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Influencing The Subordinates Or The Team Members Is The Major

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Question:

Discuss about Influencing the or the Team Members?

 

Answer:

Introduction

Influencing the subordinates or the team members is the major role that is played by leaders (Coleman & MacNicol 2015). A leader should instill a positive influence on the followers in order to help them to achieve set targets within the team or the organization. In normal circumstance, followers are not able to achieve some things, and therefore, the one in the leadership position play a vital role in the motivating the subordinates to help them reach their full potential. Leaders can adopt different styles of leadership, for example, some of the widely used styles of leadership include democracy leadership, autocracy leadership, transformational, leadership, laissez-fair leadership, and bureaucracy leadership. Despite the many leadership styles that are at the disposal of leaders, the transformational style of leadership has been identified as the most effective style of organizational leadership. This is because of the ability of a leader to motivate and inspire the followers to achieve the targets of the team involved (Northouse, 2010). There are various leadership theories and models that are used in the leadership situation; however, the theory and the style of leadership used is selected on the basis of the context and prevailing circumstances. Power and influence are vital elements of leadership because they determine the success of the individual in the leadership position. This essay will carry out a reflection on the results of my source of power and influence as a leader from various leadership assessment tools. It is also going to carry out a literature review on power and influence in leadership and conclude with an action plan to enhance my areas of weakness that I need to develop as a leader.

 

Self-reflection

Comparison of tool results with my leadership practice

Based on the result of Authentic Leadership Self-Assessment questionnaire, I have very high internalized moral perspective and low self-awareness, relation transparency, and balanced processing. As a leader, I can regulate myself based on the values that I hold. My core values form the basis of my actions as a leader, and I am not easily influenced by pressure from other parties (Goodpasture, 2010). My high internalized moral perspective was evident in one of my recent leadership practice where I was working as an intern with one medium sized beauty products manufacturing firm. I was the leader of a team that was given a task to promote the products of the firm among the target audience. At some points, there was pressure to bribe some retailers to stock our products; however, I refused such practices despite suggestions by team members to do the same. I let the team members know my stand as a leader with integrity. However, my low self-awareness and poor relational transparency emerged during that particular leadership as sometimes I failed to understand what motivates my decision-making process.

The results of emotional intelligence questionnaire reveal that I am talented in managing and influencing my team members' emotions as a leader. The EI questionnaire shows that I have the ability to think in a clear manner and make responsible decisions even when I am under powerful emotion (Northouse, 2016). This was demonstrated I the same leadership task that when my team was promoting the beauty products. Product promotion is not an easy task, especially when dealing with the products of a little known firm. There were points when we were running below our daily targets because retail outlets were rejecting our products, and so the team members were tensed and worked up. Amidst these high emotions, I could still think clearly, make appropriate decisions, formulate and implement new and effective strategies that positively influenced the emotions of my team members to complete the task at hand. My high level of emotional intelligence has also been instrumental in my successful leadership. According to (), the ability to motivate team members is vital for successful leadership.

The EI questionnaire reveals that I have the ability to motivate myself and other as well. The impact of my ability to motivate others is clearly evident in my second leadership task as captain of the swimming pool of my university. Sporting activity is a challenging task, and its success depends on hard work and motivation (Yudhvir & Sunita, 2012). As the leader of my college swimming team, I am acquainted with the various challenges that face a sports team, especially during competitions. After finishing third in the qualifiers of the annual swimming competition among campuses, my team was demoralized towards the final. However, as the leader, I successfully managed to mobilize and motivate them before the final, and this led to my team winning the competition.

According to the big five locator questionnaire, I am a very open, highly agreeable, and sociable leader. These skills have been instrumental in the success of my leadership activities. As an open leader I am interested in new ideas; however, the results of the questionnaire also show that I am less adjustable as a leader. These contrasting characters have had conflicting impacts in my success as a leader (Houghton & Yoho, 2005). This is because I receive new ideas, but I am unable to make new adjustments to incorporate the new ideas into practice. For instance, while promoting the beauty products, I would receive suggestions from my team members on to run a successful product promotion campaign. For example, delegation of duties and responsibilities and designing of clear goals and objectives; however, adjusting to the circumstances and incorporating the new ideas was a major challenge to me as the team leader.

