It is important for every organization to have great leaders under whose direction the organization achieves its goals and celebrates success. A leader is the one who has strong focus on the vision and goals of an organization and remains in pursuit of achieving the goals. The characteristics of a leader enable him to influence and motivate his or her sub-ordinates and team members to achieve targets. Without effective leadership, it is not possible for an organization to achieve its goals and targets. Thus, poor leadership could lead to poor management and organizational failure.
This paper will discuss great influential leaders in businesses that have made their way to success through their leadership qualities. In addition, the paper will discuss how leaders manage organizations successfully. Finally, the paper will highlight the poor leadership factors that contribute to organization failure.
Influential leadership and success
It is important for every leader to have influential leadership qualities that enables him or her to become a successful leader. Moreover, a leader does not only give command and directs his or her team to work that is assigned to them, but also works along with them to complete the task. In this sense, the leader serves as a servant. Tompson (2008) has defined the idea of “Servant Leadership” as said by Robert Greenleaf that a leader as being a servant that serves the rest of his or her team that, without individual gain being the priority, can effectively lead people to a very successful organization even outside the business world. Similarly, Schultz (2011) supported that servant leaders provide better leadership models which result from better teams and better discipline, thus able to discover long-term goals through their strong and passionate desire to lead their company in a better direction. Moreover, he added that servant leaders focus more on long-term goals rather than the short-term profits that, although very good at generating wealth for the company, do not extend real purpose to the company and will eventually hurt bigger profits in the long run. Thus, besides acting as a servant, it is more important for the leader to have qualities of transformational leadership. This is because the transformational leadership helps to increase the morale, performance, dedication and motivation of both teams and leaders. In addition, acting as a transformational leader, they can promote vision of the organization, initiate and lead organizational change, etc that contributes to the success of the organization. Moreover, transformational leaders have qualities such as inspiring, charismatic and trustworthiness that helps them to lead by examples. These qualities also enable leaders to identify weaknesses and strengths of their team that helps to align goals and tasks to optimize performance. This view is supported by Jackson (2008) who states that transformational leadership entails the leader take on the organization as if it is a family. The leader engages with the organization in close, emotional and friendly experiences to help efficiency. In addition, he added that Charisma is seen to be a very important quality with someone using transformational leadership, but it should not be expected that all the same expected results will follow. This is because it is still not known exactly how effective of an approach that transformational leadership might be, but many feel that it is an interesting and exciting way to stimulate productivity and engage an organization to continue a successful business (Jackson, 2008).
Anyone can be a leader; however certain factors help in the development of leadership qualities. An individual to be an influential leader must possess certain specific qualities and traits that differentiate him or her from managers. Moreover, having specific leadership qualities also helps to achieve organizational goals. However, these leadership qualities are often developed with the passage of time. Moreover, the environment in which they work also contributes to the development of leadership qualities in an individual. This view is supported by different authors. For instance, according to Day and Harrison (2006), leaders and employees are nothing without the creation of a good environment that would better equip and suit them all, with trust being a core concern for all members so they can fully function their creative abilities. Moreover, the creation of both good leaders and good leadership comes from overcoming challenges and becoming a good source of effective strategies, thus leaders can further pursue different leadership qualities (Day and Harrison, 2006). This reflects that challenges that are faced by the individuals help them to become a good leader.
Influential leaders of the current century
Constant changing and dynamic business world has given rise to the importance of great leadership required by an organization. Therefore, in context to business world, there are many leaders whose leadership approach has changed the fate of the organizations. Moreover, the CEO or the leader of the successful organizations belongs to a wide range of backgrounds that have come up with their visions and pushed boundaries to run a successful organization. For instance, Vozza (2013) have highlighted different inspirational leaders who have given new face to their organizations such as Steve Jobs who rose Apple’s stock to more than 9,000 percent, Lee Iacocca save Chrysler, Ed Whitcare save GM, Dan Hesse save Sprint, Doug Conant out performed Campbell’s Soup’s performance etc (Vozza, 2013). All these leaders have taken serious step and bold decisions to turn around the organization that has also made them influential leaders of today’s century. Likewise, Daum (2014) in his articles has presented how leadership approach of Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg has made them successful. He has also discussed that there are many things men afraid of them workers: fear of failure, fear of the market, the fear of loss, fear of society, fear of competition, fear of directing, etc. Therefore, successful leaders are required to commit time and effort to know and improve themselves (Daum, 2014). Besides this, a leader is required to be innovative that makes them successful. Lipscombe (2013) has listed 30 most innovative leaders of 2013 that include Reed Hastings (Netflix), Jørgen Vig Knudstorp (LEGO), Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook), Karl-Johan Persson (H&M), Dominique Ansel (Dominique Ansel Bakery), Jan Koum (WhatsApp), Larry Page (Google), Elon Musk (Tesla Motors and SpaceX), Marissa Mayer (Yahoo!), Evan Spiegel (Snapchat), Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com), Dick Costolo (Twitter), Angela Ahrendts (Burberry), Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway), Mark Parker (Nike), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Jonah Peretti (BuzzFeed), Kat Cole (Cinnabon), Brian Chesky (Airbnb), Ben Silbermann (Pinterest), Patrick Doyle (Domino’s), Tim Cook (Apple), Harriet Green (Thomas Cook), Huateng “Pony” Ma (Tencent), Jeremy Stoppelman (Yelp), Sophia Amoruso (Nasty Gal), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Kevin Systrom (Instagram) and Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn). All these most innovative leaders constantly bring new innovation to their company’s product that is one of the rising demands by customers. Thus, the study of different business leaders shows strong leadership qualities have made them a successful leader.
