Determinants of Effective Leadership

Keywords: determinants of leadership, models of leadership

Leadership is “the behavior of an individual when he/she is directing the activities of a group towards a shared goal”. A leader is seen as someone who sets the paths in an effort to influence people to adhere to those paths. Leadership is an action and not just a position. It can be shown via different people in various situations. A person is not born to be a leader but cultured through the upbringing and environment.

A leader’s personal characteristics are also vital for the developments and motivations of the organizations. True leaders such as the teachers who illustrated that leadership is an action (teaching and leading the students) and not a position.

Touching the lives and affecting the outcome of many different expectations, a teacher is the epitome of a leader. A leader has his or her own style of motivating the people in the organizations. A leader must find the best skills in order to provide directions, motivations and purposes. Effective leaders are flexible.

Organizational Leadership Model

The effective leadership influence is not the same for everyone. It depends on their ranks in the organization and abilities which are required in leaders. The three basic leadership roles identified: initiation, speech, and management.

1. Initiation

Initiation refers to planned decision making on policy formulation or structural change. These vital decisions are the determinants of the organization’s culture and mission.

2. Speech

Strategic decisions and methods designed for implementation within the establishment. It includes adjusting or adding on to the present structure towards new policy demands.

3. Management

Management is putting into practice the policies and measures that are available to maintain the operations of the organization efficiently.

These three kinds of Leadership are naturally executed at diverse ranks in the company with different abilities and skills. The top level management would initiate new policies that involve a change in the business’s structure or understanding the company’s mission. An understanding of the entire organization, culture, mission, vision and how it correlates with the external parties is mandatory for these top level individuals. They represent the organization and what the business stands for.

Understanding the policy decisions and practicing them to the existing organization via utterance or speech is usually made by the intermediate-level managers. They must uphold a two-way point of reference by taking orders from the above management and adapting them for the lower groups of people in the organization.

Type of Leadership


Typical Organizational






Initiation: Change, creation and elimination of structure

Top echelons

System perspective





piecing out of structure



pivotal roles

Subsystem perspective:

two-way orientation

Integration of primary

and secondary

relations: human

relation skills

Management: use of

existing structure

Lower levels

Technical knowledge

and understanding

of system of rules

Concern with equity in

use of rewards and


EXHIBIT 16.1 Three Leadership Patterns, Their Location in the Organization, and Their Skill Requirements [2] 

The company’s policies and procedures will be administered by the Lower-level supervisors. These personnel must possess both the technical knowledge and a clear perception of the organization’s rules in order to be successful. They have to continually deal with issues such equity, rewards and punishments in leading others. Leadership plays a crucial role in an organization since it always makes the difference between effective and ineffective organizations. Leadership is when a person manipulates others to perform a task at their own will which they would not normally do. Leadership is a vital process to an organization and it can be deliberated on three different stages; i.e. the individual, group and organization.

Analysis at the individual stage: the leadership studies have paid attention on the successful leader’ personalities. Behaviors of both formal and informal leaders are focused at the group level. The effectiveness of an organization is decided by the relations between the leader, follower and circumstances. The studies have caused an emergence of situational theories or contingency theories of leadership.

In Search for Leadership

An organized search for leadership qualities first began after the turn of the century. The requirements in selecting and training efficient leaders were emphasized during the World War I and the quarter century between World War l and World War II; numerous studies were made to examine the personal characteristics of good leaders. These studies are usually referred as characteristic studies since the primary goal was to classify the traits and personal characteristics of successful leaders.

The diverse methods used to study these leadership traits could possibly be the reason in the irregularities of the results. The manner of studies was not consistent in identifying the leaders. A majority of the studies was in comparing efficient with inefficient leaders or leaders with non-leaders. Some were identified by external observers, others selected by the group by way of recommendation or voting, nominated by observers such as teachers while some were chosen because they are in a leadership status such as student-body president or team captain. The studies were also conflicting in the way they deliberated on the traits. Some traits were measured by mental tests; others relied on viewers to spot the traits they have seen while some depended on the persons to report their own personality traits.

The trait studies were quite unsatisfactory as a whole especially since they had hoped to cultivate a measure of leadership that predicted leader effectiveness accurately. The spotlight on the leadership research moved because of the flimsy results, to contingency studies which investigated more than just traits of a leader. Numerous traits formed an important divergence in leadership effectiveness and they interrelated with other conditional variables to stimulate the effectiveness of the leader.

