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12/12/2011 Catherine Fonseca - 1214698

This work presented under the subject of Fundamentals of Leadership aims to answer the following questions:




definition case


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The concept of leadership has been taking an increasingly significant importance over the years. In fact, there are numerous definitions of authors to define what leadership is, but none can be considered the most accurate or complete. In my view, leadership is a concept like love, freedom and peace, is impossible to define the concept as a whole because it has a basic idea very subjective to each person1. However, the leadership and the love, the freedom and the peace have in all the definitions that describe them some key concepts common to all definitions. It is possible to find three common elements in all of them for leadership: one is a group of persons, secondly, it involves the act to influence, and finally to aims a common goal. There are many different approaches to leadership; one possible approach is to study leadership by dimensions, which are the trait, the context and the process. 2 The leader is the person who practices leadership. A person is considered a leader when he is at the intersection of the three dimensions of leadership, and uses these dimensions in an effective and efficient way to influence people in order to achieve a common goal. "To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who does not know where he is going."3 The others possible approaches that I think that are the main approaches of leadership are the trait approach, the skills approach, the style approach, the situational approach but also a type of leadership that is the transformational leadership.4

There are almost as many definitions of leadership as there are persons who have attempted to define the concept (Stogdill, 1974) 2 Lecture slides of Fundamentals of Leadership, University of Birmingham, 2011 3 Joe Namath 4 Northouse, Peter, Leadership

In my point of view the traits to be leader are in part innate qualities because a person may be born with some of the characteristics that lead to have a greater predisposition to become leader than someone who was not born with these characteristics, besides being easier to improve the characteristics than got them. The characteristics of an effective leader are vision, determination, self-confidence, intelligence, integrity and sociability.5 The context and the process are important dimensions to the extent that a leader has to define and know the environment in which he is going to act, as well as choose the best processes to use, to properly motivate and influence their followers. At the intersection of these three dimensions the leader characterized by his own personality, will operate in a particular context and use certain processes to motivate people to work together towards achieving a common goal well defined. An important aspect of this concept is the word influence rather than imposition. In fact, you can impose certain actions to a subordinate when you have the power to do so. However, it is impossible to impose the motivation with what each one takes to practice the same action. It is this motivation that seeks to improve leadership. For a leader is not enough to achieve the objectives of the organization, it is necessary that actions be carried out by subordinates of their own free will. "Talented people do not like to be human resources or to be managed. They prefer to be led by someone they respect."6 "Leadership is doing the right thing when nobody is looking."7

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Major Five Traits p.19 Northouse, Peter, Leadership In O Esprito Faminto, Charles Handy, 1997. George Van Valkenburg


Today, there are countless cases of "effective" and "less effective" leadership around the world. However, for this work I have to focus only in one example of each. At the time of my choice, I would immediately set to speak at least about a Portuguese leader. I hesitated to speak of Jos Mourinho, the sports leader recognized worldwide. But after some thought, I chose to speak of a Portuguese businessman because is an issue more related to my field of study, business management. Therefore, I will address as a case of leadership effect, the success of the entrepreneur Belmiro de Azevedo. With regard to the "less effective" leadership case, the first name that came to my mind was that of Silvio Berlusconi for being a political leader much talked in the Medias and that has many negative points to be addressed. Belmiro de Azevedo, 73 years-old, is a Portuguese businessman, actually the Chairman and the main shareholder of SONAE. His father was a carpenter and farmer and his mother a seamstress. This boy who was born into a humble family, and who had started early work to afford his education, became one of the richest men in the world, being ranked by Forbes to the 833th richest person in the world (2011) with an estimated fortune of 1.5 billion dollars. He studied chemical engineering in the University of Porto. In 1965 he started to work as a researcher in SONAE (National Society of Clusters and Stratified). Thanks to him this company suffered rapid and profound changes that have transformed it in a small business group. To perform his new and demanding functions, he did a MBA in Business Management at Harvard (skills approach). Here we can identify his visionary quality 8 as well as his ability to handle change and adapt to a new context, in this case the growth of the company that required from him more qualifications to which he gave a concrete answer. Being these qualities, qualities of a leader. "The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision.9 During the revolutionary period of 1974, he took control of SONAE, which grew substantially in the following decades, covering new

Manual de Formao do Santander Totta Direco e Gesto de Equipas, Unidade 1, Liderana, Motivao e Comunicao; Verso 2005, 2010 9 Theodore Hesburgh

