Leadership Research Essay
American Public University
September 22, 2019
For objectives of an organization to be effectively met, the organization needs to be divided into various groups which make the work of achieving the overall goal easier. These smaller groups and teams created in an organization requires a leader to direct their actions. For a leader to influence others, a leader must choose a leadership style that he/she is comfortable using and will be able to command influence from the followers. In this research essay, I focus on my style of leadership as well as my personal leadership traits. I have also included the plans I have to improve my leadership style as well as the steps to help me achieve the plans.
A. What leadership model, style, or theory best describes you as a leader? Why? Give examples using the terms and concepts in your textbook. 1) Skills Approach 2) Situational Approach 3) Behavioral Approach 4) Trait Approach 5) Path-Goal Approach
The leadership model that best describes me as a leader is the servant leadership. Servant leadership is a leadership style that is built in the philosophy that an effective leader is that leader who has the ability to serve those he is leading. Rather than taking control, the servant leader ensures that those under him/her are served first so that the organizational goals can be easily achieved. The other people that a servant leader strives to serve first include customers, fellow employees, partners as well as the community (Enyia, 2018). The reason why I like being a servant leader is because I believe that what matters in organizational leadership is what I have done to uplift others but not what they have done towards me.
Using my leadership style of being a servant leader, I can describe my leadership traits using the approaches that I have learnt from my class textbook. First, describing myself using the skills approach, I usually first strive to be competent with the technical skills that are necessary to meet my leadership goals. Once I have the technical skills, I am able to help others gain the same skills and prosper for I believe in making those that I am leading achieve their goals.
Secondly, I am also able to apply human skills such that I am able to easily communicate with people and also make people be open to me. It has always been easy for me to deal with people for I always show them that their views in as far as the organizational goals are very much important. This way, those under me are able to connect and relate well with me. Using the situational approach, I am usually able to make different situations suitable for servant leadership. For those situations that require fast decision making and consultation might not be possible, I always make the team members feel they were still the part of the decision making. I use this servant leadership in situations where a decision needs to be made and I cannot make decisions for the other team members. Again, situations where I want team members to grow their working skills, I also find it necessary to allow employees use their skills other than using my skills alone. Using the behavioral theoretical approach, my servant leadership skills are expressed through the observable behaviors that other people see in me. To make my followers motivated to work towards achievement of the goals, I always show them that they are important and that their views are more important than mine. It is through y behavior of acting like a servant towards my subordinates that motivates them to work harder and we end up achieving their goals. Using the train approach, I always apply the traits that present me as a servant leader to my followers. I always believe that it is through my traits which are unique that would make me command influence from the followers. My servant leadership traits that I employ in my leadership include; active listening, empathy, self-awareness, conceptualization of possibilities and the future, persuasion and commitment to growth of others. Lastly, Using the path-goal approach, I always make the goals known to the followers as well as the path to achieving the goals. This way, the followers are able to use the path to achieve the goals and earn the rewards available.
B. What are your most distinguishing leadership traits? What traits do you strive to learn to develop?
As a servant leader, there are various leadership traits that distinguish me from other leaders. The first distinguishing trait in my leadership is listening. Despite the fact that am the leader and my position is above my followers, I always believe in listening to the needs of others. Reason being, a servant leader aims at uplifting others and it possible to uplift others when you listen to them. Another leadership trait I possess is empathy. As a servant leader, I do not reject my co workers just because their behavior might not be in line with our values but rather, I accept them as they are and guide them accordingly. Another leadership trait I possess is self-awareness. I believe that to be a successful servant leader, I have to be aware of my weaknesses and capabilities so that I can know the extent to which I can help my followers improve themselves. As a leader, I also conceptualize possibilities in particular situation. Such that, even the issues that would affect the organization in future or would put my leadership at stake I foresee them through conceptualizing the reality. I am also a very persuasive leader. Through my ability to show my followers that I value their wellbeing, it becomes easy for me to persuade them accomplish a certain task. Finally, I am committed to the growth of others. The ultimate goal of servant leadership is to ensure that the followers grow through the service of their leader.
However, as a servant leader, there are still those traits that I still struggle to learn and develop. First, I always try to learn to be a good steward of the organization I work in. Stewardship is an important leadership quality of a servant leader for it allows the leader to assume full responsibility over the resources of the organization to ensure the organization improves its operations (Blanchard & Broadwell, 2018). Again, I also strive to build a community through my leadership. Community building is an important leadership trait of a servant leader for the leader builds a community in the workplace whereby each employee feels part of a larger community (Blanchard & Broadwell, 2018). However, in my leadership, I most of the times strive to uplift individual employees so that they can become useful without making them become members of a community who want to achieve a greater good of the organization. I would therefore like to learn to make a community with my team members.
