This essay is aimed at analyzing the different leadership theories and their application from the perspective of change management principles. However, the relations between leadership and management should be studied and realized, and then, the analysis of the ways of their relationship will be required. The leadership theories will be used to explain this relationship and its applicability in change times. Leadership, in general, may be regarded as the motivation process and tool, for people could properly perform their tasks to achieve certain organizational objectives (Flamholtz and Rendell, 1998, p.79).
The role of a manager is organizing, controlling, planning, staffing, and directing thus these functions can prove unachievable if the manager lack leadership skills thus as much as these roles look different neither of them can be efficient without the other and in most texts, these words are used interchangeably (Hannagan, 2009, 41). Management is measured by the leadership qualities one possesses however a mix of both management and leadership qualities enable managers to cope extremely well with environmental changes. In general, leadership is aimed at regulating the following spheres: (Noer, 1997, p. 29):
- The motivation of employees, by clarifying the meaning of their work
- Adjustment of the clear and necessary aims
- Regulating the collective environment
- Enabling of the team to take particular responsibilities
Leadership is necessary because of the self-control systems and values that they bring to organizations. Leadership especially in changing environments is very essential since it encourages efficiency, employee development, and behavior change in both the short run and long run. Leadership is not good on it without being coupled with managerial skills in organizations and also develops trust in the organization by the articulation of values and visions. Leaders tend to accept responsibility for what happens in the organizations in that it’s viewed as an area where hard work and consistency are required in the organization. Since leadership is a function that sets direction and in a changing environment, it becomes very essential. Leadership skills enable the management to implement their goals, visions, missions, and objectives efficiently thus the organization cannot survive without leaders (Hannagan, 2009, 43).
Leadership theories in managing change
Managers are expected to be proactive in the organizations in times of change. Different factors define their activity objectives, and the ability to manage changes effectively. Moreover, they should define their management style, as well as their functions, can be outlined as; coaching and supervision of personnel, controlling financial and human resources, delegation and organizing of functions and activities, leading others i.e. act as a role model, managing work, planning and scheduling, and motivating and employee appraisal. (Hendry, Johnson, and Newton, 1993, p. 117).
The manager’s role must be coupled with the thought that all these functions are influenced by both internal and external changes (Hannagan, 2009, 5-9). Leaders consider three factors when making decisions in their organizations these factors include;
- He considers his own experience, inclination, confidence, and his background.
- The willingness and the unwillingness of the subordinates to accept responsibility is regarded as a part of the decision-making process.
- The situation of the organization from the perspectives of corporate culture, time available, work style and the tasks to be performed are also important.
The situation in the organization will force the organization to adopt the managed changes. These situations may be originated by the specialties of the company’s corporate culture, the style of work as well as the nature of tasks performed, and time pressures while accomplishing a specific task. The situation comes with other factors i.e. pulling and pushing factors and the organization should position itself to a flexible state where it can accommodate those factors.
Scholars in the past have come up with various theories of leadership and management of the organization in times of change, they range from traditional views to the relatively new theories which insist on adjustment of a universal set of attributes. Some of these theories include:
This theory emphasizes the personal characteristics of leaders. They are assumed to be braver, more aggressive, more decisive, etc than the other persons. In this theory, the traits are used to determine the leaders in all situations the organization may be faced with. This method is not very efficient due to its nature of evaluation on the traits alone and thus could be biased in some cases.
A behavioral approach to leadership
When the trait theory failed there was the need to identify a better method of evaluating the leaders, in this method they tried to understand how leaders behaved in different circumstances. The concept of the evaluation was what the leaders did i.e. all their actions in the organization (Nevis, Lancourt and Vassallo, 1996, p.213). Leadership is necessary because of the self-control systems and values that they bring to organizations. Leadership especially in changing environments is very essential since it encourages efficiency, employee development, and behavior change in both the short run and long run. Leadership is not good on it without being coupled with managerial skills in organizations and also develops trust in the organization by the articulation of values and visions. It was believed that leaders’ behavior when identified then the prospective managers could be trained to give the organization the expected productivity. In the theory there were two perspectives;
- The concern for the people i.e. This is the relationship of the manager and the subordinates and how well they are related.
- The other issue was the examination of how they coordinated and controlled the subordinates to achieve production targets.
In this theory, the managers who were rated high on the consideration for people had the highest employee satisfaction and low employee turnover. This proved a challenge in the decision-making of who should be the leader.
