Leadership Overload: Where to look when defining leadership.

Leadership is a complex process, there are many theories to date that try to define leadership and what aspects constitute the makeup of an effective leader. Not only are there a list of theories one must consider when looking at a leader, now there is a multitude of different individuals coming out with literature defining their own maxims, an opinion based on individual observations on how they succeeded (PSU, n.d).  These individuals express their opinions on how to be a successful leader believing they are experts in the field and can help you become a successful leader as well.  An article, Nine Leadership books to look out for in 2016, on the Washington Post lists the nine books they believe will allow the readers to “lead smarter, work faster and get ahead on the job” (McGregor, 2015).  With a constant influx of differing perspectives and instructions on how to be a leader it is sometimes hard to put into perspective what it actually means to be a leader. You have to look at the people closest to you and who you have followed to determine what type of leader you want to be. Luckily for me, I have a great example of a leader in my family to help me define leadership.

My dad, Alan Davis, was named a finalist with the honor of being a top Petroleum Engineer by Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (TIPRO) last year.  These engineers were determined by the following criteria:

  • Has had significant experience in Texas
  • Has achieved notable technical results in completion of oil and gas projects
  • Has attained industry recognition in his/her field of engineering expertise
  • Has published technical writings and made public presentations or provided testimony
  • Has served as a mentor or trainer to educate others on technical engineering practices
  • Is active in technical organizations and professional societies (TIPRO, 2015).

If you ask his employees they will tell you he has always wanted to be fair, he believes that if you develop a trusting relationship and allow all individuals to prove themselves, most will step up to the occasion therefore instilling confidence in his employees (H. Barney, personal communication, June 3, 2016).  He does not like to see the mistreatment of his employees and will be vocal if he sees that they are being undervalued (B. Davis, personal communication, June 3, 2016).  If you ask me my father is intelligent, insightful, hard-working, and confident in his abilities.  He leads by example and expects his employees to work together to achieve the goals set in place for them.  He has always been able to read a situation and know how to react in the right way for the better of not only the company but his employees.  With the recent decline in oil prices, my dad is always happy to announce that he has not had to lay off one employee that works for him with the present oil economy.  This speaks to his ability to solve problems as the come along and lead his employees through them.

In today’s society, with the overwhelming amount of information on leadership, I think it is important to look at leadership in perspective on how you want to see yourself.  I believe that the successful leaders are those that know who they are and know what type of leader they want to be.  Everybody creates their own maxim to follow and they do this by personal experience.  Leadership to me is defined by how my dad leads his employees.  I have grown up watching him work in multiple companies and see how people respect him for who he is and how he works.  Therefore when I look at leadership theories and all the noise (maxims) out there today it is easy to disregard those that do not resemble my father’s type of leadership and look at the ones that are the embodiment of how he leads.  This in return will help me learn the key factors on how to be a successful leader, just like my father.

McGregor, J. (2015). Nine Leadership books to look out for in 2016 [news article] Retrieved from: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2015/12/28/nine-leadership-books-to-watch-for-in-2016/

Penn State University (n.d.). Theories vs. Maxims. Retrieved from Penn State University Psychological Foundations of Leadership: https://psu.instructure.com

Texas Independent Producers and Royalty Owners Association (2015). Best Petroleum Engineer. Retrieved from: http://www.tipro.org/component/content/article?id=133

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