Business Leadership in Relation to Rhetoric
Leadership and Rhetoric
Leadership is a trait that is neither completely naturally inherited, nor completely learned. But it is actually a blend of inherited characteristics/traits and the skills cultured from individuals throughout their lifetimes. This is exactly what Pericles had. He possessed an inherent set of leadership traits as well as a voice that persuaded and converted an entire empire to great heights of success and prosperity.
Leadership is a trait that is somewhat naturally inherited within individuals while strategically polished afterwards. Leaders rise not merely through the blessings of natural inheritance but require equal attention towards flourish and sequential development. While searching for a definition, one’s mind comes up with a usual set of traits that constitute to leadership, but in cases when one experiences leadership the definition becomes compliant to the characteristics observed in the meantime. Leadership is often confused with management although both are different to some extent. The phenomenal role of leadership is obvious since the beginning of time. Immaculate leaderships have emerged out of the great historic happenings. Leadership may relate to an individual, a company, an organization or a nation as a whole and the attributes differ likewise (David I. Bertocc, 2009). Thus, there is no certain point or the extent to which a universal definition could be assigned to leadership. Microsoft represents leadership in the computer technology while Gandhi represents political leadership. What the scenario reflects is that the concept of leadership has varied from the beginning and has been consistent in doing so till the present times. Therefore, it would not be wrong to anticipate a similar behavior of leadership in the years to come.
Confusions in understanding the true meaning of leadership arise when the term is mixed with authority, power and related terms. People tend to define the concept of leadership according to their personal thoughts. Leadership, in other words, depends upon the person who is defining the term (Yukl, 2006). A careful analysis of the various definitions of leadership derives the assumptions that it is the behavior of an individual directed towards making people related to the organization pursues a common cause.
Leadership is an inspirational set of traits that possesses the capability to bring a change in the organization and its members (Alan Bryman, 2013).
The Process of Leadership
Based on the aforementioned discussion a leadership process comprises of a sequence of four stages (David I. Bertocc, 2009). These stages include
Devising a strategic vision
Communicating the vision to the members of the organization
Construct a relationship of trust between the organizational members and stakeholders through effective utilization of technical and personal expertise
Becoming a role through empowerment and inspiration
Leadership vs. Management
Leadership depends upon the situation and grounds to which the concept is being implied. Leadership in terms of organizations is a diverse field. It is a completely different paradigm from management, although it is being mostly confused. Leaders are not the managers of an organization but the individuals who are capable of identifying the bigger picture of things and who make sense out of events. An organization might have placed a leader to a specified department who performs outstandingly well, but that individual does not have the ability to handle situations other than his/her designated position. Therefore it is more apposite to refer to such individuals as managers and not the leaders. A leader is the one who possesses the skill of know the gravity of the situation and making logical interpretations. he/she puts these interpretations to use by making decisions keeping in view the bigger picture of things irrespective of the petty issues. Leadership is when the members of the organization do not concentrate on a specified target rather made to believe they are working for the same cause (David I. Bertocc, 2009). Difference between a leader and a manager is the fact that managers are usually reactive to certain situations while leaders are active (John Storey,2004). Leaders create new situations and ideas rather than waiting for events to occur and respond accordingly. Despite being one of the four principles of management, leadership is actually an entirely different area. It is clear that one can be a successful manager without being a leader and vice versa (Yukl, 2006). Managers usually lack the basic skills that are necessary to become good leaders (Montgomery Van Wart, 2012)
Leadership and its Effectiveness
The effectiveness of leadership cannot be measured numerically however; there are particular indicators recognized by various researchers that could help in identifying the extent to which leadership is effective. A common denominator is the consequence or the outcome of a leader’s action or decision. This could help in determining if the organization has a good or bad leadership. Secondly, individual attitudes and behaviors towards the leader also facilitates to a set limit in knowing the effectiveness of leadership that follows. Moreover, the success of the group lying under the leader’s guidance and supervision also gives an insight of the leadership effectiveness and usefulness. Achievement of organizational goals accompanied with high quality is what indicates a good leadership.
