Leadership is an art and a science that is developed and perfected by the summation of innate abilities, understanding the behaviors of people and how to capitalize on their strengths, and the unique ability to inspire and drive under challenging and dynamic circumstances (http://www.gwinnettnetwork.com/ArticleWhatMakesAGreatLeader.htm). This discussion examines a leader profile that has been an influence in my personal development that will analyze the characteristics of the leader that affected my development and also create a leadership scorecard of the selected leader to assess his or her leadership competencies. The leader that has influenced me as an individual and professional would be the first supervisor that I worked for as a Co-op student. My co-op position was with a major electric company in Florida, where I worked as an Intern in the Engineering department.
The Manager over the Chemistry and Water Support department was an Engineer who was able to mold me into the leader that I am today. The qualities and competencies exhibited by this Manager included cooperation, collaboration, consistency, creativity, conscious, communicator, innovation, integrity, intellectual drive and knowledge, values, vision, organizer, interpersonal skills and a sense of humor. The Manager was an exemplary mentor that took work seriously and fervently believed in developing the next generation of leaders for success. Before the manager was promoted to a management position, the manager was a leader over a group of engineers and technicians and was promoted to a manger role because of his intellectual drive, knowledge, communication and interpersonal skills and vision. The main competencies that engineering manager instilled in me were his competencies in interpersonal skills, values and vision. These three competencies resonated with me at that time that I was being mentored by this manager and these skills remain as the primary strengths that I today use as a leader.
The manager had the correct balance of interpersonal skills and vision to recognize that I possessed the potential to become a leader. The mentoring and confidence that the manager suggested that I possessed, in turn, made me more confident and assured of my abilities to be a leader. His inspiration and assuredness of my potential eventually came to fruition as I was selected to be the next Environmental Chemist with the electric utility company as soon as I graduated from college. The engineering manager, taking advantage of his exceptional interpersonal skills and forward thinking, was an individual that recognized that potential successful leaders must be equipped with people skills that will result in optimal efficiency, productivity and productivity (PR Newswire, p. 1). The characteristic qualities that the supervisor possessed and has had the most impression on my leadership portfolio are based on are: •Interpersonal skills
oThe engineering manager had extremely firm interpersonal skills in that he possessed the skills to motivate and inspire at different levels of the organization. Interpersonal skills encompass the abilities to motivate, communicate and build teams and are effective at different levels of the organization. The ability of the engineering manager to be successful was transparent at all levels of the organization. At lower levels, the engineering manager had a keen ability to motivate teams; at middle levels the ability to communicate was predominant and a higher level, team building skills was the focus (International Journal of Business and Social Science). Given that my tenure as a co-op student at the time, the engineering manager utilized motivation techniques to capture my attention and drive my abilities to move forward into a leadership position. •Values
oThe engineering manager echoed values that directed him, fashioned every aspect of his life, and served as a benchmark to his motives and actions (Kouzes, James M., p 4). What imparted on me most was the engineer’s ability to base business based decisions and motives based on personal values and did not let business politics to alter his decision. •Vision
oThe engineering manager focused and remained in-tune with the organizations vision. The vision of the organization remained the target and steadfastly adopted the vision of the company and coached and inspired the way for others to follow suite via a philosophy of long-term proactive thinking (http://diversitymbamagazine.com/why-leaders-need-vision-integrity-compassion-to-succeed). The engineering manager exhibited exemplary skills and as a leader that translated with him when he advanced to the engineering managers position. An effective leader has the ability to retain the competencies that has been acquired in fine-tuning his leadership capabilities to other roles. An assessment of the engineering manager’s competencies is depicted in a leadership scorecard and follows with explanations. The scorecard is assessment is based on key competencies of this leader with a scale rating from 1-5 that equates to lowest to highest.
