Compare the Effectiveness of Different Leadership Styles

Keywords: leadership style comparison, leadership effectiveness

Leadership is an important topic that will always attract attention due to its importance in shaping the fortunes of organizations around the world. Leadership is defined as “the process of influencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objectives” (Yukl, 2010:26). This suggests that for effective leadership to take place there must be communication and understanding between the leader and his followers. The definition suggests that leadership is a “two-way process that influences both individual and organizational performance” (Mullins, 2010:373).

Due to the complex and different nature of organizations, different frameworks and leadership theories have been developed to analyze approaches to leadership in the organizational setting. There are three main styles of leadership, which are the democratic style where the focus of power lies more with the group and not solely with the leader, the authoritarian style where the focus of power lies solely with the leader/manager and the laissez-faire style where the leader observes group member are working on their own (Mullins, 2010:381). The need for these three leadership styles may differ according to the situation. In dealing with an organization in crisis an authoritative style of leadership may be preferable. According to the contingency theories, there is no one particular leadership style for every situation.

In the modern industrial organizations where innovation is key and employee involvement in organizational activities is important, the democratic style of leadership can be most effective. In this style of leadership the employee’s have a greater say in decision-making process and policy determination (Mullins, 2010:381). An evidence of this is the automobile industry; Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was able to achieve results by focusing on sharing ideas with employees and getting feedback through communication.

From the leadership and managerial framework there are various leadership and management approaches (Mullins, 2010:376). These approaches include the qualities traits approach, functional approach, situational approach, transactional, transformational approach or inspirational approach. These different approaches can be applied to different organizations because each organization has its own individual character, culture and identity (Mullins, 2010:78).

The transactional leadership approach can be effective in organizations where operations are carried out according structured rules and principles. This leadership approach would fit as it is based on authority within bureaucratic structures of organizations (Mullins, 2010:391). This leadership approach to organization like banks or government bodies where the focus is mainly task oriented.


Centre of Management Research (2003) The Turnaround Specialist [online] available from <> [20th March, 2011]

Laurie J. Mullins (2010). Management and Organisational Behaviour 9th edn. England: Pearson Education Limited.

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Yukl, G (2010). Leadership in Organisations, 7th edn. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Prentice Hall

Blog 2

Current leadership research and how it can help overcome resistance to change

The leadership challenge model of Jimmy kouzes and Barry Posner can be used to address some of the issues of change in today’s business environment. Kouzes and Posner’s leadership challenge model presents five practices of exemplary leadership; Model the way, inspire a shared vision, challenge the process, enable others to act and encourage the heart.

Model the way: In modeling the way leaders clarify the values that will guide, find their own voice to clearly articulate their values and set their own personal standard of excellence as an example for others to follow.

Inspire a shared vision: leaders should dream of exciting possibilities by envisioning a bright future and fostering this same vision for all his followers.

Challenge the process: leaders should look for innovative ways to improve or grow their organization by defying the status quo.

Enable others to act: leaders should encourage collaboration and build teams based on trust. By doing that they make it possible for their employees to work better.

Encourage the heart: leaders should recognize and honor the contribution of every follower/employee.

This model can be used in used in handling situations where resistance to change occurs in organizations. An example of this where a manager exhibited some aspects of this five models was the TI automotive case study in unit 6. Tim Kuppler was tasked with improving the corporate culture and bottom line of the HVAC unit of TI’s North American business. Kuppler found out the employees were unclear about their mission and ready to embrace change.

Kuppler demonstrated the inspiring a shared vision aspect of the Kouzes and Posner model through unfreezing of the situation and a communicating with employee to have an understanding of the situation to make handles of the situation properly and propose a vision moving forward.

Kuppler challenged the process through bringing innovative ways to implement change. He introduced involvement meetings and created business teams, which were not part of the companies practice before. This also demonstrate enabling others to act as it fostered collaboration and made it possible for the employees to good work. Kuppler finally refreezes the situation leaving the employees with an empowered corporate culture.


Kouzes, J. & Posner, B. Z., (2008) The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition, Jossey-Bass

Moodle (2010) M005LON-Leading in a Changing World-1011JAN [online] available from<> [ 22nd March,2011]

Blog 3

Key tensions in leadership

The business environment is constantly changing; forces like globalization, increasing business competition and innovation are changing the landscape of the business world. These factors provide challenges and tensions that leaders/managers are expected to identify and handle through effective leadership and management.

