Supervision remains a critical factor for the success of any organization in the contemporary business world. However, most people fail to utilize effective supervision skills for lack of training in the field. In every organization, supervisors play a crucial role of linking the top management to the lower management levels and ordinary employees. As such, the distinct roles are played by supervisors in ensuring the success of the organization. Supervisors usually impact the behavior of employees, endeavors, motivation, as well as performance by utilizing effective supervisory skills. Supervisors are usually charged with the responsibility of positively influencing the process of growth and development of an organization while bettering the end result.
According to Mosley and Pietri (2011), leadership is embedded in manipulating human behaviors with a sole purpose of attaining the given goal. Since the modern business environment is faced with myriad threatening challenges, it is essential for any manger, supervisor, or leader to understand the uncertainty and risks associated with their jobs. They hold the mantle of an organization and its stakeholders. In this sense, it is required that a leader or manager is equally ready for the tasks at all odds. Pearce (2003) maintains that a real manager or leader is tested at the points of uncertainty when activities and outcome are below the expectations. Since nobody is an island, effective leadership involves a certain level of motivation and skills, and technologies embraced. A good leader or manager would always be a strong team player who recognizes the ability of others. Therefore, a leader must ensure help employees realize their full potentials. This paper explores supervisory and leadership issues and how to assist employees to achieve their potential.
How to Help Staff to Achieve Their Potential
In the contemporary business world characterized by a high degree of uncertainty, organizations strive to effect changes that can allow them to perform better and keep abreast of intense competition in the market. Many organizations focus on achieving this by developing their workforce. Amidst all these attempts are many challenges of escalating operational costs and accountability among others. Increasing demand for quality products and services has piled pressure on organizations to have effective and skilled leaders at every level of the organization. Leadership is an important determinant of supervision quality in every organization (Pearce, 2003).
Leadership can be referred to as the process of manipulating human behavior aimed at attaining specific objectives (Mosley & Pietri, 2011). A leader is expected to have great control and influence over his followers and get things done with minimal effort. Leadership roles in every organization tend to vary with the position that a supervisor holds in the management structure of the firm. For instance, top managers lead their organization through assorted activities so as to implement policies crafted by the board of directors (B.O.D). They can set organizational principles and develop strategies aimed at ensuring the survival of the organization in the market (Pearce, 2003).
Supervisory leadership at every level of organizational management is charged with the duty of positively impacting the routine performance of employees under their dockets. Business organizations usually emphasize on supervisory management with a lot of focus on technology and innovation. In the present competitive world where consumers focus mostly on product quality, there are calls by many organizations for effective supervisory leadership to enable the organizations to operate effectively and meet the needs of their clients while keeping focus on organizational objectives (Pearce, 2003).
In most organizations, human resources form the backbone of an organization by giving it an opportunity to face off with other players in the market. The output of the organization depends on the effort of human resources. As such, helping workers to reach their full potential is crucial for every organization as it will help them to develop effective workforce, which in turn will positively impact organizational performance. The following are some of the ways in which an organization can help its employees to reach their full potential.
I. Establishing Effective Skills for Team Management
Effective supervisors must work for trust and reverence from employees working under them. In order to achieve this, they must portray desirable skills for leading effective teamwork. For effective supervisory work, one must possess good leadership skills, have proper knowledge about work delegation, and he or she must possess good problem-solving skills (Wright, 2009). An effective supervisor must also portray good decision-making ability, enthusiasm about developing employees under him, have good communication skills, and be in a position to influence employees towards achieving organizational goals (Pearce, 2003).
II. Effective Leadership
Leadership is a concept that reflects special skills that are very important for effective running of any position in an organization. Leadership goes beyond encouraging and boosting the morale of employees (Mosley & Pietri, 2011). It involves practical demonstration of what others are supposed to do and using the power vested in him or her to empower his followers. A good leader must possess effective communication skills and must convey information needed by employees at the right time and place. He must have the desire to help those who work under him to grow and develop professionally and must demonstrate high organizational values and beliefs (Austin & Hopkins, 2004). An effective supervisor is one who is capable of delegating work effectively (Mosley & Pietri, 2011). He can facilitate employee involvement by establishing effective recognition and reward system. The desire to coach and improve employee performance forms one of the main concerns for an effective supervisor (Mosley & Pietri, 2011).
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Application Essay Guidelines
We aspire to develop engineers and managers who can be leaders in our industry. To help ground so broad a term, the Past President of the SANS Technology Institute, Stephen Northcutt, wrote a Leadership Essay to help characterize and expand upon our definition of leadership. Please read his essay and explore some of the resources he suggests. Then, write two to three single-spaced pages in your own words about your own preferred definition(s) of leadership, some competencies where you believe you have strengths, and also the competencies you would most like to develop. Relate each competency to personal and/or professional experience, or discuss how you intend to use the master's program and your work experience over the next three years to further your leadership goals. Include a discussion of why 'leadership', rather than just 'engineering' or 'management', is particularly important in the information security field at this time.
