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The term leadership can be defined as a process of social influence where a person enlists the aid and support of others to accomplish a common task or objective. Leadership can also be defined as the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common objective. Good leadership requires several attributes that are essential for one to become an effective leader, such as integrity, honesty, ability to communicate effectively, and courage among others (Owen, 2007).
Leadership as an element of social interaction is a complex activity involving the process of influencing both actors, that is the leaders, and the followers that has a wide range of possible outcomes, for example, the achievements of goals as well as motivating the commitment of individuals to such goals while enhancing group cohesion and reinforcing change within the organization to form lasting organizational cultures. Effective leadership is based on ideas which cannot happen unless those ideas are communicated to the followers in way that engages them. Good leaders are made through a series of processes that involve application of skills and knowledge of a leader, in other words, through extensive research, study, and practices. Leadership involves communication, inspiration, and supervision of the followers by the leader.
According to Blake & Mouton (1999), leadership requires one to have a set of principles, for instance, being technically proficient, understanding oneself and seeking self-improvement, ability to make sound and timely decisions, leading by example, understanding your job, and having solid familiarity with your employee’s tasks among others. The success of a leader can be enabled by application of their knowledge and skills, however, their personal traits and attributes contribute greatly to their success; for example, positive beliefs, values, ethics, and character are important determinants of one’s success.
For one to be considered as an effective leader, some qualities are important to achieve success in these undertakings. The ability to communicate effectively is paramount for ensuring success of a leader. Effective communication helps promote better human relations and interpersonal skills (Owen, 2007). As a leader, one should be able to communicate the goals and objectives of the organization to the followers, thus making it possible to work toward a common goal, and also win their trust and confidence.
A leader should be able to motivate the followers. This can be achieved by exemplary leading, being a good listener to the views of the subjects in the context of an organization, and being able to note and complement good work by other so as to motivate them to work harder; for example, giving promotions to employees who produce impressive results. Churchill of Britain is hailed for his motivation as a leader and statesman due to his ability to inspire and motivate his people in the opening days of the war (Caroselli, 2000).
Integrity is an important trait of an effective leader. Integrity gives one a higher moral standing as one is honest and has a sense of strong internal guidelines. A leader who encourages transparency and leads by example is bound to be successful in their role for they are able to win the respect and cooperation of the followers, thus able to achieve their objectives.
Being a professional in one’s undertakings as a leader would also make one an effective leader. This entails being loyal to your followers, performing selfless services, having good character traits, commitment, integrity, and courage among others, which are the most important traits in ensuring effective leadership. This helps to create confidence in the followers who thus are able to follow the lead of the leader (Victor & Philip, 2004).
The above attributes of an effective leadership help leader to attain the trust and confidence of their subjects. They promote employer’s and employee’s satisfaction within organizations. It also helps employees to understand the overall business strategy, helping them to contribute effectively to achieving the corporation’s objectives and thus acquire overall success.
The ability of a leader to communicate effectively, motivate his/her followers, practice integrity, and act professionally in conducting their roles not only gives them a competitive edge in their work but also earns the respect of the followers, which opens the opportunity to motivate them to work towards a common goal.
Having learnt that leaders are made, one realizes that it is possible to acquire and develop effective leadership skills through learning effective communication skills and practicing to be an effective communicator so as to be able to be an effective leader. Virtues like integrity, selflessness, and honesty should be natured so as to train one to be an effective leader .The ability of one to lead by example is of paramount importance as, this way, one is able to achieve the respect and cooperation of the followers (Victor & Philip, 2004).
Understanding the whole concept of leadership is also vital in acquiring and developing effective leadership skills. The understanding that leadership is a service to humanity which only succeeds through winning the cooperation of the followers, who should be engaging and governed by mutual respect, is vital to becoming an effective leader (Adair, 1998). Important effective leadership principles should be acquired and developed; for instance, having the dream of leaving the world a better place than one found it, desire to achieve excellence, upholding ethics, being persistent, understanding one’s strengths, and improving on them would ensure success in developing leadership skills.
In conclusion, leadership is a broad concept that requires any aspiring leader to work on their personal attributes and, also, to improve on their knowledge and skills in order to be successful (Zaccaro & Banks, 2001). However, we realize that leadership cannot be effective if it fails to win the respect of the followers, thus, leader should strive to win the trust of their subjects.