Explain different leadership styles. Is there any difference between successful and an
effective leader? Discuss with suitable examples from an organization you are familiar
with. Describe the organization you are referring to.
Answer. Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent.
Some leadership styles are described below:
Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where leader has absolute power over his or her employees or team. Employees and team members have little opportunity for making suggestions, even if these would be in the team or organization’s interest.
Bureaucratic leaders work “by the book”, ensuring that their staff follow procedures exactly.
A charismatic leadership style can appear similar to a transformational leadership style, in that the leader injects huge doses of enthusiasm into his or her team, and is very energetic in driving others forward. However, a charismatic leader tends to believe more in him- or herself than in their team. This can create a risk that a project, or even an entire organization, might collapse if the leader were to leave: In the eyes of their followers, success is tied up with the presence of the charismatic leader. As such, charismatic leadership carries great responsibility, and needs long-term commitment from the leader.
Democratic Leadership or Participative Leadership
Although a democratic leader will make the final decision, he or she invites other members of the team to contribute to the decision-making process. This not only increases job satisfaction by involving employees or team members in what’s going on, but it also helps to develop people’s skills. Employees and team members feel in control of their own destiny, such as the promotion they desire, and so are motivated to work hard by more than just a financial reward.
This French phrase means “leave it be” and is used to describe a leader who leaves his or her colleagues to get on with their work. It can be effective if the leader monitors what is being achieved and communicates this back to his or her team regularly. Most often, laissez-faire leadership works for teams in which the individuals are very experienced and skilled self-starters. Unfortunately, it can also refer to situations where managers are not exerting sufficient control.
People-Oriented Leadership or Relations-Oriented Leadership
The style of leadership is the opposite of task-oriented leadership: the leader is totally focused on organizing, supporting and developing the people in the leader’s team. A participative style, it tends to lead to good teamwork and creative collaboration.
A highly task-oriented leader focuses only on getting the job done, and can be quite autocratic. He or she will actively define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, plan, organize and monitor. However, as task-oriented leaders spare little thought for the well-being of their teams, this approach can suffer many of the flaws of autocratic leadership, with difficulties in motivating and retaining staff. Task-oriented leaders can use the Blake-Mouton Managerial Grid to help them identify specific areas for development that will help them involve people more.
This style of leadership starts with the idea that team members agree to obey their leader totally when they take on a job: the “transaction” is (usually) that the organization pays the team members in return for their effort and compliance. You have a right to “punish” the team members if their work doesn’t meet the pre-determined standard.
Transactional leadership is really just a way of managing rather a true leadership style as the focus is on short-term tasks. It has serious limitations for knowledge-based or creative work, but remains a common style in many organizations.
A person with this leadership style is a true leader who inspires his or her team constantly with a shared vision of the future. Transformational leaders are highly visible, and spend a lot of time communicating. They don’t necessarily lead from the front, as they tend to delegate responsibility amongst their team. While their enthusiasm is often infectious, they generally need to be supported by “details people”.
In many organizations, both transactional and transformational leadership are needed. The transactional leaders (or managers) ensure that routine work is done reliably, while the transformational leaders look after initiatives that add value.
Using The Right Style – Situational Leadership
While the Transformation Leadership approach is often highly effective, there is no one “right” way to lead or manage that suits all situations. To choose the most effective approach one must consider:
• The skill levels and experience of your team
• The work involved (routine or new and creative)
• The organisational environment (stable or radically changing, conservative or adventurous)
• You own preferred or natural style.
A good leader will find him- or herself switching instinctively between styles according to the people and work they are dealing with. This is often referred to as “situational leadership”. For example, the manager of a small factory trains new machine operatives using a bureaucratic style to ensure operatives know the procedures that achieve the right standards of product quality and workplace safety. The same manager may adopt a more participative style of leadership when working on production line improvement with his or her team of supervisors.
EXAMPLE: CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP IN THE CIVIL FACILITIES PROJECT
In the civil facilities project the municipal manager represented the municipality in a project to design and construct various ecological civil facilities in an urban area of 250 houses. The purpose of the municipality was to develop civic facilities with environmentally friendly materials. The primary participants in this project were: a municipality as the client, represented by the municipal manager, and the same municipality as the designer, represented by a project team.
The municipal manager performed a charismatic leadership style to direct the design activities of the municipal project team and communicated in visionary images about environmental friendliness and a sustainable society. The municipal manager organized meetings to stimulate the team members to discuss ecological topics. The team members were annoyed by the so-called vague ambitions of the project and complained about the absence of concrete goals and measures.
The municipal manager tried to energize the team members and invited them to express their visions on ecological building. The team members didn’t develop any new ideas and continued complaining about fuzzy leadership.
