Principles of Management: Leadership

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Leadership and organizational management are virtually inseparable. In actual fact, managers are indeed organizational leaders who should be virtually in charge of all the activities in the organization (Jones & George, 2007:314). While management is defined as a process that involves planning, organizing, coordinating, staffing, and controlling; leadership involve the processes via which individual execute and uses their powers, authorities, and trust of the followers to influence their actions and efforts towards performance of tasks and responsibilities with an optimal goal of using them to achieve set goals and responsibility. Ideally, there are varied styles that are used by leaders in their leadership endeavor and which are determined by the situation and immediate circumstance under which leaders lead and the personality characteristics of the leader himself. In business organization though, the success of a leader is largely dependent on the style that the leader uses (Griffins, 2007: 274). Examples of such leadership styles include autocratic leadership style, situation, contingent or rather situational leadership, behavioral leadership among others; each with distinct characteristics. This paper therefore looks into the principles of management in relation to organizational leadership styles for absolute management effectiveness and success.

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Definition of leadership

Irrespective of the fact that there is no definite description of leadership, definitions have over the years been developed to explain the concept of leadership. According to Jones & George (2007:313) leadership is described as a social process via which an individual (manager/ leader) uses his influence to garner loyalty and support of the followers or other people with an objective of wanting to attain the support of the latter to accomplish certain tasks and responsibility by inculcating an idea of mutual responsibility. The leader’s objectives can either be personal or on behalf of the society or the organization. Griffins (2007: 279), on his part defined leadership as a model through which individuals (leaders) create leeway via which the followers can contribute their efforts towards making something unusual to occur.

Leadership qualities for effective management

Leadership effectiveness, particularly in the organizational setup, is greatly a direct result of appropriate leadership behavior (Griffins, 2007: 301). However, factors that shape leadership behavior are of two categories. There are the natural or rather the inborn characteristics that are psychologically controlled which are also referred to as the personality variables and the physiological variable that an individual can acquire through learning and continued interaction with certain environment (Jones & George, 2007:315). Personality traits of an individual are key determinants of his or her behavior as they influence leadership behavior. Griffins (2007: 320) argue that since there is some leadership traits that can be taught, leadership behavior can also be learnt. However, most of the traits that make leadership behavior are inborn.

Leadership and management principles

Henry Fayol in his 14 principle of management pinpointed the various aspects of managers while stressing that a manager must have appropriate leadership qualities to be effective (Marino, 2001). In fact, the latter pointed out that close to all the fourteen principles of management suggests the most effective and efficient leadership style that leaders in organization should adopt for optimal results.

The Henry Fayol’s principles of management follow from the unity of command and unity of direction principles, but their application have to be proportional due the information processing demands. Most of the 14 management principles are viewed as criterion for the evaluation of the business organization’s functioning, that is, the personnel’s unity, the personnel’s stability, initiative, and equity all of which defines quality and actions of organizational leaders for effectiveness since they are inclined towards organizational leadership styles and management. Henry Fayol’s 14 principles of management Include:

Division of work: According to Henri Fayol, work should be distributed among workers and groups to make sure that the workers direct their efforts and attention to special portions of the work that is being performed. He made a presentation of specialization in work as the most appropriate way of optimal utilization of the human resource within the business organization.

Authority: There is a very close relationship between authority and responsibility. According to Marino (2001: Para 6), Fayol defined authority as “the right to give orders and the power to exact obedience, as one of the aspects of a leader in the organization. On the other hand, responsibility takes an involvement of one being accountable and thus this provides a close link with authority. Whoever takes power takes responsibility as well. This principle states that, there can be the effective exercising of formal authority by one in a management position only when the person has personal authority as well. Also, the manager’s authority should be harmonious to his or her responsibility.

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According to Fayol as indicated in Marino (2001: Para 7) a system should be put in place to penalize or reward in order to bring about encouragement for beneficial actions and discouragement of the negative deeds. People look for authority but evade responsibility and; there should be prevention of misuse of authority through making sure that the personal integrity among the employees and setting up a goal orientation which is in line with the governing body’s goals. This principle of management seems to be linked to the significance of authority brought about by the managers. The drive of the organization is brought about by the managers’ commands but the same organization runs basing on the work performed by those who carry out work in the course of obeying the commands.

Discipline: In order for an organization to succeed, it needs a collective effort of the workers. There should be the application of penalties in order to boost this collective effort. Fayol makes an observation that the opinion of the public views discipline as vital in order to achieve smooth running of any business organization. In the examination of the discipline’s conditions, Fayol makes a conclusion that the way that is much more effective to achieve discipline and maintain it is to give a provision for the leadership that is good within all the organization levels, to have remunerations that are far much more equitable, and availability of penalties for misconduct (Marino, 2001: Para 8).

Unity of Command: The orders to the workers should only originate from a single manager. If there is no following of this principle and people get orders from more than one source, the workers within the organization may get confused and feel quite uneasy as a result of forms of discipline that are not compatible. As a result, discipline turns out to be an issue that can be compromised, the order is no longer stable and the stability of the business organization gets into danger. Fayol makes a comparison of such a situation with an organism that catches up a disease. Just in the same way the organism may experience uneasiness up to the time the particles that gained access in to its body are removed, the business organization that is experiencing this situation will go on feeling uneasy up to the time the disorganized managers at the top are gotten rid of (Marino, 2001: Para 8).

Unity of Direction: The whole organization should have a common goal towards which they have to move together. This principle should be distinguished from the principle of unity of command. Whereas the unity of command is the way the personnel functions within a business organization and carries out an analysis of the interpersonal relationships, this principle relates to the corps social structure whose determination is on the manager’s assignment of authority as well as responsibility for duty sphere. This principle can not be there in the absence of the principle of unity of command.

