Leadership is the ability to bring people together and guide them towards realizing a common goal or goals. Past research has shown that leaders tend to follow a similar path characterized by common patterns in their leadership endeavors. Most of the organizations in the world are complicated because of their sizes and, therefore, require a chief who is well equipped in terms of coordinating, controlling, monitoring and other skills that are needed to run a company. Leaders should practice five exemplary leadership practices for them to be effective at work. They should model the way towards success for employees, inspire the vision to workers, challenge the processes of operation, enable people to act and encourage their heart in an organization (Kouzes & Posner, 2010; Kouzes & Posner, 2013).
Modeling the Way towards the Success
As for modeling the way, a leader should be an icon in the organization by being an example to others that forces everyone to feel out of place when doing wrong. For instance, to ensure organizational ethics is adhered to, the managers should demonstrate professional conduct themselves. Walmart leaders provide a good illustration of acting by the example. After reading the book The Everything Store, the CEO of Walmart, Doug McMillon, ordered his executives to read it, which they willingly did (McGregor, 2015). Moreover, promises and commitments made to the employees should be followed. For example, Nelson Mandela demonstrated good leadership by following through the pledges he made to the people of South Africa. Furthermore, another idea of this practice is that leaders guide the people they work with to adhere to the set rules. They should be driven by a clear direction of their leadership and, finally, should constantly get feedback about the effect of their actions on the employee performance (Kouzes & Posner, 2010; Kouzes & Posner, 2013).
Inspiring the Vision
The approach of inspiring the vision means dictating the future by talking about unrealized trends that will affect the organizational performance. According to Kantabutra and Avery (2010), sharing the vision leads to customer and staff satisfaction which causes the improvement in performance (p. 42). In addition, motivating others to support potential innovations is essential as well. Moreover, one should create a virtual image of the expectation as well as of what is to be accomplished through description. Finally, a leader has to constantly remind about the meaning and purpose of the business. For example, Don Soderquist, a former COO of Walmart once indicated in a conference talk that the success of the organization was the constant communication of the vision of the company to its employees. Every business that aspires to do great things in the future creates a system that allows the workers to pass ideas they think will work well for it (Kouzes & Posner, 2010; Kouzes & Posner, 2013).
Challenging the Process
The practice is based on the idea of constantly checking for challenging tasks that require the use of the leadership skills and abilities. Moreover, it encourages the development of new ideas and challenges for the workers, which motivates them to learn and deliver. Taking risks and doing continuous experiments even when the probability of failure is high is also a part of the approach. One should be flexible to seek outward innovations that will help to improve the organization and, finally, develop realistic, attainable and measurable goals (Kouzes & Posner, 2010; Kouzes & Posner, 2013). For example, Lee, the Chairman of Samsung Electronics, changed the normal running of the company after realizing that remaining the same would destroy it. Thus, he introduced strategies such as “seeking new opportunities, focus on technology, etc.” which have led to Samsung being the second most advanced electronic company in the world (Spence, 2014).
Enabling Others to Act
The main idea of the technique is to treat others with dignity and respect. Moreover, one should offer room for different views through listening to employees and provide the freedom to make their choices when doing the tasks. In addition, a good leader has to embrace ideas proposed by workers and allow them to grow with respect to work. Finally, maintaining a good relationship with coworkers and the juniors is of great importance (Kouzes & Posner, 2010; Kouzes & Posner, 2013). Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, for example, after selection of potential employees, gave them maximum authority and responsibility for the task they performed (Acker, n.d.).
Encouraging the Heart
The practice states that there should be a clear way in which the leaders must pass a message of encouraging the employee. The idea is to make staff members feel strong, capable and independent by fostering trust within an organization. Praising them for the well-done job, celebrating success, and appreciating and offering support for their contribution is really important. For example, the Walmart has developed annual celebrations of its success during which it rewards its workers for their input (Kouzes & Posner, 2010; Kouzes & Posner, 2013).
Application of Practices
The potential organization of the leadership is the World Health Organization (WHO), which is an international non-governmental body that is concerned with public health. It coordinates and directs the international health workers, helps the international governments in matters pertaining health of their public and also provides services to needy groups in the society. Being a worldwide organization, the number of employees relying on the leadership is massive. Personally, I would feel comfortable having 100 employees to lead. The concepts of the five practices of successful leadership can be successfully used in this institution.
As for the practice of modeling the way, I would set an example of the organization’s expectations by practically involving in the activities or operations. With regard to ethics, I would demonstrate professionalism in addressing customers as well as fellow workers by modeling the exact behavior that I expect from the employees. I would show commitment to the organization by being physically present at work except when needed to represent the organization at outside meetings. Moreover, I would be clear about the values and culture of the firm and consistently maintain them. Consistence enables employees to adapt and get used to the running of the organization. I would follow the promises and commitment given so that the workers trust my way of doing things.
