Leadership can be defined as the skills and process of motivating and encouraging individuals to pursue shared and common goals. It is the process of inspiring other people to pursue the vision set by the leader and maximizing the efforts of others towards the achievement of the goal (Stanfield, 2009). The leadership skills are significant in the professional and the personal development of a person. It is also important for team building and communicating with others (Bonnici and Cooper, 2011). In this regard, in this project, the leadership skills of Adam Khoo, a successful entrepreneur of Singapore has been evaluated. I had the opportunity to meet him and share his perspective while I enrolled in one of his session. In the recent years, he gained immense popularity as he becomes a self-made millionaire at the age of 26 making him one of the youngest millionaires in Singapore. He is the chairman of the biggest education institutions in Asia, Adam Khoo Learning Technologies Group and specializes in the corporate training, advertising and professional investing.
1.The leadership behavior denotes the behavior of the leaders that inspire their followers and motivates them to achieve the goals and the objectives set by the leaders. Although the leadership style demonstrated by the leaders is categorized into different categories, no two leaders demonstrate the same behavior. The leadership behavior demonstrated by the leaders can be categorized into two main categories, namely, task-oriented leaders and the relation-oriented leaders (O'Connell and Cuthbertson, 2009). The task-relationship leadership model posits that the leadership behavior of most of the leaders can be differentiated according to its objective and the ultimate goal of the leader. In the task-oriented leadership behavior, the leader focuses on the completion of the task and meeting the performance standard of the work (Bertocci, 2009). On the other hand, the relationship-oriented leadership behavior is focused on the satisfaction, motivation and fulfillment of the employees and other stakeholders. It is a behavioral approach wherein the leader is concerned with the well-being and the relationship with the employees (Glass, 2010). In the present context, the leadership behavior of Adam Khoo can be categorized as the task-oriented category. He is an excellent public speaker and motivates the audience by showing charisma, humor and convincing skills. He is focused on achieving the targets and the goals by constantly challenging oneself and learning new competitive skills. He is constantly thriving to achieve the professional and the personal objectives and motivates the employees to achieve them. He is always concerned about obtaining the specific solution to the problems and addressing the professional targets. These leaders are always actively involved in the work process and partake in the activities regarding the goal setting, planning, organizing and monitor the overall progress with the team. The task-oriented process is considered as beneficial for the performance oriented organizations. It ensures that the organization’s goals are met and completed on time. The task-oriented leaders are motivating for the employees with the time management issues. These leaders also have a strong understanding of the working procedures and delegate work with their juniors efficiently to manage the work on time (Glass, 2010).
Adam Khoo demonstrates the same behavior. The educational institutions ran by him have dynamic and competitive environment. The instructors and the management is constantly thriving to impart excellent education and learning outcomes to the students. Khoo also participate in all the organizational activities despite his busy schedule and monitors the performance of each institution.
The leadership traits can be defined as the characteristics that distinguish a leader from others. These traits are observable and relates to the leadership potential of an individual. Flexibility, emotional intelligence and enthusiasm are the major characteristics that of an effective leader. The most common model of the leadership traits is the big five personality traits model. According to this model, the five categories in the leadership behavior are, namely, extraversion, openness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and agreeableness (Howard and Howard, 2010). The extraversion refers to the ability of an individual to socialize and communicate with others. It denotes the energy, positivism, sociability and the assertiveness in a large company. Khoo radiates positivism and is highly assertive with his employees. He communicates regularly with them regularly regarding the expected objectives and listens with focus to all their problems. Adam Khoo has high extraversion. In all his public sessions and even when speaking to a group, he shows high energy and enthusiasm (Northouse, 2010).
The second quality in this model is openness to the experience. In this category, the person has appreciation and curiosity for unusual ideas and new experiences. Khoo has a natural curiosity and openness to the novelty of idea and experiences. This quality is used to describe the imagination and the creativeness of a person (Antonakis, Cianciolo and Sternberg, 2004). Several times, high openness is considered as a negative quality as it relates to unpredictability and lack of focus. On the other hand, people individuals with low openness are considered as inflexible and close-minded (Daft, 2007). Khoo has a high degree of openness to experience as the leader has risk-taking capabilities and he is practical and data driven.
The conscientiousness is the ability of the individuals to be disciplined and self-dependent. It is the skill to monitor and control one’s behavior and exhibit planned behavior to achieve the goals. A person with low conscientiousness is considered as lazy, unreliable and undisciplined. Khoo is conscientious person as he is highly energetic and self-disciplined. He is able to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously due to high discipline (Judge, 2002). Agreeableness is the quality of demonstrating friendly behavior rather than detached or analytical behavior. It denotes the helpfulness and compassion in the nature. Khoo has this quality as he is trusting and well-tempered. Excessive agreeableness is associated with naïve and submissive nature whereas low agreeableness relates to untrustworthy and argumentative nature. Khoo exhibit the right degree of the agreeableness as he is compassionate and understanding in nature (Yukl, 2002). The neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions such as anxiety, anger and the vulnerability towards the work pressure. When a leader has low emotional stability, he is very reactive and unsecure towards the external environment whereas when he has low emotional stability, he can be considered as uninspiring and indifferent towards the organization’s objectives. Khoo inspires his followers, encourages them to achieve the organization’s objectives and work hard. Khoo is strong-minded person and motivates people even in difficult times (Judge and Bono, 2000). From the observation of the leadership skills of Adam Khoo, it can be identified that Khoo demonstrates a high level of extraversion and actively participates in all the organization’s activities.
