Leadership and Features That Make It Effective

Introduction

Leadership is the ability of an individual or a group to stand out in a crowd and provide a way forward amidst difficulties, uncertainties, and sometimes confusion. Every organization requires leadership of some sort. The nature of organizations is such that many people end up working together to meet some common goals set by the organization. The goals may be financial targets, production projections, acquisition of market share, or cost reduction objectives. Due to the multiplicity nature of firms and the nature of the complexity of some of the activities undertaken by various organizations, establishing an authority (recognized by organizations as a source of leadership) is almost inescapable. In any organization where upward mobility is both a goal and a strategy, practical leadership is a reality. It may be found in individual people in the company or in groups. In either case, the objective is to provide the way forward and create order besides unity.

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FF Finance AG was established in 1990 by Marcus Kratzer and Andy Dietiker in Zug, a picturesque town in Switzerland. FF Finance AG specializes in the management of houses in heavily built-up areas both in Switzerland and in the rest of Europe. The company has therefore founded a commensurate number of departments to deal with all the issues necessitated by the complexity of various functions in which the firm takes part. The company manages a large pool of resources drawn from real estate, land and properties available at its disposal. The key reason FF Finance AG is behind the success of the is their development strategies driven by highly skilled and professional team leaders who value hard work and moral ethics besides every endeavor to keep the company at the forefront of its competitors.

Since FF Finance AG was established, it has relentlessly inculcated the spirit of hard work in its workers through outstanding leadership, moral and financial ethics.

Marcus Kratzer: CEO, Marketing Manager, and a Leader

The company’s CEO, who is also the marketing manager, Mr. Marcus Kratzer, is a person that one can confidently refer to as a leader. In a general sense, he is a potential role model to many as he is to me now. This essay attempts to portray Mr. Marcus as a leader by analyzing the observable attributes that make him appear a leader in my opinion. It then heightens in the main content to elaborate on the mentioned features of the chosen leader by invoking various theories to attest to the proposition, observation, and analysis through measuring Mr. Marcus’ qualities against the models proposed by each theory quoted. By weighing and counter inspecting his behaviors and actions, precisely modus operandi on the existing theories some of the indispensable qualities of leadership that must be coherent in all aspiring leaders and perceived as leaders such as Mr. Marcus can be reaffirmed.

Leadership

It is generally thought that leaders are “great” people; Men and women who matter to society because of their financial or political achievement. That is just part of the truth because leaders are not merely achievers. They display certain qualities which distinguish them from ordinary people. In many cases, their ability to portray leadership attributes resides in their natural upbringing. Conversely, the leadership of most prominent personalities who are generally known to us because of their work achievement recognized by their firms and governments is due to a number of factors. For example, Mr. Marcus’s charisma, sensitivity, humor, good interpersonal relations, and his personal identity unique styles form the basis of his admiration and discussion as a leader and a role model.

Charisma

Mr. Marcus’s sense of charisma is usually related to the general image of FF Finance AG Company. He normally presides over the company’s functions such as the launch of new packaged services and associated products. These are normally designed to target various consumer segments. His eloquence equally adds to his oratory skills perfected by language mastery and courage. He takes an optimistic perspective as he demonstrates to clients how the new pack will improve the general condition of their housing. Mr. Marcus speaks objectively about his newfound company and supervises important departments frequently to motivate his staff. In this technology era, he believes that the market for the products is driven by the amount of information available to the consumers. This is the reason why he values firsthand interaction with his customers to assess the level of their satisfaction.

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A charismatic leader is identified by his or her actions. According to Marcus’s philosophy charisma and hard work are inseparable. That is way at in youth he worked long hours convincing prospective customers to buy premiums and bonus packs on promotion sales. He had targets and goals to achieve and money was his driving factor. His reliance on intuition while making decisions is probably one of the reasons why he has earned success as a leader to venture into property management and sale. While at Rank Xerox Switzerland, Marcus’ ability to articulate his ideas and product knowledge combined with suitable interpersonal relations led him to meet his goal based on sound customer relations. It is rumored that he almost personalized Rank Xerox Switzerland by the time he left for FF Finance AG because a number of customers who came to buy straight from Rank Xerox Switzerland asked if they could as well talk to him to advice on product proper usage and other new uses.

Sensitivity

Mr. Marcus is sensitive to the needs of both his customers and employees alike. This quality makes him a leader as he is always able to handle the issues of his employees at individual level or in groups. He recognises that people have needs which motivate them to work or do any other thing. His leadership then stands out when he tackles serious issues raised by his customers as concern cost and terms of their service provision. While at rewarding employees he is keen to realise that the best work of the worker requires high valued wage. According to Abraham Maslow (1970), people have needs which act as their motivational factors to work. After meeting the needs which are low in the pyramid, an individual is motivated by the next. At the end of the day, they need they experience which occur higher in the pyramid structure. Marcus’s leadership is seen in they way he worked up his ways to actualise his hope is to own a company. Again this is a discourse marker that distinguishes him from ordinary people because leaders visualise and actualise when it is due.

