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Success in Leadership

There is a great amount of literature on some failures and achievements of dominant personalities, theories of leadership, and the ways to become successful. This literature pushes people to an idea that there exist some secrets of leadership success that mark out the good leaders on the background of underwhelming ones. It is generally known that knowledge and application of supervision and management means together with proper ambitions are mostly regarded as the basic characteristics of a good leader. Leaders can get such skills at seminars, from mentors, some special training aids and books. However, there also some innate characteristics of a person exist being peculiar for his or her character. Consequently, the works of managers, psychologists and life experience of successful leadership qualities depend on both  inborn abilities and the skills received due to life and learning.

After a deep analysis of leadership and its numerous aspects, Owen Sullivan has mentioned in his article “Global Leaders: Why They Succeed and Fail” that the positive changes in the society happen only under the human potential. For this reason, the new time, i.e. the Human Age, is strongly dependent on the leaders with global competencies and mindset. For this reason, the leadership development today has become extremely popular and important. Among the most common leadership practices and competencies, he has marked out the following ones: a strategic vision, inspiration of people, maintaining the main leadership responsibilities, a comprehensive overview of business, and wise decision making. There is no secret that the leader’s potential, as well as of any other, has to be developed. The professional experiences can be obtained through communication with real leaders and executive stakeholders. They are focused on the real situations and critical competencies. The challenges studied by Sullivan let him mark out that the main failures of leaders usually are connected with building relationships and team culture, culture mismatch, a failure to deliver the acceptable results, winning support, a lack of appropriate training, selfish behavior and decisions, a lack of vision or flexibility, poor management or communication skills. One can see that some of these factors obviously intertwist and are connected with one another. In general, they all are connected with the knowledge of numerous management strategies and a human factor. The proper combination of all necessary characteristics becomes even more effective in case of a strong support by an organization a leader should lead. Finally, the leader’s productivity and performance becomes “the greatest catalyst for success” on the personal and organizational levels. Finally, he marks out that in the modern Human Age, the leaders have to focus on exceptional workforces that would provide the internal progress and ensure the integration of the external talent. His ideas are very timely till nowadays. They emphasize the aspects of the first priority in business that need transformation and growth and keep with globalization of the economy and of the market.

If one would reflect the skills that successful leaders should possess, the fact that their work is connected with people all the time needs to be mentioned. Some difficult situations, discussions and making decisions are mostly connected with communication abilities. A good leader has to have good declamatory and persuasive skills as well as to be a good listener. Good interpersonal relations with an inner circle and  subordinates should be based on trust and respect. Poor communication leads to poor interpersonal relationships in the collective body. It is the evidence of the leader’s technically incompetence. In order to succeed, the leaders have to be fully engaged with a collective body of the organization. Dr. Michael Hackman has supported such position in his work “Communicating for Leadership Success”. Trust and communication are defined as the key characteristics of the successful leadership. The art of connecting people and the science to achieve the desired results lies in the long-term and well-trained communication skills of a person. Regarding the fact that each leader prosecutes some definite aims and needs the support of the subordinates about these purposes, a clear message is the first step, as the foundation of the fruitful cooperation with people. However, the unification of different people under the same aim demands soothing the conflicts, an individual approach, a lack of prejudices, a fair and just attitude towards others that will be clearly followed in the messages the leader sends. Therefore, persuasive, flexible, and lucid communication is the only way to maximize productivity and cooperation within the team. Using various examples from life, Hackman emphasizes that each successful leader has his own communication style being dependent on the preferred communicative pattern of the team. At the same time, all of these styles have some common features. They have to be well-thought and analyzed to make the team trust their leader and accept his aims as necessary for the whole team. The successful leader should make people trust him, feel safe, respect and “go through brick walls for him”. Finally, the strong dependence on all levels of cooperation leads to a conclusion that trust is not only the support, but better business perspectives and higher profits. To sum it up, the successful leader has to care for his employees, be honest and open, identify and organize common goals, values and rules in the team, and to be reliable and competent.

The psychological sciences that deal with individual peculiarities of people and their impact on the interpersonal communication and work have presented numerous evidences of human positions in the society’s or organization’s dependence on the personal ambitions and characters. Some scientists insisted that individual differences predetermining behavior relationships are the most influential for the leader’s success. Among such, the dominance should be more effective than extraversion. In addition, leadership motivation and management skills are more consistent than intelligence. Among the works that have researched the similar issues, one should pay attention to the article by Hoffman et al. It presents the evidences that the effectiveness of leadership is closely connected with some personality traits. In order to conduct a research, these scholars have divided the personality human characteristics into the state-like and trait-like differences. The state-like differences were the following ones: oral communication, interpersonal skills, written communication, management and administrative skills, decision-making and problem-solving skills. Among the trait-like ones, such characteristics as self-confidence, achievement-motivation, dominance, energy, honesty, charisma and creativity have been marked out. As it has been assumed, the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of leadership appeared to be dependent on all of these characteristics but to a different extent. The trait-like individual differences were more strongly related to the leadership effectiveness than the state-like ones. The results show that the traits that correlate with leadership for the most are such as: charisma, creativity, honesty, dominance, energy, integrity, achievement motivation and self-confidence. At the same time, such skills as decision-making, problem-solving, interpersonal ones, oral communication and written communication have been defined as the most important ones among the state-like individual peculiarities of leaders. To sum it up, one can see that the leader has to possess a great number of qualities in order to become successful. Having only the trait-like or only the state-like traits separately from each other will not make the leader’s decisions effective or raise his authority. Only a proper combination of decision-making, management, problem-solving and interpersonal skills, oral and written communication, charisma, creativity, dominance, honesty, integrity, energy, self-confidence and achievement-motivation will let a leader become a guarantor of a professional approach to any deals related to the company. He could make competent steps in the direction of future perspectives, a successful development of the organization, well-handled and organic team creation, and the whole round support of the team purposes. Finally, focusing on such aspects as loyalty, optimism, professionalism, empathy and partnering are a basis to the success of any organization. However, any team can follow such principles only if the leader is associated with them. The above mentioned personal traits of the leader are those that can create the best basis for such orientation of the team and lead them to the maximum effective and positive results.

