What traits does a person have who influences others? Would you perform better under the leadership of an autocratic or democratic leader? Which one will be more effective? On the morning of January 30, 1956, Martin Luther King Jr.’s house was attacked with bombs, with his wife and 9-week-old daughter inside. After the bomb exploded, several police officers and the mayor arrived. In addition, a crowd of angry black people gathered at the site of the explosion. They were armed and prepared to confront the culprits. However, King went to the door and asked those who had come looking for the responsible parties to adopt the doctrine of non-violence. The people there began to disperse peacefully, but why did such a large group of people, who were furious about the harm they had caused to King, listen to him? Leadership: In the different groups we are a part of, whether large or small, some people have more power and influence over others. The person who assumes this position of importance in the group is usually identified as the leader. The concept of leadership involves a complex web of issues and approaches. One of the most explored topics in psychology related to leadership has to do with how leaders are perceived, as well as the functions and behaviors of leadership, in order to understand what a leader does within the group and what they do for the group. A study carried out at Ohio State University highlighted the difficulty leaders face in evaluating employee performance while also caring about their emotional well-being. This duality of leadership and the pressure to be involved in both task performance and the feelings of the workers often leads to inefficiency on the part of the leader. For this reason, as Bales and Slater pointed out, in large groups there are two leaders: one in charge of task-related matters, and the other involved in the feelings of the individuals. How is a leader formed? Throughout history, many leaders have been highlighted and continue to be today. This has allowed for the study of certain common traits among them. Although not all leaders possess each of the following characteristics, they are considered the most frequent and necessary for leading a group: Vigor: The effectiveness in carrying out different activities as well as the display of strength. Intelligence: The ability to understand various complex matters and communicate effectively, demonstrating various competencies. Eloquence: The relevance of verbal ability as a determinant of leadership. Initiative and motivation: Carrying out different action plans and inspiring others with their own interest. Related to enthusiasm, being able to transmit the desire to be in power. Charisma: The ability to attract followers. Trustworthy: Essential for individuals to carry out established policies. Empathy: The ability to emotionally connect with group members. Sociability: The ability to relate to different types of people. This characteristic is also linked to the ability to interact with others and extroversion. Willingness to help: Willingness to interact and provide assistance if necessary. Accountability: Essential behavior for an effective leader is to take responsibility for what happens in the group, even if it is not a requirement of their leadership position. Self-confidence: Transmitting strength and validating one’s own abilities. Organization skills: Having organizational abilities and being flexible in the face of changes that may arise. Watchfulness: Being attentive to various action plans and having explicit knowledge of what is being carried out. Kindness: If group members feel respected and the environment is relaxed, followers will be more motivated to continue following that person. In addition to possessing certain essential characteristics for performing the role of leader, situational factors are also very important. That is, the need at a certain moment for a group of people to turn to an individual who can meet the demands of the specific situation. Some historians and psychologists argue that if Germany had not been declared the loser in the Great War, Adolf Hitler, with his ideas and mandates, would have been imprisoned or institutionalized. That is to say, it is not only necessary to have a series of traits to become a leader – if that were the case, there would be more leaders than there currently are – but it is also important for certain situational circumstances to exist. For this reason, the needs of the followers themselves and the demands of the group also influence the formation of a leader. What makes an effective leader? Leaders often wonder what the most effective way is to lead when in power. The styles that are most frequently highlighted are autocratic and democratic. Some social psychologists have conducted research to measure which style is most effective. For example, in one of these experiments, leaders were trained in the different defined styles and students rotated every 6 weeks, being under the direction of all three types of leaders. The autocratic leader established the protocols to be followed by the group, defined all the steps to be taken, and the different techniques to be used, even choosing the working groups. On the other hand, the democratic leader allowed each group to define the protocol to be followed. Their way of addressing subordinates was mostly through suggestions rather than orders. At the end of the study, it was found that the boys who had been under the authoritarian leader exhibited higher levels of hostility and aggression compared to those under the democratic leader. In fact, the work was of higher quality with the second type of leader. Furthermore, it was observed that when the authoritarian leader left the group, the individuals stopped working. However, the same did not happen under the direction of the other type of leader, as the boys continued working even when this leader was absent. The complications that were applied as part of the experiment disturbed the group led by the authoritarian leader, but those under the power of the democratic leader tolerated the frustrations to a greater extent. This situation also occurs in groups of adults. Although productivity levels (in terms of the amount of work done) may be higher under the leadership of an autocratic leader, the quality of the work is often better when under the leadership of the other style. This applies not only to jobs, but also to other leaders in different groups to which members belong to in society (politicians, influencers, association presidents, etc.). However, as mentioned earlier, the situational and environmental factors that the group is experiencing are very important. For example, the historical era or the ways in which each individual relates to others. And you, what kind of leader do you prefer?
Cum este un lider eficient? Aesthesis || Psihologi în Madrid Te-am captat!
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