Leadership skills are portrayed in the working environment through leaders. Effective leadership skills are based on recognizing an individual’s leadership traits which are characteristics a person requires in establishing effective leadership. Therefore, this paper is to discuss various effective leadership traits. In addition, the paper will analyze the strongest and weakest leadership traits in the working environment. Moreover, it will focus on developing an improvement plan that will strengthen the weak traits of leadership. Generally, consideration of good leadership traits and handling conflicts in the working environment serves a principle role in leadership.
Keywords: leadership, skills, traits.
In order to establish the traits required by a leader, it is essential to understand the lives of historical and contemporary leaders. Leader traits are indispensable as they are a prediction of leader effectiveness, emergence, and advancement. For instance, George Washington demonstrated integrity and virtuous wisdom in his leadership. Traits in leadership are based on the leader`s attributes towards the establishment of reliable factors (Cancelleri, 2007, p. 21).
The term ‘trait’ refers to various individual aspects, including personality, temperament, needs, motives, and values. Trait research began in the early 20th century. It resulted from industrial and organizational psychology. Leader traits can be summarized into six foremost categories. Cognitive abilities are paramount leader attributes. These include aspects like creative reasoning abilities and intricate problem solving skills. Moreover, general intelligence exhibits a strong bond between various indices of leadership and effectiveness of a leader. Considerably, there are unique contributions of cognitive traits to, at least, index of leadership compared to other features. Divergent thinking is a crucial leader trait, especially in organizational environments needing complex problem solving. Notably, leader creative capacity is associated with leader performance (Cancelleri, 2007, p. 22).
Possibly, personality is the largest set of leader peculiarity with regard to leadership traits. Personality in leadership entails neuroticism, extroversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience. Conscientiousness and extroversion are positively correlated, especially in managerial work and job performance. Agreeableness is associated with adaptability of a leader towards the various working conditions at the work place. Motivation is yet another leadership trait. It influences leadership for power and need for dominance. In addition, it increases the need for achievement, responsibility, and affiliation. Social appraisal traits are skills that enable a leader to understand the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of other people in the workplace (Cancelleri, 2007, p. 23).
In solving conflicts, I would consider social capacities that are valuable traits in leadership. They include self-monitoring, social intelligence, and emotional intelligence. Self-monitoring is the ability of the leader to evaluate his leadership skills, and how the instructions are executed within the group. Social capacities are effective in ensuring that individuals within the organization present their views without discrimination. Similarly, social intelligence is vital to any leader at the workplace. A good leader learns his employees’ emotions. Moreover, he understands different emotions towards various situations in the working environment. Effective leadership entails intelligence, confidence, determination, and sociability (Cancelleri, 2007, p. 23). In addition, charisma and integrity are unavoidable in effective leadership. Self-confidence, dependability, and persistence are traits in leadership that require improvement through determination.
Moreover, I would engage in philosophy in leadership that is based on the unique beliefs and attitudes of people towards work. There are various philosophies explaining the man-work relationship. However, in this section, the main objective will be relating Macgregor’s Theory X in the working environment. Considerably, the human behavior at work is influenced by various internal and external factors. Theory X is confined to the worker’s attitude regarding work. Therefore, attitude plays a significant role towards motivation in the working environment (Northouse, 2012, p. 48). Theory X comprises of three crucial assumptions that clearly indicate how human beings views work. First, an individual who dislikes work will do everything to evade it when possible. Evidently, this assumption is philosophically correct as the majority of workers at the workplace will unwillingly perform their tasks. In addition, if they undertake the tasks, they ineffectively solve them. This can be observed from individual behaviors like inconsistency at work, absence, ineffectiveness, and conflicts in the working environment (Northouse, 2012, p. 48).
In leadership, I would follow the Theory X which suggests that human being dislikes work and needs to be guided, threatened, punished, and also have reminders over rewards to work. Evidently, at the working environment the majority of people need rules and regulations in order to work. Rules and conditions of work are forms of guiding measures to the rigid workers. Macgregor denotes that people work effectively under these rules because they know that if the conditions are not followed, the various punishments or penalties will be given. Considerably, rewards to workers are fundamental aspects towards motivation. Achievable targets to ordinary human being are enhanced by rewards from a reliable leadership.
