In an organizational context, leadership involves the process of leading workers to accomplish their goals, duties and tasks. The leadership process mainly involves motivating employees to perform their duties to expected standards through the deployment of several techniques, including commanding, leading, guiding or influencing people (MacKillop, 2018). This definition of leadership draws credence to the works of Peter Drucker among other scholars who argue that leaders are defined by the number of followers they lead and this following is largely determined by the influence they wield (MacKillop, 2018). Based on the above definition of leadership, different industries and organizations require unique approaches or styles to address organizational issues.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabian (KSA) healthcare sector is among several in the country that could benefit from improved leadership as it transitions to merge the interests of both public and private players in healthcare service delivery (Statista Research Department, 2021). The system is primarily run by the government at primary, secondary and tertiary levels, while services are offered free to citizens. Keen to improve performance, this paper evaluates leadership qualities that would be relevant at a large healthcare facility in Saudi Arabia.
Different leadership styles could be used to improve performance in a large healthcare facility. The first one is that leaders need to have an ability to inspire their followers. Inspiration involves the ability to encourage employees to be creative and motivated to complete their tasks, thereby bolstering their contributions to the overall strategic plan of the health care institutions. This leadership quality creates an environment where employees are enabled to become creative and innovative (Kjellström, Stålne, & Törnblom, 2020). This feature is beneficial in helping employees to address risk management, dispute resolution systems, and strategic communication processes, which are central to the functioning of a healthcare organization.
Secondly, confidence is another leadership quality that would be useful to a large health institution. It involves possessing the power of influence, which allows leaders to motivate their employees to dream and achieve more than what they set out to accomplish. This quality is applicable in the healthcare setting because effective leaders have been observed to stick to a set of known principle when solving pertinent problems affecting an organization (Abasilim, Gberevbie, & Osibanjo, 2019). A leader needs to exude this trait to command his followers and make them believe that they would accomplish the tasks set before them. By exhibiting confidence, the hospital’s administration is likely to build trust and confidence with patients (Yasir, Imran, Irshad, Mohamad, & Khan, 2016). Nonetheless, it is important to measure the intensity of embracing this leadership quality because a thin line differentiates confidence and arrogance. Therefore, leaders need to demonstrate the former and avoid seeming arrogant.
Thirdly, passion is another leadership quality that would be instrumental in the mentioned case study. This leadership quality is often accompanied by a sense of commitment to work, which should allow the team to know that their leader would be committed to their cause, regardless of the types of distractions that may emerge in the process (Lewis, Ricard, & Klijn, 2018). For example, the healthcare sector is constantly characterized by the need for workers to be kind and considerate to their patients’ needs – a calling that requires a person who is driven by purpose and commitment because few people could handle the stress associated with healthcare facilities.
Indeed, managing patient’s expectations, pressures from family members who are frustrated about the health conditions of their loved ones, and tight working hours imply that most healthcare professionals would ordinarily feel tired and exhausted. Overall, leaders need to demonstrate passion if there is a chance for lower carders of workers to mirror the same attributes to patients. Particularly, leaders who can master special words to communicate these leadership qualities to their juniors are likely to motivate and inspire them to accomplish more than what they set out to do (Mills, Keller, Chilcutt, & Nelson, 2019).
Fourth, effective leaders of large healthcare organizations should demonstrate good decision-making skills. In other words, an effective leader needs to have the ability to make important decisions in a timely manner. This is because health is an important matter of societal concern and is often characterized by the need to make split-second decisions regarding one’s health or the need to manage workplace disputes on time. A leader who does not have prompt decision-making skills is likely to negatively impact a patient’s health or prevent an organization from seizing opportunities that could be used to enhance the welfare of patients and workers.
Therefore, leaders think long and hard about their decisions but stand by their verdict even when it seems unfavorable to other involved parties.
Fifth, accountability is another leadership quality that would be useful to a CEO of a large healthcare organization in KSA because someone needs to be held accountable for all actions or inactions that have an impact on an organization’s performance. In the context of this paper, accountability will be demonstrated by taking responsibility for the actions deployed to manage different issues affecting the hospital and not the teams that were involved in formulating them (Waldman, Siegel, & Stahl, 2020). This leadership quality means that the leader would not be “throwing their juniors under the bus” if a mistake happens; instead, they would take responsibility for the team’s slips and failures. The successes can be shared equitably among all parties that took part in the process and not attributed to one person who may be the leader, manager or otherwise.
Overall, these leadership qualities are essential in helping employees to understand the technical, business and regulatory requirements of the industry and strategies that could be employed to improve industry performance (Schweiger, Müller, & Güttel, 2020). For example, inspiring employees would help them to improve the quality of services, thereby enabling them to enhance their overall performance. An inspired and motivated leader is likely to show employees the direction to follow when they are facing difficulties at work. In such situations, it is demanded that a leader think positively about the prospects of improving performance but their thoughts should be more visible through deeds as opposed to talking (Griffiths, Roberts, & Price, 2019). Thus, leaders need to demonstrate appropriate leadership qualities that fit their organizational or industry dynamics.
