Leadership Assignment: Behavioral Traits Of Leader
Task: This leadership assignment requires in depth analysis that demonstrates your ability to apply management theory to real life situations. You need to identify an individual and choose a leadership theory that seems to explain why this individual is a good leader.
Introduction to the Report on leadership assignment
A good leader is a person or an individual who has the extra ordinary ability to infuse life into any business organization by virtues of motivating his team, empowering them, lead and guide them, influencing them to achieve their personal goals and in the process ensure the fulfillment of the organizational goals(DOci, Hofmans, Nijs & Judge, 2020). This is the definition of a good business leader. But, there are leaders in every walk of life, which can be your professor, your Parents or any person who demonstrates the qualities and behavior of a good leader. So this brings us to the topic of the discussion herein leadership assignment, which is developing an understanding of leadership by identifying a good leader and from their behavioral traits and other literature which discuss on the leadership theory followed by them, and what makes them really and truly a good leader. Towards the end, a reflection will be done on the learning derived from the Identified good leader, and how this learning can help me in my own pursuit to become a good leader in the future.
Identification of the Leader
It is stated in the leadership assignment that being a part of an early age startup, I was part of the core team which included CEO and a couple of other senior managers. At the time when the company started it was just a 10 member team, and now when I look back at the organization, it has grown up to become a 60 member team in just a span of 3 years and the profits of the company has been rising ever since its inception. The leader I am referring here to is an individual who is the CEO of the organization, and built everything from the scratch. I am still in touch with him, and we greet each other on important days such as festivals and birthdays. It was mostly the behavioral traits of my CEO, which made him one of the good leaders I have ever come across. Some of the behavior traits which I saw in him over the 24 years of my employment in the Health Based startups which was into delivering of medicines to tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
What are the behavioral traits of the Leader discussed in the leadership assignment?
List of Behavioral traits demonstrated by the leader provided in the below section of leadership assignment, every single day at the workplace, which made him not only a good but an exceptional leader.
Ethics & Integrity: The first day I joined the Healthcare startup along with two other individuals, we were given an Induction the first day where we were briefed about the business model of the company, the code of conduct, the senior leadership and the vision of the company. It was the CEO, the leader I am referring you who took us through the Induction. One surprising thing which got my attention was that the CEO did not spoke much about the operation, business model and other aspects related to business at length. But, he talked at a stretch of over 180 minutes about the values and principles of the business organization. He made it clear on the day 1 that he respects individual who are ethical in their code of conduct and have high standards of integrity. The CEO clearly told us that he can tolerate poor performance from the team members, but he would not tolerate a single case, where he found any unethical means being used to get the business for the organization or any other unethical code of conduct being done not only at the workplace but also otherwise. As discussed in the leadership assignment, he also mentioned that he appreciates the values and principles of Integrity in an individual the most, and in his words it is integrity which takes a person higher in life. This really moved me a lot, and since then I started noticing my CEO and to be honest even in the darkest times of business, I did never saw him make any decision which was unethical in nature. He turned on many business opportunities just because the person on the other side of table was unethical. He also complained about two managers from Competitors Company who wanted to bribe him and wanted to let go of the territory in which we were operating, despite the fact that it was a loss making business territory for us. Hence, the readings of the leadership assignment signifies that the first behavioral trait demonstrated by My CEO, which made me realize it should be the inherent quality of a good leader is the imbibed value of ethics and integrity in one’s own personal and business conduct.
Relationship and Trust building with the employees: I would like to mention in the leadership assignment that in the office there was never a dull moment for any of us, all the employees were seen hustling around, participating in brain storming session related to how we can grow the business, whilst helping the community and not just focusing on profits. The CEO, who himself had a big cabin used to call everyone inside and used to participate in all those discussions. He most of the times preferred walking outside of his cabin, used to sit with each of the team members, and used to just talk with them, generally. He always used to say that never to carry your work at home, try to finish the work in office, if not then there is always a next day. It felt really something and made me understand the important of work life equilibrium. He was always upfront and every Saturday he used to have one to one meeting with each of the employees in the organization and just used to discuss if they are facing any personal problems in terms of finance, family or even love. This helped in building trust with the employees, there was even times when he used to give preference to the needs of the employees, and kept business at the back foot. This made me realize that it is very important to build a strong relationship on the foundation of trust. This is one of the reasons mentioned in the leadership assignment that I never heard criticism of my CEO from any of my peers.
