Developing the Leader Within
Submitted by: Steve Hubbell & Bruce Marxsen, Professional Development Officers, Lincoln Composite Squadron
Leadership is critically important when emergencies occur. Leaders carry out their roles in various styles. The leadership style is influenced by the individual's beliefs, values, culture, the situation, and assumptions. Contrary to conventional understanding, leadership is not just telling others what to do. Leadership is also not who has the greater rank or perceived authority. Each of us plays a leadership role in various aspects of our lives. Leadership is knowing how our leadership actions reflect who we are and how we affect others. Therefore, it is important that we determine how each of us thinks and reacts to situations that call for leadership.
Common Failures in Leadership
Operational Leaders most often make the following behavioral mistakes:
How leaders are trusted depends on the perceptions the group will have based on the leader's demonstrated behavior.
Common Factors of Operational Failures
Operational Leaders most often make the following tactical mistakes, leading to potential failure:
A leader needs to adapt to the role of systems manager, team leader and resource coordinator.
Three Mental Models of Leadership
There are three mental modes that govern and impact the way we think and act in a leadership role:
On paper it would seem that every good leader should be transformational. This is not true. It may be the final development stage from supervisor, to manager, to leader, but each of these mental Models is not mutually exclusive. Each augments and compliments the others, providing a range of thinking from which to draw from, depending on the situation. The leader within is a combination of all three models.
Leadership Interaction- A Leader will interact differently with each mental model, based on the knowledge, experience, and comfort level. A leader may be technical in one situation, and transactional or transformational in another. There are six interactive dimensions:
The key to well-developed leadership is in moving from Technical to Transactional, and ultimately to Transformational. For most people, growing as a leader requires becoming aware of their values, beliefs, and behaviors in order to develop the ability to view situations in one of the three.
The first step in leadership growth is developing self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is an awareness of internal feelings, preferences, biases, strengths, and weaknesses. Self-knowledge is a common trait among great leaders. Effective leaders will look inside for a centered, internal control. Great leaders exhibit self-understanding and self-confidence. Increased self-knowledge helps the leader:
The 'Johari Window' is a model that indicates how the leader sees him or herself, as compared to how others see the leader. There are four categories of this model:
The leader's attributes in the 'Open Area' are what the leader and those managed by the leader know about the leader, and openly share.
The leader's attributes in the 'Hidden Area' are what the leader knows about him or her, but are hidden from others.
The leader's attributes in the 'Blind Area' are what others know, observe, think or feel about the leader, but are kept from the leader, so the leader is unaware.
The leader's attributes in the 'Unknown Area' are what neither the leader nor others know of on any conscious level.
The more the leader can increase the parts of ourselves that are known to self and others, the greater the leader's potential for building effective relationships that can lead to great leadership potential.
Effective leaders expand the 'open area', increasing what others know about them. This builds trust over time and makes the leader more available for understanding of the leader's thinking.
Once the leader has established his or her self-knowledge based interactive relationships with others, they are ready to establish their leadership styles based on the utilization of resources and the situations that are faced.
Situational Leadership- Utilization of Resources
Leadership is a utilization of resources for, during, and after a situation. There are four basic styles of leadership, which have to do with the way resources are used by leaders and the groups they lead:
Proactive- the leadership style that is used when the leader has the resources and the right to initiate action and exert control over what is going on. Success for this style is likely when:
Reactive- the leadership style that is involved when the leader seems powerless and sees the group as strong. The leader then attempts to fit in with and accommodates. Success for this style is likely when:
Inactive- the leadership style that is involved when neither the leader nor the group have the resources. Success for this style is likely when:
Interactive- the leadership style that is involved when the leader and the group has the necessary resources. Success for this style is likely when:
An effective leader will know when each of the above styles is necessary, adapting to the situation. New leaders must first accept, adjust, and be willing to adapt:
Accept the responsibilities of being a leader- It is important that an operational leader becomes comfortable with the responsibilities of leadership.
Adjust to the Needs of the Group- The success of a leader will depend on the responsiveness of the followers within the group.
Adapt to the Role of Leader- A good leader will evaluate the system that support the group, while monitoring the performance of each member.
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