Leadership is vital in the operations of all organizations. It enables firms to create a vision, communicate it to the followers, and ultimately achieve the set goals. Leaders need to possess certain skills that enable them to influence their followers and thus motivate them to achieve the desired results and hence add value to the organization. Leaders need to create teams that they can work with properly and effectively. As an accountant and IT manager with three years' experience, there are many leadership traits that I have had to employ to ensure that I improve and maximize productivity. I have also had to work with different people to add value to the organization. There are also various ethical principles that govern my operations and those of other IT professionals. This paper contains the leadership traits that I have incorporated as an IT manager and accountant, the way I have worked with my team members to bring organizational change, and how emerging scenarios are creating a need for more developed leadership skills.
Chapter 1: Leadership Theories and Traits
The resources provided in this week have greatly aided in improving my leadership abilities. First, I have learnt that it is vital for one to have a vision. This vision should be based on the company's objectives, and it should be simple and straightforward. Once the vision is well defined, there is a need to build a team that will aid in turning the vision into reality. The team should be composed of people who are highly talented in terms of technical and interpersonal skills.
In case the company already has existing employees, it is vital for the manager to conduct a background check on them to identify their strengths and weaknesses (Chuang, 2013). The importance of this process is that it will enable the manager to capitalize on their strengths and hence make them more productive in their duties. Additionally, identification of their weaknesses will allow the manager to carry out training and development activities that will aid in improving their skills. It is vital for the IT department to generate value for the company. This will happen by ensuring that all activities are carried out efficiently which will occur due to the presence of highly talented and capable employees (Muller, 2011).
As an IT manager, I also learnt that it is vital to have a proper understanding of all factors that could influence business operations. These include both internal and external factors. This is a critical step because it will ensure that the company is well prepared in case these occurrences take place. To ensure that the vision is well prepared, these factors must be taken into account (Zaccaro, 2007). Hence the vision will ensure that the firm has maximum productivity and it will also make sure that the company is well aware of all its risk factors which will enable it to put measures in place that will mitigate risk (Muller, 2011).
Other leadership traits that I found to be vital in my role as an accountant and an IT manager include people management skills, problems solving skills, emotional intelligence, and proper communication skills. I learnt that I need to improve significantly on my communication skills to ensure that the messages I deliver to my team are effective. Incidentally, when stating their roles, I need to show them how they will benefit from the implementation of specific actions in the long run. Being aware of the personal benefits that they will enjoy will inspire them and keep them motivated to continue providing high-quality work.
To ensure that I keep being productive I will see to it that my team members are well qualified and highly motivated to carry out their roles and responsibilities. Additionally, I will ensure that they all receive training in different areas to maximize their productivity. Moreover, I will make sure that their performance is periodically measured using various key performance indicators to ensure that they continually produce high-quality results. Finally, I will focus on emotional intelligence to ensure that every team member supports the vision while adequately interacting with others and depicting professionalism. One main issue that I feel is relevant to the manifestation of leadership is proper change management since technology today is continually changing, and there is need to keep up with the different changes.
Chapter 2: Leadership Skills
In the 20th century, the trait theory was used in an attempt to study leadership and identify the traits that all leaders possess. The approach was used to determine the elements that made people great leaders. The theories, called the great man theories, identified the characteristics possessed by significant political, military, and social leaders. These theories are founded on the belief that leaders were born with these traits. This theory was however challenged by another research that questioned whether these traits were universal. Researchers hence said that the factors that had been identified in the leaders are relative to the situations they found themselves in (Kanodia and Sacher, 2016).
I have also learnt that there are five styles of leadership. The different styles are dependent on six main factors. These include the role of the leader, the concern that the leader has for other people, the distance that exists between the leader and the followers, the level of motivation that the followers have, the style the leader follows in making decisions, and the level of focus that the leader places on the growth of the followers (Zaccaro, 2006).
