Leadership Style

Definition of Leadership A leader is someone who can influence others and who has a managerial authority. Leadership is what leaders do. More specifically, it’s the process of influencing a group to achieve goals. Group Leadership Leadership is concerned with control and power in a group. Leadership can be aimed at either maintaining the interpersonal relationships in the group or prodding the group to achieve its task. Kinds of Leadership Groups typically benefit from two kinds of leadership i. e. Instrumental leadership Expressive leadership Instrumental Leadership:

This kind of leadership refers to group leadership that focuses on the completion of tasks. Members look to instrumental leadership to make plans, give orders and get things done. Characteristics of instrumental leadership Instrumental leaders usually have formal, secondary relations with other group members. They give orders and rewards and punish members according to their contribution to the group’s efforts. Enjoy more respect from members when successful. Their main goal is completion of task. Expressive Leadership: Expressive leadership is a group leadership that focuses on the group’s well being.

Example: the democratic style of leadership is an example of expressive leadership. Characteristics of Expressive leadership Expressive leaders take less interest in achieving goals than in promoting the well-being of members, raising group morale and minimizing tensions and conflicts among the group members. Expressive leaders build more personal and primary ties. They show sympathy to their group members. They generally receive more personal affection. Leadership Styles Definition: Leadership styles refer to the various patterns of behavior favored by leaders during the process of directing and influencing workers.

Sociologists describe leadership in terms of decision making styles. The three major types of leadership are the following: Authoritarian or autocratic leadership. Democratic or Participative leadership. Laissez-faire leadership. Although good leaders use all three styles, with one of them normally dominant, bad leaders tend to stick with one style. In the past several decades, management experts have undergone a revolution in how they define leadership and what their attitudes are toward it. They have gone from a very classical autocratic approach to a very creative, participative approach.

Somewhere along the line, it was determined that not everything old was bad and not everything new was good. Rather, different styles were needed for different situations and each leader needed to know when to exhibit a particular approach. Authoritarian Leadership This is often considered the classical approach. It is one in which the manager retains as much power and decision-making authority as possible. The manager does not consult employees, nor are they allowed to give any input. Employees are expected to obey orders without receiving any explanations.

The motivation environment is produced by creating a structured set of rewards and punishments. This style is used when leaders tell their employees what they want done and how they want it accomplished, without getting the advice of their followers. Some of the appropriate conditions to use it are when you have all the information to solve the problem, you are short on time, and your employees are well motivated. This leadership style has been greatly criticized during the past 30 years. Some studies say that organizations with many autocratic leaders have higher turnover and absenteeism than other organizations.

These studies say that autocratic leaders: Rely on threats and punishment to influence employees. Do not allow for employee input. Autocratic leadership is not all bad. Sometimes it is the most effective style to use. These situations can include: New, untrained employees who do not know which tasks to perform or which procedures to follow. Effective supervision can be provided only through detailed orders and instructions. A manager’s power is challenged

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by an employee. Democratic or Participative leadership

The democratic leadership style is also called the participative style as it encourages employees to be a part of the decision making. The democratic manager keeps his or her employees informed about everything that affects their work and shares decision making and problem solving responsibilities. This style requires the leader to be a coach who has the final say, but gathers information from staff members before making a decision. Democratic leadership can produce high quality and high quantity work for long periods of time. Many employees like the trust they receive and respond with cooperation, team spirit, and high morale.

Typically the democratic leader: Develops plans to help employees evaluate their own performance. Encourages employees to grow on the job and be promoted. Recognizes and encourages achievement. Like the other styles, the democratic style is not always appropriate. It is most successful when used with highly skilled or experienced employees or when implementing operational changes or resolving individual or group problems. This is normally used when you have part of the information, and your employees have other parts. Note that a leader is not expected to know everything — this is why you employ knowledgeable and skillful employees.

Using this style is of mutual benefit — it allows them to become part of the team and allows you to make better decisions. Laissez-faire leadership Laissez faire is a French word meaning noninterference in the affairs of others. Laissez means to let, allow and faire means to do. The laissez-faire leadership style is also known as the “hands-off? style. It is one in which the manager provides little or no direction and gives employees as much freedom as possible. All authority or power is given to the employees and they must determine goals, make decisions, and resolve problems on their own.

In this style, the leader allows the employees to make the decisions. However, the leader is still responsible for the decisions that are made. This is used when employees are able to analyze the situation and determine what needs to be done and how to do it. You cannot do everything! You must set priorities and delegate certain tasks. This is an effective style to use when: Employees are highly skilled, experienced, and educated. Employees have pride in their work and the drive to do it successfully on their own. Outside experts, such as staff specialists or consultants are being used.

Employees are trustworthy and experienced. Varying Leadership Style While the proper leadership style depends on the situation, there are three other factors that also influence which leadership style to use. The manager’s personal background. What personality, knowledge, values, ethics, and experiences does the manager have? What does he or she think will work? The employees being supervised. Employees are individuals with different personalities and backgrounds. The leadership style managers use will vary depending upon the individual employee and what he or she will respond best to. The company.

The traditions, values, philosophy, and concerns of the company will influence how a manager acts. There are a lot of arguments for and against each of the effective leadership styles. For example, the followers of an authoritarian leader are more prone to having low motivation and morale. They may find it difficult to get inspired because the leader is more impersonal, task oriented, demanding, and not considerate of their opinions. However despite this, there are situations where an authoritarian leadership style is the most effective. Such as when time is short, when the leader has all the information and a quick decision is needed.

