This assessment is designed to lead you from reflection on an analysis of another leader to encourage you to improve your own leadership skills and qualities. At the first stage, you will nominate a person whom you consider to be a successful and effective leader. This person could be someone you work with or for. Then, through your observation, you will identify the person’s leadership traits, behaviours, skills and/or styles. The learning outcome of this stage is that you are challenged to apply and link the theories in this course with your observation. In the second stage, you are asked to ‘interview’ the person who had served as your role model. At this stage, you are expected to learn not only from your role model’s experience but also about the complexities of leadership. In the final stage, ‘self reflection and improvement’, you are asked to reflect on yourselves, based on what you found in the first and second stages, and consider how your own leadership skills and qualities could be improved. By going through these three stages, you should be able to critically evaluate leadership theories and practices and understand how to improve your own leadership skills and qualities.
First Task: Observation
Identify a person who you consider to be a successful or effective leader. This could be someone you work with or for (for example: business, professional, sport, volunteer work, religious organisations etc) or anyone who through some association you judge to be a good leader.
Describe in detail what you observe this person doing in their leadership role; what you perceive this person’s leadership styles, behaviours, traits, skills and his/her use of power and influence tactics that make him/her an effective leader. You must be able to apply theories/concepts/models in the course to support your observation.
Second Task: Interview
As simple observation will not capture the complex leadership developed by effective leaders, interview the leader. Ask your chosen leader to describe his/her leadership style, behaviours, traits, skills and his/her use of power and influence tactics and see if you can confirm with your observation of what you perceived earlier.
Using the ideas and knowledge you have gained from the course to guide you but keeping it open ended, ask them what they think are the characteristics of a good and effective leader. Encourage them to be specific - a good way to do this is to ask, after their initial responses, that they give examples or stories that illustrate when they felt they displayed good and effective leadership. Then try and get them to focus on the skills, traits, styles, behaviours that enabled them to be an effective leader. Also what they think it takes to lead successfully based on their experience and what not to do. Again, you must demonstrate your ability to link the theories, models, and concepts to support your interview.
Third Task: Self-Reflection & Improvement
Reflect on what you have learned from the first two stages, discuss:
• What do you learn about the complexities of leadership (comparing between what theory says and what you found i.e. do your findings support the theories in the course?)
• Given what you have found, how might your own leadership practice be improved as a result of undertaking this assessment?
• How has this piece of research helped you gain a better understanding of what it takes to lead well?
Leadership skills and traits is one of the important aspects that contribute towards the improved quality work of the company. This report has been prepared on Bill Gates, who is known to be one of the successful and efficient leaders. Successful leaders need to have a great vision, mission, and dedication to work towards the goal achievement. Through this process, the leaders could easily achieve the set target and encourage the members or the followers to accomplish the task. The leader needs to have motivational character through which the members could be encouraged to work towards the goal achievement. The skills for leadership possessed by different leaders vary from each other, and thus the same needs to be analysed in an effective manner (Amabile et al., 2004).
Task 1: Details of the leader
This report has been prepared on the Bill Gates, the leader credited with the success of the company. The success story of Microsoft is unbeatable, and it has been possible due to role played by its leader, Bill Gates. The co-founder of the company is one of the richest men in the globe. Bill Gates is known to be a motivational leader and a successful entrepreneur. The leader has been credited with the revolution that benefitted the computer density (Burke et al., 2006). Apart from being a foresighted leader, Gates has also been actively involved in the philanthropic works. Bill Gates introduced to the world the positive aspects of Microsoft. This revolution indeed changed the way, viewers or users could use the computer and different application programs. Since childhood, Bill Gates was interested in computes. Most of the times were spent in developing new coding programs and this encouraged the leader to develop Microsoft, which is still used by the world (Austin, 2003).
