Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Leadership Essay

What do leaders do, and how do they help us? A leader brings organization to all types of work. Leaders facilitate teamwork, showing each individual team member his or her task. Certain leadership styles seem more effective than others in particular situations. There are three main types of leadership: autocrat, democrat, and laissez-faire. Various types of leadership are neither necessarily good nor bad, but their effectiveness depends on the situation in which they are exercised, as demonstrated in the lives of Ralph and Jack in The Lord of the Flies.

In autocrat leadership, the leader exerts full control. This type of leadership should be used in the situation that time is restricted. Skill and knowledge for the individual team members are not much required, but the leader should have both skill and knowledge. In the situation that the team doesn't know much about each other, this kind of leadership would be helpful. When each team member wishes to dominate the leader's idea, it makes this type of leader ineffective (WUJS). When the leader thinks that the team could accomplish the goal on their own, this would make autocrat leadership unsuccessful (Hovind). This leadership wouldn't be best for the individual team members that have their own ideas, skills, and knowledge because the leader controls all the thoughts and work of the individual team members. When each individual tries to express his or her skill, knowledge, opinions, and thoughts, all these would be unacceptable to the leader. The leader would try to obstruct the ability of every person because the goal would be the first priority, not the individual team member. The leader would not waste time on changing the plan, but would continue in the leader's own way (Hovind).

Democrat leadership involves teamwork and voting. This type of leadership is widely used in all places around the world. In unrestricted time, democrat would be most effective. This leadership needs motivated team members, a necessity when voting and expressing their opinion. There should be some skill and knowledge in the individual team members. This leadership would spend most time in getting ideas together, to satisfy every team member. A good democrat leader will decide wisely, as well as value input from the team. The main factor to a good democrat leadership is teamwork (Hovind). The process starts off with sharing ideas, giving out opinions and then end up with voting. This is good because everybody gets to express his or her idea and opinion. Also this leadership system helps inspire and develop the individual team members. The disadvantages of democrat leadership occur when individual team members' motivation decreases and they use their skills and knowledge less effectively. Conflict in the team causes team cooperation to decrease, as well as slows the team's process (WUJS).

Laissez-Faire leadership entails the development of individual members' motivation, knowledge, and skill. "The direct translation is "leave well alone". "Succeed or rail on their own" (Leadership Style). Laissez-Faire would be successful if the individual team member believes he has a vital role in the company. If the schedule is straightforward on what they should perform and complete each day, the task continues without difficulty. With a capable team, Laissez-Faire brings out the greatest quality of work. Laissez-Faire needs motivated individual team members; motivation helps them to continue their task. The weak point of Laissez-Faire occurs when the each person relies too heavily on the others. If the individual team member uses less of their skill and knowledge, this badly affects this type of leadership because the task wouldn't be done in the greatest quality. When the each member of the group doesn't have their own thought, this also gives disadvantages to this type of leadership. When the individual expects to be ordered, this type of leader would not be helpful to him or her, and the whole process wouldn't be effective because laissez-faire requires self-motivation from each team member (Hovind).

Democrat leadership best describes Ralph, as it is his most preferred form of leadership. This leader is the best for a group of people like what is demonstrated in the story. The reason that Ralph's leadership style did not work is that it could not be used in all types of situations. When the story started off Ralph use the idea of voting, which is democrat. For example, "Who wants me?" Every hand outside the choir except Piggy's was raised immediately. Then Piggy, too, raised his hand grudgingly into the air" (pg. 23). Ralph listened to the vote and proposed the solution based on the voting. This was best at first when they had time, but later on there were many problems about the beast, signal fire, and hunting. This started to bring Ralph's Democrat leadership to an end. Ralph needed teamwork, but Jack gives only rebellion against Ralph's leadership style and started to tremble the whole council. This form of leadership could satisfy everyone, but it did not work out that way because Jack's greed resulted in him wanting to be the chief, making this system fail. What the team was missing was motivation, skill, knowledge, and time. All the things that they were missing are the key to the full quality of the Democrat leadership. Ralph was focusing too much on the fire, but not balancing the fire and the food. Ralph made the team look over him and joined Jack's side. Ralph was not satisfying what the individual team member needed; this made Ralph's leadership style unsuccessful.

Throughout Lord of the Flies, Jack's leadership can best be described as autocratic, exerting full control over the team. Jack's leadership shows the best performance because of the situation that they are in; individual team members are not using their knowledge and skill, which causes Ralph's leadership to fail. Jack brings in autocrat leadership at the right time, when there is restricted time, and also when the team is breaking apart. The breaking apart of the team makes each individual team member expect to be commanded by a strong leader. Jack always stands up to Ralph; this shows that he maintains full control. Jack could be considered as a savage dictator, not Ralph. Jack shows the littluns and biguns that he could lead and give them the path, without them using the knowledge and skill. On the other hand, Jack's brutal character makes him a heartless leader. "He [Jack] began to dance and his laughter became a bloodthirsty snarling" (pg. 58). Jack's leadership became successful because of satisfying the teams need, food. This makes Jack a successful leader in this situation.

Through the lives of Ralph and Jack in Lord of the Flies we can see that the strength of any leadership style depends on the situation. Jack's leadership style expresses strong, confident leader, which is the Autocrat showing firmness in decision and order. On the other hand, Jack's character weaknesses overwhelm him, making him savage and brutal. Ralph's leadership demonstrates wise and kind leader, which is democratic representing cooperation, effort, and knowledge. Neither type of leadership is good or bad, but finds its strength and effectiveness only in the situation that those particular types of leadership are being used.

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