Employee empowerment & Motivation: Employee empowerment is the ability of the leaders or managers to include them into the process of decision making or even make them feel valued by words of kindness and appreciation, or even asking them their views on any business decision the leaders have taken. The second thing depicted in this leadership assignment is motivation, now motivation can be both intrinsic and extrinsic in nature. Extrinsic is in the form of incentives, monetary rewards, recognition and other forms. Intrinsic motivation comes from within; it is the drive which pushes individuals to work for the organization, knowing that there is a greater good. I in my organization saw the leader demonstrate both the qualities and traits of good motivator and a person who always enabled individuals. We were involved in decision making, our views were taken on any significant business deal, and there was an environment of transparency and openness in the organization, which never let us feel that we are doing a job. It was more like a paid vocation for us, wherein every single day we were learning new things from our CEO.
Inspiring everyone in the organization: It is often said in this leadership assignment that actions speak louder than words and I actually saw it coming true in my business organization. While working on a very important business deal, of which we were aware that we had no chance of securing that business due to high competition in the industry. The CEO kept telling us, let us do our best, and not think of the outcome, if we all work with synergy towards this business goal and are satisfied at the end of the day, it really does not matter if we secure the business or not. We all worked very hard without having any fear of the competition, and the best part is, at the end of it we were the ones who secured the business deal, and not our competitors who had all the resources in the world. Hence, it is really important to keep the spirits to everyone high in the organization, and lead by actions and not just by mere words.
Imbibing the vision into the organizational culture: The Vision of My CEO was quite clear from day 1, he wanted to supply and facilitate healthcare services to the people who could not either afford it, or it was difficult to have those services in such places. He always in any of the board room meetings used to say, just think about the end customer, and think how you can make their lives better, and what a great noble cause we all of us are doing for the community we are raised in. There was no day which was passed without my CEO repeating these words to the entire team. The vision was so clear to all of us, and we all were determined to achieve that mission for the organization. This was one of the most critical behavioral trait of my CEO as outlined in the leadership assignment, which made me understood that it is not just the leader who needs to be clear on the vision of the business, but he also should make sure that everyone working is on the same page and working towards the long term vision, does not matter how foreseeable it may be in the future.
Encouraging Innovation: Despite being a bootstrapped organization, my CEO always used to say that the best way to do something is not to keep doing what others are doing. But find a way to either make it better or innovate something which would benefit millions of people, generate employment for others and is good for the economy and the entire community. Every quarter we were given a certain amount of money to invest in R&D on how to add innovation in what we were doing. The information provided in the leadership assignment made me realize that it was the behavioral trait of innovation which made Apple stand out strong and differentiated despite the industry stalwarts such as the IBM and Xerox. Innovation is one of the strongest key to success for any business organization.
Taking Decisions for sustainability of the Business: I was introduced to this word “Sustainability” for the first time by my CEO. He told us clearly that we are not in this business to make quick profits, wind up and then move on. We are in this because we trust our vision, and we are sure that if we keep moving towards the vision, even if by taking small steps, we would definitely reach the end goal of sustainability. Which now actually makes complete sense to me that any business, which is not making changes in its business process or model keeping in mind the changing times will not be able to sustain in the longer run? Therefore change management is equally important in business so as to make sure that the business becomes sustainable in the longer run.
Application of Leadership Theory
Analyzing the behavior of the leader, it is two leadership theories which make most of the sense. It is not that these two theories are absolutely contrasting in nature, but they do different in some aspects which makes it important to apply these two leadership theories to resonate with the behavior of the leader in discussion.
Transformational Leadership Theory
The concept of leadership theory illustrated in this section of leadership assignment was propounded by MacGregor who defined transformational leadership as the leadership when “Leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral motivation”(Farahnak et.,al 2020). In other words Leaders through the strength of their vision, personality, charisma and demonstration of strong behavioral traits are able to transform the behavior of the employees, motivate and inspire them to work towards the goals of the organization. As mentioned earlier in the section that we started out as a small company and none of us had the vision or experience which was required to excel at the job and achieve the goals (Yavuz, 2020). It was the sheer ability of my leader to Inspire, motivate and empower us to bring change not only in our attitudes and personality, but also to make sure that all of us are working towards the same goals and objectives. Hence, the findings obtained in the leadership assignment, transformational style of leadership is the one where leaders encourage, inspire, motivate employees to innovate and create change that will help to grow and shape the future success of the company. All this is accomplished by a strong sense of vision for the organization, ownership of the employees and freedom to work. All these prerequisites were there in my CEO, which makes him a true transformational leader (Watts et.,al 2020).
