What is a leader?
Everyone will have their own interpretation of ‘leadership’, Fairholm (2015) quoted it as ‘we know it when we see it’. Hopkin (2015) suggest that ‘great leaders are made, not born’, even if a person is born with certain skills and talents, he still need to develop and improve those traits to become a real leader. Different leadership styles also consist of different traits and elements. There is no real definition or a standard as to what is a leadership. John Maxwell (2016) then levelized the leadership styles to help the leaders for further development. In my opinion, this levelized leadership does help me to assess myself to become a better leader.
Level 1: Position
It is the lower level of leadership as everyone can be appointed to a position. This level does not require ability or effort to achieve, and they will only have subordinates but not team members because they mostly rely on rules and regulations to control the people. (Maxwell 2016)
Level 2: Permission
In this level, the leaders gain followers based on relationship where they give the ‘permission’ for the leaders to lead. Maxwell (2016) suggest that the leaders in this level needs to get to know his people and gain respect by develop positive influence in them because you cannot lead without understanding your people.
Level 3: Production
In this level, leaders need to produce result to gain trust and credibility through self-discipline, work ethics and organizations and skills (Surji 2015). In addition, the leaders also need to assist the team to generate result as well. People still follow not only because relationship, but also the result produce by the leaders give trust and credibility.
Level 4: People Development
Since people is the most important assets, leaders must be able to grow others into leaders as well by investing time, money and thinking on them (Maxwell 2016). In level 4, leaders shift their focus on producing result to developing others, the role also change from producers to developers (Surji 2015)
Level 5: Pinnacle
The leaders in this level lead extremely well for a long time that they have create a legacy of relationship in the organizations and they are conspicuous among others (Surji 2015). The Pinnacle leaders lifts the level of the whole organization and create environment that benefits every follower (Maxwell 2016). Their leadership gains a positive reputation where people follow them because of who they are.
Me as a leader – To understand more about my leadership styles and for future development, I have done personal traits test as well as peer reviews test.
Johari window is one of the theories which can provide useful insights on self-awareness and understanding (Saxena 2015). This model does help me on identifies very two important things: seeking for feedback and disclosure of self. However, it does not mean to open self entirely but to let others know more about yourself, in order to identify the best ways to work and communicate with you (Deiss 2017). I find out that I have a lot of ‘blind spot’ traits which not known to myself and ‘dependable’ scores the highest among all the traits. Now I only realize that my most of my team members think that I am reliable and trustworthy, this eventually raise my confidence level and to be more responsible. This model provides great information for my future development as I can try to explore these traits and work the best out of it.
Myers Briggs personality test
An advocate is the combination of introverted, intuitive, feeling and judging. An advocate manager does not like to use power to gain followers, instead they prefer encouraging and helping others. They tend to ensure their subordinates feel valued and happy. My leadership experience mainly comes from my secondary school times, I always focus on development of my subordinates, rather than my personal honor. Furthermore, in group work, I often more concern on what we have learned and not the results. However, there is weakness of advocate personalities as mentioned in the test results, the main criticism is that advocate is very sensitive especially when someone criticize or negate their principles or values. Furthermore, advocates are extremely private and do not easily trust a new friend.
Steps to develop leadership
1.Identify the preferred leadership styles
In previous blog, I mentioned that my preferred style is transformational leadership. The leadership consist of 4 main components which are idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation and individualized consideration (Bass 1990). From Myers Briggs personalities test, advocate has some link with this leadership style. For example, advocate and transformative leaders both focus on development of followers and always helping to improve subordinates (individualized consideration) (Reza 2019). Transformative leaders provide a clear vision and sense of belongings to motivate followers (idealized influence) (Smikle n.d.) while an advocate also emphasize on making their subordinates to feel valued and happy.