Adam Khoo is also high on openness and actively participates in several sports activities in his personal life. Along with it, he is also open to innovation and implementing new teaching strategies to enhance the learning outcomes of the deliverables. In the group meetings, he actively seeks the viewpoint and the perception of the faculties and the teaching staff and implements their suggestions in the organization’s courses. Mr. Khoo is also high on agreeableness and has attained the strong support of all the staff members over the years. It is due to the fact that he focuses on the relationships and care for the well-being of the teaching and the non-teaching staff working in the organization. He has high emotional stability and focuses on taking prudent and analytical approach in all the organization’s problems.
The leadership style is defined as the style of the leader in motivating and communicating with the followers. The leadership styles can be categorized into authoritarian, democratic, Laissez-faire, transactional and transformational leadership (Smith, 2014). In this essay, the transactional and the transformational leadership style are discusses in detail. The transactional leaders use rewards and punishments to motivate their followers. It is a commonly used leadership style to motivate the employees in the organization settings. The transactional leaders use contingent rewards such as incentives, monetary or the financial gains to recognize the good performance of the employees. They also use psychological tactics such ass appreciation and recognition to motivate the employees to achieve organization’s success. The management by exception is another approach used by the transactional leaders in their leadership strategy. In this method, the business managers only intervene in the operations of the organization when the employees are not achieving their goals and exhibiting competitive performance. This strategy is used by the leaders to reduce their workload. The managers take corrective actions to improve the performance of the employees (Breevaart, 2014).
The transformational leadership style unique leadership style in which the leader is not limited by the perception of the followers. In this leadership style, the leader work along with their subordinates to create a vision and motivate them to achieve it with inspiration and motivation. The transformational leaders strive to improve the performance of the employees through motivation and connecting the identity of the employees with their respective projects and with the organization. The leaders also challenge the followers to accomplish the task and identify the strengths and weaknesses of the followers and align them with the project (Tyssen, Wald and Heidenreich, 2014).
It can be critiques that the leadership style shown by Adam Khoo in the organization is transformational leadership style. He is charismatic and has excellent skills to motivate the employees to achieve the targets set by him. It was observed that he gave empowerment to the employees to achieve their goals and targets in their own way. He is concerned about the strengths and the weaknesses of the employees and assign them duties which best suit them.
In the contingency approach, the leader emphasizes improving the performance of the team by aligning with the organization goals with capabilities and possible situations. The path goal theory is used to match the leadership style with the goals of the organization (Smyth, 2005). Adam Khoo is an excellent leader who tries to manage the different managerial aspects of the organization. According to the observation, Khoo tries to manage different aspects of his responsibility by emphasizing on the employee satisfaction and acknowledges their feedback through different communication system. Khoo has developed an informal communication system in which all the employees can communicate with him for professional reasons. Although it is not possible for him to be physically present at each meeting, he makes sure that he has an essence of each meeting. All the subordinates require his authority before implementing any decision to maximize the efficiency in an organization. In the contingency model of the leadership, the situational factors such as follower’s capacity and the organization culture impact the choice of leadership style and its impact on the performance and the employee fulfillment. The behavioral styles are defined as directive, supportive, participative and achievement-situated (Daft, 2014). It could be examined that the leadership style of Mr. Khoo is supportive as he focuses on building a prosperity relationship between the management and the employees. He makes an extra effort to show that he cares for him rather than considering them only resources for meeting the organization’s objectives.
The concept of power and leadership are closely connected. An individual can demonstrate power without being a leader; however, it is impossible to possess leadership skills without adequate power. The power can be defined as the capability or the potential to influence others. Therefore, power is associated with the skills of an effective leader. According to a model given by French and Raven (1959), there are five bases of power, namely, legitimate, reward, expert, referent and coercive (Heinemann, 2008). The legitimate power refers to the formal right to the power and can make demands and the other needs to be abide by these demands. The reward is the ability or power of a person to compensate the ability or efforts of another person. The power related to expertise is achieved when the person has high level of skills and knowledge. The referent power is achieved with the perceived attractiveness, skills and worthiness of a person (Brookes, 2015). Lastly, the coercive power is attained when the followers presume that the leader has the power to punish other for noncompliance.
