Leadership and Human Behavior

Introduction In today fast moving world, characterized by major changes in technologies, different industries are constantly forced to revolutionize their products and services to the point that the business world has become more competitive and unpredictable than ever. There is a great need for people who are able to cope with change. In his article of “What Leaders Really Do, John P. Kotter said that, “mre change always demands more leadership. ” The question of interest to me is to know which leadership approach suit the best in coping with change.

In this paper, I will first develop an understanding of the concepts underlying the term leadership. Secondly, I will examine different leadership style through analysis of some cases studies explored in class. Subsequently, I will reflect on my personal style and present my conclusion. Definition and understanding To begin with, it is worth understanding what the term “leadership” means. There are hundreds of definitions out there related to this term, but each of them differs from one to another. The most appealing definition I found is the one from Don Clark of Big Dog Leadership.

He defines leadership as a “process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. ” My interest to this definition resides in the way the author refers to some important elements of leadership such as influence, people, and objective. Kevin Martineau of Port Hardy Baptist Church has nicely put together the common elements that many leadership definition share that I thought to be useful in my understanding of leadership concept.

First, he mentions that “leadership has to involve people. Without people following, being influenced, having their needs met or being motivated, mobilized, resourced and directed there is no leadership. ” Next, he adds that “leadership is taking people to a destination/goal. Leaders take the people who are following them on a "journey”. On that "journey" there is a destination. A leader must know what the destination/goal is that they are leading people to. ” To conclude, he states that “leadership involves influence.

A leader must be able to influence, motivate, mobilize and help others reach the destination. This means that the leader must be equipping and helping others to reach and realize their potential. ” This in-depth description gives us a clear understanding of what leadership means and what effective leaders really do. However, the question we might wonder is to know “how” leaders carry out their everyday jobs? Certainly, it would be difficult to provide just one specific answer that best respond to this question, considering that there are many factors that play into account.

However, in this paper I will focus on the type of leadership style used. Leadership Style Through the readings, analysis and class discussions of different cases studies explored in this class, I gained awareness of different leadership styles. In the following lines, I will like to highlight some cases that caught my attention. The first is the case study of “Amelia Rogers at Tassani Communications. ” Rogers had a very task-oriented leadership style. She had a set of skills needed to get thing done, great sense of vision and strategy.

Some people in the case described her as a “good thinker, hard worker, and she delivers what she says she is going to deliver”. Her tendency of being so focus on getting work done and seeing results led her to have tough management style and she was not thinking much about her work relationship. She found herself being in conflict with her co-workers on numerous occasions. Describing her own management style, she said that, “I like to nip my conflicts right in bud and deal with them head on, straight on, not hide them under things.

I don’t bury them. I get them on the table; deal with them so I can move for the most part. ” Not surprising that, despite the set of skills she brought to her organization and leadership style used, she failed in motivation and influencing her co-workers in accomplishing their common goals. She was unable to work effectively with her colleagues or maintain an environment that promotes understanding and mutual respect. The second case study is about “Deborah DiSanzo at Philips Medical Systems.

” Deborah displayed an effective leadership style in her approach to developing a new vision for Patient Monitoring. When starting her new position, in order for her to assess the culture of the company and get a clear understanding of the business situation, she gathered all the people she found in the company to get their inputs. As the case indicates, “her goal was to get to know them individually, learn their story and background, and learn their vision for business. “I do this in every business I’ve worked in,” DiSanzo explained.

“I go and ask people what is your purpose? What is your strategy? ” By doing so, she demonstrated to be a leader who values the importance of a team in achieving a common goal, who let the people decide what needs to be done and how to do it. She involved all her team in the discussion and built a consensus in defining the new vision and strategy for the company. This approach helped her to engender a great sense of ownership and build trust among all members, so she could rally them to her mission of driving Patient Monitoring to the next level.

Notwithstanding her remarkable success in achieving a “29% global market share in Patient Monitoring”, she faced some challenge with her team leadership style as the company grew. With a huge number of employees and expansion of business in 20 locations around the world, she struggled to keep her employees connected to the strategy and vision of the company. Already, she felt exhausted logging miles to keep the German associates engaged. As discussed in the class, maybe she should have applied “the Laissez-faire leadership style” or delegate more, considering that she could not be present in all different locations at once.

Lastly, I pass on the case of GE’s Two-Decade Transformation: Jack Welch’s Leadership. Welch had a very great sense of leadership and appeared to be someone who constantly inspires his people by sharing a clear vision of the future, seeking out new initiatives that add value to company.

