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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Explain the various leadership styles.

Explain the various leadership styles. Discuss the leadership styles of your organization and how influential it is in improving the performance of your organization or any organization you are acquainted with. Briefly describe the organization you are referring to.

Many people believe that leadership is simply being the first, biggest or most powerful. Leadership in organizations has a different and more meaningful definition. Very simply put, a leader is interpreted as someone who sets direction in an effort and influences people to follow that direction. How they set that direction and influence people depends on a variety of factors that we'll consider later on below. To really comprehend the "territory" of leadership, you should briefly scan some of the major theories, notice various styles of leadership and review some of the suggested traits and characteristics that leaders should have. The rest of this library should help you in this regard.

The Autocrat

The autocratic leader dominates team-members, using unilateralism to achieve a singular objective. This approach to leadership generally results in passive resistance from team-members and requires continual pressure and direction from the leader in order to get things done. Generally, an authoritarian approach is not a good way to get the best performance from a team. There are, however, some instances where an autocratic style of leadership may not be inappropriate. Some situations may call for urgent action, and in these cases an autocratic style of leadership may be best. In addition, most people are familiar with autocratic leadership and therefore have less trouble adopting that style. Furthermore, in some situations, sub-ordinates may actually prefer an autocratic style.

The Laissez-Faire Manager

The Laissez-Faire manager exercises little control over his group, leaving them to sort out their roles and tackle their work, without participating in this process himself. In general, this approach leaves the team floundering with little direction or motivation. Again, there are situations where the Laissez-Faire approach can be effective. The Laissez-Faire technique is usually only appropriate when leading a team of highly motivated and skilled people, who have produced excellent work in the past. Once a leader has established that his team is confident, capable and motivated, it is often best to step back and let them get on with the task, since interfering can generate resentment and detract from their effectiveness. By handing over ownership, a leader can empower his group to achieve their goals.

The Democrat

The democratic leader makes decisions by consulting his team, whilst still maintaining control of the group. The democratic leader allows his team to decide how the task will be tackled and who will perform which task. The democratic leader can be seen in two lights: A good democratic leader encourages participation and delegates wisely, but never loses sight of the fact that he bears the crucial responsibility of leadership. He values group discussion and input from his team and can be seen as drawing from a pool of his team members' strong points in order to obtain the best performance from his team. He motivates his team by empowering them to direct themselves, and guides them with a loose reign. However, the democrat can also be seen as being so unsure of himself and his relationship with his sub-ordinates that everything is a matter for group discussion and decision. Clearly, this type of "leader" is not really leading at all.

Ratan Tata

Leading a large group of companies in the days of fast changing business scenario of changing regulations, increasing completion and opening up of economy could be an arduous challenge for many. Leading the firm through these times and four-folding the group’s revenues could be a dream. Doing this requires clear vision, innate conviction, ability to inspire and guide along the way. Ratan Tata established himself to be the right leader who could help the company sail through the turbulent waters and reach the desired lands. These targets never existed or were thought not feasible by the company earlier. Prior to his handling the mantle, these were hard even for conceiving. When Ratan Tata became the Chairman of century old, well respected Indian business group, Tata, it was a conservative company, dominated by the paradigm of manufacturing. It was deriving dominant share of revenues from the domestic market when domestic market itself was marked by two important trends. First, it was making shift towards services and secondly was moving towards opening up. Realizing that when the economy as whole is shifting to more of services, the future belongs to the one that belongs to that segment and the need for globalization is important when your domestic economy itself is opening up, he initiated right moves. To be there when it happens, he had to lead the company from over-dominantly manufacturing paradigm to services based one and from domestic focused to the one with global mindset. This was not to be achieved by compromising on the existing focus or by resorting to hasty retreat from the areas of operation. It was to be accomplished while with continuity (may be diluting/withdrawing from some) but more through furthering towards new areas. One such instance can be quoted is that of entering into the passenger car segment by the group company Tata motors (previously TELCO). While continuing to produce trucks, and being a strong name in trucks, the company was induced to think along the lines of an indigenous car. He helped it to realize the dream from drawing board to dusty roads and result was Indica. This was followed by an enhanced version. He also helped the group company Tata Tea internationalize and acquire a dominant global player Tetley. The vision can be appreciated fully with the knowledge that when acquired, Tetley was double the size of Tata Tea and present in many markets. Further, following the adage of “gold at the bottom of the pyramid”, he is leading the company to enhance the coverage of offerings. This they are planning through budget hotels, a truly middle class car (for lakh rupees, half the price of the entry car in the market). Helping it to reach out to new areas and acquire a global mindset, he by complementing through his characteristic leadership, helped the Tata group to survive the uncertain times, overcome the stagnation. Quantum Corporation is a leading manufacturer of hard disks and computer peripherals, where "time-to-volume" is of critical importance. For this company it is of prime importance that the customers actually get new products they want, at the right time and in the right quantity they require. Time-to-volume requires rapid product development without sacrificing quality and also ability to ramp up production fast enough to meet customer needs. Quantum identified a set of value behaviors such as flexibility, adaptability, taking charge of one's own development, resolving issues in objective manner etc. as drivers to support the deliverable "time-to-volume". This company did not stop by identifying the behaviors; they integrated them directly into performance criteria. Merit pay was based equally on financial results and employees' display of value behaviors. Instead of thinking in terms of HR focused enablers, it is important to gauge how specific HR enablers are supporting core performance drivers in operations, customer and financial segments of the organization. The following example of a major money-center bank shows the disastrous effect of not connecting HR enablers with the various performance drivers of the organization. This particular bank decided to shift its focus in retail business from service to sales and accordingly identified a set of key performance drivers such as increased cross-selling to existing customers, teller product knowledge, sales skill etc. But unfortunately, the HR enablers still emphasized the importance of service. The HR policies and practices like training, recruitment, performance appraisal, compensation continued rewarding service rather than sales, though the focus of the organization had already changed. The mismatch between the bank's new goals and obsolete HR enablers hindered achievement of its sales and profitability targets. The entire HR system influences employee behavior in many ways and it has great impact on the strategic drivers in the larger organization. Therefore every organization should evaluate on an ongoing basis the degree to which the firm's entire system of HR enablers, from employee selection to development to reward and retention, support the non HR drivers outlined in the firm's business balance scorecard.

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