Physical Behaviors

Physical factors such as height, weight, physique, energy, health, and appearance are also examined in the studies. It was concluded that there is a relationship between the above features and leadership. Apparently leaders have the tendency to be taller, heavier, better fitness, greater physique, higher energy output and more attractive in appearance.

For example, executives in insurance companies were taller than policyholders, bishops were taller than clergymen, university presidents were taller than college presidents, sales managers were taller than sales representatives and railway presidents were taller than station agents. However, these types of results were not always reliable and consistent. The results neither are too weak in general and not consistent to be effective in selecting leaders nor are they helpful for training functions since not much can be made to alter most of these physical traits.


It was generally agreed that leaders are more intellectual than non-leaders and the relationship was shown in the various studies. The relationship could probably begin from the reality that leadership functions largely depend upon careful problem solving. All three leadership roles – initiation, speech and management necessitate great mental ability. In general, it is safe to assume that leaders are more intelligent than non-leaders but the relationships are small. Many other variables other than intellect inspire leadership effectiveness.

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It was also suggested that leaders should not be too intelligent than the group because associates who are notably brilliant than others are rarely chosen as leaders since the other members tend to snub them. Individuals with high IQ’s are inclined to have different sets of vocabulary, networks and aspirations that would create communication and inter-relations problems.

Leaders do extremely well generally at school/college/university and score better grades. It is important for effective leadership to know how to do things. Thus general and practical knowledge are essential. Some studies have revealed the positive relationship between general knowledge and leaderships’ ability.

Characteristic Traits

Only a partial of the characteristic traits seem to be related to leadership and most are not especially convincing. It was suggested that the average leader is more used to social displays, greater initiative, persistent, knows how to get things done, self-confident, displays greater cooperativeness and adaptability, and possesses greater verbal skills to facilitate communication. [3] Leaders were found to be more emotionally mature than non-leaders in the personality integration or emotional adjustment. It can be concluded that personal characteristics are related to leadership.

Effective leadership does not depend on a mixture of personality traits only because situational variables are also important since they always decide whether a character was associated with effective leadership either positively or negatively. Leadership must be considered as an interface of three variables: leader’s characteristics, subordinate’s and nature of the task.

Many styles of leadership were defined as a result of the studies of leaders’ behaviors. One of the earlier studies compared three leadership styles: authoritarian democratic and laissez-faire. The finest researches on the styles of leadership are made together at the same time; i.e. The Ohio State University and the University of Michigan. The researchers acknowledged two leader behaviors that were similar although the investigations were conducted separately. These two dimensions of leadership have been to form an instrument, called the Managerial Grid [4] , that has been used for research and training.

Authoritarian, Democratic, and Laissez-faire [5] Leadership

The diverse political systems in the United States and Germany before World War II inspired studies of leadership which evaluated the effects of three leadership styles: authoritarian, democratic, and laissez faire. In the democratic leadership style, decisions were made by vote of majority; equal participation encouraged; criticism and punishment minimal. In the autocratic leader, the leader made all the decisions and others must follow the set procedures strictly. In the laissez-faire leader, there was minimal actual leadership and others were permitted to work and play as usual without proper directives.

Initiating Structure and Consideration

The two leadership factors were initiating structure and consideration in which consisted of leadership behaviors associated with organizing and defining the work, the work relationships, and the goals. A leader who has structure assigned people to do specific jobs, expected workers to follow set routines and meet deadlines. The consideration factor is showing friendship, mutual trust, warmth and concern for subordinates.

Production-Centered and Employee-Centered Leader Behaviors

Production – centered behaviors were akin to initiating structure in which leaders would establish targets, gave directives, checked on operations and planned the group Employee’s work. Centered behaviors were similar to the consideration’s dimension in which the leader would develop a caring personal relationship with the subordinates and encouraged a two-way communication with them. The relationship between production-centered and employee centered behaviors are found to be independent scopes of leadership. A leader with strong production orientation does not mean that he is disinterested in the employees.

Managerial Grid [6] 

A conceptual framework combining a concern for task accomplishment and a concern for people was created by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton called the Managerial Grid. Blake and Mouton assumed that the most effective leadership style is demonstrating both concern for production and concern for people. There are leaders primarily more concerned with accomplishing the production and task not concerned about people. This person wants the job done and schedule followed at all costs. There is also individual who is not concerned whether the group produces anything but concerned more about the members’ personal needs, interests and inter-personal relationships. An ideal leader wants to meet schedules and get the job done but at the same time is highly concerned about the feelings and interests of the group members.

