Research Paper On Developing Leadership Through The Situational Approach
Type of paper: Research Paper
Topic: Leadership, Community, Teamwork, Team, Leader, Skills, Theory, Goals
Leadership is very vital when trying to run a group or a company. It is a fundamental procedure, which makes use of processes, techniques, theories, and behavior, to influence members of the group into facilitating collective efforts to accomplish a set of objectives. Leadership involves the attainment of a goal, which are shared by both the leaders and the followers and is thus, a “transactional event” (Rowe & Guerrero, 2011, p.2). It is a two-way interactive process that is being managed by the leader. Thus, it is only prevalent that leaders should have the ability to effectively influence his/her followers in a persuasive, yet ethical manner. This is the main essence of this essay, in which my leadership traits and approach is being described through the use of the Situational approach. It will likewise present a plan of action that would improve my leadership and motivation skills by means of how I influence the other members of the group. In the end, it will prove that leadership is incessant, and it can be enhanced continuously by applying the theories to actual day-to-day events.
My leadership style or approach
As a leader, I usually follow the Situational approach, mainly because I depend my decisions and my approach according to the situation that the group faces. My style or approach tend to shift incessantly according to the problem being faced, and the resources that are being made available. I adapt my style to different situations, and it is in this respect that it becomes vital for me to have a supportive component. There should be followers who are willing to take my advice, and they should be willing to work for the good of the group or organization. My role in the group tend to shift on the directive side, although it is very important to attend to the needs of my followers, to be able to match both my direction and the personal support of the followers. My leadership approach shifts more on the needs of my followers, so that there are times when I have to be strict and disciplinarian, and times when I should be more considerate and understanding. My main purpose is to make sure that my followers would feel good about their job, their coworkers, and their environment.
On the other hand, there are also times when I go beyond the Situational approach and go towards the Contingency approach. In this type of approach, the effectiveness of leadership depends on “the leader’s task or relations motivations and aspects of the situation” (Levine & Hogg, 2010). There are cases when there is the tendency to center more on building rapport with the other members, in such a way that leadership centers more on “consideration” and “initiating structure”. This is most typical in the Contingency approach, as both of these approaches are extensions of the behavioral group models of leadership. They both assert the statement that, there is no one way of effectively leading a group, since a leadership style that is effective in one situation may not be effective in another situation.
My distinguishing leadership traits
Leaders differ in traits and personalities, depending on their approach as a leader of the group or organization. There are a number of leadership traits that I have. First is enthusiasm or the eagerness to build rapport with the other members of the group. I have the ability to delegate, and most of the time, I am able to build trust within the team. This means having the enthusiasm to know and identify the other members, to be able to acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses, and to be in union with each member of the team.
Second is determination and the willpower to work on achieving the goal and building rapport with the other team members. I am usually determined to work hard and be able to come up with quality content in whatever work there is. I am committed to my role in the group, as well as the goal that we should achieve. I tend to have a hardworking energy within the team, and I keep my word, as it would foster goal achievement and success.
Third is self-confidence and trust, either in terms of the brand, the group, or the goal that we are having. I make sure that I do not panic in small or large businesses, especially for a leader, who would be looked up to by members of the group. This is very important, since confidence usually leads to willpower, which leads to goal attainment in the end. It fosters the team morale, and this I have witnessed in my own self while I express leadership.
Fourth and final is empathy and the ability to comprehend and respond to the concerns of the other members of the group. With empathy, there is positivity and motivation within the group. This I do, whenever I keep the energy levels up and help the team be inspired and motivated. I help and guide others with their work, for them to see the vision of success. With empathy, I make sure that the members of the team remain confident and inspired, for them to focus sincerely on the future goals of the team.
My leadership approach as a follower
As a follower of the team, I prefer the Situational approach as well, mainly because of its directive and supportive behaviors. In accessing the directive behaviors, followers are given the proper directions, and the goals are stated clearly and effectively. It establishes methods of evaluation, while the time lines are being set strategically in different time intervals. Also, the roles are being defined persuasively by the leader, while showing the followers how to achieve these goals with the proper time, manner and strategy.