It can be discussed that Adam Khoo demonstrates several powers in his leadership. As he is the chairman of the educational organization, he directly exhibits legitimate and reward power (Cooper and Rothmann, 2013). Adam Khoo has also obtained expert power as he has excellent trainers regarding business management and training skills. As he is charismatic leader, he also shows referent power to the employees.
An interview was conducted with the Adam Khoo to understand the complexities of leadership and obtain his viewpoint regarding leadership. When Mr. Adam Khoo was asked about the traits of a successful leader, he stated that every leader is unique and possess different qualities. However, the most important trait of a leader is that he should be ethical and set right examples in front of his leaders. According to Khoo, a leader must be motivating and transparent to his/her subordinates. It is important to build a positive organization culture and motivate the employees. Khoo discussed that there are several challenges in running an organization successfully such as managing workplace conflicts, establishing a transparent and equal opportunity culture and managing the internal stakeholders and politics.
Khoo cited that in his career, the most significant challenge is to keep the employees motivated when the business of the organization is low. According to him, employee motivation is the key to organization success. He stated that the employees are asset to an organization and it is important to keep them motivated to improve the workplace performance. According to Khoo, employee motivation can be achieved by setting clear objectives, keeping the employees engaged by providing positive and competitive work culture and act fairly and justly towards the subordinates. In work meetings and conferences, it is important for the leader to listen to the viewpoint of all the team members and adopt a just and fair approach towards them to reduce the workplace conflicts and increase the employee productivity. Khoo discussed that to him the employee-employer relationship is most significant aspect of leadership. It is important for the employer to adopt a just and fair approach; however, the leader should not be overly friendly with his followers. Adam stated that he has realized in his past experiences that the employees are not singularly motivated by money and the financial rewards. It is important that the employees are provided with enough flexibility such as telecommuting or vacation holidays so that they remain motivated. For other employees, the motivation comes in the form of recognition, giving charge and responsibility. It can be critiqued from the viewpoint of Adam Khoo that he is a transformational leader. He sets clear target for all the employees, tries to keep them motivated by sharing his vision and motivate the employees by keeping them motivated. Khoo also stated that it is important to identify the weaknesses and the strengths of the employees and assign them tasks which best suits their ability. It is due to the fact that no employee is perfect and can excel in each responsibility; however, the overall performance of the organization can be enhanced if they are assigned task accordingly. Although Adam is task-oriented leader; he takes care of the employees.
With the research and the interview, it can be recognized that there are certain dissimilarities between the observation of the leadership style of Adam Khoo and his personal opinion. Previously, I realized that an employee should be task-oriented to achieve the organization objectives and success. However, after the interview I realized that it is important for a leader to be relationship-oriented and focus on the well-being of the employees. Enthusiasm and assertiveness are also necessary components to keep the followers motivated (Brockbank, McGill and Beech, 2002). Upon self-reflection, I realized that I do not possess adequate communication skills and did not consider that self-enthusiasm is important for motivating the employees. I realized that it is important to work on the communication skills to develop my leadership skills. It was evident from the interview and the observation that Mr. Khoo is an assertive leader. He is goal-driver, risk taking and disciplined towards his job. However, according to the big five trait model an assertive leader is often uncaring and unconcerned about the well-being of the employees. In this regard, it can be perceived that Adam Khoo is conscious about his relationships with the employees. He realizes that the employees are significant for the performance and the performance and the productivity of the organization and has built an organization culture to support their well-being (Ramsay and Sweet, 2008). With the application of the theory and the interview analysis, it could be examined that the resourcefulness is significant aspect in the leadership quality of an individual. Adam Khoo is a motivating and experienced leader which provides his skills and knowledge. It creates admiration in front of his subordinates and contributes to the leadership.
5.Upon self-reflection, I realized that in order to practice effective leadership skills, it is important to obtain adequate knowledge regarding the tasks and organization procedures. A leader should also know how to remain calm in difficult situations. It is important that a leader exhibit emotional stability to handle difficult situations and motivate the employees in difficult situations. It is in accordance with the neuroticism trait which makes a leader unreliable in case of difficult situations. Furthermore, it could be posited that different leaders exhibit different leadership styles; however, no leadership style is perfect. The leaders themselves change their leadership style according to the situational demands. The transformational leadership style is effective in keeping the followers motivated and achieving the organization’s goals and objectives. Khoo has adopted the transformational leadership style wherein he sets clear objectives for the employees and achieves the targets. I realize that a person should be disciplined and clear in his vision to inspire a large number of followers. In order to attain self-improvement, I will take confidence building classes. I will also try to remain more disciplined and show emotional stability.
In this project, the complexities in the leadership and the leadership style of different leaders have been discussed. There are a large number of leadership styles that tries to explain the leadership phenomenon and the relation between the leader and his followers. It can be discussed that there is no perfect approach to leadership and every leader follows the leadership strategy which best suits his personality and the situation. In the next five years, I see myself at a managerial position at a dynamic work environment. Studying the leadership styles and its impact on the followers will assist me in selecting the most appropriate leadership style for myself.
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