Subordination of individual interests to the general interests: The interests of a single person within the organization should not dominate the interests of the entire organization.

Remuneration: In order to come up with a determination of the worker’s rate of pay, there should be a consideration of such variables as the general cost of living, the supply of the personnel who are qualified, the business conditions in general and the business success.

Centralization: This was defined by Fayol as “lowering the importance of the subordinate role.” On the other hand, decentralization means raising the importance. The level to which the adoption of either centralization or decentralization should be carried out is dependent upon the specific organization that manager is operating in. This principle on one hand is to be applied which implies coming up with an organization with one directive part to give out commands and get back information (Marino, 2001: Para 8). On the other hand, the right level of centralization has to be established, implying assigning accepted levels of initiatives to people who do not belong to the directive part so as to utilize the qualities of the total personnel in the optimal manner possible.

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Scalar Chain: Every manager in the hierarchy starting from supervisors to the president have some level of authority with the president having much more authority and the first line supervisor having the lowest authority. Those managers at the lower level should enable those managers at the higher level to be informed at all times about their activities. In order for the business organization to be successful, there should be a scalar chain and strict sticking to it.

Order: In order to achieve efficiency as well as coordination, all the materials and workers associated with a specific task should have uniform treatment. This principle is made up of two sub-principles. One of these sub-principles is for material order and the other one is for social order. The social order requires that for every employee in the organization, there is an appointed place for him/her. The place appointed for the employee should be appropriate for such an employee. This brings about optimal utilization of the human resources within the business organization (Marino, 2001: Para 11). According to Marino, the main goal of this order principle is to evade time loss as well as material loss in the material order case and to evade having positions within the organization that might be needless such as having employees that are not competent in social order case.

Equity: There should be equal treatment to the employees. The management of the business organization should work towards achieving highest equity together with equally possible treatment of the personnel within the organization without leaving out any of the other management principles. Employing this principle by the managers at the top gives an encouragement to the employees to perform their work in a devoted manner and having loyalty to the organization.

Stability of tenure of the personnel: The retention of those workers who are very much more productive by the business organization should be given the highest priority possible by the management. The personnel stability brings about the influence between the personnel that has much experience and the one that has no adequate experience. In order for a business organization to succeed, it needs to have stability of the personnel that is optimal. This principle is an issue of proportion. The one that is very high could bring about stagnation that is not necessary since the employees may not do their work in the appropriate manner since they might have turned out to be in a position to handle greater responsibilities.

Initiative: Initiative refers to coming up with a plan and making sure that the plan has been successfully implemented. The taking of appropriate steps should be made by the management to bring about encouragement of worker initiative. Worker initiative is defined as fresh or extra work activity that is carried out through self direction. As a result, all leaders/ managers must have initiative to succeed in their endeavor.

Espirit De Corps: Management should carry out encouragement of harmony and the general comfort among the employees of the business organization. This involves combination of getting committed to the similar goals, unity of command, and working relationships that have harmony a factor that calls for absolute leadership efficiency

Autocratic leadership: A Case of BMW

The unmatched success that BMW continues to experience to date can greatly be credited to the leadership excellence that is typical to the organization and which is greatly entranced as an integral part of the organizational culture (Gayle, Andrew, & Martin, 2004). The automobile company which is a market leader in the automobile industry is marked by eras of great success especially the period between 1999 and 2001. Despite the fact that the organization doesn’t explicitly display its vision, mission and value, all signs points out that leadership forms one of the management aspects that are highly valued at BMW (Gayle, Andrew, & Martin, 2004). As a matter of facts, exceptional leadership models and team based management styles have been utilized in the organization to promote performance the latter of which have enabled the organization promote existence of confidence, trust, and high degree of collaboration among parties that are integral to BMW. Furthermore, the latter argues that successful leadership has enabled the company build solid, successful, and mutually beneficial relationships with the stakeholders and partners to the organization.

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Leadership is one of the most important yet complex aspects of organizational management. Although leadership and management have often been referred to as synonymous, the two are vividly different. However, they perform almost similar functions in the organizational set up. Success in organizational leadership is however greatly determined by the leader’s natural qualities and learnt aspects as well as the leadership styles that a leader uses. Such styles include autocratic styles, behavioral, contingent/situational among others (Griffins, 2007: 357). BMW is one of the leading companies in the global automobile industry that is greatly celebrated for the production of high performing and luxurious automobile products. Use of typically autocratic leadership at BMW is believed to have been the engine behind managerial success and ultimate leadership in the global motor industry as far as BMW is concerned. Furthermore, the unique leadership culture at BMW forms the pedestal of the organizational success. The autocratic leadership style, lack of vision, mission, and values display – coupled with the famous BMW’s Associate and Leadership Model – have been the engine that has driven BMW success characterized by decades of continuous improvement, market leadership as well as unmatched profitability.

Ideally, Henry Fayol’s famous fourteen principles of management plays a major role in shaping the organization’s most appropriate leadership styles for absolute effectiveness and management success particularly the Authority, Discipline, Unity of Command, Unity of Direction, Subordination of individual interests to the general interests, Centralization, Scalar Chain, Order, Equity, Stability of tenure of the personnel, and initiative on the part of the leaders to be effective.


Gayle, A., Andrew, B., Martin, H., 2004. Understanding Leadership: BMW Sheer Driving Pleasure, Paradigms and Cases, Sage Publication Ltd London Pp 1-12

Griffins, R.W., 2007. Fundamentals of Management, fifth edition, Houghton Mifflin, USA page 258-383

Jones, G. R., George, J. M., 2007. Essentials of Contemporary Management, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill/Irwin, New York City, page 312-320

Marino, V., 2001. General management principle as summarized by Fayol: Henry Fayol’s fourteen principle of management (1916). Web.

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