LEADERSHIP Leadership is broadly defined as a socialinfluence process that inspires people topursue goals that benefit the organization. There are three primary leader-centredapproaches to leadership. The earliest approach was the trait focus,which is based on the assumption that somepeople are born with certain physicalcharacteristics, aspects of personality, andattitudes.
The second approach is the behaviour focus,which examines what effective leaders dorather than what effective leaders are. The power focus is the ability to marshalhuman, informational, or material resourcesto get something done. Leaders have two primary types of power;position and personal.
From their position in an organization, theyhave legitimate, coercive, reward, andinformation power. Personal power is derived from theinterpersonal relationship between leadersand their followers, including expert andreferent power.
Self-leadership is a paradigm founded oncreating an organization of leaders who areready to lead themselves. Leadership substitutes are variable such asindividual, task, and organizationalcharacteristics that tend to outweigh the leader’sability to influence subordinates. According to the situational leadership model,effective leader behaviour depends on thematch between leader style and subordinatereadiness.
The four leader styles aretelling, selling, participating, and delegating. Empowerment is the delegation of power orauthority by those higher in theorganizational structure to those at lowerlevels of the organization or the sharing ofpower with them. It includes holding people accountable fortheir decisions.
Successful empowerment means that everyoneunderstands his/her role in the organization andhas the proper training, motivation, andguidance to make good decisions. Transformational leadership refers to leadershipthat influences employees to achieve more thanwas originally expected or thought possible. This is most successful when the leaderunderstands the vision of the organization andcan articulate it to the employees.
In addition, transformational leaders are able togenerate feelings of trust, admiration, and loyalty, andto tap deep values and respect from followers. Consequently, followers are motivated to achievemore than was originally expected and view theirwork as more important and as more self-congruent. This motivation is created when the leader makessubordinates more aware of the importance andvalues of task outcomes, helps them think beyondtheir own self-interest to the needs of the work teamsand the organization, and activates higher-orderneeds such as creative expression and self-actualization.
Transformational leaders do not accept thestatus quo. They recognize the need to revitalize theirorganizations and challenge standard operatingprocedures; they institutionalize change byreplacing old technical and political networkswith new ones. In other words, transformational leaderstransform things from what could be to what isby generating excitement.
Four primary dimensions of transformationalleadership include idealizedinfluence, inspirational motivation, intellectualstimulation, and individualized consideration. Each dimension involves specific behaviours bythe leader that in turn inspire follower behaviour. Through the literature on transformationalleadership focuses on CEOs and top-levelmanagers, transformational leadership involvesthe actions of individuals at all levels, not justthose at the top.
Transformational leaders influence followersthrough value internalization and self-engagement with work. They motivate by activating the higher needs offollowers, appealing to their moral ideas, andempowering them. Emotional intelligence (EI) focuses on humanand interpersonal skills of a manager. The two components are personal competenceand social competence.
Personal competence refers to the ability tounderstand your own feelings and emotions andtheir impact, to understand your strengths andweaknesses, and the ability to manage thosefeelings effectively. Social competence is the ability to understandwhat others are feeling, to work effectively withothers, to understand what people think and feeland to know how to persuade and motivatethem, and to resolve conflicts and forgecooperation.
Research shows that both men and women canbe effective and charismatic leader but theyapproach their leadership positions differently. With ever-increasing globalization andchange, leaders will be challenged to managerelationships more than in the past. This will include the ability to interact effectivelywith diversity of partners and other businessesand within the larger context of differingcultures.
For “global” leaders, they will have to changein order to survive. They have to embark on programs ofextensive change that must be accomplishedin short periods of time. Such transformations require a new set ofleadership guidelines for a new era businessleaders.
Emerging economic, social, and culturalpressures demand that leaders find betterways to align their leadership vision, corevalues, and everyday actions to producedesired results in all aspects of their lives,not just work.
It is clear that the successful leader will beone who promotes leadership developmentand encourages workers to assume his/herrole as leader, must be innovative andcreative, practice continuous learning, havevalues especially integrity, have a personalvision, be in charge of their own careers,motivate from within, plan, communicate, andseek harmonious relationships withstakeholders, employees and costumers.
GENDER DIFFERENCES Gender differences can result in barriers andlead to distorted communication andmisunderstandings between men andwomen. Because males and females areoften treated differently from childhood, theytend to develop different perspectives,attitudes about life, and communicationstyles.
Historically, stereotypical assumptions aboutthe differing communication styles of malesand females have stimulated discriminationagainst female Chief Executive Officer (CEO)or General Manager (GM). In recent years, however, more realisticimages of how professional men and womenbehave and communicate have replaced theold stereotypes.
Communication barriers can be explained inpart by differences in conversation styles. Research shows that women and men listendifferently. Women tend to speak and hear a language ofconnections and intimacy, whereas men tend tospeak and hear a language of status andindependence. Women are more likely to hear emotions and tocommunicate empathy.
Women’s oral communication also differsfrom men’s in significant ways. Women are more likely to use qualifiers,phrases such as “I think...” or “It seems tome...” Generally, women tend to end statementswith an upward inflection that makesstatements sound like questions.
Female voices are generally higher andsofter than male voices. This makes it easy for men to overpowerwomen’s voices, and men commonlyinterrupt women or overlap their speech. Although a wide range of gender differencescan exist in verbal communication, nonverbaldifferences are even more striking.
Men lean back and sit in an open-leg position thattakes up considerable space, thereby communicatinghigher status and a greater sense of control over theirenvironment. Women use much more eye contact than men, yetavert their gaze more often, especially whencommunicating with a man or someone of higherstatus. Women smile more frequently and are generallybetter at conveying and interpreting emotions.[WAWH;2012/FKPM,UiTMSHAHALAM]