An evaluation of the skills indicated in the leadership’s scorecard is the following: Curiosity
The engineering manager was always interested in wanting to discover and learn more and was in constant pursuit of wanting to go beyond the call of duty that mimics curiosity. Curiosity correlates to assist in framing vision, solicits learning of new things, inspires passion, and challenges current thinking as well as the status quo (http://www.n2growth.com/blog/leadership-curiosity/). Creativity
oThe manager’s creativity could be associated with the skill of curiosity. Creativity forces leaders to focus on innovation and innovative ideas spawned from team members and associates. Innovation is the driving force in today’s business environment that is constantly seeking innovative and creative ways to improve business processes. Effective leaders thrive and accept reasonable creative ideas. Communication
oA supplemental key skill needed by effective and compelling leaders is the ability to clearly and concisely communicate. As Johann Wolfgang states “No one would talk much if they knew how much they misunderstood others”
Communication is precipitated in many forms and having a keen knowledge of how the communication process works is paramount for a leaders. Given the busy dynamics and the ebbs and flows of any typical business day results in a multitude of communication interactions between numerous associates and others in any given day in business. Pertinent at the leader’s level, the communication process is critical when the leader coaches, coordinates, counsels and supervises associates and is the mechanism of understanding that integrates the associates of an organization at all levels (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadcom.html). Character
oExperience starts with leaders of good and compelling character who participate in the entire development of leadership to include mentoring and training. The first process is being a person of admirable character consists of individuals that are perceived to have character traits such s dependable, taking initiative, integrity, unselfishness, loyalty, courage tact, knowledge and endurance (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/leader/leadchr.html). Strategic Development
oStrategic development has to be factored against internal and external forces that predispose the leader to establish a succinct and concise organizational strategy apart from operational improvement. An effective leader assumes the responsibilities of communicating the organizations strategies and inspiring associates to buy in into the newly adopted strategy (Harvard Business Review, pp. 61-78). Empowering
oAn effective leader through coaching and support has the ability to tap into the untapped potential in associates and empower them to take ownership in their production processes. Empowerment is a win-win for both the leader and the associate as any process improvement is a win for the business and the leader, it also a win for the associate or team whose idea has been recognized. This recognition results in transforming the associates into an independent and value added associate. Visionary
oThe goal of a visionary is to drive people towards a new set of shared business visions by envisioning the future. A visionary leader is one that articulates where and how a business will get to the new strategic business vision (http://guides.wsj.com/management/developing-a-leadership-style/how-to-develop-a-leadership-style/). Planning at various levels in terms of what might be makes visionary leader future-oriented. Inspiration
oInspiration is utilized and combined with many of the other competencies of leaders. Leaders have the ability to inspire innovation via creativity and envisioning the future and its possibilities by inspiring a shared vision (Kouzes, James M., p. 10). Values
oA value represents the attitude that applies a value to people, concepts and things. The importance of values is that they can influence an associate’s behavior by introducing the importance of alternatives. The engineering manager set the tone for values by defining his voice and affirmed shared ideas with associates. Actions and decisions were based on the leader’s values. Effective leaders also resort to a value based leadership that purports four critical principles: Self –reflection refers to self-knowledge and awareness that elicits deeper emotions and outcomes of a leader’s actions and decisions.
Aids in gaining a better understanding of the leaders strengths and weaknesses. Whole life balance – allows the leader to see things more holistically that takes into consideration viewpoints other than the leaders to gain an objective stance on the situation True self confidence – not blaming anyone but commit to learning from your own experiences. True self confidence asserts that life is learning is a lifelong journey and that we are never done learning and leading. Genuine Humility- refers to no matter where you have come from or is going to that you must remain focused on what matters most. Cited from Leadership Excellence, p, 17
The engineering manager’s leader’s constancy as the leader was promoted to a manager’s position with the organization. In the context of the readings, there are role differences between a leader and a manager, but a leader can also be an effective manager if he or she remains firm to their competencies acquired as a leader. This represents a unique sector of persons, but it is possible and was with the engineering manager. As for the evaluations from the leader scorecard, the actions of the engineering manager performed as the textbook describes the characteristics of a leader. For example, with respect to vision, the engineering manager held fast to the idea that it was imperative that shared vision is necessary for the success of a business at planned far in advance to promote an individual that would be value-added to the organization. With respect to values, the leader exhibited values that were extrapolated from passionate personal values to make the appropriate business decisions.
The face of the business environment has changed drastically today mainly by the Internet and its collateral infrastructure that is causing business to streamline business process and perform more efficiently. The challenge for leaders is to drive innovation and creativity to devise was to compete more effectively to maintain a competitive advantage. The singular constant with all business are its associates and teams that will face tougher choices in light of globalization and streamlined business processes. Streamline processes usually involve some type of change in the process and leaders have to be vigilant in keeping teams and associates focused on the bottom line to counter change resistance.
Leaders also have to adapt to dealing with multinational corporations and must be able to communicate effectively to foreign workers and customers. Explicatory values, establishing the example, foreseeing the future and procuring others are competencies that characterize effective and exemplary leaders. Recommended changes to their leadership skillets would be to become transformational leaders that have charismatic and visionary competencies that arouse confidence and commitment and other attributes from associates to perform better which is the new standard for businesses. Better business practices are critical with increased competitiveness in a flattened global marketplace where innovation and creativity can be the key to a business retaining a competitive advantage. Thus, leaders must oscillate to the way in which business will be changing.