Relevance of leadership skill
Great leaders exhibit skills and knowledge that would motivate the followers to do the right things at the right time. The tasks needs to be performed passionately, and issues faced by the members are handled by the leaders. Some of the tasks performed by the leaders include setting directions, highlighting vision, creating innovative plans, and encouraging others to do the right things. This is exactly what Bill Gates did. Due to immense interest in developing coding language and program, Gates would constantly wok towards developing new concepts. The developed concepts were meant to help others who were ardent users of the computers (Carson, Tesluk, & Marrone, 2007). Through his positive and energetic views and attitude, Bill Gates could easily encourage the members or the followers to do the best thing that would benefit the people. One of the skills that are possessed by successful leaders includes designing and handling various things in a different manner. Skills and qualities possessed by the transformational leaders are mentioned below –
- Create a clear and self-explanatory vision through which the future aspects or objectives could be achieved (Carte, Chidambaram, & Becker, 2006).
- Develop atmosphere, through which the followers would be motivated and encouraged to perform better at the workplace (Chen et al., 2007).
- Handle the challenges involved in the process of achieving the vision
- Put in effort to build team and encourage the members to work for achieving the objectives of the company (Dackert, Loov, & Martensson, 2004)..
Personal qualities of Bill Gates
At the age of 13, Gates developed programming codes, after attending private classes in computer science. Due to such works, Gates developed a vision through which the usage of computed could be enhanced for the users. Bill Gates and his leadership skills had immensely benefitted the people across the world. Thus, Bill was bestowed with many awards, like –
- Most influencing individual in the 20th century by Times Magazines
- 20005-persons by the year times
- Chief executive officers magazine recognised Bill Gates as the CEO of the year for 1994.
- Aztec Eagle for many of the philanthropic works (Dahlin, Weingart, & Hinds, 2005).
Leadership lessons from Bill Gates
Microsoft project was originally started inside the garage. For this, Bill Gates had gathered the required information and knowledge. Such information helped Gates in developing an effective program and forming a company that is well-known across the world. At the time of working on various programming languages, Bill Gates had already gathered necessary information related to coding and programming. With the help of the extensive knowledge and experience in programming and coding languages, Bill could successfully build DOS software that was used by Microsoft. Gates was a man who is known to have followed his passion. BY indulging not many charity works, he returned back to the community the benefits he earned (Day, Gronn, & Salas, 2006).
The type of leadership style followed by the leader affects the task achievement and goal settings. There are different types of management styles like –1. Paternalistic –
1. In this method, the managers or the leaders would rule or order the followers. However, the decision is made for benefitting the company and the staffs of the company. Feedback is taken from the staffs, so as to analyse the challenges faced at the workplace. Through this process, the managers create a motivational and encouraging work atmosphere that would benefit the staffs and the company (DeRue & Hollenbeck, 2007).
2. Democratic - Leaders in this method allow staffs from different levels to participate in the decision making process. Views and feedbacks are taken from the staffs, and corrective measures are introduced to implement the changes.
3. Participative - In such leadership style, the managers encourage the staffs to participate in the decision making activities. This is done to increase the involvement of the employees in key operational activities of the company (DeRue et al., 2008).
Developing software and programming languages is quite a challenging task. This needs involvement of the staffs in performing the tasks in the best possible manner. Bill Gates believed in participate leadership skills. Through this method, every staff was provided with equal opportunity through which the challenging tasks at the workplace could be easily executed (Dionne et al., 2004).
Some of the leadership behavior that helped Bill Gates to develop the company has been included below –
- Communication - In order to execute the tasks in an effective manner, the management and the leaders need to adopt and implement flawless communication process. Through this process, the jobs and responsibilities that are expected to be performed by the members can be interacted. This would help in executing the changes and improve the development program in an effective manner (Drach-Zahavy, & Somech, 2001).
- Positive workplace culture - The workplace culture in Microsoft is quite positive. Staffs of the company are expected to perform different tasks and interact about the challenges that were faced by the members at the time of execution of the tasks (Druskat & Wheeler, 2003).
