Self-assessment and leadership

Leadership is a multi-faceted role that an individual assumes in an organization. No matter how small the group or team he handles or he belongs to, a leader must always possess the trait of self-confidence. To be a leader is not as simple as commanding a subordinate to do this and that because leadership is a difficult job (Kirkpatrick, S. A and E. A. Locke, page 69). Leadership even in a simple setting as in a home require that someone who assumes leadership has to have the confidence that first of all the goal set can be achieved.

Self-confidence is a driving force for the leader to get things done the right way and in the right time.

When a leader is confident, he is able to show his subordinates that he has all the capacity to lead them all the way to the goal and the mission to be accomplished. Kirkpatrick and Locke said that self-confidence is important in decision-making (Kirkpatrick, S.

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A. and E. A. Locke, page 69). A leader who shows enough confidence in his decisions eventually gains the trust of his subordinates wherein the subordinates would have to believe that their leader, whatever decision he makes, they could have the confidence it will bring them to the achievement of best results.

The authors also assessed that self-confident leaders are highly decisive and assertive leaders. This is especially true because a business leader for example who has the confidence on things that he does and on the plans he drafted, he will likely be able to confidently decide according to his best assumption and calculation because he has the confidence that his decision will bring the results he desired and had foreseen.

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It is unlikely that a leader who is not sure of the outcome of his decisions will decide properly and timely since doubts and fear overcome his ability to get things done.

The leader’s display of self-confidence also brings out the confidence in the subordinates. When subordinates see that their leader is confident on every decision he makes, they will likely be confident enough to just do their job and whatever is asked of them because they have the confidence that their efforts will bring good results. Self-confidence however is not a trait that solely defines a good leader as it also works well with other personal traits such as honesty and credibility.

Self-confidence also is not innate in leaders and is to be seen as apart from just being boastful. A leader does not actually have the self-confidence when he just pretends to know things and sure of everything just to make others believe that he can. Self-confidence is apart from pretending to be sure of something or of knowing everything just to hide the lack of knowledge and skills in the field or area where decisions are to be made. Self-confidence is rather built by experience, by knowledge and skills including time and hard work.

It is still a display of confidence when a leader has to accept that he needs to know something and he needs somebody to get things done. To secure help from the subordinates is not at all a display of incompetence but a humble acceptance of one’s confidence over the capacity, skills and knowledge of others. Self-confidence of the leader also boosts the morale of the whole team or group as it brings a leader the benefit of emotional stability. Highly confident leader will less likely to have unnecessary worries and doubts on decisions to be made or already made.

It is because a leader with self-confidence tends to wait for the results with calmness as he ensured that all things are done right. The authors stressed in their article, “self-confidence helps effective leaders remain even-tempered” (Kirkpatrick and Locke, page 72). When a leader is even-tempered, it will be easier for him to effectively and efficiently manage the interpersonal relationships between him and his subordinates. A leader who has enough self-confidence is a more effective and efficient leader because he can command his subordinate not out of fear for him but out of trust and respect.

On the other hand, self-confident subordinates will become more efficient and effective team or group members because they are driven by their trust and confidence with the decisions of the leader. A leader’s self-assessment on his degree of self-confidence should be done with full honestly and credibility. Assessing self-confidence, using probably pre-designed questionnaires should be answered according to what is true and not according to what he wants to make the results impressive.

As has been stressed earlier, pretending to know everything to display confidence is risky as it will not bring the expected good results. ESSAY #2 LEADER-MEMBER EXCHANGE Stogdill observed that leadership is a relationship (Stogdill, Ralph, 1948 in Pierce and Newstrom, page 29). It could have been probably because leaders and members in a group or team necessarily establish a relationship at some level in order to form a team or an organization. As Fiedlier noted, “leaderships is an ongoing transaction between the person in a position of authority and the environment (Fiedler, Fred in Pierce and Newstrom, page 63).

A more specific observation asserts leadership as something that “constitutes an influence relationship between two or more persons who depend upon one another for the attainment of certain mutual goals” (Hollander, E. P. and J. W. Julian, 1969). Based on these assumptions, Scandura makes it more meaningful to integrate organizational justice in the concept of leadership (Scandura, Terri page 39). It is to be clear that the relationship between leaders and members should highly consider a mutual relationship where the goals of each party are met for the benefit of the organization.

