Last Week's Definition: Throughout the course my leadership definition has changed to in response to the increasing complexity of the question "What is a leader?" I believe that a leader is someone who is working toward bettering the people that they are leading by listening to their needs, empathizing when necessary and guiding them in the right direction while still allowing them to grow on their own. In order accomplish this, leaders must set realistic goals and adapt to the changing attitude of their group and the environment while bettering themselves by looking at how and why they lead and deep rooted personal values. This week I would like to add that leaders need to be aware of differences and know that these differences help the group, that prejudice may exist and to be actively trying to address these issues. Also, that leaders should never judge a person from first glace, part of being a leader is getting to know the group on a personal level and not to make judgments until you know the whole story.
This Week's Definition: In addition to my current definition of leadership, stating that leaders are people who work with the group by listening to all needs and adapting their leadership style to fit those needs. A leader works on their own beliefs and values and does not deviate from those, they are also always working toward becoming a better leader and providing the best possible guidance filled with understanding and without judgement to the group. They also must be aware of how the group complements one another and how there may be unconscious prejudice that may need to be addressed. I believe that it is also important that a leader realizes that they are part of a group and that conflict is natural and decisions should involve the whole group.
Analysis of Difference: According to the Komives, Lucas, & McMahon article, groups have varying dynamics depending on the purpose, structure and time spent together. I think that this is important for leaders to realize so they do not waste too much time on one specific development phase. Leaders should also be aware of various types of group members and alter their style to include everyone. (Komives, Lucas & McMahon, 1998, p 165-194)
Komives, S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. R. (1998). "Interacting in Teams and Groups." Exploring Leadership: For college students who want to make a difference (pp. 165 - 194). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.