Leadership and culture
The pressure of adopting a particular leadership style is seen through the effects of corporate culture and peer expectations, organizations usually have their values and they perform their duties in a certain way, this is what is referred to as organizational culture. Organizational culture is influenced by the powers of the managers and this will determine how they behave in the organization.
Organisation systems can also be important in the influencing of culture in organizations in that for instance the control systems can influence how certain persons behave in the organizations. In the management of change, the organization needs to act in such a manner that the culture supports their organization strategy and the leaders, therefore, have to take into account the different organizational cultures. In practice the organization has three layers;
- Values; are written as part of the organization’s mission statement, which is aimed at establishing the interests of the organization.
- Beliefs; are more specific in terms of selection of maybe supplier, creditors, etc
- Assumptions; are unwritten culture but the stakeholders tend to follow them in the organization e.g. interpersonal relations.
The best mix of the culture and the leadership gives the organization the best combination on the part of the management.
Leadership approaches in the past have been developed and can be used in the modern organizational setup. Hence, by Eccles (1994, p. 42):
Leadership also needs to take into account the diversity and variation cropping up in the business and social environment, where minorities and women will have an increasingly important role to play. Leaders of tomorrow may be more feminine, and less masculine in approach. They will act as stewards, coaches, and mentors showing concern for followers, shareholders, and customers. The era of the future would be of greater flexibility and innovation characterized by the ability to evolve meaningfully and adapt to newer and ever-changing business and cultural environment
In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that some of the offered approaches include:
Situational leadership model
This approach depends on the readiness of others in performing the organization’s tasks. Hence, in distinction with the behavioral theoretic approach, the situational theory is aimed at emphasizing the situational principle of effective leadership. It is presupposed that the leader interacts with the other workers, and motivates them by listening, coaching, encouraging, and helping them to overcome the possible difficulties. The subdivisions of the Situational approach involve Contingency Model, the Path-Goal theory, and the Situational Leadership theory. The underlying argument of this theory presupposes that managers need to vary their approach to incorporate the needs and expectations of their teams. The selection of the appropriate styles depends on the situation facing the leader. In this theory the analysis is done on four quadrants which can have the following properties (Murray and Yudor, 2009, p. 152);
- In quadrant 1 the employees are unwilling and resist any form of direction and control and thus not giving the required productivity or returns. In this stage they should be directed, in any case, they should be closely supervised, and the negative elements in them eliminated.
- In quadrant 2 the situation is characterized by high task and relationship behavior and in this case, the leader should explain the decisions and provide the opportunity for any form of clarification.
- The third quadrant is designed for sharing of ideas and thus facilitates decision making where all the stakeholder’s views are considered, it is characterized by high relationship behavior and low task behavior.
- The last quadrant i.e. 4 is characterized by both low task and relationship behaviors and this section is very efficient since a certain level of delegation is required and can be implemented.
Leaders are supposed to poses the highest degree of versatility and competence to handle environmental issues. The analogy with a coat may be regarded here. Hence, this may define the leadership style, depending on the environment and circumstances. Leaders tend to accept responsibility for what happens in the organizations in that it’s viewed as an area where hard work and consistency are required in the organization. Since leadership is a function that sets direction and in a changing environment, it becomes very essential. Leadership skills enable the management to implement their goals, visions, missions, and objectives efficiently thus the organization cannot survive without leaders. Nevertheless, if the behavioral style of the leader is flexible enough, the individual has to adjust him or herself to the situation (Hendry, 2009, p. 54). Several theories are based on this principle, however, it is necessary to consider three factors, which determine the nature of the situation. We would be discussing a few prominent theories within this approach. Three factors determine the nature of the situation.
- Leader-member Relations: this can be described as the trust the employees have in their leaders. This is the most important factor in the leader’s effectiveness.
- Task Structure: the degree, in accordance to which the tasks are structured and subjected to a particular procedure. It measures the complexity and the simplicity of the tasks to be performed in the organization.
- Leaders’ position Power: in this position the ability to control and coordinate the workforce is used.
Leaders have better control over any situation if their role is structured properly. Depending on the factors of the working environment, task-oriented leaders are regarded as more effective. On the other hand, leadership-oriented leaders are more effective in moderate situations. Hence, any team needs two types of leaders to succeed. In the light of this statement, the consideration by Galpin (1996, p.21) should be emphasized:
Managers using situational leadership will make conscious choices between their use of directive behavior and supportive behavior. In directive behavior, they are relying on providing structure, control, and close supervision for the people with whom they are working. In supportive behavior, they are relying on praise, two-way communication, and facilitating the work of their employees and co-workers
Management Grid; Leadership is a multidimensional approach, this grid shows the different ranges of leadership behavior patterns that are based on various ways the task-orientation and the employee-orientation principles, and their joint interaction. This grid can be illustrated as follows (Murray and Yudor, 2009, p. 33);
In this grid formulated there are 81 possible outcomes or interactions and there are five extreme positions namely;
- Country club management; this section score the highest on the concern for people and lowest on the concern for production. The level of satisfaction is very high in this section and is appropriate in areas like clubs, voluntary cooperation, etc which involves a lot of contact with the people at the operational level. In this combination, the member’s satisfaction level is very high and managers are perceived to be incapable of making decisions.