The Managerial Grid [7] is popular among managers. It is used extensively as part of a training program to assess their leadership style. However, the effectiveness of the Managerial Grid is not consistently supported. The burden of the situation, expectations of other group members and nature of the work performed interact in complicated ways that call for a variety of leadership styles. The leadership style is not always the most effective.


The effectiveness of the different leadership styles must be combined with different organizational factors to assess their effect effectiveness. Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard developed a situational leadership model that combined three variables:

(1) the amount of guidance and direction (task behavior) a leader gives;

(2) the amount of emotional support (relationship behavior) a leader provides;

(3) the readiness level (maturity) that follows, exhibit in performing a specific task or function

Four potential leadership styles are created by combining different amounts of task and relationship behaviors.

S1: Telling

Give instructions and supervise performance closely. Suited for followers who are unwilling but of low maturity.

S2: Selling

Decide and provide opportunity for explanation. Appropriate for followers who are not able but willing.

S3: Participating

Sharing ideas in making decisions. Suited for followers who are able but not willing.

S4: Delegating

Responsibility handed over for decisions and performance. Appropriate for groups who are able and willing.

Contingency Theory of Leadership

The interaction of the leadership style and the situation. Fiedler’s major contributions consist of:

(l) identifying the leadership orientation of the leader and developing a way to measure it; and

(2) identifying three situational factors influencing leadership and developing a method of measuring them.

Leader Orientation

Leaders were identified as either relationship-oriented or task-oriented. Relationship-oriented: look at others as coworkers and see close interpersonal relations as a requirement for accomplishing the task. Task-oriented: show a strong emotional reaction against people with whom they have difficulty working.

Situational favorableness

(1) whether the relationships between the leader and the members are good or bad;

(2) the task is relatively well planned or not; and

(3) the leader’s authority is relatively strong or weak.

The second most important situational variable was the task structure which was evaluated by judges who examined four aspects of the task structure.

Clarity: which the requirements of the job are clearly stated,

Multiplicity: which the problems encounter can be solved.

Verifiability: which the correctness of the decisions can be ascertained.

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Specificity: which there are generally more solutions involved in performing the task.

Group effectiveness

Relationship-oriented leaders excel in situations of intermediate favorableness where concern for the group members is apparently a necessary prerequisite for motivating them to perform well. In these situations, people want to have leaders who care about them. Task-oriented leaders however are more effective when the situation is either very favorable or very unfavorable. impossible situation.

Path-Goal Model

Directive leadership: subordinates are told what to expected and specific guidance, standards, and schedules of work provided.

Supportive leadership: subordinates are treated equally and concern for their well- being, status, and personal needs; develop pleasant interpersonal relationships among the group members.

Achievement-oriented leadership: challenging goals are set and subordinates are expected to perform at their highest level, improvement in performance always.

Participative leadership: subordinates are consulted on suggestions and ideas in making decisions.

Situational factors

Situational factors-the characteristics of the follower and environmental factors. Three characteristics of the followers have been identified as significant variables determining the appropriate leadership style:

(1). Locus of control: Internal – believe their rewards are based on their own effort. External – believe their rewards are controlled by external forces.

(2). Authoritarianism: an individual’s willingness to accept the influence of others.

(3). Abilities: The followers’ ability and experience influence a leader whether they are able to work with an achievement oriented leader or a supportive leader who patiently encourage and instruct them. The path-goal model identifies three environmental factors moderating the effects of leadership styles:

the nature of the task,

the formal authority system within the organization; and

the group norms and dynamics.

These environmental factors can influence the effectiveness of different leadership styles in a variety of ways.

Normative Decision-Making Model of Leadership

The normative decision-making model is a contingency theory of leadership. It does not assume any leadership style as appropriate for all situations. Leaders must develop a range of leadership styles and take on the style that is most appropriate to the situation. Leaders need to know when to consult others and when consultation is a waste of time.

Although the leader may serve as the chairman of the group, the leader is simply one of the groups and does not try to influence the group to adopt a particular solution.

Criteria for selecting a leadership style.