Bill Gates believed in learning while growing and prospering. Such an attitude has helped the leader to acquire one of the biggest and challenging positions in the world. As a leader, Bill believed in effective communication process through which the vision and mission could be discussed with the members. Gates would share the knowledge and encourage people to put in the efforts that were required to become successful leader (Edmondson, 2003).
Bill Gates was a visionary leader, who believed in working hard and achieves the task that was decided. This is one of the reasons; Microsoft Company could handle developing different types of products that could cater the needs of the clients. He believed in developing programs or work culture could be improved. This had to be done for improving the performance for the staffs. Bill Gate adopted transparent methods for leading and managing the team members. This was one of the reasons the company could succeed, despite of facing lots of challenges from internal and external factors. Through his leadership skills, Bill developed a positive atmosphere that could change the process that was used for managing the changes. The benefits and the process involved in the process were also analysed (Einstein & Humphreys, 2001).
Skills for leadership
Some of the extinct leadership skills of Bill Gates had helped the leader to accomplish the task that was decided by the management. Intelligence is one of the prime skills that are required to become one of the successful leaders. Bill Gates was intelligent and had a clear vision about the tasks that were expected to be performed by him. He was ambitious since childhood and always wanted to acquire the highest position (Eisenbeiss et al., 2008).
That Bill Gates always worked on innovative projects. In the year 1977, Bill Gates had released upgraded version of FORTRAN language, which was basically used for microcomputers. COBOL was another program that was introduced by the leader. His interest in the software programming code and development lead to the success of the Microsoft Company. The other skill of the leader was that he believed in contains learning process. This encouraged Bill Gates to accept the risks that were involved in the process of introducing new and better products for the users. Such leadership skills encouraged the leader to adopt and implement effective leadership skills through which different challenging and complex worker tasks could be easily achieved (Eys, Loughead, & Hardy, 2007).
Task 2: Skills of Bill Gates
The skills and qualities for becoming a great leader are some of the factors that would contribute towards the successful business formation and operations. Bill Gates is known for his exceptional skills and management skills through which different challenging tasks could be achieved by the leader. Bill was quite motivational and this was one of the reasons that he could form a successful company named – Microsoft. Hard work and dedication are some of the characteristics that contributed towards the success of the company and Bill Gates as a leader. The leader needs to possess leadership skills that would reflect the confidence and vision, which has been targeted to be achieved. In this process, the leader needs to have a visionary plan through which the different tasks and resources can be used in an effective manner. The simplicity factor, along with the foresightedness to work towards the goal achievement is one of the essential factors that contribute towards the successful business operations. Bill Gate was a successful entrepreneur, and undertook the challenges that could have impacted the performance. For this, the leader worked towards encouraging or motivating the staffs and develops better ideas for acquiring the set target (Fiol & O’Connor, 2005).
Microsoft is a perfect example of successful leadership and team work. In this rapid changing market environment, it is not possible for the leaders to achieve the challenging tasks without team efforts and vision. Through positive team work, it is possible for the companies to easily overpower the challenges and implement the steps through which the production process could be improved. With the help of team efforts, the management can work towards developing new structures that would be enable the company to achieve the stated tasks, without losing much time on the same (Foti & Hauenstein, 2007).
Trait leadership quality
In the trait leadership theory, it is assumed that the great leaders are born with the quality soar integrity the same. Responsibilities, values, creativity, and other factors are some of the important factors that contribute towards becoming one of the successful leaders. Bill Gates had a great vision and used social characteristics that had contributed towards the success of the business.
The workplace in Microsoft is quite complex, as the leaders have to constantly work towards goal achievement. In this case, the leader plays an important role in building the group effort, which is necessary for accomplishing the challenging tasks that exists at the business, activates. Some of the important factors that are considered at the time of developing and implementing strategies for improving the performance of the staffs include –
1. Analysing the existing and future challenges that are excepted to be faced by the company (Galanes, 2003).
2. Develop an effective strategy through which the changes relevant for improving the quality of the tasks that are intended to be performed by the managers.
