Reflective Portfolio

Task 1

Q. 1 What leadership qualities and personal characteristics would best suit this position?

As presented in the scenario, the organization has highly talented experts whose only undoing is lack of motivation and trust on the firm’s leadership. As such, to lead and drive these employees to success, there is need to retrieve the lost trust and to create an environment that motivates and challenges them to action towards meeting to the organizational goals. As such, the leader must have quality and personal characteristics, which would not only help in gaining the lost trust and motivation but also sustaining the gained attributes overtime. As such, the leader must have four qualities including idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual motivation and individualized consideration (Yukl, 2010). A leader with idealized influence exhibits high ethical behavior, instills pride, gains followers confidence, respect and trust and thus acts as a role model for his/her followers. According to Goleman (2011), a leader who is trusted by his/her followers is likely to implement change without any resistance. Inspirational motivation entails how appealing the leader airs the vision of the organization. Leaders with this quality dare their followers with high levels of optimism, high standards and create meaning for every task. Intellectual motivation entails the ability of a leader to nurture independent thinking, value follower’s ideas and promote risk taking and creativity amongst followers. Individualized consideration, on the other hand is a leadership quality where the leader is capable to mentor and coach each follower, attend to their needs and listen to individual concerns Pedler, Burgoyne, & Boydel, 2010)..

To be able to do this, the leader must have a myriad of personal traits including: Good communication skills, value driven, persistent, self-knowing, competent, emotional maturity, visionary, confident, honest, optimistic, curious (always ready to learn), risk taking and sharing, considerate of others opinions and needs, intelligent , good listener, enthusiastic, inspirational and accommodating . Adaptability and the ability to contain one’s ego are also central (Durbin, 2013). This situation needs a leader who will firstly fit into the shoes of the employees, understand their problems without judgment and address the problems. A leader with both of the qualities and personal traits listed here is likely to motivate his/her followers and build trust to enable a visionary pursuit of the organizational goals. With an improved level of confidence and trust

2. Which capabilities (character, traits, skills, etc.) are most relevant for effective leadership in terms of building relationships and establishing trust? Justify your selection

According to Goleman (2011), businesses with strong professional relationship, and where the employees greatly trust their leaders tend to outperform their competitors. As such, relationships and trust are core success ingredients in any business.

To be able to build strong relationships and build trust in the workplace, leaders need certain capabilities. Firstly, the leaders must have good communication skills. According to Durbin (2013), communication is a core aspect of any relationship. Good communication entails being a good listener, using right diction depending on context and generally using a critical approach to the communication process. The current situation of the organisation requires a leader with proficient listening and communication skills, who will provide an interactive environment, where employees can forward their perceptions, ideas and complaints. Gradually, this aspect will increase trust and relationships between the manager and employees.

Secondly, good leaders must be confident. According to Pedler, Burgoyne and Boydel (2010), ability to inspire others requires a leader to be self-confident, with the potential of taking charge even in desperate situations like the organisation’s current scenario. A leader with this quality will definitely instil confidence in subjects and command loyal and trustworthy relationships, something that completely lacks in the organisation’s current setup.

The organisation’s previous manager seemed to have displayed incompetency in his managerial roles. As a result, incompetency resulted to failure of organisation’s activities. The next manager must therefore exhibit competent behaviors. The actions of good leaders must be based on moral principles and reasons. Such a trait implies that, in making decisions, a leader must act based on criticality and basic reasoning, rather than emotional desires or feelings.

Good leaders must be honest. However, this is not the case portrayed by the previous manager. The results of his dishonest actions are evident in the attitudes of the staff. According to Pedler, Burgoyne and Boydel (2010), honesty is critical in trust establishment, and in building of relations. Leaders with this trait display candor, high integrity levels, and sincerity since deceptive behavior inspires distrust.

Q. 3. Choose the most appropriate leadership style from one of the following that would best suit this situation.

Transformational leadership is no doubt the best leadership style for the current scenario. According to Justice et al (2014), transformational leadership style is best suited for situations where leaders are required to introduce changes in working setups depending on the predisposed conditions. The leaders using this style are also expected to develop attainable organisational goals to facilitate the accomplishment of the envisioned course .Likewise; this leadership style requires development of workforce, willing to provide their best for eventual realization of preset   targets.

The organisation’s employees were subjected to distrustful and a less motivated environment that cultivated a reduction in working spirit and inability to provide the best for the stipulated outcomes. Transformational leadership style, as noted by Avolio and Yammarino (2013), is an effective tool in increasing people’s morale and motivation aspects of individuals. Consequently, it serves as an influential tool that boosts job performance. Besides, transformational leadership style increases the sense of identity among employees, cultivating a culture of belonging that tends to provide friendly working environments. This is helpful for the organisation’s current scenario. According to Justice et al. (2014), transformational leaders provide inspiration to their subordinates, a subject that definitely lacks in the current state of the organisation. Ability to inspire not only increases the inspiration levels, but also boosts trust between managers and the employees, purporting increased interest in organisation’s projects. Consequently, it boosts quality of products, an important component considering the nature of the organisation. Further, it perpetuates a clear understanding of the organisation’s employees. Through this, a leader is able to be acquainted with the strengths and weaknesses of his employees and therefore, be able to allocate tasks accordingly, without jeopardizing the final outputs.

