Transformational leadership was a new concept for me. How I understood it was that it means that leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation. A transformational leader is a model of integrity and fairness, sets clear goals, encourages others, provides support and recognition, inspires, and pushes people to look beyond their self-interests.
I think this type of leadership is something to strive for in theory. It almost feels like the “perfect leader” or something like that. There are many characteristics in being a transformational leader that every leader should adopt. I feel that it’s hard for followers to confront their leader and raise them to higher levels of motivation. Most people just don’t talk down or whatever to their superiors or leaders. I could be thinking about this all wrong (which I probably am being at the end of the semester and my brain is just about fried) but I think I’ll do some more research in the future and see if I gain a different understanding of what it means to be a transformational leader.
I like goal setting and that is one of the things that this chapter talked about. Setting goals gives, at least me, a lot of motivation. I have something to work towards and I get great satisfaction from reach those goals. I set goals for myself all the time, short and long term goals. My short term goals can be as simple as getting a certain amount of work by the end of the day, or get ahead on some work by the end of the week or weekend. My long term goals aren’t anything out of the ordinary for someone of my age in college. Graduate from undergrad, graduate with a masters, and find a good paying job to pay off college loans.
Whatever your goals are, short or long term, they need to challenging yet attainable. Setting goals that are just about impossible for you to reach will only make you more disappointed and cause you to be less motivated to set or reach any other goals. Same thing goes for when you set goals for your team members or subordinates to reach. It is very important to always set goals that are specific, challenging, yet attainable.
I really related to chapter 13 in regards to charismatic leadership. I was amused with how much it focused on doing the right thing. I mean yeah doing the right thing is very important especially when it comes to being a leader. Your team members look up to you and look to you for answers. It reminded me of trying my best to be a good role model for my younger brother. My parents have always told me that my brother will always look up to me since I’m older and I need to make sure that I’m doing the right thing to set a good example for him to follow. One aspect I do struggle with is taking the blame for something that isn’t either most or all of my fault. I don’t know if that is because I would get in trouble instead of my younger brother if, for example, the yard work wasn’t done properly when it was my brother’s “section” of the yard. I have been trying to get better over the years instead of taking all of the responsibility onto myself. So if something does go wrong, I know I am to blame for it not question. I do believe in sticking my neck out for someone who I feel deserves it. I have done it many times and I think that doing this shows someone that you have faith in them and respect their abilities enough to use your power and influence to benefit them in some way. I have found that this does help motivate people and you’ve gained another friend that may be able to help you down the road.
In this chapter we see the book talk about power and persuasion. Power was defined by the ability of one person to influence another person. It also consists of the ability to resist influence attempts from others. I believe it takes a skilled leader to not abuse the power he or she has over their subordinates. I have defiantly found myself overstepping a few times because I have let the “power” I had over people go to my head and I got really bossy. With the help of my close friends and family basically telling me I’m a bossy b**ch, I have gotten much better with my use of power. I learned that it is really easy to let the power you have over people go to your head, and I also learned that being able to control yourself has a much better outcome and people are much more receptive to you. I find it easier to control your use of power if you use your power to find ways to reward and motivate your team on a job well done.
I like to think I am decent a persuasion. I find that I can get people on board with my ideas and such. Depending on the situation I like to use rational persuasion which is the use of logic and facts to explain why the request is reasonable and beneficial. I like using this method because it can be a lot easier to convince people to do things if you have facts to back up why you should. One of the major issues that persuasion can lead to is peer pressure. As a leader you shouldn’t want to pressure someone to do something they believe is ethically and morally wrong. This goes hand in hand with abusing your power. You team members will then view you as a mean bully and the respect they had for you goes out the window. Motivation and productivity will go down and it is likely that whatever you are working on will fail.
I can remember countless occasions when the person in charge or the leader of whatever group I was in tried to get us to cheat on assignments to get a better grade. Whenever I said that I wouldn’t go along with it, my group would try to threaten or pressure me into doing something I knew was wrong. Luckily I didn’t care what they thought of me so I went to my teachers and explained the situation. Any leader worth following wouldn’t make me question or disregard my morals or ethics.
In this chapter Humphrey talked about personal identity and how much of a role it plays in someone’s leadership style and role. One of the most import parts of someone’s identity is their emotional identity. People will tend to connect with people who can relate to them emotionally, so, it is very important for a leader to be able to identify with their team members. It will be a lot easier for people to be on board with your changed and decisions if they feel like they understand you and why you made those choices. Developing your social identity will help with the overall care of how the team is doing. If your team members don’t care about your team, then there is a high probability you will have disconnect and everyone in your team will be unmotivated to do work or fix issues.
