Ineffective Leader

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Everyone has had a leader that they thought was ineffective, but do they know what makes a leader effective? There are many qualities that go into making a good leader, and not all leaders will have every trait. There is no one right way to lead. There are many effective styles of leading, but there is a wrong way to lead. By using an example of a bad leader, the traits of an good leader will emerge. Leadership is much more than individuals and their decisions and acts. Leadership as a quality may be more innate than acquired, but some qualities and characteristics can be identified and consciously brought to bear in difficult and complex situations. I worked with a manager that was great at the operational side of the business but he was not an effective leader. He felt that everyone should be treated the same and expected the same productivity and accuracy out of each employee. The drive that he placed on meeting the operational objectives with disregard for the human culture only backfired. Instead of getting better results they worsened. Morale became an issue, as well as, absences, stress related illnesses and conflicts between co-workers. I believe these were all a result from the manager’s ineffective leadership skills. When looking at leaders it is important to remember that they come from different backgrounds. Some leaders have authority based on their expertise, which is a function of their skills, knowledge and ability. Leaders with high levels of competence are valuable to their company, particularly if they share their knowledge and skills with others. They are very knowledgeable about their work unit, technical processes or organizational goals and objectives. They are usually labeled technical experts and may have such credentials as advanced degrees or professional certifications. They have a consistent pattern of knowing what to do at a given time. As a result, they exert much influence over others. Some of these leaders bring this authority with them at the time of production. In other cases it is developed on the job through years of repeated successes (Weiss, 1994). The personality of good leaders can be very different. Some are subdued and analytical; others are more outgoing. Different situations can call for different leaders. Different people also respond to diverse types of leadership (Goleman, 2004). Even though leaders may have differences, one thing they mostly have in common is emotional intelligence. It is not that high IQ’s and great skills don’t matter, more it is that they add to qualities of a good leader (Goleman, 2004). Part of emotional intelligence is having self-awareness. People that are self-aware understand how feelings can effect them. This type of person knows what frustrates them, and can deal with it in a way that will not upset anyone. By being self-aware, a leader can make judgement calls on their, and other’s, abilities. They understand how the people are feeling (Goleman, 2004). If my manager would have been more self-aware, he would have understood that pushing many people can cause them to pull back, instead of doing better. A trait of an effective leader is to be tough but fair when dealing with people. Being tough means to be firm, not overbearing. Toughness will help people know what the rules are and that they have to be followed. An effective leader treats everyone the same or fairly. When they do this, people know what to expect and what is expected of them. It is also important for people to have room to do their jobs (Knight & Dyer, 2005). Two important traits of a leader are listening and communication. Leaders should listen to learn about others and about what is going on in the business. After a leader listens, they are able to communicate more effectively. The leader says what they feel and not just what policy dictates (Gitomer, 2004). Even a great strategy cannot be fully effective unless it is communicated to other in a way that...
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