Leadership And Ethical Behaviour: Reflective Learning Log Assessment 2 Answer
Learning is an essence to humans, while they wish to explore the new things around. Learning can be done in different forms and types as well. The traditional approach towards learning is simple, to read and listen. However, over the time, with more knowledge than I have gained, I have realised that there quite a few types of learning that help us understand the objectives behind every different thing that we do in our lives. Most of the people follow the Acquisition type of learning, where we see or hear and learn. It is the most common one that people are generally well aware of. I would like to consider it as the traditional learning type, which I thought to be the only type concerning learning. However, the Collaboration and Discussion learning types offer a broader scope that involves more number of people who take part in the learning process. The course has helped us make use of these types, and due to it, I have not only gained knowledge but also confidence. When we discuss our views with the peer/teachers, we can connect with them, and the learning process not just becomes easy but also interesting. Being students, we are supposed to write the assignments that help us build our knowledge and reflect on the ideas of others as well, we learn through Investigation, and it significantly allows us to explore and compare the peer-reviewed ideas. The Practice and Production learning types require the involvement of our teachers also, where we learn to improve based on the feedback received and the motivation that they render to us. I never knew learning about learning styles would be so interesting, as I am in much confident position today in comparison to that of yesterday, where I just thought learning means reading or listening. As we have learned about the concept of Leadership, I am quite sure and opportunistic, that after entering into professional life, the concepts will help me excel in my career.
During the initial days of the course, we were taught solely about Leadership from the views of renowned people, who, in some of the other ways, have set imprints on the minds of people. When we learn the concept from various perspectives, we can view the concept with a broader scope. Every individual is different as so is his opinion/outlook and the way he perceives the world. So, I realised that over time, people have come with their methods and theories or Leadership, because they hold different views. We, as students, were allowed in the class to discuss our opinions, following the discussion type of learning, to put forward what Leadership means. Many of us had different perspectives, which clearly showed that Leadership is not just an evolving concept but also very diverse topic to learn. We then went ahead learning about Leader Development, which structured our views and gave us an insight into what a leader should be and how we could become good leaders in future. The Action-Observation-Reflection Model was taught to us that pitched the importance of experience in the development of a leader. The model is easy as I found no difficultly in understanding the concept behind it. As leaders, our actions should be well-designed; however, we need to critically observe the outcomes to learn the effects of the action, both positive and negative. The model then says we must reflect on our observations. If seen deeply, this model is so beautifully presented as it leaves no scope for a leader to repeat a mistake, as it provides him with the opportunity to check the actions twice, collectively in the form of observation and reflection. I came across a distinct concept of cultural intelligence, which must be inculcated, to fit into the diverse global working environment. We know that today's advanced world is globalised. I have learned that we must try to incorporate such essentials within us because once we enter into our jobs, we will have to adjust with diverse working environments. Here, the example of Australia fits perfectly as it is a diverse nation that is popularly known as a welcoming nation. We would be working with people with ethnic, religious, linguistic diversity, and that makes the role of cultural intelligence very essential. Till now, I used to think tutoring, coaching and mentoring, more or less meant the same thing. Well, thanks to the course, I learned the vast differences between each one. Mentoring is not just the best method that the leader must adopt for knowledge transfer, as it is the strongest amongst all. Still, it also builds long-lasting relationships that, in turn, help in the individualistic and organisational developments.
My understanding of power was the strength to make bold decisions, regulate actions, direct the people, etc. However, after learning about Leadership Power and Influence, I have realised that I had considerably limited understanding. There are so many characteristics that make one an effective leader. The lectures on power and influence broadened my knowledge that it is the internal characteristics of a person that makes them influential. The ability to influence other people is the real power that a leader can hold. Right from the beginning of this course, I thought that a leader is powerful, but this lecture helped me know how this power can be attained. A leader must use his influential tactics to exert power and get the work done! That's the formula I guess. But, one must know, where are how these tactics must be used in order to get the maximum benefit. We were taught the Bases of Power, as suggested by French & Raven (1959). They mention of five types of powers; legitimate, reward, expert, referent and coercive. The knowledge of Leader-Follower relationship helped me learn these powers better. The followers are the key players who execute their duties in the direction of leaders. So the leader must be aware of each set of power that can be exerted as per the situation.
