The concept of leadership can be defined from multiple angles or approaches. Furthermore, some of the greatest leaders in the world have employed different leadership styles as well as using different leadership skills to achieve objectives (Ricky, 2009). As such, it is quite difficult for determine a one-size fits all definition of leadership. However, this does not reduce the significance of good leadership in helping groups or teams of people achieve a common objective (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). Different people have varied opinion as to what constitutes good leadership. For example, some people consider effective leadership to be ones ability to motivate his or her followers towards achieving a shared goal. Conversely, leadership can be thought off as a way of guiding others towards attaining desired goals (Lynch, 2012). The leader will therefore use his influence to create a vision and guide people towards the achievement of the set vision. Leaders are normally entrusted to manage the visions of an organization or a community. Nevertheless, despite these different definitions of leadership, there are many common elements of good leadership that appear in almost every definition (Ricky, 2009). For example, the ability if a leader to have a vision and convincing others to join him or her in making the vision a reality as well as the ability of one to motivate, guide, and direct followers towards attaining the desired goals and objectives (Lynch, 2012). Therefore, it is the leaders role as an influencer of the masses that follow him or her into achieving a common objective that stands out as the most appropriate definition of an effective leader (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). Regardless of how one views leadership, good leaders must have a positive impact or influence on their followers ability to achieve desired outcomes (Ricky, 2009). This requires the leader to be very outspoken, understanding, visionary, and inspiring.
Therefore, this paper will adopt the definition of leadership as the ability of an individual to influence others to achieve their desired goals (Ricky, 2009). Different leaders employ different styles of leadership to manage their followers depending on various factors such as their traits, behaviors or the circumstances in which the leader and his or her followers find themselves in (Lynch, 2012). Throughout history of man, there have been very great leaders who have achieved great things for their followers and won themselves admiration from people across the world (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). These leaders may either be politicians, business people, sportsmen, religious leaders or any other individuals who are in a position to guide and influence others (Ricky, 2009). One of the greatest leaders in the world is Fernando Valenzuela, a former Mexican professional baseball player who had a successful playing career in the US playing for various teams in the Major Baseball League (MBL) for seventeen years between 1980 and 1997. As a baseball player, Fernando Valenzuela was able to shape his character as an effective leader on and off the pitch, guiding his teams to successful spells (Porter, 2004). He quickly became a fans favorite and the most dependable member of the teams he played for, both in Mexico and the US, thus becoming a great symbol of leadership in sports during his playing career.
Reasons for Selecting Fernando Valenzuela (600 words)
As indicated before, leadership is a concept that cuts across all sections of the society. As such, leaders can come from the business, academics, politics, sports, or religious realms. Therefore, when discussing leadership, there is a vast array of leaders that one can choose from as the epitomes of great leadership and role models to other people aiming at becoming good leaders (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). However, I find Fernando Valenzuela a more befitting character for this essay due to his significance in the baseball fraternity. He is certainly one of the most influential baseball players of all time, gaining the respect of colleagues and opponents throughout the game (Porter, 2004). Unlike other leaders in politics, he was not a polarizing figure.
Furthermore, as an ardent follower of American Baseball, Fernando Valenzuela is certainly one of the most influential people in my life. His leadership skills were evident throughout his playing career. Some of his leadership qualities that standout include responsibility, morale, work ethic, respect and skill (Porter, 2004). For example, as a leader on the pitch, Fernando was able to take responsibility during some of the most critical times of the game. He was an effective representative of the coach, often being outspoken on the pitch. He always took charge of the game, encouraging and motivating his teammates to remain positive and aggressive throughout the game (Porter, 2004). However, it is his ability to be decisive at the most critical times that shows his responsibility in the team.
Besides, Fernando had an insatiable morale that was exemplified through his determination to never give up. He was always confident, cheerful, passionate, vigorous, and always had a positive attitude throughout the game. Furthermore, his work ethic was incomparable. He was known for pushing himself beyond the limits in training, giving his all during games, and remaining consistent at the highest level of the game for several years. Nevertheless, it is his skill that made him a very influential figure in the team. This is both his physical talent and mental edge for reading the game and making critical decisions (Porter, 2004). He was very knowledgeable in the game, often reading opponents to identify their mistakes and making those mistakes important for his teams breakthrough in difficult matches. Skill can either be an inborn trait or a trait developed through hard work and consistent training. For Fernando, he had both the inborn ability to perform as well as a skill that he shaped and nurtured through training (Porter, 2004). Finally, one of the other greatest leadership skills that he displayed is respect. As they say, respect is earned, and not many players get to earn the respect in the manner in which Fernando achieved. He was revered by his teammates, coaches, pundits, fans, and opponents in almost equal measure.
