Leadership today

Among business leaders and stakeholders alike, there is a cry for sound leadership at all levels of society. Whether your business is in health care, education or manufacturing, leadership matters, and it matters more in times of uncertainty than in times of stability. As business leaders, we all have had our share of uncertainty. Societies have been shaken by the horrifying acts of terrorists, disgusted by the unspeakable acts of holy men, and deceived by greedy scoundrels at the highest levels of business. Clawson suggested that developing and understanding leadership is elusive. With many businesses underperforming, the need for great leadership is much sought after. Organizationally, leadership has been described as “inseparable from followers’ needs and goals”. 

This interaction is demonstrated by both transactional and transformative leadership approaches. While transactional leaders “take the initiative in making contact with others for the purpose of an exchange of valued things,” transformative leadership occurs when “one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality". Transformational leadership is also about change, innovation, and entrepreneurship, supported by relevant acquired competencies. These are not the provinces of lonely individuals with flashes of genius. Rather, this brand of leadership is a behavioral process capable of being learned and managed. It's a leadership process that is systematic, consisting of intentional and organized search for changes, systematic analysis, and the capacity to move resources from areas of lesser to greater productivity. It is a discipline with predictable steps such as recognizing the need for change, creating a new vision, and institutionalizing change. This can only redound to the benefit of the organization in which one operates, and strongly affects organizational learning.

Oyinlade on the other hand, noted that assessing the effectiveness of a leader is often a difficult exercise for many organizations, due to organizational politics, lack of standardization, and the approach and procedures used. This is compounded when leaders feel threatened by followers' growth, acquired authority or empowerment. Avolio (2002) suggested that the impact of transformational leadership on followers' performance is often explained as stemming from followers' development and empowerment, which increases both their abilities and motivation. Successful transformational leadership is then threatened.

Although successful transformational leaders have often been linked to excellent management performance, questions arise on the effectiveness of this type of leadership in a multicultural context. Findings by Van Woerkom and de Reuver suggested that superiors and peers under dynamic work conditions positively relate transformational leadership to perceived effectiveness. Leading people effectively under such conditions is a tremendous challenge, a great opportunity, and a serious responsibility. Today’s organizations, more than ever, need effective leaders who understand the complexities of our ever-changing global environment; who have the intelligence to deal with complex problems and the sensitivity and ability to empathize with their followers to motivate them to strive for excellence .

15 December 2017 4:31 pm | 1060

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