2.Identify self-weakness and overcome
However, to become a transformative leader, the main step I need to do is to overcome the weakness as an advocate. The two biggest weaknesses of advocate are also the opposite of two other major components (inspirational motivation & intellectual stimulation) of transformative leaders. Intellectual stimulation emphasizes on ‘open environment’. An open environment is created based on follower’s creativity and innovative, the followers are free to express opinion and reflecting the decision by leaders (Gonfa 2019). A sensitive advocate may not easily accept the criticism or negative reflection by the subordinates. Furthermore, extremely private advocate may find it hard to achieve ‘inspirational motivation’ as advocate may not easily trust someone. An advocate rarely shares his belief and goals which hard to motivate the followers to proceed in the same way.
3. Self-reflection and steps to change
In my opinion, I should be more acceptable for others’ reflection and criticism and this is the traits I need to improve as it is not known to others based on Johari windows. Furthermore, I should start sharing my views and beliefs to my team members and try to motivate them to the same goals. This is an important component on my way to transformative leadership because even my team members feedback stating that I am ‘shy and quiet’ according to Johari windows.
Currently I haven’t had any working experience yet, but I know that this leadership styles may not be adaptable to some industries .Furthermore, it may not also be accepted by employees due to Malaysian’ high power distance cultural according to Hofstede, but I will try my best to lead with transformative leadership styles if possible.
16 Personalities (n.d.) ‘ Advocate Personality’ [online] available from <https://www.16personalities.com/infjs-at-work> [ 27 June 2020]
Bass, M. (1990) ‘ From transactional to transformational leadership: Learning to share the vision’ Organizational Dynamics[online] 18(3),19–31available from< https://doi.org/10.1016/0090-2616(90)90061-S> [28 June 2020]
Deiss, K. (2017) ‘ Intentional Leadership and Interpersonal Effectiveness’ [online] available from <https://www.library.illinois.edu/mortenson/wp-content/uploads/sites/64/2017/07/12_deiss.pdf> [26 June 2020]
Fairholm, M. (2015) ‘ Defining Leadership’ [online] available from <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/283048404_Defining_Leadership> [ 24 June 2020]
Gonfa, B. (2019) ‘ Review on Components of Transformational Leadership’ Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review [online] 9(3) available from <https://www.hilarispublisher.com/open-access/review-on-components-of-transformational-leadership.pdf> [28 June 2020]
Hofstede Insight (n.d.) ‘ Compare Countries’ [online] available from <https://www.hofstede-insights.com/product/compare-countries/> [29 June 2020]
Hopkin, M. (2015) ‘ Great Leaders are Made,Not Born’ [online] available from < https://leadonpurposeblog.com/2015/02/21/great-leaders-are-made-not-born/> [24 June 2020]
Maxwell, J. (2016) ‘ The 5 Levels of Leadership’ [online] available from <https://www.johnmaxwell.com/blog/the-5-levels-of-leadership1/> [25 June 2020]
Reza, M. (2019) ‘ Components of Transformational Leadership Behavior’ EPRA International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research [online] 5(3) available from <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/333798276_COMPONENTS_OF_TRANSFORMATIONAL_LEADERSHIP_BEHAVIOR> [28 June 2020]
Saxena, P. (2015) ‘ Johari Window: An effective Model for Improving Interpersonal Communication and Managerial Effectiveness’ SIT Journal of Management [online] 5(2) , 134-146 available from <http://www.ejsit.org/dec_15/journal13.pdf> [26 June 2020]
Smikle J. (n.d.) ‘ Transformational Leadership:The Key to Employee Engagement and Commitment’ [online] available from <http://www.smiklespeaks.com/files/articles/HRKY_Fall14.pdf> [ 28 June 2020]
Surji, K.(2015) ‘ Understanding Leadership and Factors that Influence Leaders’ Effectiveness’ European Journal of Business and Management [online] 7(33) available from <https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313636384_Understanding_Leadership_and_Factors_that_Influence_Leaders’_Effectiveness> [25 June 2020]