Leadership is the quality of an individual’s behavior whereby he is able to guide the people or their activities towards certain goals (Ahuja, 2005,p.429).
Leadership is the ability to get work done with and through others, while at the same time winning their confidence, respect, loyalty and willing co-operation. The first part of this definition is the same as for management. It is the second half, which highlights the difference between a leader and a non-leader. Managers who possess the quality of guiding and directing the subordinates in an organization to perform their jobs efficiently can be called business leaders. A leader interprets the objectives of the group and guides it towards the achievement of these objectives.
Leadership means different things to different people, and sometimes the most effective leaders can appear not to be leading at all. Good leadership is essential in all aspects of managerial functions whether, it be motivation, communication or direction. Good leadership ensures success in the organization, and unsatisfactory human performance in any organization can be primarily attributed to poor leadership. Total performance is the result of a host of factors and not of leadership alone, hence can be evaluated in the light of these factors.
A leader influences others by his qualities, viz. confidence, communicative ability, awareness of his impact on others as well as perceptions about the situation and his subordinates. The effect of a leader’s background experiences, his communication ability, self-awareness, confidence, his perceptions of subordinates, the situation and the self are shown below:
Fig. 5 Qualities of Leader
[Source: Taken from, Prasad LM, (2006) Organizational Behavior, Fig 26.1 p 287]
All these factors interact together to determine the leader’s ability to influence others.
2. Leadership Styles and Their Effects On An Organization
Many of the research studies, particularly by behavioral scientists have been carried out to find out the answer of the question: What makes the leader effective? Is his success due to his personality, or his behavioral, or the type of followers he has, or the situation in which he works, or a combination all these? (Ahuja, 2005,p.428)
These researches however could not give a satisfactory answer of the question. Instead these researches have resulted in various theories or approaches on leadership, the prominent among these being trait theory, behavioral theories, and situational theory. Each theory has its own contributions, limitations, assumptions and framework of analysis. The understanding of the various theories of leadership will provide guideline to judge as to how a leader emerges.
i. Trait Approach
Trail is defined as relatively enduring quality of an individual. The trait approach seeks to determine ‘ what makes a successful leader from the leaders own personal characteristics (Stogdill, 1978, p.35). Various research studies have given various traits for successful leadership emphasizing various aspects of intelligence, attitudes personality and biological factors. According to Stogdill various trait theories have suggested these traits in a successful leader.
Physical and constitutional factors (height, weight, physique, energy health, appearance)
Ø Will (initiative, persistence ambition)
Ø Dominance and
Ø Surgeny (talkative, cheerfulness, geniaity, enthusiasm, expressiveness, alertness and originality)
Innate qualities are those, which are possessed by various individuals since their birth. These
Qualities are natural and often known as God gifted. On the basis of such qualities it is said that
‘Leaders are born and not made’. The individuals cannot acquire these qualities.
Acquirable qualities of leadership are those, which can be acquired and increased through various processes. In fact: when child is born, he learns many of the behavioral patters through socialization and identification processes. Such behavioral patterns are developed among the child as various traits over a period of time. Many of these traits can be increased through training prorammes (Prasad, 2006,p.411).
Following are some major qualities essential for leadership:
For leadership higher level of intelligence is required. Intelligence is generally expressed in terms of mental ability. Intelligence, to a very great extent, is a natural quality in the individuals because it is directly related with brain. The composition of brain is a natural factor, though many psychologists claim that the level of intelligence in an individual can be increased through various training methods.
b) Emotional Stability
A leader should have high level of emotional stability. He should be free from bias, is consistent in action, and refrains from anger. He is well adjusted, and has no anti social attitudes. He is self-confident and believes that he can meet most situations successfully.
c) Human Relations
A successful leader should have adequate knowledge of human relations that is how he should deal with human beings. Such an important part of a leaders job is to develop people and get their voluntarily cooperation for achieving work, he should have intimate knowledge of people and their relationship to each other. The knowledge of how human beings behave and how they react to various situations is quite meaningful to a leader (Stogdill, 1978, p.47)
Empathy relates to observing the things or situations from others point of view. The ability to look at things objectively and understanding them from others point of view is an important aspect of successful leadership. When one is empathetic, he knows what makes the other fellow think as he does, even though he doesn’t necessary agree with others thought. Empathy requires respect for the other persons, their rights, beliefs values, and feelings.