Many of the people relate intelligence to knowledge, even I, to some extent, had the same thoughts. The competitive world demands from us, to have in-depth knowledge; and only then we are counted as intelligent people. Well, great leaders of the world like Einstein and Socrates were not intelligent as per the societal norms at least. It amazes me that people in great leaders had some powerful mindset and thinking abilities. Further, when we were taught of personality and trait theories, it helped us learn that both are entirely different from each other and yet so similar. To simply put in, we all have our personalities and traits, but the matter of question is, do we have the traits that leaders must have? The lecture allowed me to look deep within me and discover the kind of personality that I do own. According to the Ocean Model, a leader must possess traits like Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeable and Neuroticism. Then, a low score and high score determine the personality of the person. Honestly, I tried to rate myself as a leader, even! Well, as simple as it looks, it isn't so at all. One can count numbers, but counting and measuring traits is quite tricky, as I realised when we moved further. The concepts like emotional intelligence, which directs one to move from self-awareness to social awareness and self-management to relationship-management. Social awareness significantly pitches that a leader must practice empathy, organisational awareness and should be service-oriented. In contrast, relationship management explains the characteristics of inspiring others, influencing, conflict management, among others. The theory of Triarchic Theory of intelligence clubbed analytical, cognitive and creative intelligence together that make individuals ready for being great leaders.
We all can act as a leader, at any point in our life, if we practice the virtues discussed above. That's the reason why the course requires us to form a group to do an assessment, at least this course has made us aware of this fact now! Teams are specialised version of groups, so by the end of the course, we would be able to transform ourselves from groups to the team, maybe. Both teams and groups seem similar, having individuals. However, groups in contrast to teams; are limited in certain areas. Groups might not always be able to attain a particular aim due to inner conflict, the limited influence of leader among other factors. The Tuckman’s Developmental Stages of Groups mentions five stages; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. The model comes with varied challenges like disagreements, coaching in place of mentoring; these factors occur in initial stages of forming and storming. However, we were taught that if cohesion is placed in the group, it can become effective, and the members will have the power to influence one another. All this while, I was wondering if groups can be made effective, then what is the need of teams and why are groups and teams different even? My queries came to an end when the Leadership Model was taught. It was learned that leadership decisions have a direct impact on team effectiveness. Three components structure the model; input, process and output. We learned about various factors that make the teams effective, and I was then able to understand the real reasons why teams are better than groups. The main reason is that the team has a common purpose and irrespective of the position of the individual; every member aims to achieve the purpose with the power and influence that they have. We are living in a globalised world, and the on-going pandemic has taught us lessons for life, it has transformed the education, businesses and impacted day to day lives also. The concept of Virtual Leadership has been strengthened due to pandemic, and this concept became even more interesting now. It laid some essential key points that leaders must keep in mind, such that the distance must not put an adverse impact on the performance of the team.
In the next lecture, the decision-making frameworks were discussed, which were then connected with the types of leadership styles. Some frameworks pitch that the subordinates’ input in the decision-making should be high or low depending upon the circumstances. One such framework is Normative Decision Making, which allows the leader to decide, to what extent, the level of subordinate input in a particular decision would be beneficial for the organisation. It is a well-known fact that when people are acknowledged in an organisation, their efficiency doubles, as they think they are valued and essential to the organisation. So it is safe to assume that this model can enhance the productivity of the individuals and improve the organisation's performance as well. We then went on to learn about the Situational Leadership Model that relies solely on the behaviours. The two main components are task behaviours and relationship behaviours. Under the task behaviour component, the behaviour of the leader is identified based on responsibilities that he spells on the subordinates. Under the relationship behaviour, the engagement of the leader with the subordinates is identified. Then, it is the relative effectiveness of the above mentioned two behaviours that depend on the situation the leader is. In simple words, it is the situation that puts forth the leadership behaviour. The leadership style is dynamic, as it is uncertain. The styles cannot be linked to the traits of the individuals because it is based on readiness. There are employees who could be high or low on readiness, as they act as per the actions of the leaders. When we went ahead and learned about Contingency Leadership Model, it was realised that the style has a broader scope than that of situational Leadership as it covers various leadership styles and connects them with the situation. In simple words, a decision may be useful in a particular situation. However, it may not be so, in some variant situation. So this model is not more comprehensive in scope but pushes the leaders to keep a check on the decisions that they take and think more on them, before implementing.
