According to Shaw, leadership is defined as the process of manipulating and control a group of people for the achievement of predefined goals and objectives (2008). The ability of a leader to accomplish tasks and projects that are representative of a predefined vision is used to signify the leader’s success, failure, or fitness for that position. Therefore, the leader has to ensure that they utilize all resources and strategies to achieve their objective (DuBrin, 2012). Relying on their inherent abilities, qualifications, knowledge, experiences, and skills are the crucial factors that promote effectiveness and productivity for the leader. In this paper, focus will be placed on analysis the synthesis between traits and skills in enhancing good leadership.
Acquisition of Skills and Traits
Research literature dictates that leaders acquire their skills based either on their innate qualities, behaviors, or abilities, or through education, training, and experience. The innate qualities that a leader can possess that formulate their leadership skills are such as humility, patience, critical thinking, adroit decision making, and goals oriented. Application of these qualities to nay leadership position usually has the overall effect of instilling respect and admiration among others thus endearing them to follow the ideologies of this leader.
For instance, one of the prime qualities that make up a good leader is their ability to make decisions that have a positive impact not only on a particular task, but also on the productivity and efficacy of the group under their command. This is defined as social proof where the actions or behaviors of a person can be used to exert influence on another person or group due to the appeal and efficacy of the action exhibited by the individual. Social proof acts as the core principle that leaders use to exert their influence on their subjects to promote their ideologies, orders, and beliefs. Therefore, leaders possessing qualities that can be deemed as appropriate for influencing people to follow their actions and ideologies usually have better chances of achievement of completion of designated tasks efficiently and productively (Shaw, 2008).
Psychologists suggest that these leadership traits cannot become inherently useful to a person in a short time. They have to be nurtured in an environment that is enabling, accommodating, and encouraging the traits to be channeled in a useful manner that can influence the person towards being a leader. This means that a child can have all these qualities early on, but still make a poor leader in future if these skills are not channeled to useful links and environment. Contrastingly, one who begins to practice these traits early and with ardent can ingrain in them a sense of confidence for the achievement of certain leadership positions and skills.
This analogy is defined as the acquisition of leadership traits through education and training. Training one to become a leader through trait acquisition is an intricate process that entails self-realization, self-efficacy, and discipline. This system is useful since one realizes their innate weaknesses and strengths and learns to channel them to useful links related to their future leadership role (Kent, 2005). Receiving training from outside sources is only effective in acquiring a set of traits that are representative of an idealized leader, and do not conform or consider one’s personality or attributes that can mesh with this ideology. Therefore, the result is a person forcing himself to act in a particular manner without consideration of their beliefs or identity. This often results in poor leadership and management not only of people or an organization, but also of one’s life, career, and professionalism.
Meshing Skills and Traits
Meshing acquired education and skills, and practicing them utilizes two different methodologies for achieving their objectives. Therefore, in spite of one’s zeal or focus for the completion of the task, it is still vital that application of the necessary tools, skills, and methodologies be applied. Effective leaders cannot utilize a common strategy for achieving this objective since different tasks and groups require different strategies to influence to complete a given task (Kent, 2005). The leader has to ensure that their skills used for different tasks vary depending on the severity, complexity, expanse, and time line for the completion of that task. Therefore, utility f different skills and traits will be essential in ensuring that their objective is met.
One application of a mesh between skills and traits is when completing a project with a multiplicity of subcategories and subprojects, each requiring unique skill sets for the workers handling them. Therefore, since the leader is unskilled to handle such sub projects, he has to ensure that he not only employs qualified people to head each individual subproject, but also have an avenue to erasure the success and efficacy of the completion of each subproject (DuBrin, 2012). Therefore, the leader can achieve this issue by tapping into their management skills where project scheduling and task allocation are easy for them to formulate. Additionally, the leader has to manage the quantity of resources present for the task completion. The traits that the leader would need to possess are such as adroit decision-making, planning, understanding, patient, and attentive to people and their ideas. Therefore, a mesh of these traits and skills would serve to increase the plausibility of completion and management of the project and their subcategories, with different managers or directors.
