Leadership and Ethics Theory – An Economic Perspective on Leadership
Leadership relates to generation of acceptable and successful solutions and/or outcomes in environments or circumstances that are difficult or seem to have no solutions.
If leadership is not in place, there is a feeling of inferiority or intimidation to face and tackle challenges. Although many books have been written in this field, there is still a lot to be done in order to enhance and advance common knowledge of leadership. Many concepts related to leadership theory have been developed through extensive research and others have been borrowed from other branches of study.
A good example of a concept applied in the study of leadership is called “the Prisoner’s Dilemma” which is also widely applied in economics (Zaffron 4). This concept lays down tactics and skills that are characteristic of good leadership capable of dealing with complex challenges and intimidating problems.
The concept expounds on the reasons of failure and gives ideas on many unexplained scenarios related to the success and/or collapse of business associations in commercial, industrial, private and government organizations. The concept supports the fact that leadership, like many other fields of study, is an entity field and it can be studied as an art or science subject.
The theory asserts the qualities of a leader worthy the title of a “good or effective leader”. A good or an effective leader comprehends and plays with tactics of the concept of “the prisoner’s dilemma”. The game is not played once but practiced always in the life of an effective leader and furthermore, the leader should involve others as a team.
Among others, the leader has the attributes of: a far-sighted vision; charisma to convince, persuade and envision others to be leaders in their own domains; dedication; faithfulness to all involved at the same level and in both vertical and horizontal set ups of organizations; power of expression and communication; and genuineness. The first two qualities are important in establishing a memorable concept of the prisoner’s dilemma game which always remains live and active in the core of leadership.
The other four attributes are applied and their center of attention is on how the game is played in order to effectively attain and achieve good leadership in organizations. Good leadership plays important social roles and can influence many events happening in areas related to politics, family, and commerce.
Researchers have conducted many studies on leadership and globally, it is naturally accepted that in order for others to cooperate and play willingly the prisoner’s dilemma game, a method of empowering by delegation, involvement and encouragement from leaders is necessary. Good leaders accept others so that they are accepted too.
Good leaders honor others so as to be honored. They respect others and are also respected. Good leaders accommodate glory for all involved. Good leaders are not egocentric. This is the norm for many institutions, societies and organizations.
Good leaders have contingent measures that are arsenals to apply in difficult and demanding situations. In order for leadership to work out, commitment is a good strategy and plays an important role. When there are complex problems or decisions to be made, contingent measures are necessary in order to revisit leaders’ communication channels, visions, commitments, and integrity (Zaffron 7).
Leadership evaluation studies and comparisons of the leadership’s overall benefits are carried out in order to determine the well being of organizations, businesses, social groups, religion establishments and government projects. Leadership enhances team work spirit, continuous re-engineering of leadership strategies, learning from others, taking positive attitude during failures, and creating confidence in others.
Studies on behavioral sciences related to leadership reveal that leaders do not work or succeed on their own but depend consciously or subconsciously on interacting with others. Strategies for participants are availed by leaders in order to enhance the conceptualization of the prisoner’s dilemma game for which the participants can play often and repeatedly for the mutual benefits of the organizations and the participants (Zaffron 18).
Leaders put in place a well designed organizational structure for carrying out roles of leadership as well as individual or team performance mechanism for evaluating performance trends. There are constraints leaders must overcome and these are alerting signals when unfavorable outcomes are imminent.
The strategies already studied or put in place are subjected to real-world experiences and outcomes are noted and recorded for future application in the field of leadership.
Principles of leadership highlight the following competencies that are integral attributes of a good leader. Evaluation of group or individual performance, giving rights for decision making and putting in place rewarding methods for appreciating individuals are important pillars.
These three pillars influence the outcome of a leader’s conception of the prisoner’s dilemma, as far as strategies and mutual benefits are concerned. Insight and ability to select the right participants are crucial to good leadership.
Internal and external vigilance of organization and global events, appreciating performers and avoidance of negative criticisms, mentoring and training others in leadership, optimistic attitudes, envisioning others, and creating a hope of future are all ingredients of effective and good leadership.
Practice – What Makes Teams of Leaders Leadable
Teams of leadership are companies whose members are leaders who carry out roles of leadership in an establishment of society. They execute these roles communally and in a trustworthy manner.
In terms of performance, missions, targets, achievements and goals are set and it does not matter how or who accomplishes them but the required results are considered important. The method of applying leadership as a functional entity is employed and this has the benefit of allowing many and diverse ways of accomplishing important operations (Wageman and Hackman 2).
Achievement is primarily important and efforts to relate all behaviors and strategies of leaders in the prevailing situations come secondary. The idea is to concentrate on root causes of accomplished performance outcomes and enhance effectiveness in social establishments. A good and effective leader is an achiever, regardless of the methods applied and personalities of the achiever.