Although at business set up, the leader-member exchange maybe highly formal such that the leader (the boss or manager) makes the exchange of information and the delegation of authority, the quality of relationship should not be affected by formality and informality of the organizational set up. For example a strict manager or boss being the leader may still be able to establish a healthy relationship with his subordinates by showing respect and recognizing their rights, providing them privileges and even by simply encouraging them to make recommendations during planning and conflict resolution.

In Scandura’s discussion the leader-member exchange has to consider not just the leader’s power to command but also the way the subordinate responds (feedback) (Scandura, Terri page 38). By setting the example of a boss trying to ask a subordinate to do a job that is out of his job description, we can clearly see how organizational justice plays in the leader-member exchange process. The quality of the leader-member relationship is defined by the feedback of the employee as reflected in his performance.

For example, a respected leader who asked extra favor from his subordinate will likely make the employee do the job with the same quality as he does with his regular job. It could have been because the job is done out of respect and not out of fear. What is vital in establishing a healthy leader-member exchange is communication, an open communication. It has always been considered by experts as vital component of a successful organization and has been proven for many years to be effective and efficient tool for creating a healthy working environment.

A leader therefore assumes the responsibility of establishing and maintaining this kind of relationship. Establishing healthy leader-member exchange founded in organizational justice ensures that even extra things will be done right. The exchange could be in forms of ideas and recommendations, constructive criticisms, performance appraisal and the implementation of reward or recognition component. All these things are forms of feedback that reflects and a measure how healthy is the leader-member exchange process in an organization.

For example a leader who gets few recommendations from the subordinates may reflect how poor the relationship he has established with them is. If the leader accepted appreciations of his plans and after which such plans turned out to be a failure, it may reflect that his subordinates may have concealed the flaws they spotted in the plans because they are not encouraged to make constructive criticisms. An employee which performance and contributions are recognized even without material rewards is always inspired to do his part.

A leader’s feedback on employee performance is another way of establishing a healthy leader-member exchange as such feedback reflects the leader’s recognition of the presence and importance of the role played by the employee in the organization. It is therefore safe to conclude that leader-member exchange is best served and established when organizational justice is served. Organizational justice is genuine if leader and his subordinates both recognize their need for each other in order to meet their goals for their mutual benefits. After all, leadership is sociological in nature (Pierce and Newstrom, page 9).

Relative to self-assessment, it is important that leaders are able to fairly evaluate whether he is able to promote a healthy leader-member exchange. The evaluation can be initially done through the assessment and analysis of the member feedbacks and their performance. Leaders are not commanders of robots who will comply according to how they are programmed. Rather organizational leaders should always make sure, through self-assessment that they are able to serve their role as promoter and guardian of a healthy leader-member exchange and that organizational justice is served well.

“Greeks believe that leaders possess justice and judgment, wisdom and counsel, shrewdness and cunningness, valor and activism” (Pierce, John and John Newstrom, page 3). I believe that every leader should have all these too. ESSAY #3 TRUST IN LEADERSHIP For a relationship to last, trust could have been one of the binding factors that even organizations can hold on to. Trust is a component of fairness and justice in all relationship and is also applicable to the concept of leadership.

Because leadership entails relationship, organizational structures whether formal or informal, trust has to be always present. Trust in a relationship should be two-way and so the leader should not only express and exercise trust over his subordinates but he must also ensure that the trust of the members in his leadership is present. As noted earlier, trust in leadership may be reflected by the subordinates by way of compliance to requests and commands. It may also be reflected through the performance of the subordinates and the feedback the leader gets (Dirks, Kurt page 47).

For example a leader gets enough recommendations and suggestions from the subordinates in order to solve a problem and this is indication that the leader is trusted that he is willing to accept and weigh them. Subordinates participate well in all activities of the team because they trust that the leader will make their efforts worthwhile. It may also be that subordinates are open to relaying problems to the leader because they trust that the leader can understand the situation and he has the capacity to get things right. Trust is also one of the defining factors for the quality of relationship between the leader and his members.

Pierce and Newstrom, in their discussion of leadership as a relationship have made a clear link between commitment and leadership (Pierce and Newstrom, page 30). Between normative, affective and continuance kind of commitment, it could have been more favorable for the leader to maintain or culture the affective commitment- that type that makes the member feel good about maintaining the relationship. A leader-member relationship founded in fear rather than trust is an indication of poor relationship. For example members try to conceal problems to the leader because they fear that the leader will not understand.

