Course Name: Organisational Analysis
Title of Work: Essay on leadership
Student Number: 1158585
Submission date: 30/12/2011
Word Count: 2,000
Statement: This work is submitted as part of the requirements for the MSc in information system and management. The work contained in this assignment is my own, individual and original work and has not been used in whole or in part for any other assessment on this or any other degree. I have read and understand the university rules on plagiarism.
This essay discusses the quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower on leadership. In this quote, he defines leadership as the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it. Firstly, the meaning of this quote is explained by highlighting two distinct aspects of this statement, which is that leadership is the art of getting people to ‘want to do’ and getting them to ‘actually do’ what the leader wants done. It is inferred from this statement that Eisenhower’s notion is that these two processes, although distinct, are not mutually exclusive. To provide a further explanation, the essay goes on to conceptualize these processes with their associated distinct leadership-styles and discusses the view point that these two concepts have to work both in combination and complementarily in order for his perspective on leadership to be fully agreed upon.
“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it” (Dwight D. Eisenhower). What does this quote mean? To what extent do you agree or disagree with the quote and why?
Over the years, many researchers, writers and leadership theorists have postulated various theories, ideas and perspectives on leadership, most of which are centred on the exertion of influence by a person on others to make them do something or achieve a goal. There is no one universally accepted definition of leadership. However, to name a few, Maxwell (1998) describes leadership as being nothing more (or less) than influence. Yukl (1994) also defined leadership as “the ability of one person to influence a group of persons toward the achievement of common goals” (p. 14). In the quote by Dwight D. Elsenhower above, leadership is viewed as the process of getting people to want to do as opposed to getting them just to do, which is a clear difference between the process of managing and that of leading (Kouzes & Posner, 1987). This statement holds true when the leader is able to properly communicate his vision in such a way that the followers are able to believe and buy into this vision by showing them how they can be served by a common goal. This ability of the leader to inspire his followers and get them to identify with his vision enacts their willingness to do something because they actually want to do it. Leaders do this by first of all being credible. They establish this credibility by their actions - by challenging, inspiring, enabling, modelling and encouraging (Kouzes & Posner, 1987). When a leader is credible, he is better able to solicit the support and commitment of his followers. They are more willing to provide time, intelligence and energy to support the cause championed by the leader (Kouzes et al, 2010), because they trust and identify with his visions and goals and are confident in his ability to deliver. In essence, for a leader to get people to do things because they actually want to, he must be believable. His level of honesty, drive and passion therefore go a long way in building up this believable character. This quote also highlights the fact that leadership involves ‘delegating’ a task that the leader himself ‘wants done’. Hence, the leader has to take full responsibility for the task carried out by the subordinate and give him credit where appropriate. This is further supported by another quote by D. Eisenhower cited in Puryear Jr. (1991) who says: “…Leadership consists of...