One of the commonest characteristics of relationships of human beings is that they tend to form organizations and then from these organizations they start ranking themselves. It is from these ranks that some people gain higher positions of authority and they are commonly regarded as leaders. However, leadership should not be confused to mean having more power in the society. Rather, leadership should be about showing those being led which is the preferable way towards dealing with their differences and also for overturning the numerous challenges they encounter in their day to day activities. However, this has not been the case as more and more people have adopted the wrong idea about leadership and they take advantage of their positions whenever they are placed in leadership positions.
One common definition of leadership is that it is an organization of a group of people who have come together with an aim of achieving some preset target (Zastrow, & Kirst-Ashman, 2007). The organization sets up the target and from within or beyond looks for a person or a group of people who will steer the organization towards achieving the targets or to attain the best outcome from the effort made. However, leadership does not necessarily involve giving authority or power to an individual or to a group people who are regarded as leaders. It is rather a way of handing responsibilities to the selected few to harmonize the differences and assist in achievement of an organization’s goals.
There are various theories that have attempted to define what leadership is and also used to define the dynamism in leadership. However, it is not easy to come up with a single theory that describes leadership due to the dynamism in the models of leadership and also the varying situations where leadership is to be applied such as from as low as family level and as high as international governance. In all these levels leadership is practiced and it is not easy to explain what leadership theory is most effective for them all. One theory that has been commonly used in explanation of leadership models is the Situational Leadership Theory.
The theory was developed by Professor Paul Hersey and it is popularly used whenever referring to matters of leadership. As the theory is named, it is based on how leadership is applied in different situation with an insight on how different situations require different approaches in leadership (Northouse, 2010). The main characteristics of the theory is that it emphasizes on making those regarded as leaders to slowly and keenly deviate the approach from being the leaders and to being colleagues with those who were initially being led.
The argument is much applicable as it is explained that as time goes by and with all the experiences that the followers gain, they gain substantial knowledge and skills which are applicable towards achievement of the set goals (Utley, 2011). Therefore the person or the group of people who were in leadership initially should change from acting as the leaders and embrace the knowledge skills developed by the followers so that they start being part of the solution and not just following to commands in some cases or guidelines in fairer cases. This way the followers act as being promoted and the leaders as being demoted and they come to a common ground where there is not much difference between the leaders and the followers.
Nearing the end of responding to the specific situation, the followers nearly stop experiencing supervision and they start operating in delegation. There is much similarity in the social relations between those who leaders initially and those who were followers (Northouse, 2010). It therefore accomplishes the ultimate principle of leadership which is basically achieving goals through the people and with the people.
The theory is much applicable in running a Human Service Agency as it will help in reaching for a solution that is centered on those who are being served. Human service agencies seek to find a sustainable solution towards achievement of better living standards and the social-economic well-being of the community (Burger, 2011). The theory is will therefore be vital in changing the mentality of the communities so that they can get to learn how to be part of the solution they may be seeking. This is one of the surest ways of ensuring that the causes that may have led to the communities’ present situation.
Making the community members to be part of seeking the solution will make enable the community to accept the solutions found with ease. It will also contribute towards creating an understanding the between the leaders and the community as the community will be easily convinced of the good intentions of the leaders and also it will be easier for the leaders to pass their ideas without rejection. Making the community to be part of the solution will also ensure it is a long lasting solution as every activity will be fully owned by the community and so the community will stick to the principles that helped in bring the positive change (Denhardt et al, 2002). If the solution was to be dictated to them then it may have negative impacts on some members and therefore it will be challenged by many of the community members and it may be unsuccessful.
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From the basic principle of the theory which is to ensure achieving goals through the people and with the people, the community members will reach a point where they are all handed responsibilities according to their capabilities and so they will reduce over-reliance on a few individuals and promote participation from each member (Burger, 2011). For this reason, it will be the easier to attend to all the tasks that are useful towards promoting human well-being which would other be difficult if left to a few individuals and may even cause conflicts within the community.
There are various traits that determine who can be classified as a good leader and who is not. One of the greatest mistakes made in leadership is the assumption that there are those people who are born as natural leaders and so they always want to be on the forefront in giving directions on how to approach different situations. It is also irrational to think that there are perfect leaders where leaders can only be preferable but not perfect. The criterion for determining who is a preferable leader is basically a combination of traits which determine a good leader (Palmisano, 2008). The person with more traits of a good leader and in relation to the situation where the leadership is applied is therefore the best leader for that situation. Some of the traits of a good leader are as explained below.
As a leader, one very important trait is enthusiasm which will promote the urge for success (Northouse, 2010). It is important to keep in mind that the purpose of leadership is to achieve success in the situation being faced and so the urge to achieve it is an important characteristic. Without enthusiasm, the leader is likely to despair and therefore he or she may not be able to face the challenges that face the leaders specifically and those that face the wider community being led. Most leaders are faced with difficult tasks of they are looked upon by the followers as the only sign of hope and so if they do not struggle to remain as lively as possible it may cause the followers to lose faith and feel like nothing will actually be achieved. Therefore the leaders should be as enthusiastic as possible as they attend to their duties.
The leaders also ought to be morally upright because not only are they role models to the followers but it is also with good morals that the leaders can be able to lead with responsibility and with respect for humanity (Palmisano, 2008). Good morals will ensure that the leaders place the interests of the wider community before personal interests. Selfishness and greed has led to failure of many people who would otherwise be successful leaders. They focus so much on personal gains that they forget to respects the needs of the whole society. For this reason many of them face rejection and they may also be demoted thereby failing to achieve what they would otherwise have achieved with ease. The leaders also need to be morally upright so that their followers can believe that what they are helping to be achieved is actually for the good of the society and not for them alone.
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It is important to realize that ambition is very important as a driving force towards achieving success (Northouse, 2010). However, leaders should not be overambitious and set unachievable goals because this will exhaust the stakeholders but with no success and may demoralize the society even when they would have made an attempt to correct similar situations in future. it is therefore important that the leaders be realistic in setting the goals but again not too low as that may again invite laziness among the various stakeholders.
It is also important for the leaders to show confidence in all the duties they execute. More often than not, the community members are not as informed as the leaders but it is upon the leaders to show them how to achieve their maximum potential in providing a solution to their problems (Denhardt et al, 2002). However, if the leaders show disbelief in their work and they seem not to be sure of a positive outcome in the long run then the followers will not be confident too and they may reject the ideas given by the leaders. It is therefore important that the leaders have a proper understanding of their ideas and they present them in with the confidence that leaves no doubt to the followers on the workability of their ideas.
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These are some basic traits that leaders should carry with them as they not only promote them in achieving their goals but they also help the societies in achieving better living conditions whether socially or economically or even in other aspects of life. Lack of such basic traits may lead to a waste of time and resources and it will be difficult for both the leaders and the followers to achieve their goals even after investing a lot of time and resources (Burger, 2011).
Leadership can be said to be a key determinant of how well or poorly the society achieves its goals. Other factors may be supplied in plenty such as unity and economic support but without proper leadership it is virtually impossible to achieve the targets. Proper training on leadership skills is fundamental in ensuring that the society reaches its full potential in all aspects. The leaders should also avoid putting personal interests before those of the society so as to ensure a cordial relationship with the society which will make execution of their duties much easier and more productive.