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  1. 1. Traits of A Leader: ... inspire action. Try to paint a vision of the future that inspires your people to do whatever it takes to get there. The best leaders also clear away the organizational roadblocks that constrain employees’ natural creativity and initiative, unleashing a tremendous amount of energy in the process. ... be optimistic. We all want to work with and for people who lift us up into the clouds instead of dragging us down into the mud. Make sure to seek out the positives in your people, helping them overcome their own feelings of self-doubt and spreading optimism throughout your organization. ... have integrity. Research shows that the top thing that employees want from their leaders is integrity. Be honest, fair, candid and forthright, and treat everyone in the same way that you yourself would want to be treated. ... support and facilitate your team. For people to do their very best work, they need an organizational environment that supports them by making it safe to take risks, to tell the truth, and to speak up ... without being punished for doing so. Support your employees by creating this kind of environment, and it will facilitate their progress toward attaining your organization’s goals. ... have confidence. Highly effective leaders know deep down inside that they and their team can accomplish anything they set their minds to. Failure is not an option. Tentative leaders make for tentative employees. If you’re confident, your people will be too. ... communicate. In any organization, knowledge is power, and great leaders ensure that every employee, from the very top to the very bottom of the org chart, is provided with complete and up-to-date information about the organization’s goals, performance, successes and failures. To achieve this level of connection, you should also provide ample channels for two-way communication between employees and managers, actively soliciting their ideas for improvement and rewarding employees for submitting them. ... be decisive. One of the most basic duties of any leader is to make decisions. Highly effective leaders aren’t afraid to be decisive and to make tough calls quickly when circumstances require it. Once you
  2. 2. have all the information you need to make an informed decision, then don’t hesitate--make it. And once you make a decision, then stick with it unless there is a particularly compelling reason for you to change it. No matter what type of organization or industry you're in, it's possible to become a more effective leader, inspiring your people to give their very best every day of the week. Make a point of practicing these 7 leadership traits, and you will be a highly effective leader too. The Impact of Leadership on Organizational Performance Leadership is an important function in small business. Leadership and management represent two completely different business concepts. Leadership is commonly defined as establishing a clear vision, communicating the vision with others and resolving the conflicts between various individuals who are responsible for completing the company’s vision. Management is the organization and coordination of various economic resources in a business. Leadership can have a significant impact on an organization’s performance.
  3. 3. Setting the Tone Small business owners usually set the leadership tone for their organization. Owners accomplish this by developing a mission or set of values by which they operate their company. This creates a minimum level of acceptance for employee behavior. Business owners often create company policies or guidelines from the company's mission or values. Policies and guidelines also give business owners the ability to remove under-performing employees from the company. Types Three types of leadership are common in business: authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire. Each type of leadership impacts organizational performance differently. Authoritarian leadership is commanding and sets clear expectations for employees in the organizational. Democratic leadership encourages feedback and input from managers or employees regarding organizational performance. Laissez-faire is a hands-off approach, where managers and employees work according to their own preference and schedule. This leadership style can lead to poor motivation and work practices. Features Successful organizational performance relies on the proper behavior from managers and employees. Leadership can be an evolutionary process in companies. Business owners who provide leadership can transform an employee from a worker completing tasks to a valuable team member. Leadership skills can help change an employee’s mentality by instilling an ownership mindset. Employees who believe they have a direct owner-style relationship with the organization often find ways to improve their attitude and productivity. Function Leadership can help a business maintain singular focus on its operations. Larger business organizations can suffer from too many individuals attempting to make business decisions. Business owners can use leadership skills to get managers and employees on the same page and refocus on the original goal. Leadership skills can also help correct poor business practices or internal conflicts between employees. Warning Leadership can have a negative impact on organizational performance. Leaders who are overly dominant or become obsessed with achieving goals can overlook various details in the business organization. Managers and employees may also be less willing to help dominant or extremely critical leaders with accomplishing goals and objectives. Dominating leadership creates difficult business relationships. Other companies and business owners avoid dominant leaders who consistently request financial benefits. Leadership traits, motives and characteristics
