Planning and implementation is the third icon on the leadership ladder. I have put the two together because even the best-laid plans unless implemented, will be done in vain. A leader must have a vision and in order for this vision to become a reality, it is necessary to plan and implement a particular course of action. Planning eliminates several mistakes and problems that one may encounter along the way to achieve specific objectives. Although planning is a function of management I believe that proper is an essential requirement of an effective leader. Another essential element ineffective leadership is intelligence which is the ability to apply knowledge and skill learned to any situation.
Intelligence allows the leader to use the required knowledge to create superior structures and activities within the organization. This element gives the leader a competitive advantage over leaders of lesser intelligence. For creative thinking, risk-taking, expertise in the desired field and thinking outside of the box, intelligence is needed. Influence is perhaps the most essential component of effective leadership. Lussier and Achua (2007) define influencing as ‘ a process of a leader communicating ideas, gaining acceptance of them, and motivating followers to support and implement the ideas through change. ’ I tend to agree with Lussier and Achua (2007) that power, politics, networking and negotiating are the four main ingredients of influencing.
Further, they noted the difference between a manager and a leader in terms of influence. Whereas a manager may force subordinates to perform a task, leaders earn the dedication of followers who are raring to accomplish whatever task is communicated to them for the improvement of the organization and not for personal gain.
Thus, both sources of power- position and personal power are critical assets of a leader. From self-analysis, I have discovered that my ability to communicate effectively to all types of people is my greatest asset. On the other hand, my ability to make sound decisions is somewhat flawed. In Lussier and Achua's (2007) self-assessment 1 I scored high in the potential for leadership but every other assessment left me wanting in many areas. My first step towards improvement in the weak areas of my leadership skills would be to take the advice of Lussier and Achua (2007) themselves.
They insist that in spite of leadership potential it is ‘ persistence and hard work’ that will create an effective leader.
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