There are countless teams of leaders all over the world in big business establishments, civil societies and government institutions. Research shows that leader teams have powerful members in areas of leadership but their skills are not exploited to maximum potential (Wageman and Hackman 2). There are little or no devoted leadership mentoring, studies or development in teams of leaders. The mode of hiring or recruiting teams of leaders is through volunteering.
Furthermore, studies of teams of leaders reveal peculiar characteristics that would not be associated with good or effective leadership. Mismanagement of resources, time wastefulness, lack of quality awareness, and unprofessional ethics are typical in teams of leaders (Wageman and Hackman 8).
It is very unlikely to find in teams of leaders spirit of involvement, commitment, cooperation and appreciation. Losses, uncompleted and uninitiated projects are the order of the day-to-day running of teams of leaders.
Leadership effectiveness achieved by team work is an integral function of three causes of actions related to performance. These are: (i) the amount of energy associated members spend while implementing duties, (ii) the suitability of strategies laid down to be applied by team in order to accomplish well performed work and (iii) the level of knowhow and expertise associated team individuals can contribute on work.
These three are fundamental and important functions. Many research studies conducted by scholars indicate that these are lacking in majority of teams of leaders.
Without good structuring and defined team roles, leadership teams have difficulties in task work. According to research conducted on human population, diversities of leaders of teams exist. Top level management of senior teams of leaders, especially in present-day life of organizations, although easily available, is necessary for businesses (Wageman, Nunes, Burruss, and Hackman 8).
Universally, recruitment of members is obvious in teams of leaders but identity and acquaintance among members are not common. Preparedness and contingent measures are not in place. High handed authority that makes it difficult to develop team work spirit is known to exist by members, but teams of leaders opt to compromise.
It is unlikely to have common leadership interests, especially for joint goals to develop in the concerned organizations. Leadership based on common goals and which can be needed unexpectedly in many establishments, is not likely in teams of leaders who have wide and broad experience and technical knowhow as leaders of teams.
Contingent measures for leaders of teams are available but they are very difficult to implement because of lack of sense of corporate responsibilities. There are many challenges in teams of leaders and these could be tackled by restructuring and defining goals that eventually put in place a single efficient authority.
There are many constraints that make teams of leaders face many problems in the day-to-day performance of their duties and accomplishing functions in establishments effectively. Majority of teams of leaders have functions related to stewardship. These include extended responsibilities and the involvement of various characters of stakeholders.
Although the leaders are in positions of authority in controlling finances, setting goals, planning budgets, structuring and designing work schedules, the leaders are hesitant and lack freedom because of the additional burden from the attached society. The influence from the attached society tends to create leaders who are not willing to spend resources in their control at free will.
The society has envying attitude which also makes leaders not to be generous. Delegation of responsibilities by leaders to other fellow members rarely happens due to the fact that the leaders tend to safeguard their egocentrically acquired fame (Wageman and Hackman 8).
Competencies of teams of leaders are many but are rarely put into useful purposes. These leaders are executives who are highly learned, with extensive experience in diverse work and geographical environments and multi cultural exposure.
The fact that leaders of teams have broad and diversified work conditions exposure means that the leaders have deep-seated knowledge and much envied skills which enable them to thoroughly understand their attached fellow teams and organizations.
The extraordinary advantages leadership teams have indicate that leaders developed structuring skills and are capable of integrating that technical knowhow not just in particular individuals but also in the organization. This is of vital importance to any business’s long-term leadership teams’ effectiveness.
Leadership Development – Pursuing Authentic Leadership Development
For many past generations, a lot of efforts have been expended to develop and acquire knowledge about leadership. However, this has only been done covering extensively the domain of individual and famous leaders (Avolio 2).
The belief traditionally acquired is that leaders are naturally born and this has hampered greatly the formal development of leadership as a discipline of study in academic institutions (Avolio 11). The contemporary world has many challenges to face especially in the field of leadership.
Researchers have come on the scene to find solutions to these challenges. Many findings from these researchers indicate and confirm that leadership is an entity discipline and can be studied as an art or science subject in academic echelons.
The form of leadership study to be pursued will not be shaped by or centered only on famous leaders who have God-given talents, but it is a form that has been developed by scientists through research and/or acquired through experience in many organizations.
Development of leadership by context means developing good leadership. This good leadership has many attributes and the underlying skills needed to develop this good leadership are easily available and can be acquired through studies. However, a concerted effort is important in order to bring to a wide and broad audience the understanding and comprehension of what good leadership is and the benefits to be acquired from good leadership to be developed.
