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Leadership Skills Review CIMA

Leadership Skills Review CIMA

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Published by: forgkumar on Jan 26, 2010
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01/16/2013

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 A
survey conducted by CIMA as part of Global BusinessManagement Week 2000 among business leaders from Asia, theUnited States, the Middle East, the UK, France and Germany showedthat leadership (rated against nine other qualities) as the mostimportant skill for business leaders of the future. Finding andretaining quality people was overwhelmingly chosen as the mostimportant factor for success of businesses worldwide. The ability toachieve this and to maximise the potential of human capital dependsgreatly on visionary leaders who have a portfolio of skills, combining‘softer skills’ such as vision and communication with more technicalcapabilities and know-how. In a world of great uncertainty and greatopportunity, leadership is important for the success of yourorganisation and the fulfilment of the people working in it.
E
 xtensive research conducted by The Industrial Society (anorganisation campaigning to improve working life) in 1996 onwhat individuals and teams expect to see in their leaders, led it toreview its beliefs on the nature of leadership. The Society’s fivecore beliefs on leadership are:
1.People in an organisation need to believe that they can give it acompetitive edge bycreating an environment where people can continuallycontribute to an organisation’s success.2.The ability to be regarded as a leader exists at all levels and is not restrictedto those in a management role.3.What a person says and does (which is influenced by their beliefs) enablesothers to perceive that person as a leader and choose to follow.4.Leadership behaviours can be developed and beliefs can be changed overtime.5.Many leadership behaviours have failed to harness the full potential of peopleat work and have resulted in compliance rather than commitment.
T
his briefing looks at the nature of leadership in the 21st centuryas well as offering practical guidance on improving your leader-ship skills by looking at both what leaders do and how they do it.Some feel that leadership is an art and those good at it will see it ascommon sense. However, models and insights into leadership andskills profiles can be useful tools to aid self-development and toachieve better results. This is not to say that there is one idealmodel of leadership but rather to improve your approach in your job.
DEVELOPING AND PROMOTING STRATEGY MAY2001
Leadership Skills – An Overview
IN THIS BRIEFING…
Part 1
Leadership:definition and traits
Part 2
 Abrief guide to leader-ship theories and models
Part 3
Leaders v. managers?
Part 4
Business leadership inthe new economy
Part 5
Barriers tosuccessful leadership
Part 6
Leadership training
Part 7
References for furtherreading and bibliography
For further information pleasecontact: Technical Services: Tel: +44 (0)20 7917 9237Fax: +44 (0)20 7580 8956techservices@cimaglobal.com
TechnicalBriefing
 
TECHNICAL BRIEFINGLEADERSHIP SKILLS AN OVERVIEW
2
A common definition of leadership states that it is ‘theprocess through which leaders influence the attitudes, behaviours and values of others’ (Hagen et al, 1998). Aswith many other ‘soft’ issues, the definition is somewhatvague in that it does not address the question of howleaders actually conduct the process of influencing.Organisational structure, personalities of leaders andfollowers, the context in which they operate and so on, allplay a part in determining the function and style of lead-ership. Such a great number of variables make construct-ing a profile of a good leader impossible. However –again as with many soft management issues – the exactdefinition is less important than the fundamental princi-ples behind the concept. Although there is no one defini-tive model, there is now something of a broad consensusabout the basic qualities a leader should possess.
 Vision
Vision is what most people choose as the defining charac-teristic of great leaders, whether in business or otherwise.They seem to have unfaltering – but not inflexible – belief about where the company is heading and what needs to be accomplished to get there. They are capable of seeingthe ‘big picture’ before anyone else. This certainty andfocus can provide stability throughout the organisation.Vision needs to be conveyed all the way through thecompany, so that even a post-room worker feels that heor she is making a contribution. This is achieved not bysimply formalising it in rules and procedures but byhaving inspirational people who can communicate themessage clearly and directly.
 Trust and communication
Crucially, leaders are also active listeners who can seeanother’s point of view. This empathy allows them toforge trust between themselves and their followers, whichforms the foundations of their relationship. Without suchfirm grounding, the task of leadership would be impossi- ble – you cannot take people with you if they don’t trustyou. Research clearly shows that perceptions of a person’soverall effectiveness as a leader are correlated with peo-ple’s trust (Fairholm ed, 2000). Trust needs continuousnourishment and cannot be forced or commanded.
Passion and motivation
Leaders bring passion into work. Their pursuit of goalsand objectives is imbued with optimism. There is analarming statistic which claims that only 16 per cent of employees say they used more than half of their talents atwork. Because of poor leadership, people do not applythemselves, probably because they don’t see their workas being worthwhile, significant or capable of making anyreal difference in the world. Exceptional leaders make uswant to work both harder and smarter. Because they arepassionate and infuse everything they do with a sense of purpose, making it a part of a greater goal, we are eagerto participate. They make us see how our individualeffort adds value to our company’s work. Leadersempower staff at all levels of the organisation to be theleaders themselves. In doing so, they expect and toleratemistakes but they also ensure that those mistakes areused to generate better performance in future.Gallup organisation conducted some 40,000 interviewswith leaders and top managers over a period of 30 years.As a result, they compiled a list of 20 ‘talents’ or ‘themes’which they defined as recurring patterns of thought, feel-ing and behaviours that predispose someone to leader-ship (Fulmer and Wagner, 1999). The ‘talents’ are dividedinto the following categories:
Direction – relates to a leader’s abilities to provide motivation
1
vision
able to create and project beneficialimages2
concept
able to give the best explanation of most events3
 focus
is goal oriented
Drive to execute – relates to motivation
4
ego drive
defines oneself as significant5
competition
has the desire to win6
achiever
is energetic7
courage
relished challenges8
activator
is proactive
Relationships – relates to capacity to develop relationships with others
9
relater
can build trust and be caring10
developer
desires to help people grow11
multirelater
has wide circle of relationships12
individual perception
recognises people’s individuality13
stimulator
can create good feelings in others14
team
can get people to help each other
Management systems – relates to management abilities
15
performance orientation
is goal oriented16
discipline
needs to structure time and workenvironment17
responsibility/ethics
can take psychological ownership of own behaviour18
arranger
can coordinate people and activities19
operational
can administer systems that helppeople be more effective20
strategic thinking
is able to do ‘what if?’ thinkingandcreate paths to future goals
Further research published last year adds another fourqualities. In addition to the core skills of vision, strategicdirection and so on, inspirational leaders demonstratethat they:
Part 1 –Leadership: definition and traits
 
