Leadership is an important aspect in all organizations and therefore cannot be ignored. It is a primary function in any area of work. The roles, capacity, and functions of leadership keep changing with changes in different dimensions. As it grows in complexities, skill sets that define leadership are improved. The skill sets ensure successful leaders are bred. Successful leaders must discern that are required of them and carry out their responsibilities in a responsible manner (Ulrich & Smallwood, 2012). People come from different backgrounds as far as culture is concerned. The difference in culture informs varied perspectives and expectations of leadership.
The functions and roles of leaders are becoming complex by the day. Particular leadership styles and development approaches are required for efficiency and performance of organizations (Amagoh, 2009). To be at par with changes in organizations, leaders need interpersonal skills to meet current and future challenges. The ability to lead can be inborn or acquired. The natural kind of leadership comes about naturally and makes leaders stand out from a crowd. The leaders can also be pointed out by persons who recognize the leadership skills in them and choose to trust them. The role of natural leadership can be taken up in a less formal way as compared to the acquired type of leadership.
Acquired leadership involves learning. A person may participate in leadership forums, mentorship, coaching, and leadership education courses. The learner gains the skills required of a leader and applies them to their experiences in life. It is important for leaders to understand the significance of leadership and the expectations that come with the title of being a leader. The leaders should develop an understanding that will enable them to draw up and sustain successful strategies for leadership that will last in the long term despite any changes (Ulrich & Smallwood, 2012). Effective leadership rolls out a clear path in engaging a diverse group of persons bringing about organizational development. The essence and importance of groups cannot be put aside either. Organizations place employees in groups to foster effectiveness and development.
2.0 The key factors in successful leadership
Successful leadership is important in organizations as a result of the benefits that it brings. Managers and leaders of organizations should ensure that they create an environment where there is successful leadership as it will enhance the achievement of the set goals and objectives. Various factors come into play in the development of a successful leader. These factors are discussed below.
Self-awareness involves recognition of one's strengths and weaknesses. Durbin suggests that leaders ought to participate in self-awareness assessments for the realization of their strengths and weaknesses (Durbin, 2004). Leaders should be able to recognize how they would personally react to different situations that come their way as well as their approaches to the making of decisions. Understanding the behavioral patterns and self-limitations is helpful in the functional performance of leaders (Frost & Walker, 2007). Self-awareness results in optimization of one's strongest abilities. In the identification of self-limitations, a leader can structure a personalized style of leadership that will produce the best results. Female leaders, for example, can use empathy and teamwork as they work best in collaborative relationships. In return, this will improve the quality of partnership and consequently the outcome of the performance.
2.2 Appreciate individual differences
The ability to recognize and understand individual differences is important for the successful working of a group. Leaders have people under them and therefore are leaders of those people. Leaders work in a society that is meticulously multicultural hence the need to appreciate the uniqueness of individuals (Holt & Seki, 2012). People are shaped differently as per their cultures, values and life experiences.
A leader should be able to learn the differences in characters he leads and makes use of the several inputs they bring to the table (Parvis, 2003). Identifying personal differences should put a leader in a position to avoid any form of stereotyping and biases. His or her group will be able to prevent the same. In appreciating the differences, a leader should also be able to narrow this gap by understanding and making use of the similarities. Putting the spotlight on the differences doesn't always solve interpersonal disputes when they arise. Putting a focus on similarities can be very useful for leaders to communicate, build relationships, close gaps and lead efficiently (Cranford & Glover, 2007).
2.3 Lead people with respect
Nothing motivates a group, to willingly produce optimal results the way respect does (Choan, 2003). There is a standard way people expect to be treated mainly by their individual values and their cultures.
2.4 Visionary and strategic management
A successful leader needs to stay focused on vision and administration skills. They are level headed on the vision, mission, and goals of the organization they lead. The long-term success of both their institutions, customers, and stakeholders involved shaping their priorities. The idea created needs to be realistic and at par with the changing environment. It should be sustainable enough to take the organization to the future. What makes a successful leader is the ability to align their activities as per their categorically stated goals, missions, visions, and values. Of importance, successful leaders should be able to communicate and sell their vision to the employees (Cranford & Glover, 2007). All this is possible through efficient communication, motivating the employees to buy into the ideas and influencing them to work towards its achievement.
2.5 Communication Skills
Successful leaders pride themselves in their efficiency to communicate through writing, listening and speaking. Effective communication skills include keeping conversations honest, open and genuine at all organizational levels. Teamwork and collaboration are essential as it creates innovation and diversity which are important in any organization. Okoro, 2012 emphasizes the importance of leaders to develop negotiation skills to give them a competitive advantage. Careful use of tonal variation and words is essential for accurate delivery of messages and maintenance of healthy relationships (Okoro, 2012). Leaders are recommended to get training in interpersonal skills and competencies in group communication.
