Principles of Character in Leadership
Leadership is an essential quality for a person who runs a business or an organization. According to Miner, John B. (2006, page 179), the important aspect is goal setting as well as the ways and means the leader follows to achieve the goal that motivates his/her subjects in the company. In the above context, it is important to have an understanding of the goal difficulty and performance of the company by a leader. Hence, a positive linear relationship between expectancy of success and performance level is necessary to avoid conflicts predictions that arise from proposed solutions. However, in the above context, the author quotes Bandura (1982) who introduced the concept of self-efficacy that demands the judgment of a leader about his/her capability to execute courses of action required. In the above context, the judgment also relates the activities to the future course of action as goal setting is present and achieving is future. Hence, a leader in the case of goal setting and in the course of achieving needs to keep in view, the positive relationship between performance and expectancy. If that relation is missing, either the expectancies of the leader or the performance of the staff need review according to the goal-setting. The goal-setting of a leader should energize the performance so that they motivate the people and direct the attention of the people to relevant behaviors. Hence, goal setting is an important aspect of a leader while considering the activities and execution of goal achieving. Hence, the instructions should be directional as well as motivational in nature that can increase the performance of the staff. The goals set by the leader should reflect self-efficacy so that the individuals working on them should feel the same sense of self-satisfaction as the leader who set the goals (John B, 2006, pp. 179-180).
Interpersonal relationships are important for team performance and are significant in getting good results from it. A leader should keep in view interpersonal communication while building a team or setting goals. According to Goldsmith, Marshall (2002, Pp. 94), the insight, wisdom and versatility of a leader are important to build a team that can have interpersonal communications, which can help in achieving the goals set by the management. The above aspects can balance the multiple elements of leadership and organization with the personal style of the CEO as it cannot be taught in training. The personal leadership styles of leaders in an organization decide the direction of interpersonal communication between employees and thus affect the overall leadership approach. In this context, Goldsmith (2002, pages 94-95) quotes Andrew Sigler, CEO of Champion International who is famous for his team performance. The important aspect in his personal style as CEO is to take all the key decisions that affect the performance of the company and to reduce the burden on the employees and his juniors. Hence, the formal structure of a team is important as it clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the team members. After that, the formal processes play an important role as they create an action that flows across the formal structures and move information as well as services. Hence, formal processes are as important as a formal structure for good interpersonal communications. In addition to that informal networks that provide critical connections to supplement formal structures and processes are necessary as no formal construct of the organization (structure and process) works without an effective informal construct. The informal networks and flexible units are the organizational elements that enable any formal structure or process configuration to adapt to rapidly changing marketplace dynamics. The next step is to have flexible working groups and real teams as well as single-leader units who directly report to the leader, which decides the interpersonal communication (Goldsmith, Marshall, 2002, pages 94-95).
Essential Character Traits
As per the aspects considered till now, it is important to have essential character traits that affect the team performance by directing it to have efficient interpersonal communication. In this context, it is important to have an understanding of the essence of leadership that directs the character of a leader. According to Dean Elmuti, William Minnis and Michael Abebe (2005, page 1019), leadership is an interaction between members of a group and leaders are agents of change. As a result, leaders are the persons who affect the other acts of team members and should be able to motivate them as well as increasing their competencies. Hence, in the above process leader and followers have reciprocal influence and the former also have to learn from the latter for expressing important character traits that are a significant role in motivating the team members. In addition to that Dean Elmuti, et al. (2005, page 1020), state that the character of an effective leader in today’s competitive and dynamic environment is being influenced by the success and failure of an organization. Hence, the character of a leader should express vision, honesty, energy, commitment, integrity, internal locus of control and a passion for continuous improvement. Moreover, in the increased competition in the era of globalization, the trait theory identifies motivation, personality as well as the ability for a leader. However, the last one; ability is deciding the ways and means of leaders as CEOs of the companies are not bothering about the character in their actions (Dean Elmuti et al. 2005, page 1019-1020)
Ethics in Character of a Leader
The ethics in leadership emerges from the leader of honorable character. The honorable character arises from the work style of a leader who involves in all the matters of excellence and does not command excellence but will build it to achieve the goals. In the above context, the social dimension of human beings comes to the fore. According to Mendonca, Manuel (2006, page 14), a basic feature of an organization has to be set with shared beliefs and values, which are decided by the leader. Hence it is not ethical for a leader to treat an organization or the customer base of the company as a random assembly of people, albeit there is a common purpose between them and the company. Consequently, he/she has the responsibility of building a structure for the organization and if it exists, the assigning of different tasks, roles and status levels is important to build excellence that results in the sustainability of growth as maintenance of ethics attracts a customer base that lasts long. As the leaders have to provide direction, exercise control it is important for them to be ideal as their behavior reflects in their team as well as in their followers. Hence, the character of a leader and the presence of ethical behavior in it are crucial in moving followers towards the realization of vision and goal through excellence in performance. Hence, in the absence of ethics in the leader, the organization is like a rudderless ship and may face a turbulent environment frequently (Mendonca, Manuel, 2006, page 14-15).
