The Components of Leadership Competences of Technical University Students

Abstract

In this article, an attempt to investigate the components of leadership competences of a technical university student is made, as the question of development of managerial resources of specialist in engineering become more topical, by virtue of the growing level of society’s request and expansion of social experience. Popularity of the notion of competence over the last years is conditional upon the emphasis on the efficiency of employee’s activity, its correspondence to certain standards of behavior, so, the presence of certain knowledge, abilities, skills of employee leads to achieving the target. The topicality of the paper is caused by the circumstance that leadership competences as professionally required qualities of a student - the future engineer - are the main components of his professional adequacy. The purpose of the given paper is to prove theoretically and to test with experiment the complex of pedagogical conditions providing the effective development of leadership competences of a technical university student in the process of studying a humanitarian discipline “Psychological studies and education”. The practical relevance consists in the growing significance of engineer’s leadership and leadership abilities securing smart and effective management of working group, collective, team in conditions of growing business competitiveness and increasing demands on specialists’ quality of work. Dynamic character of life and professional activity acquires from an engineer such qualities as managerial abilities, capability to join the work collective quickly, and readiness to adapt to new work conditions and to normalize the relationships between people in the process of synergy. If a student is able to master these qualities, he will achieve good results in working environment easier.

Keywords: Competence, adequacy, leadership competences, technical university student

1. Introduction

The problem of training of students - the future professional specialists in university in the

conditions of transferring to new forms of social relations in Russia is important under the conditions

of change in socio-economic public life and escalation of situation in labor market. Competitiveness

between the specialists and workers discovered the topicality of revealing the possibilities of the

competitive full-fledged personal enhancement, making important decisions independent character in

university (Burganova, 2013).

The effectiveness of the solution of this problem depends not only on teaching the future specialists

up-to-date technologies, but also on the development of the future specialists’ managerial resource.

Today from graduates not only having the use of professional, but also of well-developed leadership

competences are required (Wudruff, 2005).

The dynamic character of life and professional activity over recent years is associated with the

emphasis on the effectiveness of employee’s activity, his correspondence to certain standards of

behavior, in such a way that the existence of certain knowledge, abilities, skills of the employee leads

to achieving the aim. The engineer must be able to quickly join the work collective, be ready to quickly

adjust to new work conditions and to normalize the relationships between people in the process of

synergy, to tackle problems in independent and responsible manner under extreme conditions

(Burganova, 2013).

It is also important primarily to be able to work in team towards overall result, to participate in

making efficient solutions, be ready to take over the responsibility for the collective and be responsible

for the collective result, even in failure. Positive attitude towards people, aspiration for the

development and having no fear of strong subordinates, as well as ability and readiness to inspire, to

listen to the others, to teach and to be able to organize the work at the place of production, to express

personal point of view, be prepared for making unpopular decisions if necessary are a key to successful

work of the modern specialist. Stress resistance; the absence of aspiration for asserting oneself at the

expense of the others; real motivation for career development; ability to understand, to analyze

people’s behavior are also important (Ivanova, 2011).

In the conditions of growing business competition and increase of demands for the quality of

specialists’ work, the importance of leadership and leadership abilities of engineer, providing smart and

effective managing of a group and collective team is increasing. Day-to-day people have to deal with a

large amount of information, with a great number of managerial decisions – and the right choice of the

behavioral style becomes of increasingly greater importance in the contemporary world. Developing

his leadership competences, the student has an opportunity to reveal the potential abilities of his ego, to

achieve great results avoiding overwork, receiving a new knowledge and taking pleasure while

working (Biktagirova & Valeeva, 2013; Valeeva & Khakimova, 2014; Burganova, 2013; Petrushin,

2004).

Mastering and effective development of leadership competences can be of small importance and

sometimes have decisive meaning for the development, prestige, competitiveness and managerial

potential of specialist.

The purpose of the present article is to examine one of the pedagogical conditions concerning the

development of students’ leadership competences - the use of leadership training on the development

of managerial skills.

2.Research methods

The study and analyses of pedagogical, psychological, philosophical and methodological literature

touching upon the research problem, task-oriented psycho-pedagogical observation, study of operating

results, questionnaire, testing, pedagogical experiment in its various types; pedagogical interpretation

of the investigation results.

