Literature and depth of leadership as a discipline in Northouse’s book, “leadership concepts and practice”, are highlighted as the main concepts of this book. There are various difficult decisions about concepts that can be excluded while trying to provide complete and accurate overview of leadership .In chapter one, the author states that leadership is all about change. As a fact, a new leader should always come up with new style of leadership. Different places and organizations have dissimilar forms of leadership. Companies have managers and directors, churches have priests as leaders while, political parties have Governors and leaders. These concepts are highlighted in the subsequent chapter. Companies and firms choose their directors based on their qualifications and their experience in leadership roles. These recruitments bring a lot of changes in the companies since they come with new thoughts and opinions (Northouse 2008).
Churches and mosques choose their leaders depending their spirituality and holiness as perceived by the congregation. However, other church leaders are chosen depending on their age. Older members of the church have great chances of assuming leadership since its assumed that they have a lot of wisdom. Change in church leadership is very vital. When a new person is chosen to lead the church, he may bring new-fangled ideas and developments that will boost the services of the church. In “leadership concepts and practice”, Chapter two also illustrates various traits of leadership by discussing great leaders among them being, George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Bill Gates, and Mother Teresa. An overview of the results of the studies is presented as was conducted by the social scientists. Different leadership characters portrayed by the diverse leaders have resulted to outcomes that are dissimilar in consequences.
Successful leaders used unique leadership techniques that made them famous. It matters a lot on what kind of leadership skill one opts to adopt. Politically, some have opted to use dictatorship while others use a democratic means. A good leader, in any field, should be democratic. In many companies, managers who use dictatorship may feel so powerful while the people they lead may be oppressed. In such cases, chances of strikes and demonstrations are likely to happen. Nelson Mandela is one of the most respected leaders in the world. He is courageous and very ambitious (Northouse 2008). He spent most of his life in prison while trying to fight for the rights of the Blacks in South Africa. As the leader of African National Congress, he demonstrated very powerful and democratic kind of leadership. Church leaders like Mother Teresa have also shown some of the most unique leadership skills.
Apart from being a church leader, Mother Teresa made important contributions to political changes in her country. She strongly fought for the rights of the poor and the oppressed. Being a humble woman, Mother Teresa is respected and is also viewed as a role model by many people. This is because she brought so many changes in her country and around the world. Change is also demonstrated by the kind of leadership portrayed by Bill Gates, the wealthiest individual in the universe. He neither used political nor spiritual attributes to be famous. Being a young entrepreneur, he used his knowledge and expertise to bring changes in the field of Information Technology. Bill Gates is the pioneer of Microsoft windows, which has brought new advances in technology. Computers, as forms of new technology, affect our daily lives. Bill Gates is thus recognized as a great leader and a role model due to his immense contributions in the Information Technology field that have impacted positively on human lives.
In chapter five, Northouse talks about the most common and major leadership skills. This includes: interpersonal, conceptual and administrative skills. He further explains and offers examples for each type of skill highlighted. Interpersonal skills are those that are attained naturally and an example includes talent. Leaders with interpersonal expertise use their knowledge, physical abilities and talents to exercise and express their management capabilities. Interpersonal skills form one of the best traits expected from a good leader. On the other hand, administrative leadership is viewed as a kind of dictatorial management. In this form of leadership, bosses outline strict rules and regulations, which their juniors have to adhere to. As much as it is viewed as a dictatorial form, administrative leadership is the most commonly practiced and preferred type of skill. This is because, in most cases, it does not discriminate or favour anybody regardless of status.
Integrity, communication, coaching, teamwork, decision making and planning are some of the characteristics of good Conceptual leadership. In this case, the leader is perceived to be organized. The type of leadership one chooses to use should be able to resolve any conflict that may arise in an organization. The leader should be intelligent and have basic problem solving skills. Chapter six addresses the effectiveness of having vision as a leader. For example, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech and the inaugural address of John F. Kennedy (Northouse 2008).The importance of visionary, charismatic and transformational leadership is expressed from the above example.
Leadership skills employed by any leader should be relevant to the type of institution being headed.Adminisrative kind of leadership is recommended in political fields and companies. In areas where this kind of leadership is practiced, punishment and payment of fines by those who break rules, is a common phenomenon. Therefore, this kind of leadership is preferred by many firms since the employees are afraid of paying fines. Furthermore, part of their income may be deducted to cater for their misdeeds at work place.
