Leadership Style and Change: Theory and Practice

Introduction

Leadership is critical in the success of the organisation. In other words, the successes of the organisation depend entirely on its leadership characteristics particularly in the change management. Essentially, organisations need to have a leadership style that would enable increased attainment of the desired outcome (Mullins, 2013). In addition, organisations needed visionary leaders to inspire and motivate employees towards attaining the desired outcome.

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As indicated, leadership styles play a critical role in enhancing employees’ performance (Northouse, 2010). Generally, the culture of the organisation, management approach and leadership technique are critical in determining the desired changes as well as performance of employees, which in turn influences overall productivity (Northouse, 2010; Mullins, 2013). The reason is that the variables are directly related to the employees’ behaviours, which further affect the outcome of the organisation.

Leadership style

Leadership is often defined as the capability of an individual to influence, motivate and enable team members to contribute towards effective and efficient attainment of the set goals. Good leaders are often described as transformational and charismatic (Klein & House, 2011). In most cases, good leaders are comfortable risk takers and imaginative. In addition, good leaders are focused on enhancing the performance of the team members under their jurisdiction and achieve the highest outcomes (Lord, Brown & Freiberg, 2010).

Further, in terms of approach to tasks, leadership approaches the problems candidly and devises creative and novel solutions. Besides, good leaders utilise individual charisma and commitments to stimulate, inspire and orient team members towards getting solutions to the problem and excel (Klein & House, 2011; Lord et al., 2010). Moreover, in terms of managing people, leadership is normally transformational, consultative and participative.

One of the leadership styles that brought about the desired change is the transformational type of leadership. Transformational leadership is characterised by its inspirational nature and positive changes it creates in the teams (Yukl, 2009). Besides, transformational leadership takes into consideration the concerns of employees and is focused on encouraging workforce to achieve the desired outcome. In fact, transformational leadership is geared towards creating positive change. In terms of team management, transformational leadership creates positive change among the members of the team (Yukl, 2009; Jackson & Parry, 2011).

Moreover, in transformational leadership style, the members of the team are encouraged to attain the desired results on assigned tasks. Further, leaders have the opportunity to impart the vision of the group and take into consideration the members’ contribution in the attainment of the results (Coutu, 2004). Besides, transformational leaders have greater vision as well as inspirational characteristics, which are applied to motivate and change the expectations as well as perceptions of the team members to work towards the desired goals and outcome.

As indicated, leadership style plays a critical role in the motivation of employees. The management and leadership style should remove obstacles that alienate employees from work processes. In other words, the leadership style should encourage the team members towards attaining the desired outcome (Kirchmer, 2009). In most cases, performing team leaders adopt leadership styles that create positive changes and inspire employees towards attaining the goals of the team, which in turn increases the organisation’s performance.

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For instance, transformational type of managing team members provide opportunities to seeking views of the team members, coaching as well as well as provide vision that increases the chances of attaining the preferred outcome (Mor Borak, 2005; Yukl, 2009; Mullins, 2013). In other words, transformational type of leadership is characterised by its inspirational nature and positive changes it creates in an organisation.

In order to achieve increased performance among team members, team leaders need to focus and often adopt leadership styles that take into consideration the concerns of the members. In addition, the leadership styles should be focused on encouraging team members to attain the goals of the organisation. In fact, the leadership style should be geared towards creating positive change among the team members (Ford, 2010). Studies indicate that performance attributes of members of the team increases when their concerns are greatly considered by the supervisors and management of the organisation (Shields, 2012).

Moreover, to increase the competitiveness of the firm, organisations require leadership style in which members of the team are encouraged to attain the required results on the assigned tasks. Further, to become extremely motivated, team leaders have to impart the vision of the organisation and take into consideration the members’ contribution in the attainment of the results (Armstrong & Baron 2009). Besides, leaders should have greater vision as well as inspirational characteristics, which are applied to motivate and change the expectations as well as perceptions of team members to work towards the desired goals and outcomes.

Essentially, there is need to raise optimism among members of the team to attain the required output. Moreover, the management needs to inspire teams towards attaining the desired outcome of the organisation (Northouse, 2010; Mullins, 2013; Kirchmer, 2009).

