“Although leadership is situational, some traits, skills and characteristics contribute to leadership effectiveness in many situations,” (Dubrin, 1992). Analyse this statement giving examples of an organisation you are familiar with. (30)
Leadership can be termed effective, whenever group or activities are required; the emergence of a leader becomes imminent. A group always works effectively when there is a leader to guide the members and keep them motivated on their way to success. A leader should possess leadership skills, traits and qualities that will be encompassed in the various types of leadership styles namely Democratic, Autocratic, Laissez-Faire and Participative.
DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
Cole. G. A (1995:51) states that as a working definition leadership can be described as a dynamic process in a group whereby one individual influences the others to contribute voluntarily to the achievement of group tasks given a situation.
Stoner and Freeman (1998:470) define leadership as the process of directing and influencing the task related activities of group members.
Hersey and Blanchard (1988) suggest that leadership style should vary according to the readiness and skills of followers to direct their own actions. (Derek Rollin son 2002: 387)
Refers to the assumption that certain people have inherent characteristics which enable them to be leaders. (Derek Rollin son 2002:365).
Traits are distinguishing qualities or characteristics of a person, while character is the sum total of these traits. There are hundreds of personality traits, far too many to be discussed. The more of these you display as a leader, the more followers will believe and trust in you.
These are the knowledge and abilities that a person gains throughout life. The ability to learn new skills varies with each individual. Some skills come almost naturally, while others come only by complete devotion to study and practise.
Qualities and Skills of an effective leader
Leaders do not command excellence, they build excellence. Excellence is being all you can be. Without a good leader, a group will not be able to perform to the best of its abilities. However it is also essential that a leader has the right qualities and skills. For one to be an effective leader you need to cultivate certain skills and qualities vested in you. The writer will list a few qualities and skills of an effective leader:
In order to become a good leader, a person should be aware of the nitty-gritty of the work that his team has to handle .Unless and until he knows about the work, he will not be able to lead in the right direction. •
An effective leader needs to be exemplary for his team members and become a role model for them. If he is lazy, dishonest and shrinks from responsibilities, how can he expect others to be meticulous and sincere? •
A leader should be totally unbiased. He should not have personal favourites in his team, to whom he gives more authority or less work. All members should be treated equally. •
Patience is one of the most essential qualities needed in a leader. Since he has got to guide his team, he must have patience to make them learn what they need to and get the work done for them. •
Constructive feedback is one of the skills that should be possessed by a leader. He should always praise his team if they perform very well, at the same time he should be able to tell them where they went wrong and how they can rectify the problem. •
A leader needs to motivate his team so that they happily contribute towards the team work. •
A leader should always be receptive to new ideas. Because he is the leader doesn’t mean that suggestions made by others will be useless.
Traits of a good leader
Honest – Display sincerity, integrity and candor in your actions. Deceptive behaviour will not inspire trust. •
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