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Definition of Leadership Management
Leadership management refers to a set of processes, practices and strategies that are well laid down to facilitate smooth management of a group of people, usually working as a team. Leadership concerns setting organizational operations and activities in a manner that facilitates quick adaptation to changes in the business environment. It also involves adopting appropriate management techniques and methods that would place the organization in a more competitive position over and above its competitors.
In my opinion, leadership management entails defining the goals and objectives that an organization or a team of people wants to achieve in future, organizing the necessary resources such as people, funds and equipment towards achieving such set goals and inspiring and motivating the workforce towards realization of the organizational or team goals and objectives. It involves mobilization of resources, usually human resources, which would help the organization realize its goals.
According to Northouse, Warren Bennis defined leadership as doing the right things (34). In my view, leadership involves doing the right things at the right place and time. It involves making decisions concerning what courses of actions are the best to be taken for organizational growth and development.
Leadership and management are often used interchangeably. However, it is important to draw and make clear the thin line that exists between the two terms. Whereas management concerns coordination and planning of work activities, leadership deals with how effectively people can be led towards realizing organizational goals. Additionally, management often deals with day-to-day activities of the organization whereas leadership deals with long-term operations of the organization. It looks into the future and plans accordingly. Leaders often use management skills such as organizing, planning, directing and coordinating to effectively execute their duties. Usually, leadership concerns the management of human capital or people within an organization. Leadership aims at making productive use of the human capital available to the organization.
Since the beginning of the nineteenth century, a number of researchers have come up with various theories to explain leadership management styles. Four major theories which have been brought forward by researchers include the behavioral theory, contingency theory, trait theory and power and influence theory (Barman 57).
According to behavioral theory, leaders can be grouped according to how they lead other. This entails their conducts and behaviors towards those whom they lead. Under behavioral theory, there are autocratic leaders who are dictators and often make decisions without discussing and conferring with their team members. Autocratic leaders do not consult with the people they lead. We also have democratic leaders who freely discuss issues with their team members. They often give team members an opportunity to give their opinions concerning the issues at hand before making decisions. Lastly, Laissez-Faire leaders rarely interfere with team members. They allow their followers to freely make decisions on their own. In my opinion, democratic and Laissez-Faire leaders often motivate their followers through incorporating their views in decision making processes. They make team members feel valued in the organization or team.
Secondly, contingency theory postulates that leadership depends on the situation faced by the leader. When faced with a particular challenge, the leader will review the circumstances and deploy the most appropriate leadership style, for example, when decision is to be made urgently, the leader may not apply democratic leadership style but rather dictate his team members to follow specific directions and instructions.
Thirdly, trait theory looks at the personality attributes or characteristics that a good leader possesses. According to this theory, people are born with specific personality traits such as good communication skills, high problem solving ability and interpersonal skills that make them good leaders. These individual attributes are instinctive and vary from one person to another. Trait theory further poses that those who do not have such instinctive qualities will never make good leaders.
Lastly, the power and influence theory hypothesizes that good leaderships depends on how well people use their power and authority to influence others. Those who effectively use power to influence other make good leaders while those do not use their powers effectively in influencing others make bad leaders. For example, a student leader who uses his position to incite other students to go on strike may not be viewed as a good leader. The power and influence theory further suggests that good leaders must lead by example. This implies that good leaders should always do the right things for others to imitate and follow.
From the four leadership theories discussed above, various leadership styles have been cropped. These include autocratic leadership, charismatic, participative or democratic and transformational leadership styles. Additionally, Laissez-Faire leadership, people oriented or relational leadership, transactional and servant leadership styles have been suggested by leadership and management gurus. These leadership styles can be applied in a wide range of situations, ranging from political to business and research to educational fields.
Qualities of a Good Team Leader
In my opinion, a good team leader should be a person with exemplary and desirable characteristics. He or she needs to possess personal qualities or attributes that the team members would consider pleasing and attractive such as honesty, trustworthiness, empathy, effective listening skills, kindness and generosity.
Additionally, a good team leader should be enthusiastic about his/her duties and responsibilities. He or she should show reasonable commitment and dedication in whatever he or she does to the team. Team leaders should act as sources of motivation to other team members. They should continuously inspire and motivate their team team members towards achieving the set goals and objectives.
Moreover, team leadership requires adequate confidence and belief in one’s capabilities. Good team leaders should thus show confidence in themselves as well in other team members’ capabilities sin accomplishing assigned tasks.
Furthermore, it is important for team leaders to remain focused to the main goals. The team leader should discourage in diversions form the set objectives and take corrective measures as soon as possible to prevent any diversions that would occur in efforts to achieve set goals. Good leadership management requires a person who is result oriented. A good team leader should focus more on the people he or she leads rather focusing on personal interest and goals.
Challenges in Team Leadership Management
One of the greatest challenges in team leadership management is meeting the expectations of the team members, winning and building trust from team members as well as maintaining strong relationship amongst the team members (Northouse 168). Another great challenge is control of internal conflicts that may arise from different views arising from different members of the team.
Effective Team Leadership Management
For effective team leadership, it is important to identify the level of knowledge and expertise of team members. Similarly, reviewing the changes that occur within and outside the organizational environment is also essential. This would facilitate easy shifting whenever he business environment changes. For a particular team to be productive, effective leadership and management strategies must be deployed. The leadership qualities of the team leader and overall commitment of team members is necessary and very vital.
For my part, good leaders often switch form one leadership style to another, depending on the prevail environmental situation, the resources available at disposal to the team members as well to in accordance to the types of people he or she leads. For instance, leading a team of university students may require a specific leadership style while as leading a team of departmental managers may as well require application of a totally different leadership style as that used to lead college students. Consequently, different leadership styles should be tried frequently in a particular situation and the style which best suits the situation is selected. Good team leadership calls for fairness, that is, dealing with people in a just way. A team leader thus has to listen to the views of all team members and pass judgments accordingly, based on available and reasonable facts.
Benefits of Leadership Management
Through effective leadership management, an organization is able to ensure optimal production of it products. Leadership management also enables the organization to stay put in today’s competitive world. It involves recovering new ways of doing things.
It is agreeable that we often lead people but manage things. However, I would like to elaborate that not only things are managed, but we also manage people. Effective management entails moving towards the right direction as well as increasing efficiency. Efficiency is an aspect of management. The two terms are thus non-separable and hence the development of leadership management with implies utilization of both leadership and management skills concurrent to effective realize organizational goals and objectives. A good leader must possess good management skills. Similar, it is fundamental for a manger to possess leadership skills as well.
It is important for any person aspiring to be a good leader to gradually develop and acquire the various leadership management attributes discussed above. Good team leadership should look for the most appropriate ways to reduce internal conflicts within the teams.
Additionally, for team leadership to be effective there should be free and open sharing of information amongst team members. This can be facilitated through open and structured channels of communication between the team leaders and his or her team members as well as between the team members themselves.
The team leader should strive at building mutual trust between him or her and the team members. In my opinion, strong relationships amongst team members lay strong foundations for teambuilding and teamwork.