To inspire a shared vision, I would create a plan that will incorporate regular meetings with all the employees to check the progress of the set goals and movement towards the aim. Furthermore, I will constantly describe and remind the workers the purpose and the future expectations of the company and encourage ideas about the potential improvements. In addition, through proper communication, I would maintain a common path by ensuring positive correlation between different departments. It is also necessary to encourage the department heads to disseminate the information discussed in meetings for all employees to be up to date as well as keep them as a family with one common route and vision.
In order to challenge the process, I would venture beyond the norm and change from the status quo. I would not sit around and wait for luck. Instead, I would come up with new things within the organization that would challenge my skills and abilities to solve problems. I would also challenge the employees by giving them new assignments that they have not encountered before. For example, I might consider new intervention practices of emerging health issues. In addition, I would come up with a new project that will require total commitment from the participants and find out whether they are working, e.g. the one to develop the intervention for Ebola in Africa.
With the aim to enable others to act, I would delegate duties and responsibilities to my subordinates. I would actively listen to people’s opinions as well as support and embrace them so that they feel appreciated for what they do for the organization. Additionally, I would provide a system that allows everyone to test their leadership skills with freedom to choose what they do at work. I would foster trust within the organization and maintain respect and dignity to the staff.
Finally, to encourage the heart, I would not only bring the workers together, but also encourage them to carry on and not give up. I would do so through individual and/or group celebrations, appreciating the constituents’ contributions and also adhering to the promises made to them. Moreover, I would recognize innovative minds by offering incentives and rewards for ideas that improve the operation of the institution. Additionally, I would publicly praise individuals who assist in providing interventions that address alarming health issues.
Leadership Theories that Can Be Applied to the Problematic Areas
Transformational Leadership Theories
The theories focus on leading an organization by cooperation. They hold that employees are motivated by the kind of tasks that they have to perform. The work that is organized by a large company is set in a manner that the primary goal of the business is before the individual ego.
One of the areas of improvement in leadership is mistrust and misunderstanding between the leader and those being managed. Since these theories encourage people to work together in order to achieve the set objectives and focus on the task, I would use them to reach a consensus and drive towards a common vision (“Transformational Leadership Theories,” n.d.; Chou, Lin, Chang, & Chuang, 2013). For example, Adolf Hitler conquered other states through cooperation. The fact is that, if everyone is involved in making decisions, they get more committed to their work and number of issues of mistrust and quarrel reduces.
Another area of improvement is stagnation of the business. The transformational theories focus on long-term goals (“Transformational Leadership Theories,” n.d.). Thus, I would use them to ensure the organization has an overall aim driving it. Therefore, new ideas and innovations are required to realize that target. This will ensure the company is not static in operation. In addition, I would encourage workers, through cooperation and adaptive nature of the theories, to develop challenging tasks that keep them busy.
Trait Leadership Theory
The trait theory holds that a leader always has certain traits that enable him to manage an organization or a group of people. These features may include confidence, adaptability and persistence. Although the theory highlights certain qualities that a leader should possess, the majority of those who are said to have them have not been efficient in their activities. However, these traits can be essential to address the area of leadership that needs improvement. For instance, the issue of mistrust of workers requires confidence. The decisions made will at times make the staff to doubt the leader. I would use confidence to show that the decisions taken are to be followed (Derue, Nahrgang, Wellman, & Humphrey, 2011).
The concern of organization stagnation would require adaptability of new ideas into its culture. These traits would enable borrowing of options from outside the company, hence, bringing in challenges that keep the worker and the business at a pace. Another area of improvement is realizing goals without a vision. I would employ the trait of persistence to remind employees about the direction of the goals being attained. Using the characteristic, I would encourage them to work without exhaustion although success is hard to reach (Derue et al., 2011).
Based on the five exemplary leadership practices, managers can have an easier time in guiding their subordinates and running their organization. Leading a group of people requires a lot of skills and knowledge that can either be inborn or self-made. This is because there are some situations that require not only educational knowledge but also inborn wisdom in order to make a wise decision. The decision taken by leaders may bring fame or shame to the organization; hence, every move should be clear and analyzed carefully. Everyone cannot be a leader within the company; therefore, every person must receive what he/she needs to do for the business. If the leader is able to guide and solve difficult situations in time, the organization can effectively achieve its set goals.
Leaders are placed under stress with the enormity and urgency of tasks especially during the conflict within the organization where it is more difficult to decide what can be done to solve the matter. However, the goal of an organization can be met where there is cooperation. Leadership theories stress the work and integrity of an employee, ethics of individuals and teamwork in addition to long-term goals that have been set by the company. A leader can do better if supported by the people who he/she is leading. However, the dignity of employees may be lowered if all work related decisions are dictated by one person. Therefore, leadership is about togetherness and harmonious execution of authority to ease the process of attaining the set goals.