  4. 4. In understanding leadership, it’s important to have a clear understanding of traits, characteristic, and behaviors of leaders. Traits are very closely related to how we perceive others to be leaders for example if we see a confident and charismatic person we perceive them to be good leaders. Effective leaders must have cognitive skills, relationship with subordinates and personality traits and characteristics. (DuBrin& Ireland, page 270). Effective leadership Traits Leadership traits are stable patterns of behaviours and consistent internal states that explain a person’s behavioural tendencies. A leader needs to have Self-confidence Emotional Stability, Sense of humour, enthusiasm, warmth, high tolerance for frustration, self-awareness, self-objectivity, trustworthiness, dominance, extroversion, and assertiveness. How determining which set of traits and characteristics are important will depend on the situation. For example enthusiasm may be more important to a sells manager than a stock manager. Listed below are the traits and characteristics that are associated with leadership efficiency Self confidence. Leaders need to believe in their leadership skills and ability to achieve objectives. Self confidence also instils confidence among the subordinates. In a group members will follow a leader who is confident and who seems to know what they are doing, while a manager who is not confident but tries to act confident will be seen as working under pressure (DuBrin& Ireland, page 272). Assertiveness. A leaders needs to be straightforward in expressing their opinions, feelings, demand and attitude, as it helps them to attain their objectives. This may include demanding high performance from workers and correcting them on their mistakes (DuBrin& Ireland, page 272, avoiding being aggressive. Enthusiasm. Enthusiasm helps a leader build good relationship with his group members, as employees perceive it as a reward for doing something right. Enthusiasm may be expressed verbally or nonverbally though handshakes, or touching (DuBrin& Ireland, page 272). Power Motive. Power motive leaders spent a lot of time thinking in how to alert the thinking and behaviour of others, act with vigor and determination, and care bout their personal standing with those
  5. 5. around them. This is very important as it show that the leader is keen on influencing others (DuBrin& Ireland, page 272). Need for Achievement. This refers to a strong desire to achieve things for their own sake. In the attempt to finish and get things done on time acts as a force for innovation. Sense of Humour. A sense of humour relieves boredom and tension. A sense of humour can also defuse hostile situations. It also makes the leader more approachable (DuBrin& Ireland, page 270). Leadership Motives Leadership motive are the reasons or what drives individuals to be leaders this are: Power Motive This is the need to control other people, be responsible for them and influence their behavior. Leaders are also motivated by the need to control resources. This is also a key motivator for success. Drive & Achievement Motivation Individuals become leaders because the get Joy in accomplishment for its own sake. They are usually thinking of how to do a job better and how they can progress in their career. The need for achievement or to excel in their work place is because they are interested in the monetary reward that come with it. Strong Work Ethic There are people who generally belief in dignity of work. This type of people end up being leaders as a result of their strong work ethics. This type of leaders believe that a group task is worthwhile, and hence gain the support for the leadership position. Tenacity This is the Wilful Determination of a leader to achieve something, usually there might be a problem that is persisting at the time and they have the urge to solve it. Cognitive Traits In order to be an effective leader one must have Cognitive traits. These are mental abilities and knowledge. Five cognitive skills that are particularly important are knowledge of the
  6. 6. task/Business, creativity, insight into people and situation, openness to new experience, and farsightedness and conceptual thinking. Knowledge of the Task/Business Knowledge of the task/ Business is important as they are the skills required by a leader to complete specialised task. Its known that Intelligent leaders make more effective plans, strategies, and decisions than to less intelligent ones. It would be very hard for leader to gain subordinate respect if they if they don’t understand the technical details of their work Creativity Leaders should posses an effective problem solving ability or intelligence. Creative of a leader also give the organisation a completive advantage age. Insight into People & Situations Effective leaders must have the ability to read staff and the situation. This comes in handy when it comes to assigning jobs or choosing group leaders. Farsightedness and conceptual thinking This is the ability to think in abstract terms, i.e. to being able to simplify complex situations and determine the correct solution. A farsighted leader is one who can set long term goal that they need to achieve and know where they want the organisation to be in future. This also gives guideline to the members on the way forward. Openness to Experience. A effective leader should show willingness to experiment with unproven methods and approaches. The leader should be open to the subordinates suggestion, and encourage group work as this motivates the members and feel part of the successes.