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Student Name Sarika Soni

Assignment 2

Module leader Dr . Lucy Lu

Module Leading Change

Due Date 28/03/2011

Word Count 3000 ( Excluding References )


Change process is important in the growth and success of all organisation.But sadly
not all change process converts to success. It has been argued that most of the
change process failed due to the lack of right leadership skills at the higher level.
This paper analyses the various definitions and theories of leadership. It critically
evaluates the point whether leaders are born or made by evaluating various change
theories and academic literature. The author then discusses the various skills and
competencies needed to be a successful change leader. The paper also throws some
light various levels of leadership in an organization. The paper ends with the
conclusion of various key points that came during the discussion.

Leadership Definition

Leadership is about “articulating vision, embodying values and creating the

environment within which things can be accomplished.” (Richards & Engle, 1986. Pg
206).In other words it can also be understood as an ability of any individual to
motivate , influence and also help employees in a way which contribute towards the
success of an organization.( House et el , 1999 pg.184).

Existing theories of Leadership

( Taken From Bolden , R.,Gosling , J., Marturano , A. , Dennison , P. , 2003)

The Question arises now is that can anyone be a leader of change. To answer this ,
first author uses the traits theory to determine certain traits that a leader should

Traits of a Leader

According to Stodgill (1974 ) , there are no universal traits that are associated with
effective leadership. But subsequent review post stodgill research , trait theory made
a come back in its altered form. The argument here is that to be successful change
leader it’s not only important to have these traits but to also make certain action to
be successful. These includes , to formulate a vision , making goals and setting an
example of role model and to lead by example. (Kirkpatrick and Locke , 1991 ).

Table 1 , below depicts the various traits that are needed in a leader.

( Taken from Kirkpatrick and Locke 1991)


Every Leader should have the drive to take it forward , without this trait leadership
doesn’t become effective at all. Thomas Watson has been described as driven by a
personal zeal to create IBM larger than NCR.(Kirkpatrick and Locke , 1991 ).


Leaders are ambitious about their work and plans . This is important to have the
drive to go ahead , and set high targets for their organizations. Founder - Walt Disney
Productions , Walt Disney had a “dogged determination to succeed” and C.E
Woolman , the man behind Delta Airlines had “inexhaustible ambition” (Kirkpatrick
and Locke , 1991 )


Leaders must exhibit high degree of energy. Leaders have been Characterized as
"electric, vigorous, active, full of life" as well as possessing the” Physical vitality to
maintain a steadily productive work pace." (Kouser and Posner , pp 122 ).This can be
seen from the example of one of the leader , Sam Walton , the man behind Wal mart
who still even at the age of 70 , attends a rally for the sales managers every
Saturday morning at 7.30 am without fail , (Kirkpatrick and Locke , 1991 ).


Leaders have strength and will to work keeping in mind distant targets in view. They
possess a high degree of perseverance. As evident form the history most of the
organization change programs take long time to see the benefits. Thus leaders of
such changes should have the drive to be associated with the change process , and
should possess a good amount of persistence in order to ensure that changes are put
in practice. It’s important to understand for a leader that it’s just not the way in which
actions are performed counts but what is equally important is sticking to the chosen
path. An effective leader should and will keep pushing himself and its followers
towards its goals. Ray Kroc , of Mcdonald Corporation was always described as one
such dynamo that can drive the company relentlessly .(Kirkpatrick and Locke ,
1991 )


It is very important for a leader to be proactive in a business environment. It is

necessary for a change leader to anticipate before hand the problems that can be
associated with the inclusion of change or any new business opportunity that may
happen out of the whole process.

Leadership Motivation

A leader possess the skills of motivation himself as well others. This also sometime
equated to the need for power. Two of the famous astronauts John Glen and Frank
Borman , built their business carriers during there early stages of space explorations.
Though all the astronauts have the same opportunities but it was their personal
attributes that led them take the leadership roles.

Honesty and Integrity

Though such traits are important for all individuals leaders have special significance
to it. Successful leaders need to be true and open with their followers and also should
not be careless in providing harmful information or doing things which can violate the
confidence. The simple theory says that how can anyone rely on their leader if they
cannot be consistent on what he says and what he does.

