Leaders can portray different leadership traits. Peter Northouse (2018) mentions six leadership traits, which are intelligence, confidence, charisma, determination, sociability, and integrity. From the list, charisma is the most important trait because it gives a leader the ability to do extraordinary things, while sociability seems to be the least important because the trait can vary drastically from one leader to another yet positive outcome can still be realized. Hardship and adversity also play a significant role in developing the mentioned leadership traits. Leaders who have encountered adversity are known to exhibit resilience, which is appropriate for effective leadership. On the other hand, good communication skills are also vital for effective leadership because they enable a leader to relate to a larger group. To expand on the leadership traits concept, Peter Northouse uses different leaders that existed to illustrate the concept. George Washington was the founding father of the United States, and his outstanding leadership trait was integrity. Although the great leaders mentioned by the author had specific similar traits, it does not mean that leaders have to possess all these traits to be effective because everyone has his/her distinct talents for leadership.
“Your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness” is a common phrase in the leadership context. The phrase is based on the strength, weakness paradox, which indicates that one’s strength can easily be turned into a weakness. Nonetheless, leaders should focus on their strengths because they enhance confidence and enable them to make the best use of their skills and abilities. However, the drawbacks associated with this approach is that one can easily overlook important knowledge or skills gap, which may lead to a weakness on a leader. While leaders ought to ignore weaknesses, they must be aware of their weaknesses to know how to hedge against them. Thus, it is imperative to define and analyze strengths to effective leadership. In my opinion, value in action seems to be the best approach that can suit effective leadership because it focuses on what is best in people rather than on weaknesses. Hence, leaders must know the strengths of their followers; consequently, it would be easier to make work assignments that maximize each individual’s contribution. While it is not easy for leaders to identify the strengths of their followers, most of the followers often declare what they are good at, and this is the point where leaders need to pay attention.
Traits contribute to leadership style because a leader’s personality greatly influences his/her behavior and attitude, which, in turn, affects how he/she may perceive things concerning leadership. Thus, it may not be so easy to change a leadership style when needed because of the traits that a leader exhibits. Nevertheless, leaders need to adapt to circumstances because it enables them to respond appropriately to either threats or opportunities, depending on the leadership style adopted. Consequently, there are three leadership styles that have potential downsides. Authoritarian leadership style fosters dependence, submissiveness, and a loss of individuality (Northouse, 2018). On the other hand, the democratic leadership style’s drawback is that it is time-consuming and leads to inefficiency in work. Laissez-Faire Leadership Style exhibits no clear direction, which leads to unproductivity and is only appropriate for people who are self-starters. Nonetheless, from my point of view, I would prefer a democratic style of leadership as a follower because it enables me to give input in vital decisions. In a practical case, Victoria Ransom used democratic leadership style; this evident when she says she is open to learning from other people. Moreover, she promotes small groups and considers the views of everyone.
Case study 4.1 describes three managers, Marion Woods, Bruce Dexter, and Heather Atwood. Marion Woods is a dictatorial type based on her actions and how she treats Vanessa; she occasionally scolds her. On the other hand, Heather Atwood embraces a democratic leadership style since she often listens to Vanessa while Bruce Dexter does not offer any leadership qualities, hence he is a Laissez-Faire leader. In case 5.1, both Dan Cali and Asher Roland offer a democratic style of leadership since they involve others in decision-making, which is appropriate for the workforce and industry environment. The type of leadership is closely intertwined with the type of environment. For instance, in a past job as a marketing salesperson at Phillips Company, the ideal leadership style was a transformational type of leadership because it required engaging with other people. A particular leadership style may be appropriate for a particular environment because each environment exhibits different features.
Three types of skills are essential for leaders, and they include administrative, interpersonal, and conceptual skills. While administrative skills are the competencies that a leader will need to run an organization towards achieving its goals and objectives, interpersonal skills are abilities that a leader has that makes him/her work with followers, peers, and superiors effectively to achieve an organization’s goals. On the other hand, conceptual skills are about working with concepts and ideas. Out of the three types of skills, administrative skills are thought to be the most important because a leader with this type of skills will be able to manage other people (Northouse, 2019). Conceptual skills are also important in leadership; Captain Sullenberger displayed this skill in guiding the plane to a ditching in Hudson River with no casualties after the incident. Thus, it is important to consider a leader’s skills in addition to traits and behavior because skills are a critical component of successful leadership as they can influence people and circumstances.
Northouse, P. G. (2018). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice.
Northouse, P. G. (2019). Leadership: Theory and practice.