Leadership in Contemporary Reflective Diary Essay Example

  • Category:
  • Document type:
  • Level:
  • Page:
  • Words:


Reflective Diary

Reflective Diary

Moral Leadership

Dr. Heba Batainah gave a presentation on ‘Moral Leadership.’ This was an important topic to me especially in the current work environments it is common to encounter leaders who are not moral or are unethical. There were various issues which were addressed in the presentation which was centralized in leadership and followership. The presentation highlighted some of the characteristics of ethical and unethical leaders, guidelines on the way one can be a moral leader, as well as some good leadership styles. Also, the presentation shed light on followership; precisely the roles of followers, what they need, building a followers’ community, and the sources of power of these followers.

In this presentation, two critical theories were used in describing the aspects of moral leadership and followership. Regarding leadership, the ‘Kohlberg’s stages of moral development’ were used to identify the levels that are entailed in the personal development. This theory was critical to the presentation as it explained the aspects that underlie moral reasoning regarding ethical behavior and how to handle it when faced with ethical dilemmas (Avolio and Gardner, 2005). Ethical dilemmas are very common in the workplace and in our everyday life we are also usually faced with some moral dilemmas. How we handle these dilemmas and the way we act when we interact with others is what defines whether or not one is moral and ethical. However, I would like to explore further on whether or not moral judgment does match the moral behavior. Despite the theory suggesting that the way people think and act are linked, the theory fails to explain the correspondence that exists between the acting and thinking (Whetstone, 2002).

The presentation also highlighted some aspects of five followership styles which include the alienated, conformist, pragmatic survivor, passive, and effective followers. Out of these five styles, in my view, being an active follower is the best style as one knows what they want, what their rights are, can distinguish right from wrong, and are very ethical. There is so much satisfaction that is derived from being an active follower as opposed to the other followership styles (Whetstone, 2002).

Application of these theories into practice has always been a problem. It’s hard to implement these theories without the proper guidance, mechanisms, and techniques, which are rarely discussed. Research has concentrated a lot on the theories themselves as compared to the way they have focused on the ways that they can be implemented or applied in given settings (Avolio and Gardner, 2005). From this presentation, I have broadened my understanding regarding the aspects of followership. Before this presentation, I did not know much about the followership styles, how to build a community of followers, and the ways followers could influence their leaders. This is important because after all, there are more followers than leaders.

Leading Teams

Dr. Heba Batainah gave a presentation on ‘Leading Teams’ following the fact that teamwork is a necessity in any workplace. Very little can be achieved where there is the lack of cooperation as compared where there is teamwork. The formation of effective teams is critical to organizational success and productivity (Hackman, 2004). Following this, many organizations have invested a substantial amount of resources towards team-building to ensure the sustainability of these teams in the workplace. As much as teams are essential, there are they also have some disadvantages, but it is evident that their benefits outweigh these drawbacks. Since teams do not develop by chance, there are some stages of team development that have been highlighted which every team needs to have undergone at one point in time (Hackman, 2004).

Personally, I have been a part of a team which I thought would be effective but was not primarily because the common goal drove not every team member and we also lacked effective leadership. Team leadership is paramount in team effectiveness as it significantly determines their productivity and the levels at which they achieve their goals. Therefore, the team leaders of these active teams need to define the team goals accurately as well as promote the shared mission to maintain the focus of the teams (Schuh, Zhang, and Tian, 2013).

There is a practical framework that has been explained which is intended to oversee that there is team improvement. It is important to note that it is not a must that a team may stick together all through the working years in an organization. As new objectives and problems come up, these teams may be reshuffled to deal with these issues at hand (Hackman, 2004). Despite that, I think that the framework is flexible and can be adjusted to suit any team. Conflicts are inevitable when working in a team, and more so, during the first stages of team development. The styles of handling conflicts have been discussed. In my view, collaborating is the best way of solving team conflicts because even if it is time-consuming and requires more people in handling it, it will resolve the conflicts in a comprehensive and satisfactory manner and cover the loopholes for a potential repeat of the conflicts (Hackman, 2004).

From this presentation, I have a much broader understanding of the specific details which may either build or break a team and what entails team effectiveness especially since I have ever been a part of a team that was not effective. It has, therefore, been a learning experience of how to enhance the productivity and effectiveness of my team in the future.

Power and Leadership

Dr. Heba Batainah also gave a presentation on ‘Power and Leadership.’ In doing this, organizations have been compared to political systems where the leaders adopt various approaches to leadership. The frames of reference have been discussed which is the way these leaders perceive the world (Lunenburg, 2012). There are four frames of reference which include structural, human resource, political, and symbolic. From these four, the human resource frames of reference are most appealing as its primary focus is on the people, providing them with the necessary support, and empowerment. Human resources are critical in the organizational success because their productivity is central to organizational performance (Lunenburg, 2012). They are the ones who are required to oversee the fulfillment of the organizational goals and mission. This renders the human resources frames of reference most important amongst the four.

The presentation has shed light on the power sources in an organization and the types of powers that leaders have. It is essential for leaders to identify the powers that they need to have because the kind of power will impact the way their followers will act towards them as well as being motivated towards achieving the goals of an organization (Lunenburg, 2012). Aside from being powerful, a leader also needs to be influential. If a leader is not influential, then their followers will tend to lack the trust and respect for them as there would be no clear distinction between the leaders and the followers (Lunenburg, 2012). Some tactics of asserting these leader influence have been given, and in my view, this assertion needs to be positive rather than being too ‘bully’ and ‘bossy’ just to show the followers that the leader has the power.

