Leadership Essay Samples
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Leadership, People, Motivation, Human, Dimension, Bachelor's Degree, Sociology, Effective
Every day, we encounter leadership traits and experience it in a lot of ways. The fact that one leads his own life in whatever decision he makes, can be comparable to leadership although it is experienced on an individual level. History has produced great leaders the most notable of which are Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Hitler and many others. Evidently, some these leaders are good while some are bad. Even so, they are great leaders in their own right and in discussing leadership; one could not help but revere them for their achievement in the field of leadership. So what does it take to become a great leader? Personally, I have very limited experience with leadership although I see role models in sports as part of exhibiting leadership traits. Another personal experience I have with leadership is when I joined the military. Obviously, the military has a well-structured leadership and while it can be a very gratifying experience as far as leadership is concerned, I do believe that there is more to leadership than just blindly following orders as what most people stereotype military leadership. In the real world, I observed that people are motivated to follow because they believe on what they are following. The belief could be an economic, political or social gain; anything or something that he believe is important and that something is reinforced by a leader. I have observed that leadership is based on manipulating the factors that motivates people and it is the ability to manipulate that what makes some people effective leaders without the formal title.
The word motivation comes from the Latin word ‘movera’ meaning to ‘move’. In order to make people move, albeit move to your direction (I’m thinking about leadership here), then there must be a force strong enough to make them move. According to Wallace, there are five major forces that motivate people or make them move. These are:
Push motivators. These motivators constitute the basic needs of man so that he can maintain life’s balance. Examples of such are food, clothing and shelter. Man, therefore, could not help but work because he needs these things in order to survive. For the same reason, job security has been considered as one of the most important consideration in employment along with compensation and benefits.
Pull motivators. These are motivators that results from external influences such as incentives, rewards, etc. Promotions and incentives are examples of pull motivators as it draws people’s attention towards the perceived rewards.
Sensation Seeking. Aside from push and pull motivators, people seek life’s pleasures and for some, these are what motivates them to move or influences their decisions. Desirable sensual stimulation such as excitement for new experiences can be a very strong motivation for people who wish to seek for adventures.
Social motivation. Peer pressure or a person’s desire for social acceptance can be a strong motivational factor. In group dynamics and organizational studies, it is theorized that people are strongly influenced by crowd behavior.
Achievements. The personal satisfaction from winning or the fear of losing makes other people motivated.
Reflecting on these motivational forces, it appears then that by using these motivational factors, people can be forced or motivated to move in a particular direction by someone who has the power to provide these motivations
In the military, leaders capitalize on ‘human dimension’ to initiate change or to make people move. In the Army, it is defined “the process of influencing people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation while operating to accomplish the mission and improve the organization”. As stated by Eisenhower, a general who became one of America’s president, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it”. Human dimension feeds on what people wants and to do so is to align one’s leadership on what motivates people or the group of people that you are supposed to lead. Apparently, this leadership strategy is also evident in non-military leadership. Historically, effective leaders know how to operate in conditions of extreme stress and uncertainty. It is quite interesting to note that great leaders have emerged during great tribulations and social upheavals such as wars and revolutions. In America, for example, the ‘human dimension’ of leadership is evident in the leadership of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., and Franklin Roosevelt among many others. Although each of these leaders has their own style, it is quite evident that in initiating change on a large group of people, they introduced the concept of ‘human dimension’. Chavez was a civil rights activist famous for his labor activism in the 1960’s. Although Chavez was of Hispanic origin, he led an aggressive yet non-violent revolution of farm workers that has drawn substantial attention and led to the development of U.S. laws on farming protection. Chaves, himself, was a farmer, and in that context, he was able to gain public support because most farmers can see themselves through him. Martin Luther King Jr., on the other hand, was a civil activist for African-Americans. King, who was a great and charismatic orator, was able to draw large masses of people on his cause. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s leadership during the time of the Great Depression is also a clear example of the ‘human dimension’ concept. Today, Roosevelt’s economic policy have been criticized by most economist but during his time, the crowd’s eagerness for change made Roosevelt become one of the most effective leaders in America’s history. And though Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’ may arguably is not the best economic potion, it was taken by the public with great optimism. As observed by Reed and Robbins, “The whole country is with him, just so he does something. If he burned down the Capitol, we would all cheer and say, well, we at least got a fire started anyhow”. Another great depiction of leadership and the effective way of capitalizing on human dimension is what happened on the plot of the movie, ’12 Angry Men’. ’12 Angry Men’ is a film that showed how a single person was able to influence the decision of his fellow jurors to decide against a case, despite the fact that most of them have already made up their mind.
My personal experience with leadership can be considered as rudimentary yet I have found that most effective leaders capitalize on motivational forces and the human dimension of leadership to make people move towards their direction. Evidently, people could not be forced to follow unless they see a benefit on their action such as economic, political and social benefits among many others. For the same reason, I believe that in order to be an effective leader, one has to skillfully manage these motivational factors and utilize them to make people follow.
Anti-Defamation League . (2014). WHO WAS CÉSAR CHÁVEZ? Retrieved December 2014, from http://www.adl.org/assets/pdf/education-outreach/who-was-cesar-chavez.pdf
Garder, L. (2010, January). HUMAN DIMENSIONS OF STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP, A Selected Bibliography. Retrieved December 2014, from http://www.carlisle.army.mil/library/bibs/humandim10.pdf
Lumet, S. (Director). (1957). 12 Angry Men [Motion Picture].
Reed, N., & Robbins, R. (2008, September). The Effect Of Text Messaging On Driver Behaviour. Retrieved May 2014, from http://www.racfoundation.org/: http://www.racfoundation.org/assets/rac_foundation/content/downloadables/texting%20whilst%20driving%20-%20trl%20-%20180908%20-%20report.pdf
Sewell, G. (2009). Emotional Intelligence and the Army Leadership Requirements Model. Retrieved January 2015, from http://www.defence.gov.au/ADC/Docs/CDLE/CDLE_120329_SewellGF2009EmotionalIntelligenceandtheArmyLeadershipReqtsModel.pdf
Wallace, A. (n.d.). Work and motivation: Why do people work? Retrieved July 2014, from http://www.eoslife.eu/: http://www.eoslife.eu/articles/35-social/145-work-and-motivation-why-do-people-work