The two biggest transformational leaders providing in the context of leadership assignment which have disrupted the industry for the good by their consistent innovation and vision for the future are Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos. Both of these leaders were extra ordinary leaders who rose up to the occasion with a strong sense of vision for the future, and now, it is literally impossible for any of us to imagine our life without either Apple or Amazon. These leaders not only introduced innovation in the business organization, they also transformed a lot of business processes and changed them for good(Cortes & Hermann, 2020). The vision was quite clear, the goal was to make the organization sustainable, the means to achieve the goals were employees who felt empowered and motivated, and the rest was the sheer perseverance of the leaders which made them the two most important leaders in the field of Technology. The business which these leaders have built, have enabled other businesses as well, the technology they have built is being used by other companies for the fulfillment of their own business objectives and goals. Thus, they empowered other businesses with the transformation and innovation they gotten into the industry (Cortes & Herrmann, 2020).
Transformational Leadership Explaining the Behavior of the Good Leader
Let us look at some of the characteristics of this leadership theory which clearly explains and related with the behavior of the leader identified in the leadership assignment.
- Encourages, empowered and motives the followers-Transformational leaders are encouraging in nature, they empower the followers and motivate them to do well, for themselves and then for the organization. They are always concerned about the welfare of the general good of its employees, just like the way MY CEO always did with his employees (Groves, 2020).
- High level of moral standards are being displayed and imbibed in their personal and organizational code of conduct-Imagine if Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs did not resort to moral code of conduct, would Amazon and Apple be a trillion dollar company, the answer is NO. These leaders showed great strength of character and moral high ground in the organization, the same way the leader identified in the case study has been doing since day 1(Sheehan, Garavan & Morley, 2020).
- Fosters an environment of ethical working standards-One of the strong suites of transformational style of leadership illustrated in this leadership assignment is working with ethical standards, and they are no two questions about it. Ethics is the code of conduct for transformational leaders and is the value system of the organization. The same was with my health care startup and my CEO, who demonstrated and talked at length about being an ethical businessman and person (Alrowwad & Abualoush, 2020).
- Creates an environment of openness, cooperation and innovation-Innovation, change, positivity can only foster in an environment which is not rigid, has an open minded approach, and ideas are welcomed and not stolen or even asked to abandon. It is the very basic nature of a fulfilled working environment which leads to a culture of innovation in the business organization. It is very similar to the kind of environment, my CEO created for all of us by virtue of open communication and fostering a culture of innovation and change management (Park & Pierce, 2020).
- Provides coaching and mentoring, but most importantly enables others to take their own decision-In this leadership assignment, decision making is another very important aspect of this leadership skill which was found in my business organization as well. The leader always used to give us full autonomy towards work, making our own decision and stand accountable for the consequences (Lovaas et.,al 2020).
- Vision centric in nature-Vision is by far the most important behavioral trait of transformational leaders. It is the vision they have in their eyes, brain and heart which keep them going, they have this ability to inspire others to believe in the vision of the organization to achieve the business goals (Kwan, 2020). It was the vision of Jeff Bezos to make Amazon as the platform wherein consumers can shop anything online, such a simple and straight forward vision made Amazon the e-commerce giant it is and Jeff Bezos the wealthiest individual in the world. It was the same drive and vision which I could clearly in in the culture of my organization and more so in the heart of my leader and CEO (Kwan, 2020).
Thus, I can say that 90% of the behavioral traits of transformational leaders were present in my CEO and leader. Thus making is style of leadership truly transformational in nature. Hence, this leadership style aptly describes and concurs with that of my leader whom I happened to work closely with. The remaining 10% of the behavioral trait is found in another popular leadership theory which is called as Servant-Leader style of leadership.
Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve (Stouten & Liden, 2020). This is different from traditional leadership where the leader's main focus is the thriving of their company or organizations. As mentioned in the definition, the main focus of the leader is to serve its employees, keeping aside his or her own personal interest. The goal here is clear, to serve the employees so that they can better serve the business organization (Giambatista, McKeage & Brees, 2020). As mentioned earlier in the leadership assignment, my CEO and leader used to take one to one meeting with each of us every Saturday, learning more about our lives, the problems we have been facing in our personal and professional life. And he not only used to be an active listener, he also made sure that when we leave from his room, our problems were either addressed or a solution to the problem was given to us. It were many a times that such discussion went on for hours, hampering the business at work, but at that time too, my leader was sure that one of his primary goals was to serve its employees(Lo, Allard, Wang & Chiu, 2020).
That sums up to the discussion of the leadership theory which is most closely related or aptly justifies the leadership style of the identified leader. It was a combination of both Transformational and Servant leadership which made him a truly great leader, a leader who I can still go up to at any given point in time for career as well as personal advice.
Learning’s from the Leadership Analysis and Impact on Future Leadership Skills
Thanks to this leadership assignment that I came quite close to observing and developing insight into one of the most admired and influential leader in my life, but also to develop an understanding of different styles of leadership. One of my biggest learning from this exercise is, to always have a vision for future. It is really not easy to develop a vision, as it requires a lot of knowledge, hard work and understanding of how businesses run and work to develop such a strong understanding of the vision. But having seen the fruits of developing this strong vision, I have made a promise to myself to first start my creating SMART goals, goals which I want to achieve in the tenure of next 5 years and work step by step towards them. On the basis of which develop a strong vision for future, I know that it will take time, effort and lot of patience, but I am sure that I will be able to develop the same.
The second most important learning from this leadership assignment is that innovation holds the key to future and success of not only an individual, but also of the business organization and the community as a whole. The innovation that my leader brought on the table was to facilitate cheap yet reliable healthcare services to the ones deprived. In order to do so, he made business process which were efficient, cost effective and created a business model which was dependent on existing technology of Internet, but not leveraged by many. It was his sheer innovation that made him a popular leader and now when I look back from where we started, my organization has grown by leaps and bounds. I am really not that innovative and creative person in nature, but this is a skill which can be developed. I have decided to identify my field of interest first and then read biographies of Inspirational leaders in the past and present. I have already identified to go through the literature written by Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs among many others. I am sure that it will help me down to develop my understanding of innovation and how innovation can be applied in the field of my interest.
Another most important learning from this leadership assignment and leadership theory is to be able to empower, influence and motivate others to reach their own individual and organizational goals. I have pledged to start this thing from now, and right now I can influence and motivate my class mates to study hard, do their assignments on time with sheer dedication so that they can achieve their goals in life. I have come to an understanding that if we empower and enable others, they will do the same with others. Thus creating a perfect equilibrium of empowered individuals. In this leadership assignment, we will understand that the ability to influence others to do good gives not only a moral satisfaction but it also serves the need for the business. In order to do so, I will develop this habit to talk to my peers, talk about their personal and professional problem they have been facing and guiding them on how to resolve the same. In my team, I would play the role of the lead that lets the team members takes their own decision for the business and holds accountability for the same. It is the sheer ability of letting employees and team members make their own decisions that keep them happy and fulfilled and committed to the growth of the organization. Besides this, I have also promised myself to develop an understanding of all the possible motivational theories, and learn to identify what are the individual needs of motivation. This will help me a lot as motivation is one of the very important key factors for employee satisfaction and plays a strong hand in their retention at business organization.
Besides these three important learning, I have also got to understand that it is always better to have high ethics in personal and professional life, as it makes you a trust worthy and a person with integrity. I will abide by the ethical code of conduct of my next employer and make sure that everyone in my team works ethically. Another thing discussed herein leadership assignment which is inevitable in nature and I was scared of it earlier was change, but now I have come to realize how important it is to bring change in one’s own personality and also in the business organization keeping in mind the VUCA ( Vulnerable, Uncertain, Complex and ambiguous )times. It is the changes which will help the organization to stay resilient even in these dynamic times and stay focused on its end goal of sustainability.
It is to be concluded in this section of leadership assignment that leadership is the true ability of an individual to inspire, influence, motivate, lead and guide individual and organization to attain their goals by doing their best. We should always look up to the leaders who have influenced us in the past, or are even doing in the present and learn from their experience. Besides this, develop a habit of being self- aware so that one can identify one’s own strength and weakness and work towards the development of their own leadership style, whilst leveraging the strengths and minimizing the weakness.
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