The leadership trait and leadership behavior questionnaire shows that I possess some important leadership traits and behaviors. As a leader, I am persistent, sociable, and cooperative. I am also a team player and consults widely before making decisions (Whitehead, Weiss, Tappen, 2010). These skills are important for successful leadership, and they helped me when I led the beauty product promotion team. These skills helped to relate well with potential clients and my team members as well. For leadership to be successful in the marketing sector, effective communication process is required from the side of the leader. It is required that the leader should formulate the guidelines, rules and regulations to be implemented by the followers. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the one in the leadership position to ensure that effective and reliable communication channels are implemented for effective and successful communication activities (Mumford et al., 2000). To realize this objective, the leader should strive at winning the building trust of his subordinates so as to foster effective collaboration and teamwork among all members within the organizational setting to bring the desired results.

The big five personality test reveal that I am extrovert and so I work well with others people within and outside of the teams that I am involved in. This trait is important because it encourages teamwork which is instrumental for successful leadership of a team (Hackman & Ruth, 2007). As a leader, I am also very honest and open with people, and these enable me to win the trust of my subordinates, another vital factor in successful leadership. Despite this, the five-factor test reveal that I score very low in openness to experience. I do not pursue new experience or intellectual development; however, in the fast changing work environment, I should focus on pursuing experiences to enhance my knowledge and skills for better performance as a leader.

Two areas or competencies for improvement that will enhance my power and influence

The first area that I need to improve is my authentic leadership, particularly my self-awareness skills as a leader.

The second competency that I need to improve is my emotional intelligence, particularly the social skills of leadership.

 

Literature review

According to Pandya (2014), power and influence are major components of successful organizational or team leadership. Power refers to the ability to bring about change and cause an influencing effect on the team members within the organization (Turner & Müller, 2010). Similarly, influence refers ability to change the personal attitudes and beliefs of the team members to enable them to perform to meet the goals and objectives of the team. According to French and Raven's Five Forms of Power, there are several sources of power and influence as discussed below.

Firstly, there is coercive power, which is oriented on the fear factor. Leaders who operate on coercive power influence people through intimidating communications, for example, failure to adhere to the rules and regulations result in punishment (Bacon, 2011). The second source of influence is the legitimate power that is derived from an individual’s position or title as the one in leadership (Bacon, 2011). Those in a high leadership position can influence their followers because of the subordinates that the individual in the leadership position possesses the leadership right by virtue (Chiocchio, Kelloway, & Hobbs, 2015). The third source of influence is the expert power. According to Kotler (1985), expert power is derived from the talent, skills, and knowledge that is held by the individual in leadership, for example, a neurosurgeon possesses expert power over aspiring neurosurgeons. Reward power is another source of influence that the one in leadership position holds (Bacon, 2011). This is where the one in leadership wins the support of the subordinates by rewarding them for their achievements. Finally, is the referent power which is derived from the personal traits of the one in the leadership position (Winkler, 2010). These include traits such as charisma, charm, and creativity that makes the one in the leadership position to have an influence on the subordinates.

Theories of power and influence in leadership

Personal trait theory

Various research studies have been carried on leadership within the society and in the workplace. According to Vroom (2003), the majority of these studies have focused on the examination of character traits that are present on the individual in leadership position. The focus on the leader’s characters is commonly known as the personality trait theory of leadership. Researchers who focus on this approach argue that exceptional leaders are born with particular traits and characteristics that enable them to win the trust and influence their followers (Derue, Nahrgang, Welman, Humphrey, 2011). The identified exceptional leadership traits that are possessed by leaders include physical, emotional and cognitive personal characteristics. According to Riaz and Haider (2010), it is these features enables the leaders to successfully express their stand to the subordinates and this helps steers them to successful leadership positions. As a result, their followers provide them with full support because they are able to convince them.