Macgregor’s Theory X also denotes that people need to be directed, have minimal ambition, need security more than choice, and demand to avoid responsibility. Therefore, for people, to work efficiently at the workplace, they require work security and close monitoring with considerable guidance. Setting goals for workers is a significant aspect as most people are motivated by set goals from leaders. Furthermore, if workers are given a chance to guide themselves at the workplace, they are likely to undermine the working activities. This is the reason why people require security more than choice in the working environment. Therefore, philosophically, the average man should be guided and directed at the workplace (Northouse, 2012, p. 48).
In leadership, conflict refers to the disagreement between two or more parties involved that consider a threat to their needs or requirements. Conflicts are common within the working environment. A good leader always possesses qualities of conflict handling (Northouse, 2012, p. 173). Negotiations to obtain a common solution are an ordinary process. Mutual agreement can be emphasized through effective communication practices within the parties. Conflicts within the work environment can be minimized by good leadership traits. For instance, the establishment of reliable work allocation methodologies can reduce the work overload. This is to ensure employees are well allocated to work activities (Northouse, 2012, p. 176).
Leadership conflict diagnosis is a vital element in designing reliable leadership traits of conflict management. Interpersonal conflicts can be managed through efficiency in work allocation by leadership. Establishing appropriate demands on capacity and organization structure is a substantial factor that a leader should implement (Northouse, 2012, p. 213). Other causes of conflict include supervisory style and poor personality traits. Leadership should entail effective supervisory styles that involve the organization as a whole in its practices. Effective leadership should state its goals clearly and set approaches that will support the organization to attain them. In addition, unclear working directions result to workplace conflicts. Effective leadership establishes reliable working directions that support workers to undertake their tasks, and thus motivation is achieved. Conflict solving must incorporate both parties with equity being taken into consideration (Northouse, 2012, p. 188).
Ethics is defined as discipline that deals with what is considered right from those that are considered wrong with regard to morals and obligations of an organization. To some extent, it is called moral philosophy of a business firm which is looking into issues that are morally good and inappropriate or right and wrong in a business environment. Leadership practices are based on the organization’s ethical climate. The ethical climate in the organization should enhance the activities in the working environment (Northouse, 2012, p. 231).
Being a leader, leadership traits like philosophy of leadership and handling of conflict are indispensable components of establishing good ethical practices in the working environment. Leader traits within the work environment include personality, social capacities and, entails intelligence. In addition, confidence, determination, and sociability are crucial traits of effective leadership and promote ethical practices at the workplace. To create a good code of ethics, a leader needs to establish an influential culture that is to be followed by employees. This means that the employees and the leader through the organization should take part in making the ethics and the conduct; this will make sure that the requirements of the employees and company are met. This should be done in a kind way so as not to be problematic (Northouse, 2012, p. 237).
Ethical leadership is about the character of the leader, his actions, organizational goals he sets, and honesty. In addition, the power and values of a leader are crucial in ethical leadership. However, if the members do not abide by the conditions of ethics, they result to conflicts within the organization. In most cases, one is expected to sign and promise to abide by the rules upon his selection by the company. Hence, a good code of ethics should be laced with virtues of reliability, truth values, uprightness, sympathy, and self-discipline. Employees should be involved in matters concerning problem solving, decision making, and goal setting. Conflicts are common within an organization, and ethically, equity must be observed in the involved parties. In addition, consistency in practicing the ethical standards and conducts yields a good leadership in everything: in terms of decision making and ideas to solve a problem in an organization (Northouse, 2012, p. 231).
In conclusion, leadership is a vast aspect, and it takes a variety of factors in attaining goals and ambitions. Leadership traits impact on the working environment on how the leader imposes the various directions and activities on the workers. On the other hand, conflicts are irresistible, and a good leader must possess reliable problem solving and conflict handling techniques such as efficient communication. Philosophy of leadership is also significant as it explores on people’s attitude and relation to work.