Last Updated 11 Oct 2020

What Is Leadership Qualities

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What is leadership? Leadership is the ability to influence people. It is the ability to inspire them, to make them reaching some definite aims. There are several types of leadership and we’ll examine some of them, such as control, co-operation and autonomy in order to discuss the circumstances in which each would be more appropriate.

One of the forms of leadership is control. There is a hypothesis, according to which men are more oriented on such type of leadership than women. It means, that women have tendency to more democratic style of leadership, which includes own ability for participation in work process as well as showing less autocracy, whereas men have tendency for more directive style, which includes control.

In accordance with one of theories, people don’t like to work and try to avoid work if they have such possibility. Also people don’t have ambitions and try to avoid responsibility, preferring to be under somebody’s management. Most of all they want to feel protected. In order to force people to work, you need to use force, control and threat of punishment.

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Basing on such suppositions, a leader tries to centralize his power, “structures work of his subordinates and almost doesn’t give them freedom in taking decisions” (Juran 1991, p.81). Such kind of leader also manages the whole work within limits of his competence and, in order to provide with fulfillment of work, can make psychological pressure and threat.

Such type of leader tries to control everything, forcing his subordinates to obey rules, which strictly stipulate and determine behavior of his workers. This style of leadership is more often unsuccessful. It can ruin the mental climate in the company. First of all, the flexibility of taking decisions suffers. In case such authoritative manager takes controlling decisions, he doesn’t takes into account opinions of his workers. In such a way, any new idea cannot appear.

People see that the manager doesn’t take care of their opinion and stop to offer new ideas, because they know that they will not be heard. Workers also don’t have feeling of responsibility for quality of their labor. As soon as they don’t have possibility to be initiative, they don’t understand work as motivation.

Another type of leadership is co-operation. This is style of leadership, when a manager tries to join people for “fulfillment of the aim, without strict control” (Kondo 2000, p.113). This is a form of dialogue, not monologue. The leader acts as a connecting-link. He works in a team, making sure that aims of a definite group corresponds to the aims of organization in total. At the same time he takes care that organizational group receives all necessary resources. The leader creates atmosphere of confidence and openness, and in such a way people can always ask him for help if necessary. Such double-sided communication plays determining role in co-operation process.

Such style of leadership is good in any case. Especially it is good when it is important to support peace and harmony, to increase mental spirit in the working team, to establish communication or to restore confidence. For example, there was a working team, which was managed by leader, who supported control as his style of leadership. He achieved aims of company at the same time knocking together his workers. Of course, he was doomed to failure and the company experienced atmosphere of total distrust and weariness. The new leader, the honest and sincere person, established atmosphere of co-operation and the company was saved.

Still, we don’t advise to obey such style of leadership only. There is a weak point – the special emphasis on encouragement. It can happen that nobody will re-do a bad work or somebody will have impression that the atmosphere of co-operation and friendly relations can recompense such bad attitude to work.

The third type of leadership is autonomy. Such leader understands that the labor is a natural process. When conditions are favorable, people will take the responsibility and will be glad to have it. Such leader thinks that if people have relation to organizational aims, they will use self-control and self-management. Such relationship is a function of recompense, which is connected with achievement of aim. The leader considers that all people have ability to solve problems, whereas intellectual potential of average worker is used partially.

Thanks to such position, more democratic leader prefers such mechanisms of influence, which appeal to demands of higher level: high aim, autonomy and self-expression. Such leader avoids imposing his will on workers. Organizations, which have such democratic style, are characterized by “high extent of decentralization of power” (Hemphill 1954, p.47).

Workers take active part in taking decisions and have wide freedom in executing tasks. The manager explains aims of organization and very often allows to his subordinates determining their own aims in accordance with those aims, which he formulated before. The leader doesn’t execute strict control in the process of work. On the contrary, the manager waits until the work will be fulfilled completely, and then after estimates it.

As far as such leader supposes that people are motivated by demands of higher level – in social relations – he tries to make obligations of his subordinates more attractive. He tries to create situation, where people will be able to make self-motivation to some extent, because their work is appreciated as recompense. The leader also helps to understand his workers that they are able to solve the major part of their problems by themselves, and they don’t have to look for his help or approval.

Nevertheless, such style of leadership, although it is quite good, also cannot be used as the only way of leadership. Leaders, who apply to autonomy, rarely give advises. So, the workers have to think by their own. When people have to be guided by some authority, sometimes they cannot receive direct and clear instructions to find a way out. It means that people can take more responsibility than they are able to control. In case a company will be guided by such style of leadership only, it can suffer losses.

Probably, this is a reason that such style of leadership is often used together with control. Authoritative leaders formulate tasks and explain how to fulfill them. Then after they appeal to “leaders which establish co-operation and autonomy” (Edgeman 1998, p.190) among the subordinates and the aim will be achieved for sure.

Such style of leadership also has bad consequences. It is not very successful, when subordinates are not qualified enough to work as isolated group. Such kind of leadership also cannot be used when a company experiences crisis.

Still, we can say that leadership, who is oriented on people (co-operation and autonomy), is acceptable in moderately favorable situations. Leader, oriented on the fulfillment of task (such style of leadership as control), can achieve better results than leader, who is oriented on people. Nevertheless, we need taking into account human factor, because management can be successful or unsuccessful, depending on how group accepts it: as power or as leader.

Researches in the field of leadership show that there are situations, where executors behave themselves at the level of lower demands (one system of value – controlling type of leadership). In such situations more democratic style, which requires autonomy or co-operation and it can decrease the level of their satisfaction from work and influence effectiveness of work. For example, manager can ask his subordinates to take decision how to fulfill the task.

Still, if they don’t have respect towards the labor of their colleagues (if they are not able to co-operate or take independent decisions), they will not be able to accept the management style as positive aspect. Moreover, such proposal of co-operation or autonomy can spoil the whole process of work, when people are used to be controlled. Still, the position of strict autocracy also can bring bad results.

A good leader should know demands, motivation, level of his subordinates and their potential abilities. In case the working team is heterogeneous, the leader will face contradictions and problems. So, the best way is to use a combination of all three styles, because each of them separately is not effective.

Works Cited:

Edgeman, Rick L. (1998) Principle — centered leadership and core value development, The TQM Magazine, Vol.10

Hemphill, J. (1954) A proposed theory of leadership in small group — Second preliminary report, Columbus

Juran, J.M. (1991) Strategies for world class quality, Quality Progress, Vol. 24

Kondo, Y. (2000). Participation and Leadership, Budapest, Proceedings 44th EOQ Congress, Vol. 2

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