Leadership and Organization

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Before I get started, let me define leadership according to all the books and journals I have read. Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive, coherent and run like a fine tuned engine. Leaders carry out this process by applying their leadership attributes, such as vision, beliefs, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills. Although your position in an organization as a manager, supervisor, lead, etc. gives you the authority by virtue of the position to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization, this power does not make you a leader...it simply makes you the boss by the position. Leadership differs in that it makes the followers want to achieve high goals, rather than simply bossing or directing people around. Leadership is said to be everything and nothing. It is everything because it can be found at all levels in organizations, not just at the top (Martens, 1987). Leadership is everything because it is infused in all that we do, it is not sacred. All individual behavior has leadership implications, some more than others. Because leadership is based on action, it emerges as a function of participation and interaction within the organization. Given this description, how can leadership be nothing? Leadership is nothing in the sense that it seems impossible to define completely. Decades of scientific study have yet to yield a single definition that fully captures the nature of leadership, much less articulate a definitive approach to developing it. Perhaps it is impossible to define leadership in words, but we agree that we know it when we see it. Leaders must possess the qualities they are trying to incorporate into their team. For example, if you want members to be confident, have self-control, be disciplined, etc., then you must first possess all these traits. One of the most powerful things you can do is lead by example. You serve as an influential role model for your players and everything you do will be watched. Vince Lombardi says, "Leaders are made, they are not born; and they are made just like anything else has every been made in this country - by hard work" (Dowling, 1970, p. 179). Murray & Mann stated that a proficient leader "has a vision, an intense focus on outcome and results, a realistic strategy to carry out the vision and the ability to communicate the vision and rally support of others" (Williams, 1993, p. 87). Leaders are there to coach, direct and nudge players in the direction of the goals. They have a strong ability to pass their intensity along to their others. They are always "in the game" right along with the players. A leader guides a team, not rules a team. He or she charts a course, gives direction and develops the social and psychological environment (Martens, 1987). The leader--either the coach or a player with leadership qualities--provides an atmosphere where others can learn and grow. A coach must give some responsibility to the group and have the courage to foster independence. Otherwise, the members will feel that they are not trusted to take care of themselves and will be irresponsible. There must be a balance where the coach accepts his or her share of responsibility and gives some back to the team members. Are leaders born or made? This has been a debated question for a long, long time. I believe a person can be born into a family of leaders and the things that his or her parents do with the child at a very early age will influence the child down the leadership path. For example getting your child involved in the different school programs, being a Cub Scout or Brownie and then going on into the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts will have a direct influence on their becoming a leader. What about in high school and being on a team and chosen as the Team Captain. This again is putting the teenager into a leadership role. We also...
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