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In life there are many instances when the rich and influential people have to interact with poor and less renowned people. In most of the cases, the influential people are always making the decisions and the uninfluential people have to follow the directions given to them. However, the case does not always work like that as it is indicated in the “Sword in the Stone”. Merlin works in various instances to develop the inclination towards following in Arthur using various approaches. The paper will focus on the instances when Merlin is influencing Arthur to become a follower.
The firsts volume of the sword in once and future king starts in the middle ages when England was a happy nation. The destiny in the novel decide that there is a need for the education of Arthur on the ways of being the future king. The education process is unique in that the Arthur is taught on how to develop servant based leadership by a magician by the name of Merlin. Kay is eager to leaver the woods and he leaves Arthur chasing after his prized hawk. While in the forest, Arthur finally stumbles upon a hut owned by a magician who turn out to be Merlin.
The encounter marks the genesis of a major journey between a magician and future king on how to become a better leader through serving. Arthur is interested in the works of Merlin to the point to taking the old magician to the castle. It is after this encounter that the training on how to become a follower starts taking place. The first lesson that Merlin offers Arthur is on how to become a perch.
The beginning of the book is marked by the explanation of the schedule that Wart and Kay follow. The schedule is sterile and traditional since it is the main approach to education used in educating the rich members of the society. However, the description of the lessons that Wart and Kay have to follow is indicative of the order of education whereby the majority of the knowledge is handed down and repetition is a key process in education.
This introduction marks the beginning of the explanation on the importance of education. Looking at the first lesson where Merlin turns Arthur into a perch, there is a need for the subjection of will to the requests placed by Merlin. Arthur has to agree to forget that he is far more influential than Merlin and follow whatever Merlin tell him to do. At this point, the virtue of followership is instilled in the young noble which is a mark of the break from the tradition where the noble always dictate what has to be done.
The introduction that the narrator gives of Merlin is comical. He is depicted as an old man who is covered with droppings. Arthur who is accustomed to the rustic education from Sir Ector found it difficult to believe that the old poor man can become a tutor. The mentor ship that he expects to become the future king is less likely to be logged in the ways of an old man living in a forbidden and possessed forest. It is hard enough for wart to follow the teaching provided to him by Sir Ector since like most boys, he would rather have free time playing than stay at home under tutorage of an old man who believes in rustic teaching of Latin and other noble fancies.
However, the learning process under both Merlin and Sir Ector, is similar since the mentors have similar demands when it comes to being followers. For instance, Merlin demand that wart follows his mundane and out of the world instructions when he is conjuring magic if everything is going to work out as planned. On the other hand Sir Hector is keen on achieving the needed control of the students by ensuring that they follow all that the teacher instructs.
The experiments seeking to transform Arthur into various animals were intent on creating the feeling in the future king on how the animal felt. "‘I wish I was a fish,' said the Wart." (White p.45) This means to make sure that the king would be able to emphasize with the plight of the subjects. Using various coercions, Merlin was able to convince Arthur how to react to some issues. He convinced him to allow a participate approach to leadership through the introduction of the round table. This was a unique chance for the leader to become a follower since when on the round table, there was no order of superiority and the knights that sat on the round table could make their suggestions on the way forward without the fear of prejudice from the leaders.
In conclusion, the accidental encounter between Merlin and Arthur in the forest marked the beginning of a student teacher relationship that was unique in that it indirectly inculcated the value of leader follower in wart. The approach used in the inculcation of the knowledge was mainly experiential. “Education is an experience…” (White, p.30) Merlin could transform the leader into various animals to mirror the experiences of the animals. The transformations had the effect of creating an empathetic leader who was conversant with the experiences of his subjects. The learning process was unique in that the leader did not know that he was actually being schooled due to the unconventional approach to leadership used by Merlin.
White, T. H. The Sword in the Stone. 1st Ed. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1939. Print.
Participative leadership increases the stake of ownership of employees. The first advantage of this system is that there is an increase in productivity. This is because an increased voice when it comes to the decision making process means that there is a sturdy sensation in the management. The employee assumes responsibility and charges, there is often lesser delegation as well as supervision from the managers as the employees feel obliged to do their work optimally.
Further, operational hours may get prolonged without any compulsion or even force from the management and this leads to more productivity (Lakshman, 2006). Another advantage is job satisfaction, in a lot of organizations; most employees who are pleased with their jobs are in participative management. This is especially because they see their proposals and counsel being put into practice (Kim, 2002). One limitation to this system is the slowing down of the decision making process. Participative management often stands for augmented contribution and many people are involved in the process of making decision which slows down the process. This leads to a decrease in the optimal output of the organization. Secondly, another limitation is in regards to security issue where information that is critical to the company might leak out due to the high number of people that know about it (Kim, 2002).
