Great leadership is one which has a positive impact on the lives of those governed. In this context, Park Guen-Hye initially launched her presidency with great expectation from the people. This is so-called transformational leadership where leadership gives vision and long-term goals to follow. However, Park's actual practice of politics focused on gaining power. This made it obvious for me to analyze Park's leadership yet left me with large ambiguity on the purpose of Park's behaviors.
Due to the influencing peddling, decision making and information environment gave me difficulty in analyzing Park's leadership. Park relied heavily on her inner circle advisory. This allowed Park to have centralized decision-making style as Park can consistently engage in policy making using a small group of counsels. In terms of analysis, due to Park's discrete information gathering process, there was great lack of data in assessing how Park reach to her decision through which information.
The most useful assessment categories with regard to Park was her motivation and decision-making style. Throughout her presidency, Park demonstrated numerous "sticks and carrots" for those who support Park and those who challenge her. This obvious practice of power also led to her rigid low-integrated decision-making style.
Starting with the motivation assessment, Park Geun-Hye has demonstrated clearly how a leader can keep those who are under motivated to continue supporting her. She pays close attention in rewarding loyalty for her closely advisory councils in order to strengthen her political position. When Woo Byung-woo, the senior secretary for civil Affairs of South Korea is questioned in suspicion for inside stock trading, Park comes in and expresses her interest in protecting Woo from judiciary responsibility. She retains him in the position he was holding and later she gives a speech that in which she reiterates Woo's innocence. (The Dong -A Ilbo 1)When one is leading any group of people, he or she needs their support to remain in the position he/she holds. However, in Park's case, it brings some ambiguity as most of her activities aimed at keeping her advisors and close associates motivated do not in any way benefit the Korean people.
Park's perspective on motivation is also shown as she decides to reward the loyalty of close associates. She pays concentrates on creating an inner circle of advisors in order to establish a hierarchical atmosphere within the administration. At the start of her presidency, Park appoints Johnny Yun to head the Tourism Organization, knowing very well that Johnny had no experience tourism industry (William 22). She wanted to reward him for assisting her in the presidential election. However, the methods used to motivate her confidants is baffling.
The decision-making style was also one of the most important factors used to assess Park's leadership. Her decision making is mainly guided by her personal experience. This is shown when Kim tries to discuss national issues without the president's recognition. The teaming up of a group of people with a common resolve is very important for the sake of ensuring the kinds of decisions made are sustainable (William 22). Park is such a person who wants to involve the least number of people in the decision-making process. Decision-making process is, however, a complex issue, Therefore, it's important for all stake holders to be involved in the decision making process.
Park is also highly reliant on principles and personal experience in her decision-making process. During her presidential election, she constantly emphasizes on a conservative approach in dealing with North Korea, despite many Koreans being against it. On her speech on veteran's day, she conveyed a message that her administration to hold talks with North Korea, if and only if only the North Korea shows progress in reducing tension in the Korean peninsula(Edward 56). She also pushes on reuniting the separate families between North and South Korea. Park also showed centralized decision-making style in November 2017 when the peddling revealed. In December 2017, while addressing the public argued that she did not pursue a personal interest in influencing the peddling scandal. She was unwilling to step down under any circumstances. The decision making processes adopted by Park was not only confusing but also lacking in conviction.
However, there are some elements in the analysis of the data that were ambiguous in the determination of the final assessment. One of these elements is in the information environment. A particular element, in this case, is the issue of gatekeepers. Parks model of leadership is not so much on keeping a touch on her perceived political enemies. This appears an ambiguous determination that is mainly argued out using Park's character of preferring to trust only a few people. This should not be mistaken to mean that she keeps a close watch on her political detractors. For instance, some of the arguments presented to support this idea are that she kept the national assembly out of a deal to bring in a Terminal High Altitude defense from the United States (William 23). Analyzing this incidence, it is important to note that the national assembly of South Kore consisted of members from Park's Party and even the opposition parties. By passing the parliament in making decisions is therefore not a playing "gatekeeping" politics. In the real sense, only the top military officials were aware of this decision. Even members of the national assembly from her party were not aware, vindicating her from any allegation of gatekeeping. In many other countries, not just in North Korea, sensitive executive decisions are made in secrecy, a good example being the United States which is the oldest democracy in the world. Therefore, determination of Park's leadership is not only ambiguous but also unsupported by evidence.
Also, the use of the term "indecisive" to define former President Park can be ambiguous. Edward argues that there is no leader who is indecisive, regardless the manner in which the decisions they make are wrong (24).Therefore, making a wrong decision does not mean that one is indecisive. In fact, circumstances would force one to make an inappropriate decision, which may be corrected at a later date. However how smart a decision may be, there are always unforeseen circumstances. A decision is termed to have been done decisively if it yields positive results. A good example is her decision on how South Korea was to deal with a resurgent nuclear-armed North Korea. Her conservative approach was considered a show of indecisiveness on her part as the president of South Korea. However, one critical element which people may forget is that the success in easing the tensions in South Korea was not a hypothetical issue and hence any decision on the issues that affect the two nations can only be gauged as a success or failure depending on the results of such a decision. For instance, is Park's conservative approach had succeeded in bringing everlasting peace in the Korean peninsula, then many people would have declared President Park a peace Laureate and an icon representing International peace? Using the word indecisive would make it sound that Park never made any useful decision that impacted the South Korean's people positively. In contrast, Park's presidency contributed immensely to the economic advancement of the Republic of South Korea. Furthermore, making decisions based on personal experience does not necessarily amount to indecisiveness.
The factors chosen for assessment were identified by analyzing the strengths with regard to the character of President Perk. An example to this is the tendency of Perk to trust a few advisors as the expense of the conventional inclusive processes of decision making. She has a tendency to make decisions by consulting only a few trusted advisors and confidants, something which is evident in most of her decisions. Park is also seen as a leader who rends promptly to issues of concern, bar a few incidences where she fails as a leader in action. For example, she remains uninformed on the sinking of the sewon ferry three hours into the time the disaster happened. However, most instances, she displays timely response when necessary. For example, the way she hastily organizes for a meeting to address an emerging issue of micro dust air pollution. This portrays her as a fast problem solver, but what fails her is the kind of solutions she comes up with. Her legacy is marked by political and economic blunders which have cost the South Korean people greatly. Generally, Park is a leader who can hardly accommodate opposing ideas, trusts a few people and hardly communicates with junior staff. Her complexities in leadership lead to her impeachment and subsequent imprisonment for graft-related charges.
In conclusion, Park represents a principled leader, committed to the rule of law despite the criticism she has faced. However, what fails her is lack of astute decision making on the issues that faced the Korea people. Her tendency to focus on technocrats for her advisory committees rather than diversification exposes her to the motives of power brokers who ultimately cost her a political career. She paid the ultimate price by her conviction and imprisonment on the basis of a multiple graft and conflict of interest allegations. However, it is salient to highlight the successes she achieved during her time in power. Park's failures do not completely erode the good deeds she has accomplished as the president of the South Korea.
Aronson, Edward. "Integrating Leadership Styles and Ethical Perspectives." Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences/Revue Canadienne des Sciences de l'Administration 18.4 (2001): 244-256.
Leban, William, and Carol Zulauf. "Linking Emotional Intelligence Abilities and Transformational Leadership Styles." Leadership & Organization Development Journal25.7 (2004): 554-564.
The Dong -A Ilbo.Note-Taking and Srvival in the Korean Society (2017). Accessed from: http://english.donga.com/Home/3/all/26/837291/1
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