Leadership is always a trait that I have valued. Growing up being a part of many sports teams meant that I was always in the presence of leaders and had various opportunities to exhibit leadership myself. Looking back now many of the role models I looked up to in my teenage years and well before that were the coaches of my sports teams. They taught me how to deal with not only success but most importantly failure. To me a leader is someone who can put the interests of the group above their own and work tirelessly in the interest of the group out of a genuine desire to achieve the group’s common interest.
The power point by Ciolfi (2015) states that there could not be leadership without a group to lead. This means that if one wants to lead they must unite a group of people through a common cause to do so. Once the group is united the leader exerts their influence over the group to help them achieve whatever it is their common goal.1 However influence is not just a trait of the leader but also the followers.1 The leader depends on the followers to help influence the group in the way the leader sees best.1 In order to optimize the functioning of the group the leader must legitimize and include each of the group’s members in a mutually beneficial way.1 A leader that can harmonize a group, through their own influence, responsibility, authenticity and passion will create a successful team dynamic that is very unlikely to lead to unethical behaviour or dissolution of the group.1
In my opinion anybody can be a good leader. That being said I also believe that nobody can be a good leader if they do not have a genuine passion for what it is that they are trying to lead the group to achieve. The one thing that most effective leaders I have ever had have consistently done is to show the group that they care about every single member. Whether it is to spend a little bit of extra time encouraging a group member who is struggling or mediating disagreements between group members while ensuring every point of view is heard and considered, a good leader invests the time required to cultivate a positive team environment.
The leadership style that I agree the most with is the democratic style. This is because I believe that no two minds think alike and the more input you get from as many different viewpoints as possible the more adaptive and responsive you can be the demands of challenges you face. However, gathering all this information and choosing a final direction to go in can be a time consuming process and may not lend itself to a situation where a split second decision is required. This is why I believe it is important to be an assertive leader with genuine passion so that when you are required to act on behalf of the group no one will doubt that your actions were what you though was best for the group. Leadership styles that leave group members feeling as if their voice isn’t heard can lead to these members questioning the leader’s values and ethics and will ultimately divide the group.
The largest barrier to acting as a good leader for me is negative outcomes. Sometimes no matter how large or small the negative outcome is I get disproportionately discouraged. I need to learn to not bear the weight of the failures on my shoulders alone and to learn from these experiences while quickly implementing the lessons in future decision making processes.
Leadership is not only measured by success or failure but the path taken to reach that point. Everyone has their own unique styles of leadership that fosters an inherently unique team dynamic. The best leaders are those who can undoubtedly be said to have the best interest of the group in their mind and in their heart. However, one cannot be a good leader unless they have passion for the cause that unites the group.
1. Dr. M Ciolfi. Leadership [Lecture notes as PowerPoint]. CP 1102: Foundations of Chiropractic Principles and Practice, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. 2015 April 23 [cited 2017 Jan 24]. Available from: https://courses.cmcc.ca/portal