By Stephen Northcutt
AbstractLeadership is a broad term, open to interpretation. However, it is the core focus of the SANS Technology Institute's mission. The purpose of this essay is to define what we mean by leadership, express the core compencies you will be exposed to in the program, and discuss what leadership means in the context of information security.
Definition of Leadership
A leader is a person who guides or inspires others within an organization or community to achieve a goal. Leadership development begins with the simple realization that you want to be a leader. Life has many opportunities to press forward and take charge of a situation, or conversely, to shrink into the background. This is why we ask prospective students to write an essay about demonstrated leadership when they apply to our school.
Leadership and Competencies
What does leadership mean, how do you measure leadership? One approach is through management and leadership competencies. We define competencies as measurable skills, knowledge, and abilities that identify successful managers in the information security discipline. In your graduate program, you will be exposed to core competencies. They are covered in your required course, ISE 5600: IT Security Leadership Competencies or ISM 5400: IT Security Planning, Policy, and Leadership. Some of the competencies that you will be taught are reinforced by specific course work and exercises:
- Team Development and Relationship Building: This will occur when you attend a SANS conference and interact with fellow students, and as a result of both of your group projects.
- Importance of Communication: The presentation skills course, ISE/ISM 5000 (SANS MGT 305), will help you develop your oral and written communication skills.
- Self-Direction: We will monitor your progress throughout the program, but it will be up to you to register for and complete courses within the allowed time at a proper level of quality.
- Coaching and Training: One of your final degree requirements will be to teach a Security Awareness course in your own community.
- Leadership Qualities: The faculty you will work with are leaders in the field of information security. Look to them to model leadership in the information security field.
- Vision Development: As a graduate student, you will be required to present original, creative work through the research papers.
- Project Planning: You will learn about Project Management Planning in ISE/ISM 5800 (SANS MGT 525) and a project plan is a requirement of one of the group projects.
Other competencies listed below will be taught in your required courses:
- Conflict Resolution
- Employee Involvement
- Change Management
- Motivation of Employees and Teammates
- Leadership Development
- Leading Tribes
- Leading Change
Two competencies are more important than all the others. How does a leader guide or inspire? They have to be great communicators. Therefore, two of the most important skills you will work on are:
- Ability to communicate well orally
- Ability to communicate well in writing
Leaders in information assurance often have different goals. Some leadership roles in information security are similar to other disciplines, others are unique. A few examples of security leadership roles are listed below:
- Manager, team leader or project manager
- The technical "go to" person
- Thought leader, often through writing and speaking
- Instructor, mentor
- Tribe leader, someone that can build a large following to accomplish a goal
- Change Agent, someone who uses their thought leadership position to alter the way we look at technology or process
- Technical tool author who creates or leads the team that develops a security tool whether open source or commercial
What is the difference between a manager and a leader? A successful leader needs all of the same competencies as a manager, but some of the competencies must be more developed. For instance, vision. You can be a successful manager with a minimal capability for vision. In fact, that is something Human Resources may look for in an industry that is based on repeatable tasks. However, you cannot lead without vision. The Security Thought Leaders interview series introduces a number of visionary leaders in the information assurance industry. In addition, you must have power beyond your positional power, the authority that comes with your role or job description. For many students in the MSISE program, this will lead to something called expert power  people will want to be on your team partly because of your knowledge of technical security. Our goal is for you to be able to work at the highest technical level in your organization. The students in the MSISM program will also receive courses and assignments to develop expert power, people will want to work with you because they feel that you have both programmatic skills and a strong understanding of technical issues. They will look for you to be a bridge between management and technical groups in your organization.
Senior Leadership and Statesmanship
One reason to start focusing on your leadership skills today is that leadership is learned over years, not months. The best way to become a senior leader is by studying competencies and having the discipline to make them become habits and tools in your life. We can define a senior leader as someone who attains a highly respected rank, examples include:
- CEO, CTO, CSO, CISO
- Board member, Chairman of the Board
- President, Vice President
- Bishop, Cardinal
- Mayor, Senator, Representative
Perhaps the highest level of leadership is the statesman, a respected leader in national or international affairs, a person that devotes some or all of their energy to public service and to improve the common good. They have mastered the management, leadership and governance competencies and use the experience from a long and respected career to benefit others.
References1.http://resource.udallas.edu/132/bases_of_social_power.pdf link was visited 9/14/2011
Leadership Essay Version 1.8
Other Related Articles in Leadership Lab: Management Competencies
- Leadership Essay - Feb 7th, 2012