Another approach to successful leadership is presented in Rao’s article. His ideas based on the philosophy of Sun Tzu are quite interesting and rational. Although the author did not divide the possible characteristics into groups, his secrets of leadership are more likely to be trait-like. Rao has defined that the following eleven characteristics are those that can make the leader better than others: an own example, energy, enthusiasm, endurance, emotional intelligence, eloquence, empowerment, effectiveness, execution, excellence and ethics. The emphasis of the above mentioned secrets is based on the idea that success is the hard work. It cannot be given to someone, who is innately a potential leader. The hidden potential of the person is very important. However, learning, the implementation of  proper strategies, and techniques followed by failures and successes are the necessary steps to become a winner. However, if the effective leadership is mostly defined as the quality possessed by only some individuals, Rao has stated that only those who do not try or put not enough efforts are bad leaders. According of his theory, “the need to be appreciated” is common for all people. It is one of the most important ones. Exactly this need motivates people to do something, to strive for success, and to reach the goals. The most important point is that it generates enthusiasm being the background of all human deeds. Rao believed that if the combination of only five notes could make various melodies, five elements of different seasons leadership was nothing else but the combination of talents and skills. The inner talent together with training, learning observation and practice can define the successful or unsuccessful leaders. According to Rao, the successful leader is not the one who can make friends and influence people. This is a person, whose vision is lifted to higher sights. Such people become effective by the means of 11 points. Firstly, they have to see the example of other great leaders. Secondly, every leader has to be energetic. Thirdly, he has to be enthusiastic in his field of concentration. Fourthly, the leader’s ability to endure shocks and setbacks is of high importance. The fifth point is the ability to control the mood and emotions. The sixth key is being persuasive, elegant and fluent in speaking. The seventh key is empowerment and trust towards a close inner circle. The eighth point is the effectiveness of efforts and energy. The ninth key is the understanding of links between strategies and reality. The tenth point is striving for the best results. The last one is following the corporate ethics that contributes to a trustful and respectful atmosphere. To sum it up, one should pay attention that the characteristics presented by the author are obviously important for the success in leadership. They emphasize the responsibility that the leader takes with his position.

The importance of the above mentioned characteristics can be supported on the example of the leaders’ selection or a leadership transitio. The existence of various leadership styles and work change is a common issue during the one’s career movements. In such situations, the leaders have to establish the credibility of the position each time a new worker appears. The main reason for that is obvious that each worker is an important part of the team. The successful leader has to support the individual approach to any of them. At the same time, the authors emphasize the importance of the critical approach to some issues and the ability to listen. Consequently, one can see that the uniqueness of each situation is the first point that needs some attention of the leader who has to work in a new team. The atmosphere of security is exceptionally important in any organization. For this reason, Goodyear and Golden emphasize that the successful leader has to be confident and able to build the trustworthy relations with people. In order to reach this aim, the authors have marked out the following effective strategies: partnership in decision-making, focusing on successful directions, a discussion of  feedbacks, and creating a safe environment. Hence, it is important that the organization’s success depends on the effective working relationships. The critical approach in the combination with the ability to quick adaptation, creating a confident and safe atmosphere in the team and being a good listener are the irreplaceable characteristics of any good leader.

Regarding some of ideas on successful leadership, one can make a conclusion that all of them intertwist, complete and do not deny each other. Some of researchers believe that being a successful leader is a difficult task that can be accomplished only by some individuals. Others believe that any person can do this. Anyway, the main idea is the same one. Leadership is a great responsibility. The more effective it is, the more responsibilities a leader takes. In order to be strong enough to be a good leader, one has to pursue the definite goals related not to selfish interests, but to the development of the organization and trust in the team. Regardless the possible division of personal traits, such characteristics as dominance, charisma, creativity, honesty, energy, achievement motivation and self-confidence are the inherent parts of the leader’s personality that are usually potentially possessed. At the same time, oral and written communication, interpersonal skills, management, administrative, decision-making and problem-solving skills are the characteristics that one can get in a process of learning. Only the proper combination of such traits and skills can make the leader successful and responsible for people.

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