According to me, ethics are important for a leader who maintains the character and develops interpersonal relationships on the basis of his/her behavior with the team members or with the employees of the organization. Regarding me, being a leader of a team used to transfer my learning to the team members with conversation and interpersonal communication rather than formal communication. Though there are college-based programs for leadership, the development of it in me is a result of the broader spectrum of learning activities with facilitators and lead participants while working in a team. I feel that self-awareness, changing attitudes, building teams and improving interpersonal interactions are important for a leader and I lack the attitude of changing attitude. Hence, I normally choose a person in my team to do that if necessity demands the change in attitude and that person has to prepare the ground for the team and me to change the attitude if necessary according to ethics we follow in the course of our activities to achieve the goal. One important ethical principle we follow is that we do not take the customer base for granted and try to be loyal to them while demanding loyalty for our brand or organization. The loyalty the organization gives to the customers had to reflect in the product quality as well as the services offered to them. The above aspect requires the constant development of competencies that are instrumental in innovating the products as well as services and introducing the new products (Veronica & Collins, 2005, Page 975-978).
In terms of leadership qualities, I admire Indra Nooyi of Pepsi Co. who led her company to penetrate into a larger customer base by introducing a product in different ways and various products as well. The important trait in her character I observed is that to woo the customers in a benevolent way even in the period the customers are curtaining their spending. She concentrated on introducing the lower-priced drinks for athletes, who drink them regularly so that the product can be sold more frequently and in this case, she satisfied the needs of the customer as well as the company. In 2009 she answered a question in the company’s in-house conference that the organization has to look at the marketplace for next year to know about the category to start with. She responded that while talking about marketing the products of Pepsi Co, it is necessary to for the company to have an outlook for the whole beverage business so that one can make their decisions functional by identifying the cohort group. Her thinking regarding the brand ‘Gatorade’ is taking it to the core athlete as well as sustaining it in long term. In this context, the ethical behavior of a leader is reflected as she is concerned about both the company’s profits as well as athletes’ needs (Business Week, 2009, Paragraphs 1, 2, 3).
Apart from ethics, the important aspect in Indra Nooyi is to identify the Achilles heels of the organization. According to Hays, Constance (2004, page 206), she supported the plan to spin-off restaurant chains as a separate publicly-traded company so that the competition for Pepsi Co as a bottling company cannot be a weakness for the organization. Moreover, she is able to understand the strategies of competitor Coca-Cola and let her company fight and win legal battles over it. Hence, the above facts establish Indra Nooyi as a leader of all-around capabilities including ethics and legal efficiency (Hays, Constance, 2004, page 206-207).
Hence, one can understand that a leader like Indra Nooyi, who has ethics, legal views as well as good marketing capability and product innovative techniques, can be an ideal CEO in the competitive world of corporate scams.
Miner, John B. (2006). Organizational Behavior 1: Essential Theories of Motivation and Leadership. Armonk, NY, USA: M.E. Sharpe, Inc.
Goldsmith, Marshall. (2002). Partnering: The New Face of Leadership. New York, NY, USA: AMACOM.
Dean, Elmuti., William, Minnis & Michael, Abebe. (2005). Does Education Developing have a Role Leadership Skills?. Management Decision. Vol. 43 No. 7/8. Pp. 1018-1020. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Mendonca, Manuel. (2006). Ethical Leadership. Buckingham, , GBR: Open University Press.
Veronica, Burke., David, Collins. (2005). Optimizing the Effect of Leadership Development Programs. Management Decision. Vol 43 No7/8. Page 975-978. Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Business Week. (2009). On the Call: Pepsi Co CEO Indra Nooyi. Web.
Hays, Constance. (2004). Real Thing : Truth and Power at the Coca-Cola Company. Westminster, MD, USA: Random House, Incorporated.