Self Confidence & Emotional Stability

Self Confidence is an important factor in decision making process and having a vote
of trust from others. Followers cannot be committed to the vision set for them by the
leader if they have doubts on his capabilities. Also leader should be able to accept
the mistake , when things go wrong. A classic example here is when Chairman and
CEO , Stewart Bainum accepted the whole responsibility for making an acquisition
which cost the company a loss of around over $21 million.( K.F. Girard ,
1989 ).Emotional Stability is also an important trait that a leader must possess , as it
helps the easy resolvation of interpersonal conflicts which are quite evident in an
organizational context.

Cognitive Ability

As Kotter (1990) said , a “Keen Mind” , the one which has good Judgment , a vision to
think strategically and multidimensional , with strong analysis will proves out to be an
effective leader. Thus one cay that leadership effectiveness does need a genius but

an average level of intelligence factor is essential. It can also be said that to a degree
of correctness that followers look up to leader that have a fir degree on intelligence
in them.

Knowledge of the Business

This is very key aspects of any leader as to know there business in and out. The great
leaders from Jack Welch , to Steve Jobs , to Rattan tata , Dhirubhai Ambani are all
pioneers and leader in there field but what made them sale through being top
leaders is there in-depth knowledge of the business they are in.

Other Traits

Charisma , flexibility , creativity though seems important for a leader but here is less
evidence for these traits to become an effective leader of change process. For
Example Charisma can be more important for political leaders

Going by the above theories the trait theory itself raises the question that whether
leaders are born or made. Leadership can be understood as an art as there are
various skills that need to be applied to be a successful change leader. The argument
here is that even if certain qualities are inborn that makes one individual better than
the other , there still some talents that one needs to develop over a period of time.
Thus to support the arguments one can take examples of few skills that are needed
to be a leader. For instance self confidence can only be developed over a time period
and is not inborn. Skills such as being honest , and having a sense of integrity comes
from inside while knowledge of business is something that needs to be developed
over a period of time. Thus one can easily say that Leaders can be born or made.
Thus leadership is a skill which can be learned and cultivated.

The next part of the paper will talks about the skills and competencies which are
necessary to be a Change leader. According to Buchanan und Boddy , the following
are key competencies of a leader.


A leader must be sensitive to the perceptions of the management , changing

dynamics of the market and the long term goals of the organization. An example of
the can be seen in Steve Job the owner of Apple Communications , who has taken the
vision of introducing a range of new products in the market , and creating a demand
for the same.


A Leader should be flexible to the new changes in the day to day scenarios and
should not always be dependent on the control from the managers. Such kind of
leadership skills will be needed at le level 3 of the pyramid explained above.


Leader should have the team building capabilities , in order to have effective work
relationships between the various stakeholders of the business. Networking skills

should are also key aspects of any leader , and thus leader should be able to develop
appropriate contacts within and outside the origination. He/ should be able act wisely
in ambiguous situations and should be able to function comfortably and efficiently
even in a highly changing environment.


He / she should be able to transfer effectively to its colleagues and subordinates the
various aspects of the change process. The urgency of the change is not
communicated effectively to the employees can have a negative impact on the whole
change process.
Also , the work allocations to the levels of managers , colleagues , and sub ordinates
should be communicated correctly in order to avoid any confusion. Leader should he
highly motivated and should communicate the same messages all across.


The leader should be able to sell its ideals and negotiate it well with the external
enviornment.This should be done by creating a challenge for the future and telling
about the vision. Also as change leader it’s important to negotiate well for the
resources , amendments in procedures , and also in resolution of any conflicts with
the various people in the organization.

Managing Up

Leader should have the necessary political awareness to be aware of any coalitions
that are happening or in balancing conflicting goals and perceptions. It should be
able to stand back from particular projects and look at the broader view of priorities
when needed. Leader should posse’s influential skills so as to gain commitments
towards the projects , and ideas from the various resistors to the change process.

Apart from the above factors , Rosa Beth Moss Kantar (1999) , also argued that the
leader of change should understand the importance of having more than one right
solution in today’s every changing market dynamics. A change leader must be able
to evaluate the facts from various dimensions like e.g. customer’s , organization etc.

New Concept of Emotional Intelligence

A new approach to the leadership skills that has gained importance is the emotional
intelligence. Though it is can clearly argued that though IQ and technical skills are
important , but what more important for a leader of the Change process in the
emotional intelligence.(Daniel Goleman , 1998 ).A individual can have the best of
trainings in the respective domain , a list of smart ideas, great analytical skills but
can still fail as a leader. Emotional Intelligence plays a crucial role on becoming a
successful leader of change. The following frame work depicts the Emotional
Intelligence Framework.

