Three Essential Qualities of Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Management, Charismatic authority Pages: 3 (1070 words) Published: February 28, 2013
What is a leader? According to Kouzes and Posner, leadership is “the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for a shared aspiration”, and indeed, these men go further to posit that leadership transcends a certain mode of behavior, rather, that it is an active set of skills and qualities that is clearly apparent. (Kouzes & Posner, 2012) An essential quality then, is a quality in leader that is necessary to achieving the goal of inspiring subordinates to said struggle. This essay will attempt to identify the three essential qualities of leadership from a stimulus, namely an episode of Undercover Boss. The three essential qualities that can be extrapolated from the film are competency, charisma and consistency, as these skills have been shown to inspire colleagues to action and breed trust between the leader and his or her charges, which is key to successful communication (Bordum, 2005) which is the foundation for the execution of the former. Competency in leaders gives the leader credibility in the eyes of his subordinates, which in turn inspires confidence in and thus a willingness to submit to said leader’s leadership. We examine this phenomenon through the example of Walter, a day manager at Waste Management. Although Walter suffers from a crippling ailment that requires him to be under dialysis a large part of the week, Walter is still able to carry out his job well, making him a role model for his new recruit, whom his story inspired to at least try to do better. In today’s modern and increasingly liberal world, leaders are no longer conferred their title through blood relations or rank. In today’s world, a leader must live up to the expectation of the people he leads- he or she must make sure his subordinates actively want to submit to his or her leadership. (Kouzes & Posner, 2011) The foundation of the leader- subordinate relationship is credibility, which creates trust in the leader and which is key...

References: Bordum, A. (2005). Trust and leadership. CBS OpenArchive. Retrieved from
House, RJ., Spangler,WD. & Woycke, J. (1991) Personality and charisma in the us presidency: a psychological theory of leader effectiveness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36(3), pp 394-396. Retrieved from
Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. (2011) Credibility: how leaders gain and lose it, why people want it. John Wiley. and Sons Inc
Kouzes, J., & Posner, B. (2012). The leadership challenge. John Wiley and Sons Inc.
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Whipple, R. (2002). Consistency can help leaders prevent lack of trust. Rochester Business Journal, Retrieved from
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