Leadership is “the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of goals” (Robbins & Judge, 2007).
Leadership is as a critical management skill in various organizations, which influences and motivates a group toward the achievement of organizational goals (Rafferty & Griffin 2004).
Leadership Versus Manager-ship
Leadership must be differentiated from management. Some commentators propose the view that management function includes leadership, that it is possible to be a good manager without being a good leader. In contrast, other commentators argued that leadership is different form the “managership”. The difference is obvious, that the leader shows incremental influence beyond his or her authority, he or her will influence instead of purely performing planning, organising, and controlling activities. It is possible, therefore, for an individual to be a good manager without being an effective leader.
There are some overlaps between leadership task and management task, and the distinction is not always clear, Davidson and Griffin (2006) summaries the differences between the roles are often difference of degree rather than of kind. “Managers and leaders differ in how they go about creating an agenda, developing a rationale for achieving the agenda and executing plans, and in the types of outcome they achieve”.
In reality, people use these two terms interchangeable, managers need to lead and leaders need to manage sometimes. This should not be surprising, as organizations need both leadership and management if both are effective and necessary. Leadership is needed in the changing situation, whereas management is useful in achieving orderly results. And leadership skills and the management skills need to complement each other in order to achieve optimal results in organizations.
Effective Leadership Behaviour
Strong leaders have potential traits, after many years studies, researchers identified many important traits, but it is also believed that leadership traits had little practical values. Criticiser argued that organizations cannot use traits as valid predictors of leadership ability in managing succession. Oyinlade (2006) summarizes the eighteen essential behavioural leadership qualities.
- Good listening skills: Ability to listen carefully, without prejudgment, empathizes with the speaker and honesty tries to understand the speaker’s point of view.
- Good presentation skills: Ability to communicate ideas and intentions to others clearly without being misunderstood (good communication skills.
- Participative decision-making style: Interest in soliciting and using others’ input in decision-making; working with subordinates through leadership by example.
- Motivator: Ability to help create a work environment in which subordinates are happy and eager to work and to achieve needed goals.
- Honest and Ethical: being always truthful, trustworthy, and abiding by a high standard of right and wrong.
- Organizational Knowledge: Knowledge of how the company system for the employees with visual impairments works; knowledge of the hows and whys of instructional curriculum; well informed on current issues within companies with visual impairments.
- Good interpersonal skills: Being friendly, humorous, cordial, and polite and treating people with respect and dignity. Relating well to others.
- Fiscal efficiency: Ability to prepare good financial budgets and spend wisely.
- Knowledge of policies: Having a good knowledge of local, state and federal laws, and policies regarding company for employees with visual impairments.
- Vision for future: Having ideas, goals and objectives for the future of the company for employees with visual impairment; the ability to make long range planning to meet these gals and objectives; ability to meet present needs.
- Delegating authority: Ability to share responsibilities with and to give adequate authority to subordinates to perform tasks.
- Providing support: Ability to readily guide and support the activities of subordinates; helping subordinates grow and success in their goals.
- Fairness: Treating people equally and appropriating resources evenly among various constituencies without bias or favoritism.
- Courage and firmness: Willingness to make tough and unpopular but necessary decisions and sticking to them.
- Creativity: Openness to new ways of doing things; using new ideas to do things differently.
- Hardworking: Commitment to spending long hours; persisting through the best possible efforts to accomplish goals efficiently and effectively.
- Good prioritizing skills: Ability to prioritize tasks; making sure the most essential tasks are performed before the less essential ones.
- Problem-solving skills: Having interests and capabilities in solving a variety of problems, and being able to compromise as well as assist others on solving problems.
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