Qualities of a Successful leader


Management is concerned with human beings whose behaviour is highly unpredictable. An individual or a group of people who accept responsibility to run an organisation and direct its activities are called management. The importance of management in business is universally accepted. It acts as a driving force in business. Modern business is highly competitive and needs efficient and capable management. According to Peter Drucker (2007), management is a multi-purpose organ that manages business and manages managers and manages workers and work.


A manager is a person tasked with overseeing employees to ensure that they carry out their assigned duties. (www.wisegeek.com)

Qualities of a Successful leader

Leadership Qualities

Personal Traits

Managerial Traits

Self-confidence, initiative & innovative, emotional maturity, intelligence, decisiveness, vision & foresight, acceptance of responsibility.

Knowledge of human skill, administrative ability, technical knowledge, ability to deal with people, ability to judge and decide quickly.

(Appleby.R, 1969)


Leadership is followership. Leadership is not a quality which is in born. It’s a quality which can be developed from within. Leadership is a strategy used, by which a manager influences the employees to achieve the tasks and objectives and keep the organization together and focused to strive hard towards its goals. Leadership is often a dynamic activity concerned with changing attitude. They are more inspirational and involve more emotional input than management. (www.skagitwatershed.org). According to Koontz & O’Donnell, “leadership is the ability of a manager to induce subordinate to work with confidence and zeal. (Kale.N, 2006)

Discussion: Styles of leadership and motivation, which can be used by a Manager.

There are 4 basic styles of leadership.

  • Autocratic

  • Bureaucratic

  • Laissez-faire

  • Democratic

But the styles which are mainly and widely used in most of the organisations are as follows:

  • Autocratic style: This is a method which takes place in most of the organisations. In this style the manager keeps control over everything. They give orders and draw lines. There is a strong supervision on the employees. Employees do not get an opportunity to discuss or give their suggestions or inputs. They have to follow the instructions given. In this method the motivation is either encouraged by rewards or punishments. This style has been criticized from past many years. The most important drawback of this style is that it has always been a higher staff turnover and staff not turning up to work with an excuse of illness. (Gaynor. G, 2004). This leadership style falls under theory x by Douglas Mc gregor.

For example: This is sometimes being observed in the hotel industry. Where the manager sets up the rules, orders and staff has to follow them without any discussions or opinions.

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  • Managers mostly depend on threats and punishments to get the work done from their subordinates.

  • Most important factor that there is no trust on the employees.

  • Employees do not play any role in the management decision and discussions.

Situation 1:

The new staff has just joined the front office department in a 4 star hotel. She has worked before in many hotels with different types of systems. The systems used in this hotel are new for her. She is completely new and untrained so she needs to be trained on the systems. As she is new to the company, the service standards are purely different then what she has seen in the past, so she needs to be under detailed supervision, for that she needs to follow instructions & orders. The hotel is really busy place and they are also understaffed. If she makes a mistake, there is no time to sort out the issue on the spot. The management has just changed before she joined the hotel so everything before was poorly managed. So she has to follow up the orders & there is no time for discussions or suggestions. She has to deliver the best performance under the instructions of the manager. This clearly shows that in the situation mentioned above, the manager needs to use an Autocratic style of leadership.

  • Democratic style: Democratic leadership is also called as participative leadership. This is a strategy where the subordinates or staffs can actually participate in the discussions and decisions. Everything is done systematically in this leadership style. The manager will meet the employees, inform them about the issues emerging that might affect their work or the organisation and then shares the information in order to make decisions and to decide who will sort out the problems and with what responsibilities. (Surridge.M 2004). This leadership style falls under theory y by Douglas Mc gregor.

For example: Many giant corporate companies who are into retailing and car industry would follow this style. Where there is a trust between higher management and the subordinates in regards to suggestions and decision making and planning.


  • The manager will develop a strategy, a plan to support the employees to review and improve their performance.

  • The manager will actually work hand-in-hand with employees to achieve the goals and objectives.

  • Manager encourages the staffs to grow up in their work performance and inspire them towards the promotion.

