Leadership Essay Even before I enrolled in business school and read about the likes to Jack Welch and Steve Jobs, I wondered how a person can be developed to be a leader. People generally display leadership potential but that potential needs to be nurtured and bred to reap benefits…
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An effective leader knows what needs to be done to bring life back to the company, to deal with the company’s debt and financial burdens, to manage burgeoning and diverse groups of employees or to introduce more consumer-relevant products. The leader is the person who knows how to bring results. This is the reason that company leadership is the first variable that is changed when it hits rough patches. Conversely, the asset that is most appreciated and valued when the company is gaining speed. I understand that an innate set of leadership characteristics is essential in a person to be a good leader, combined with relevant education and training. I attained that education in business school right at the onset of my career and it has proved instrumental in my career progression and leadership capabilities. I have surmised that leadership is very contextual in nature and exists in many forms and manifestations. There are no didactic rules surrounding leadership; leadership is successful when it is addressing change and bringing results. What is Leadership? While there are countless definitions of leadership in textbooks, the one I found most relevant was presented by Kotter, saying that leadership addresses change in organizations and prepares it for the ensuing struggle (2001). The world is in a state of constant change and dynamism, affected by a multitude of factors including newer technologies, economic shifts, globalization, social responsibility, the internet and scarce resources. As a result, today’s companies need people at the helm who are capable of dealing with change and deciding strategies that bring about change. The legendary Steve Jobs is commended as being one of the best leaders of our times because he steered Apple single-handedly not only towards profit, but made the company the most innovative company in the world which affected billions all over the globe. The idea crafted by Jobs, in retrospect, seems so simple: to enable the everyday consumer to have simple yet artful gadgets for everyday entertainment. It was that vision of change, combined with Jobs’ management of Apple’s resources to steer it towards achievement of that vision that has allowed Apple to become what it is today. Thereupon, I take leadership as the force that not merely creates a vision for betterment, but also communicates it to all stakeholders, making it possible for that vision to be realized. The Leadership Role With the understanding that leadership exists to address change, I attempted to understand the exact role leadership plays in this process. Leadership is about refusing to limit one’s mind to ‘either this or that’ scenarios, says Martin (2007); the author explains that leaders do not simply consider two three options and select among them, but rather they create new, unheard-of solutions. Effective leaders are not afraid of complicated problems and nor do they develop strategies that fit some pre-conceived mould. Instead, leaders strive to find a special solution that meets the unique business need. The innovativeness in leaders’ thinking is represented by creative solutions to problems that are a result of multidirectional factors and often opposing options (Martin). McShane and VonGlinow (2009) state that leaders use all the persuasion tactics at their disposal to motivate people to understand and implement their creative solutions. I learnt
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