In this essay, I will demonstrate the attributes of a good leader and argue the impact they have on the prospect of an organisation. In the first section I will discuss the general idea of ‘goodness’ and the relationship of goodness with specific qualities of a leader. Then in the next part I would identify how significant a leader is to an organisation and the noteworthy influence they have on its future. To conclude I will refer to some example which are related to the influence of leadership in an organisational arena.
John C. Maxwell famously said “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
However in order to define a “good leader” we first need to define what is ‘good’ and how we relate this goodness with leadership. Throughout history there have been many successful leaders in different times, fields and cultures. However not all successful leaders are considered good leaders. Influential leaders like Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini etc are prime example of thriving leaders but they are not considered as role models. Contrary to this, people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln, JFK, Nelson Mandela and many successful entrepreneurs are regarded as great leaders and also considered as exemplary individuals. In this context “goodness” is not easy to define but we can generally say it is something that benefits the greater population and is acceptable by majority of people. The leaders who follow this concept and conduct his duties ethically and became successful are generally regarded as good leader.
In reality there are many forms & styles of leaderships. Leaders can be different depending upon their approach on specific situations; such as task oriented Transactional Leaders, motivation based Charismatic Leaders and visionary Transformational Leaders. These various types of leaders distinguish their activities and objectives through diverse angles. One example can be “McGregor’s theory X & theory Y” on the theme of ‘motivation.’ These two contrasting theories perceive workers in different point of view. ‘Theory X’ emphasises that ‘employees are intrinsically lazy & self interested and require control & coordination.’ Conversely ‘Theory Y’ states that employees need motivation to make sense of their work & seek independence & self-fulfilment. Leaders can be different based on the view they hold about their subordinates as well as their fields of work.
The act of leadership requires a good leader to understand & realise his/her surroundings and accumulate resources to drive the organisation towards a fruitful direction. In order to do this a good leader requires several significant qualities. The most important quality should be the ability to envision the bigger picture. Since decision making is the key responsibility of a leader, s/he needs to clearly observe the entire situation and have an accurate vision of the potential goals & expected outcomes. To be able to make the right choice at the right time, it is crucial for a leader to foresee the effects of the decision and be prepared for the consequences in advance.
A good visionary leader can also transmit his/her vision among subordinates. S/he can unify employees towards a common purpose to attain the required goals. With this virtue even a large team of people can work cohesively. To implement a common belief s/he needs to be confident & effectively communicate the idea with others. S/He should also lead by example which others can follow. Fry (2003), George (2003) and Whittington (2005), said “A leader takes cognizance of place, people and opportunity and helps others join in a shared quest. Leadership described by words such as ‘servant’, ‘principle centred’ ‘authentic’ or ‘spiritual’ is prompted by an urge that is more likely to be other-focused than in self-interest” (Elizabeth Smythe and Andrew Norton, 2007)....