Leadership styles help to predict the kind of approaches a company is likely to adopt while implementing its core objectives. There are six main types of leadership styles observed in organizations, and they include autocratic, visionary, affiliative, democratic, pace-setting and coaching leadership styles. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabian (KSA) construction industry could benefit from the right selection of these styles because it is a pillar of growth for the country’s Vision 2030 plan, which is centered on increasing the growth of the non-oil sector. As the CEO of a large construction industry in KSA, I would use a combination of the autocratic, democratic, visionary, affiliative and pace-setting leadership styles to lead employees in the organization. The justification is provided as follows.
Justification and Example
The autocratic leadership style may be adopted in the construction company because it is a top-down approach of managing organizational activities with top managers having unequally more power than lower cadre employees in making organizational decisions. It will aid in implementing core policies throughout the organization’s departments. Comparatively, the democratic leadership style would be instrumental in counterbalancing the power of this leadership style because it is linked with an inclusive approach to decision-making where the voice of each person is taken into account when making organizational decisions (Barthold, Checchi, Imas, & Smolović Jones, 2020). Therefore, it will provide a subtle platform for sharing ideas.
Comparatively, a visionary leadership style may be adopted in the construction industry because it aids in the formulation of a common goal that has to be realized by all people involved in the industry. It starts by one person coming up with an organization’s vision and then assembling a team of people that would be involved in the realization of this vision.
Comparatively, the affiliative leadership style will be instrumental in streamlining activities in the industry because it aims to promote synergy and harmony among members of different teams (Goh, Ang, & Della, 2018). Alternatively, the pace-setting leadership style may be justifiably used in the same context to achieve a similar objective by following a different methodology. It starts by the development of a standard of performance, which is then shared with other team members who are supposed to achieve it with minimal supervision.
At the same time, the coaching leadership style occurs when one person takes a leadership position to guide other employees in accomplishing their goals. This leadership style empowers employees to develop capabilities that would enable them to succeed at both individual and organizational levels (Ugaddan & Park, 2019). This type of leadership style would be appropriately employed in the construction industry because there are experienced professionals in the field who have a wealth of experience, which they could easily use to mentor some employees to take over from them. For example, younger workers could borrow experience and knowledge from older ones who can now act as mentors or guides.
Differences between Leadership and Management
The concepts of leadership and management are closely related but mean different things.
For instance, leadership is concerned with the creation of an organization’s vision, while management is focused on the accomplishment of the same goal (Bauwens, Batistič, Kilroy, & Nijs, 2021). Leaders are also concerned with the assembly of a team, while managers are focused on the creation of priorities or tasks that these teams need to accomplish. In this regard, managers are often concerned with role/task assignment, while leaders are preoccupied with creating shared values that should guide their actions (Bauwens et al., 2021). Their focus is on inspiring employees to achieve optimum performance, while management is centered on controlling the scope of employee actions to boost organizational performance. Table 1 below provides a summary of the main differences between leadership and management.
Table 1. Differences between Leadership and Management (Source: Developed by Author).
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Based on the differences outlined above, both leadership and management have different traits that serve unique purposes. For example, leaders should demonstrate virtues of strong integrity and honesty, while managers should demonstrate the ability to direct their colleagues to complete specific tasks. In addition, leadership is concerned with the need to inspire employees to work harder, while management is focused on people’s processes and systems that allow them to perform better. This is why managers are often bestowed with the responsibility of determining workplace rules, policies and procedures, while leaders are given the responsibility of developing the “big picture.”
Leadership and management also differ in terms of their central focus with management being primarily influenced by people processes, while leadership is focused on a person’s ability to demonstrate good communication skills. Being a people-focused initiative, management is associated with a low level of care for employees compared to leadership practices because the latter is intended to involve everyone, while management has a duty to enforce laws and policies.
Therefore, although both concepts are related, they differ in functionality and role.
Emotional Intelligence and Leadership in 2021
Emotional intelligence is associated with the ability of a leader to appeal to their followers through their feelings. This is a skill, which if perfected by leader, allows them to vary their followers’ emotions, thereby influencing their judgements or decisions (Decuypere & Schaufeli, 2020). This question explores why emotional intelligence is vital in organizations today, using Hilton Hotel, which is a premier global hotel brand (Hotel Business, 2020), as a case study, because the tourism and hospitality sector has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leaders need to be emotionally intelligent when managing workers in the hospitality industry because employees are going through a difficult time socially, economically, and emotionally due to the economic and social effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people have lost their jobs; others have family members that have lost businesses, and livelihoods, while the majority of the population have had their lives upstaged by the pandemic (Bauwens et al., 2021). An emotionally intelligent leader would be able to package the emotions that emerge from all these events in their decision-making process and develop a strategy or plan that would fit the current situation or circumstances of workers. This process may involve being sensitive to the plight of employers and their families, allowing more flexibility when making workplace decisions, and developing better remuneration packages, just to mention a few.
