Padraig Morrissey

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Leadership Essay
Part 1
Describe what you understand by leadership
The question we have to ask is; what makes a leader who is able to cope with change? To this day and over 50,000 books later, there is still no consensus of the basic meaning of leadership. We are left to our own devices to decipher the real meaning of project leadership which many see as an important element of project control. The leadership definitions developed by Keith Grint will be my topic of discussion and how I can relate them to my understanding of leadership while also integrating my life experiences. Grint(____) defined the areas where these somewhat irresolvable differences in the definitions may lie. He felt that leadership as a position, as a person, as a result and as a process are the major areas which should encompass a significant amount of the different definitions of leadership. I believe leadership will remain a contested concept for some time. Even so, I do believe leadership as a person is significant in the search for the real definition of leadership. Here we can directly link leadership and followership, and also closely link social interaction with leadership which has been explored by Grint and Collinson (2006). This can be directly related back to my own experiences in my sporting career. During my term of captaincy, I lead my team to a cup semi-final, but success was not achieved through me alone, it was through the work of my team members and the invisible leaders that some of them were. Through my motivation and encouragement we achieved success for the club. For this reason I think Grint(___) truly portrays my understanding of leadership, “The power of leaders is a consequence of the actions of followers rather than the cause of it.”(Grint, 2005, p.38). Fleming may be known for the discovery of penicillin, but it would not have been developed further if it wasn’t for the collective work of Noble Laureates and scientists. I chose this example because it is the perception of leadership as collective as opposed to individual occurrence. It all resides with who a leader is and the emotional relationship that leader develops between his/her followers or other leaders. For this reason I feel leadership as a result cannot contest. The simple truth is the ends should not solely reflect one leader alone, as it is the invisible human leaders who contribute to the overall results but which is in turn a direct result of a leaders influence and motivation. “It is the crew of the metaphorical ‘ship’ not the literal ship’s ‘captain’ that has the requirements to construct and maintain an organization”(Grint,2005,p.39). Grint feels that leadership as a person puts the ship back into leadership and is the most inspiring quote for me when searching for the true definition of leadership. The processes of leadership and how they achieve results is an important factor in defining leadership as a whole. A leader cannot solve all problems that his/her followers may face in an organisation. Through the process of dynamic collaboration a leader must persuade and motivate them to face up to their responsibilities. From my work experience in a recruitment company I felt that process skills came from my managers capacity to inspire me in my work which shows the more relational rather than possessional basis. In turn I could contribute to the overall beneficial result of the projects at hand. The traditional views are focused in leadership as a position, to drive change from the top, but here leaders similar to my example have to undertake a learning process to learn from their followers for a greater insight. There is no definite answer of this contested definition. There is, on the other hand, a regular occurrence in many of these theories and that is the incorporation of followers into the leadership process and who a leader is. The followers I feel define who a leader actually is and what he/she does. When looking at leadership as a position and...
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