Leading a Team to Greatness

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An effective leader has the powerful ability to enhance the abilities of his followers and to maximize the performance of his team, which dramatically increases the chances of the team succeeding and overcoming the many challenges that they encounter.  Numerous psychologists, scientists and thinkers have studies the genetic and behavioral qualities that good leaders often possess, and many different theories have been proposed to help explain what characteristics constitute an effective leader.  As I develop and lead my own business to fulfill a successful career, it is important that I also develop my leadership skills as a way of life so I can help all of my followers reach their ultimate potential and so I can help the team achieve the highest level of greatness possible.  As a leader of a business, the primary leadership theories that are most beneficial for my purposes and that I will apply to my own leadership patterns include the transformational leadership theory, the participative leadership theory and the situational leadership theory.

The transformational leadership theory indicates that a leader can help his followers reach their potential by demonstrating the proper behavior that leads to success and by inspiring the team to also achieve success.  To enhance my own leadership abilities, it is important that I fulfill the four different components or factors of transformational leadership, which are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation (Riggio, 2009).

I will act as an idealized influence by serving as an excellent role model for the team to replicate.  Being an idealized influence requires that I succeed at important tasks and that I demonstrate the manner in which the team should act to also reach success.  When the team sees that my behavior and style results in positive results, it will provide me with a significant amount of credibility, and this credibility will increase the team’s trust in me, enhance their willingness to follow me, and instill them with confidence that they too can be successfully by imitating my effective style (Riggio, 2009).    

Although my mannerisms and actions will serve as an ideal model for the team to follow, I must also use my language and communication abilities to provide inspirational motivation for my team, which is another aspect of transformational leadership (Riggio, 2009).  I must inspire and motivate my team to work hard by expressing a noble vision that provides the company and their work with a high level of importance.  I must also display passion and enthusiasm towards the vision, as this infectiously energetic attitude will provide my team with the passion and enthusiasm needed to perform at exceptional levels.  Knowing that they are working to fulfill a significant purpose or vision can enhance the team’s motivation to exert all of their time, hard work and energy towards reaching that goal.  

Confidence and optimism are also crucial elements required to inspire followers, for radiating with confidence regarding the importance of our mission and our ability to complete the mission will provide my followers with confidence that the team and all of its members can overcome any challenge that the company faces.  Although it’s easy to be confident during good situations, it is essential that I remain optimistic and confident even during bad situations.  Like all companies, my business will inevitably be confronted with negative circumstance and stressful high-pressure situations.  If I respond to these difficult situations by appearing nervous, doubtful and pessimistic, seeing their leader in this condition would demoralize, deflate and dishearten my entire team, which of course would dramatically impair their performance.  Thus, I must remain calm, optimistic and confident even during crisis situations (Riggio, 2009).     

I also must provide individualized consideration to be a transformational leader.  To demonstrate individualized consideration, I will communicate and establish a relationship with the members of my team, as this will amplify their trust in me, their passion for the vision and their willingness to perform at a high level.  Additionally, intellectual stimulation is an important aspect of transformational leadership.  To intellectually stimulate my team, I must emphasize that each member of my team has the potential to reach greatness and that I am confident in their ability to do so.  However, I also will need to set high expectations for them, compliment them when they exceed the expectations, and encourage or challenge my followers when they are not meeting the expectations (Riggio, 2009).  

Another leadership theory that I will exercise to maximize the performance level of my team is the participative leadership theory.  Workers are much more willing to devote all of their time and energy to a company if they believe that they have an important and powerful role within the company.  Thus, while I must assert myself as the leader, I must also empower my team with confidence by allowing them to express their opinions and to be actively involved during the decision-making processes.  This involvement tightens their sense of connection to the decisions and to the overall company, which increases their levels of motivation and dedication.  I will also facilitate collaboration and teamwork by consistently emphasizing that our team must work together to reach joint-goals, which will enhance the solidarity and camaraderie of the team and thus enable the team to more effectively collaborate together as a group (ETSU, 2009). 

Because every situation and person requires a different response from the leader, there is no official and exact formula that establishes how a leader should always act, and thus I must also apply the situational leadership theory to my own behavior as a leader.  The situational theory suggests that a leader should not always repeat the same identical leadership pattern for every person and for every situation, but instead that he should employ different styles of leadership according to which style would be most appropriate and effective for each given person or situation (Ryan, n.d.).  To implement the situational theory method, I will adjust and alter my leadership methods to match every situation I encounter.  I must first assess each individual on my team according to the four zones or levels of ability and confidence (Ryan, ND).  Some of my beginning followers will require me to provide specific instructions and thorough demonstrations regarding how to successfully complete certain tasks.  In contrast, more advanced members of my team might only require some support and encouragement.  Likewise, I will have to assess the temperaments and personalities of my followers so I can determine the best ways to challenge them when they need to improve their performances.   Some people respond best to gentle encouragement while others respond better to aggressive criticism, and I will have to use my judgment as to which form of motivation would be best for each person and for each situation (Ryan, n.d.).  

Most great teams are guided by great leaders, and thus I must develop and implement excellent leadership skills so I can maximize the performance level of my team, empower my followers to reach their potential and enable my business to achieve great heights of success.  The transformational theory, participative theory and situational theory are the most important leadership models that I will employ to help me be the best leader I can be and to help my team become as successful as possible. 

References

ETSU. (2009). Leadership theories and styles.  Eastern Tennessee State University: IAAP 2009 Administrative Professionals Week Event.  Retrieved from http://www.etsu.edu/ahsc/documents/Leadership_Theories.pdf

Riggio, R.  (2009).  Are you a transformational leader?  Psychology Today: Cutting Edge Leadership.  Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cutting-edge-leadership/200903/are-you-transformational-leader

Ryan, J.  (n.d.).  Situational leadership theory defined.  Academia.edu.  Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/1094946/Situational_Leadership_Theory_Defined