Leadership: A Reflection on Core Values, Approaches and Importance

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Picture of Hari Singh KC
Picture of Hari Singh KC

Hari Singh K.C.
Asst. Campus Chief
Southwestern State College

Leadership is a relationship that involves mobilizing, influencing, and guiding team members towards achieving objectives or set goals. It is an ever-growing, ever-expanding, and ever -improving phenomenon. It is a process of supporting others to work enthusiastically for shared aspirations. It is the art of leading others. It is the state of mind and character not a position. A person who undertakes the responsibility of leading a group towards the desired goal is a leader. S/he does not necessarily have an authoritative position or might not be head of a team but he or she is the one with the vision and the ability to achieve the goal in a new and creative way. A leader is responsible for creating an environment where people love to work and love to give their best.

There are certain core values for effective leadership. They are values of transparency, freedom, commitment, culture, and significance. A leader should treat people fairly and give equal opportunities. Leaders should not be biased to a particular person, colleague or other persons. Transparency means no favoritism, nepotism or conspiracy in the organization. Similarly, a leader must create a friendly working environment so that the followers and sub-ordinates are free to share their creative thoughts and ideas. A leader should be knowledgeable, skillful and exhibit a sincere commitment to work to serve as a role model to his/her subordinates. Adoption of the values like openness, diversity, and inclusion as the culture of the organization is inevitable for successful leadership. He/she should develop a feeling of significance towards juniors in the working environment.  People are not interested in who the leader is, they are interested in how the leader makes them feel. Followers do not care how much a leader knows, they know how much a leader cares. So a leader’s involvement is directly proportionate to commitment. 

A good leader applies different approaches for effective leadership such as Strategic approach, Human assets approach, Expertise approach, Unbox approach, and Change approach. In Strategic approach, leaders work around planning strategies regularly for the effective delivery of services. Human assets approach primarily focuses on the relationship between the leader and his people. According to this theory, a leader believes in his people, focuses on their issues, and is always emotional and sensitive towards them. Even if a leader will not talk about process and procedures, he/she will think only about the people of the organization. Similarly, Expertise approach is concerned with certain knowledge and skills that a leader often focuses and displays at his workplace. Unbox approach claims that a successful leader always thinks out of the box. He will not follow the same way of doing things which have been going on for a long time rather come up with innovative ideas that benefit the organization for short as well as long term. Change approach is a flexible approach to leadership which gives importance to self-awareness, social-awareness, and self-management.  This approach embraces fresh ideas and adopts peoples’ interest.

The leader is a person, in many ways, who can have different competencies, capabilities and characteristics. Several characteristics or traits determine good leadership.  It includes resourcefulness, resilience, and personal values.  A good leader should be capable to innovate new ideas, improvise them, and strengthen the organizational abilities pragmatically.  Similarly, consistency and discipline are integral to effective leadership. Since economy plays a key role in the success of any organization, a leader must be able to analyze the economic situation and make wise decisions. Regarding personal values, a good leader follows a value system, admires personal skills and focuses on integrity for the smooth running of the organization.

While some people believe that leadership traits are inherent by birth, others argue that these are acquired through proper training and experience over time.  However, everyone agrees that leadership is a dynamic issue and it is inevitable for a leader to hone his/her skills with changing time and context. Leadership is a continuous process that includes planning, organizing, directing, staffing, evaluating, and decision making.  It depends on doing especially in corporate companies. It is an influencing and inspiring process. As leadership depends on effective collaboration, it involves the ability to enable, equip, and encourage sub-ordinates and at the same time share their vision as the common vision of the company or organization. Great leaders need to stand by people, enjoy with people. Thus leadership is an exercise to achieve pre-determined goals with cooperation, collaboration, and effective direction and is practiced and learned over the time.

An analysis of effective leaders has shown certain common features in them. To begin, successful leaders in any sector have drive and passion towards their goal. They show initiative and are persistent with high efforts, high energy level and high desire to achieve. Secondly, they aspire to influence others and lead them. They show the willingness to take responsibility. For instance, Nelson Mandela sacrificed twenty-eight years of his life in Jail while advocating against racial discrimination in Africa. Likewise, successful leaders exhibit integrity, trust, and consistency. Self-confidence is another psychological asset that they possess. Since they do not harbor self-doubt and have self-esteem, they convince their followers on what they do.  Also, they acquire job-relevant knowledge and know about the company or industry, and understand technicalities. Ability to gather, analyze, and interpret information, create a vision and solve problems with correct decisions help a person grow as a leader in any sector. Thus to become a leader is to possess qualities like vision, external awareness, customer focus, political skills, policymaking ability, confidence and trust, creative and analytical thinking, interpersonal relationship, accountability, and decisiveness.

Best style leadership depends on the situation: the task to be performed and the team performing it. The best leaders analyze the situation and adjust their leadership style accordingly. A leader must be proactive and should be able to take risks for overcoming challenges and giving new direction for change. Having said that, the concern of the leader should do the right thing and lead followers towards the right path. Great leaders have always bounced back even at the time of difficulties. Failure is not the option for great leaders and they never give up.  To attain the desired goal, leaders are always rigid on goals but they may take different strategies.  There are countable persons in the world who have created history with their efforts and effective leadership. They are not in percentage but they are in numbers.

A good leader is of great importance from an organizational level to the national and international levels. An effective leader determines goals, guides and inspires people, boosts morale, builds confidence of the team and develops team spirit. He/she is an agent of change who makes people work together for achieving the pre-determined goal. Facilitating changes from classical technology to new technology and classical system to a new system is an example of effective leadership. A successful leader is like a driver of a vehicle who is focused, determined and accountable to lead organization to the destination through effective management. Leadership is the key level of high organizational performance. Successful organizations have widely and carefully great leaderships.

In conclusion, there is a significant role of leadership in every sector of the country. A good leader brings vision, builds team, allocates tasks, and motivates followers. Like every other field, an effective leader plays a key role in determining the success and growth of the educational sector. An educational leader should concentrate on organizational cultures, strategic planning, and marketing. Methods for improving teaching and learning should always be a top priority for him or her.  Focus on raising the standard and school improvement will surely help educational leaders meet the national objectives of education system in Nepal.

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