Different supervisors in various departments might be empowered to collect information regarding how a certain process should be done in a company. Therefore, this can be said to be an example of delegation and empowerment being used in participative leadership. Using delegation and empowerment helps the employees to own a decision and consequently they can work on it optimally (Lakshman, 2006). Secondly, the empowerment as it helps increase the quality of decisions as they come from the ground. However, one main limitation is that those that are empowered might be unpopular in the company and this might decrease productivity. Lastly, another limitation is in regards to the fabrication of decisions without necessarily asking from the ground.
Kim, S. (2002). Participative management and job satisfaction: Lessons for management leadership. Public Administration Review, 62(2), 231–241.
Lakshman, C. (2006). A theory of leadership for quality: Lessons from TQM for leadership theory. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 17(1), 41–60.
The trait approach often focuses on the leader and not on the different followers or even the situation. One of the strengths of the trait theory when it comes to choosing leaders is that the organization will be able to get the leaders that they want. This is because the organization might have a certain deficiency in their requirements and consequently they will be able to get the leader that can offset those requirements (Zaccaro, 2007).
Another second strength is that the trait theory ensures that the leaders when they are in the organization they can be able to effectively work on their core competencies and therefore, spear head the organization into optimal production. One of the main limitations is that the theory supports the general image in the society that leaders are a special kind of people who can do extraordinary things. It therefore, discourages other potential leaders from entering into leadership (Zaccaro, 2007).
Secondly, the trait approach only focuses only on the leader and not on the followers. The traits of the followers are also important in order for compatibility to occur which will allow maximum optimal nature. Behavior theories increase the chances of an organization getting the right candidate for the job, they also increase the chances of one filling in the shoes perfectly as he or she understands his or her core competences (Lakshman, 2006). On the other hand, behavior theories discourage other potential leaders from rising to the helm of the organization in leadership. This is because they might feel deficient in some kind of a way in regards to a certain behavior that they do not possess.
I do think that the use of traits and behaviors is valid in leader selection because in most cases the organization wants to fill a certain hole and a leader with certain traits or behavior can do that perfectly.
Lakshman, C. (2006). A theory of leadership for quality: Lessons from TQM for leadership theory. Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 17(1), 41–60.
Zaccaro, S. J. (2007). Trait-based perspectives of leadership. American Psychologist, 62(1), 6–16.
Power can be described as a force of influence and authority. Two ways that leaders get their power is through expert power. When a leader has significant knowledge about a certain domain of skills he or she often wields power over other persons. Secondly, there is coercive power where a leader creates a perception of threat and makes the followers believe that he or she will initiate a disciplinary action to curb the threat. Leaders can sustain power by using a totalitarian model where the leader instills fear on all followers so that they cannot rebel (Elenkov, 2005). Secondly, a leader can sustain power by leading followers in a direction that they believe in. Lastly, leaders can lose power by the followers rejecting their ideas or schools of thoughts and if better leader than them rise and take over their position either willingly or using force.
Nelson Mandela used his power as the president of post-apartheid to ensure that he reconciled the country from the apartheid scar that it had come from. He managed to uplift the economy and listened the needs of both the white and black population. Mandela is a good example of a national leader who used power appropriately (Krishnan, 2003). Misuse of leadership power can be seen in the form of Adolf Hitler. Hitler misused his power and started a world war that bled millions to death. He directly orchestrated the death of Jews in concentration camps in a bid to 'promulgate a pure race'. He deceived Germans and as a result, this led to a lot of destruction of lives and property during the second world war in Germany and other parts of the world. Leaders that use power appropriately often encourage and motivate employees to work better and this results into increased turnover (Rosenthal, 2006). However, leaders that misuse power decrease motivation of employees and the employees live in a fearful environment, and they cannot be able to work optimally.
Elenkov, D. S., & Manev, I. M. (2005). Top management leadership and influence on innovation: The role of sociocultural context. Journal of Management, 31(3), 381–402.
Krishnan, V. R. (2003). Power and moral leadership: Role of self-other agreement. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 24(6), 345–351.
Rosenthal, S. A., & Pittinsky, T. L. (2006). Narcissistic leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 17(6), 617–633.
A Role Model Leader
Richard Branson stands out to be one of the people who have managed to inspire me the most. In a literal sense, he is considered to be one of the few model leaders, especially when looking at his life achievements. Acknowledging that he is one of the richest men in the world, I believe that alone has been motivation enough for him to inspire me. Richard Branson has managed to have local, national and also international impact on the lives of many individuals including me.