According to Peretomode (2012), there are several other qualities that every successful leader should possess based on the personal trait theory. It is the exceptional qualities that enable them to remain different from their followers. This point of argument has been contested by some researchers who argue that there is no difference between leaders and their followers. This is because there are some individuals who have the same characteristic that are described by personality trait theory; however, they do not make good leaders at all (Bouhali, et al., 2015).

Behavioral theory

This refers to leadership from the perspective of ability and skills, and it is much concerned with what leaders are able to do as well as their behaviors towards the group that they lead. The approach which is taken by skills is different from the approach taken by traits because skills can be acquired through learning, while on the other hand, traits cannot be learnt because they are inborn (Bell, 2013). Researchers in this field began to analyze the styles of leadership and the behavioral characteristics of the leaders themselves in order to understand the actions while at the helm of leadership.

Under the behavioral approach of leadership, the various types and patterns of behaviors as follows. a) The concern for task is a pattern of leadership under this approach, whereby, the leaders are put an emphasis on achieving the goals and objectives of the people they lead. In this pattern, leaders look for options of maximizing the productivity of the population they lead, therefore, they have to find effective ways of organizing these people and lead them into courses of action that will help in achieving their goals and objectives. b) Concern for people is another pattern of leadership under this approach, and here the leaders are required to view their followers as human beings who have their own personal needs, developments, problems and interests. Therefore, they should be allowed to meet their needs as opposed to simply using them as a means of production (Latham, 2013). c) Direct leadership is another pattern under this approach, and it is a kind of leadership where leaders engage in processes of making major decisions on behalf of their subjects. They make these decisions with the expectations that their subordinates will follow. d) Finally is the participative pattern of leadership. This pattern involves consensus and leaders make decision by involving their subordinates. This pattern is very appropriate in terms of executing leadership duties to meet the interest of the followers.

The literature review section above reveals some of the important aspects that I need to focus on for self-development as reveled by the reflection and self-analysis section in the first part of this assignment. The first area that I need to improve is my authentic leadership, particularly my self-awareness skills as a leader while the second competency that I need to improve is my emotional intelligence, particularly the social skills of leadership. In line with these aspects, I need to focus on developing my personal traits as a leader in order to gain more influence over my subordinates. As discussed in the behavioral theory, I need to focus more on the needs of my subordinates to enhance the influence of my followers as a leader (McClesky, 2014). This is because the followers will be more willing to comply to my leadership, hence, increased productivity. As discussed in the literature review, traits theory focuses on the leader’s talent, skills, and knowledge. Therefore, I believe that focusing more on my individual self-awareness will also be instrumental in enabling me to make effective decision because I will be in a position to understand what motivates my decision making activities.

 

Conclusion and action plan for development

In summary, a leader plays a major role in motivating the subordinates to achieve the set goals and objectives. Power and influence play a major role in how the one in the leadership position influences his followers. According to French and Raven's Five Forms of Power, there are several sources of power and influence, for example, coercive, legitimate, referent, and reward power. Several researchers have carried out studies on the important aspects of leadership, and this has led to the emergence of various leadership theories and models. These include theories such as behavioral and personal trait theories of leadership. These theories stress on the importance of personal skills and characters of the leader, for example, critical thinking, effective decision making, and teamwork. As a leader, I possess effective leadership skills such as effective communication, critical thinking, teamwork and decision making. These personal traits have been instrumental in my success as a leader. However, based on the various leadership assessment tools, my major weakness as a leader are the lack of self-awareness and emotional intelligence.

 

Action plan for self-development

The various tools that were utilized to assess my leadership abilities above revealed both my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. Some of my major strengths as a leader include teamwork, effective communication and critical thinking skills that enable me to mobilize and influence my subordinates positively. However, the assessment tools also revealed two major areas of weakness that requires development as highlighted below:

  1. The first area that I need to improve is my authentic leadership, particularly my self-awareness skills as a leader.
  2. The second competency that I need to improve is my emotional intelligence, particularly the social skills of leadership.

