Leadership in Human Resource Management
Prepared by: Marc Ian DiVall
Date: 09 March 2013
Table of Contents
Modern Business Structure
Common traits found in leaders
Identifying & Developing Leaders
The Oxford Dictionary defines a leader as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country” and leadership as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this”. It would seem that these definitions hold a certain discrepancy. Given the definition of leadership, one could argue that the definition of a leader should in fact be the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country, or has the ability to do this. In terms of Human Resource Management (HRM), it’s important, and even necessary, to consider the latter as the true definition of a leader. (Zaccaro, Kemp, & Bader, 2003) It’s clear that a leader is not necessarily someone who leads but also someone who has the ability to lead - Someone who possesses the necessary skills, character traits, and personality traits required to be a high quality leader.
Allow me to create a scenario to illustrate the ideas that will be explored in this paper.
Picture yourself on an airplane. You’re on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. It’s the middle of the night. There’s a lot of turbulence and you look out your window to see that you’re flying through an electrical storm. You feel the airplane sharply turning around. At this point the turbulence picks up and carry-on luggage is flying out of the overhead compartments. A solid metal suitcase flies out of the compartment above you and hits you over the head. You blackout. The next thing you know, you wake up on a beach at the crack of dawn. People are around you are crying and screaming. Some people are helping each other out of the water and on to the beach and others are collecting luggage and other items that have floated from the severely damaged airplane that’s floating a few miles off the coast. It’s chaos. You join the chaos and start helping people on to the beach your self. Suddenly, everyone stops, pointing to the aircraft and staring as they watch it sink into the ocean. After a couple more hours of collecting and salvaging whatever items happened to float ashore, you sit on the beach and sigh in disbelief of what has just happened. At this point you notice that someone has made a fire on the beach and that people are gathering around the fire so naturally, you join the group. Now you find yourself surrounding a fire with 50 other frightened survivors. The pilot didn’t survive the crash but the copilot, a young apprentice, is around the fire. He gets everyone’s attention and announces that while in flight, the pilot decided to make an emergency landing in Fiji because of the intensity of the electrical storm they were flying through, putting the airplane about 75 miles off course. There are thousands of small islands in the south pacific and he doesn’t know where they are. He adds that because they were so far off course, it will likely take search and rescue teams about two to three weeks to find the group of survivors. After the announcement, the group of 51 frightened survivors is now a group of 51 frightened and frantic survivors. This is where the fun starts. There is a group of 51 people with the common goal of surviving. It’s quite clear who the leaders are in modern society. When we hear the term leader, we immediately think of the highly educated, the presidents, prime ministers, kings, queens, CEOs, Managers, supervisors, etc. but in this scenario, none of that exists. There are no pre-determined positions, no set leaders or laborers; only 51 strangers who...
Bibliography: Dr. Richard N. Knowles, Engaging the Natural Tendency of Self-Organization, World Business Academy, 2006
Stephen J. Zaccaro, Cary Kemp, & Paige Bader, Leader Traits and Attributes, 2003, Major’s School of Leadership,
Alison Doyle, Group Interview Questions, www.about.com, 2013
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