrowing down the competencies of international leader can be related to capability in working within dynamic business environment that consist of globalization, diversity and complexity.

I can still recall one of the chapters when we were made aware about powers and authority leaders of the organisations holds and how they utilise it during intense situations. This was even researched by me in literature where I found in one of the peer reviewed article written by Fuqua, Payne & Cangemi where they say, “Leaders who use power effectively care about people and avoid dominating them”. Effective leaders depend upon deftness instead of flexing muscles only. They respect friendship and demands truth over deception. Gonclaves (2013) further claims that positive and socialised face of authority and power emphasises on considering group goals along with finding those goals which motivates people, help them in formulating and taking initiative to complete desired goals through support and rewards. However, to see that task are completed in effective manner, organisations entitles certain powers to the leaders. The most successful mangers or leaders are the ones who utilises most of it while others remain less fortunate and find themselves surrounded with limitations they need to overcome ( Drescher, Korsgaard, Welpe, Picot, & Wigand, 2014). Few of the powers that leaders are generally provided in organisations includes expert, referent, reward, legitimate, charisma and coercive. Among all, creating an effective and positive operating environment involves choosing the most suitable and compliance-gaining tactics that tends to initiate greater lifecycle or job satisfaction. Researchers claims that relying on expert, referent and reward related powers produces greatest satisfaction whereas coercive, charisma and legitimate have opposite effects (Goncalves, 2013). However, others believe that legitimate powers are useful in achieving compliance but supervisors’ satisfactions may get decreased. Referent and expert powers corelates with both satisfaction and compliance where effective leaders can enhance referent powers if they learn to considerate their subordinates’ feelings and requirements. In short, effective leaders combines various sources of powers, and selects to use them according to the situations. However, unethical use of powers must also be considered as they may affect leaders’ achievements in long run. For evidence, in organisation a leader alters scrap records to impress higher level authorities. This unethical use of power may eventually be caught in due course and as a result the followers of the leaders are replaced by him/her. Unethical leaders often fail to live up their potential and rarely rises high in organisation’s where they have face difficulties in delegating and empowering subordinates ( Carpenter, Bauer, & Erdogan, 2012).

Understanding of leadership theory and practice

Conclusion

Other than above mentioned elements, self-supervision along with gaining effective organisational behaviour was encouraged to us through introduction of job autonomy. Being a team member i.e. a class member, I was able to improve my communicational skills and commitment capabilities to job as I felt being the one who can complete the work and feel the sense of achiever in return. The atmosphere of autonomy and responsibility made others appreciate our previous assignments better. Now I can say that my engagement with my course, that was drawn from higher level of leadership and was supervised by my tutor, has provided me with many problem-solving views and opinions without dismissing others viewpoints. For example, the path goal theory where the leader’s direct tasks undertaking various manners shows that the leader envisage those paths that needs to be covered and gets the team accomplish it by directing, solicitating and rewarding, etc. ( Amanchukwu, Stanley , & Ololube , 2015) One personal experience that I would like to share is when few of my friends, who recently graduated from well-known Universities started their new business. There they were taught to keep moving on specific direction without bothering any challenges and foresee significant things. As a result, they were able to set up a fresh business successfully. This motivated me all the more where I found clear answers about what is meant by future leaders through practical example. However, sometimes I keep on asking myself, ‘Will organisations start considering more on individual efforts for vertical development? Will companies start educating before transferring greater ownership to individuals?

Nevertheless, after completing my twelve weeks course, although I do not have much knowledge about companies’ internal managements, but I have understood how strong leaders can influence organisation’s culture and behaviour. Among us i.e. students, who feel disheartened due to upcoming challenge, can get encouraged from the fact that most of the future leadership issues and challenges have solutions also. All the solutions may not be present in this report, but can be surely discovered in the messy path of upcoming future. And though it may not seem much elegant, at least it is comforting to me to reflect on what I have already learnt about important skills needed in today’s leaders, I can take a step forward critically. I offer this reflective journal as one of my many steps.

References

Amanchukwu, R. N., Stanley , G. J., & Ololube , N. P. (2015). A Review of Leadership Theories, Principles and Styles and Their Relevance to Educational Management. Scientific and Academic Publishing, 05(01), 6-14.

Baldonado, A. M. (2015). What Can We Learn from Young Business Leaders Today? International Journal of Managerial Studies and Research (IJMSR), 03(06), 40-43.

Billig, M. (2015). Kurt Lewin's leadership studies and his legacy to social psychology: is there nothing as practical as a good theory? Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 45(04), 440-460.

Brusseau, J. (2012). Business Ethics. Creative Commons.

Carpenter, M., Bauer, T., & Erdogan, B. (2012). Management Principles. Creative Commons.

Dailey, R. (2012). Organisational Behaviour. Edinburgh Business School .

Drescher, M. A., Korsgaard, M. A., Welpe, I. M., Picot, A., & Wigand, R. T. (2014). The Dynamics of Shared Leadership: Building Trust and Enhancing Performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(05), 771-783.

Fuqua, H. E., Payne, K. E., & Cangemi, J. P. (n.d.). Leadership And The Effective Use Of Power. Retrieved from https://www.nationalforum.com/Electronic%20Journal%20Volumes/Fuqua%2C%20Jr.%2C%20Harold%20E.%20Leadership%20and%20the%20Effectives%20Use%20of%20Power.pdf

Goncalves, M. (2013). Leadership Styles: The Power to Influence Others. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 04(04), 1-3.

Haque, A. U., Aydin, E., & Uysal, E. (2017). A Comparison of Effectiveness of Global Leaders and Domestic Leaders in Electronic Retail Industry. Global Journal of Management and Business Research, 17(03).

Kumar, S., Deshmukh, V., & Adish, V. S. (2014). Building and Leading Teams. Indian Journal of Community Medicine, 39(04), 208-213.

Lew, M. D., & Schmidt, H. G. (2011). Self-reflection and academic performance: is there a relationship? Advances in Health Sciences Education, 16(04), 529-545.

McCleskey, J. A. (2014). Situational, Transformational, and Transactional Leadership and Leadership Development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 05(04), 117-130.

Miheli?, K. K., Lipi?nik, B., & Tekav?i?, M. (2010). Ethical Leadership. International Journal of Management & Information System, 14(05), 31-42.

Sumanthi, R. B., & G, S. (2016). Study on Theory of Group Development; Groups and Teams. IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 18(02), 58-61.

Schein, E. H. (2004). Organisational Culture and Leadership (3 ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Shum, S. B., Sándor, Á., Goldsmith, R., & McWilliams, R. B. (2017). Towards Reflective Writing Analytics: Rationale, Methodology and Preliminary Results. Journal of Learning Analytics, 04(01), 58-54.

Xiong, R. (2008). Leadership in Project Management. Retrieved from https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.537.3488&rep=rep1&type=pdf

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