Qualities of an Effective Leader
According to Pater (2014), a great leader is the one who amazes and changes everything in the world for the better (Pater, 2014). An effective business leader has many different characteristics and traits that encourage its subordinates to follow him. A leader usually possesses certain qualities that make him a successful leader. Some of leadership qualities include integrity and compassion, or often learns leadership skills by experience and formal trainings. Moreover, the qualities of an effective leader help to inspire respect and trust in the subordinates and stimulate efficiency within the organization. Some of the leadership qualities that are defined by Stevens (2003) includes strong special talents and specifications, different ideas and activities, enthusiasm, diligence, prestige, listening, enthusiasm, awareness, decisive, reward, wonder, shallow mission/vision, hypocrisy, isolation, and positive communication (Stevens, 2003). Likewise, University of Oregon (2009) has heighted few qualities that must be possessed by an effective leader such as proactive vs. reactive, flexible/adaptable, respectful, quiet confidence, a good communicator, open minded, rewarding, enthusiastic, well educated, open to change, interested in feedback, evaluative, organized, delegator, consistent and initiative. According to Scott (2014), effective qualities of a leader include communication, organization, respectful, confidence, fairness, integrity, influential, delegation, facilitator and negotiation. Thus, in order to be a successful leader, it is important that a leader must be more than a layman, i.e., he or she needs different qualities of an effective leader.
Leader acting as a manager
A good leader can be a manager but a manager cannot necessarily be a leader. This is because a leader acting as a manager has to perform many different activities that are beyond core functions of management such as planning, controlling, monitoring, organizing and scheduling. Besides being a manager, a leader pays more attention to the employees who are the important resources of an organization.
According to Stevens (2003), presidents or managers who manage their organization who have the qualifications for excellence and success represent leadership (Stevens, 2003). Moreover, a leader acting as a manager is assigned with a responsibility to ensure organization growth and prosperity. Similarly, Liopis (2014) in his article has also highlighted some functions that are required to be performed as a manager acting as a good leader. According to him, there are five things you should consider in order to prepare more effectively as a leader: Never stop being accountable, pause and pay attention to your employees, improve your approach to problem-solving, Listen carefully, and Allow failure to guide you in the right direction (Liopis, 2014). Another important quality that must be possessed by a leader is emotional intelligence. This is because lack of emotional intelligence affects leader’s ability to control difficult situations. According to Lash (2011), as a leader is required to arrange everything in the organization, for example, support, assistance, and attention; therefore it is important that a leader needs the skills and expertise along with emotional intelligence that enable him or her to work successfully (Lash, 2011).
Poor leadership factors that contribute to organization failure
Successful leadership approach ensures continuation of the organization growth and ensures lot of success and achievement. However, poor preparation leads to leadership failure. According to Stevens (2003) states that leader often fails without good preparation, and therefore it is important to prepare a good leader to avoid organization failure. Thus, preparing a weak leader should be avoided because it is possible to negatively affect the business (Stevens, 2003). Besides good preparation, there are many other reasons that cause leaders to fail. One of such reason is lack of ability to learn continuously and adapt to changing situations.
All the leaders that are successful have constantly changed their vision and approach according to the changing external environment. This view is supported by Schawbel (2013) who in his article states that one key to being a leader is constantly learning, and those leaders who think they know everything alienate themselves from their employees, often ignoring what they have to say which might be very helpful. Not having the ability to adapt to lead a company to a new direction or environment is also detrimental as is lacking the ability to communicate their goals and processes to their employees (Schawbel, 2013). Similarly, other negative traits such as selfishness, greed, inadequate use of power, pressurize workers etc leads to failure. Schawbel (2013) has emphasized on the basic rules of leadership and ultimately end up hurting themselves and their teams are selfishness and greed that create problems. He added that, a good leader is the one who instead of passing down tasks and advice to their employees; they decide to take on their employees’ challenges and roles (Schawbel, 2013). Besides this, lack of vision or poor vision affects the approach of leaders to achieve goals or organizational objectives. Due to lack of strong vision, a leader cannot guide his or her subordinates to work in alignment to the goals.
According to Myatt (2012), businesses fall because of poor leadership, i.e., lack of character, vision and execution often might be a source for failures as showing good character can give it to others, showing no or a flawed vision for success means that no one can know where the responsibility should go and poor execution of entrepreneurs who can’t manage risks well or use big opportunities to their advantage will create inexcusable problems. Poor leadership also involves having poor strategies and receiving poor management come from bad leaders who can’t identify management talent who then blame their problems on management when they fail. Similarly, another factor behind poor leadership is that is well said by Myatt (2012) that a toxic culture can introduce very low productivity and that can only be eradicated under good leadership. He said that toxic culture can lower innovation and no innovation means no outlook for the future and thus no greatness for the company.
Without a good market, a business will not be able to grow at a steady pace and may move too fast or too slow and lack of awareness of this will lead to lack of awareness of competition. Lack of competitive awareness will never give a leader good idea on how to explore the business’ landscape or outlook (Myatt, 2012).
In a nutshell, it could be said that leaders are required to possess certain qualities that makes them a good leader. Moreover, because of different leadership qualities such as integrity, emotional intelligence, good vision, confidence, innovativeness, etc a leader can lead a successfully. In context of business environment, it has become important for the organizations to have good leaders that contribute to the overall success of the organization, bring innovativeness in products and services, and increase competitiveness in the industry. However, if an organization lacks good leader, it won’t be able to compete in the business industry. In addition, the poor leadership qualities of the top management will lead to organization failure.
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