My leadership style is LS3. As a leader, my role is to seek the highest excellence standards. I do this by being achievement-oriented and visionary. I usually state my vision for the IT department in a manner that is easy to comprehend and tell my followers how we can achieve this vision. I also have a high concern for other people. I consider how we can make the lives of all stakeholders better and thus work towards achieving this role. The distance from my followers is minimal because I continuously analyze their activities to ensure that they are as productive as possible. I usually look at the key performance indicators and see how well my followers are performing based on these indicators. The employees whose performance depicts excellence are acknowledged, and those who perform below the expectations are trained on their areas of weakness to ensure that they improve their performance over time. I make decisions by persuading employees to carry out different duties. The primary method that I use is showing the employees how they will benefit from performing various activities. Through this method, the employees usually carry out their duties efficiently to ensure that they achieve the organization's vision to enjoy the benefits in the long run.
As an IT manager, I am highly motivated to achieve results and to reach the target goals of the company. This motivation directly impacts my followers, and it influences them to be motivated when carrying out their duties. Finally, I am moderately focused on my followers' growth. This is because my primary focus both as an accountant and IT manager is to ensure that my followers are competent in their duties and to ensure that their skills develop continually.
Hence, my leadership traits include I am visionary, transformational, a pacesetter, empowering, and achievement oriented. My major strengths as a leader are that I empower my followers to ensure that they achieve their full potential and I also see to it that my department achieves the set goals. One major issue that I need to improve on is to involve employees in the decision-making process instead of just expecting them to move along with the decisions I make. It is important because engaging employees in the process of making decisions will increase their motivation levels since they feel that the company values their opinions.
To prepare for future leadership roles, I will involve employees in the decision making process. Additionally, I will also make use of different traits to determine the ones that best suit the organization I am a part of. I will also incorporate transformational change management in the organization since the IT world keeps on changing and it is paramount to keep up with the different innovations. These changes in technology also directly affect accounting activities since accountancy also makes use of information and communication technology.
Chapter 3: Leading Collaboration and Managing Virtual It/Is Team and Chapter
My leadership style as an IT manager follows the skills approach. This approach takes a leadership perspective that is leader-centred. In this approach, the emphasis is laid on the abilities and skills that employees can learn and develop as opposed to looking at their personality characteristics. It also states that even though a person's personality is an essential aspect of leadership, their abilities and knowledge are vital in facilitating effective leadership. The skills approach is divided into three skills these are the conceptual, human, and technical aspects (Zaccaro, 2007). As an IT manager, technical skills are vital in my day to day operations. My team and I possess the skills needed to carry out different duties such as outsourcing, cloud computing, business analytics, software programming, among others. Moreover, to oversee the operations of the employees in my team, I need these technical skills to evaluate their performance and train them in different areas. Additionally, in my accounting roles, technical skills are vital since they enable me to carry out various tasks such as the application of generally accepted accounting principles, financial analysis, among others. Technical skills are thus crucial for any organization.
Human skills refer to the know-how on the way one should work with other people and interact with them. These are also referred to as people skills (Zaccaro, Bader and Kemp, 2004). These abilities have enabled me as a leader to work with my subordinates and my superiors in different activities. These skills have also helped me to assist various team members in working together in harmony and respecting other people's opinions even though it may be different from their own. Human skills have enabled me to create trust among my team members as they interact with each other.
Finally, technical skills have created a significant impact on my leadership. Having conceptual skills provides me with the ability to work with concepts and ideas. As an IT manager, I need to listen to ideas that my team members have or take a look at my thoughts in a bid to ensure that the department progresses over time. I usually transform our ideas into goals and then inform my employees about them and create a plan to achieve them.
I also incorporate the skills model in my leadership. This model is made up of three components. These include the individual attributes, competencies, and leadership outcomes (Jung and Sosik, 2006). Incidentally, I usually use different characteristics such as personality and motivation and competencies such as knowledge and problem-solving skills to increase the organization's performance and solve problems efficiently.
During the discussion, many of my peers pointed out that IT is constantly evolving and there is a need to change with these evolutions. They also stated that in IT its vital to keep learning to keep up to date with new technologies. Thus I have organized learning activities on a monthly basis for all employees in the IT department for them to learn new skills and techniques and discuss how they can use them to increase productivity.
Management of a virtual IT team requires shared leadership (Zaccaro, 2007). When all members perform leadersh...
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