In a large organisation there motivations are likely to be as varied as human needs can be - not only for security, higher income and better working conditions but for affection, recognition, deference, esteem, and for both autonomy towards and dependence on the executive leader, for both conformity and individuality - traits that can exist in the same person. Other things being equal, the stronger the motivational base the leader taps, the greater control over that person the leader can exercise. " Thus, leaders are persons who use different methods to ensure that the right work gets done. Hence, not only do leaders need to know how to deal with persons but also must know what the right things are. Leadership is defined in a dictionary as: the position or function of a leader; the ability to lead; or an act or instance of leading.
In a business environment real leadership is the act of pulling your employees forward to a desired level of performance. A distinction can be made between a leader who gets people to achieve specific goals and a leader who gets people to achieve specific goals and develops a self actualisation belief system or culture. Both are exercising leadership. However, one is dealing with "transactions" and the other is "transforming" the character of the organisation. Thus, transactional leadership is when leaders determine what subordinates need to do to achieve objectives, classify the requirements to achieve the objectives and help subordinates become confident they can reach their objectives.
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On the other hand transformational leadership works on the vision for the organisational as a whole and prepares the employees of the organisation to meet the challenges of the future and deal with all of them. Further, the key to understanding real leadership lies in understanding that your employees have different personalities and attitudes; each one has different job responsibilities; each one has a different view of what is important in the operations of the organisation. Therefore, a leader has to cater to all types of employees and use different styles of leadership to bind them together and achieve the objectives of the organisation. Further, there are many ways in which a leader can lead.
However, certain common elements such as a vision of purpose, gaining organisational commitment to this vision of purpose and providing the wherewithall to carry it out, are some of the common elements a leader has to have, irrespective of his style of leadership. Thus, even though leadership styles are not given much importance, especially where there are successful leaders, the style adopted by a leader is an integral part to being a successful leader in the long run. As mentioned earlier persons can perform the vital functions of leadership in many different ways. The style of leadership a leader adopts depends on the situation and on his or her personality traits. The interplay between these two factors is complex. Some situations may favour one style; other situations may favour another style. Some leaders may vary their styles, whereas other leaders may not be able to vary their styles.
As mentioned above, leadership styles are complex and varied as they depend on many behavioural traits. One may look at leadership styles depending on how a person influences others. Leaders may rely on charisma; leaders may use their positional authority; leaders may lead by example, etc. However, this delineation of leadership approaches or styles, is only a matter of emphasis. In practice leaders normally resort to a multiple of leadership styles. Thus, there are many classification of leadership styles and a lot of research has been undertaken on them. This article looks at the broad transitions through which leadership styles have passed. Today, leaders have moved from authoritative to benevolent to consultative and democratic.
These styles also reflect the changes in attitudes of employees, earlier they were completely under the control of the employer, today they are more enlightened and demand dignity and equality. Thus, if a leader does not recognise this he/she will not be successful. Before one discuses the leadership styles in India, one needs to look at the business environment in India. India has today seen a lot of transformation from an unexciting mix of government owned companies and private family owned companies, many of which survived on government licenses to the inflow of multinational companies and lot of Indian companies being run as professional companies. Further, today there is talk of privatizing public sector companies, however, there are some public sector companies earning profits.
All these changes in the business environment has led to a change in the leadership styles, in certain cases leadership styles have changed business. In the public sector the leadership style has been formal authority, wherein the employees do not have the freedom to express themselves. Under such situation the employee will not work to his/her utmost ability, but will only carry out those tasks, which are required of them. There is no scope of being innovative, as mistakes are not accepted. Further, even the leaders of public sector undertakings do have the power to be creative. In order to change the above-mentioned situation, there is a need for the leaders of the public sector companies to change their style of leadership.
They should adopt more democratic and participate styles of leadership and such leadership styles should not be adopted just to show to the employees that they being included in the decision making, but should be introduced in its true spirit. The public sector leaders need to adopt "transformation" leadership, where the employees of an organisation are moved towards achieving objectives, not for the sake of keeping their jobs but because they believe in the objectives of the organisation. As mentioned earlier, in the private sector in India there is a lot of change taking place. With the coming in of foreign investment, Indian enterprises have to be competitive and change with the times.
In the past, India's private sectors comprised of family owned business and the employers did not care much for their employees, as they had the power of money. The leadership style of adopted by them was authoritative. Employees were treated like servants and could be called upon do to tasks that were not part of their job description. Even though the above style of leadership still exists in many private sector companies, there has been a change in the style of leadership in many of the professional run Indian companies. It has become more democratic. However, in order to change the way India companies function, there is a lot of work still to be done. Change of leadership style is an important area in which Indian companies should invest time and energy.
In a labour abundant country, people's satisfaction is an easy thing to forget, however, it is important that their needs are fulfilled, if the organisation is to be successful. People are the greatest asset an organisation has and if leaders of organisation adopt leadership styles that are democratic and transforming, then the organisation would well be on its way to achieving its objectives. As the CEO of GE, Jack Welch has said, "we cannot afford management styles that suppress and intimidate. " Leadership behaviour is moving in many directions. Transformational and charismatic leadership are gaining in importance. There is even talk of whether self-managed groups are better than having leaders.
In the world over, authoritative forms of leadership have collapsed. In India we are at a stage where maybe a totally democratic style of leadership may not succeed. This is because employees at large are not use to being taken into confidence and therefore, if a leader tries to use the democratic style of leadership he may not succeed, however, an enlightened leader must realise that, if the democratic style of leadership is not eventually followed, he may only be successful for a short period. Thus, a leader will need to resort to maybe all the styles of leadership in the course of his interaction with other, however, at the end he/she should make sure that the democratic style of leadership is used most.
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