3.The investigation results

As our investigation has found, the realization of some pedagogical conditions promotes the

development of undergraduates’ leadership competences. They are as follow: the enrichment of the

academic content “Psychological studies and education” with the situations of social interaction at the

place of production; the performance of individual tasks, group discussions and role playing game,

developing educational activity and independence of technical university students; the use of leadership

training in academic activity; the systematic monitoring of the development level of students’

leadership competences, aimed at revealing the correspondence of academic process to the assumed

result, to the terminal learning objective (Burganova, 2013).

From our point of view, each of these conditions must effectively interact with each other.

In the present article we will examine one of the pedagogical conditions concerning the

development of students’ leadership competences - the use of leadership training in academic activity,

aimed at revealing student’s potential ego, the broadening of beliefs about the leadership as a method

of organization and management of a small group, the activation of leadership potential as aggregates

of self-management and management of other people.

The conception of our training suggests the understanding of leadership as a process of organization

and management of a small group, promoting the achievement of group goals within the specified time

limit and with the optimum efficiency. A leader is a member of group, an informal manager in the

conditions of specific and significant situation for the successful achievement of activity results or a

common aim in a quick manner. The leaders induce people to go beyond simple acceptance of the

system, make more and better than they would do without having any leaders, and their efforts conform

to the achievement of organization’s purposes. The ideal leadership not only causes the achievement of

target goals by the group, but also stimulates the individual development of the members of group,

conduces to their self-actualization (Chiker, 2007, Kipnis, 2005, Kristopher&Smith, 2001).

The leadership training, aimed at the development of student’s leadership competences, presents a

method of psychological impact. By means of this method - using various techniques, people can

broaden their knowledge and capabilities in leadership area, examine leader’s functions:

- coordination and tracking of the working process (the analysis of information on the results, work,

motivation of subordinates, the effective interaction and cohesion within the team, system-oriented

case and activity analysis, forecasting, the amendment of further strategies);

- extra efforts motivation, to promote the joint understanding of the meaning and sense of a target

goal, to stimulate their achievement;

- The ability to change complex problems into simple one;

- To distinguish between the stages of achieving the goal;

- To adhere to the algorithm of making a decision;

- To analyze and systematize the information;

-To structure the thoughts and to expand the main ideas in a concise way;

- To possess oneself, to be reasonable and composed in problem and stressful situations;

- To use the intuitive reserves of consciousness;

- To use other's experiment, assistance and others.

The exercises, which help to realize and overcome one’s own psychological problems hindering the

solution of life and professional problems, are also included in training. In the training, each participant

can with the help of the others and trainer understand his unconscious fears, get rid of interior barriers,

know himself better, discover his good qualities and apply them more effectively, form a more real

appraisal of capabilities, see his own mistakes and faults (Chiker, 2007, Kipnis, 2005, Kristopher,

Smith, 2001).

Petrovskaia (2009), Petrushin (2004), Sidorenko (2004), Chiker (2007) and others actively

conducted the researches in this sphere. The basic leadership theories are also known - the theory of

leader’s features (interactive theory, situational theory, F. Fiedler’s probabilistic theory), V. Vroom, F.

Jetton and A. Jago’s Normative decision model, House’s Path-Goal Theory, The theory of leader’s

roles, synthetic concepts considering the super-leadership as an ability to make the majority of the

followers into the leaders for themselves.

The academic program of training consists of some modules forming the basic conception of the

program. Except for traditional procedures (role playing game, practical exercise, psycho-gymnastics),

the program involves theoretically disputable blocks promoting the understanding of the leadership

nature, advantages and disadvantages of leader’s position, cognitive and communicative leader’s

abilities. In the range of usable methods, creative sessions oriented to the activation of leaders’

creativity are also actively used.

The work of training groups is organized in accordance with the principles: voluntary participation,

permanent self-diagnosis using texts, interaction with other participants by means of a dialogue, the

realization of constant feedback link, the optimization of development, the harmonization of

intellectual and emotional spheres, providing for a breathing space (free movement in a classroom). At

the same time, the humanistic ideas of the training are not to compel a person, to weigh upon him; to

help him to be himself, to overcome stereotypes disturbing him to live joyfully and happily, primarily

in communicating with surrounding people in different social spheres.

The training of leadership competences was conducted at the practice of discipline “Psychological

studies and education”. Total number of training hours - from 18 to 32 depending on number of

academic hours in the discipline. The concrete goals were set before each lesson. Any form of

psychological training demands the corresponding qualification of a teacher.

