Perspectives on leadership
Importance of leadership
The quality of leadership is one of the most important factors in determining the success and survival of groups and organization.
Often effective leadership compensates for lack of equipment and resources.
Leadership is not necessarily just about possessing certain traits or using a particular style although these are sometimes important. It’s more about recognizing a goal and being able to influence and motivate a group towards the achievement of that goal.
ABOVE COPIED FROM SHACKLETON, BUSINESS LEADERSHIP, P. 5
Leadership is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute towards the effectiveness and success of the organization of which they are members.
Leadership is the ability of a person to set examples for others and lead from the front. It’s an attribute that influences the environment around us.
In theory leadership it shelf could not be carried out it had to be practiced.
In the opinion of employees’ leadership is that which advances the organization goals while taking care of employees well being.
There are two very important components of effective leadership. One is belief and confidence in leadership which is an indicator of employee satisfaction in the organization. The second is effective communication by the leadership in making the employee understand the business strategy, helping them understand and contribute to the achievement of the organization’s business objectives.
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Leadership inspires the followers makes them to want to try harder and set higher goals for themselves.
There are various theories on leadership. According to trait theory certain personality traits may lead people spontaneously into leadership roles.
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People are born with inherited traits and some of these traits are particularly suited to leadership. People who are good leaders have the right combination of traits. Traits critical to leaders are: adaptable to situations, alert to social environment, cooperative, decisive, energetic, dominant (desire to influence others), self-confident, persistent, tolerant of stress.
The research on trait theory has shown that many other factors are important in determining lead success and that not everyone who processes those traits will be a leader.
While the traits may provide people with the potential for leadership is the capacity to create a vision and implement it that turns the potential into reality.
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Traits do matter and research in psychology is beginning to show which ones are the most important.
Limitations of trait theory are that leadership traits are numerous and have different patterns. For example an approach to leadership in the manufacturing industry succeeds does not mean it would succeed in the aviation industry of the same country.
A crisis or an important event may cause a person to rise to the occasion, which brings out extraordinary leadership, qualities in an ordinary person; this is the Great Event theory.
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The Contingency theory states that there is no best way of leadership and that a leadership style that is effective in some situations may not be successful in others. The optimal leadership style is contingent upon various internal and external constraints.
The most widely accepted theory today is the Transformational leadership which states that leadership skills can be mastered by people who wish to become leaders. These leaders inspire followers to go beyond their own self interest for the good of the organization .They make people to move towards a shared vision, they shared information with the employees giving them knowledge power. This style is appropriate when a new direction is needed in the company. This style also increases efficiency by giving decision making power to the front line employees and also allows the leader to use rewards and recognize behavior that will improve the work place.
Leadership style is the manner and approach of providing direction, implementation of plants and motivating people.
The three major styles of leadership are:
â€¢ Authoritarian or autocratic
â€¢ Participative or democratic
â€¢ Delegative or free reign
Usually good leaders use all three styles with one of them dominant but leaders tend to use only one style.
This style is used when leaders tell their employees what they want to be done and how they want it accomplished by getting the advice or feedback of their employees. This style can be used in conditions when you have all the information to solve the problem and you done have enough time and your employees are well motivated. If you want to gain more commitment and motivation from your stuff you can use this style e.g. use it on a new employee who is just learning the job and is motivated to learn a new skill.
This style involves the leader including the employees in the decision making process. However the leader takes the final decision. Using this style is not a sign of weakness rather it’s a sign of strength that your employees will appreciate. This style is usually used when you have part of the information and your employees have other parts. By having knowledgeable and skillful employees is of mutual benefit because it allows employees to become and feel part of the team and leader to make better decisions.
In this style the leader allows the employees to take 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. As a leader you set priorities and delegate certain tasks. You can use this style when you fully trust your employees and have confidence in the people underneath you.
There is a difference in ways leaders approach their employees. Positive leaders use rewards to motivate them. Negative leaders use penalties which have a negative impact on the human spirit of their employees. They believe that by frightening everyone will result in higher productivity but they achieve the opposite. The morale of the employees’ falls and this leads to lower productivity.
Resent approaches of leadership
This theory explains how individuals understand events and how this relates to their thinking and behavior and also explains the difference in level of motivation between higher and lower achievers. According to this theory high achievers are willing to take on challenges and have faith in their abilities. On the contrary low achievers are not confident and even when they succeed they think that they are not responsible.
In this theory the individual is the centre of attention. This theory is more like derivation of Great Man theory the followers make attributions of heroic or extraordinary leadership abilities when they observe certain behaviors.
In this theory people are motivated by rewards and punishments. Social systems work best with a clear chain of command. The leader exercises bureaucratic authority .The basic objective here is task completion. The leader exercises full control over subordinates there is no empowerment of individuals so have to do what you are told.
All these theories have been followed over the years. Every theory had its positive and negative aspects. There is not one theory that can be followed completely. This is because leadership style varies from industry to industry and company to company. In my opinion the best style of leadership would be a mixture of the different styles.