Leadership is a skill that touches on an individuals capability to guide an organization, a team or other individuals. It is a holistic concept that can incorporate the attainment of higher levels of power, control or need to show power. It may also be comprised of the superior mental capabilities, the high motivational strength that may be observed in behaviors and communication through determination and courage (House & Howell, 1992). Notably, leadership has been cited as linked in several traits. This study will look into confidence, knowledge and aggression and how they possibly impact and define leadership in varied contexts.
Confidence is a key ingredient in leadership. One has to have self-confidence which culminates in believing in ones capabilities as a leader (White, De Sanctis & Crino,1981). It also manifests itself in the manner in which individuals embrace their decisions against the backdrop of uncertainty (Stark, 2014). It is prudent to note that not all leaders are confident and thus have to work hard to attain self-confidence. A good example is Sir Terry Leahy. He happens to head Tesco one of the largest retailer chain stores in Britain. Despite his remarkable trackrecord, he still describes himself as quite shy and not overly confident. Despite his shortcomings as a confident leader, Leahy has grown Tesco in his 13 years tenure (Chuang, 2013). Many leaders mask their inadequate confidence with much bravado. Bravado, however, insulates them from the reality as they develop a know-it-all attitude. This leads to leadership inefficiencies in the effort by a leader to avoid being termed vulnerable by his or her followers. It is through self-awareness that leaders can truly be cognizant of their strengths and weaknesses. Understanding the aforementioned elements in a balanced way ensures leaders develop themselves in a structured way (White, De Sanctis & Crino,1981). Weaknesses, for instance, may be seen as challenges more rather than obstacles. The management of inner dialogue, embracing failure, pursuing mentorship and establishing feedback are some of the ways leaders can improve on confidence.
Confidence should be understood for its potential role it forms in carving leaders. Through confidence, a leader can inspire his followers. A confident leader also understands that incorporating varied opinions from those under him does not amount to weakness. He or she is self-assured and does not to validate his power by intimidating others (Psychology Wiki, 2016). The leader also is not afraid of failures or more rather challenges that arise in the course of undertaking various roles. The confidence is essential in ensuring that the leader grows by incorporating the new dynamics through the leadership journey.
Knowledge is a critical facet of leadership. By acquiring superior knowledge or acquiring expertise in certain areas, leaders can maintain control and influence among their followers. Knowledge further enhances the productivity of the same leaders. It is through knowledge of various management areas that leaders can understand how best to interact and handle situations within a workplace. Cross-cultural management, for instance, demands a leader understands the importance of diversity at a workplace. It also ensures the same leader understands the benefit of incorporating and blending different talents and individuals with the quest of attaining set targets. The knowledge further is essential in ensuring that a leader can cope with the varied dynamics at the workplace. Emerging global trends like virtual working and e-leadership can be easily understood and integrated within organizations through technological knowledge.
Knowledge is key in ensuring that the leadership is kept abreast of workplace practices. It also ensures that the leader continues to be sensitive to the cultural diversity in the workplace. A leader is expected to be neutral hence knowledge can ensure that stereotypes are done away with at the workplace. Cultural bias is also avoided at the workplace making a leader adopt a global mindset that is cognizant of the workplace as a place that is meant to grow holistically. The workplace ought not to focus on meeting set objectives but also to grow the various individuals regarding experience and skills. Knowledge also ensures that leadership is effective in its mandate as an information source. A leader should be able to conceptualize an idea with the intent of sharing it and offering direction to his or her team before further brainstorming. Knowledge also ensures that the leadership of a team or organization suffices as a reliable source of guidance and mission within the organizational or teamwork context.
Aggression is founded on cultivating fear and coercion at the workplace. It is founded on self-assertion meaning that a leader goes to an extent of engaging in angry and destructive behavior in the quest of ensuring objectives are met within the workplace (Sylwester, 1997). The contrast of the aggressive leadership is the assertive leadership which focuses on respect for others and oneself in pursuance of objectives. The assertive leader is seen to be pragmatic and inclined towards the two-way productivity (win-win) situation. This type of leader does not shy away from the debate on decisions made. Assertive leaders are also inclined towards on finding solutions or compromise. The aggressive leadership, on the other hand, looks at leadership as an avenue to exert superiority. Many of the aggressive leaders prefer having their way around situations. They pursue manipulation and blame games.
Women have been found to pursue aggression as a means of stamping their authority within male dominated organizations. Women feel that they have to act masculine for their actions and roles to have an n impact within an organization (BPW International, 2015). It is however largely not their fault. It is mainly because of the stereotypes and gender discrimination witnessed at the workplace. Women leaders are treated differently by their followers as compared to males (American Psychological Association,2005). However, all is not lost for the women leadership. Many women leaders are advised to focus on their strengths while at the same time downplaying their weaknesses. Emotional intelligence is said to be high in women. This means that women can easily gain the trust of their follower or employees by observing and relating to their individual predicaments and experiences. By focussing on free worker-leader interaction as well as creating a conducive work environment, women leaders can thrive by not being aggressive.
In conclusion, confidence, knowledge and aggressiveness are three key attributes that have different implications to leadership. Confidence ensures that a leader inspires others through self-belief and positive outlook of the workplace. It is through confidence that leaders can surmount problems by observing them as challenges that can be solved like any other. Knowledge is a keyelement in leadership. It is through the knowledge that a leader can comprehend dynamics at play among his or her followers. It is through the knowledge that a leader may exert control through acting as a reference point or a key force behind brainstorming and conceptualization of the ideas executed by his or her followers. Aggression, on the other hand, is a negative aspect that diminishes leadership in its mandate. An aggressive leader suffices as bossy. Aggressiveness alienates the leader from the positive synergy that is brought forth by teamwork. The workplace thrives on terror, blame-game and lack of positive rapport.
American Psychological Association. (2005, October 20). Men and Women: No Big Difference. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/research/action/difference.aspx
BPW International. (2015, May 20). Do women need to be aggressive to become successful leaders? - BPW International Blog. Retrieved from https://www.bpw-international.org/blog/entry/do-women-need-to-be-aggressive-to-become-successful-leaders
Chuang, S. (2013). Essential Skills For Leadership Effectiveness In Diverse Workplace Development. Online Journal for Workforce Education and Development, 6(1), 1-24.
House, R. J., & Howell, J. M. (1992). Personality and charismatic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 3(2), 81-108. doi:10.1016/1048-9843(92)90028-e
Psychology Wiki. (2016). Self confidence - Psychology Wiki. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://psychology.wikia.com/wiki/Self_confidence
Stark, P. (2014, October 7). The Critical Connection Between Confidence and Leadership | Peter Stark, CSP | LinkedIn. Retrieved from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20141007145901-24517615-the-critical-connection-between-confidence-and-leadership
Sylwester, R. (1997). The Neurobiology of Self-Esteem and Aggression. Education for Democratic Life, 54(4), 75-79.
White, M. C., De Sanctis, G., & Crino, M. D. (1981). Achievement, Self-Confidence, Personality Traits, And Leadership Ability: A Review Of Literature On Sex Differences. Psychological Reports, 48(2), 547-569. doi:10.2466/pr0.19188.8.131.527
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