I believe that just because an individual is in a leadership position, it makes them a leader. Leadership traits and characteristics are important to define as it displays who the leader is. Effective leaders are essential in the workplace; however, not all leaders are effective. In my perspective, leaders are not born. I would like to consider that leaders are developed over the course of their journey. Vince Lombardi stated, leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile (Johnson & Hackman, 2018). According to Nahavandi (2014), a leader can be defined as, any person who influences individuals and groups within an organization, helps them establish goals, and guides them toward the achievement of those goals (Nahavandi, 2014).
Johnson and Hackman (2018) discussed a skills approach to leadership, which entails the skills needed to effectively lead. Characteristics are traits in which one possesses that can make one like others or different from others. Every individual possesses characteristics, however, not all individuals possess the traits needed to be an effective leader. I believe some essential traits that a leader should possess are innovation, emotional intelligence, critical thinker, effective decision maker, flexible, empathetic, understanding, adaptable, visionary, and empower. Leaders should possess the capability of being creative for the betterment of the organization. Having emotional intelligence involves not operating off ones emotions, but yet operating in what is right, leading individuals the right way. Critical thinking and effective decision making are both essential, as the leader wants to ensure that they have critically thought about changes that are needed within the organization and that they are doing what is best for the organization as a whole and not just themselves as the leader. Adaptability and flexibility are knowing that one way does not fit all; if changes have to be made, one is working toward enforcing those changes as easily as possible for self and the employees. Being empathetic can provide safety with the employees, to where they can feel comfortable, and be able to communicate to the leader if something is wrong. As can be seen, each of the 10 traits I listed is essential to an effective leader.
Nahavandi, A. (2014). The art and science of leadership. Harlow, Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited.
Johnson, C. E., & Hackman, M. Z. (2018). Leadership?: a communication perspective / Craig E. Johnson, Michael Z. Hackman (Seventh edition.). Waveland Press.
Topic: Are leaders Born or Made? List the top ten traits of an effective leader.
Before researching the topic, I believed and still believe that great leaders are composed of genetic and environmental influences. Boerma et al. (2017) reported it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, I do believe that the percentage genetic traits are relatively smaller than that of environmental. For example, I believe that 25% of genetic factors contributes to the composition of a great leader and 75% of that makeup is due to environmental influences. I believe that one can have many innate qualities, however the individual must learn how to demonstrate those qualities in order to be effective. Leadership is a skill that can be learned. In fact, United States companies spend billions on trainings that aids employees in building leadership skills (Boerma et al., 2017).
Learning involves a relatively permanent increase or change in behavior, knowledge, or skill that comes about as a result of experience (Nahavandi, 2014). If one aspires to lead an organization, they must comprehend that learning is continuous. There will always be a new and better way of doing things. As the saying goes, things gets better with time. In order to test new behaviors and practices, one must, first, learn them. A leader cannot teach their staff how to implement certain skills, until they learn how to do so. Nahavandi (2014) listed several elements that make up the core of learning. The first element, that caught my attention, was the motivation and willingness to learn. The inspiration and enthusiasm acquire more information. Is necessary component of one who is aspiring to be a leader. The second element, that grasped my attention, was the opportunity to learn. If a learning opportunity isnt provided, one cannot grow. It is imperative for leaders to allow staff this opportunity. Nahavandi (2014) mentioned how smaller organizations are more exposed to diverse experiences. This is a great example of being provided with an opportunity to learn. Of course there are ways large companies can provide these experiences, as well. Larger companies can utilize various training opportunities to assist in growing professionally.
The ten traits of an effective leader that Ive chosen to expound on are adaptability, cultural cognizance, deep self-awareness, empathy, critical thinking, decision making, innovative, communicative, collaborative, and integrity. Flexibility is a vital skill that leaders must have, in order to be able to adapt to any changes that may occur within the business. Cultural cognizance is also an important skill, as understanding the values and practices of other cultures can work to the advantage of any organization. A leader must acquire a strong sense of self. Attaining deep self-awareness enables the leader to guide others more confidently and efficiently. Empathy is significant in leadership, as it is the ability to understand and connect with the feelings of someone else. This characteristic can assist in the leader building a strong rapport with its counterparts. Critical thinking is a vital component of leadership. This ability enables leaders to make effective decisions that are pertinent to the betterment of the business. Decision making is a skill needed to assist organizations in achieving their goals and objectives. This skill is a vital component of effective leadership. There is power in decisiveness as it can impact an organization, internally and externally, positively or negatively. A good leader is innovative, as this skill aids them in creatively accommodating any situation theyre faced with. Effective communication skills will assist the leader in being cognizant of the teams issues that might negatively impact the success of the team. Being collaborative increases unity in the work environment. The team will develop a sense of alliance as they, collectively, work towards achieving a common goal. Leaders with integrity carry themselves as upstanding individuals that are honest, reliable, accountable, and trustworthy.
Boerma, M., Coyle, E. A., Dietrich, M. A., Dintzner, M. R., Drayton, S. J., Early, J. L., 2nd, Edginton, A. N., Horlen, C. K., Kirkwood, C. K., Lin, A., Rager, M. L., Shah-Manek, B., Welch, A. C., & Williams, N. T. (2017). Point/Counterpoint: Are Outstanding Leaders Born or Made? American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 81(3), 58. https://doi.org/10.5688/ajpe81358 (Links to an external site.)
(Links to an external site.)
Nahavandi, A. (2014). The Art and Science of Leadership. (7th Ed.). San Diego, CA: Pearson Education, Inc.
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