Therefore, based on these skills and the level of influence that Fernando Valenzuela had on the baseball fraternity in the US, it is only fitting that he be discussed as one of the greatest leaders of his generation (Porter, 2004). Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the US. Therefore, Fernandos ability to emerge as the most influential person in such a sport implies that his influence was spread beyond baseball and sports as he became a global icon (Porter, 2004). Consequently, this paper will attempt to understand his leadership skills based in various theoretical models in contemporary leadership literature. To begin with, the essay will demystify his background and early life and try to relate that with his accomplishments on and of the pitch. Finally, the paper will also his leadership style with relevant leadership theories before elaborating on some of the most desired traits and leadership skills that can be emulated by others.
Background on Fernando Valenzuela (1000 words)
Fernando Valenzuela Anguamea, commonly known as Fernando Valenzuela or El Toro (The Bull) is a former baseball player of Mexican Origin. He was born in Etchohuaquila, Mexico, on November 1st, 1960 (Hernandez, 2015). While this is the official record of his birthday, some pundits and commentators expressed doubts about his age when he first appeared in the MLB in as a rookie player. Most of theme believed that he was a little bit older than it was claimed in his documents. However, it has been officially held that he was born in 1960. He is the youngest child among his twelve siblings. His family hails from Etchohuaquila, a small town within the wider Navojoa municipality in the state of Sonora in Mexico (Hernandez, 2015).
He began his professional playing career in Mexico in 1977 when he signed up with Mayos de Navojoa. In the following year, he was sent to Guanajuato Tuzos in the Mexican Central League (MCL) (Hernandez, 2015). It was at this point that his excellent skills began to manifest themselves. He was able to post a record of 5-6 with a 2.23 Earned Run Average (ERA). In 1979, the MCL was dissolved and absorbed into a more expanded league format, the Mexican baseball League (Liga Mexicana de Beisbol) (Hernandez, 2015). This was a very momentous time for Fernando as he was immediately elevated into a Triple-A level at only the age of 18. At this time, he was pitching for the Yucatan Lions (Leones de Yucatan), where he set a new record of 1012 with a 2.49 Earned Run Average and 141 strikeouts (Gloeckner & Schroeder, 1985).
At this time, his level of talent and skill was becoming recognized within the Mexican MLB as well as across borders. Consequently, he became the target for numerous in the American MLB who scouted him on several occasions. The LA Dodgers were able to get his signature for the following season by buying out the rest of his contract with the Liga for about $12000 on July 6, 1979 (Gloeckner & Schroeder, 1985). He was discovered by Mike Brito, a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers (Hernandez, 2015). Brito had visited Mexico to watch a baseball game at which he would scout another player, Ali Uscanga, a shortstop that the Dodgers were interested in signing at the time (Gloeckner & Schroeder, 1985). However, after watching Fernando Valenzuela pitch against him, Brito was forced to think otherwise. Valenzuela threw three balls together with additional three strikes that effectively retired the batter. This made Brito change his mind on signing Ali Uscanga and immediately took a gamble by signing the young Fernando Valenzuela for such a huge sum of money (Hernandez, 2015). He believed that Valenzuela had a huge potential to turn out into a very influential player for the team if he was properly nurtured by the Dodgers.
After signing for the Dodgers in 1971, Fernando Valenzuela was assigned to the Lodi Dodgers of the High-A level California League. Here, he was able to post a record of 12 and a 1.13 ERA during a limited action (Gloeckner & Schroeder, 1985). Afterwards, the team felt that there was need for Valenzuela to learn throwing an off pitch. Consequently, Bobby Castillo, a Dodgers pitcher was enlisted as the person responsible for teaching him to improve his skills in this regard. As such, Bobby Castillo trained Fernando on how to throw a screwball effectively during the off season, just before the 1980 season kicked off (Hernandez, 2015). In the 1980 season, Valenzuela earned a promotion to the Double-A level San Antonio Dodgers. This was a very prime opportunity for him to shine as he performed excellently. He emerged the leader in the Texas League with a total of 162 strikeouts. Furthermore, he also earned a 13-9 record together with an impressive a 3.10 ERA (Hernandez, 2015). Consequently, during the final parts of the season, Fernando Valenzuela was called up to the LA Dodgers bullpen in the month of September, 1980. He immediately adapted to the team and became very influential, contributing immensely to the teams Western Division tie with the Houston Astros. At this point, he was pitching at 172/3 shutout innings (Hernandez, 2015). During the same period, he earned a total of two wins and a single save. However, the Dodgers eventually lost a playoff match with the Astros, hence, losing out on the championship to their rivals.
However, his contribution to the team had not gone unnoticed. He immediately emerged as a fans favorite in the course of the remainder of the season. Consequ...
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