Essay Preview: Leadership Case
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When people think of the word Leadership, there may be a variety kind of definitions in their mind of what exactly the leadership is. Even the professional researchers cannot give a unitive conclusion on its meaning because they approached from different aspects such as the purpose of leading action or outcome of the leading influence. Yet most definitions share the assumption that it involves a social influence process whereby intentional influence is exerted by one person over other people in an attempt to structure the activities and relationships in a group. (Antonakis. J, 2004)
I have personally experienced as a bystander of things happened to a leader in my high school. Gelang was a new student assigned to our class. His appear just caught all of our eyes — tall and strong, black long hair tied up and sincere smile like bright sunshine. He was an extrovert person full of energy, power and confidence. Also he had a sense of humor, always telling us his vivid life about riding horse or shooting the eagle owl in his hometown Mongolia.
Not surprisingly, Gelang soon became popular in the school. He was elected by a unanimous vote to be the class leader and shortly built up a society entitled by his family name — Ou Yang Business Club. The club was settled to sell food and snacks such as crisps and chocolate bars to students during each class-break time . Students who joined the club were all promised by Gelang to receive an equal portion of profit.
The club was fairly successful in the first three months. Most members, however, did not obtain their expected amount of profit. When someone jumped out to remind Gelang about his promise, he just had a strange smile and said, I have the right to change the rules of my game. That was the way he has been talking to us for the three months. He was still confident and active, yet he seemed to regard himself as a captain, therefore all the time ordering us.
Things turned to act in a different way on the fourth month. Some students parents started to complain to the school about junk food their children ate during school time, claiming a consistently lacking of appetite. As a result, the club was required to cut the business operating time down from every class break to after lunch only. Gelang seemed unwilling to obey, Students are all full after lunch so no one would buy my food. He then decided to move the selling point to another place, announced secretly to students and continue operating at every class break. Whenever we questioned if deceiving teachers like this is appropriate, Gelang showed his confidence as usual, No worries, I have a deal with the principal.
None of us really believed that he had a deal with the principal. In fact, we felt he likes to talk big but we all knew
the greatest talkers are always least doers. Someone pointed out how arrogant Gelang is to entitle the club in his name. And someone reminded us that the only reason Gelang got an unanimous vote is because he voted himself.
Things eventually went out of control. The director found the club secretly operating and was really annoyed. Meanwhile the principal received an anonymous mail reporting Gelang was telling everyone that he had a deal with the principal. The deal Gelang meant was only an email he sent to the principal claiming his dream on business but received no respond. The business club was suspended and Gelang chose to leave school in a few weeks.
As a member of the business club, this experience rebuilt my comprehension toward the nature of leadership. I now regard it as a life experience that imbues a person with a vision and a set of goals, endows the person with the skill to articulate the vision and the goals, provides the person with the skill to specify the means and to organize and mobilize the followers toward the realization of the vision and the goals, and most importantly gives the person sufficient understanding of the followers in order to devise and pursue goals that are rewarding to both the leaders and the followers. (Rejai. M, 1997)
The reason I regard understanding the followers so important is because leaders may often put too much attention on skills, vision, or ability, but neglecting the care they should have provided to the followers. Leadership is of such a complexity that no one could really success without others power. As Gelang said after years of the event, The largest mistake I made was ignoring your ideas, some of them were really valuable. A leader should therefore learn to listen attentively and seek first to understand before to be understood. Gelang also reflects, whenever a promise was made, the leader would be expected to fulfill it. Thus if it seems impossible, do not talk big.
Gelang always labeled himself as a natural born leader. This drives me to think