Studying leadership is important to me because I plan on becoming a Strength and Conditioning Coach and this field requires taking athletes through exercise programs to increase sports performance and reduce likelihood of injuries. Having a plan of movement and execution is only useful if the person implementing it can lead athletes through the program exactly how the coach imagined it. The importance of achieving physical feats in the weight room is only half the battle, we as strength coaches also develop the mind to promote leadership development, confidence, and grit. Studying leadership can help me promote willingness to work and efficiency with my student athletes in a weight room setting.
Developing leadership traits can propel me to new heights in my coaching career. Leadership is the process by which a person can direct, guide, and influence subordinate’s behaviors and work to achieve a common goal (Juneja, n.d.). Some of the major characteristics of leaders include: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity, and sociability (Northouse, Figure 2.3 pp 26-27, 2016). These are not the only traits that make a leader. H owever, these terms commonly arise multiple times throughout trait leadership studies between 1948-2004. Identifying major characteristics of leadership can help me improve my areas of weakness because studying a weak trait can promote improvement (Juneja, n.d).
Leaders may serve different roles in an organization including: representing the organization, soliciting support, as well as being a friend, philosopher, and guide to subordinates. Leaders attend seminars, conferences, and general meetings to communicate the thoughts or ideas of the organization to the public and departments (Juneja, n.d.). As a strength coach, attending seminars and conferences are an important part of learning the latest trends and up-to-date information on coaching and exercise sciences to increase the value of the coach and organization.
Studying leadership will teach the importance of listening to athletes to identify shortcomings in an exercise program and implementation. Continuous feedback and reflection will promote growth in exercise programming and build improving relationships with athletes. According to Juneja, n.d., Leaders solicit support to subordinates through personality, i ntelligence, maturity and experience to allow invitations of suggestions to create plans and policies for an organization. This act of providing feedback and listening to employees that coaches serve will result in employees working more willingly and effectively.
Leadership is important at all levels of management in any organization. According to a separate article from Juneja, n.d called “Roles of a Leader”, leaders at the top level formulate the plans and policies of the organization. At the middle and lower level management positions, it is required to interpret and execute said plans and policies. What is interesting to note is that leadership can have layers of upper level and lower level management that are all interconnected and interdependent to be a successful and effective organization. In the field of strength and conditioning at the collegiate level, the organization consists of separate departments with its own leaders including administration, sports coaches, strength coaches, student athletes, and faculty that accomplish different tasks or small goals that correlate with other departments to achieve the overall goal of producing winning teams or individuals and accomplish high academic standards while enrolled in college. The relationship between departments that work for the same overall goals can be seen as a system. A system can be defined as a collection of interactive, interrelated, or interdependent parts that make up a complex and unified whole that has a specific purpose (Arnold & Wade, 2015). If any parts of the system (i.e. different departments in an organization) have flaws or inefficiencies, the system as a whole will suffer (Arnold & Wade, 2015). Poor leadership within an organization can create a non-functioning system of student athletes losing willingness to work and being efficient , leading to other parts of the organization to suffer as well as the organization as a whole.
Studying leadership can make me someone who can represent the organization to the public and employees, and solicit support as a friend, guide and philosopher to the student athletes. The act of listening and working with subordinates and athletes creates an environment of willingness to work and being efficient. My organization works as a system in parts that are interactive, interrelated, and interdependent that make a unified whole that has a specific purpose of improving sports performance and achieve academic goals. Achieving these goals can only be done by studying leadership.
Current Leadership Issues of Concern
As technology progresses and people’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas evolve, so should people in leadership positions. An article about current leadership issues written by Moses, n.d. , an Entrepreneur and CEO Coach at CEO Coaching International, provided seven key problems with leadership today including: failure to communicate, lack of accountability, fear of firing, lack of alignment, lack of clear vision, poor execution, and company culture. These are not the end-all-be-all, but these key elements are current concerns for leaders. However, what are the solutions to these leadership issues?