In this case the lack of trust in the leadership reflects that there is a poor quality of relationship between them. Self-assessment is therefore important here because the leader really has to know how much trust he gets from his members. It is important for the leader to ask himself if his subordinates have put their full trust in his leadership or does his leadership is seen as trustworthy or fearful. In Dirk’s concept trust is “an expectation or belief that the team can rely on the leader’s actions or words and that the leader has good intentions toward the team” (Dirks, Kurt page 46).

What then are the leader’s ways of knowing if his leadership is being trusted? The keyword here is intentions. Trust maybe reflected when the leader asked a subordinate to do a task that is beyond the job description. When the leader gets the same quality of results with that of the regular work routine, it could be an indication that the member trusts the leader that whatever is ask of him, regardless of his job description, he has the trust that the leader’s intention is pure and it is for the benefit of the team.

On the other hand, if the leader gets complains and too much questions of why should he do this or do that, there could have been a dose of doubt in the leadership although this is not just a sole measuring tool. In hard situations like problems faced by the team, the leader can also make self-assessment using some indications of trust from the other team members. For example if the leader is left alone to decide on the fate of the team, it may reflect that the team trusts him for his capacity to do the job.

But it may also reflect that the members hold back their help for the leader because of the lack of trust that their ideas may be able to be considered by the leader in making the decision. It is therefore important that the leader be able to perform a thorough self-assessment on the area of trust in order to distinguish what does the subordinates’ silence really means. ESSAY #4 JOB AFFECT In order for a leader to make his member follow to comply according to how he wants it, it is important that a leader be a role model.

Pierce and Newstrom (page 9), in their collection of leadership definitions, have something to say about job affect: “Leadership is an exercise of influence” Influence according the authors has to be regarded separate from dominance, control or force of compliance. Ghandi’s “leading by example approach” would have been the closest applicable example cited by the authors. This leading by example may have been the most efficient means of influencing the members requiring less talk yet the things that have to be learned sip in more effectively in the personality of the members.

A leader needs to have a self-assessment on the values that he possesses or the quality of leadership he projects to his subordinates. This is especially important in order to know how his leadership maybe interpreted based on the performance of the team. It is important to self-assess in order to know how his leadership affects the individual jobs of his members. In doing so, it will be helpful for the leader to use the five sets of major traits identified by Stogdill: achievement, responsibility, participation and status (R.

M. Stogdill in Pierce and Newstrom, page ). Of these achievement and status might have been the traits that somehow do not need to be one hundred percent essential. This is primarily because these traits depend on the nature of the organization or the team to influence. It is no doubt that members of a team have different personalities and traits that the leader has to deal with. In line with this, a good leader has to know how to manage each team member and how will he be able to make them comply according to his standards.

The way the leader manage the team affects the job of every member. According to Pierce and Newsman, leadership affectivity maybe positive or negative which are important for leaders to assess which one takes place in their own team (page 63). For example a too lax leader may tolerate late submission of papers, too much error on reports and too many problems in the groups. A too strict leader may get things done at the right time and free of error but may not be able to encourage his members to exercise a healthy communication or exchange of ideas because of fear.

In this regard, it is important for the leader to assess his personality traits and where does he stand in the team and how he actually affects the performance of the team: negative or positive job affect. The way the leader treats the members affect their jobs. A leader who motivates his members with material rewards (sales incentives) may not be able to get the same performance results when the reward is already out of the scenario. For example members of the sales team who receives basic salary aside from the incentives they get may have a different level of performance from those who receives only incentives.

In other situations, for example when a leader manages his members with due respect to their ideas and concerns, the leader may be able to see an active team which make consistent open communication. If the motivation is love of the work, it may not be able for the leader to make a comprehensive incentive plans in order to get the desired results. For example office staff or other organization members who work only with their salaries may have the same agility and eagerness in their work as with team members who are motivated with material incentives.

The best way to positively influence the members is to be a role model. It is therefore important for the leader to assess how well he manages the team in the absence of rewards. Self-assessment is also needed by the leader in order to make assessment on how his leadership can still be improved in order to make the team performance better. For example in a business setting where a certain division of the company that he leads has poor performance, the leader may be able to benchmark his leadership with the other leaders whose divisions perform well.

He may do comparison of the quality of jobs done by the members of the others as with his own members. If the reward system is the same, there could have been something wrong with the motivation he applies with his own team. There could have been a lack of motivation or a wrong motivation on his part. Because motivation is a big factor in employee performance, the leader has to assess how well his motivation strategy works for the team. A good leader makes his members feel right and with high morale.