The aforementioned indicators can lend a hand in recognizing the effectiveness and fruitfulness of an organization when carefully combined on the basis of relevance.
The leadership effectiveness can be segmented into three determinants including groups, individuals and organization (Robert N. Lussier, Christopher F. Achua, 2009).
The Trait Theory of Leadership
The standards for leadership are improved on a frequent basis however; studies suggest that there are particular identifiable traits that are shared by leaders. Some of these traits as identified by the retrospect are as follow
2. Personal Integrity
4. Energy Level
5. Tolerance for Stress
6. Emotional Maturity
Social scientists like Gibson and Donnelly have made considerable contributions towards the trait theory of leadership through their respective studies. Their studies have uncovered influential knowledge about leadership and tested the conformity of the aforementioned traits by comparing and contrasting various organizational leaders and their respective characteristics (David I. Bertocc, 2009).
Furthermore, studies have also brought into attention a valid point that the extent to which these respective leadership traits can work depends upon the levels of authority that the leaders have.
The Behavioral Leadership Theory
This theory concentrates more towards the actions and tasks carried out by the leaders within an organization. Studies have been conducted in order to compare the different behaviors of successful leaders and with ineffective leaders. According to this theory the different roles played by a leader depends upon the nature and level of authority that rests under their umbrella. The different leadership styles vary from person to person and organization to organization, but it is impossible to determine a standard style for leadership behaviors (Robert N. Lussier, Christopher F. Achua, 2009).
Behavioral Factors Influencing Leadership
To be a leader one must possess the ability to make sense out of the big picture. This means that a leader must be able to evaluate and interpret the “SWOT” strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that lie in the way of achieving organizational goals. The leader must have a clear vision and the ability to devise an appropriate organizational mission. For leadership, it is important to be capable of bringing change within the organization as required by the circumstances. Organizational culture once developed is very hard to be altered. Hence to be able to formulate a change in such cultures is a significant attribute of leadership. The ability to deliver change can be attained by a synergy in support, communication, inspiration and energizing of the people (Jaap J. Boonstra, 2012).
Above all, a leader must always be ready to face and overcome any challenges that come in the way. he/she must have the capability to make people realize their own potential (Ann A. Cooper, 2001)
The Contingency Theory of Leadership
This theory was formulated when the search for the perfect leadership style concluded as an unfinished project. Theorists suggest that formulating a specified leadership style is not suitable as different situations demand for different leadership attributes. Hence they devised the contingency theory of leadership according to which the situations and the people involved are the determinants of leadership. More precisely stating, the choice of correct leadership style depends upon certain situations, leaders involved and scenarios that are being encountered by the organization (Robert N. Lussier, Christopher F. Achua, 2009). One leadership cannot fit in all types of organizations at all times (Nitin Nohria, Rakesh Khurana, 2010). The contingency theory serves the cause to determine the variables involved in organizational effectiveness from the two major perspectives of Leadership and Organization (Patti L. Chance, Edward W. Chance, 2002)
Power-Influence Approach in Leadership
This approach in leadership refers to the relationship between the power and its influence upon the people (Yuki, 2006) and (David William Prafka, 2009). According to this approach the influence of power is elaborated by the actions taken by the leader and the reactions demonstrated by the followers. It tends to describe the extent of power and measure the intensity of influence that the power is capable of creating (S. Alexander Haslam, Stephen D. Reicher, Michael J. Platow, 2011). This approach is significantly a difference between power and authority and the influence that it possesses (Mark, E. Mendenhall, 2013). Three types of authority have been identified that include Traditional Authority, Legal-rational Authority and Charismatic Authority (Lei Zheng, 2009). This approach measures the amount of authority involved in decision making and the magnitude of impact due to those decisions (Henry Wissink, Erwin Schwella, William Fox, 2004)
Dilemmas in Organizational Leadership
In dealing with organizational leadership, dilemmas and challenges can never be ignored. organizational leaders are open to new threats and challenges every day because of changes and advances in the organizational culture and the overall industry culture,. Therefore, there exists a strong urge to identify and handle these dilemmas (John Storey, Graeme Salaman, 2006). 3 core dilemmas have been identified depending on the nature of the situation at hand. Major dilemmas are;
1. Dilemma of Choices and Reaction
This relates to the reactions or outcomes that occur when a leader goes for certain choices or alternatives results (Joan Poliner Shapiro, Jacqueline A. Stefkovich, 2011) for example, organizational change management, where the organizational leader decides on certain changes that need to be made in the SOPs or staffing.
