Leadership Essay

2652 words - 11 pages

This essay shall identify elements of authentic leadership, which are considered applicable to the professional footballing career of Liverpool FC captain, Steven Gerrard. Whilst Gerrard is widely recognised for his leadership role as captain for both club and country, some might argue that several of his authentic leadership traits and attributes are deemed more effective than others. The intrapersonal perspective for authentic leadership described by Shamir & Eilam (2005) is applied. The essay shall explore Gerrard’s achievements, attributes and behaviour, by applying the “four components to authentic leadership” developed by Avolio, Luthans, and Walumbwa (2004). As a result, this will ...view middle of the document...

A good example of an individual that supports this definition, who has accomplished several achievements (“missions”) whilst “improving the organisation” he represents, is Steven Gerrard.
Gerrard firmly established himself as Liverpool's on-field leader and was awarded the captain's armband by the manager, in the season of 2003-2004 (Liverpool FC, 2013). Many footballing professionals have a great deal of respect for Gerrard as a leader, for example, Houllier (2013), former manager, describes him as a player who “never gives up. He leads by example, giving a lot of mental and physical energy to himself and the team.” This was demonstrated during the season of 2003-2004, where he led the Liverpool football team to win the club's fifth European Cup, and his heroics earned him the prestigious title of UEFA's Most Valuable Player. Given these significant achievements, it is fair to presume that over the period of the season, he was able to positively motivate, provide purpose and influence the players around him, which resulted in accomplishments both for himself and the football club (organization).

However, shortly, after winning the European Cup, there was increased speculation surrounding his future at Liverpool Football Club. This speculation amongst fans linked him with a transfer to rival football club, Chelsea. If the transfer to Chelsea was complete, one might suggest, the fans and players at Liverpool FC may have criticized his decision to leave as an act of dishonesty. This in turn could have been detrimental to the relational trust between him and his followers. This could have a negative impact upon his reputation and might have led to questions over his leadership status. This is because, according to George (2003) followers not only hope, but also expect modern day leaders to lead with honesty and a sense of responsibility for those around them. Steven Gerrard responded to the speculation and honored his commitment to Liverpool by signing an extension to his contract, which demonstrated his loyalty to the fans and the players (Liverpool FC, 2013). This illustrates an element of honesty and sacrifice, which are both considered important components for the authentic leadership theory (Seligman, 2002) and (George, 2003).

Although, the above appears to validate Steven Gerrard as a leader according to the leadership definition by the British Army (2012), this high level of success was not consistent every year. This raises the question; does he still remain a leader, applying this leadership definition, even if the individual doesn’t accomplish the same level of achievement? Eagly, (2005) argues that an important element of authentic leadership theory is transparency, whereby leaders are expected to be honest with their followers even through failure. This is later explored in the essay using the term “relational transparency” (Avolio, et al. 2004).

According to Avolio, Luthans, and Walumbwa (2004), authentic leadership is made up of...

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