Our group interviewed five leaders varying from business owners to Sr Vice Presidents of different organizations. As we began to analyze the interviews from our leaders we noticed more common themes than differences amongst them. The first common theme was that three out of the five leaders stated that they defined themselves as participative leadership styles. They functioned as a facilitator rather than simply issuing orders to those that they support. The leaders encouraged active participation from their teams allowing them to express their opinions and be able to demonstrate their abilities. Our leaders participative leadership styles allows the skills of all their team members to be utilized in making suggestions and decisions but the leader is still responsible for making the final decision. This will allow everyone to have their input and provide a well rounded decision that will create a positive environment which will only bring profitability to the organization. As the traits theory of leadership, most of our leaders agreed that leaders are born with leadership characteristics. They also agreed that there are certain characteristics that can be strengthened and developed by the leaders through their childhood years, beliefs, the environment in which they surround themselves, the ability of how they learn, and most importantly how they react when being provided with feedback.
Leaders can enhance and learn certain characteristics through advice, observation of others, and their own experiences. Everyone is born with certain characteristics that will develop into strengths and weaknesses. A good leader will identify these characteristics and apply then into their leadership capacity. As far as the common characteristics that the leaders valued in their employees commitment to the vision of the organization was among the most common. By having the same vision people have a better understanding of the future environment where they are operating, a better understanding of what the organization must be like in the future to be successful, a common goal for building team work and a common vision ensures that everyone makes decisions based on the same direction. Our leaders agreed that result driven employees were another characteristic that they value. Our leaders explained that they like their teams to bring forth not only the problem but possible solutions that will help make the best decision for the team and at the same time enhancing the teams’ decision making skills. Trustworthiness and interpersonal skills were also common characteristics that our leaders stated that they valued in their employees. Interpersonal skills are needed on a daily basis which would include verbal communication, non-verbal communication, listening skills, problem-solving, and decision making.
One of the leaders stated that “the biggest challenge day to day is people and remembering that people are people.” This is when having a person with good interpersonal skills can be very useful to the organization. When it came to the decision making process our leaders stated that they like to take their time in making the correct decision but at times when time is limited they need to follow their instinct based decision. When time is not of the essence our leaders stated that they make their decisions in the following steps: 1) Identifying and clarifying the issue in question this gives them an opportunity to gather facts and ask questions about the issue in question 2) Possible solutions or options 3) Process the information that has been provided to them and then finally 4) Implementing the decision. This process allows the leaders to strengthen the communication between the leaders and their team. This goes back to making a decision where everyone has input based on the vision and culture of the organization. Consistency with solutions to issues will bring consistency when the need for a resolution arises within an organization. You will have the ability to treat issues equally and know that you have done your due diligence in gathering as much facts and data necessary to make the right decision.
One thing that our leaders agreed is that they lead by example. Leading by example is one of the strongest ways to show your dedication the team. As a leader you have to remember that actions speak louder than words. Our leaders know that treating our employees with honesty and respect in another motivation for their employees. Leaders understand that how they treat a person is the same way that the person will treat them. As far differences between leaders there were not noticed during the interview process there were not any that were noticeable. They all seemed to have the same values when it came to their teams or departments. They all expressed that they have confidence in the teams and the people that work with them. The answers provided by the leaders tie into what we have learned in class because as the interviews were being conducted we looked at leadership styles of each individual leader. We also analyzed the examples that they provided as they explained their styles and made sure that the style matched the examples that they were providing us.
For example, in the case where our leaders stated that they considered themselves Participative style we looked for examples that clearly matched the style like the leaders being supportive of their teams and the input. All leaders mentioned a clear vision of the organization that they support. In order for our leaders to expect that others follow that vision that would need to understand it themselves. It was very interesting to see that all the leaders had a vision that coincided with the value system of the organization. The most important lesson that we learned about true leaders is that leaders will support and help strengthen characteristics of those that are willing to follow to the vision of the organization. We have a better understanding of what leaders expect from their teams and will make the team be effective.