Developing Your Leadership Capabilities
Douglas L. Flor
Introduction In order to evaluate and analyze the leadership practices of a leader, I conducted an interview with one of my former instructor, Heather K. Browne, who is a phD in global studies and international affairs and has been an instructor in Northeastern University for several years. Heather K. Browne is an influential and admired professor in our class. She led us to finish many projects successfully. I think she is a good choice for me to do the interview. I designed 12 questions for the interview. These questions cover 9 aspects which can evaluate almost all the important factors of a leader. The 9 aspects are trust, traits, influences (Bronfenbrenner), skills, leadership styles, valuable leadership lessons, ethics, challenges, orientation (task/relationship/results). Answers to these questions can reflect how the leader thinks and acts, what her leadership style is like, and where this style comes from. Comparing all these answers to what is said in the textbook can help me to find out whether she is a good leader or not.
In order to find out how Browne build and sustain trusting partnership, I raised one question for her.
Do you think your followers trust you? And how do you make it happen and sustain the trust?
“It isn't always easy to tell; students aren't always forthright about their fears. But sometimes I can tell there are students who don't trust my judge so I try to do a better job of explaining the logic behind my rules/tactics.”
Browne’s answer to this question shows that she can not always figure out whether students believe her or not. One thing should be paid attention to is that she always try to win trust because she knows there is distrust sometimes. According to Peter G. Northouse (2013), great leaders build trust with followers to help them work more effective with others (p.199). Leaders build trust by listening closely to different points of view and treat followers with dignity and respect (Peter G. Northouse, 2013, p.199). They also encourage followers and affirm their accomplishments (Peter G. Northouse, 2013, p.200). Moreover, leaders build a high degree of trust, respect and obligation with followers contributes to high-quality communication that is good for establishing effective leader-follower relationship (Peter G. Northouse, 2013, p.260). Effective leader-follower relationship will have greater understanding and higher productivity. In an environment filled with trust, followers can feel good about their work (Peter G. Northouse, 2013, p.199). Browne is aware of the importance of trust and she keeps trying to build and sustain trust of her followers. However, the method she uses to build trust only focuses on improving her work and helping followers get better knowledge of what she is thinking and doing. This method goes wrong. Leaders who want to build and sustain trusting partnerships must focus on listening to different views of followers, encouraging followers and treating followers with dignity and respect. In conclusion, even though she knows the importance of trust, Browne may have not found an efficient way to build trusting partnership with her followers.
Certain personality traits have been proved to be associated with being an effective leader (Peter G. Northouse, 2013, p.27). It is necessary to figure out what specific traits a leader has so as to evaluate this leader. I designed one question to evaluate personality traits of Browne.
Extraversion, agreeable and conscientiousness are the three important traits to a leader. Which one do you believe is most helpful in your work? And why?
“I think being conscientious is the most important. Good leaders model the kind of