Situation 2:

BMW is a giant car manufacturing company. It has a good reputation in building its luxury cars. They have strived hard to gain their customer satisfaction. Within one of their plant in UK, the business is going well. They are proper staffed. Also the production manager of that plant is keen on discussing/meeting every week with the employees of all the departments and would like to get suggestions and opinions from all the subordinates regarding any current issues, problems and solving them. The manager discusses the performance of each & every employee to give them a review of their work & to support them to bring themselves to success. He creates an environment of building a team and participation where everyone gets involved equally in every situation faced by the company.

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This shows that the manager does trust his employees do achieve their objectives. In this situation the manager would use a Democratic style of leadership.


Motivation is an art of getting things done willingly from others. The term motivation is derived from Latin word ‘movere’ which means to move. Motivating means encouraging people to take more initiative and interest in the work assigned. Motivation is the inner psychological forces in an individual which induce him or her to act or not in a particular way. The creation of the desire and willingness to perform the job efficiently is what is generally known as motivation. (Ahmed. M, 2006)

“Motivation means, a process of stimulating people to action to accomplish the desired goal”. (W.G.Scot)

Who needs Motivation

  • Individuals who are just performing their routine work without any new ideas or bringing initiatives in their work.

  • Those people who just do their work and count minutes to end their shifts. These kind of people need motivation and inspiration.

Types of Motivation

  • Intrinsic motivation: People who are naturally motivated by having a desire to participate to participate and face new experiences. These people do not rely on rewards or benefits for their performance. They develop their motivation by self-developing their qualities for any kind of challenging work. ()

  • Extrinsic motivation: These people need motivation from outside, externally. This includes encouraging the employees artificially, like: offering bonus, compensations, benefits and pay rise. Instead of being eager to grasp the tough situations. These individuals get motivated by only manually assigning them the challenging projects. ()




Theories of Motivation

The eminent psychologist Douglas McGregor has called the theory of motivation as Theory x and Theory y. the traditional approach to management is as explained as theory x and professional approach is explained as theory y. the theory is explained into two sets of employees based on the perception of human nature.

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Theory x

Traditional assumptions about people

Theory y

Emerging viewpoint about people

1. The average human being has an inherent dislike for work. He will avoid it if he can.

1. The average human being learns to work as naturally as a child learns to play or sleep.

2. Most people should be forced, controlled, directed & threatened with punishment to achieve organizational objectives.

2. People want relative freedom. They will exercise self-control & self-direction to achieve organizational objectives.

3. People prefer to be directed, have little ambition but want security of job & income.

3. Achieving objectives is like getting rewards. This provides satisfaction of ego.

4. People want to avoid responsibility.

4. People seek responsibility.

5. People lack creativity & do not use intellectual potentialities.

5. People want to use creativity in solving organizational problems & people partially use their intellectual potentialities.

(Kale. N, 2006)

Theory x is static, rigid, conservative and pessimistic. Theory y is optimistic, dynamic, flexible and progressive. More importance is given to external control imposed by the superior on the subordinate in theory x. according to the theory y people are basically positive in their approach. As pointed by D. McGregor that managers need not follow only one theory for motivating subordinates. They can use both the theories depending on the situation. Theory y is more democratic and is also suitable to present trends in the business world.

Whereas Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation has identified five sets of human needs arranged in a hierarchy of their importance and priority.

  • Security/ safety needs

  • Social needs

  • Esteem needs

  • Self-actualization needs

Hence both the theories are linked with each other and have limitations and as we see McGregor’s theory is somewhere based on the assumptions made by Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The lower tier showed as theory x and the higher tier is showed as theory y. Maslow’s theory has certain criticisms like;

  • Its based on human needs only

  • It fails to refer the other motivating factors like expectations and experience.

Peak experiences


Psychological needs

Safety needs

Basic needs

Maslow’s hierarchy theory of needs

(Prabhu. V, 2005)

Thus Maslow’s theory is an empirical theory. It’s more philosophical then scientific. Whereas McGregor has discarded the assumptions of classical school of thought. He has rightly given his preference for theory y that facilitates building and development of an organization.


    (scott motivation)

    (Edition 2 the essential drucker by Butterworth- Heinemann)

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