Objectivity implies that what a leader does should be based on relevant facts and information. He must access these without any bias or prejudice. The leader must base his relationship on his objectivity. He is objective and does not permit himself to get emotionally involved to the extent that he finds it difficult to make an objective diagnosis and implement the action required.
f) Motivating Skills
Not only a leader is self-motivated but also he has requisite quality to motivate his followers. Though there are many external forces, which motivate a person for higher performance, there is inner drive in people also for motivation to work. The leader can play active role in stimulating these inner drives of his followers (Yvonne, 2003,p.198). Thus, a leader must understand his people to the extent that he can know how he can activate them.
g) Technical skills
The leading of people requires adherence to definite principles, which must be understood and followed for greater success. The ability to plan, organize, delegate, analyze, seek, advice, make decisions, control, and win cooperation require the use of important abilities which constitute technical competence of leadership (Prasad, 2006,p.431). The varied technical competence of leader may win support from the followers.
h) Communicative skills
A successful leader knows how to communicate effectively. Communication has great force in getting the acceptance from the receivers of communication. A leader uses communication skills for persuasive, informative, and simulating purposes. Normally a successful leader is extrovert as compared to introvert.
i) Social Skills
A successful leader has social skills. He understands people and knows their strength and weakness. He has the ability to work with people and so conducts himself that he gains their confidence and loyalty, and people cooperate willingly with him (Yvonne, 2003,p.208).
Though all these qualities contribute to the success of leadership, but it cannot be said for certain about the relative contributions of these qualities. Moreover, it is not necessary that a successful leader in equal quantity possess all these qualities. This list of qualities may be only suggestive and not comprehensive. Leadership is too nebulous a concept to be definitely identified by listing of its important attributes. Read about A ung San Suu Kyi leadership style
The Trait theory is very simple. However this fails to produce clear-cut results. It doesn’t consider the whole environment of leadership, of which trait may be only one factor. Moreover no generalization can be drawn about various traits for leadership, as there were considerable variations in traits established by various researchers. (Ahuja, 2005,p.434)
Jennings has concluded,
“Fifty years of study has failed to produce a one personality trait or set of qualities that can be used to discriminate leaders and non leaders.” (Jennings, 1961)
In brief, this approach presents the following problems:
(a) There cannot be generalization of traits for a successful leader. This was evident by various researches conducted on leadership traits.
(b) No evidence has been given about the degree of the various traits people have the various traits with different degrees.
(c) There is a problem of measuring the traits. Though there are various tests to measure the personality traits, however no definite conclusion can be drawn.
(d) There have been many people with the traits specified for leader, but they were not good leaders.
This approach, however gives indication that leader should have certain personal characteristics. This helps management to develop such qualities through training and development programmes.
ii. Behavioral Approach
This approach emphasis that strong leadership is result of effective role behavior. Leadership is shown by a person’s acts more than by his traits. Though traits influences acts, followers, goals, and the environment in which these occur also affect these. Thus, there are four basic elements- leaders, followers, goal and environment – which affect each other in determining suitable behavior. Leadership acts ma e viewed in two ways. Some acts are functional (favorable) to leadership and some are dysfunctional (unfavorable). The dysfunctional acts are inability to accept subordinates ideas, display of emotional immaturity, poor human relations, and poor communications (Brown, 1964, p. 288).
A leader uses three skills – technical, human, and conceptual- to lead his followers. Technical skills refer to a person’s knowledge and proficiency in any type of process or technique. Human skills are the ability to interact effectively with people and to build teamwork. Conceptual skills deal with ideas and enable a manager to deal successfully with abstractions, to set up models and devise plans. Behavior of a manager in a particular direction will make him good leader while opposite of this would discard him as a leader. Setting goals, motivating employees for achieving goals, raising the level of morale, building team spirit, effective communication, etc., are the functional behavior for a successful leader (Brown, 1964, p. 297).
The basic difference between trait approach and behavioral approach is that formal emphasizes some particular trait to e possessed by leader while latter emphasizes particular behavioral by him. It is true that favorable behavioral provides greater satisfaction to followers and the person can be recognized as a leader. However this approach suffer from one weakness, that is a particular behavioral at a time may be effective, while at other times may not be effective. (Yvonne, 2003,p.221)
This means the time factor becomes a vital element, which has not been, considered here.
iii. Situational Approach
The prime attention in this approach is given to the situation in which leadership is exercised. Since 1945, much emphasis in leadership research is being given to the situations that surround the exercise of leadership. (Ahuja, 2005,p.457) The contention is that in one situation leadership ma e successful while in others it may not.
Four situational variables that affect the performance of leadership
Ø The cultural environment
Ø Difference between individuals
Ø Difference between jobs
Ø Difference between operations
The situational theory of leadership gives the analysis how leadership behavioral differs with situational variables. Thus the question, why a manager in a particular situation is successful while in the other situation is unsuccessful, is answered by this theory. However this approach is not free from certain limitations, which are as follows.