Development of authentic leadership is currently and will be the future challenge for scientists and professionals in echelons of leadership. Needless to say, the task ahead is enormous and concerted energy and contributions from all stakeholders involving scientists, industrialists, and scholars will be of paramount importance.
International efforts to have interactions in business, social and other global communities have come along with many benefits and challenges. Global resources are getting scarce. Population is growing. What this means for leadership is the quality and effectiveness in leadership is on focus. It is time to change the approach of leadership. If it is time to change, then it is time to develop the leadership that will cope with changes.
This leadership development is the authentic leadership development. It is sad to note that very little has been done towards developing the authentic leadership. The science of authentic leadership is scarce due to the fact that very little research has been carried out in this area of leadership. It is unlikely to get leadership development models from the literature of leadership.
Theories are rare if not nonexistent that can be applied in the study and development of authentic leadership. Despite the fact that no theories and/or models are in place or readily available, it is now the right time to do research and develop scientific methods and models which will be applied in the study and development of leadership that is genuine.
Challenges are many strictly speaking, but urgent contingent measures for enhancing genuine leadership development must be put in place. Sensitizing awareness of a better future in the hearts of global communities is important. A better future is not possible if authentic leadership is not in place. Leaders who are genuine, envisioned and can stand for a positive cause must be developed.
Resources, although scarce, must be set aside for scientists and participants to acquire facilities and tools for developing authentic leadership. Campaigns from grass root to top levels must be conducted to instill taste and for acquiring skills applicable to authentic leadership. Encouraging sharing of skills, prototype models and methods from successful authentic leaderships should be put in place.
There are many benefits, both psychological and physical, of getting involved in the development of authentic leadership. In fact a driving force is subconsciously embedded in the hearts of many developers of leadership and especially the authentic leadership. There is uplifting of morals, leaders are transformed and become above average, high spirit of motivation and many more.
Leaders of this caliber are very much willing to develop other leaders with similar or higher qualities. They are ready to transform leaders to be genuine leaders. They are thirsty and crave for change. They are not stagnated. They are willing to delegate. They have perspective of high morals. They make decisions soberly and decisions that are well balanced.
Notwithstanding, the great constraint for developing genuine leaders has been found to be lack of participants’ preparedness in acquiring skills for genuine leadership. Attention to enhance understanding of preparedness in this aspect of leadership development is very important in order for the participants to advance to high level of effective leadership.
Today research in leadership is extensively carried out by educators, philosophers, theorists of management, and many more. All these are experts in their respective fields and in the future other experts in other fields will join them.
Needless to say, a new approach for advancing and enhancing skills emanating from human resources has created prospects for the development of genuine leadership. Positive model constructs from human science development are available. The trend is to advance the conceptualizations of development of genuine leadership and drive in every level of organizations.
In the future, the emphasis will be laid on training and developing very good followership of genuine leaders adept at leading vertically and horizontally at all levels. Organizations will be keen to reap dividends for roles played in authentic leadership development. This ultimately, will become the norm.
A good leader advocates skills for doing work easily and efficiently by enhancing truism, commitments to an expressed vision and actions of follow-ups among others.
Although there is argument to the contrary, the fact is majority of competences and talents of successful and effective good leaders can be acquired through academic institutions as long as the desire and preparedness of concerned individual is in heart. Training and continuous practice are important efforts for one to succeed as a professional and effective leader. Nature has its contributions towards good leadership but all these can be acquired through learning.
There exists a class of leaders called leaders of teams. Fundamentally, these leaders are highly learned, have wide exposure to diversified leaderships and generally speaking are in high echelons of leaderships and enjoy unlimited power in decision making, budget planning and work structuring.
In contrast to leaders of good and effective leadership, majority of leaders of teams are non-performers. They cannot fit in or cope with the current force of globalization which is demanding effective leaders with charismatic attributes and skills to tackle leadership challenges at any level in any organization.
Due to the many challenges and problems facing the world communities, there is an utmost need to develop good and authentic leaders for the present and future generations.
Components of good leadership are highly desirable. Scientists and all other stake holders have joined hand in hand with concerted efforts in order to develop theories, methods and models that will be used in institutes of leadership learning. Particular and important focus is on developing applicable tools for furthering intensive and extensive authentic leadership development.
Avolio, Bruce. Pursuing Authentic Leadership Development. Nebraska: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, n.d.
Avolio, Bruce. Leadership development in balance: Made/Born. New Jersey: Erlbaum & Associates, 2005.
Wageman, Ruth, and Richard Hackman. What makes Teams of Leaders Leadable? 2008.
Wageman, Ruth, Debra Nunes, James Burruss, and Richard Hackman. Senior leadership teams: What it takes to make them great. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2008.
Zaffron, Steve. An Economic Perspective on Leadership. Rochester: University of Rochester, 2008.