The purpose of the first module is an acquaintance of students of the group from the perspective of

their leadership abilities and ambitions (claims), labialization of the group, creation of trustful

atmosphere, acceptance of interaction rules within the group. The second module is theoretical. The

role of leadership in the system of the effective organization of a group work, the basic leadership

theories are discussed in it. The third module is a discussion in the process of which the image of “a

universal leader” is able to have influence upon the others in the majority of cases (independent from

situation) is conceptualized.

The aim of the fourth module is the development of leadership motivation by knowing the

advantages of “leader’s” position for personal and professional growth; getting the positive

underpinning from the group when mastering the models of leadership behavior in the situation of

social interaction; the realization that positive changes in one’s own leadership behavior began

happening; the development of a positive image “I’m as a leader”.

At the fifth lesson students familiarize themselves with the techniques of confronting the

manipulators; broad their beliefs about the organizational leadership, solidify knowledge about the

models of leadership behavior.

The sixth lesson includes mini-lecture on confrontation of the lack of self-confidence, manipulation

and media of their neutralization.

The seventh module is the strengthening of knowledge about the models of leadership behavior and

positive leadership motivation. This module includes creative sessions, where people conduct a group

discussion about habits hindering the leadership. The presentation profile of a leader reflecting any

sphere of his life is designed: features that are universal for all leaders, managerial capacity and

abilities, image and leader's behavior, way of life, values, attitude towards other people, having no bad

habits, attitude towards life and managerial style. At the creative session students consider super-

leadership as self-management of their leadership potential. It comprises of an individual generation of

a strategic plan for the purposes and development methods of leader’s behavior and qualities. For this,

creation of motto and its presentation are important.

In the summary round of training the participants, exchange impressions, sum up changes on

individual and group levels, emotional state and new vision of their leadership potential. It is discussed

who and how often, in which situations was advanced by the group as a leader. The student of group

formulate wishes and express gratitude to each other.

As a basic method for studying the results of leadership, competences development was used for the

diagnostic method in the form of written self-reports of the participants. The diagnostics of leadership

potential is conducted at the beginning of the training and upon its completion. In accordance with test

results and observation at the lessons, psychological characteristic is created and personal

recommendations are made.

After gathering all self-reports we present the following picture:

41% of students noted, that they knew much about themselves, about their possibilities, made

discoveries about themselves, found leadership qualities in the organization of joint business activity,

mastered persuasion skills, learned to perform in front of an audience; received important information

on the leadership: gained knowledge, collected thoughts together, understood that person itself builds

the relationships, learned new tasks and exercises.

37% of students found friends, learned to be friends with others, experienced strong emotional

stress, felt strong emotional release, learned to control their emotions when arguing, learned to use non-

verbal means in communicating; opened the world of the other person for themselves, realized that all

people were different, and each person had his own psychology, his own mysterious world; 7,2% of

students took interest in the psychology of leadership, various types of behavior (assertive behavior,

aggressive behavior, passive behavior, active behavior) and the psychology of personality; it became

interesting for students to keep watch over themselves and to analyze their actions.

15,8% of students became more open, “here we told the truth”, “I succeeded in overcoming barriers

in communicating with others”, knew value of communication, “I began to appreciate the magnificence

of communication”, solved the problems in interaction, got rid of mental pain, “overcame range of

speech barriers”, acquired experience in new communication, “learned to understand real-life

unfamiliar situations”.

6,2% of students received a stimulus to self-improvement, “there is a breaking point in my life”, “I

will try to change myself now”, “I understood that I should refine myself”, “I received a stimulus to

creation”; increased their self-acceptance, found themselves, conducted self-analyses of their

leadership potential, understood that “in order to live in comfort, one should constantly step out of his

comfort zone”.

4.Сonclusion

It is noteworthy that the leadership training promoted not only mastering professionally important

qualities and abilities, but also creation of conditions for knowing their potential. The training allowed

the mastering of attainments in level increase of personal effectiveness and consciousness in the sphere

of leadership behavior.

Therefore, the leadership training in business interaction develops the leadership competences. At

first sight, one can hardly develop them, but they certainly will bear fruit and yield results.

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Cite this article as:

Burganova, N. T. (2016). The Components of Leadership Competences of Technical University Students. In & R. Valeeva (Ed.), Teacher Education - IFTE 2016, vol 12. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 19-25). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2016.07.4