Despite these strengths, transformational leadership style has its shortfalls. According to Chomsky (2012), this leadership style is subject to abuse of power. The ability of the leader to act as an item of inspiration may perpetuate introduction of unacceptable moral behaviors, especially in cases where the leader displays immorally upright doings. Owing to the levels of trust accorded to transformational leaders, it is possible for these leaders to indulge in manipulative doings to satisfy their whims and desires (Chomsky, 2012). Similarly, transformational leadership creates an environment that propagates dictatorship leadership methodologies, especially in vulnerable working setups, like the current scenario. In addition, the powers bestowed on transformational leaders may permit the introduction of oppressive actions on specific and secluded employees of the organisation (Justice et al., 2014). 

Q. 4. Discuss the shift of paradigm from Control to Empowerment and how this might apply in this case

Paradigm shift, as mentioned by Daft (2014), refers to a change from the usual or normal ways of thinking or doing things to newer ways, acceptable to the society.  According to Cammock (2007), businesses operating in the contemporary world have displayed a shift from the traditional control leadership methods, to employee empowerment systems. That is, shifts from situations where the leader was in control to that which, the followers hold significant power. In the present world, leaders present themselves as coaches, mentors and teachers. Thus, they seek to motivate and inspire others by providing guidance in a bid to empower other people, instead of seeking power (Daft, 2014).  Unlike the control paradigm where communication is top down, empowerment paradigm displays an all-round communication shift, with freedom to share ideas Cammock (2007). This paradigm fosters appreciation, openness, recognition and creative environments that instill value.

The previous manager in the IT Company employed the use of control paradigm in managing subordinates. As a result, the leader perpetuated a culture of distrust, individualism and contempt. The IT Company is an employer of people with different personality traits and career definitions.  Hence, lack of employee indulgent in decision-making processes and lack of sharing can be denoted as the causal factors for the failure of the manager. The IT Company requires a change from central leadership system, to participative and employee empowerment formations. Empowering employees will boost their desire to provide their best towards attainment of organisational objectives. Employee empowerment provides an environment where people can freely share ideas. This concept acts as a catalyst towards development of creative problem solving ideologies that boost organisational performance. Similarly, the staff of the IT Company lack a unifying factor. Individualism is the norm of the organisation. Empowering the employees will create a culture of togetherness, and warrant collectivism.  

Task 2: Reflection – Personal Leadership Style

Q 1. Reflect on your own leadership capabilities in terms of the leadership style you would like to have.   

My first strength is my open-mindedness and confident nature.  Confidence, in transformational leadership is essential, especially in development of trust and confidence. According to Chomsky (2012), transformational leaders need to possess idealized influence over their subjects. This means that, they must be able to act as role models to their subjects by building confidence and trust. Being a confident person therefore places me at the core of being an effective transformational leader.

Secondly, I am a respectful person, regardless of age, social status, differences in ideology or background. This trait coincides with that of a transformational leader. As noted by (), transformational should be able to provide inspirational motivation to their subjects. They must be able to appreciate and respect other people, irrespective of their job positions. Likewise, they should inspire people to pursue their goals and targets, by challenging them to seek achievable higher standards.

In evaluating my leadership capabilities, one of my strengths lies on my ability to motivate people.  According to Yukl (2010), the third quality is the ability to intellectually stimulate other individuals. This means that to be a transformational leader, one needs to be able to motivate others, and inspire creativity and innovativeness in problem solving. These leaders also have the ability to inspire other, through persuasive engagements to limit fear.

I am caring, considerate and compassionate. This trait is important for it helps me in my interactions with people. It allows me to read and categorise people based on their emotional gaps, desires, driving factors, and intentions among others. By possessing this trait, I am positive I can comfortably become a transformational leader since this leadership style requires people with individualized consideration. According to Yukl (2010), people are different, in terms of talents, accomplishments, desires and intentions among others. Thus, it is a requirement that transformational leaders be understanding and open-minded for them to be able to understand these characters.

My fourth strength concerns my interpersonal skills. I possess good interpersonal skills, thus, am able to interact with people from different domains. I also get along with others, whether in school or other environments. These skills are a representation of my strengths, and capability of becoming a transformational leader, since this leadership style requires individuals with ability to interact, and view others as human beings.

Good listening skills forms my fifth strength. I am an open- minded individual and can listen  to different individuals, regardless of their beliefs, values, backgrounds or social status. I can comfortably listen to ideas from different people, irrespective of the subject area. Because transformational leadership requires individuals with ability to provide audience to wider scope of ideas, my good listening skills provide an added advantage. Transformational leaders often create time for their subordinates, to listen and encourage them (Yukl, 2010).

My weakness lies on my incapability to making difficult decisions. According to Goleman (2011), good leaders should be able to make decisions and take responsibility for their actions. They must conquer situations, and not back off even in tough situations.

Q. 2 Decide on at least one capability you would like to develop to become a better leader. Outline how you will develop this capability/these capabilities during this leadership course

The capability of my desire is to become a risk taker. To achieve this, I need to understand that failure is an inevitable factor, and that in one way or another, it is bound to happen. Secondly, I need to be a conceptual thinker, by recognizing patterns and applying life experiences. Thirdly, I need to be driven by desire to attain my targets and goals. Lastly, I need to be able to take responsibility of my decisions and actions.  

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