Theoretical framework

Various organisational models of leadership are explained through a range of suppositions including the strategic contingency theory, role theories and goal setting (Bruch & Vogel, 2011). Organisations can use the combination of these theories to establish models of leadership that can be applied to drive the desired change. For instance, strategic contingencies theory argues that a person with personality as well as crisis unraveling ability qualifies as a valuable boss.

Therefore, the theory emphasises on the significant part played by the problem solving in leadership ability. Through the acquisition of problem solving techniques, a leader has the capability of solving problems in a way that is accepted to the workforce (Northouse, 2010). To its credit, enhanced trust among the employees and the management is achieved. In addition, a leader is capable of devising solution to issues of concern to workers such as remunerations.

Just like the contingency theory, role theory is equally vital in building trust as well as in rewarding employees. For instance, a leader is able to classify the responsibilities of each worker based on societal wisdom (Palestini, 2009; Pynes, 2009). As a result, the workers are able to shape prospects they are required to play. In addition, through the theory, the leader is able to dedicate responsibilities to different groups of employees to enable optimal output in production. Consequently, when workers are conversant with their roles, they are able to execute their duties in good relations. Thus, they develop trust and interpersonal relations among themselves.

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Limitations of the transformational leadership style

Even though transformational leadership style focuses on creating change through the motivation of the team members, individual short-term interest hinders the intended purpose. In addition, transformational leadership rarely integrate situational dynamics and based on the assumption that team members are fully skilled and ready to work as a team in order to attain the desired outcome (Palestini, 2009; Pynes, 2009; Bruch & Vogel, 2011). Moreover, creating change through the transformational process often take time.

Creating change

The first step in generating change through teams is to create a vision, objectives and goals of the team, which should be in line with that of the organisation. The formulated goals and objectives should be clear, achievable and measurable (Bruch & Vogel, 2011). Once the vision, mission and objectives have been formulated, a clear strategy outlining the steps on how the organisation’s goals will be attained is then established.

The vision, goals, and strategies are communicated to the team members and shared with other teams. Imparting the vision, goals and strategies will ensure that all the team members are involved in the attainment of the organisation’s goals (Baker, 2009). The second step is to come up with strategies that will ensure a change in the management of employees and leadership styles. The new management style will remove obstacles that alienate employees from work processes (Burke, 2006; Baker, 2009). The leadership style should encourage employees towards attaining the desired outcome. As mentioned, these leadership characteristics can only be found in transformational leadership.

Essentially, team members are directed towards attaining the set goals. In fact, the purpose of the team leaders is to co-ordinate and harmonises the work of members in order to accomplish the desired change (Turnbull, Greenwood, Tworoger & Golden, 2009). As such, the work processes of the members will be harmonised and coordinated so that goals and objectives of the team are attained. Moreover, the capability of finding solution to the immediate problems will be enhanced within the team members in order to attain the desired change (Lord et al., 2010).

Essentially, in order to create the desired change, team leaders focus on goals of the organisation, design and composition, workforce as well as the accessibility to resources. In addition, the personalities of the team members are balanced towards determination, strong will, scrutiny and aptitude.

In terms of focus and outcomes, the members of the team emphasises on organisation of the work processes and the attainment of results. Besides, in terms of approach to tasks, team leaders create course of action, guiding principles and technique to undertake a given task. In addition, team leaders generate ideas as well as members that work together to complete a particular task (Padilla, Hogan & Kaiser, 2007). Moreover, team leaders empower their members through soliciting their ideas, values, beliefs and principles. The combination of the actions is believed to have greater possibility of reducing intrinsic hazards and create success to the team.

While good approaches to team management may vary according to circumstances and individual characteristics, transformational leadership style of team would be the most ideal. As indicated, transformational leadership is characterised by its inspirational nature and positive changes it creates among the team members (Klein & House, 2011). Besides, transformational leadership takes into consideration the concerns of members of the team and is focused on encouraging the team to achieve the goals of the organisation. In fact, transformational leadership is geared towards creating positive change within the organisation (Chandler, 2009).

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Moreover, in transformational leadership style, the members of the team are encouraged to attain the desired results on the assigned tasks. Further, leaders impart the vision of the group and take into consideration the members’ contribution in the attainment of the results (Lord et al., 2010). Besides, transformational leaders have greater vision as well as inspirational characteristics, which are applied to motivate and change the expectations as well as perceptions of team members to work towards the desired goals and outcome.

