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Leadership Development And Change Management Essay

2558 words - 11 pages

Strategic Leadership and Change Initiative

The study of leadership is a complex and often controversial subject. Essentially every angle of leadership has been studied and thus exists many theories and perspectives on this widely reviewed topic. The oldest and perhaps most widely studied viewpoint on leadership is from a leader-centric model, that is, leadership is a function only of the leader, his traits, personality, and competencies. With nearly a century of research to support this leader-centered view of leadership, it is foundational to the understanding of leadership. More recent studies of leadership however, have expanded our understanding to include leadership as a ...view middle of the document...

Among the top traits that seem to distinguish leaders from non-leaders include the following: “drive, desire to lead, honesty/integrity, self-confidence, cognitive ability, and knowledge of the business” (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991). Each of the six core leader traits are further broken down and include more attributes that fall under the overall core trait. For example, the authors elaborate on the first core trait of drive by assigning five additional sub-traits: achievement, motivation, ambition, energy, tenacity and initiative. The authors develop each core trait into a comprehensive list of supporting leadership attributes. Among the list of leadership traits, there was one key element that stood out to me the most: honesty and integrity.
Through their research, the authors cite that although honesty and integrity are qualities in nearly all individuals (at least to some degree), these core traits have special significance for successful leaders (Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991). The emphasis of their research is not on whether a person would steal money from the company or commit some other lewd act, but rather on the trust that ensues between the leader and follower through the demonstration of these two qualities. When a leader exudes these qualities, he has a solid foundation of which to build relationships with his subordinates. Anne Mulcahy, CEO of Xerox Corporation, stated in an address to the students of the MIT Sloan School of Business, that one of the biggest predictors of corporate success is the alignment of people toward a common goal. Without trustworthiness, consistency, truthfulness, or credibility, it is unlikely that a person will earn the respect of his or her people and ascend toward successful leadership. Kirkpatrick and Locke conclude their research by commenting that even in the absence of expertise, a leader may be deemed successful by his demonstration of honesty and integrity.
It is a simple concept, but without followers, there would be no leaders. Heller and Van Til (1983) stated that “leadership and followership are linked concepts, neither of which can be comprehended without the other”. Additionally, they believe that leadership is a relationship, giving three perspectives: “(1) The leader must lead, and do it well to retain his leadership, the follower must follow, and do it well to retain followership,” (2) “Good leadership enhances followers, just as good followership enhances leaders,” and (3) “In many cases, the follower is a potential leader who chooses not to be active in a given situation” (Heller and Van, 1983). Charles Greene in his article, The Reciprocal Nature of Influence Between Follower and Leader, examined the underlying relationship between followers and leaders. The results of his study discovered that when leaders demonstrate consideration for their followers and create structure for them, this causes the followers to feel satisfied in their roles. “A leader might...

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