Leadership is of great interest me to especially as top management within organizations are tasked with undertaking major corporate decisions, strategic planning and the management of operations and resources. Moreover, as leaders of fortune 500 companies usually earn millions in dollars, their leadership skills and authenticity drew me to the book to understand the unique leadership qualities that successful leaders have. Also, I choose the book to realize whether CEOs earnings are justified, especially as the job title calls for individual personality, competency and leadership traits that name for years of experience in corporate affairs, ingenuity, team leadership, and innovativeness.
Nonetheless, only a few people meet the job requirement required to produce a strongly performing company, and this justifies the pay for the final set of skills possessed by CEOs. Moreover, 20% of CEOs pay is the basic salary, and the rest are incentives and allowances. Incentivizing CEOs not only serves as a morale booster but also reflects their hard work and they earn part of their pay from stock options. In the case of poor market performance, they make little; they are paid based on their performance.
Having read about the author, a Professor of Organisational Behaviour, I was interested to gain insight on her take on leadership, and the authenticity and leadership tags guided me in the readings. As an experienced researcher in organizations as a group of people working together to achieve a common goal, insight from the author would help in elaborating on interpersonal dynamics in a business and the effectiveness of leadership styles.
The first Chapter on the book focuses on the Outsight principle and elaborates how to think and act like a leader. According to Ibarra, (2015), the outsights principle entails going outside the norm and gaining an external point of view through feedback provision and experimentations. The shift from the model also provides new ideas and breaks the monopoly of being confined to a healthy environment. Seeking an external perspective is paramount for a leader as it allows for him or her an honest opinion on the efficacy of leadership approaches unlike within an organization where subordinates may feat to point out deficiencies which when solved result on organizational performance.
The second chapter elaborates in the redefinition of the job and begins with change, the author questions the efficacy of managers and other professionals in the change management process and many are ineffective. Resistance to change, the attempt to use overt or covert means to maintain status quo emerges as a significant point of concern as several managers admitted to leaving much to be desired after forcing change. Need for change arises as a result of the rapidly evolving business landscape that calls for dynamic organizations that are flexible enough to cope with the change process. Also, the chapter focuses on strategic approaches to jobs and Ibarra, (2015) defines strategy as being informed on among other things; reasons to get things done, why to do so and how to get the job done. Also, the chapter focuses on the application of the outsight principle in the change process as it provides guidance on prioritization on non-routine activities, and widens the scope of knowledge to act strategically.
The third chapter focuses on networking and defines it as a tool for gaining insight and identifying strategic opportunities. Emphasis is on positive human relations especially as human beings are social persons whose thinking, behaviours rely on the actual, implied or imagined the presence of others. Positively reinforcing ties are crucial to business and having good connections fosters creativity, innovation and gets things done. Networking is also essential for career progression; establishing relationships to other equally intelligent and powerful individuals puts one on the radar for career promotion. Moreover, through personal affiliations, there is ease in exchange of ideas thoughts and information irrespective of its nature (administrative, clinical or evidence-based) is critical for maintaining the current knowledge that is necessary to be a success in an individual's career.
The fourth chapter focuses on being more playful with yourself. Ibarra, (2015) expounds on the unwavering nature and personal commitment to remain true to self and avoidances of situations that induce fakeness. The first expression on the person is a key motivator. Nonetheless, it is a cause of concern. The chapter expounds further on authenticity as a challenge to effective leadership; it breeds a micromanagement approach that undermines the competency of employees. Moreover, the authentic self causes resistance to change; however, it is crucial in self-improvement. Therefore, leaders are subjected to a tough balancing act.
The fifth chapter is on the management of the stepping -up the process and provides a closer look at the change process. Moreover, it builds upon the previous three chapters to improve governance and leadership by overcoming the authenticity trap. It also elaborates on the turning point; some conversion experienced in an individual's life. The last chapter is on acting, and this involves a change in mindset.
Effects of the Book
By elaborating on the need to avoid micromanagement and the authentic self the author stirs debate on how to distinguish micro-management from being action oriented. Members of professional institutions and business organizations and their leaders should be willing to take practical approaches to deal with problems and situation within the organization. Nonetheless, the emphasis is usually on the leaders who need to have a strong sense of immediacy and the ability to focus on tasks in hand to fruition. Furthermore, action-oriented leaders clarify and strengthen their leadership styles to make ethical decisions that impact measurable results, and implement strategic and successive plans to move organizations forward. Also, action-oriented leaders motivate individuals and teams to increase their engagements into action and to develop a deeper understanding and more significant commitment to their causes. Furthermore, action-oriented leaders appreciate the need for teamwork, collaborative conversations, hands-on approaches for doing things and the importance of engagement and experience in learning processes and testing of new ideas. However, in being action-oriented leaders should not micro-manage others as this amounts to belittlement which affects organizational performance.
Applications of the Book
Change is an ongoing process in any organization and leaders should quickly adapt to change. In this regard, the book provides insights into the change management process and the role of the leader. Leaders should highly be committed to their cause and are supposed to be committed to continuous improvement. Dedication calls for a display of empathy among committed leaders who respect all individuals and their roles within organizations. Moreover, as change agents, they play an instrumental role in shaping the success of the organization. Change agents are visionary individuals who are not only able to envision the future but are also ardent communicators who can exchange their thoughts with others. Moreover, they are observant individuals who can identify trends that challenge the status quo and can establish a sense of urgency to be able to react to the changes. Also, change agents are persistent as individuals who remain true to their course in spite of opposition.
By overcoming the authentic self, leaders can influence the success of a change initiative by affecting the organizational context in which change occurs, in this regard, they align internal regulatory processes, policies, and strategies with the demands of change. The process involves initiating the willingness to pursue reform, employing a well trained and sufficiently motivated workforce and sustaining top talent in the organization. By failing to win the hearts and minds of subjects, change agents reinforce the inherent resistance of human beings to change as a result of the fear of the repercussions or the willingness to maintain the status quo. In such a case the change agent is highly likely to influence the failure of the change initiative.
Networking in the change process is equally important as connections are a prerequisite for business development and by interacting with right-minded individuals with the right context, a leader can effectively drive the change initiative. For instance, interactions allow for insights on best practices to counter the opposition that arises as a result of perceived unfairness of the change, and it entails disruptive behaviour to the change process. Moreover, factors such as involvement in the change process, personnel position level, the magnitude of change and the expected speed of implementation to change affect the change process. However, high levels of involvement in the change process result in lower resistance, and small to medium scope changes experience lower resistance. It is clear that the success of change lies in organizational leadership as top leaders are tasked with making change decisions and seeing the change process to fruition . In this regard, I would recommend the book to a colleague as a source of best practices in the change process.
Inspiration to Continue To Read for Professional Development
Indeed, the book has been a source of inspiration to continue reading for professional development, and I would like to learn about the implications of leadership styles on organizational performance and the role of motivation in influencing positive behaviour. Also, the book is going to be a point of reference and source of information on the best approaches to leadership.
Ibarra, H. (2015). Act like a leader, think like a leader. Boston, Massachusetts: Harvard Business Review Press.
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