Leadership entails having the necessary skills to direct people towards a specific goal. In a business sense, business leaders are expected to have the skills inspire the entire team to work towards achieving the company objectives. Every step made is aligned to the company’s mission and vision statement. Richard Branson's life journey into success tells the whole story of a man who managed to position himself as a head, and not the tail or even a regular person (Bonnici 2011). He had a precise picture of what he wanted in life, focused on the same and years later, he is now the fourth richest man I the United Kingdom.
Qualities of a good leader
Some individuals believe that leaders are known from birth. In some cases, some people believe that leaders can be molded into power. Looking at some of the achievements of Richard Branson, one can tend to believe that leaders are not born, or even molded into what they are, but rather a combination of these two elements.
A good leader ought to be proactive, rather than being reactive. By being proactive, a leader puts himself in a position whereby they are always a few step ahead of everyone else. We can use the example of a Sheppard. This is a person who knows where he wants to direct his sheep. Instead of waiting for something to occur before reacting to it, a proactive leader is always a step ahead, using all the resources available to direct his sheep. His best interest is that his herd reaches a place where they can feed and water well.
A good leader tries not to put the people below him at risk. By scanning the environment, the person on top can gain a mastery of the environment where he operates at this point. With this consideration, being a proactive leader; one can eliminate these threats, and hence better protect the people working together with him to achieve a specific goal. In the long run, leaders are expected to master their environment of operation, think ahead and protect the masses.
Richard Branson started growing charismas trees as his first business back in 1966. Four years later, he saw an opportunity in the music industry and started selling records by way of mail. Who could tell that such proactive measures would see him grow his actions into an empire. His self-drive got him to the point where he initiated the start of virgin records, a company that he sold for billions of dollars back in 1992. Richard Branson's proactive nature aligned to his undertaking is a quality every leader should aim to have.
An inspirational leader is expected to be able to adapt to any changes that would either act in his favor or against him. Quick adaptation and flexibility have been known to be among the qualities that allow individuals to succeed. These features go in line with the fact that man can never tell what would happen to them tomorrow. The uncertainty in life calls for someone who can adapt to these changing environments in a profitable way. A typical example would be a farmer anticipating bumper harvesting four weeks, only for his crop to mature in a shorter time. Flexibility, in this case, would be hiring the necessary machinery and ensuring that he maximizes on the opportunity in a profitable way. In another school of thought, a rigid leader would stick to the initial plan and wait for the four weeks.
Right from the beginning, one can easily note how flexible Branson was in his business undertakings. Even before he sold Virgin Records to Thorn EMI, he has started exploring his business skills by venturing into other sectors. Barely two years before the sale of virgin records, this business man already introduced his mega stores in Japan. Around the same time, he was flexible enough to launch a car line, energy drinks and even buy other companies including Bronco.
Communication is one the elements that are considered to be the key to success in any realm. It entails passing a message in an effective way. Communication allows a leader to share what they have in mind to the people around him, hence putting them in a position to deliver. The Clarity in communication minimizes the chances of error. In business, by eliminating chances of error, efficiency is achieved. By working at a productive rate, one puts himself in a position to maximize on profit and also gain competitive advantage.
Communication in a typical sense is always two ways. Not only should a leader put himself in a position where they can pass the message they want, but they should also have a keen ear to listen to what they are being told. An example would be the family setting where the parents are considered to be the leaders. Apart from guiding the children by giving them instructions, they are also expected to listen to their children. Being in such a predicament does not make them weak, but rather gives them room to be a better parent. Probably they ignored some facts that when reminded by the children, everything would run smoother.
Richard Branson has never been shy to communicate to other leaders, reminding them of the importance of helping the poor. He has started numerous foundations and projects all over the world, aimed at elevating the lives of millions of people ( Marshal 2011). He writes numerous articles, mostly pertaining to steps that one can make to succeed in any venture. His prowess in communicating what he believes is necessary is a virtue I appreciate.
A good leader is expected to be very respectful of the people they are working together. Respect has been quoted to be one of the elements that cannot be bought, but rather earned over time. By treating the characters around you with respect, it is expected that they will do the same. This is an element that allows for a conducive working environment, even in the nursing sector.
There are times when an individual is expected to make critical decisions. In such situations, one can only hope that the decision they made is the right one. Leaders are faced with such challenges in their day to day undergoing. Confidence is a virtue that if mastered, calm and confidence can be nurtured within a particular situation. Confidence entails showing a clear understanding of what is going on and being able to make the decision that is needed. It goes further to focus on the ability to be able to deal with the outcome that follows, whether right or wrong.
