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How Important to a Successful Leader Is Theory and Metaphor to Decision-Making, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 538

Essay

Theory and metaphor each play an important role in developing the leader’s understanding of his or her role in development, motivation and strategy. A successful leader should seek to understand each in order to further understand how to apply proper actions and interpersonal communication to elicit a specific response from subordinates and co-workers. Leading people can be difficult and much research has been conducted to evaluate successful leadership strategies. Furthermore, metaphors can be used to illustrate the important lessons learned by leaders who have both succeeded and failed in their efforts. Successful leadership does not require understanding theory and metaphor, but it is logical to assume that understanding and correctly applying each would place the leader in a better position to be a successful leader.

Part of the struggle for leaders is that the term leader does not necessarily mean that the person is in a managerial or supervisory role. A person can be a leader without having a title or formal responsibility behind them. However, this distinction is important because it can make all the difference between what types of theory are most applicable. For example, a forceful and dictatorial leadership style may not be best utilized in a scenario where the leader is not in a managerial role or a position of power. People are less likely to follow a leader that prescribes to this role without some type of threat that exists such as docking pay or termination of employment. It is true that every leader must adhere to his or her own style based on their personality the individuals that he or she is leading; however, position of power does come in to play with determining what theories are available to them. Therefore, while theory is important, the ability to understand the theory and is applicability to the situation is a much more important factor for a successful leader. Applying a dictatorial theory, for example, without having a dictatorial position of power behind them, would make this leader bound for failure.

Metaphors are important because they work to illustrate leadership lessons through the use of parables or interesting stories. Metaphors can be extremely powerful if they receive buy-in from the leader and are understood in such a way that they can be applied to the leadership style, actions or strategy. However, metaphors are less important than theory for successful leaders. To use a metaphor to explain this statement, theories are the cake for the leader while metaphors are the icing. Metaphors play an important role and should not be discarded, but they are not a prerequisite for a leader to hold a position of leadership and to be a successful leader at that. Furthermore, metaphors may not always be understood and the meaning could be misunderstood or misinterpreted. This may achieve negative results. In the same sense, the same problem may arise with theories in that they can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. Neither is truly necessary for a leader to be in a leadership position or to be successful. A successful leader may know nothing about theory or metaphors and still be successful. In this sense, it could be argued that theories and metaphors do not play a critical role in the success of a leader.

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