Ø The theory emphasizes leadership ability of an individual in a given situation. Thus, it measures his present leadership potentialities. Whether this individual will fit in another situation is not answered by this theory.
Ø Organizations factors become helpful or constraints, to a great extent to an individual leader, in exercising his leadership. Thus, it is difficult to measure his potential abilities as a good leader.
Ø The theory does not emphasize the process by which good leaders can e made in the organizations. Thus it puts a constraint over leadership development process. (Ahuja, 2005,p.458)
iv. System Approach
Leadership is known by a person’s acts more than by his traits. Traits influence acts, but so do followers’ goals and the situation in which he co-ordinates the efforts of the people and stimulates them-towards the achievements of their goals in particular situations. This is called systems approach because it considers all the variables, namely, leader, followers, goals and environment, which influence each other to determine suitable role behavior. It considers leader as one of the several interdependent factors, which create a particular type of leadership. Thus leader emerges as a consequence of the needs of the group of people and the nature of the environments within which the group operates. (Ahuja, 2005,p.460)
v. Eclectic Approach
Sanford has developed the eclectic approach to leadership. He contents that leadership depends upon traits of leader, situational variables and type of followers, As such, these three factors should be integrated to study leadership pattern. In fact, this is not a new theory but integration of various theories. An analysis of various theories shows that a single theory does not satisfy the problem of leadership. Thus integrating them solves problem. (Ahuja, 2005,p.462)
3. Organizational Changes ; Leadership
Due to changing technology and changing social expectations, industry and commerce is becoming increasingly complex and inter-dependent. As a consequence, work requires higher levels of individual skill and management expertise. These pressures make the, ‘controller’, style of management less and less appropriate. As the technical skill of jobs in industry increases, an increasing reliance must be placed on self-motivation of the workforce to ensure high performance. It is marginal effort that makes the crucial difference between satisfactory and outstanding performance. Whereas normal levels of output can be more or less controlled, the marginal effort, which is so crucial, is very much at the discretion of the subordinate. For this reason, the transforming leadership role is increasingly essential. Transforming leadership is required to get the best out of knowledgeable workers (Prasad, 2006, 294).
In todays, complex, knowledge based working environment it is increasingly difficult to measure the subordinates, output. Control becomes impossible and has to be replaced by trust and transforming leadership. As the world grows more complex, the individual is not able to understand it alone. Reliance has to be placed on the specialist knowledge of the team requiring creation of the right climate for that knowledge to be applied. The group must be developed to maximize learning and the increase of the knowledge base. Such a climate will also encourage synergy and the sparking of creative interactions (Ahuja K, 2005, 552). Transforming leadership is required to accelerate the shift of the point of congruence in the direction of the visionary/enabler. The transforming leader consciously fights the lure of the interventionist. He creates a sense of vision to inspire the group and place on the team members the responsibility for making decisions and solving their own relationship problems.
The transforming leader adopts the visionary/enabler role and frees his followers from the dead hand of the interventionist and transactional routine. Transforming leadership concentrates on the leader in the visionary/enabler role and on avoiding the seductive alternative roles that tend to trap leaders into various forms of controller/manipulator behavior. The transforming leader acts as a visionary/enabler to develop the individual capabilities of his team members and to mould them into a fully functioning team. Above all, he is concerned to create a sense of mission, which will give the team a vision of what their job is all about. This vision carries the group beyond the narrow confines of daily routine and puts work into a context of meaning and value (Prasad, 2006, 364).
A successful leader is one who is keenly aware of those forces, which are more relevant to his behavior at any given time. He accurately understands himself, the individuals and the group he is dealing with, and the organization and the broader social environment in which he operates. Thus,
“The successful manager of men can be primarily characterized neither as a strong leader nor as a permissive one. Rather he is one who maintains a high batting average in accurately assessing the forces that determine what his most appropriate behavior at any given time should be and in actually being able to behave accordingly. Being both insightful and flexible, he is less likely to see the problem of leadership as a dilemma.” (Tannenbaum & Schmidt, p. 180)
Leadership in business is never a bossism because the leader is not synonym of the boss. (Prasad, 2006,p.445). A boss depends upon his authority and as such always drives and orders, but a leader relies upon his confidence and goodwill and always believes in coaching and advising his subordinates. The successful leadership calls for
`The ability to comprehend that human being has different motivating forces in different situations, the ability to inspire, and ability to act in a manner that will develop a climate for responding to and arousing motivations.’ (Tannenbaum & Schmidt, p. 181)
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Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 2002
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Harvard Business Review: May-June, 1993, p 175-182
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And administrators. Synergy Books International. P186-215
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