The criteria used for assessing the efficiency of a leadership style: quality and acceptance. The quality of the decision refers to its accuracy and the extent to which it will achieve some objective. The quality of decisions depends on accurate and relevant information Conferring with other group members often provides additional information.

Diagnostic decision rules.

Managers choose the most autocratic of the styles to save time and minimize costs. If the aim was to further the subordinates’ personal development, the participative style is selected. In some strategies, the manager decides alone. At times, the manager makes the decision alone after consulting with the subordinates as an advisory group.

Comparing the leadership models. All situational leadership models contribute to our understanding of the leadership by emphasizing the effect of external factors on a particular leadership style. Different leadership styles suggest styles that are determined by various situational factors. The models focus on different methods: different situational factors and different criteria for selecting the best style: task-oriented versus relationship-oriented.

The four leadership styles: directive, supportive, participative, and achievement-oriented The normative decision-making model identifies three leadership styles: autocratic, consultative, and participative. The situational factors influencing the effectiveness of leadership are quite different in each of the models. An important reason for some of this difference is that the normative decision- making model equates leadership with making decisions and looks at only this function of leadership. In addition, the models use rather different criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of leadership.


Although deciding what makes an effective leader seems as if it should be a simple decision, however, individuals who are in the positions of leadership are faced with the practical question of deciding which leadership pattern to adopt.

Choosing a Leadership Style

One of the most popular models for selecting an appropriate leadership style is one that describes a variety of leadership styles along a continuum from highly autocratic to highly participative at the other. The forces in the situation include the culture of the organization. The successful leader is one who is aware of the situational forces and responds accordingly. Effective leaders must understand themselves, the group, company and social environment.

Strategies for Improving Leadership

Leader’s capacity to reward the behavior of followers should not be overlooked and the ability of the followers responds otherwise. For example, organizations reward managers according to the performance of their group. As a result, the managers of high- performing groups are highly rewarded by the organization. Leaders who were more considerate created greater satisfaction among their subordinates; at the same time, changes in the behavior of the leaders could be caused by the performance of the subordinates.

Constraints on leader behavior. Leaders have limited opportunities to influence others. Leadership effectiveness is inhibited by a variety of factors. For example the extent managerial decisions are pre-planned due to structure, technological specifications, laws and the absence of available alternatives.

Leadership can also be forced by a variety of organizational factors limiting the leader’s capability to either communicate with or to reinforce the behavior of the subordinates. The constraints imposed on leaders include external factors organizational policies, group factors, and individual skills and abilities.

External factors. Leaders are constrained in what they can do because of various economic realities and a host of state and federal laws. Leaders who have unskilled followers will have difficulty leading irrespective of their leadership style. The availability of skilled followers is subjected to the external labor market.

Organizational policies. The organization may limit a leader’s effectiveness by hampering the amount of communication between leaders and followers and restricting the leader’s ability to reward or punish followers.

Group factors. Created by the dynamics of the group. If the group is highly unified and determined, it can limit the leader’s ability to influence the group.

Individual skills and abilities. The leader’s own skills and abilities may act as constraints since leaders can only possess so much expertise, energy, and power. Some situations may simply require greater skills and abilities than the leader may possibly hope to possess.

Substitutes for leadership. While some situations constrain leaders other situations make leadership unnecessary. These variables are referred to as substitute variables because they substitute for leadership either by making the leader’s behavior unnecessary or by neutralizing the leader’s ability to influence subordinates.

Leadership is an extremely important function. It has an enormous influence on the value of groups and organizations. The complexity of the situation, however, may prevent us from knowing in advance which will be the most effective leadership behaviors.

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1. Leadership refers to increasing influence which occur when an individual manipulates others to do tasks voluntarily which they would not do otherwise. The basic leadership roles include initiation of policy and structure, speech, and management. A need for leadership within organizations stems from the incompleteness of the organization design and the dynamic nature of the internal and external environments.

2. The studies of leadership were mainly studies on traits that tried to identify the characteristics of effective leaders. The studies focused mainly on physical traits, intellect and characteristic. The results were usually weak and inconsistent although some personal characteristics were always related to leadership. Most studies concluded that the characteristics of the subordinate and the nature of the task were as important as the characteristics of the leader in determining success.

3. Another approach to studying leadership set on leader behaviors; i.e. how leaders actually behave. One of the studies compared three leadership styles: authoritarian, democratic and laissez-faire. Although democratic leadership produced the greatest satisfaction, autocratic leadership had the highest levels of productivity.

