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Rafiya Tasnim

Leadership has been one the valued features for years. Its importance has attracted many
researchers to study different theoretical approach to a leadership process. Some of the few
established theories are situational approach, path-goal theory, and transformational leadership.
Situational approach, developed by Hersey and Blanchard, focuses on leaders to match
their style to the needs of different situations. It is divided into development levels and leadership
styles, where they are based on directive or task behavior and supportive or relationship
behaviors. The development level determines where the subordinate is standing in terms of task
and commitment. The level is distributed into D1 employees with low skills and high
willingness, D2 employees with some skills and low willingness, D3 with moderate skills but
lack of commitment, and D4 with high skills and high motivation. Once the leader determine
what development level category the employee falls under, he/she can match specific leadership
style in need by the employees development level. The first leadership style (S1), known as
directing approach, is a high directive and low supportive, which allows the leaders to focus
more on giving instructions on achieving goals rather than encouraging subordinates inputs. The
second style (S2), coaching approach, is high directive and high supportive; the third style,
supporting approach, is high supportive and low directive; and the fourth style (4S) called the
delegating approach is low in supportive and directive style. For example, most of the time a new
employee, who is more motivated comparing to his/her competence, can be identified as D1. The
mentor is then responsible for adapting to the leadership style S1, compensating the lack of
direction and decision making by the employee. Other than it being a straightforward approach,
situational leadership also known for its strength in understanding the correct and incorrect
approach at a particular condition. However, this theory is very vague when it comes to how
competence and commitment are weighted across different development levels. There is not
limit as to when situational leadership can be applied, though it is ideal to use it when there are
changes such as structural changes within organization or when followers commitment and
competence change over time.
Another leadership approach is through path-goal theory, which focuses leaders
motivating their subordinates to accomplish goals. The theory consists of aspects such as leader
behaviors, subordinate characteristics, task characteristics and motivation. The purpose is to
motivate the subordinates in order to make them believe that their work is valuable and thus
making them feel like they are valuable. In order help subordinates reach their goals, directive,
supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented leadership behaviors are essentials.
Subordinate characteristics determine how a leaders behavior is interpreted by the subordinates.
It illustrates leadership behavior corresponding to subordinates needs such as directive
leadership is effective with vague tasks, supportive leadership is effective for repetitive tasks,
participative leadership is effective when tasks are vague and subordinates are independent, and
achievement-oriented leadership is effective for challenging tasks. The positive sides of Path-
goal theory are its practical understanding of leadership styles affecting output and satisfaction of
subordinates, and integrating motivational principles. However, the theory is very leader oriented
that it fails to recognize subordinates contribution in the leadership process. A perfection
situation to apply this theory is when subordinates are insecure and leaders help subordinates to
be comfortable and confident.
One of the most popular approach to leadership is Transformational leadership, which
orients towards emotions, values, ethics, standards, and long-term goals. Personal, charismatic,
visionary approach allows the leaders and the followers to bond together. The Multifactor
Leadership Questionnaire measures a broad range of leadership types from passive leaders, to
leaders who give commission to followers, to leaders who transform their followers into
becoming leaders themselves. Some of the leadership behaviors the Multifactor Leadership
Questionnaire measures are idealized influence (charisma), intellectual stimulation, contingent
reward, management-by-exception, and laissez-faire, where inspirational motivation and
individualized consideration are the key ideas to a strong transformational leadership. The
strength of this leadership process is that it includes the importance the followers; allowing the
long term growth of the followers and importance of moral and values. Nevertheless, the
weakness of transformational leadership is its geared more towards trait-like quality only.
Though all leadership theories has its ups and down, they are all valuable approaches to
implement leadership quality. In contrast to situational leadership where the leader must adapt to
the development level of the subordinates, path-goal theory highlights the relationship between
the leaders style and the characteristics of the subordinates. Transformational leadership on the
other hand is all-in-one package deal that assess followers motives, satisfying their needs, and
treating them and empowering them to the fullest potential.
Like knowledge, a leadership is not born but made. It is a skill that allows leaders to
initiate, develop, and carry out an organization. However, the glue to this leadership skill is
relationship. Kouzes and Posner defines leadership as, a relationship between those who aspire
to lead and those who choose to follow (47). Relationship is the most important orientation for

