History is full of examples of great leaders all over the world. Each leader knows how to lead people, make them believe him/her, get what he/she wants. Each leader has his/her own leadership style and strategies, possesses peculiar traits of character, and makes people remember their uniqueness. As a rule, great leaders do not leave people indifferent, and they serve as a model for new generations of young leaders.
I admire Colin Powell. Military officer, diplomat, and statesman impresses people by his ability to be a great leader. His leadership style is determined by several factors. First of all, he possesses traits of character which are peculiar to every leader. According to Colin Powell, “A successful leader is somebody who has the ability to inspire followers” (Belmont University, 2012). It is evident that he managed to inspire his followers by trustworthy. One more trait of character, which strengthens people’s trust in Colin Powell, is his enthusiasm. It is evident that if a person is enthusiastic about what he/she does, he/she will make people believe that what is done is done in a right way. What also characterizes Colin Powell as a great leader is that he has his own point of view. Thus, being an experienced military man, he did not agree with George Bush concerning the question of the war against Iraq for some time. One more feature of Colin Powell, which makes him be an example for a number of people, is his ability to speak in public. According to one of his interviews, it is significant for a leader to “show confidence and always understand who your audience is” (Weissman, 2013). Colin Powell’s belief concerning one of the important things for a leader was expressed by him in one of his interviews, “The purpose of a leader is to empower followers to get the job done. You do that by investing in your troops, by making sure that you’re providing them with the skills, tools and equipment to get the job done. Only then will they see that you believe in them” (Jonhs Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2007). Basing on this belief of Colin Powell one can make a conclusion that his leadership style is an example of path-goal theory. As this theory supposes motivation of workers with the help of leader’s explanations of how to achieve the goal, and provision of necessary resources for goal achievement. It is evident that Colin Powell’s words prove his attitude to this theory. However, one more his quotation confirms that he uses situational leadership theory in his practice, “The situation dictates which approach best accomplishes the team’s mission” (Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership, 2012).
My leadership style is participative leadership. I possess dominance behavior style, and it means that I am driving by two needs that are the needs to achieve and control. The best way for me to feel comfortable as a leader is to be in charge of people and situation. The tendencies, which describe me as a leader, are the following:
- Accepting challenges, taking authority, solving problems
- Disliking being told what to do, or when or how to do something
- Being reluctant to change what I think or how I feel
- Avoiding task delegation
- Acting competitively not only when pushing myself to new levels, but in daily life as well
- Making sure that tasks are completed on schedule
- Becoming quick-thinking, focused, and orientable while being under pressure
I am a task-oriented person. According to the LPC contingency model, I can be described as a low LPC leader. On the one hand, it is good because all my efforts are directed to goal achievement. On the other hand, not all people can be satisfied with a leader who considers task performance more important than interpersonal relationships.
How I Improve My Leadership
- Allowing others to do things without untimely or excessive interference
- Modifying the tendency to give orders to others
- Giving some authority along with the responsibility when delegating
- Enlisting others' input through collaborative and participative actions
- Praising people for jobs well done
- Participating in the group without intending always to be in command
- Keeping the relationship businesslike
- Using facts instead of feelings if you disagree
- Getting to the point quickly
- Being well organized and precise
- Giving others credit when they deserve it
- Stressing competitive growth opportunities and results
- Supporting goals and objectives of other people
- Letting colleagues and employees know that you realize it is only natural that you and others will make mistakes
- Providing alternative actions with brief supporting analysis
Having analyzed leadership styles and traits of character of Colin Powell and myself, I can conclude that every leader has his own peculiarities, aims, and ways of influencing people. As it is evident from analysis, one leader can refer to several leadership theories at once. In my opinion, it is useful to be able to use different approaches and tactics in order to achieve goals. In conclusion, I would like to emphasize the greatness of Colin Powell as a leader and confirm that it is important for young leaders to follow examples of the admired ones and make everything possible in order to become a great leader.
- Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership. (2012). 18 lessons from a very successful American leader. Retrieved from http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/appel/knowledge/forums/259.html
- Belmont University. (2012). Gen. Colin Powell shares qualities of effective leadership through anecdotes. Retrieved from http://forum.belmont.edu/news/2012/05/31/gen-colin-powell-shares-qualities-of-effective-leadership-through-anecdotes/
- John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. (2007). Soldier and statesman: Colin Powell on leadership. Retrieved from http://www.jhsph.edu/news/stories/2007/colin-powell-leadership.html
- Weissman, J. (2013). In the line of fire: How to handle tough questions when it counts. Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press.
- Yukl, G. (2012). Leadership in organizations. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.