When he inherited General Electric (G. E), Welch clearly set goals and defined his vision for the company. Referring to the case, Welch described what he hoped to build at GE in these terms, “ A decade from now, I would like General Electric to be perceived as unique, high spirited, entrepreneurial enterprise…the most profitable, highly diversified company on earth, with world quality leadership in every one of its products”.

He distinctly communicated and shared his vision of the future to the entire organization. In addition, he wanted to see the best from his people, by encouraging and supporting them. As mentioned in the case, “Welch’s major effort was increasingly focused on creating an environment in which people could be their best.

” He described his objective for GE in these terms: “Ten years from now, we want magazines to write about GE as a place where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody. An open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters, and where that sense of accomplishment is rewarded in the pocketbook and the soul. That will be our report card. ” In a truly organic manner, Welch inspired and motivated people to the point of achieving great things that literally transformed GE’s Business in his era.

Analysis this case, there are absolutely reasons to believe why Fortune had named Welch “Manager of the Century” in recognition of his personal contribution to GE’s outstanding 20 year record. ” Again, despite this exceptional leadership style, it was interesting to see what the case said about him, “Welch’s first attempts at articulating and communicating GE’s new cultural values were awkward. For example, he communicated his new organizational model as the GE Business Engine, a concept that many found depersonalizing since it seemed to depict people as inputs into a financial machine. ”

Reflection on personal experience Reflecting on my personal leadership experience, I discovered to have the kind of leadership style similar to Deborah DiSanzo, the team or people oriented type of leadership, described here above. For instance, in my position as Project Manager, I played an important leadership role carrying out the responsibilities entrusted to me by my organization and worked closely with my staff members and allies. When issues arose, I was able to provide adequate support and supervision to my staffs in relaxed group setting and I actively solicited their ideas, promoted healthy debate on

different issues we faced. This way of approaching issues helped me, not only to foster a positive climate within my group and create a cohesive and effective team, where every member felt connected to the goal and mission defined, but also to influence my team members and get work done. While I commend myself having such leadership style developed inside of me, I also encountered times to times difficulties in carrying out my responsibilities as leader, even within in a small organization.

For example, in my attempts of building consensus among team and making everyone feel good about his or her ideas, I had a hard time managing some issues, especially when people had different ideas and perspectives on the table and bringing them together was not easy. In addition, being more concerned on the comfort of my team, it was very challenging for me to deliver results under stressful circumstances and tight deadlines. I found myself doing some tasks I should have delegated to someone else.

When I try to imagine myself assuming a leadership role in an organizational culture environment like GE’s “characterized by speed, simplicity, and self-confidence”, I could definitely find it being a daunting task. Definitely, I’ve learned how to assess my strengths and weaknesses that make me unique as individual, thus surround myself with others who can complement my weaknesses. Conclusion Considering those different cases studies highlighted including my personal experiences, there are many things I learned and that inspired me, which I would like to expand and develop as my career unfolds.

Obviously, I came to realize that each leadership style has its strengths and limitations. Therefore, no style should be highly regarded to the detriments of other styles. As discussed in class, although each individual has a leadership style that tends to be more dominant, an effective leader has to be more flexible and able to adapt his leadership approach to the challenge facing the organization, the current situation, environment and culture, and the kind and needs of people he is leading.

For me, in order to prepare myself to exhibit an effective leadership throughout my career, I’m forcefully pursuing a series of personal, academic and professional development programs (i/e my current MBA Program) that allows me to gain new technical new technical skills, develop critical analysis skills of situations and generate new ideas, and deepen my understanding of broader business environment. In doing so, I hope to become an effective entrepreneurial leader. REFERENCES ? Clark, D. (1997). Big dog leadership. Retrieved on December 2, 2010, from www. nwlink. com/~donclark/leader/leader. html ? Martineau, K. (2009). How you define leadership. Blogs. Retrieved on December 3, 2010, from http://kevinmartineau.

blogspot. com/2009/02/how-would-you-define-leadership. html ? Bartlett, C. (1999), GE’s Two-Decade Transformation: Jack Welch’s Leadership. Case study. Boston: Harvard Business School ? Hill, L. ; Conrad, M. (1992), Amelia Rogers at Tassani Communications (A). Case study. Boston: Harvard Business School ? Kotter, J. (1990), What Leaders Really Do. Article. Boston: Harvard Business Review ? Langowitz, N. ; Corum, B. (2009), “Deborah DiSanzo at Philips Medical Systems (A). Case study. Wellesley: Babson College, Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship.