Personalized Leadership Approach and Development Plan Essay - Essay Prowess

Personalized Leadership Approach and Development Plan Essay


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Personalized Leadership Approach and Development Plan: Integration and Extension:

Executive Summary

Leadership can be referred to as an extraordinary characteristic in an individual has been the focal point in the research relative to this field prior to the 1950’s. Behavioral perspectives on leadership came into play after with the new insight offered as a result of research conducted with regard to behavioral studies (Petersen, 2012). These view brought into play leadership models structured on behavioral characteristics such as transformational leadership or situational leadership just to name but a few. These views have arisen as a result of a wider body of research thanks to continued interest in the field of psychology. This essay seeks to look into other perspectives of looking into leadership away from the common business values viewpoint to one which incorporates research finding based on human psychology as a field of study. In answering thw query ‘what is leadership?’ this essay seeks to look into what brings out effective leadership styles and personal characteristics which define a good leader. Questions to be answered include, what is self leadership? How is an effective personal leadership plan affected? As well as expounding on how leadership evolves from a natural unstructured situation into a structured organization setting.


Leadership is a concept that is overly infused and ideally structured in the contemporary theory as well as practice of all organizations such that the character of an organized action can be better influenced and also be better understood in a more incisive manner. Leadership as a theory or practice as well as the various modes of organizational control and direction are deeply embedded in the contemporary popular thought such that, the lack of clear leadership is perceived as an overall lack of organization.

Perceptions on leadership are dependent on a number of factors such as group processes, character traits and the ability to exercise influence. Leadership therefore entails a behavior, means of persuasion as well as a power relation. Leadership can be defined the interaction between two or more participants in a group which in most instances involves the structuring or restructuring of a given situation as well as the perception and expectations of the participants (Spillane, 2012 p. 7). With this regard leaders can be described as change agents such that they are people whose actions influence some people or groups of people more than another person’s actions influence the same group of people. As such, leadership is exhibited when one member of a group transforms the abilities or motivation levels of other members in the group. Leadership is therefore a correlation of social influence (Spillane, 2012 p. 7).

Leadership as a phenomenon

            Leadership situations exist when an individual is obligated or is perceived to have the authority to influence the reality of other individuals. Leadership manifests itself most clearly in unstructured group interactions as naturally occurring in a rather spontaneous fashion. That is, after a given duration of consistent interactions such groups initially without a leading personality tend to evolve shared approaches to interpretations and understanding with regard to experiences encountered in the group setting such that a social organization is realized. Members of such groups tend to recognize leadership in members who are deemed to structure group experiences in the most meaningful manner (Smircich & Morgan, 1982 p. 3).

Personal inclinations and attributes as well as the developing prospects of other group members may cause particular individuals to adapt or feel compelled to assume leadership roles by merit of the role they play in defining prevailing situations. Leadership roles thus result from the manner in which such individual are able to define experiences such that there is a viable starting point for a definite form of action. This is done through mobilizing the meaning, clearly articulating such meaning as well as ensuring clarity in the definition of a situation that has previously remained vague by incorporating inventions of vivid images and sense so as to offer better understanding (Smircich & Morgan, 1982). This renewed sense of clearer understanding affords fresh insight for new courses of action by ultimately consolidating, challenging and varying popular wisdoms.

Employing such diverse means enhance and ensure that personal actions have the effect of framing or changing a group situation thus establishing a system of common meaning which lay down the foundations for organized action. With this in mind, a leader can be perceived as the formal leader when he or she realizes a situation whereby a responsibility, group expectation or authority to structure the outcome of a group experience is assumed or conferred upon such an individual by others in the group.

This highlights the fact that leadership as in other social setting is realized through social interaction. It materializes from constructs as well as actions of those that are leading as well as those who are being led. Leadership thus involves a situation where particular individuals hold negotiations such that there is implicit or explicit surrendering of the power to describe the nature of group experiences to others in a collective group setting. In a nutshell, leadership is ultimately dependent on the availability of persons willing either voluntarily or otherwise involuntarily surrendering even if partially the control, define or shape their own personal realities (Smircich & Morgan, 1982). Leadership is vague in situations where groups have conflicting ideals as to what is reality and as such are dearly held as true on personal terms such that no clear structure of a given group situation can be defined. This usually is a result of the lack of a common basis with which a group can define a prevailing situation or event in unison.

Leadership therefore comes to being when there is a common point of reference that can lead to the realization of a sense of organization through which a common sense of direction can be realized. The fact that leadership results from social interactions defines it character which is in essence dialectical. That is it is dependent on the social interactions between the leaders and those who have subjected themselves to being led. However, as much as leadership arises as a result of the forecasted expectations of those willing to be led towards an aspiring leader, the need to relinquish power causes a basis for contradiction. This is a major cause for tensions in leadership situations.

In unstructured situation, the emergence of leaders translates into a number of significant viewpoints with regard to leadership as a phenomenon. Firstly, leadership is in essence a social process arising as a result of social interactions. Secondly, it entails the definition of reality in a manner that is accepted as sensible by those who are to be led. Thirdly, there is the profound acceptance of a situation whereby those being led relinquish the power to interpret or define their understanding of reality to others being led. Lastly, materialization of formal leadership brings with it institutionalization whereby the obligation and authority to make out definitions on the nature of experiences and resultant activity is recognized and formally accepted by those being led.

Formalized settings

Formal organizations work on the principles of commonly shared meanings which essentially serve to provide clear-cut definitions as to authority and role relationships which serve to uphold an institutionalized model of leadership. It is therefore in order to concur that formal organizations underscore the development process of leadership roles and responsibilities as observed in a natural and unstructured setting emphasizing on the aspects of social organization which are ideally truncated into a series of prearranged relationships, roles and practices that provide a structured layout with regard to experiences to be realized by members within the organization.

For instance, roles serve to institutionalize interactions as well as definitions which structure the realities culminating from organizational coexistence (Smircich & Morgan, 1982). Experiences are standardized and made sensible for all within the organization through set out rules, work ethics, practices and principles. Authority relationships serve to legitimize patterns for dependence relationships which are a common feature in the leadership process. This specifies the personality upon which authority is conferred upon to define an organization’s reality. This allows for a hierarchical mode of interaction why by some person has the authority to define what others in the organization experience in their reality with regard to the prevailing situation. In an institutionalized setting, leaders define the experiences of other members of the institution who have their experiences defined as being followers. Institutions have set so much reliance on this hierarchical structure that there are systems which assesses whether a leader or an individual conferred with some authority to lead other members is leading as expected or not.

Formal organizations are thus dedicated to what it perceives as good leadership due to the fact that they are in most cases quite populous requiring a greater need for consistency with this regard understanding that failing in being a good leader will result in failure of the organization (Smircich & Morgan, 1982). This has resulted in formal organizations tending to institutionalize the aspects of leadership processes bound in the context of a cohesive structure which specifically outlines patterns that result in predetermined member interactions, understanding and dependencies on each another.

It is important to consider that the emergent process that culminates into leadership and the formalized structures for organized action bring about dialectical pressures with regard to patterns that define action and meaning. With these, the structure purports to establish and the natural tendencies of members tending to reinterpret or react adversely towards the predefined structure. It is important to note that as much as there are governing patterns defining meaning; members will often tend to come up with patterns of their own (Smircich & Morgan, 1982).

Such tensions have resulted in the need for a mediating mode of leadership to bridge the apparent gap evident between the needs of the institutionalized structure and the more natural inclinations exhibited by human agents in these formal organizations. As such, trends have emerged such that the individual most readily recognized as an able organizational leader is in most cases the one with the perceived ability to transcend above and surpass the specifics of the contemporary formal structure. This is so as to ensure that members in such an organization have a common sense of being organized ensuring continuity in the day to day organizational process.

Transformational leadership and behavioral change

This is a form of leadership whose character can be considered as charismatic, influencing among the followers a sense of inspiration, intellectual motivation, vision and more so personal consideration. This is a form of leadership that seeks to instill a higher form of interaction between the leaders and his or her subjects in a manner that is primarily oriented for positive outcomes rather than on a technical point of view. Such a leader will have the capacity to surpass core responsibilities and more so offer guidance to followers both as a mentor and role model (Cherry, 2013) (Hall, Johnson, Wysocki & Kepner 2012).  This can only be realized if the leader has a sense of self insight which is itself a core self-development assessment criterion which enables him or her to better come to terms with decision making skills adopted and the behavior of subjects which can lead to the improvement of an organization’s performance (Dalmau & Dick, 2007).

This entails the leader to be able to have the behavioral characteristics that can incorporate learning as a crucial part of change (Wasserman, 2008). This implies that the leader will have to be able to assume that feedback from his or her followers is an opportunity to learn on the means with which to make the organization realize its objectives more efficiently and effectively. As a model of behavior, feedback ensures that learning is a continuous process as it serves to predetermine future outcomes, emotional reactions and sense of agency as well as personal habits.  The basic learning unit in an organization is the personal self, which is the individual self ( 2013). However, this determined by the individual’s willingness to learn so that the learning process can be ideally made effective for the betterment of the organization. Organizations are thus tasked with ensuring that the right individuals with the desired behavioral attributes are in the position that will allow for the learning process to take effect effectively (Wasserman, 2008). As such they can be placed in groups which allow for common standards to guide such groups also referred to as theories in use as well as theories of action which can allow for the desired shaping of the desired organizational behavior.

Psychological empowerment

Psychological empowerment as a concept has origins in organizations that sought to engage in more participatory management structure and more allow for more employee involvement in the formulation of strategies and decision making processes (Houghton & Yoho, 2005). It is basically a multifaceted motivational model which incorporates four discrete cognitive dimensions. These include, purpose or meaning, competence, self determination and impact.

Purpose or meaning can be understood as an individual’s perception between values, beliefs and behaviors on a personal level in comparison with personal work roles. Competence on the other hand refers to an individual’s perception on the idea of possessing the abilities undertake a specific task with an above average result. Conceptually, it can be considered to be quite similar to the ideals of self efficacy or personal mastery (Houghton & Yoho, 2005). Self determination is in essence the personal belief that one as an individual has a high degree of control as to choice or independence over personal work behaviors and related processes (Clappison, 2011). The last cognitive dimension is the impact, which is relative to an individual’s awareness as to having made a given degree of influence on strategic, administrative and more so operational outcomes in the performance of an organization. These four cognitive dimensions are dependent on the work environment and thus vary and cannot be characterized as stable or standardize into a single personality trait. On the contrary, these are variables whereby the lack of one means that lesser cognitive empowerment conditions prevail. Psychological empowerment thus relates to the reflection of the personal degree of empowerment experienced instead of the absence or otherwise presence of some degree of empowerment felt (Houghton & Yoho, 2005).

Self Leadership

Self leadership can be defined as a course of action through which an individual can influence him or herself to realize a level of self direction as well as self motivation requisite for a given degree of expected personal performance (Houghton & Yoho, 2005). Self leadership thus prescribes a precise set of cognitive and behavioral strategies primarily aimed at positively influencing personal performance outcomes (Fordham, 2010) (Darnton, 2008). Strategies for self leadership are commonly divided into behavior focused strategies, constructive thought pattern strategies as well as natural reward strategies.

Behavior focused strategies have been designed to improve on self awareness which principally is meant to promote behavior management when dealing with necessary though distasteful jobs (Darnton, 2008). This incorporates behavior centered strategies such as self observation, personal goal setting, self gratification as well as self correcting feedback systems (Payton, 2005). Self observation is crucial since an individual in a leadership position is able to recognize behaviors that are detrimental to personal development and that need to be changed or eliminated as well as identifying those that need enhanced (Fordham, 2010). This allows for more realistic and better goal setting along with self gratification which offers motivation for improved personal performance. Natural reward strategies on the other hand highlight on the satisfying aspects of a given task which ideally motivate an individual by reason of performing the task at hand (Neck & Manz, 2008). This can be bolstered by either cultivating more exciting features to a task to make it more satisfying or by improving one’s perception on the job at hand (Houghton & Yoho, 2005). A sense of personal competence and determination are intrinsic motivations which enhance task performance. The constructive thought patterns approach relates to the personal organization of cognitive processes. Shaping of personal thinking patterns through enhancing personal analysis and belief structures, mental imaging of desired personal outcomes as well as positive attitudes in self talk are crucial towards improving self leadership attributes.

Future trends

It is critical to conclude this essay by looking at the future trends of leadership in a generally holistic manner. Researchers in this field have endeavored to look into leadership at all angles such as leadership models, the leader, subjects, organizational environment, context and the dynamism of their interactions (Avolio, Walumbwa & Weber, 2009). Researchers have also looked into how the leadership process evolves incorporating strategic leadership with cognitive psychology as well as looking into other ways with which to look into means to better study the leadership phenomenon.

As a distinct field of study, leadership has over the last few years has demystified some misconceptions associated with leadership such as whether leaders are made or born, the effect of followers in the successfulness of a leader’s endeavors, how leaders with charisma build or destroy societies as well as the impact of technology on both the collective and individual performance of followers and leaders.


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