“Bringing about Change in the Public Sector” Please respond to the following:
Â· From the weekly readings and first e-Activity, take a position on whether personal mastery of the four (4) elements of emotional intelligence is possible, and ascertain the importance of such personal mastery to a public leader. Provide a rationale for your position.
Â· Theories and Models
I think there are particular people that others will follow, for whatever reason. Perhaps they have a sense of humour, they like their style. When you look at organizing events itâ€™s somebody whoâ€™s got what is termed as â€˜leadership qualitiesâ€™, they are people who are willing to tell other people what to do but have the respect of other people as well, or gain that respect.
Many of the images associated with leadership have their roots in conflict. It is the stuff of generals who outwit their opponents, politicians who convince and channel groups into action, and people who take control of a crisis. We are directed to special individuals like Gandhi or Joan of Arc; Napoleon or Hitler. The stories around such people seem to show that there are moments of crisis or decision where the actions of one person are pivotal. They have a vision of what can, and should be, done and can communicate this to others. When these are absent there can be trouble. Quality of leadership is, arguably, central to the survival and success of groups and organizations. As The Art of War, the oldest known military text (circa 400 BC), puts it, â€˜the leader of armies is the arbiter of the peopleâ€™s fate, the man on whom it depends whether the nation shall be in peace or in perilâ€™ (Waging War).
But what is leadership? It seems to be one of those qualities that you know when you see it, but is difficult to describe. There are almost as many definitions as there are commentators. Many associate leadership with one person leading. Four things stand out in this respect. First, to lead involves influencing others. Second, where there are leaders there are followers. Third, leaders seem to come to the fore when there is a crisis or special problem. In other words, they often become visible when an innovative response is needed. Fourth, leaders are people who have a clear idea of what they want to achieve and why. Thus, leaders are people who are able to think and act creatively in non-routine situations â€“ and who set out to influence the actions, beliefs and feelings of others. In this sense being a â€˜leaderâ€™ is personal. It flows from an individualâ€™s qualities and actions. However, it is also often linked to some other role such as manager or expert. Here there can be a lot of confusion. Not all managers, for example, are leaders; and not all leaders are managers.
In the recent literature of leadership (that is over the last 80 years or so) there have been four main â€˜generationsâ€™ of theory:
<!–[if !supportLists]–>â€¢ <!–[endif]–>Trait theories.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>â€¢ <!–[endif]–>Behavioural theories.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>â€¢ <!–[endif]–>Contingency theories.
<!–[if !supportLists]–>â€¢ <!–[endif]–>Transformational theories.
Although it is true that the progression of thinking tends to follow a sequential path, it is quite possible for elements of one generation to crop up much later in the writings of someone who would not normally think of himself or herself as being of that school. Consequently, it is fair to say that each generation has added something to the overall debate on leadership and that the debate continues.
This fourfold division of â€˜modernâ€™ (management) leadership can go under different titles (e.g. we might discuss charismatic rather than transformational leadership), and there are other possible candidates e.g. skill-based approaches and self-management or shared leadership (discussed elsewhere on these pages). However, these four formations can be seen as sharing some common qualities â€“ and we can approach them as variations of the â€˜classicalâ€™ model of leadership.