The Situational approach is effective on the side of the followers, since it clarifies the following: (1) what is to be accomplished; (2) how it is to be accomplished; and (3) who will accomplish it (Rowe & Guerrero, 2011, p.134). For all these, they lead the followers into feeling more confident and assured, since the leader is most assertive to help and guide them with their goals. This leads to supportive behaviors on the side of the followers, wherein they feel more comfortable with the situation, with their co-workers, and with themselves. This is achieved by means of a two-way communication between the leader and the follower, as well as between the follower and the other followers, thereby providing effective association.
As for the leaders who apply the Situational approach, they are usually the type of leaders who asks for input and asserts problem solving within the group. They are usually those who listen to their followers and praise them for any success that they have had with regards to their work and goal achievement. They are also the ones who have the confidence to share information about themselves, to other members of the group, as they are usually eager to build rapport with their team, and feel the need to open up themselves. For this, Situational leaders are usually honored for their ability to create affinity within the team.
My leadership theory in influencing others
In terms of leadership model or theory, I usually influence others by using the Path-goal theory, since I am mostly achievement-oriented, and with a shared average between being directive, supportive, and participative. In most cases, I let the other member know what will be expected of them, based on their roles in the attainment of the goal. On the other hand, I also make sure that they understand what will take place if they do not meet these expectations, and what will be the effect on the team and on the pursuit of the goal. It has also been my leadership trait to let my followers know that I am always there for them, in case they needed support, or if they have problems that they find too difficult to manage. However, I let them feel or know that I wanted them to find their strengths and capability in managing their problems, so that they would give their best in solving their problems. I may also point them into the direction of people who can be of help to them, and so I find it very important to know the strengths and weaknesses of all the members of the group.
In the Path-goal theory, the main essence of leadership is centered on the capacity to “help elucidate the path for followers to achieve group goals” (Levine & Hogg, 2010). It is the role of the leader to employ certain behaviors that may increase the satisfaction of the followers, to motivate them into exerting more effort for the pursuit of the goal. In this model of leadership, task accomplishment appears to be the main essence, and leaders can do this, either by being supportive, directive, participative, or achievement oriented. What is important is that, leaders should have a potential influence on the motivation and performance of the followers, to be able to achieve the appointed goal or task.
My leadership goals and plan of action
Based on the self-assessment questionnaire, it turned out that my LMX score was 30, which was considered very high. Although my final score did not surprise me, I was determined to make use of this task, to set a goal and a plan of action that would improve my current leadership and motivational skills. Doing both of these would exemplify my leadership traits and increase my knowledge and skills as a leader of the group.
Secondly, to improve my motivational skills, it is very important to share thoughts with other leaders and members of the team. Much like the method done by my former NCOIC supervisor, group discussions is very important and enlightening, as it allows each one to share the difficulties and inspirations that they have had, in connection to their task. By discussing what we did, how we did it, and how we could do it better in the future, makes each one of us more enlightened and rational, apart from the fact that it makes us more encouraged and inspired. To be motivated all the more, there has to be constant communication with the team members, and this means participation for all team members.
Timeline for self-improvement goals
Leadership is incessant, as it is a two-way interactive process that is likewise transactional and continuously being developed over the years. Because leadership is a process, it can be magnified and developed over time, as it can be easily enhanced over the years, especially if it is goal-oriented and/or vision-oriented. Thus, in completing the two self-improvement goals that had been mentioned in the previous pages, it is most accurate to envision the goal being achieved in a matter of two to three months from the current period.
In leadership, there are cases when decision making appears to be very difficult, especially in turbulent times when there are tough choices to make, and there has to be courage and conviction to apply skills for the pursuit of a goal. Because of this, leadership has to be developed over time, and it has to be restructured and reformed again and again, making it an incessant, relentless process. With this comes the notion that leadership is incessant, and it can be enhanced continuously by applying the theories to actual day-to-day events. For it is by everyday events that it becomes an ongoing progression, and it becomes a never-ending strategy that is endlessly enhanced and revitalized for basic pursuit of the goal.
Levine, J.M., & Hogg, M.A. (2010). Contingency theories of leadership. Encyclopedia of group processes and intergroup relations. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Prive, T. (2012, December 19). Top 10 qualities that make a great leader. Retrieved February 20, 2015, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyaprive/2012/12/19/top-10-qualities-that-make-a-great-leader/.
Rowe, W.G., & Guerrero, L. (2011). Cases in leadership (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.