In order to develop these areas of weakness, I will use the following action plan to enhance my performance as a leader.

Activity

Timeline

Goal

Register for a course on leadership at my university’s school of management.

June 1 to September 30

To enhance my general leadership skills.

Read two books on emotional intelligence development.

July 15 to June 30

To enhance my emotional intelligence skills, particularly the social skills.

Attend a workshop on self-awareness.

October 1 to November 30

To improve my self-awareness skills.

Develop a list of 10 activities that are related to emotional intelligence and self-awareness to complete

November 1 to December 30

To put my self-awareness and emotional intelligence skills into practice.

 

References

Bacon, T. R. (2011). The Elements of Power: Lessons on Leadership and Influence. New   York, NY: AMACOM.

Bell, R. M. (2013).Charismatic Leadership Case Study with Ronald Reagan as Exemplar.  Emerging Leadership Journeys, 6(1), 66-74.

Bouhali, R.et al. (2015). Leader Roles for Innovation: Strategic Thinking and Planning. Procedia-Social and behavioural sciences, 181, 72-78.

Chiocchio, F., Kelloway, E., & Hobbs, B. (2015). The Psychology and Management of  Project Teams. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Coleman, S. & MacNicol, D. (2015). Project Leadership. Farnham, Surrey, UK Burlington,  VT: Gower.

Derue, D. S., Nahrgang, J., Welman, N., Humphrey, S. E. (2011). Trait and behavioural  Theories of leadership: an integration and Meta-analytic test of their relative validity.               Personnel psychology, 64(1), 7-52.

Goodpasture, J. (2010). Project Management the Agile Way: Making it Work in the  Enterprise. Ft. Lauderdale, FL: J. Ross Publishing.

Hackman, J. R.  & Ruth, W. (2007). Asking the right questions about leadership: Discussion and conclusions. American Psychologist, 62(1), 43-47.

Houghton, J. D., & Yoho, S. K. (2005). Toward a Contingency Model of Leadership Psychological Empowerment: When Should Self-Leadership Be Encouraged? Journal     of Leadership and Organizational Studies, 11(4), 66-78.

Kotler, J. P. (1985). Power and Influence. New York, NY: Free Press.

Latham, G. P. (2013). Introduction to the Special Issue of the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies. Journal of leadership and organizational studies, 20(1), 1-5.

McClesky, J. A. (2014). Situational, Transformational, and Transactional Leadership and Leadership Development. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 5(4), 117-125.

Mumford, M. D. et al. (2000). Patterns of leader characteristics: Implications for performance and development. Leadership Quarterly, 11(1), 116-130.

Northouse, P. G. (2010). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and practice. 7th ed. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Pandya, K. D. (2014). The Key Competencies of Project Leader beyond the Essential   Technical Capabilities. IUP Journal of Knowledge Management, 12(4), 39-48.

Peretomode, O. (2012). Situational and Contingency Theories of Leadership: Are They the Same? IOSR Journal of Business and Management, 4(3), 13-17.

Riaz, A. & Haider, M. H. (2010). Role of transformational and transactional leadership on job satisfaction and career satisfaction. Business and Economic Horizons, 1(1), 29-38.

Turner, J. & Müller, R. (2010). Project-Oriented Leadership. Farnham, Surrey, UK Burlington, VT: Gower Publishing, Ltd.

Vroom, V. (2003). Educating Managers for Decision Making and Leadership. Management   Decision, 41(10), 968-978.

Whitehead, D. K., Weiss, S. A., Tappen, R. M. (2010). Essentials of nursing leadership and management. (5th Ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis Company.

Winkler, I. (2010). Contemporary Leadership Theories: Enhancing the Understanding of the Complexity, Subjectivity and Dynamic of Leadership. Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag.

Yudhvir, M. R. and Sunita, M. S. (2012). Employee’s motivation: theories and perspectives.  Asian Journal of Multidimensional Research, 1(2), 56-64.

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