The Fundamentals of Leadership in the Workplace For centuries there have been leaders and people have debated what makes a great leader. Leadership goes back to the time of the ancient Greeks. During the 1500’s, there was an Italian statesman Niccolo Machiavelli, who wrote The Prince, which he described methods for leaders to use in acquiring power (Leadership 2003). This all led to the recent activity dating to the early 1900’s and what has been developed and used in today’s society.
There are many theories of what a leader should possess and the fact that leaders throughout history have been men who were looked up to as leaders and well respected. This paper discusses the history of leadership, diversity between men and women in leadership and some laws and thoughts of what makes a successful leader well-qualified. Leadership has played an important role throughout history. Whatever we do or wherever we go, there are leaders providing leadership in our lives. History has provided us with some very important leaders who played roles and has defined the term “leader”.
Different types of leaders and different approaches to leadership exist. These approaches view leadership through different perspectives. Leadership is also the process of influencing others towards obtaining and reaching goals. A leadership style refers to the leaders who carry out the roles and responsibilities of the leadership process. There are conferences, motivational speakers as well as mentors of all types that teach leadership all over the world. Just look around and I bet you can think of a handful of leaders just off the top of your head that are people you look up to.
We look up to leaders and respect leaders. It also feels good to be a leader and to help others as well. In the article entitled “Leadership” it talks about the historical background of leadership throughout history; The author points out that leadership has been traced back to the time of the ancient Greeks and even back to an Italian named Niccolo’ Machiavelli, in which he wrote a book called “The Prince”. In this book Machiavelli states that leaders during that time used acquiring power. The ideas and theories of leadership have been uncovered and introduced to us from thousands of years ago.
It is important to learn from the past to make the future more promising. We use the information that was gathered from the past and add to it to make better decisions. To be a better leader one can learn from mentors that have became leaders before. In the article the author states that the theories can be “divided “in to two categories. In one of the categories the reasons are based on traits and behaviors, and the second reasons are based from particular situations. An example of the trait and behavior theory is that leaders were not born they were made, and that leaders were “chosen by God or the Gods. The article states that this theory was viewed by many and some believed that they would never become leaders. For thousands of years leadership has been researched and studied and many questions have been answered and some have not. It has been said that leaders have the ability to imagine new ways to achieve goals and relay them to others (2003). Another issue that has been important in leadership is diversity. Most people’s view of a leader throughout history has been that leaders are male rather than female.
Why is that? Investigators have found that female leaders tend to involve followers more in the decision making process. Statistics show that male leaders are often chosen over female. Leadership is also viewed differently from one culture to another (2003). Since there are many theories, one could argue that women are better leaders in the workplace. You make the decision. In reality most leaders are male, generally speaking. But, there are some important statistics when it comes to men and women in the workplace as leaders.
Here are some statistics to take into consideration: Women are slightly more likely than men to say they are ‘very confident’ in their ability to keep pace (61% vs. 57%); only 56% of women were “very interested” in continuing with their careers, vs. 69% of the men; fewer than half of the online professional’s surveyed feel that women receive equal pay for equal work in the industry: 55% of men, vs. 29% of women (Woods 2001). The article entitled Leadership as a Boss in the Workplace gives ideas and tips that may come in to use in the workplace. The author Charles Williams makes good points throughout this article.
For example, you have to love what you do in order to teach and guide others and you also must believe in your people and your company to be successful (Williams 2007). I believe that this is true in all aspects of leadership. Unless, you know what you are doing, it is hard to give people something they can take with them and apply later. He states that “if you have those who are not working as a team then it hurts everyone including the company. ” It is important to apply leadership in the workplace and with it you can all join together to get the job done together as a team.
When you are working with a group it is all about teamwork (pg 1). John C. Maxwell, the author of the book titled The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership he defines leadership as the ability to obtain followers. It is the ability to influence others to follow you because without followers who are you leading? A common misunderstanding is leading and managing is one in the same. The difference between leading and managing is that managing is focused on maintaining processes and leading is influencing people into a new direction (Maxwell 2002).
Having a title does not have value when it comes to being a leader. Leadership is all about respect and discipline. All that a title can do is bide time. A true leader defines oneself opposed to the title defining them. Maxwell’s twenty one laws that he touches on in this book are definitely encouraging as a reader. One of my favorite laws is the law of influence where he talks about how you cannot be a good leader if you are not a good influence. Influence is all about having followers, which goes back to the theory that one cannot be a good leader without followers (2002).
Another good one is the law of solid ground. This law is about trust and if trust is broken then you will not be a successful leader. So, if you are not trustworthy then nobody will follow you. Leadership in the workplace can be defined in many different ways, but the most important term in my opinion about a leader is respect. Throughout history, the most memorable leaders are the ones that were well respected or fell from grace. Of course, most leaders would not want to be remembered from falling from grace, but this has occurred and happens in our lives today.
The point is that leaders are looked up to and define a standard set forth by companies, organizations, laws and countries. Without leaders, we would be all followers and only destruction would come of it. Clearly, we can imagine in our lives what it would be like if we did not have someone to answer to. Leaders are needed to delegate and motivate responsibility and are considered well respected among their peers. A leader that is not respected is not a very good leader. Nobody will respect an untrustworthy person. Therefore, a leader who is untrustworthy will not have any followers.
Just as Maxwell states, what is a leader without any followers. Bibliography Beverly Woods. (2001-0620). Towards Equality in the High Tech Workplace. http://lowendmac. com/woods/01/0620. html Charles Williams. (2007-0125). Leadership As A Boss In The Workplace. John C. Maxwell (2002). The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc “Leadership. ”Current Issues: Macmillan Social Science Library. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2003 Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. University of Phoenix. 24 Aug. 2007