Posts Tagged ‘support and guidance’

(8) Effective Leadership: What is the Result and What Does it all Mean?

      We began this course with a look at the leadership puzzle—how different pieces combine to complete the picture on the top of the puzzle box.  Our goal is to now put all the pieces together to measure and sustain success.  The question we need to ask is what are the important components and how do they all work together to form the whole?

            Remember that leaders have followers.  To be a follower, one must have trust and faith in their leaders.  A follower must believe in the vision of their leader and be willing to follow them on this path to make this vision happen.  Leaders must then also have high moral character and integrity while pursuing actions that are ethical to instill loyalty in their followers.  These beliefs, skills, and core principles and values help achieve the goals of both the leader and the organizations for which they work.

            How do we put this all together within a framework that will offer a clear path to travel?  Let’s look at the relationship between leaders and their followers and how this all works together for answers.

            The leader follower relationship is an important component for effective leaders.  As we have discussed in previous modules, leadership is a social exchange relationship.  Followers receive support and guidance that they need to be successful within their jobs to meet the goals of the organization.  “Each party to the relationship is connected simply because the costs that they incur are offset by the benefits that are received” (Pierce & Newstrom, 2011, pp. 26-27).  In other words, there are benefits for both the leader and follower—creating a win-win for everyone.

            As a result of this relationship, trust is created where both the leader and follower will work together as part of a team that can achieve more together than separately.  Why is this important?  Research suggests that trust has a significant impact on the outcomes of work within organizations (Pierce & Newstrom, 2011).  When we trust the organizations and leaders we work for, more work gets done and people are happier doing it.  Quite simply, quality leadership has a positive impact on human behavior. Consequently, this human behavior translates into positive results for the companies we work for in terms of processes and outcomes.  When we have good leaders, we want to work hard for them and what they ask of us.

            What type of leaders then do we really want to work for?  Research shows that we like the real thing.  We want leaders that are authentic and genuine. We want leaders that demonstrate strong character who offer integrity firmly grounded in ethical behavior that supports their core values, principles, and beliefs in who they are and the organizations that they represent (Pierce & Newstrom, 2011).  We want to believe in those we follow.  In addition, leaders want to believe in those that follow them.  This social exchange is the glue that holds this leader-follower relationship together, providing a strong foundation on which to build organizations for professional and personal reasons.

            As this course draws to a close, we must look to what we have learned and more importantly how these personal discoveries will impact our behavior as leaders and followers going forward.  Remember that people look to us not just for what we say, and for what we do in both roles.  How does our outward behavior match and support our inner core principles and values?  Do we talk the talk and walk the walk?  What type of leaders and followers do we want to be?  What type of impacts do we want to have? 

Leadership is not difficult; however its strength is in the details, the little things that pay big dividends.  Sometimes leadership will be in grand gestures and big moments; sometimes leadership will simply come softly (Lentz, 2009).  What then is our ultimate purpose for what we have learned here?  In the words of Mohandas Gandhi “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

References

Lentz, C. (2010). Journey outside the golden palace: A story of transformation. Las Vegas, NV: The Lentz Leadership Institute.

Pierce, J. L., & Newstrom, J. W. (2011).  Leaders and the leadership process: Building self-assessments and applications (6th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

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May 9th, 2011 by admin