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An Effective Leadership, Term Paper Example

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Term Paper

An effective leadership requires not only efficiently allocating resources during emergency events but also putting action plans in place to deal with potential emergency situations. A good leader should be able to effectively communicate with his subordinates as well as seek their ideas. The action plan should be flexible so that the response can be quickly adapted to the crisis. But this is not possible unless a leader is able to influence his subordinates and secure their commitment. One often assumes that a leadership role is derived from an official designation or role within an organization but in essence, leadership is the ability to convince people to follow your vision. There are different leadership styles that are mainly defined by the processes used by leaders to make decisions. For e.g. democratic leadership style is defined by active participation of employees in the decision making process while in commanding style, the leader makes the decision and expects followers to obey instructions. Commanding style doesn’t seem appealing but it can be effective in times of crisis because decisions have to be made quickly (Murray).

Leaders should be consciously aware of their paradigm models, i.e. the way they think as well as perceive people and events (FEMA, 2010). The three types of work paradigm models are The Hired Hand, The Broker, and The Leader. Being aware of the paradigm model helpsleaders understand their personal bias as well as the limitations of their ideas and be more receptive to outside ideas and feedback.The three paradigm models also act as three lenses of leadership so that the leaders have their eyes on not only short term challenges and goals but also take the effort to predict midterm and long term challenges as well as formulate goals. The leaders should be bold enough to challenge their belief systems if things don’t proceed as expected and expand their thinking horizon.

The leaders should not be afraid to engage in critical self-analysis because this will help them understand their personal strengths and weaknesses. Self-analysis is also important because we tend to overestimate the role of external events in our problems and underestimate our abilities to come up with solutions. Leaders can also use external feedback to better understand self but they should be willing to accept constructive criticism. An effective leader understands the importance of good listening skills. He encourages his followers to challenge his ideas and present their own thoughts.

Organization and communities should strive to have a flexible structure so that they are immediately able to adapt to any crisis. Crisis often requires quick thinking and responses. Change is not always easy because it requires change in work habits and lifestyles thus, a close collaboration between the management and the subordinates is essential for an effective change management system. The leaders can take lead but they should not micromanage. The subordinates will be more receptive to change when they trust the leader and are involved in the planning process. Subordinates are also more likely to embrace change when they understand the purpose of change and the benefits that will accrue it. Thus, it is a leader’s job to explain the purpose of change and keep subordinates updated of all the progress. The leaders should communicate through communication channels preferred by subordinates and repeat the messages often so that subordinates do not forget them.

The leaders that are trusted by followers find it easier to implement their goals and visions and fortunately, there are ways that can help leaders become more trustable. These ways include open and honest communication, respect for each others’ ideas, sharing information, admitting mistakes, and informal interaction. In addition, leaders’ personal attributes such as competence, experience, historical performance, and abilities also help improve trust in leadership among the subordinates. Because trust is important, in the unfortunate events where it breaks down, leaders should take immediate steps to minimize the harm. Some strategies include accepting personal responsibility, admitting mistakes, and taking action to deal with the mistakes. Leaders have three kinds of influence available to them which are position influence, domineering influence, and interpersonal influence. Interpersonal influence is helpful in crisis because this influence doesn’t derive from formal authority but due to popularity and support from people. It also helps to be politically savvy because knowing people helps leaders gather required resources and support. But the success of political alliances also depends upon understanding and respecting the concerns of political allies.

The leader should also remain attuned to grapevines which are informal communication and information networks(Management Study Guide). Grapevines are important sources of information and may contain information that is usually not fit for formal communication but still yields important clues. Leaderships should also create environment where the subordinates have the opportunity to develop leadership qualities. This will not only ensure a ready supply of future leaders but will also be helpful during crisis when subordinates will take more responsibilities upon themselves. Leaders should encourage subordinates to perform well, empower them, delegate responsibilities to them, and provide mentoring and coaching. Crisis often requires subordinates to make quick decisions and empowering them will give them greater confidence in their abilities.

References

FEMA. (2010). Leadership and Influence. FEMA’s Independent Study Program.

Management Study Guide. (n.d.). Grapevine Communication (Informal Business Communication). Retrieved August 20, 2011, from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/grapevine_communication.htm

Murray, A. (n.d.). Leadership Styles. Retrieved August 20, 2011, from Wall Street Journal: http://guides.wsj.com/management/developing-a-leadership-style/how-to-develop-a-leadership-style/

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