Stories of personalities who have succeeded in their fields especially by spearheading major changes in those fields are always touted as revolutionary leaders who have managed to conquer and succeed against innumerable odds. These leaders can be identified as inspiring others to rise to the occasion in taking charge of their lives, in general; alongside prohibitive managerial practices, when viewed from a business perspective. Many studies and publications indicate a lot of positive benefits resulting from effective exercise of the leadership function in business especially when leadership self-assessment underlies effectiveness of various forms of leadership like authentic leadership (George et al., 2007). My score on the leadership evaluation tool provided by Mindtools (2015) was 62 with an ‘excellent’ verdict, stating that I was on my way to becoming a good leader. More in-depth analysis reveals my style as more of a participative leadership style with a touch of the transactional style.
Leadership Style: Self-Assessment
Participative Leadership Style
Generally, this style is identified in terms of joint decision making between leaders and subordinates even though the leader makes the final decisions. This is identified in the leadership assessment tool by the emphasis I place on enhancing teamwork towards firm goal accomplishment. This style is grounded in Lewin’s three major leadership styles, specifically the democratic style, which also focusses on teamwork and inclusive decision making (Stout-Rostron, 2014). It is also part of six leadership styles identified and popularized in the book ‘Primal Leadership’, by Daniel Goleman which include visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic and commanding as well as pacesetting leadership styles (Stout-Rostron, 2014). However, this style is identified as quite unsuitable in times of crisis as it would delay necessary action as members discuss the relevant situation. This is one aspect I have observed especially when I am dealing with hectic assignments that I have to give out fast without discrimination. This explains my responses in the evaluation tool, about optimism and seeing beyond temporary setbacks and problems and feeling threatened when criticized as seeking input from team members derails much-needed fast decision making (Mindtools, 2015). This style is also grounded in leader behavior theory where leadership effectiveness is influenced by the quality of exchange relationships between a leader and his subordinates (Mahsud, Yukl & Prussia, 2010).
The aforementioned leader behavior theory, specifically identifies the participative leadership style as inviting participation of subordinates and using their suggestions in making decisions. Even though the resultant leader grid should read high consideration and low structure, my responses regarding allowance of personal feelings in affecting performance and productivity affirm a slight orientation to a transactional leadership style. Personally, the participative style generally reflects my personality and hence paints me as a person who is relatively more concerned about others even though this is slightly challenged by the transactional leaning which I find too cutthroat especially in consideration of changes in the business environment. With self-confidence, positive attitude and outlook and emotional intelligence identified as significant leader traits, my low scores for the latter two indicate room for improvement which are in line with my expectations of a good leader (Mindtools, 2015). In addition, my expectations, in relation to the scores I garnered, were that I would lean more to a transformational leadership style which would be in line with my idealism of a seemingly perfect leader. Nonetheless, since this style is an embodiment of who I am, I think it means a lot that I can now accept my strengths and weaknesses not only as a leader but also as a person; even though I have doubts on how much of my responses reflect what kind of leader I would like to be instead of which I am.
Personal Leadership Development
Leadership self-assessment is identified as a hallmark of great leadership as it allows discovery of purpose and enhances greater effectiveness as exemplified by the successes of the leaders interviewed in George et al.’s (2007) article. Since leadership discourse seems to highlight the transformational leadership style as the most appealing (which I agree), my personal leadership development mission will be directed towards learning and practicing this style. Favorable scores on relevant transformational leadership elements including providing a compelling vision of the future, motivating people to deliver the vision, managing performance effectively and providing support and stimulation, indicate my increased chances of success in accomplishing my goal. However, the element, being a good role model (as well as the others) will require some improvements for a fully effective transformational leadership style (Mindtools, 2015). This will be augmented by slight focus on transactional leadership style principles (in line with my participative leadership style) especially since the transformational style is sometimes viewed as too wide and untrainable (Wang et al., 2011). I will also seek to incorporate servant leadership principles in support of enhancing my leadership through my actions, which will especially feature ethical aspects like integrity, among others. In general, leadership principle defining transactional, servant and transformational leadership will help me to achieve my personal leadership development goal involving changing from a participative leadership style to one that s transformational.
With leaders generally being able to influence the actions of subordinates (even without having legitimate power), it is evident why it is necessary to exploit this function especially since it benefits both the individual and the organization. Leadership potential and practice seems to be favored by relevant self-assessment which allows one to appreciate one’s leadership potential while identifying what and how to improve relevant aspects. My leadership style, as reflected in the leadership self-assessment tool, is participative but my goal is to change it into a hybrid of servant, transactional and transformational, with the latter taking the lion’s share due to its idealistic orientation. Additionally, even though the participative style does reflect my personality, I will strive to become a better leader through the transformational style, which is in turn, bound to positively impact my supervisory management skills and leadership effectiveness.
- George, B., Sims, P., McLean, A. N. & Mayer, D. (2007). Discovering your authentic leadership.
Harvard Business Review, 1-9.
- Mahsud, R., Yukl, G. & Prussia, G. (2010). Leader empathy, ethical leadership, and relations-
oriented behaviors as antecedents of leader-member exchange quality. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25(6), 561-577.
- Mindtools (2015). How good are your leadership skills? Retrieved from
- Stout-Rostron, S. (2014). Leadership coaching for results: Cutting-edge practices for coach and
client. Randburg, SA: Knowledge Resources Publishing.
- Wang, G., et al. (2011). Transformational leadership and performance across criteria and levels:
a meta-analytic review of 25 years of research. Group and Organization Management, 36, 233-270.