Good Interpersonal Relations

Mr. Marcus poses the single ability to interact freely with both his workers including his customers. This characteristic automatically improves the quality of his perceived leadership by drawing him closer to his workers. This further increases his supportiveness to any company employees who also experience different varying problems at work or at home. As Frederick Herzberg (1966) observed in his study, high motivational factors are associated with psychological needs rather than physiological ones. Like in the model of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, once a need is met for an employee, it stops to be a motivator. The motivators in Herzberg’s research were found to include factors like achievement and its recognition, work itself, responsibility at the workplace, growth and advancement. Herzberg called these variables satisfiers. On the other hand, hygiene factors promoted by the company to achieve its goals at relatively low costs were identified by the research as activities which might lead to dissatisfaction and low output by the employees. These factors include company policies and administration, work condition, salary and level of supervision.

Hygiene factors are meant to meet merely physiological needs. Beyond that level, the leader is expected to “recognize” the fact that the subordinate’s position as a worker in the organisation is motivated by his or her “personal” needs which reflect on the factors identified by Maslow’s theory as human motivators ranked from the most basic to the tertiary ones which are expressions of the “innate feelings” of the worker. As a fact, team members may be motivated as a group, but as Herzberg (1966) learnt, the response to motivational factors is clearly significant at individual level.

Thus confirming Maslow’s studies which indicated that in the path of an individual employees’ to success and meaningful contribution to his organization, his personal development and aspirations or ambitions can not be overlooked. Hence, the absence of auto correlation between hygiene factors means that they are not opposites but an instantaneous test of absence or presence of motivation, though driving from the same presence (a factor from either motivation or hygiene nature). For example, as an employee progresses on the job, the leader should learn that cash rewards “par se” in a pack of salary scheme actually fails to motivate the worker with commensurate returns to the organisation on output levels. Hence considering other avenues such as supporting the employee for more education leading to “job enlargement and enrichment” in the company.

For outstanding leadership acting as force behind a successful company such advancements par individual subordinate need to be explored by the organisation. This is the remedy of de-motivation amongst workers with low self esteem and little commitment to the company objectives proposed by Herzberg. This study was based Maslow’s studies in human psychology which recognises self esteem and self actualisation as the epitome of human motivation and response to growth and fulfillment (advancement). Good leaders who are often result motivated like Marcus seem to have learnt this tactic over the years and are willing to grant leave of study to some dedicated staff members including subordinates. Consequently, the FF finance AG has survived a number of industrial actions including the wide spread strikes that affected the housing mortgage sector in 2006. Furthermore, complaints about salaries, wages and working conditions are minimized as the workers welfare in the company are made to be like shareholders of the firm “Great Man” theories are some of the theories use in identifying leaders. They derive from the proposition that the capacity of a person to be a leader is an intrinsic part of the individual’s life. It further claims that great leaders are born naturally with the desirable qualities and that the environment can only shape them or sharpens them thereby adding a little to what already exists. In 2004 Price and colleagues observed that this theory has always portrayed the great leaders as stars and heroes who are destined to ascend to high positions of command and authority when fate brings them the opportunity. Well, for Mr. Marcus it can be noted that he his keen and highly speculative in his strategies to work personally and with his team. When ever an opportunity that requires his attention comes up, he is predisposed to act in relevant capacity. This theory is closely related to trait theory which focuses on the factors that make other people leaders while others remain to be led. Since theories were aimed at identifying the traits in people who emerged as political leaders, military conquerors, or social leaders. In the 20th centuries when the theories were formulated, leadership was dominated by men who would literary battle for power and supremacy, strength was the benchmark upon which leadership lines could be drawn (Yukl, 1971).

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Some of the military leaders of the time were honoured for their outstanding victory and thus titles of the order Prince Henry the Great, Clifford the great, the Great Napoleon Bonaparte and the Great Hitler among “Great” men of the time. It is good to defend ones position and leadership if in their ego that is what make them be who they are or else they would be worse of and cause more problems. In the event that war is the determining factor for ones greatness, then this criterion falters because in the 21st century just like in the 20th century, the world needs peace (Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research, 2002).