Pierce and Newstrom (page 63) set the example of an energetic leader who is proven to be more effective and competent. Leaders who make his members feel that they are important in the team and that the team depends on their individual contributions, the leader may have the initial assessment that he is in the right track. If his leadership positively affects the jobs of his members, then the leader can say that he is initially doing the right motivation and the expected fair treatment for his members resulting to a job well done.

It is also important to note that a leader should also make self-assessment even if the team is performing well in order to make room for possible improvements rather than maintaining the status quo. ESSAY #5 MOTIVATION TO LEAD A good leader motivates his members but setting a good example of what a positively motivated person is. A leader does not only lead through delegation of tasks or division of labor but a good leader should also be able to make his members leaders of their own. This is the concept of independence in the job and the trait of responsibility.

Self-assessment is therefore important in order for a leader to know if he is positively motivated in order to give his members the motivation to lead. In order for a leader to motivate his members, it is important he must have the same level or higher motivation to lead. The first trait of a leader, according to Pierce and Newsman (page 69) is drive, which is composed of the aspects of achievement, ambition, energy, initiative, tenacity. But first of all leader should have the strong desire to lead and that motivation should be the desire to influence (Pierce and Newstrom, page 70).

It is this way that a leader may be able to motivate others as he has the valid and positive motivation inside him. A well motivated employee does not do the job like a robot which performs according to commands. For example if the leader asks a member to arrange the files according to dates, the member may do exactly as ordered arranging files chronologically. A well-motivated member will do extra job as segregation of files and place them in separate folders, still arranged chronologically. He may also clean the storage area where the files were taken out.

In here we can see that leadership assumes responsibility by doing tasks beyond what is being asked. This is maybe because the member has that love for his work and that love may emanate from the inner motivation inspired by the leader. It is important for the leader to be a good example of the traits that he expects from his members. For example he expects the members to be in the working area on time so he needs to show the importance of being timely on everything: attendance, reporting schedules, appointments and all things that require specific time.

Results of self-assessment should positively affect the leader’s motivation to lead the team. A leader is expected to be driven by the love and concern for the job and the team. Also a leader who shows trust to his members by delegating important responsibilities like those that require decision-making will positively encourage the members to their best as they are being entrusted with important tasks. It is also important that leaders are able to leave important things to his members by first training them well after which they can already work independently.

Leaders who were able to make his members work independently will have the lesser burden of supervision and the anxiety for the results of the job done. Putting trust to members and letting them know that they are important in the team will motivate the members to be leaders themselves. That way they work and perform well with the motivation that what they do will reflect on the performance of the whole team and not just the performance of the leader. In the business set up, the leader can assess his leadership motivation even in the absence of material rewards as member motivation.

As stressed earlier team performance can be a basis of leadership assessment. Self-assessment should, as always be done with full honesty and credibility and whatever be the result of it should be accepted and positively motivate the leader to make improvements. It will not be a good idea for a leader to boast him when he gets positive results on self-assessment rather it should give him the opportunity to reward the members for the job well done. This way they will be more positively motivated to do their part because their efforts are bringing good results that are being recognized and valued by the leader.

Besides, “leadership is the art of inducing compliance” (Pierce and Newtrom, page 9). Again what is primarily important is for the leader to show a good example of a person who has the motivation to lead. REFERENCES Dirks, Kurt. Reading 7. Trust in Leadership and Team Performance: Evidence from NCAA Basketball. pp. 46-52 Graham, Jill. Reading 8. Leadership, Moral Development and Citizenship Behavior. Pp. 54-59 Pierce, Jon and John Newstrom. On the Meaning of Leadership. pp. 7-11 Judge, Timothy A. et. al. Personality and Leadership: A Qualitative and Quantitative Review.

Pp. 75-84 Kirkpatrick, S. A. and E. A. Locke. Reading 9. Leadership: Do Traits Matter? Pp. 69-74 Scandura, Terri. Reading 6. Rethinking Leader-Member Exchange: An organizational Justice Perspective. pp 37-43 Stogdill, R. M. Personal Factors with Leadership: A Survey of the Literature. The Journal of Psychology (28, pp. 35-71) in Pierce, Jon and John Newstrom. Chapter Three. Leaders and the Role of Personal Trait, pp. 61-65 The Leader-Follower Relationship: Fairness, Trust and Ethical Behavior. Chapter Two. pp 29-32.

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Self-assessment and leadership

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