According to research literature, the mere completion of a given task cannot constitute effective leadership since the strategies and methodologies employed have to be assessed. In some instances, leaders may use unorthodox means to complete their task or forcefully influence their workers to perform a task, in spite of its danger or lack of skills to complete it. This is defined as the application of poor ethical structures and strategies in management and leadership. The crucial role of ethics in leadership and management is important to ensure that activities, projects, labor force, and resources are used in a manner that exerts fairness, authority, respect, and adhering to a strict code of standards and professionalism (Leithwood & Levin, 2004).
The achievement of leadership ethics requires the application of different and unique traits and skills in not only the leader, but also on his subjects. This means that the leader would have to tap into his moral consciousness and societal responsibility to ensure that his actions conform to ethics in leadership and management. The traits used in this endeavor have to be nurtured in a concise and disciplined manner since some action that are ethical can have injurious and negative on people and the overall project. For instance, one of the major issues that leaders in organizations have to deal with is the labor wages that are continually changing to promote humanity and reflect on the severity and complexity of the task.
Ethically, the leader is supposed to listen to the workers’ demands for wage increases and formulate steps to address. However, this creates a logjam since balancing between resource allocation and availability, and pleasing other people is difficult. In some instances, the available monies can be insufficient to meet the demands for better wages and salaries for the workers (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002). Therefore, company ethics dictate that the leader should use logic to ensure that resources are equally and evenly distributed to all sectors of the organization without favor or prejudice. The leader is faced with acting human, or acting as an effective leader. To avert the crisis, the leader would have to consider the needs of the organization foremost, since his primary responsibility is to the completion of the project, rather than human activism. The decision made is modeled on the ideology that traits and skills have merged using adroit decision-making and effective management skills.
This analogy is closely related to the accountability and transparency skills of an effective leader. The leader is mandated to act in a manner that is representative of the organizations rules, regulations, laws, and regulations. He should align his personality and actions to norms and behaviors that ensure accountability and transparency in not only his actions, but also those of his employees (Leithwood & Levin, 2004). Employees tend to mimic the actions and behaviors of their leaders. Therefore, the leader acts as a role model to the employees. Accountability of one’s actions promotes a culture of self-assessment of the leader and his employees to methodologies and strategies employed to complete tasks. The positive effect of this system is ability for advocating autonomy and independence among employees. This essential skill ensures that the leader and his employees learn and understand their strengths and weaknesses. This models their actions in a manner that is considerate of this knowledge and ensures that tasks and responsibilities are assigned and accomplished with the highest skill and standards.
The leader should ensure that he has a focus on future goals and objectives, rather than focusing on current issues only. Having a vision for an organization requires planning and skill to formulate plans and actions that are representative of a progressive organization. This vision has to be structured in a manner that is considerate to the structures and laws of the organization to enhance the possibility of success of the plans (Antonakis & Atwater, 2002). The employee cannot merely perform the achievement of a vision through a leaders plan and acquisition of resources to achieve the plans, but also through the participation and acceptance of the plans and vision. Communicating the vision to the employees is the primary task for the leader since the employees are the force behind the implementation of the vision. In this regard, it is also vital that the leader also includes the employees’ suggestions and ideas in the formulation of the vision.
Leadership traits and skills are essential for ensuring that the leader is effectual in his actions, behaviors, and ability to complete tasks. Meshing these two core values requires attention and precision to have the right cocktail of traits and skills for a particular task. The myriads of benefits through which this mesh can be achieved are such as better accountability, transparency, creation of vision, adaption of ethics, and improved management of people and resources.
Antonakis, J., & Atwater, L. (2002). Leader distance: A review and proposed theory. The Leadership Quarterly, 13, 673− 704.
DuBrin, A. J. (2012). Leadership: Research findings, practice, and skills. Mason, OH: South-Western. Cengage Learning.
Kent, T. (2005). Leading and managing: it takes two to tango. Management Decision. 43 (7-8):1010-1017.
Leithwood, K. & Levin, B. (2004). Approaches to the Evaluation of Leadership Programs and Leadership Effects. London, UK: DfES.
Shaw, M. S. (2008). Leadership Development and the Characteristics/traits of Ethical and Effective Leaders: The Delphi Technique. San Fransisco, CA: Proquest.