Management. Leadership Styles and Skills

Leadership is important for every organization because it determines its culture and values, relations between employees, and corporate morale. Leaders differ consistently from each other across groups but also may relate differently to different members within their group. A leader is a kind of person (with leadership qualities) who has the appropriate knowledge and skill to lead a group to achieve its ends willingly. These leadership functions need to be handled with excellence, and this is achieved by performing those functions with increasing skill. Before examining the skills of leadership, it is worth seeing where certain qualities of leadership can be viewed as having functional value. It would be wrong to say that some leadership styles are better than others except in the case of negative personality traits and an autocratic leadership style which has a negative impact on the organization and employees.

The leadership skills appropriate in one context may be irrelevant or inappropriate in another organizational context (Armandi et al., 2003). The situational leadership style is effective only if it is applied to task behavior and relationship behavior. This style is based on the idea that leaders evaluate the unique characteristics of subordinates and adapt their leadership styles to employees’’ needs and organizational demands (Hoyle & Wilmore 2002). This model vividly portrays that it is impossible to create an ideal leadership style because successful leadership can be achieved only by careful selection of the right style. This style should reflethe ct acceptance and readiness of the followers, their ability and wiliness to perform a specific task (Charan 2001). In some satiations, leaders should select the direction themselves and direct employees. If employees are passive and unmotivated, path-goal leadership could help a leader to assist followers and support them. Other leadership theories would not work in this situation. The main characteristics of the path-goal moel are task structure, formal authority, and group work. Leadership behavior is marked by directive, supportive, party,cipative, and achievement characteristics. Path-goal theory is effective in those situations when leaders need to achieve high-performance and workers’’ satisfaction (Charan 2001).

Following Boehnke and Bontis (2001), the transforming leader recognizes an existing need for a potential follower but then moves forward seeking to arouse and satisfy higher needs (in terms of Maslow’s need hierarchy) to engage the full person of the follower. The followers themselves may be converted into leaders. For many respondents, the transforming leader always male was seen as a benevolent father who remained friendly and treated the respondent as an equal despite the leader’s greater knowledge and experience (Barker 2001). The leader provided a model of integrity and fairness with people as well as being one who set clear and high standards of performance (Segriovanni & Glickman 2006). Other characteristics less frequently mentioned included: seeking others” highest good, treating others with dignity, showing respect for others, and genuine interest in them. He also was seen to be firm and to reprimand when necessary, to give autonomy to followers, to encourage self-development of followers, to be participative, to be willing to teach followers, and to mix easily socially with followers (Armandi et al. 2003). Leadership may be exercised from any direction in the space, or any value location, depending upon the dynamic constellation of the pattern of unification polarization in the group at a particular time; thus, depending upon one’s value system, leadership at a given time may be malevolent as well as benevolent. A person may be appointed or elected as a leader with the expectation that he or she will lead in a particular direction or directions of behavior and value realization, but may find that to hold leadership under changing conditions of polarization and unification, he or she must deviate from the expected directions, at times even need to controvert them. There are various means of leadership, and a given leader may employ various means and combinations at various times or change gradually over time. Behavior and change of behavior are one means, the expression or symbolization of values, and change of value emphasis is another (Segriovanni & Glickman 2006). A successful leader may act at one time or another as a model for emulation, as an evoker or provoker of other salient images, as a target of identification, projection, or transference, as a provoker of insight, as a therapist, teacher, trainer, shaper or modifier of behavior, or manager of rewards and punishments. Although leadership is usually salient, it is not always so. It may be accomplished by indirect means and may not be easily recognized. To provoke or encourage another person to become salient as a temporary or secondary leader is an indirect means (Charan et al. 2001). To initiate a change in the situation, task, or crisis external to the group which provokes or requires a given kind of behavior or value emphasis or which changes the conditions of reward and punishment, is an indirect means. This model is effective only in those situations when leaders are able to provide individualized considerations and intellectual stimulation to the followers. This style is effective if a leader needs to motivate employees, but it would not work in low-performance teams (Charan 2001). Continued exercise of successful leadership in most groups and situations will require the employment of indirect as well as direct means of leadership. It also follows from this conception and definition of leadership that, if one wishes to select, elect, appoint, or train individuals for leadership, one needs to be clear about the directions of behavior and values in the group that one wishes to have maximized in the longer run (Segriovanni & Glickman 2006).

Visionary leadership is based on the idea that a leader can articulate a realistic, credible, attractive vision to followers and explain his vision verbally and behaviorally. This style can be applied to different leadership contexts, but it will not work if employees are lo motivated and lack knowledge and skills. Good leaders should have full command of the three main areas of the leadership model and be able to use each of the elements according to the right situation. Being able to do all of these things whilst keeping the right balance gets results, builds morale, improves quality, and develops teams and productivity (Reed 2001; Zaccaro and Klimoski 2001). Team leadership is effective in those situations when coaching, facilitating, and handling are needed. The leader plays a role of troubleshooter and liaison, a conflict manager, and a coach. Some kinds will be acceptable morally or ethically, but ineffective or inefficient for the directions one wishes to maximize. Following Schein (1996),” leaders of midlife organizations choose to change cultural assumptions is through the subtle, cumulative, and sometimes unintended impacts of new technology” (p. 318). Charismatic leadership is characterized by a unique vision of the leader, unique personality, self-confidence, and the ability to influence followers. If a leader lacks environmental sensitivity and strong convictions, he/she would not be able to guide and direct employees.

In many cases, the style of a leader depends and is determined by situations and organizational context. Contextual variables are considered to be partial determinants of an organization’s or work unit’s structure and outputs (Fulton and Maddock 1998). Size, technological sophistication, and technological variability are combined into a measure of contextual complexity. Having identified the main functions or principles of leadership, there are skills in providing those functions in different situations, and managers need to develop their abilities to bring those skills to bear in increasing levels of excellence (Charan et al. 2001). The eight functions (defining the task, planning, briefing, controlling, evaluating, motivating, organizing, and setting an example) will now be examined. Communicating (speaking and listening) is crucial to get right in any briefing, and it centers on the task, team, and individual needs which should be addressed. The effective speaking attributes of a successful briefing are to be: Assertiveness can be important. For example, to give the task direction and in explaining the role of the team/individual, especially in an initial briefing or where there is low morale (Segriovanni & Glickman 2006). Organizations should ensure that they have a policy of developing the leadership potential in all and particularly of newly appointed leader”! Individuals should also ensure that they focus on developing their leadership skills by training, reading, analyzing, and following the example of good leaders and by assessing, monitoring, and improving their own performance. This confirms the need to treat people as individuals, but as the 50:50 rule also indicates, other motivational factors should always be set in the context of the individual’s managed environment. Other theories of motivation suggest that 90% of motivation is within an individual should be tempered by the 50:50 rule (Fulton and Maddock 1998).

In sum, there are no wrong or right leadership styles, but there are those styles that can be effectively applied to some situations and organizations. A leadership style will not work if it does not meet organizational objectives and culture. Decision-making, along with leadership and communication, is one of the top three attributes a successful manager needs. Neither of the leadership styles is better than the other because all of the herm can be successfully applied to different organizational situations; all of them help to motivate, guide and direct followers.


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