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Globalization presents challenges for leadership; organizations now employ people from different cultural backgrounds with different values and beliefs.

People perception of authority could vary according to their cultural background and experiences (Mullins, 2010:401). The level of power distance people accept varies and can be linked to their nationality, people from countries like china accept a high power distance while people from most European countries don not a high power distance. Leaders/ managers with a workforce comprising of people from these countries have be aware of that. The situational leadership approach can apply here where the leader bases his/style and behaviour according the situational forces. Tannenbaum and Schmidt suggested three main forces: Forces in the manager, forces in the subordinate and forces in the environment (Mullins, 2010:383).

Leading virtual teams is also another challenge for leaders/managers where communication is through electronic sources (Mullins, 2010:834). The lack of face-to-face contact with members, geographical separation, time difference and cultural difference of team members makes leading virtual teams a challenging task. Leaders of theses teams require different range of skills. Position power has little or no effect in these leading virtual teams. Goleman’s leadership styles will style will work effectively which are the visionary, coaching, affiliative, democratic, pace-setter and commanding.

According to Goleman effective leaders rely on more than one leadership style (Goleman cited in Mullins, 2010:399). The leader of virtual teams with a combination of the styles will be effective. The leader can use the democratic style to foster interaction between through encouraging employee involvement, use the visionary style to create a long-term vision for the group and use the affiliative style to create harmony in the work group.

In dealing with crisis management in organizations, where urgent action is needed to address the problem, an authoritarian leadership style might be preferable. According to Brennen an authoritarian style of leadership is suitable in situations of crisis or emergency where immediate action needs to be taken (Educational Administration and Supervision, nd). Goleman also stated that authoritative style might be over bearing at times, it can be effective (Goleman cited in Mullins, 2010:399).

In order to effectively bring organizational change, it is important for a leader to understand factors that cause resistance to change in the individuals or the organization. This was seen in the TI automotive case study mentioned in my second blog. Tim Kuppler was able to implement the strategic change needed in the company after Identifying cause of resistance to change in the employees. The employees were hesitant to embrace the change process because other Managers tried to implement change but didn’t succeed.

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Moodle (2010) M005LON-Leading in a Changing World-1011 JAN [online] available from<> [ 22nd March,2011]

Laurie J. Mullins (2010). Management and Organisational Behaviour 9th edn. England: Pearson Education Limited.

Educational Administration and supervision (nd) Leadership styles [online] available from

[25th March 2011]

Blog 4

Ethical issues of leadership and how leadership behavior and ethics impacts behavior and perception of followers

Due to the influence powerful leaders can have on the fate of a company and lives of their followers there is a growing interest in the ethical aspects of leadership (Yulk, 2010:329). Declining public trust in business and public leaders is also fueling interest in the ethical aspects of leadership (Kouzes and Posner, 1993 cited in Yulk, 2010:329). Interest in ethical leadership is growing as leaders now face issues of corporate social responsibility (CSR). A leaders behavior toward corporate social responsibility can be a shareholder view. Leaders with this view influence their followers in order to maximize profits with in the boundaries of environmental law (Sternburg 1994).

Leaders behavior has an impact on the behavior of his followers,” Leaders can influence followers into crimes of obedience by making unethical practices appear to be legitimate” (Beu & Buckley, 2004; Hinrichs, 2007 cited in Yulk, 2010:329). Accordng to Yukl, ethical behavior of leaders can be determined by either situational influences or individual determinants. Situational influences factors like organizational culture or formal reward system can support ethical or unethical behavior by leaders. An example of this is the case of Enron, their reward system called the “rank and yank” prompted top executives and managers to engage in unethical practices to gain rewards or maintain employment. This behavior manifested down to their employees.

My leadership goal and aspiration after completing my MBA program is to work in the oil and gas industry in Nigeria and become a leading player in the industry. To achieve this goal I have to improve my leadership capabilities and the MBA program is a platform for me to work on it. I received encouraging feedback for my peers though they were areas I need to work on to improve a leader. The feedback highlighted my leaderships as high emotional intelligence, self-confidence, good interpersonal skills and ability to adapt. These qualities will come in handy in the demanding oil industry. To improve as a leader I would have to adopt different leadership styles, as stated by Goleman that the most effective leaders rely on more than one style (Mullins, 2010:399). By having different styles I will be able to adapt to different situations and use the style that fits the situation best.

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