- Authoritarian management; this combination scores high on the production level and the efficiency and scores low on the concern of the people. It is task-oriented and insists on the quality of the decision over the wishes of the middle-level managers and subordinates. At this level, the subordinates perform the assigned tasks and in some cases, they may be unable or unwilling to put extra effort as long as they achieve the set limits.
- Impoverished management. This method believes in laissez-faire since it does not give leadership in a positive sense.
- Middle of the road management; this combination scores the most moderate amounts of all the aspects of the organization i.e. its concern for both people and production is moderate. Those applying this method believe in compromise since the decisions are only taken when all the stakeholders in the organization endorse them. These managers and leaders may be dependable and supportive but may not be the best in times of innovation and change.
- Team management; The managers believe that the combination of these concerns is the most compatible since they give satisfaction to the workforce as well as meet the production targets.
The strong and weak points of this theory are obvious.
- Managerial focus is shifted from the perspective of managerial and leadership style
- Few studies use this theory of the key model
- It strongly encourages managers and leaders to search for the balance between task and leadership orientation in their behavior.
- project managers have a better opportunity of focusing on the matters of human aspects of the management equation, thus aiming at identifying the ways, required to adapt the behavior by various resources and circumstances.
- The grid is aimed at defining the suitable managerial style for any situation, however, the real situations rarely suit this analysis
- The theory does not provide an adequate analysis of the link between behavior and performance
- The theory presupposes that team management is one of the most effective management styles. However, it is not suitable for most business situations.
- This approach does not motivate leaders to be flexible
The theories of trait and behavioral leadership approach indicated that leadership success depends on numerous varying factors from the perspectives of the individuality and leadership style, as well as corporate culture and the origin of the assignments. (Caravatta, 1998, p. 67). Managers will look at the different factors which influence their leadership choice and this is put into consideration in the practical considerations. This theory describes three components in deciding the leadership style (Murray and Yudor, 2009, p. 83):
- Personal forces from within the person in terms of experience, confidence, own background, and inclination.
- The characteristics of subordinates in terms of accepting the responsibility and decision-making ability.
- The situation facing the organization determines the corporate culture, the style of work, and the nature of tasks being taken and in the required time frames.
The contingency approach indicates that the manager should consider all the options in the organization to determine the actions to take i.e. the management style demonstrates the self-fulfilling prophecy of the extent to which the management style determines the choice of action.
Leadership and change management
The major role of the leaders is to formulate the enabling conditions and strategies to implement change smoothly in the organization in both the resources and the environmental considerations. The change incorporates the improvement of the existing conditions and resources and the introduction of new conditions, this form of changes should be fuelled by the environmental changes and thus the leaders should be in apposition to manage the changes efficiently without causing any form of downfall to the organization (Bainbridge, 1996, p. 39). Nevertheless, it is the leader’s choice whether to make the change management aspects tangible rather than making them dreams in the organizations which might neo be achieved in the future. The decisions made in the process of making changes in the organization contribute greatly to the organization’s success since the strategic options of implementing change are portrayed (Murray and Yudor, 2009, p. 81).
The process of adapting to change is very sensitive to the workforce and in some instances, they may be against these changes, how the leaders handle these operational and managerial changes influences the organization’s success in achieving the intended objectives. Since the slight change in some areas of the organization will certainly be felt in the other parts this gives the managers an easier time since the changes will also be expected in the other areas and if this is not done in time the employee satisfaction in some cases will be minimal.