2. Dilemma of Perception
This occurs due to a leader’s inability to see or perceive the bigger picture and its significance for organizational interest. Here, the presence of adequate knowledge is the key to identifying and understanding the changing global trends as well as forecasting the future possibilities.
3. Dilemma of Organizational Structuring
The construction of an ideal organizational structure is one of the most demanding processes in terms of organizational leadership. An organizational structure defines the roles and responsibilities of every organizational member and the extent to which these members can participate in the decision making process. In the contemporary world, leaders are well aware of the fact that organizational prosperity depends directly on the role that individual plays (Jeremy Hope, Dr. Peter Bunce, Franz Roosli, 2011).
Dilemmas in understanding the organizational culture have also been troubling many over the years. Culture is considered to be the secret to understanding the organization as a whole (Tudor Rickards, Murray Clark, 2006). The trust factor is just as important as any other dilemma involved in leadership. It is important to develop a relationship of trust by the leaders among the employees or the organizational members and stakeholders. Leadership should not be taken for granted or turned into dictatorship as it tends to make the related people emotionally disturbed (Richard Bolden, Beverley Hawkins, Jonathan Gosling, Scott Taylor, 2011).
Arguments for the Agreement with the Theory
The major points, on the basis of which I agree with the theory, include the following;
1. A leader must be honest and devoted so as to create an inspiration for others.
2. A leader is the one who possesses the knowledge to identify the skills and characteristics that the people encompass, and utilizes them in the best interests of people.
3. A leader, through his leadership insight and vast experiences, is capable of identifying the bigger picture while making the people believe.
4. Through leadership, nations are developed, revolutions are made, and true prosperity can be achieved.
5. Leaders know how to utilize the resources and are aware of the problems that might occur.
Examples from the Business World
1. Taking the internet commerce as an example, the name of Jeff Bezos comes to mind. He is considered as a pioneer, a great leader in the world of internet commerce, who made the acceptance and success of “predictive analytics” possible. He gifted the internet world with the blessing of recommending products/services based on their previous purchases and buying histories. The concept revolutionized internet commerce and took it to unbelievable heights.
2. Google of course cannot be left out when talking about great business leaders. It was through Larry Page’s integrity and devotion that Google turned from a mere search engine to an entrepreneur. Larry, through his great leadership traits, proved that he can overcome any potential challenges and emerge victorious under the most difficult of situations. He has always thought and done what is best for the organization and has never let the thoughts of other people come in the way.
3. After Apple Steve Jobs, the responsibility of Apple Inc. As a leader is being well managed by Tim Cook, who has proved his potential to lead and overcome any challenges, much like Steve Jobs did. Tim Cook has recently invented the innovative inventory management techniques that have proved very helpful to Apple.
Leadership is no doubt a quality, but it is not a universal quality. Leadership differs from person to person and organization to organization. The development of certain leadership traits depends on the situations that individual faces and the choices he/she makes. An organizational leader must be capable of analyzing the long-term impacts of a certain decision rather than laying importance to short-term motives. A leader has the responsibility of devising organizational vision, mission and goals. A good organizational leader is the one who can put the organizational strengths and opportunities to the best use possible. Leaders are the ones who are capable of acting and generating new ideas, while they handle different dilemmas that fall in the way and to remove the weaknesses by devising effective strategies for the organization. To be a successful leader there is a need to realize the importance of understanding the organizational culture (Edgar H. Schein, 2010). Organizational culture is what enables the leader in delivering a change in the organizational system. Despite of the vagueness of right leadership attributes, organizational focus should be on combining various leadership characteristics depending on the situations faced in order to solve organizational problems efficiently.
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Hope, Jeremy, Bunce, Peter, Roosli, Franz., The Leader’s Dilemma. USA. Wiley-Blackwell. 2011. Print
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