In a last attempt to accelerate the team members’ contribution to the project, the municipal manager organized meetings in which they were invited to brainstorm about the specifications of an ecological civil facilities design; with no result. The final result of the charismatic leadership style in the civil facilities project was a completely traditional design for civic facilities without a single ecological innovation.
Charismatic leadership in the civil facilities project
In terms of innovative ecological project outcomes, the performance of charismatic leadership in the civil facilities project was a failure. The main reason was that the municipal manager lacked knowledge of ecology and ecological building. The municipal manager did not absorb information and knowledge of ecological building during the project and did not hire internal or external consultants to inject the project with the knowledge needed. The municipal manager had to manage a project team consisting of members without competence in the field of ecology or ecological building. The charismatic leadership style was based on the municipal manager’s belief that it would inspire the participants in the project. As a consequence of the absence of the necessary information, knowledge and competence in the project, the charismatic style had no effect.
To improve the efficiency I think the manager should eliminate the deficiency in the field of ecology and ecological building. He should inject the projects with ecological information, knowledge and competence.
Moreover, on an analytical level the performance of an innovation leadership style can have a positive effect on the ecological innovativeness of a construction project when the leading manager also assures that the project is injected with information, knowledge and competence in the field of ecology and ecological building.
What Do Successful Real Managers Do?
To answer the question of what successful real managers do, we conducted several types of analyses -- statistical (using multiple regression techniques), simple descriptive comparisons (for example, top third of managers as measured by the success index vs. bottom third), and relative strength of correlational relationships.8 In all of these analyses, the importance that networking played in real manager success was very apparent. Of the four real manager activities, only networking had a statistically significant relationship with success. In the comparative analysis we found that the most successful (top third) real managers were doing considerably more networking and slightly more routine communication than their least successful (bottom third) counterparts. From the relative strength of relationship analysis we found that networking makes the biggest relative contribution to manager success and, importantly, human resource management activities makes the least relative contribution.
What does this mean? It means that in this study of real managers, using speed of promotion as the measure of success, it was found that successful real managers spent relatively more time and effort socializing, politicking, and interacting with outsiders than did their less successful counterparts. Perhaps equally important, the successful real managers did not give much time or attention to the traditional management activities of planning, decision making, and controlling or to the human resource management activities of motivating/reinforcing, staffing, training/developing, and managing conflict. A representative example of this profile would be the following manager's prescription for success:
"I find that the way to get ahead around here is to be friendly with the right people, both inside and outside the firm. They get tired of always talking shop, so I find a common interest - with some it's sports, with others it's our kids - and interact with them on that level. The other formal stuff around the office is important but I really work at this informal side and have found it pays off when promotion time rolls around."
In other words, for this manager and for a significant number of those real managers we studied, networking seems to be the key to success.
What Do Effective Real Managers Do?
Once we answered the question of what successful managers do, we turned to the even more important question of what effective managers do. It should be emphasized once again that, in gathering our observational data for the study, we made no assumptions that the successful real managers were (or were not) the effective managers. Our participant observers were blind to the research questions and we had no hypothesis concerning the relationship between successful and effective managers.
We used the relative strength of correlational relationship between the real managers' effectiveness index and their directly observed day-to-day activities and found that communication and human resource management activities made by far the largest relative contribution to real managers' effectiveness and that traditional management and especially - networking made by far the least relative contribution.9
These results mean that if effectiveness is defined as the perceived quantity and quality of the performance of a manager's unit and his or her subordinates? satisfaction and commitment, then the biggest relative contribution to real manager effectiveness comes from the human oriented activities - communication and human, resource management. A representative example of this effectiveness profile is found in the following manager's comments:
"Both how much and how well things get done around here, as well as keeping my people loyal and happy, has to do with keeping them informed and involved. If I make a change in procedure or the guys upstairs give us a new process or piece of equipment to work with, I get my people's input and give them the full story before I lay it on them. Then I make sure they have the proper training and give them feedback on how they are doing. When they screw up, I let them know it, but when they do a good job, I let them know about that too.
This manager, like our study of real managers in general, found that the biggest contribution to effectiveness came from communicating and human resource management activities. Equally important, however, was the finding that the least relative contribution to real managers' effectiveness came from the networking activity. This, of course, is in stark contrast to our results of the successful real manager analysis. Networking activity had by far the strongest relative relationship to success, but the weakest with effectiveness. On the other hand, human resource management activity had a strong relationship to effectiveness (second only to communication activity), but had the weakest relative relationship to success. In other words, the successful real managers do not do the same activities as the effective real managers (in fact, they do almost the opposite). These contrasting profiles may have significant implications for understanding the current performance problems facing American organizations. However, before we look at these implications and suggest some solutions, let's take a look at those real managers who are both successful and effective.