Part 2: Why Leadership Is Important?
As mentioned by Northouse (2013), many people believe that leadership is a way to improve their personal, social, and professional lives. Corporations seek those with leadership ability because they believe they bring special assets to their organizations and, ultimately, improve the bottom line (Northouse ,2013, p. 1). Accordingly, leadership is very important to lead organizations to better performance. Wren (1995) emphasizes that leadership has been conceived as the focus of group processes to achieve the goals of the organization. Therefore, as described by Lencioni (2002) leadership is very important to build a cohesive team to transform a good organization into a great one. As a result, leaders have an important role in the leadership process.
The personal learning of the leader is very important to influence others and teach values to them. The bottom line in leadership is not only how far leaders advance themselves but how far they advance others (Maxwell, 1998, p. 51). Therefore, to advance others, authentic leaders are required. They are recognized as change agents (Northouse, 2013, p. 214). As mentioned by Wren (1995), authentic leaders improve the performance of followers and develop them to their fullest potential, leading to better success of any organization.
Authentic leadership describes leadership that is transparent, morally grounded, and responsive to people’s needs and values (Northouse, 2013, p. 282). Authentic leaders put followers first and listen well to their needs; they are good motivators to their followers and have empathy towards them (Northouse, 2013). Accordingly, they make intelligent decisions based on their positive thinking, taking into consideration the needs of their followers to better the performances of the organization and the individuals (Wren, 1995). For example, Mahatma Gandhi’s life achievement stands unique in political history. He has invented a completely new and humane means for the liberation war of an oppressed country, and practiced it with the greatest energy and devotion. His leadership qualities and the people’s response to them transformed an entire nation. This element of authentic leadership is also highly applicable to priesthood. A priest in a church organization having this authentic leadership will have an incredible influence on developing the spirituality and moral values in the congregation. Jesus Christ spent a lot of time with his disciples teaching them Christian morals and focusing on developing their skills. He assisted them in reaching their maximum potential to serve others with full capacity. As mentioned by George, Sims, Mclean, and Mayer (2007), authentic leaders demonstrate a passion for their purpose, practice their values consistently, and lead with their hearts as well as their heads. They establish long term, meaningful relationships and have the self-discipline to get results; they know who they are (p. 164). Authentic leaders make a difference in the world through their unique leadership.
Authentic leaders use level 5 leadership in their leading process because they realize how leadership is important. As described by Collins (2001), they attend to people first, strategy second: “They get the right people on the bus” (p. 124). Therefore, they build cohesive teams who can use their full capacities to transform a good organization into a better one. For example, a pastor in a church chooses the right volunteers to assist him in the Sunday school classes and motivates them to excel in their work with their kids through encouraging words that clearly communicate the integral role they play in the spiritual growth of their kids. As a result, these volunteers can achieve the goal of the church organization which is improving the spirituality of the kids and developing their moralities.
As mentioned by Northouse (2013), authentic leadership is something unique in its perspective. It builds the leader’s legacy through honest leadership with followers. It is based on the leaders’ ethical and positive way of thinking towards the followers (Northouse , 2013). Therefore, the importance of leadership is building trust and generating enthusiastic support between leaders and followers to improve individual and team performance through using level 5 leadership concepts (Collins, 2001). Authentic leaders use effective leadership practices such as avoiding the five dysfunctions of a team and combating silos.
Continued in October 2016…
Leadership Theory Paper
Fr. Tadros Hirmina
St. Peter Seal of the Martyrs, Coptic Orthodox Church, West Palm Beach, Florida.
Palm Beach Atlantic University
Professor Anthony G. Allen
Collins, J. (2001). Level 5 leadership: The triumph of humility and fierce resolve. In HBR’S 10 Must Reads On Leadership (pp. 115-136). USA: Harvard Business Press.
George, B., Sims, P., Mclean, A.N., & Mayer, D. (2007). Discovering your authentic leadership. In HBR’S 10 Must Reads On Leadership (pp. 163-177). USA: Harvard Business Press.
Goleman, D. (1996). What makes a leader? In HBR’S 10 Must Reads On Leadership (pp. 1-21). USA: Harvard Business Press.
Lencioni, P. (2002). The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Lencioni, P. (2006). Silos, Politics and Turf Wars. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Maxwell, J. C. (1993). Developing the Leader Within You. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.
Maxwell, J. C. (1998). The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership Theory and Practice (6th ed.). New Delhi, India: SAGE.
Wren, J. T. (1995). Leader’s Companion: Insights on Leadership Through the Ages. New York: The Free Press.
Moses, a leader who can delegate
Exodus 18 describes a leadership dilemma that Moses was facing. Moses had to work all day long from morning till night resolving all kinds of conflicts arising among the more than 2 million Israelites whom he led out of slavery in Egypt.
His father-in-law, Jethro, a priest of Midian, saw that Moses’ workload was not humanly possible. He knew that his son-in-law was wearing himself out. He wisely pulled Moses aside and gave him some invaluable advice on the necessity of delegation in leadership.
Jethro knew that a leader cannot and should not do everything. Jethro advised Moses to establish a leadership hierarchy. He was to find ten qualified and trusted people to share the load with him. Those ten trusted people should in turn find other trusted people to share their load. “… and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times” (Ex. 18: 21-22).
Delegation freed Moses to do the most important job of all, a job that only Moses can do and that is to stand before God and teach the Israelites God’s statutes and laws. He was to only resolve the conflicts that the other leaders could not resolve.
We can learn from Moses that a leader can only be effective and efficient if he/she is able to develop, trust and delegate others to lead as well.