areas such as hypermarket (Continente and Modelo), the communications (Jornal "Pblico") and Telecommunications (Optimus ). Later, the group sought to expand internationally and engaged in specialized retail (Bonjour, Vobis, Worten, Sport Zone, etc.). This shows us perfectly his determination and ambition to grow the company to generate profit, which as we all know is the main objective of a company. Belmiro de Azevedo is also known for its entrepreneur nature, by his boldness and his frugality that he cultivates personaly and extends to the management and culture of the Group. "The great leader is one who is willing to develop people until the point that they eventually exceed in his knowledge and skill."10 This is an idea with which Belmiro de Azevedo fully agree since he already said the same by other words, this shows that he has two features that an effective leader must have11: the recognition by subordinates and the ability to share (in this case, his knowledge). In an interview with someone who worked with him for years, it was found how people characterize him in the meetings of SONAE, "was a pragmatic person, not like to waste time, but it was not authoritarian in the conduct of the meeting", "Working with engineer always been very exciting, he has a natural way to get people to commit increasingly more effort.12 This statement confirms an essential point of the description of leader that he undoubtedly has - the ability to get people in order to motivate them to do things willingly (transformational approach). At a time when the impacts of the economic crisis on consumption and investment continue to penalize business performance, SONAE Capital generated profits of 15.4 million euros in the first nine months of the year (2011), which compares with losses of 7.4 million euros in the same period last year.13 To achieve these results in such a short time, a union and motivation of all staff working for SONAE Capital was surely necessary (situational approach), which further demonstrates the ability of Belmiro de Azevedo to influence his followers, and shows that he was able to move them around a target well-defined, tackle the financial crisis, During one of the most complicated times for the business market and Achieve profits again.
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Fred A. Manske Manual de Formao do Santander Totta Direco e Gesto de Equipas, Unidade 1, Liderana, Motivao e Comunicao; Verso 2005, 2010 12

After this description of an "effective" leadership case, I will now consider the case a lot "less-effective, that of Silvio Berlusconi, as previously mentioned. Silvio Berlusconi, 75 years-old, has been Italians prime minister until a month ago. Also known as II Cavaliere, he is the richest man of Italy. He has been the most influential political leader in Italy but he is also a business man, controlling the most important activities in Italy such as media, entertainment companies and banking system. Nevertheless, and although he might be a good leader in the businesses owned by him, he is not a good example of a political leader once Berlusconi has not practiced an effective leadership. A deep approach will be done considering the reasons behind his failure as a political leader and these reasons will be critically analysed. Might be said that he is an innate leader or a born leader as he has some innate attributes such as determination, intelligence, self-confidence, sociability14 (Trait Theory) but not the five one, integrity which was the main reason that led him to flop. Integrity means honesty and trustworthiness. He doesnt have these words in his vocabulary. He has been involved in a lot of criminal allegations such as corruption, tax fraud and mafia collusion. A leader must be seen by his followers as a trust and honest person where they can put all their trust, someone who they can rely on and not someone who is always doing something out of moral values. Berlusconi has been betraying trust. Another mistake that he has made which is in some way related to integrity was the fact of putting his self-interest ahead of the best interest of Italy, looking for power and glory. Leadership is about responsibility, a true leader must carry on the responsibility for his followers in order to get the best for them and for the institution that he represents. Berlusconi havent worried about responsibility, it seems that he is not conscious about the importance of his position as well as how his bad behavior affects his reputation and consequently, Italys reputation. The leader sees leadership as responsibility rather than as


Major Five Traits p.19 Northouse, Peter, Leadership

rank and privilege15, which make us, thinking that Berlusconi see leadership in an opposite way due to actions that he has been taking. One of his biggest mistakes was done recently, after he jumped off from his position as a prime minister, leaving behind all problems affecting Italy and directly, his followers even those who didnt vote on him. He has shown lack ability to be a leader in a political environment as he is showing not being a charismatic leader capable to inspire and motivate people to do more than they would normally do, to transcend their expected performance. An effective leader must know how to deal with the change, how to adapt to the arising of new issues as well as how to motivate people to keep moving forward around the common goal. What have Berlusconi done? At the first complicated situation, he gave up and let the problems to the new elected prime minister take care about. He didnt know how to deal with the arising issues. He should have been persistence and facing the problems that are spreading over Italy even if he had to take heavy measures to fight against it. The last thing a leader should do is be the first to quit (a leader never jumps out of the boat), abandoning his followers; it shows that he doesnt have character neither personality. New situation demands new style of leadership (situational approach). Berlusconi couldnt deal with the change so he resigned from prime minister. As we can see, it doesnt matter if a leader has the right skills or the necessary knowledge to lead a company, it doesnt matter if he has some special characteristics. A leader must have the key points set up by the main leadership theories. Finally, all these theories and approaches are only valid if exercised within a framework of leadership ethically correct. We define leadership as interpersonal influence, exercised in situation and directed, through the communication process, toward the attainment of a specified goal or goals16

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The Essential Drucker p.270 F. Drucker, Peter Leadership and Organization, p.24 Tannenbaum Robert, R. Weschler Irving, Massarik Fred

F. Druker, Peter (2001), The Essential Drucker, 1st Edition, Clays Ltd; Northouse, Peter (2010), Leadership: Theory and Practice, 5th Edition, Sage Publications; J. Gannon, Martin (2008), Paradoxes of Culture and Globalization, Sage Publications; Tannenbaum, Robert, R. Weschler Irving, Massarik Fred (1961), Leadership and Organization, McGraw-Hill Book Company;

Santander Totta (2010), Manual de Formao - Direco e Gesto de Equipas, Unidade 1, Liderana, Motivao e Comunicao, Verso 2005; (acessed 2 December 2011); (acessed 2 December 2011); (acessed 2 December 2011); (acessed 28 Novembro 2011); (acessed 15 December 2011); (acessed 15 December 2011); (acessed 15 December 2011).