This paper analyses leadership based
on traits, skills, and style approaches according to the experiences I have had
in different situations. Furthermore, it considers the relationship of leaders
with traits, skills, and leadership style. Moreover, it identifies some
leadership qualities that I want to develop.
According to Northouse (2004), traits focus on leaders’
personal characteristics, and skills are evidenced by leaders’ developable
capabilities, whereas styles can be highlighted by leaders’ behavior.
Leadership is delineated as an interpersonal relationship in a review that
showed a leader in one situation may not be a leader in another (Stogdill, 1948). However, leadership elements are essential to be
considered as situational requirements.
charisma are two major traits associated with leadership (Birk, 2010). Personality and emotional intelligence (EI) are
also significant aspects of leadership. (Stogdill, 1974). EI is closely related to leaders’
personalities and take into consideration both personal and social competencies.
The trait approach proposes that managers with the suitable leadership profiles
are essential to an organization’s success. The trait approach is intuitive,
theoretical, time-proven, and invaluable (Northouse, 2004). However, this approach does not consider
situational effects. It is impossible to determine important traits which
affect the outcome.
Leadership skills can be educated and developed (Katz, 1955). Technical, interpersonal, and conceptual skills are
essential. Senior management is more associated with conceptual skills while
supervisory management, technical skills. However, interpersonal skills play an
equally important role at all levels. Social judgment, knowledge, and
problem-solving skills are also found to be important in order to respond to
the continually changing environment (Mumford et al., 2000). The skills approach is leader-centered, intuitive,
consistent, and expansive; yet, it is general, weakly predicted and inaccurate (Northouse, 2004). Thus, it may not be widely applied.
The style approach considers both task and relationship
behaviors that influence others to obtain goals (Northouse, 2004). An employee-oriented leader is considerate,
relationships-focused, and respectful while a production-oriented leader
concentrates on organizing and scheduling tasks. Blake and Mouton’s Managerial
Grid presents different leadership styles according to concerns shown in terms
of both production and people (Northouse, 2004). The style approach widens the leadership focus
while attesting the fundamental principles that form the core leadership
I had encountered an authority-compliant leader. He was
visionary, task-oriented, and motivated. However, employees were merely a tool
to achieve organizational goals. Training and staff-bonding sessions were
mostly called-off or indefinitely adjourned due to last-minute tasks assigned
to staff. This resulted in high-turnover rates as employees felt unappreciated
and incompetent. After several futile efforts to communicate with the
management, I compiled a step-by-step guide to each task for the employees and
organized team-lunches for staff-bonding purposes. I exhibited motivation and
integrity traits while adopting team-management style with my problem-solving
skills. However, I will need to develop better interpersonal skills and EI in
order to handle leadership better.
In conclusion, leadership is a combination of the
application of appropriate personalities, behaviors, and capabilities. The many
approaches have their places in different settings and they complement one
another. Everyone has a certain individual leadership potential, and it is
important to determine and maximize that potential (Northouse, 2004). Interpersonal skills are important in all
environments. Strong interpersonal skills can help to build strong relationships
and respects in both business and family settings.
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