Personally, I always try to be that person keeps an interest in my group’s welfare and what not. I want us to succeed and I want all of us to be motivated to do well. So I try and find different ways to connect with each of my group members. This way we have friendly interactions, productive meetings, and quality assignments produced.
One of the things that I found interesting in this chapter was the pride topic. I never really thought about pride in the sense of leadership but once I gave it some more thought, it makes total sense! Having pride can break you if you let it. The book talks about two different forms of pride; Hubris, which is excessive pride, and authentic pride, which is based on specific accomplishments that produce genuine feelings of self-worth. People with hubris pride often resist feedback and fail to acknowledge or admit their mistakes. Most people might think that if you have authentic pride then you’re automatically a good leader, but I like to think of humbleness as a trait that goes hand in hand. Now being too humble can get you in trouble by not showing yourself off when you need to. However, if you know when to be humble and when to be prideful, I believe that that is a deadly combination, in a good way, that will keep your people from thinking you’re full of yourself or that you’re too timid.
Machiavelli really talks about Italy in these last few chapters. Explaining how the different princes have lost their states due to their incompetence. They fled when they should have stayed and fought. Taking too much comfort in the prosperous times, never anticipating threats. Depending on others for their security. You have to depend on your own valor to get you through the hard times. Believe in yourself that you have what it takes to overcome a problem or complete the long list of tasks by the end of the week. If other people see how you believe in yourself and do not shy in the face of a challenge, your people are more likely to stick by you and help you out.
You would of thought that someone like Steve Jobs came from a wealthy family that sent him to all of the best schools and that he was born from greatness. Well, you would of thought wrong. Steve Jobs was given up for adoption, chosen, got sent back, then was chosen again by parents who never went to college and were not “great” in the sense of intellect and social status. However, his adoptive parents gave him everything. They pinched pennies to send him to better schools, stood up for him when he got in trouble at school telling the teachers that “they weren’t stimulating his mind properly”, and they even got him into programs that allowed him to talk to technical engineers. Steve Jobs’ parents were nothing less than great.
It is surprising to me at how much of a jerk Steve was. I mean i had heard through the grapevine that he was but it was never clear as to how much of a jerk he was until this book. He defiantly sucked at Carnegieing people and created way more enemies than friends. He felt that he was always the smartest person in the room. Which had me thinking, how did he keep his best workers if he was always so arrogant? Well, I compared him to the Prince in a way. He armed his people, they mainly feared him, although some respected him, and he built a strong fortress. Steve armed his people by making them think innovatively which is a big motivator in my opinion. A lot of people feared in upsetting him for your usual reasons of getting fired or being yelled at. No one likes being yelled at or made to feel stupid. However, he built Apple into a fortress that, in today’s market, only one can compete against…kinda. Majority of the population uses Apple products. I know I do. They’re easy to use, they’re innovative, and they’re really, for a lack of a better word, cool!
All in all Steve Jobs’ leadership tactics can 100% use some work. Maybe there could’ve been better advancements if he was nicer. But nonetheless, people still wanted to work for Steve Jobs and develop the next new Apple product. I am still a little confused as to how his leadership style let him be so successful. All I can think about is that if you were chosen, then you must of been seen as someone special. And that seems like a big motivator to me.
In The Prince, Machiavelli says that once a royal family is taken over, they must be killed in order to extinguish their challenges and to start over. Now to transfer that over to the business world, I like to think about organizational culture. When a company merges or a team gets a new boss, most people are concerned with how things are going to change. Hopefully, if two companies merge, they have similar cultures. When there is a new boss, the hope is that they will keep to the culture. But a decision has to be made, if the company is failing, do you kill the family, change up how the organizational culture flowed, or do you keep it the same? Messing with a compnay’s culture can be tricky. If the culture isn’t the issue with the company, then why change it if you plan on keeping the current employees. A change in leadership is hard enough as it is. To ease people into the acceptance of change, it would be best to try and keep the culture as similar as possible.
Machiavelli says that it’s better to be feared rather than to be loved. Now, he says that you shouldn’t be hated along with being feared. In my opinion, I don’t like the use of the word feared. I would prefer to think of being “feared” as being respected. When people do things for you out of fear, they don’t want to and the life they live would be one of like walking on edge. Scared of what might happen to them. Now when you are respected, most of the time they have a more willing attitude towards the tasks they do. Being respected gives you very similar if not the same power of being feared. People look up to you, will do what is asked and maybe even beyond that, you are more approachable, and you still have enough authority to give out “punishment” if necessary. If you are feared, it’s hard to be loved. However, if you are respected, you have a much better chance at being loved.