Enthusiasm is one of the qualities I love about leadership. Apart from Richard Branson being so rich, he has been known to be very enthusiastic in nature. For numerous years, it has been recorded that he enjoyed duping some of his top management leaders during April fools day. In 2013, it was recorded that he duping one of his partners in business by plotting a robbery at his home. Everything turned south at the end of it all and Branson spent the night in jail. Imagine the joy that comes with knowing the fact that as much as he is very wealthy, he is still enthusiastic enough to enjoy April fools day. It goes a long way in proving how young he is at heart.
Richard Branson has been quoted to be very open minded when it comes to decision-making. In spite of him being smart and business minded while, in the board room, his management has quoted him to be a very simple man who is easy to work with (Porter 2013). Branson puts himself in a position where after an evaluation of the situation, he can still rise to choose some of the ideas proposed to him by his subordinates, rather than always choosing his proposals.
Rewarding is key to motivation in most situations. Richard Branson, after all, his success, rewarded his efforts by buying an island and turning it into his home. He is a man who has numerous charitable investments where he rewards children and achievers in general. By doing this, he believes that he is being played a mentorship role. By rewarding these individuals, he is putting them in a better position to succeed.
Leadership in Nursing
Judging from the achievements made by Branson, there is a lot that can be borrowed from the way he handles himself. It is crucial to heed the fact that even though Richard Branson is a risk taker and also successful in his business dealings, leadership in nursing takes it to a different level. Nurses have the responsibility of ensuring that they offer the best care they can to the people in need. Unlike other professions, nurses stand out to be a people who have to be selfless in their services. This sanctions them to be able to handle all situations in a standardized manner, irrespective of creed, race or even ethnicity. The nurse manager is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that his staff does everything to offer quality services. Nurses bridge the gap between patients’ and medical practitioners, and this makes them key players in saving the lives of millions of people worldwide.
A nursing manager should thrive to develop better communication skills. This would reduce the chances of error in any nursing operation. What makes this element of leadership very important is the fact that lives are always at risk (Marshal 2011). With proper communication, nursing managers are in a position to develop an efficient team that can deliver excellence services to the souls who need it the most.
In the nursing realm, it is important to have a respectful environment. Nurse managers should thrive to mold an environment where not only nurses respect each other, but also extend the same to the patients (Porter 2013). Respect in this case would mean giving consideration to elements including religious backgrounds without judging.
Confidence is important in nursing hence nursing managers should show the same at work. This quality goes a long way into motivating the staff to be confident in what they are doing. Confidence in nursing can mean life or death to the patients who have come looking for help.
A good nursing manager should be in a position to be flexible and able to adapt to changes that come with this profession. Flexibility, in this case, would mean staying at work for an extra hour to help a work-mate or even allowing for a patient to order a specific food they would wish for while hospitalized. It is a fact that numerous changes a taking place in the nursing industry. The fastest changing element is technology, and a progressive thinking nurse manager should be able to consider such measures and work along with them as long as they are geared towards improving the lives of their patients.
A progressive nurse manager should adapt workable systems where they can reward their teams for achievements, both big and small. By rewarding for major actions, the managers motivates the whole team t work harder, in most cases, this is done effectively as a proactive measure, rather than a reactive measure. Showing appreciation for a good deed without being reminded has a bigger impact on the recipient in comparison to if it was the other way round.
Nursing calls for dedication and an inbuilt motivation towards improving the lives of patients. In spite of the fact that patients are always vulnerable and rely on the skill of the nurses, and hence their health status is improved, respect, professionalism, and even open-mindedness are always expected. In order to be fit to operate as leaders, the key ingredient needed revolve around the notion of looking up to the nursing managers. It goes further to have an innate urge to perform the best services to the level allowed by the available resources.
Bonnici, C. A. (2011). Creating a successful leadership style: Principles of personal strategic planning. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Education.
Dearlove, D. (2007). Business the Richard Branson way: 10 secrets of the world's greatest brand builder. Chichester, UK: Capstone.
Jackson, T. (1998). Richard Branson, Virgin King: Inside Richard Branson's business empire. Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub.
Marshall, E. S., & Marshall, E. S. (2011). Transformational leadership in nursing: From expert clinician to an influential leader. New York, NY: Springer.
O'Brien, M. E. (2011). Servant leadership in nursing: Spirituality and practice in contemporary health care. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Porter-O'Grady, T., & Malloch, K. (2013). Leadership in nursing practice: Changing the landscape of healthcare. Burlington, Mass: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
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