“Management style affects culture, technology affects the way staff interact with customers, internal communication methods affect how people work together.” (Bainbridge, 1996, p. 37)
A holistic approach to change improves the adaption of the organization in all the areas of management and operations. In essence, this process can become the design for change implementation in learning organizations. Nadler and Nadler (1998, p. 77) emphasized the importance of participation in all organizational activities. Participation of all stakeholders is necessary and thus the leaders require cooperation from the stakeholders to ensure that change is implemented effectively and efficiently, this is where the application of participative management comes into application. The most important role of the leader is to make sure that the organization can adapt to continuous changes experienced in the ever-changing environment and the ways of adapting to it formulated to enable the organization to operate in such a strategic position for competitive advantage benefit (Conger, Spreitzer & Lawler, 1999). The change mechanism should focus on the most beneficial strategy and the schedule for their respective implementation established to meet both the intended objective and on the required time frame (1999, p. 121). The steps are summarized as follows:
- Establishing a sense of urgency on the part of the workforce
- Forming a powerful guiding coalition between the organization workforce and the management.
- Creating a vision, mission, and objective statements
- Communicating the vision to all the stakeholders in the organization
- Planning for and creating short-term strategies and policies for implementation
In the recent past, the organizations have been concerned with the change in the leadership style and most of the organizations are turning to become learning organizations, which is the best management format so far (Conger, Spreitzer & Lawler, 1999, p. 127).
The skillful transformation of these organizations in the recent past has enabled them to position themselves to face any environmental challenges or changes in the future. Flexibility can be used in the analysis and the evaluation of people’s ability to change, information, communication, and technological changes, ways of thinking and the thinking abilities of the leaders, ways of performing the management roles to the formulated organization design, and the ability to achieve the intended objective in the change process (Conger, Spreitzer & Lawler, 1999, p. 158).
Preparing for future change
To survive the effects of continuous internal and external environmental changes in the future, leaders need to accomplish three major operational tasks namely (Murray and Yudor, 2009, p. 222):
- To shape the political environment for change to be favorable to have minimal impact on the organization’s operations in times of change.
- Motivate change on the part of the stakeholders to maximize the benefits that change comes with.
- To manage the transition period in which the change will be taking place in the organizations in any form e.g. management and leadership changes, strategy changes, etc (Nadler & Nadler, 1998, p. 110).
Pasmore (1994) said that flexibility is the most important aspect in the organization:
“Another strategy must be employed, one that prepares the organization for continuous change in a world that provides no stability and accepts no excuses for being unprepared; a strategy based on flexibility. Being flexible means being able to change everything, all at the same time,” (p. 5).
In the modern world, flexibility can be used in the analysis and the evaluation of people’s ability to change, information, communication, and technological changes, ways of thinking and the thinking abilities of the leaders, ways of performing the management roles to the formulated organization design and the ability to achieve the intended objective in the change process (Hambrick, Nadler, & Tushman, 1998, p. 112). The skillful transformation of these organizations in the recent past has enabled them to position themselves to face any environmental challenges or changes in the future. Flexibility can be used in the analysis and the evaluation of people’s ability to change, information, communication and technological changes, ways of thinking and the thinking abilities of the leaders, ways of performing the management roles to the formulated organization design, and the ability to achieve the intended objective in the change process.
The classification which is described in the paper can not be regarded as exhaustive, as there are lots of other leadership styles and behavioral patterns. These styles should be varied by the situation, and the given classification is aimed at describing the conceptual frames of management approaches. The classification is not exclusive, as some other approaches have similar features. It is stated that leaders are not rare in the business world, however, most of them just can not imagine that the leadership styles should be varied, hence they are not flexible. Originally, these approaches are defined by the circumstances, and the achievements of leadership style may presuppose either individual or collective achievements. In the light of this statement, it should be emphasized that leadership style needs to be based on the variations of social and business environments, where minorities often play the defining role. The leaders who represent the future tendencies may be more feminine and mild in distinction with the contemporary authoritative masculine style. This is explained by the importance of applying flexibility and adaptability to the changing business and cultural environment.
Analyzing various leadership styles, most researchers conclude that none of them is perfect. Every style and every approach may be used only in particular situations within specific circumstances; that is why there are numerous theories, which emphasize some basic principles of managing every situation.
Anyway, the focus should be based on the aims of the company and should be changed by the situation. Nevertheless, most leaders are not able to change their styles, hence, it is important to have at least two leaders in any team: object-oriented and leadership-oriented. Finally, the aspects of leadership should consider not only the interests of the organization, but also the origins of the tasks, and the considerations of the employees, concerning every particular task. The flexibility of the leadership style should be the key aim of any management approach, as managers need to know the actual importance of the task and be able not only make people to accomplish any task but to encourage them to offer their idea for solving any problem.
In the modern world, flexibility can be used in the analysis and the evaluation of people’s ability to change, information, communication and technological changes, ways of thinking and the thinking abilities of the leaders, ways of performing the management roles to the formulated organization design and the ability to achieve the intended objective in the change process.
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