Nonverbal communication plays into efficient delivery of different messages. Keeping in mind the various people involved as far as communication is concerned, a good leader needs to be aware of behaviors that are acceptable and those that are not in different cultures. It is important to avoid offending anyone unintentionally. All forms of communication, verbal, nonverbal and written should be used as a chance to sell the organization's visions and to foster relationships. When there is effective communication in an organization, the credibility of the leadership is enhanced. In addition, the commitment and loyalty of the employees are boosted (Choan, 2003). Therefore, communication should be held in high regard because it sells the director's vision and to enhance the relationship with employees.
2.6 Motivation skills
Success in a leader can be measured by their ability to foster trust among their team members and motivating them to establish a team spirit. Several motivational techniques can be put to use. Rewards and recognition, for example, can stimulate the performance of and boost their self- esteem. Self-esteem is improved through the sense of belonging and appreciation. Leaders, however, must exercise fairness when dealing with rewards. The awarding should be announced for openness reasons and changed from time to time so that every other person's efforts are put into the account.
2.7 Collaboration and Support
A successful leader easily gains support from top level through the middle to the bottom level. He or she can do this by incorporating a collaborative style of leadership. Collaborative style ensures the leader gets a support system, fosters and encourages teamwork and creates room for successions on matters to do with leadership (Lussier, 2005). Efficient administration can make sound decisions and solve problems through shared consented efforts. Shared efforts then establish relationships with ethical behavior, collaboration, respect for differences and commitment towards the success of every stakeholder.
Successful leaders observe the element of professionalism throughout their course. Their ethical standards are not compromised, and they uphold integrity at all times. A successful leader should be able to exhibit fairness, openness, and dignity in all their operations.
3.0 Teamwork and collaboration
Organizations need people with different skill sets to work together to produce the best results. Individuals with their various abilities, skills, and talents should be able to work together in teams. Teams fill gaps brought about by one shortcoming or another. Teams are created for the sole purpose of producing results. Results cannot be achieved when the individuals in the team do not work together. Collaboration is critical to ensuring the success of a team.
Collaboration in teams can be encouraged through the following practices;
3.1 Standard goal
Lack of a goal demystifies the importance or significance of a team. When people come together to fulfill a common purpose, then they form a team that is ready to work together. A common goal is reached with involvement from every member of the team. Feeling involved will foster commitment from the members and validates the word standard in common purpose.
3.2 The element of trust
Trust must be fostered among team members if they are to work together. Members cannot collaborate in an area filled with suspicion (Martin, 1979). Creating confidence in a team involves openness and honesty in communication, in both celebrations and disputes.
3.3 Clarification of roles
Proper knowledge and understanding of functions delegated to members make the team more effective and efficient. It makes it easier for the team to work efficiently without rubbing shoulders as each has their assigned roles. Roles can be adequately planned and clarified through regular reviews and action planning.
Miscommunication can easily break up a team. Verbal and nonverbal communication should be done effectively by team leaders and by all team members. Nonverbal appropriateness varies across cultures. In the spirit of diversity, it would be easier if team members took the time to learn and understand each other. This way they would know what is acceptable and what is not across different cultures. Communication also means the effective communication of goals and ability to solve disputes peacefully. To improve communications, team members should take care, not to over-communicate or miscommunication. They should work swiftly to pass away any misunderstandings that may have occurred.
3.5 Embrace diversity
Members found on a team are usually picked in a manner that they are all different in one way or the other. They differ culturally and in values. A team should strive to learn from and teach others as well. In these teams, it is possible to disagree. Team members should not ignore the differences between them and should work towards bridging the gap brought about by them. They should spot similarities between them also and use them as their stepping stone instead of entirely focusing on differences. Everyone should be encouraged to participate without any form of bias. Democracy should be supported within team members, by putting ideas of everyone into consideration. Remarks that suggest negative energy in regards to the differences noted should be shunned and discouraged.
4.0 Conclusions and recommendations
Changes in dynamics have subsequently taken a toll in the way of operations of businesses and of individuals as a whole. These dynamics are technological advances, demographics, and globalization among others. It has necessitated the need for effective and efficient leaders in their various capacities. Improvement is a necessity. Since leaders are responsible for a whole team, their skills need to be on an outstanding level to put organizations at a competitive advantage. Training and leadership forums should be encouraged as it is through them that effective leadership is fostered.
Leadership in these changing dimensions constitutes of being culturally aware, productive relationship between leader and team, interpersonal skills and a global mindset. On top of all other skills leaders have, it is important that they cultivate the extra ones to pull through successfully. The basic premise, therefore, lies in the fact that leaders need to improve their skills, abilities, and knowledge continually.
Leaders need effective teams if they are to cover their milestones. Active teams with a collaborative team spirit make it easier to work. Teams are important for various reasons. With teams, there is a pool of skills and strength, increased efficiency, fostered learning and creativity and a wider sense of belonging among members. There are many other reasons not mentioned on here. These reasons are proof of the importance of teams. Collaboration or creation of groups should be encouraged in every way possible using different methods. The motivation for collaboration keeps them robust and prevents any falling out that may lead to failure. Failure does not reflect well on the leadership skills of the team leader and the character of the members. Teamwork, however, does not mean infringement of anyone's private space. People are simply encouraged to work together where possible.
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