By being emotionally intelligent leaders can become more self-aware of the implications of their decisions and how they will affect families and livelihoods. This means that they will have a deeper understanding of themselves, their teams and the dynamics that allow all stakeholders a role to play in the hotel’s functioning (Eseryel, Crowston, & Heckman, 2021). In other words, emotional intelligence will allow a leader to have a stronger internal measure of the impact of their decisions, thereby making them more aligned and harmonious with environmental factors impacting employee and workplace performance.
Self-awareness could allow the leaders to also become more restrained in their actions
and decisions, thereby improving their sense of personal accountability when interacting with colleagues (MacKillop, 2018). For example, instead of losing temper with an incompetent worker, a leader may choose to use more subtle ways of making the employee aware that they need to improve their performance. This is a more effective approach for managing the situation as opposed to reprimanding the workers without any due regard or concern for the impact that such an action would have on their mental health or livelihoods. Particularly, this strategy is designed to appeal to leaders in the hotel industry because hotel workers are among the victims of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Leadership theories are designed to predict the outcome of activities aimed at influencing or guiding employees to accomplish specified tasks. By virtue of their design, there is no agreeable approach to implementing leadership theories across the board (Decuypere & Schaufeli, 2020). However, from a philosophical perspective, different scholars have proposed various schools of thought to explain the importance of understanding leadership theories. One of the most celebrated contributors to this area of research is Plato, who argued that effective leaders are those who use reason to rule. However, there are differing schools of thought, such as those proposed by Nicola Machiavelli,
who argued that threats and intimidation are alternative and effective ways for a leader to maintain control and influence their team’s agenda (Jackson & Grace, 2018). At the midpoint is a moderate school of thought, proposed by philosophers such as Mahatma Gandhi who argued for a peaceful and nonviolent form of leadership.
Importance of Leadership Theories
Leadership theories strive to predict the outcome of organizational activities by categorizing people’s behaviors based on their inherent characteristics. (Decuypere and Schaufeli, 2020) define leadership theories as schools of thought that help to explain why some people become effective leaders, while others do not. The goal of understanding these leadership theories is to better make sense of the roles of effective leaders and their contribution in helping organizations to achieve their objectives.
Types of Leadership Theories
Five key theories have commonly been used to define leadership outcomes and they include trait, contingency, situational, behavioral and great man theory. The great man theory supports the view that leaders are born and not made (Vidal, Campdesuñer, Rodríguez, & Vivar, 2017). Therefore, it portrays the discipline as a mythic quality only to be practiced by those who have been “ordained” to do so. Comparatively, the traits theory perceives leadership from the characteristics of the leaders themselves by outlining a series of qualities that every able one should possess. Therefore, it is preoccupied with defining leadership based on the physiological characteristics of the people involved, including their age, gender, height, intelligence, background, and knowledge among others. It is believed that these characteristics have an influence on their judgement, knowledge and decisiveness (Vidal et al., 2017).
The contingency theory adopts a more moderate understanding of leadership by saying it should be defined by a balance between context, needs, and behaviors. In other words, it bestows the duty of leadership to those who could recognize the needs of their followers, their own and what the situation demands (Peng, Liao, & Sun, 2020). Therefore, leadership is portrayed as a process that integrates multiple variables. The contingency theory draws some similarities with the situational theory. It suggests that there is no leadership style better than another because their efficacy is largely situational. Proponents of the theory also argue that the success of leadership styles largely depends on the variables at hand, including the type of task to be completed and the characteristics of the employees, just to mention a few.
Alternatively, the behavioral theory is focused on the conduct of leaders, as opposed to their traits or characteristics. Its proponents believe that effective leadership is a product of several attributes, including several learned skills (Decuypere & Schaufeli, 2020). However, technical human and conceptual skills are the top of the list of leadership qualities that an effective leader should have.
The behavioral theory could be used to explain how a leader may lead an organization because it focuses on interpersonal issues affecting employer-employee relationships which are central to determining the effectiveness of leadership processes. For example, the behavioral theory allows leaders to focus on their employees or the job (Decuypere & Schaufeli, 2020). This dynamism gives leaders more options in choosing the type of leadership orientation to follow in addressing their problems. For example, a leader who works in a service-oriented industry, such as the hotel and hospitality sector may choose an employee-centred behaviors over job-focused approaches.
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