C. As a follower, what leadership approach do you prefer from your leader?
As a follower, the leadership approach that I would prefer from my leader is democratic style leadership. Just like servant leadership, in democratic leadership, the members of a team are allowed to participate in the decision-making process of the group. Such that, it is not the sole responsibility of the leader to make decisions concerning the group issues. I like this leadership since it is characterized by group members sharing opinions and ideas before the leader makes the final decision. Again, this leadership approach makes the followers feel engaged through encouraging creativity as well as rewards to creativity (Cherry, 2019). The reason why I prefer this type of leadership as a follower is because I do not like leaders who micromanage their followers making all the decisions on their behalf. I also like being useful when I am a member of a team whereby my opinions are valued the same way I value opinions of others.
D. What leadership model or theory best describes how you influence others? Give examples.
The leadership theory that describes the way I influence others in my servant leadership is the trait approach. It is mostly through the personal traits I possess that makes the followers be influenced to follow my way of leadership. One of the traits that help me in influencing others through the trait approach is my drive of responsibility and my desire for task completion. I am also persistent in pursuing the goals that my group needs to achieve and hence others follow suit. I am also a risk taker in the decisions I make concerning my followers since even application of servant leadership which might not always be successful in some situations is risk taking. Again, my self-confidence is another trait that makes my followers get influenced to work with me for they see that I am confident with what I am asking them to do and hence they gain confidence in me. For example, when we are faced with an activity that needs to be done within a given deadline, there are some instances that my followers can see that the deadline is too soon for them to be able to complete the task. However, I influence them through acting confident that we will be able to complete within the deadline. This way, the team members are able to work more than their expectations due to the confidence they see in me. Additionally, I am usually able to tolerate delay and frustration. Tolerating frustration and delay is an important personal trait for any leadership style since there is no team that is perfect or has the ability to complete all tasks on time (Northouse, 2016). Therefore, when my followers see that I can tolerate their weakness, they are influenced to work harder for they feel I can understand them as imperfect human beings.
E. Based on your self-assessments, your current leadership and motivational skills, and the knowledge you have gained from the course materials, what goals will you set and what plan of action will you implement to improve your (1) leadership and (2) motivation? Include the type of leadership theory or model you intend to implement to achieve your goals.
To improve my servant leadership, there are various goals that I plan to implement. First, I plan to be offering to help other people in fulfilling their needs. I aspire my main goal of leadership is to ensure that I put the needs of other people before my own needs. Such that, when one of my team members are having problems to complete a particular task, I make it my duty to step in and help them. Secondly, I also plan to improve my communication skills. As a leader, it is important to listen to the views of others and it is also the role of the leader to provide feedback. I also intend to be communicating the goals that I want to be achieved by the team members on time. Therefore, listening, giving feedback and communication of goals and objectives are the communication skills that I plan to improve so that my followers can always be up to date and be able to communicate with me.
As a leader, to improve motivation among my followers, I plan to set achievable goals and offer consistent rewards. As a leader, setting achievable goals is a great way to motivate followers so that they can work hard to achieve the goals. After the followers have achieved the set goals, it is important to praise them publicly so that they can feel motivated to achieve more next time. Again, in rewarding, it is important that I make sure that whatever I have promised as a reward I give it consistently and timely.
F. Explain the steps you need to take to complete each of these self-improvement goals?
To make sure that I achieve the goal of helping other people, I would first make sure that I delegate most of my duties so that I am left with the duty of checking how others are doing. Secondly, I make sure that I check each persons progress on their given tasks. Where I realize help is needed, I offer to help gladly. On improving my communication skills, my first step will be to communicate the goals and objectives, secondly, I ask the team members for their opinion, thirdly, I think over the views and provide feedback on time. Lastly, to improve motivation among my followers, I would first ensure that all the followers are aware of what is expected of them, secondly, I would help where the followers are stuck, thirdly, I would analyze the results and finally reward the promised rewards.
Enyia S.O (2018). Servant Leadership. Page Publishing Inc
Blanchard, K., & Broadwell, R. (2018). Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results. Oakland: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Incorporated.
Cherry K (2019). The Democratic Style of Leadership. Very well Mind. Retrieved from
Northouse P.G (2016). LEADERSHIP: Theory and Practice. Seventh Edition. SAGE Publications, Inc.