( Taken from Daniel Goleman , 2004 )

The need of Emotional Intelligence

EI does not fit the leadership models of the past. The old dimensions of leaderships ,
i.e. brave , bold and tough and a sense of purpose don’t fit in today’s world totally. In
today’s world employees can not be treated with the autocratic style of leadership ,
leader’s needs to adapt themselves to a sense of democracy and openness in the
workplace. The leaders of today need to consult with there workforce and should
mode towards increasing the participation. They are bound to provide a degree of
freedom to their followers. The immense opportunities and growth potential that lies
for the followers , a leader must be able to mentor and help them encase this. Also
team sprit is important , but leader should be able to reward individual recognition
and acknowledge the same. Thus as mapped above the Emotional Intelligence is the
skills that a leader must have in order to accomplish all or part of the above tasks.

The next part of the essay talks about the various skills that a change leader must

Skills of a Change Leader

As per Kotter ( 1990 ) , it can be argued that the change leaders should also have the
skills to perform the following

Setting Direction

It creates a vision for the organization with the study of relationships , data
available , resources etc.The vision might consist of new ideas or an existing one
thought of in different direction. The CEO of Scand avian Airlines , started a vision for
the making it the best airline in the business traveler class. Its was the vision of the

leader to look beyond what is available. Thus this is an important skill for a Change

Aligning people

The next skill that a Change leader must possess is how to align and comprehend the
work force towards the common vision. This can also be a case where a leader needs
to communicate to a large set of audience which might not just involve manager’s
subordinates but bosses , peers , others in the organisation.Thus , a Change leader
must be able to effectveky carry out this process through the means of proper
communication.Thus the skill needed will to be able to communicate well.


Leaders should be able to motivate its workforce towards the common vision.This will
ensure that they will have the drive to overcome obstacles.This should be done not
by forcing people in the said direction but by satisfying there basic needs.Informal
relations at times help motivate employees to large extent.Every organisation have a
ntewrok of imformal relations but a good change leader must be skilled enough to
use them effectively .

Creating a Culture

As a Leader of organisation , one should create a culture of leadership

development.This will also help in the efficient working of organisation and will
promote young leaders who have the potential to be future leaders and bring about a
change process.

The following diagram also depicts few other aspects of a change leader

Ability to and Credible Stay
Delegate Connected

Good Good
Listener Analytical

Responsive Good Sales


Varied Dimensions of a Change Leader

Leadership at all levels

Most of the times when the term leader comes into mind its only about senior and
executive level managers. Though this is a fact that most of leaders are at the top
level , but leadership exists even at the lower levels also.For example , a functional
leader is one which has a knowledge in some particular functional domain , like for
example assembly lines etc. Thus this type of leader will use his share of knowledge
to empower others , and solve their problems. The argument here is that these are
also leadership traits that are being developed at those levels where visbility is low
and there is no need for a strategic vision. Another example of leadership exhibit can
be seen at the middle management level also. A successful senior leadership
happens with the right middle management. It is these leaders that physically bring
about the change process and thus can also be said to play the role of a builder in
the change process. The above diagram depicts the various level of leadership. A
change process can happen at any state and a leader can be acting at any of the
above levels. The top level is the one which works for transforming an organisatin.It
must have the capabilities of the preceding levels along with its won skills sets as
mentioned earlier in the paper. At each level there can be a change leader , to
complete the change process at that level.

The 5 Levels of Leadership Hierarchy

( Taken from JIM Collins , 2001 )


It is thus clear from the above discussion that there are certain traits that are needed
in a leader. One can Cleary say that few leaders are born with these , but most the
skills and competencies needed for a leader of change can be learned. Though the
fact leadership is demanding activity cannot be undermined and a leader having
traits such as drive , self confidence , honesty and integrity cognitive knowledge have
advantage over the others. Though it will be injustice to the great leader if its is said
that these are normal people who got the right opportunity. Though place is
important but it takes special skills to master the act of knowing and utilizing the
opportunities. The paper also discusses the aspect of emotional intelligence that has
become quite important in today world of leadership. Also , the paper also suggest
the importance of leadership at various levels of an organisation.Thus it can be said
that there lies a leader in most of us and it just takes few skills and the right
opportunity to showcase the talent


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