While heroes of the past looked for greatness in war without knowing they were pursuing peace, leaders of today like Mr. Marcus value diplomacy and dialogue not because they are cowards or lack weapons but simply because of their skill development and traits that have culminated into a good temperament in favour of what the environment considers friendly; less harmful. Some of the traits associated to leadership today according to Northouse (2007) include task completion and responsibility, persistence in pursuit of goals, risk taking, self-confidence, and readiness to take in stress, tolerance and ability to influence others. For an objective rating against this theoretical yardstick, the impatience of Mr. Marcus could make him fail to qualify as a leader but the rest of the traits are inherent in him that keeps him as leader by responsibility and influence. According to Northouse (2007), the “Five Factor Personality Model” that is common to leadership and organisational behaviour are, openness (intellect), agreeableness, conscientiousness (dependability), extraversion (surgency), and neuroticism (emotional stability).

Other avenues defined for leadership include checking how they use their skills. Skills approach to leadership emphasise that individual’s ability coupled with his/her knowledge or how informed he is plays an important role in sharpening his leadership. Three skills approach is used to distinguish fact skills from traits. While skills are actual amounts of target goals that leaders can do to completion, traits are the innate factors that tell us who leaders really are. In skills approach the influence of the environment is explored to show that leaders can be trained and that they can be taught to acquire new skill with time.

In Rost’s (1991) observation, such skills include, technical skills which encompass all the knowledge that one has acquired in a specific field. It includes his proficiency which the individual has mastered from performing the same operations, over time. It includes ones analytical techniques and competencies. For example, Mr. Marcus’ passion about sales and promotions has worked for him to the extent that he easily makes up a schedule for a team that would be going out in very little time. He has always organised for bonanzas including being present himself during critical times of making marketing decisions, his proficiency come in handy. Next is the human skill. Human skill refers to how a perceived leader relates with people.

From supervisory level of management to the organisations’ chief, the pinnacle of management, human or interpersonal skills is essential in determining how the leader communicates with the subordinates, his seniors, the customers and people in groups. The observation of Mr. Marcus’ etiquette is an indication that he posses strong interpersonal or human skills to make him a leader. The third skill in this criterion is the conceptual skills. This refers to a leaser’s ability to work with concepts and ideas. It centres on visualisation of plans of actions for companies by proposing from ones objective judgements suitable strategic goals.

Behaviour Based leadership

Style theory to understanding leadership is found on the basis that leaders are identified by their behaviour and how they act. This theory concentrates on what leaders do and how well they do it. How for instance do leaders in an organisation treat or even view their subordinates? In his book “Organization Behaviour”, Banerjee (1995) observed that generally, two kinds of behaviours exist; task behaviours of leaders and relationship behaviour of leaders, task behaviours of leaders are those that encourage teams and groups to carry on with their tasks in order to finish them up and meet the goals of the company. On the other hand, relationship behaviour is practiced by leaders who feel concerned about their juniors’ situation and recognise that they need moral support to carry on with their work. This kind of a leader therefore makes the workers to work in environment where they feel valued. These nature o leaders are likely to be more influential than ordinary task behaviour leaders because of their advanced human skill.

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Leadership as natured by the environment

If we wish to analyze leadership of Mr. Marcus based on his domineering efforts over the workplace challenging conditions, we invoke the theory of situational leadership. This approach claims that leaders decide on the best course depending on the prevailing circumstances. Thus, confronted with similar options, different leaders will make different decisions. This theory was postulated by Chemers in 1997 based on the findings on “3-D management style”. It stresses the view that leadership has both directive component and supportive nature which must be used independently and proportionately at every situation when making decision. In essence different situations call for different kinds of leadership. In order to establish what a leadership decision to make, a leader must adjust his supportiveness or directive behavior (Burns 1978, p. 23). This can then allow him to assess the situation more objectively and make suitable organisational decision. From situational theory or approach, four leadership models arise. The models constituting delegation, directing supporting and coaching are all a function of both the supportive and directive behaviour.

Contingency leadership

Contingency theory was formulated by Fiedler in 1967 as an approach to leadership that seeks to match a specific leader to an environment where he or she is most suitable. It derives from the premise that not all leaders are fit for all situations at all times. Even without displaying certain behaviour such as being directive or supportive, the ability to identify certain types of leaders with particular environments yields optimal results to organisations. It ensures that a leaders’ natural ability’s such as talents and fast acquired skills are combined to and directed to a direction where the leader can serve with relatively more ease than usual trial than error methods. In his studies of leadership, Fiedler (1967) noted that effective leadership can best be achieved through contingence matching of a leader’s style; his skills including cognitive patterns, in-born values and general behaviour, to the right setting. Within the continuum of contingency described by Fiedler, leadership is recognised as either task motivated or relationship motivated. The driving force behind a leader’s action while involve in some task is considered as the factor that may make him/her fit for the position (situation) in the long-run.