Anything other than an authoritarian leader will result in poorer outcomes. Theories of Leadership People have been interested in leadership since they have started coming together in groups to accomplish goals. However, it wasn’t until the early part of the twentieth century that researchers usually began to study it. These early leadership theories focused on the leader (trait theories) and how the leader interacted with his or her group members (behavioral theories) while subsequent theories looked at other variables such as situational factors and skill level.

While many different leadership theories have emerged, most can be classified as one of eight major types: ‘Great Man’ Theory Early research on leadership was based on the study of people who were already great leaders. These people were often from the aristocracy, as few from lower classes had the opportunity to lead. This contributed to the notion that leadership had something to do with breeding. The idea of the Great Man also strayed into the mythic domain, with notions that in times of need, a Great Man would arise, almost by magic.

This was easy to verify, by pointing to people such as Eisenhower and Churchill. The term “Great Man” was used because, at the time, leadership was thought of primarily as a male quality, especially in terms of military leadership. Trait theory In searching for measurable leadership traits, researchers have taken two approaches: Comparing the traits of those who have emerged as leaders with the traits who have not and Comparing the traits of effective leaders with those of ineffective leaders.

Early research on leadership was based on the psychological focus of the day, which was of people having inherited characteristics or traits. Attention was thus put on discovering these traits, often by studying successful leaders, but with the underlying assumption that if other people could also be found with these traits, then they, too, could also become great leaders. Trait theories often identify particular personality or behavioral characteristics shared by leaders. But if particular traits are key features of leadership, how do we explain people who possess those qualities but are not leaders?

This question is one of the difficulties in using trait theories to explain leadership. Behavioral theory When it became evident that effective leaders did not seem to have a particular set of distinguishing traits, researchers tried to isolate the behavior characteristics of effective leaders. In other words, rather than try to figure out who effective leaders are, researchers tried to determine what effective leaders do i. e. how they delegate tasks, how they communicate with and try to motivate their followers or employees and so on.

Behaviors, unlike traits, can be learned, so it is followed that individuals trained in appropriate leadership behaviors would be able to lead more effectively. Participative theory A Participative Leader, rather than taking autocratic decisions, seeks to involve other people in the process, possibly including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders. Often, however, as it is within the managers’ whim to give or deny control to his or her subordinates, most participative activity is within the immediate team.

These leaders encourage participation and contributions from group members and help group members feel more relevant and committed to the decision-making process. In participative theories, however, the leader retains the right to allow the input of others. The level of participation may also depend on the type of decision being made. Decisions on how to implement goals may be highly participative, whilst decisions during subordinate performance evaluations are more likely to be taken by the manager.

Contingency theory Contingency theories are a class of behavioral theory that contends that there is no one best way of leading and that a leadership style that is effective in some situations may not be successful in others. Contingency theories of leadership focus on particular variables related to the environment that might determine which particular style of leadership is best suited for the situation. According to this theory, no leadership style is best in all situations. Success depends upon a number of variables, including the leadership style, qualities of the followers, and aspects of the situation.

This theory focuses on the following factors: Task requirement. Peer’s expectations and behavior. Employees’ characteristics, expectations and behavior. Organizational culture and policies. Situational theory One of the major contingency approaches to leadership is Paul Hersey and Kenneth H. Blanchard’s “situational leadership model” which holds that the most effective leadership style varies with the “readiness” of employees. When a decision is needed, an effective leader does not just fall into a single preferred style, such as using transactional or transformational ethods. In practice, as they say, things are not that simple. Factors that affect situational decisions include motivation and capability of followers. This, in turn, is affected by factors within the particular situation. The relationship between followers and the leader may be another factor that affects leader behavior as much as it does follower behavior. The leaders’ perception of the follower and the situation will affect what they do rather than the truth of the situation.

The leader’s perception of themselves and other factors such as stress and mood will also modify the leaders’ behavior. Transformational or Charismatic theory Working for a Transformational Leader can be a wonderful and uplifting experience. They put passion and energy into everything. They care about you and want you to succeed. One area of growing interest is the study of individuals who have an exceptional impact on their organizations. These individuals may be called “charismatic” or “transformational” leaders.

First, many large companies including IBM, GM etc have embarked on organizational “transformations” programs of extensive changes that must be accomplished in short periods of time. Bass’s theory of transformational leadership Bass defined transformational leadership in terms of how the leader affects followers, who are intended to trust, admire and respect the transformational leader. He identified three ways in which leaders transform followers: Increasing their awareness of task importance and value. Getting them to focus first on team or organizational goals, rather than their own interests.

Activating their higher-order needs. Bass has recently noted that authentic transformational leadership is grounded in moral foundations that are based on four components: Idealized influence Inspirational motivation Intellectual stimulation Individualized consideration Transactional or Management theory Management theories (also known as “Transactional theories”) focus on the role of supervision, organization, and group performance. These theories base leadership on a system of reward and punishment. Managerial theories are often used in business; when employees are successful, they are ewarded; when they fail, they are reprimanded or punished. The early stage of Transactional Leadership is in negotiating the contract whereby the subordinate is given a salary and other benefits, and the company gets authority over the subordinate. When the Transactional Leader allocates work to a subordinate, they are considered to be fully responsible for it, whether or not they have the resources or capability to carry it out. When things go wrong, then the subordinate is considered to be personally at fault, and is punished for their failure (just as they are rewarded for succeeding).

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