Leadership Skills in Business Students

Introduction

Leadership is often illustrated as the practice of social authority in the course of which an individual can procure the assistance and support of other people in order to fulfil a common objective shared by them. Various experts put forward a definition encompassing the concept of followers which states that Leadership is eventually about constructing an approach for individuals to put in their effort in order to make something extraordinary happen. As per various researchers, psychoanalysts and various other professionals, Leaders must shoulder three most significant responsibilities. (Hiatt 2003) The Leader must take care of the welfare of those he leads. The leader or the prospective leader must craft out a social framework in which his people possess a sense of security and finally, that this leader must present his followers with a certain way of thinking and a set of ideals. (Barney 2006)

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Leadership skills

There are various theories associated with the concept of leadership skills. One of the most prominent amongst them is the trait theory which attempts to typify the behavioural aspects and personality inclinations related to efficient leadership. As per supporters of this theory, the foremost leader skills include: Drive– A wide-ranging expression which incorporates accomplishments, impetus, aspiration, vigour, persistence and capacity to come up with innovative ideas; Leadership motivation– the aspiration to go in front, but not to perceive authority as the ultimate force; Honesty, Integrity and Self-reliance– qualities that are coupled with psychological firmness; and finally, cognitive competence and awareness about the business settings. Although it is less substantiated characteristics such as charm, ingenuity and flexibility are often associated with Leadership values. (Hargreaves & Fink 2003)

Leadership: Born Or Made?

So, to address the issue of “Leaders are born, not created” it may be said that, one cannot force someone to assume a leadership role if he doesn’t wish to be seen in that role. It’s not like the unenthusiastic individual who reluctantly steps into the shoes of a leader and discovers that things are not so bad after all. If a prospective leader is not completely dedicated to the aspirations of becoming a leader, teaching them leadership skills and nurturing them as future leaders would be a misuse of time, money and other important resources. (Becker 2003) However, when an individual steps into a new leadership position, or displays greater potentials in terms of how they manage the workforce, and they exhibit an inherent enthusiasm to build up and acquire new skills, then it’s in actuality feasible to provide these individuals with an opportunity to enhance and nurture their leadership skills. (Rowold 2009) Each individual can build up their capability to lead, in any sphere of life, provided they have the will to do so. When a person is devoted to, and puts their leadership potential into application in all aspects of their life, then they surely can widen their own prospects as a leader. (Alchian & Demsetz 2007)

Having said all of that, the existence of born leaders cannot be denied. They are the individuals who are looked up to by the others. Even at a very early age they show signs of being eager to be observed and heeded, are open to risks and firmly stand for their believes, morals and values. They possess a certain personality and people oblige them by hearing out their views. (Landa 2008)They have an attitude of wanting to accomplish certain objectives and bring others beside with them. They seem to be comfortable in the limelight even when it’s a tight spot to be in and have a ‘vision’ for the fraternities they lead. However, even born leaders ought to sharpen up and nurture their leadership talents. Just like all others, to grow and develop in life, they too have to practice, and put their vision into application. (Dierickx 2006)

Skills in real context

Leadership may and surely does emerge in several diversified profiles and forms. Effective and first rate leaders do not adhere to a conventional template. However, it is essential to accept the fact that individuals nurturing their leadership proficiencies often experience a setback on account of their or other people’s perception of a leader’s appearance. In such cases it’s vital to realize that the approach of a leader is not only entirely individualistic but also has to be developed with conviction, strong willpower and fortitude by the individual aspiring to assume the role of a leader. In addition, leadership skills will be accepted in different manners by each of the individuals they are going to lead. (Rowold 2009) One may receive unconditional support from some, while others may put forth an understanding attitude. That, obviously, will be as a result of the leader’s capability to recognize the needs of his subordinates. Furthermore, not all leaders acquire the heading of a great leader in terms of the people around them acknowledging their leadership grade. Scores of leaders get no ‘public’ acknowledgement, but have only their individual contentment of a job well done. (Hiatt 2003) When an individual enters the professional world, ideally, his growth and development course becomes the responsibility of the organization he is a part of. Organizations look to nurture leaders for the future. No individual becomes an outright leader at the onset of his career. Even with all willingness and inherent quality of a leader, an individual is a follower of another leader at the onset. The most significant lesson a follower, who aspires to be seen in the role of a future leader, learns is that no matter what his objectives are he can not acquire all by himself. To be a successful and efficient leader one has to realize and acknowledge the fact that support of those an individual leads is of the essence under all circumstances. (Wilson 2002)

Recommendations for business schools

The appropriate teaching and learning activities for students of business and management curriculum must include an approach that would help students understand that leadership is all about making things happen. It is the ability to motivate, control and direct people in the direction of a targeted objective. In the course of this research, we learned some of the most important features which form the foundations of an efficient and a successful leader. (Bissell 2002) Amongst these the skills, those that emerged as the most notable, required and indispensable were the leader’s ability to take critical decisions, effectiveness in managing human resources in his team, problem solving competence, and innovation and flexibility in his approach. (King 2002)A key aspect that surfaced was that every individual has some qualities of a leader inherently. Apart from all the qualities mentioned in this research paper, one must remember the importance of business ethics and its role ineffective leadership. (Walumbwa 2005) Ethical perspective is immensely critical and indispensable attribute of an effective leader. Leaders must encourage his followers to build up a set of values and guiding ideologies and publicize them for their customers and stakeholders to know. This has a positive impact on the business and also spreads a positive sense across the work environment. This is turn leads to better productivity of the employees. (Cameron & Green 2004)

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Bibliography

Alchian, A & Demsetz, H 2007, Production, information costs, and economic organization. American Economic Review, Vol. 62, Issue 2, pp 777-95.

Barney, J 2006, ‘Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage’. Journal of Management, Vol. 17, Issue. 4, pp 99-120.

Becker, G 2003, Human capital, Columbia U. Press, New York.

Bissell, B 2002, Resistance Change: Leadership, Ebsco publishing, Sydney.

Cameron, E & Green, F, 2004, Making Sense of Change Management: A Complete Guide to the Models, Tools & Techniques of Organizational Change, Kogan Page Publishers, NY.

Dierickx, I K 2006, ‘Asset Stock Accumulation and Sustainability of Competitive Advantage.’ Management Science, vol. 35, issue. 4, pp. 1504-1511.

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Hargreaves, A & Fink, D, 2003, Sustaining Leadership, Ebsco publishing, Sydney.

Hiatt, J M 2003, Change Management: The People Side of Change, Prosci, London.

King, D 2002, Changing Shape of Leadership, Ebsco publishing, Sydney.

Landa, J. 2008 ‘The role of transformational leadership, emotional intelligence, and group cohesiveness on leadership emergence’, Journal of Leadership Studies, no. 2, no. 3, pp. 37-49

Rowold, J. 2009 ‘Transformational and transactional leadership styles, followers’ positive and negative emotions, and performance in German nonprofit orchestras’, Nonprofit Management and Leadership, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 41-59.

Walumbwa, O. 2005 ‘Transformational leadership, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction: A comparative study of Kenyan and U.S. financial firms’, Human Resource Development Quarterly, 16, no. 2, pp. 235-256.

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Wilson, D C 2002, A Strategy of Change: Concepts and Controversies in the Management of Change, Cengage Learning EMEA, NY.

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