In order to create change, team leaders have to address the challenges employees face directly. Leaders have to come up with strategies that deal with new expectation (Spreitser, Porath & Gibson, 2012). In addition, employees should be part of the formulation of the strategies. In fact, leaders should provide clear explanations of new tasks, generous adjustment period and enable free acceptance of change without authorisation or forceful means.

Leaders within the organisation have to be sympathetic of the fear and put in place strategies that would deal with challenges that come with transformations (Chandler, 2009; Padilla et al., 2007). Leaders must also understand that during the transition occasional blunders are eminent. As such, safe learning environment need to be created to allow team members comprehend new changes that have been brought. Moreover, employees are also susceptible to learn through mistakes. Moreover, leaders must also safeguard the collective statuses of employees most affected by the new changes.

Change should also be implemented incrementally to avoid eminent conflicts and mistakes that may be costlier to the organisation (Spreitser et al., 2012). Moreover, incremental implementation would allow employees be familiarised with the new ideals. Essentially, incremental implementation will also reduce the chance of resistance since hesitant employees would be accustomed to the new changes.

Skills needed to exert leadership behaviour

One of the people that inspire the type of leadership skills is the team leader within the organisation. The reason is that team leaders practice participative leadership approach that borrow hugely from transformational leadership style. In fact, participative leadership style has proved to be the best in the management of teams. Typically, participative leadership enables members of the team builds trust on their leaders as well as rewarded in relation to their capabilities and performances. In addition, participative leadership is capable of classifying the responsibilities of each team member based on the degree of their imagination, ingenuity and creativity (Palestini, 2009).

As a result, members of the team are able to shape prospects they are required to play. In addition, through the theory, the leader is able to dedicate responsibilities to different groups to enable optimal output. Consequently, when members of the team are conversant with their roles, they are able to execute their duties in good relations. Thus, they develop trust and interpersonal relations among themselves.

One of the areas where feedback from the team members remains critical is in the interpersonal skills. In fact, team leaders should review their relationship with members of the team in order to increase interrelations, proficiency and motivation. Problem solving area is another area that needs to be focused on and reviewed depending on the feedback from the members of the team. Essentially, feedback from peers on issues such as communication, creativity, personal interrelations are critical in understanding the weaknesses and building on the evaluated shortcomings.

The common perceptions that good qualities of a leader are inherent within an individual deter others from developing the required leadership to manage their teams or organisations. Becoming an effective leader is within reach to all through learning the best leadership skills. One of the leadership qualities that need to be developed is self-assessment. Self-assessment skills are critical in evaluating the weaknesses and strengths. Understanding the weaknesses and strengths increases the abilities to share and achieve a common goal.

Another important skill is the ability to understand the perceptions members of the team have on a leader. In fact, good leaders normally have the capability of knowing how the employees under their jurisdiction perceive them. The reason is that such leaders have developed easy models of communication with their members through which they become knowledgeable on how they are perceived. The other important skills that need to be developed include communication, motivating teams, team building, risk taking, vision and goal setting. Generally, communication, motivating teams, team building, risk taking, vision and goal setting skills are critical for attaining both individual and institutional changes.

Conclusion

In order to attain the desires results, change should also be implemented incrementally to avoid eminent conflicts and mistakes that may be costlier to the organisation. Moreover, incremental implementation would allow members of the team be familiarised with the new ideals. Essentially, incremental implementation will also reduce the chance of resistance since hesitant team members would be accustomed to the new changes. Besides, the organisation needs to adopt leadership styles that take into consideration the concerns of employees. In addition, the leadership styles should be focused on encouraging workforce to attain the goals of the organisation. In fact, the leadership style should be geared towards creating positive change among employees.

Generally, leaders need to develop good interpersonal skills in order to build better relations as well as trust between the management and the personnel. In addition, good leaders should have clear goals and vision reflecting that of the organisation. Further, the leaders should erect the virtue of self-possession and transmit such attributes to the workers. Thus, the leader should have the capability of developing trust as well as commitment among the personnel. Moreover, a great leader possesses flexibility as well as interpersonal proficiency thereby enabling acceptability and compliance with the social issues affecting employees.

References

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