4. Research conducted simultaneously at two universities identified two similar leadership behaviors. At The Ohio State University the researchers labeled these two leader behaviors initiating structure and consideration. At the University of Michigan the same two factors were labeled production-centered and employee-centered leader behaviors. These two leader behaviors appear to identify leadership functions essential to the effectiveness of a group. The two Factors have been used to form a matrix called the Managerial Grid which places a concern for production on one side of the grid and concern for people on the other. The research evidence does not support this conclusion consistently.

5. The unsuccessful research to identify leadership traits or universally superior leader behaviors caused an emergence of development of four situational theories of leadership. The theories suggest that the most effective leadership style depends upon situational variables particularly the characteristics of the group and the nature of the task.

6. A situational leadership model that matched different combinations of task behavior and relationship behavior with the maturity of the followers. As the followers increase, the appropriate leadership style is telling, selling, participating, and finally for highly mature followers, delegating.

7. The most appropriate leadership style was determined by assessing three situational variables: whether the relationships between the leader and the members were good or poor, the task was structured or unstructured, and the power position of the leader was strong or weak. When these three situational variables created an extremely favorable or extremely unfavorable situation, the most effective leadership style was a task-oriented leader. However, where there were intermediate levels of favorableness, a leader with a high concern for interpersonal relationships was more effective in these situations.

8. The path goal model theory is derived from expectancy theory. It suggests that effective leaders must clarify the target paths and increase its attractiveness for followers. Four distinct leadership styles are proposed in the model: directive, supportive achievement-oriented and participative leadership styles.

The style most appropriate depends upon two types of situational factors: the characteristics of the follower and characteristics of the environment. Three of the most important follower characteristics include the locus of control, authoritarianism, and personal abilities. The three environmental factors include the nature of the task, the formal authority system within the organization, and the group norms and dynamics.

9. The three leadership styles include autocratic decision making, consultative decision making, and group decision making. The decision titles determining which style is most appropriate include such questions as whether the leader has adequate information to make the decision alone, whether the subordinates will accept the goals of the organization, whether subordinates will accept the decision if they do not participate in making it, and whether the decision will produce a controversial solution.

10. The influence of the group upon the leader should not be overlooked. The relationship between the leader and the group implies a reciprocal influence. Groups have the capacity to influence the behavior of their leaders by responding selectively to specific leader behaviors. The influence of a leader can also be constrained by several external factors, such as organizational policies, group norms, and individual skills and abilities. Other variables have been found to neutralize or substitute for the influence of a leader, such as the skills and abilities of followers and the nature of the task itself.


There are many leadership theories. Arthur G. Jago (1982) [8] had proposed a framework that organizes leadership theories based on each theory’s focus and approach. Focus refers to whether the leadership is seen as a set of traits or actions. There is a universal formula of traits or behavior for an effective leader. However, effective leadership also depends on specific situations.

The kinds of behaviors that leaders can actually perform in a group. The two leader behaviors that have been consistently observed including task-related activities, called initiating structure or production-centered activities, and interpersonal relations activities, sometimes called consideration or employee-centered activities. The incremental influence that one individual exerts upon another and that causes the second person to change his or her behavior voluntarily. Three leadership roles include origination of the structure by top-level managers, interpolation or adapting the structure by middle-level managers and administration or implementation of the policies and procedures by lower-level supervisors.

I concur with A. Ange on the presence of leadership crisis but I also foresee the resolutions taken and are still being taken to resolve the problem. Many organizations are spending money in sending their employees to be groomed and trained for future growth of the company whereby they are exposed to different methods of management and how to be great leaders. Leaders are born to leaders but in some circumstances, situations and environments also play a huge role in creating a leader.

Leaders come and go and new ones are always on the threshold to take over the empty space. The qualities of the leaders and their leadership styles vary but they are vital in the development and motivation processes of the organizations. There is a crisis in good leadership but it is not at a critical point. Big organizations would have everything in place for the future growth of the company and would have in line the replacements for all aspects of the management. Even is small to medium sized organizations have planned their management line-ups for the future. The ongoing programs and trainings that are conducted by organizations to produce capable leaders and groom them further showed that companies are aware of the could be crisis and had taken steps to overcome the situation.

Yes, there is a crisis but the severity of the crisis is not huge enough to cause panics throughout the organizations.

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