With the days passing, the topic of Leadership became diverse, interesting and sometimes confusing as well! I was trying to balance the models and theories and attempted to use the understanding that would help me eventually. The next lecture brought up the concept of Leadership and change when leaders can bring changes, they are considered exceptional for the simple reason; neither the changes are smoothly implemented nor are they easily acceptable to the people. Well, we the youth, filled with the passion, feel that we can change the world with all the expertise that we have. To my surprise, this topic was not just about the change, but the factors, implications, output and a lot more thing. I felt, all my passion sinking for a while, after learning about the complexities of change. Different models determine change like Unfreeze-Change-Refreeze, which I had some idea already. I tried to relate the model with the on-going lecture about change. But, soon I realised, how would I change? Then I came across a new model, Beer’s Model of Organizational Change, which said that resistance has the power to delay a change to months and years even. Specific processes are needed to be fulfilled while we are attempting to change the organisational structure. If the change is not managed efficiently, there is a high probability that the followers might roll back to existing norms, leading to the failure of the model. While all this was getting a bit confusing for me, I felt relaxed when the concept of an emotional approach to organisational change was introduced. That was the moment I felt, without emotional intelligence, it is quite difficult to manage anything and everything in the organisation, as a leader. We are humans, and that is the reason why all the studies in every professional course today focus on making us better individuals. Humans can be either a blessing or a curse for one another. The transformational Leadership is highly based on emotional intelligence, and I found it entirely opportunistic as well. In this kind of Leadership, there is a vision that keeps the leader and his followers driving ahead, no matter how many challenges obstruct the way.
When we are learning too many good points about a certain topic, we tend to believe it cannot be wrong. Perhaps, that’s what happened to me when the concept of Dark side of Leadership was introduced. Initially, I was disappointed at how can one be wrong after learning about so many models and theories. However, then I thought that there are always exceptions. The main idea behind this lecture was to make us understand how, in future, we could prevent ourselves from becoming one such exception! The destructive Leadership sounds very rude and pessimist, but perhaps it doesn't seem so, to the leader who is following it. A leader might think that by controlling the subordinates, maintaining low engagement with them would be beneficial for the organisation. I felt bad Leadership follows the destructive leadership style. However, it is distinct because it is not based on the behaviour with subordinates. Under this Leadership, the leaders are either ineffective or resort to adopting the unethical measures, to reach the goals. In my opinion, this Leadership is more devastating than the destructive Leadership as resorting to unethical means is not justifiable at all. When we were taught of managerial incompetence and managerial derailment, I realised that both the concepts, as were based on facts, alarmed me. I just thought that there are so many people who are unhappy at their jobs and are working under the supervision of ‘bad bosses’, that was the moment I pledged to myself that I would never turn out to be a bad manager.
I was happy when the concept of the dark side of Leadership got over, and we were taught of business ethics and Leadership. The concept aimed to make us aware that a leader must use his power judiciously and make use of ethics, to benefit individualistic and organisational development. The ethical dilemmas seem effortless as they surround the moral values. But, when we are dealing with organisational challenges, the dilemmas might disturb the leader. As we were taught, sometimes leaders have to choose the best right! This is weird, I thought, how could there be two rights? I always thought there is either good or bad and right or wrong. When the ethical dilemma of Truth Vs. Honesty was introduced, and we were given a situation, I got puzzled. Then we went on to learn the principles for resolving ethical dilemmas, as provided by Kidder. I found the Ends-based Thinking principle as the best one, among the other two. The principle underlines that welfare of the greatest number of people, and I think I would abide by this principle if at all, I face many ethical dilemmas ever.
As the course was coming towards an end, the concept of Leadership was connected with ethics and sustainability. There is little doubt that we have already done a lot of harm to the environment. Our responsibility as future leaders must adopt the sustainable practices that result in the benefit of the environment. Apart from that, the ethical theories help the leaders make the right decision regarding the organisation. While ethical absolutism theory clearly identifies the right and wrong, the ethical relativism theory considers morality above everything, and it can influence the decisions or actions of the leaders. I believe that the organisations must use relativism theory. Also, I think, it would help the leaders counter the ethical dilemmas that they face. By the end of the lecture, the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was taught to us. Every popular nation, developed or developing country emphasises on CSR because of the increasing role of the corporate world today. I learned that CSR naturally comes into the picture while we are attempting to do something good. Throughout the course, I have come across so many varied concepts that in turn have built my understanding not just to study, but analyse and acknowledge them, so that I can be a good leader, by all means, when I enter into my professional life.