Regarding failure to communicate , (Moses, n.d) claims that CEOs need to be able to communicate on multiple levels. Although effective communication is difficult because it takes commitment, (Moses, n.d) explains that effective communication should be made a priority through discipline , consistency, clarity of message, and willingness to keep at it every day. When (Moses, n.d.) discusses lack of accountability, it’s the idea of big things not getting done and ideas become forgotten or ignored. Moses believes in having a system of keeping track of the results that a CEO or leader are striving to achieve.
Another issue in leadership Moses, n.d writes about is the fear of firing. When a CEO knows members of the team who remain with the company for long periods of a time, getting to know them and their families, the employee becomes a part of the work family and that can make it harder for CEOs to let those people go when the employee’s abilities no longer able to keep up to the growing company, eventually dragging everyone else down. Lack of alignment is another issue presented by (Moses, n.d) that explains that even though disagreements happen between team members, once a decision is made the team needs to be fully behind it and move forward in unity to carry out company decisions successfully.
An important issue that should be noted that (Moses, n.d) presents is that unsuccessful CEO’s lack clear vision. The statement needs to be clear and compelling to excite team members to keep working hard to promote clear goals and success. However, poor execution, according to Moses, n.d., can be a limiting factor in leadership success. Specifically, leaders fail to execute goals for three reasons: leaders do not follow their own plan with discipline, leaders fail to keep track on what matters for the company or the people, and they don’t have the right people in the correct jobs to make it happen. Being able to fix these three things can help leaders execute with certainty and achievement. Finally, the company culture can be a huge factor for leaders to create a room of competitiveness, and efficiency between workers that can attract top talent and drive massive results (Moses, n.d.).
If these are common issues in leadership, then what are the possible solutions or preventive measures? According to an article by the Center for Creative Leadership, four key things leaders can do to develop managerial effectiveness: setting goals, delegating, maximizing your unique value, and understanding your role in the company. First, you need to set goals. Setting goals, timelines, or deadlines essentially keeps you and your members in your organization on track. An easy way to set goals is to use the SMART method which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed. Second , delegate more. Being able to delegate your work to others lets you focus on what is important to you and effectively empower subordinates or colleagues to take ownership in what they are doing. Third, maximize your unique value. What makes you valuable to your company or organization? Focusing on tasks that only you can do can make you accomplish the bigger projects, and you can delegate everything else, as mentioned earlier, to colleagues. Fourth, you need to have a clear understanding of your role at your company or organization. Understanding your main responsibilities and what are secondary, or even what can be done by others, can make you more efficient and productive. However, you need to have the courage and authority to say no to your colleagues as people are more than likely going ask you to take on additional tasks or projects, which many of us can all attest to.
As new problems arise, new thoughts or ideas are needed to solve unique situations in your company or organization. These concepts can be applied easily to your company or organization because, regardless how big or small your organization is, the foundation of leadership is still needed at all levels. When organizations offer leadership roles, leadership issues will need resolving. Leadership will be a forever evolving field, so being aware of current leadership issues and how to solve or prevent them can keep you and your company on the upward trend of success.
Critical Skills Needed to Lead Change
Change is something we all face in our lifetime and is no different in the workplace . Organizations must be able to adapt to the changing world, but leading change is no easy task. When was the last time you told your employees about a change in your organization? What was the reaction? Was the change easy to do or was it a long and painful process? From The Water Cooler newsletter, Jan Rutherford, former U.S. Army veteran who has business roles in marketing, development, sales management, corporate training, product management, and government affairs, explained that business leaders are facing challenges of transforming cultures, creating better processes, and setting shorter sales cycles. Effective and efficient change in an organization requires leaders to possess change leadership skills in communication, collaboration, and commitment.