This chapter also explains how a good leader should handle complains and other demanding issues brought forward buy his or her employees. It is stated in the chapter that a good leader should be ready to listen to his or her juniors and should understand each person’s views and opinions.For such a leader to be appreciated, he or she should consider the opinions of the employees and if possible implement the necessary ones . By doing this, the employees would feel as part of the organization thus, put in extra efforts in whatever they do.
Chapter six further discusses about employees motivation. The motivation of employees should be something that is continuous. Promotions at work, good payment, conducive working conditions and efficient working materials are some of the motivations a leader can provide to his employees. Employees should also be given time offs such as sick off, holyday off and at least a months leave. This enables the employees to rest and relax. Rest to employees reduces chances of making mistakes at work.
Leaders should employ appropriate means to handle and punish those who do mistakes. Chapter six briefly explains situations and examples of how punishment should be administered. A leader should, first of all, do investigations concerning the matter before making any critical decision.This is because, in some cases the person being accused may be innocent. Correct disciplinary measures should be given to the offender depending on the mistake (Northouse 2008). If the employee is being suspended, then it should not be for a very long time. An employer is, however, allowed to fire the employee if matters get out of hand. Criminal activities like stealing money and forgery may amount to one being dismissed.
Chapter nine addresses ways of overcoming problems when you are in a leadership position. Some of the problems include; poorly defined objectives and goals, unsuitable tasks and poor motivation. Wrongly defined goals and set targets should be noted at an early stage of leadership and be well handled. Goals need to be redefined and rectified where necessary. In addition, the goals should be achievable so that pressure is not put on workers. Time also plays a vital role when setting goals and targets. Long term goals and short term goals should be differentiated. Moreover, this chapter highlights the effects of poor motivation from the management and the leaders. Giving rewards, good payment, and better working conditions are some of the motivating factors that leaders ought to give their workers (Northouse 2008).
Mutual relationship between leaders and their juniors is very important. It helps to ease tension at work place. Additionally, it presents the leaders with the opportunity to access helps important information concerning the work place. Organisations and firms may organize concerts and annual parties to cater for all the employees. Through this, the junior members can get a chance to interact with their seniors. These parties can also help leaders to get important views that would boost their management skills, though in an informal manner. In such cases, an environment should be created such that the junior employees dine with the Managers and Directors (Northouse 2008). Leaders can also use these opportunities to address the employees and tell them the achievements made by the firm. Employees can be told the profits of the firm, capital invested, and the new assets that have been acquired. Managers and Directors should, however, be careful not to reveal top most secrets of the firm to the employees.
Ethics in leadership is addressed in the last chapter of the book. It tackles very complicated concepts of values, character and ethics. The author uses the Josephson institutes’ character model to explain this. This model elaborates the, manner in which ethics of a leader can direct his or her actions and how the leader is likely to react to certain events and situations. There are five basics of power which are incorporated in this discussion. These values have descriptions of “ideas, beliefs and modes of action some people may find desirable and worthwhile”. People have different values. Thus, a good leader should be able to understand this. Different views and opinions of other people should be noted and considered during implementation of important policies. It is obvious that people can rarely have the same values. Therefore, leaders should not make decisions that only favour them or only a few people. Putting this in mind, leaders should always consider what the majority demands, even if it is not in their interest.
Although the chapter does not explain how values are formed, some are copied from ones role model or from parents. It is also argued that some people may have same values, though they prioritize them in different ways. This means that two people may have similar ideas at the same time but develop different methods of approaching issues. According to Northouse (2008), he states that values are components that are simultaneous to psychological processes of storage, social interaction and cultural patterning. This is important because, challenges faced by the leader may be used to attain solutions to conflicting values.
Generally, according to this piece of work, a good leader should be full of integrity and be able to perform his obligations intelligently and in a professional manner. He should have excellent leadership skills; understand other people behaviours, ethics and values. The observation of the type of leadership skills highlighted in this work provides an individual with insights into what is expected from a good leader. The adherence to these skills motivates the people one leads. The book clearly manages to express the type of leadership forms.