TECHNICAL BRIEFINGLEADERSHIP SKILLS AN OVERVIEW
3
I
selectively show their weaknesses;By exposing vulnerability, they reveal their approach-ability and humanity.
I
rely heavily on intuition to gauge the appropriatetiming and course of their actions;Their ability to collect and interpret soft data helpsthem know when and how to act.
I
manage employees with...tough empathy;Inspirational leaders empathise passionately – andrealistically – with people and they care intenselyabout the work employees do.
I
reveal their differences;They capitalise on what is unique about themselves(Goffee and Jones, 2000).The researchers behind the study, Goffee and Jones, claimthat successful leadership relies on the interplay betweenall four of these qualities but stress that they cannot beused mechanistically. Rather, they must become a part of someone’s personality if they are to be effective.Although some will have a head start in acquiring acapacity for leadership, to some extent it is a learnedcapacity, at which most can improve.
Part 2 – Abrief guide to leadershiptheories and models
Although we all realise the importance of leadership, itstill remains an elusive concept. Theorists tend to fall intothree groups. Those who focus on personal characteris-tics, those who concentrate on the leader – followersituation and those who attempt to relate leadershipstyles to the overall organisation context and climate(Burnes 2000).
Leadership models
The personal characteristics approach to leadership
Although there have been many accounts of successfulleaders (mainly military ones) throughout history,research on leadership started in earnest in the 1950swith the appearance of a first theory. The traits theoryattempted to identify individual qualities that predis-posed someone to leadership. In other words, it was believed that some people were simply born to lead because they possessed a set of innate skills and abilities.To some extent, this is true because leadership is an artand not a science but numerous empirical studies havefailed to reveal any consistent pattern of traits.Furthermore, it does not help us understand the type of  behaviours that characterise good leadership.The stress on leadership gave rise to a number of univer-sal theories (Burnes 2000). One of the best-known leader-ship models was Blake and Moulton’s managerial grid(often referred to as the leadership grid), and remains apopular training tool today. It positions four types of leadership between the two axes of people and task. Aleader could be more task- or people-oriented and themost desirable leaders scored high on both – the so-called‘team leaders’ who successfully combine a democraticapproach with the right amount of non-authoritariancontrol. This approach can be used to get people to assesstheir management style and to judge whether it is appro-priate for their position. The empirical evidence supportfor it, however, is limited.
The leader-follower situation approach
Given that any generalisation does not particularly helpour understanding of leadership, researchers’ attentionmoved to identifying situations in which leaders areeffective and to concentrate on leaders’ actions and sub-sequently on the context in which they led, out of which behaviourist and situational theories of leadership were born. The action-centred leadership approach of the1960s (but still very relevant today), focused on three coreactivities of leaders – achieving the required results (thetask), by building an effective team and growing anddeveloping each individual. Although the activities areinterdependent on each other, the underlying objective isachieving the task. Even today, achieving purpose is acrucial part of leadership. However, this model, andother situational theories of leadership, have little to offeron the necessary behaviours of good leaders, i.e. howparticular leadership behaviour affects subordinate per-formance. Furthermore, the situational approach was based on recognition that leaders needed to be techni-cally excellent. Getting ordinary people to do extraordi-nary things, however, requires more than just having the‘hard’ technical skills.
The contextual (or contingency) approach to leadership
The contextual approach to leadership has developed outof the recognition that a manager’s effectiveness may bedetermined as much by the nature of the organisation inwhich he or she operates. It concentrates on leadershipstyle rather than behaviour. Contingency theory of lead-ership asserts that leadership style depends on variousvariables including traits, behaviour and situation. Itrecognises that one leadership style will not be appropri-ate in all situations and that leaders change their behav-iour from situation to situation. Vroom and Yetton (1973)and James MacGregor Burns (1978) have developed themost influential of contextual approaches.Burns identified two basic organisational states, conver-gent and divergent, and two matching leadership styles,transactional and transformational. A convergent state,where the organisation is operating under stable condi-tions, lends itself to a transactional style of leadership

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