ConceptsConceptual theories on leadership can helpexplain areas where I excelled and areas where I could have improved upon. Myleadership journey began with this project, as did a journey of self-discovery.
I had an idealised view of what I could achieve by the end of the year. Ibelieved I possessed the qualities to make this happen, and to produce alasting change. I had studied concepts of leadership, management andfollowership at university and I was keen to apply my knowledge. I decided not to join any other existingprojects or any other teams, as I wanted sole ownership of a successfulproject. This almost heroic view of leadership is currently being surpassed byideas that conceptualise it as a dynamic, interactive process (Kings Fund2011). We are being taught to look at leadership on a deeper level than merelyone of a person created for the role. Indeed, leaders with innate charisma onlycan become over dependenct on their team-members (Burke 2006).
Positively, Iwas passionate in the project idea and was successful creating a plan. In thisscenario, my initial prerogative was to create change by innovation, however Iwas not in full control of the situation and my idea relied heavily on othersfor fruition. Goleman (2000) describes the leadership climate that getsresults: authoritative, affiliative, democratic and coaching. I adapted a moreauthoritative role but lacked in creating an affiliative and democraticenvironment, proposing an idea without much collaboration. What I ultimatelylacked and desperately needed for this project, was the help of a cohesive teamto achieve my goal.
Day (2001) and Benington and Hartley (2010) have said leadership developmentisn’t a solo task, it involves the collaboration of a team. Northouse (2004) identifiescommon themes in how leadership is conceived: it is a process that involvesinfluence, occurring in a group context, aiming for goal attainment. These elements were clearly missing from myattempt. Furthermore, under Fiedler’s (1978) contingencymodel, I played the part of a task-orientated rather than relationshiporientated leader. Task orientated leaders can get things done, however not insituations of intermediate favourability, which requiresrelationship-orientated leaders.
I had a recipe for a successful qualityimprovement project, but no one to help me implement it.