Communication, collaboration, and commitment are skills required to effectively lead change in an establishment (The Center for Creative Leadership, n.d.). The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), surveyed executives who were all participants in the organizations Leadership at the Peak program. These executives had more than 15 years of management experience and were responsible for at least 500 people , and are decision-making authority as members of top management teams. The results revealed that communication, collaboration, and commitment are three crucial skills required to effectively lead change. When communicating about change, it is not only important to explain what the change is, but also why the change is needed. Leaders who explain the purpose of the change and how it follows the organization’s values can create stronger buy-in from followers (CCL, n.d.) . Leading change in an organization requires collaboration between your team members to strengthen the commitment to that change. In addition, bringing people together to plan and execute is critical for the success of the change in an organization; the key is to include employees early in the decision-making process to allow input and communication channels open. Commitment is a skill that is equally important to have when leading change in an organization. Change is difficult to understand and get behind. But, leaders who are resilient, patient, focused on the big picture, devote more time to the change effort, stay positive, and willing to be outside their comfort zone can negotiate change successfully, (CCL, n.d.). The big picture here is that leaders need to talk, explain, and collaborate with employees and have the right attitude and commitment to effectively have followers buy-in the organizational change.
Leaders need to hold everyone accountable, meaning it needs to be an all-hands-on-deck engagement (Ready, 2016). Communicating change in an organization requires collective effort that will likely have followers be accountability distributed (Ready, 2016). An example Ready, 2016 uses to explain the collective effort, is when CEO John Hess, from Hess Corporation, launched its 2020 Change Initiative, the CEO challenged the entire leadership team to come up with solutions that would make the company more agile, cost conscience, and faster at decision making. To reduce change weariness brought on by needless duplication of effort, Hess created a team responsible for coordinating the variety of efforts. In short, Hess created a team to coordinate the changes required to evenly distribute efforts throughout the organization.
Clearly change is no easy task for an organization. Change requires effort from everyone including leaders who have change leadership skills to be effective. Leaders need to communicate effectively of what the change is, and more importantly, explain why the change is needed and how it follows an organization’s values. Collaboration between leaders and followers can effectively create greater buy-in from employees and give employees a sense of ownership in decision-making tasks regarding change in an organization. From the leader’s perspective, commitment through believing and valuing an organizational change is imperative to have leaders effectively communicate and collaborate to subordinates. Before you can change an organization, you must ask yourself “Am I willing to change?”
Millennials as a Force for Societal Change
Millennials are reaching into more leadership roles as time passes on, but how will that change the future leadership landscape for organizations? This could influence how leadership is taught and how employees are treated in the workplace compared to Generation X leaders. Millennials may show different values in leadership styles that could positively affect organizations to create better employee satisfaction and longevity. The following will discuss what Millennials value as leaders and what type of leadership styles are portrayed.
Millennials value leading a business that has a positive impact on society (Mertz, 2016) . In addition, millennials prefer a more holistic approach in an organization that includes: quality of products and services, healthy levels of employee satisfaction, and customer loyalty (Mertz, 2016). Sixty-four percent of Millennials surveyed feel that leaders have focused too much on personal gains than worrying about society overall and think that rising above the self-interest and focusing on the greater good can lead organizations with purpose (Mertz, 2016). Due to what Millennials have experienced with older generations as leaders, it can be safe to assume that the next generation of leaders want to avoid the mistakes and selfishness of current leaders.
Millennial leadership styles appear more selfless and social. Leadership styles can be described as ambitious, value organizational training and development, prefer meaningful work, and seek for personal fulfillment on the job (Chou, 2012). Chou, 2012 explains millennials value the social aspect of work in friendly coworkers and an interesting work environment. Millennials expect to openly and frequently communicate with supervisors and maintain strong relationships (Chou, 2012). The studies reviewed by Chou, 2012 show that Millennials are more social as the population prefers to work in groups. Additionally, Millennials are not intimidated by others even with lack of experience and status because Millennials desire high levels of need of achievement, trust in organizations, and desire for organizational systems to provide support and development (Chou, 2012). Millennials are clearly a more social generation compared to Generation X. H owever, this has left Millennials to be one of the most scrutinized generations as many can a-test to reading articles of why Millennials are ruining or destroying different industries.
Millennials are the next generation to take on leadership roles. Values of working in organizations with higher purpose for society and leadership styles create open communication between leader and follower may greatly influence how organizations will be managed in the coming years. Millennials are more social than Generation X so, networking could be an important factor to obtaining job opportunities as employee longevity may increase due to greater work environments at an organization that is managed by a Millennial. This also creates opportunities for organizations to work on projects that benefits society as Millennial leaders will more than likely want to pursue projects that create greater social impact.