Relationship orientated leaders act as mentors to their subordinates, giving priority to
what is the best for the mentee. They are leaders who set out to empower followers and nurture
them. They make the work experience enjoyable and foster a positive work environment or
group dynamic. They inspire followers to accomplish great things. What is the secret to a
relationship leader you ask? It is as easy as making subordinates comfortable around their
leaders. Distrust and commands may make subordinates produce results, but nothing worthwhile.
A relationship in leadership creates mutual respect for each other and gives them the impression
of the ability to overcome any dilemma, making their work worth more than just a task.
Relationship behaviors also leads to the birth of long term growth in subordinates and even the
organization since it conveys a sense of belonging to the subordinates, creating internal
motivation to put the best effort in a task.
Northouse states that Authentic leaders have the capacity to open themselves up and
establish a connection with others. (260). Relationship in leadership builds trust in each other
and the willingness to share and listen to each other. This leads to high quality communication,
an aspect that is as equally important as any other aspects in an excellent leader. Relationship
oriented leadership goes beyond what is obligatory, and acts in ways that support the greater
good rather than their own self-interests.

My senior design group is flailing and not making very much progress. There are a host of
problems including but not limited to disagreement among team member, lack of focus, poor
attendance, and poor quality work. Here I will discuss five recommendations to get my group
back on track. I want to set a good example to my group members, and one of the ways I can do
that is through working on the project beyond what is expected of me. This way my members
will understand my value for the project and my dedication to my team, showing them that I and
everyone else on the team are hear together on the same boat and we need each others
dedication to do well on the project. I would also recommend everyone spending time outside of
the project, trying to know each other better personally. In spending time and working side by
side with teammates will motivate everyone and make the project worthwhile. Making the whole
experience enjoyable is the key to motivation. My group from my Vehicle Performance would
joke around and tell stories, and would be willing aid and even take over other teammates
assignment. It has been a year and we are still good friends. Knowing that everyone got each
others back also gives a sense of comfort and motivation to dedicate high quality work.

After knowing each other personally, my teammate would gain trust and respect in each
other. Opening up to each other and being comfortable will allow my members to bring up issues
that the group is facing. Without integrity no one would be willing to confront each other and
issues would never be resolved. We can keep in check with each other for focus and to see if
everyone is doing what they have been assigned. If there are future disagreement everyone
should state their opinion as to what would be the best policy. Communicating with everyone
will pin point and even resolve any issues. The best projects are distinguished by relentless
effort, steadfastness, competence, and attention to detail. (Kouzes and Posner, 39)

Leadership is not boring. It gives us the opportunity to engage in with other people on a
level, realizing how much people or team work matters. Subordinates are the ones doing all the
front line work, and it is the interaction between the leader and the subordinates that creates an
effective product. It amazing how much leadership matters. It can maximize productivity, shape
a positive organization and harmony. To achieve this, compatible people must lead individuals
and teams using an appropriate leadership style. Many think becoming a leader is not difficult,
however having traits such as positive thought and talk to your advantage, develop vision, and
build your own confidence is extreme difficult to keep in balance. What is even more interesting
is that good leaders recognize that they do not have all the answers and are constantly
reeducating themselves on their businesses and sharpening their leadership skills. Almost
contradictory to traditional leadership trait.
Dear company,
I am extremely appreciative for considering me for the project manager position,
however I believe that I am not a good fit for the job. Though I am the lead engineer for
the project and have the knowledge to qualify for the project manager position, I lack
self-awareness. Successful leaders use their talents, or strengths, to their advantage. They
also fully understand their weakness, problems that hinder effectiveness. However, I
always struggle to recognize my weakness and especially strengths. I need to learn how
to be confident. Self-confidence is the fundamental basis from which leadership grows.
Trying to teach leadership without first building confidence is like building a house on a
foundation of sand. Discovering strengths and shortcomings, and confronting honesty
takes time, and I need time practice self-awareness. Thank you for offering the position,
and I hope you find a better match; a leader who set out to empower followers and
nurture them in difficult times.
Rafiya Tasnim.