Transformational leadership

Transformational approach to understanding leadership became popular in the early 1980s (Bono & Ilies 2006, p. 321). It gives more attention to charisma and oratory skills as the effective features to leadership. Gill (2006) suggested that the popularity of transformational leadership is fed by modern civilization’s thirst and hunger for natural encouragement and bold follower. From the time of the baby boomers generation to date, the public space leadership is dominated by charismatic leadership with leaders emerging mainly from corporations and private organisations. As Pennings (1983) noted, the research in charismatic leadership is a proof of “new leadership” paradigm shift. If the leader can rise to represent fully the views of the followers then Burns (1978), noted that the issue of concern can have more moral and motivation to the point of obtaining the desired attention leading to solutions. The outstanding qualities of transformational leaders include dominance, desire to influence, self confident with strong moral values. Such leaders arouse motivation and communicate goals more clearly.

Goal based leadership

This school of thought considers effective leadership on the basis of a leader’s influence on subordinates’’ motivation, satisfaction and ability perform their work more productively. In path-goal approach to leadership, situational variables influenced by a leader’s behaviour are specified. The theory is called path-goal because it focuses on a leader’s influence on subordinates directed towards completion of some specific task while maintaining the level of motivation and satisfaction of the workers relatively high to keep the process lively. Therefore the amount of an individual’s input and derived satisfaction from the job has a direct correlation to rewards which he or she perceives as high valued. According to Miner (2005) effective leadership is made by giving workers rewards that are contingent to their accomplishments. It is the duty of a leader to explain to his or her subordinates the nature of unique behaviours that produce specific goals achievements and valued rewards as explained by the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (2002).

This function is also known as path clarification, this theory uses the model of welfare and comfort on the part of employees as means to” boosting the morale” of the workers. Mr. Marcus’ assessment on the basis of this model tests his closeness to employees; he is both understanding and caring. He frequently sends encouraging mails to workers though at the cost of the company. The amount of time that he dedicates to listen to workers grievances in matters which require his attention is a clear sign of his supportive nature to the efforts put by the junior staff at the company. The model leads to four types of leadership personalities. Thus directive leadership is borne from the premise that in the midst of pursuing for certain specific goals in the paths to success they instruct their subordinates to perform the task outline by the goals without considering the situation of the employees. Supportive leadership also emerges from the goal path approach based on the model of close relations the leader enjoys with the workers.

Conclusion

According to Bono & Ilies (2006) leadership is concerned with the various ways and means by which people with certain qualities display thereby making them outstanding amongst a number of people who in turn look up to them for support or guidance. The sole purpose of seeking guidance from these people perceived to be leaders is to provide an articulated framework towards achieving specific goals and targets within some stated time. By and large, all organisations require leaders of various kinds to fit in their different departments. Leadership is made effective by the leader’s ability to make timely and practically applicable decisions.

Whenever people present their problems (situations) to a leader, it is their hope that the leader will find a solution to it and communicate to them the decision promptly. Similarly when caught in any situation, people expect the leader to make decisions that are rational and coherent. The decisions should uphold his ideals which people adore in the leader and increase the level of confidence they have in him or her. Therefore personal development and other inborn characteristics which make a leader be who he or she is in any setting are inseparable from the leader himself. The role of the environment in shaping a leader is thus one of the most important factors because a leader must also learn to take charge of his environment (situations) in order to lead effectively.

Reference

Banerjee, M.,1995, Organization Behaviour (3rd edition) New Delhi: Allied Publishers Limited.

Bono, J. E, & Ilies R., 2006,‘Charisma, Positive Emotions and Mood Contagion. The Leadership Quarterly, Vol.17, No. 4, pp. 317-334

Burns, J. M., 1978, Leadership. New York: Harper & Row.

Chemers, M. M.,1997, An Integrative Theory of Leadership New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (2002) Leadership and Management in the Information Age Abu Dhabi: Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research.

Fiedler, F. E., 1967, A Theory of Leadership Effectiveness New York: McGraw-Hill

Gill, R., 2006, Theory and Practice of Leadership London: SAGE

Herzberg, F.,1966, Work and the Nature of Man New York: Thomas Y. Crowell

Maslow, A. H.,1970, Motivation and Personality (2nd edition) New York: Harper & Row

Miner, J. B., 2005, Organizational Behaviour: Essential Theories of Motivation and Leadership New York: M.E. Sharpe Inc.

Northouse, P. G., 2007, Leadership: Theory and Practice (4th edition) Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE

Pennings, J. M.,1983, Decision Making: An Organizational Behaviour Approach New York: Markus Wiener Publishing Inc.

Price, T. L, Hicks, D. A, Wren, J.T., 2004, The international Library of leadership: Modern Classics on Leadership’ Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.

Rost. J.C,1991, Leadership for the Twenty-first century Westport: Praeger

Yukl, G,.1971, Organizational Behaviour and Human Performance: Toward a Behavioural Theory of Leadership Ohio: Elsevier

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