3. The steps followed by the leaders to encourage the staffs to perform better at the workplace (Gibson, & Vermeulen, 2003)
4. Risk taking is one of the important factors that contribute towards the operational activities improvement. The management needs to be efficient and quailed enough to undertake the challenges that are associated with the risk involved in the business.
Bill Gates had a great vision, and encouraged the members to follow the same. This was one of the reasons, the leaders was looked upon with great expectations. In this process, the challenges faced by the staffs and the management were analysed, and corrective steps to introduce the changes were implemented (Hackman, 2005).
Task 3: Reflection and improvement
1. Complexities of leadership
The qualities and skills required for becoming an efficient leader is not easy. Some of the qualities re posed by the individuals by birth, while others are inherited. Intelligence and motivational factors are some of characteristics that can be polished. The acquired skills for the leadership skill are knowledge, and the process that needs to be adopted for tackling the issues. With efficient leadership skill, different challenges and issues that exist at the workplace can be effectively handled. The challenge in handling the staffs of the company is not an easy task. It includes different challenges, and the same has to be analysed. In this process, the leadership skills have to be analysed, as this would help in acquiring the set target, without losing much time on the same. The challenges involved at the workplace can be easily handled by analysing the situation and adopting different steps to handle the situation. For such handling, the leaders have to analyse the skills that are natural. Through experience and knowledge, the leaders can adopt and implement the best steps through which the issues can be handled in an effective manner. Through the leadership trait, is observed the leadership skills are gained by the members or the people through birth, and there are few things that can be acquired. However, modern theory states that the skills can be acquired through knowledge and experience. Regardless of the knowledge, the leaders are expected to handle different challenging tasks in the best possible manner (Harrison et al., 2003).
2. Leadership practices
One of the important leadership skills is associated with the motivational factor. The leader needs to have skills through which the members or the team could be motivated to perform better. For this, the leader can introduce an effective and reliable communication process. The prime motive to introduce communication method is to encourage the managers and the team members to discuss about the challenges and positive aspects about the task. By collecting the required information, the management can draft the best policy through which the changes required for improving the performance and accomplishing tasks can be introduced by the leaders. An experienced leader needs to have listening skills, as this would encourage the members to discuss the problem faced by the staffs. Through this method, the management can adopt the best policies for solving the problem and encouraging the members to work towards the goal achievement. Skills related to knowledge and experience can be gained by the leaders over the period of time. For this, the individual can analyse the future goals and co-relate the same with the factors that needs to be learned for upgrading the leadership skills (Hiller, Day, & Vance, 2006).
3. Factors to lead the team
It is important to develop the skills through which the leaders can lead the team members to work towards the goal achievement. In this process, the leaders need to have the skills that would enable the members to work towards the goal achievement. In order to lead the team the below mentioned factors are required –
- Flawless and effective communication process
- Analyse the problem faced by the staffs and draft the best policy through which the challenges at the workplace can be achieved.
- Motivate the staffs to work positively for the company.
The qualities and skills that is required for handling and leading the team needs to be developed and implemented by the company. In this process, the leader can develop the skills and implement the same for improving the performance of the staffs and managers of the company (Kaiser, Hogan, & Craig, 2008).
Experienced and qualified leaders play an important role in upgrading the quality of services that is being rendered by the company to the clients. In this process, the leaders need to be intelligent and qualified to handle the challenging tasks that exist at the workplace. The leaders need to encourage the staffs and help them to work towards the goal achievement. Bill Gates is one of the great leaders who contributed towards the growth of Microsoft. The qualities possessed by the leader needs to be implemented in an effective manner. Through experienced and knowledge leaders can effectively handle different tasks that exist at the workplace.
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