The followers react or respond to the use of power in various ways ranging from compliance, resistance, and commitment. Commitment is the best response to power as the follower will tend to undertake the instructions of their leaders in an enthusiastic manner and dedicate themselves in implementing these instructions. That is why many organizations need to strive to ensure that their followers are committed and passionate about the organizational goals and mission because, in this way, they will derive satisfaction in carrying out the activities which will oversee the achievement of these aims (Lunenburg, 2012).

From this presentation, I have gained another perspective of the effects that power and influence have on the followers and the organizational performance. Also, I have learned that leadership is not always something easy, and being able to command authority because it may work against them. Therefore, it is essential for the leaders to evaluate what works and what does not work for them and their followers as they exercise power over them.

Adaptive Leadership

James Kavanagh gave a presentation on the importance of adaptation in leadership. There are many instances where organizations are faced with the crisis where they are required to handle it in a particular manner. Two phases are encountered when handling these organizational crises which include the acute and the adaptive phases. When a company encounter undergoes an unexpected event, their primary goal becomes to be able to survive the situation through stabilizing the situation and moving on from it in a productive manner (Yukl and Mahsud, 2010). The business world has become very competitive, and it is the aim of every company to try and match this competition to stand out. As any business attempts to match these changing business environments, they are prone to encounter some situations which may pose some levels of risks to them which is what requires their leadership team to exercise adaptive leadership (Hartley, 2004).

When experiencing these organizational crises, many a time the companies mistake the adaptive for the technical challenges which mean they get addressed as technical problems, yet they are adaptive problems. Doing this poses significant risks in the productivity of the company and the long-term impact of the problem to the enterprise. Therefore, it is imperative for leaders, especially those who lead the very complex business in highly competitive environments to have an adaptive mindset in the time of organizational crises (Yukl and Mahsud, 2010). Some of the qualities that an adaptive leader need to possess have been highlighted in the presentation.

Another important issue is the importance of differentiating leadership from authority and influence from the hierarchy. This will help significantly when it comes to taking the steps that are included in the adaptation cycle. This is because it will help people to understand the roles and responsibilities that they have in the cycle and in the end, they will emerge stronger and wiser in the face of these challenges (Yukl and Mahsud, 2010).

I have had a broad understanding of the importance of differentiating leadership and authority as well as influence and hierarchy. Doing this enables proper allocation of roles and responsibilities which are crucial in the adaptation cycle. Additionally, my perspective of adaptability has been broadened especially in the face of significant technological changes and advancements which result in causing massive instabilities within an organization. Consequently, this will cause the leadership team to have an adaptive mindset to handle such fluctuations.

Leadership and Management

Professor Peter Leahy presented this topic. Just like the previous presentations, it is emphasized that leaders not be influential and have the ability to steer their followers towards the right direction. Leadership is more of one’s personality as is their state of mind like management is. The managers tend to follow a stipulated guideline or routine while leaders strive to be practical in their ways of leading people to achieve the intended goals and vision. Leadership is about action while management is more of planning than execution which makes the leaders be a necessity in any company (Srivastava, Bartol, and Locke, 2006). Some of the qualities that make a good leader have been identified. It is my opinion that although it is not a must that all the leaders possess all of these qualities, it is critical for them to have most of the qualities.

In the same light, there are some stipulated values that leaders need to have and follow as they act as guidelines for the way they need to lead their followers. In most cases, many organizations usually have the core values that they uphold which seek to distinguish them from its competitors in their particular industries (Srivastava, Bartol, and Locke, 2006). These are the values which support and shape the leaders in the given organization. Their personal goals, mission, and vision are usually shaped and determined by those of the entire organization (Srivastava, Bartol, and Locke, 2006).

I have learned from this presentation that confidence plays a significant role in effective leadership. I have also understood that it is not mandatory for leaders always to be right; they can also make mistakes but what is important is that they learn from these errors. My perspective of the difference between management and leadership has been broadened, and in my view, they complement each other.


Avolio, B.J. and Gardner, W.L 2005. Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The leadership quarterly, 16(3), pp.315-338.

Hackman, J.R 2004. Leading teams. Team Performance Management: An International Journal, 10(3/4), pp.84-88.

Hartley*, D 2004. Management, leadership and the emotional order of the school. Journal of education policy, 19(5), pp.583-594.

Lunenburg, F.C 2012. Power and leadership: an influence process. International journal of management, business, and administration, 15(1), pp.1-9.

Schuh, S.C., Zhang, X.A. and Tian, P 2013. For the good or the bad? Interactive effects of transformational leadership with moral and authoritarian leadership behaviors. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(3), pp.629-640.

Srivastava, A., Bartol, K.M and Locke, E.A 2006. Empowering leadership in management teams: Effects on knowledge sharing, efficacy, and performance. Academy of management journal, 49(6), pp.1239-1251.

Whetstone, J.T 2002. Personalism and moral leadership: The servant leader with a transforming vision. Business Ethics: A European Review, 11(4), pp.385-392.

Yukl, G and Mahsud, R 2010. Why flexible and adaptive leadership is essential. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 62(2), p.81-83.