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Question:

Describe about contemporary leadership theory?

 

Answer:

1.0 Contemporary Leadership Theory

1.1 The leadership practices have changed over time at a considerable rate but the requirement of these theories to leaders and leadership has not (Avolio 2007). In the year 1990, leadership books proliferation was founded by Bass (Smith et al 2008). Ever after Burns publication on leadership transformation, the need for leadership programs at several higher institutes of education have also grown. The leaders and leadership study historical evolution was driven from the theory of Galton’s Great Man. It was thought that royal families, individuals at war from battlefield and other successful people were said to have capabilities and talents that made them stand apart from the larger population allowing them achieve more success (Schawbel 2012). Subsequently the theory of Great Man helped develop the theory of trait from 1920 to 1930 which commonly in an unsuccessful manner tried identifying traits which made leaders stand apart from others. This theory had shortcomings but the most flawed aspect of this theory was that it did not consider the different myriad circumstances that leaders face (Avolio 2005). Further attempts were made to refocus on the performance of a leader, their skills and their specific behavior. The approach of behavioral theory makes this attempt by identifying exactly what is done by an effective leader when working  (Johnson 2009). Furthermore, more leader models such as contingency and transactional leader theory models were developed in order to identify the treats that lead to leadership effectiveness.

 

However each of these leadership theories focused only on elaborating the performance of a leader but the need today is on satisfaction of the needs of the stakeholders (Hackman et al 2009). New leadership theories are consistently active whereas others are not such as the trait theory especially because trait leadership theory focuses only on certain attributes or requirements and beliefs of a leader whereas the new theories of leadership try to evaluate the attributes that a good leader should have to fulfil the needs of the stakeholders (Bordas 2007).

1.2 The traditional leadership theories were inclusive of trait, leadership and contingency theories which had their own limitations such as no focus on performance of leaders. New leadership theories are inclusive of charismatic and transformational leadership (Day 2004). A longstanding problem however has been regarding leadership significance to management that is whether leadership qualities possession is required for managing others performance or not. A manager may not be a leader but a leader may be a manager (LeFasto et al 2011). The distinction however between managers and leaders should be acknowledged as complementary to each other rather than confusing between them. This often arises the issue of what a leader is, merely from the perspective of leadership theories. However, when successfully managing an organization, leadership capabilities of transformational nature always help in effective management and hence the importance of good leadership skills (Ciulla 2004).

 

1.3 An organization becomes successful if and only if it has management operations well defined, managers have their allocated roles and responsibilities and all the associated stakeholders are satisfied. This illustrates a successful organization (LeFasto et al 2011).

1.4 A very old saying from China indicates that the wise individuals are those who try adapting to the situation such as water takes the shape of a jar when being poured (LaFasto 2011). Adaptability has never been more important than it is today and therefore an agile leader is the need of the 21st century. This leader should have leadership qualities that are adaptive that is transformational in nature (Gupta 2004). From the perspective of trait theory, a leader should have all those skills and attributes that differentiate him from the rest implying that a successful company has a successful leader behind them whereas according to the new leadership theory, an unsuccessful company is that wherein the leader is not agile or transformative (LeFasto et al 2011).

 

2.0 Contemporary Leadership Theory

  • Goleman developed the six styles of leadership and illustrated that leaders need any of these styles at a specific situation (Kernis 2003).

  • Each of these styles have been taken from emotional intelligence use implying acute awareness of the environment in the mind of a leader alongside adjusting the mood to the need of environment as provided in the following figure (LeFasto et al 2011):


(Figure 1: Six Leadership styles by Goleman 2002)

(LeFasto et al 2011)

2.3 The leadership equation since a long time has remained on identifying those individuals with higher potential in higher school institutes or in the work area and then selecting a group for developing leadership capabilities in them (House 2007). From this perspective, the leadership equation has two important components that is followers and the leader. Without the followers, the roles the responsibilities of a leader remain incomplete (Kezar 2006). When each of the components of the leadership equation interact with each other in an effective manner, the leadership capabilities are developed.

 

3.0 The widening Gap

3.1 Oh-Hyun Kwon is the CEO of Samsung and Rajeev Puri is the CEO of Nokia. By many accounts Rajeev Puri is very contrasting such as quite keel, methodical in nature and persuasive whereas Oh-Hyun Kwon is brilliant, has intensity, is prickly and mercurial (Komives 2007). Their leadership styles are also varied.

3.2 The successor, Oh-Hyun Kwon is more successful than the predecessor (McMahon 2007). The first different is evident is in management style inclusive of innovating, leading, perfectionism and higher expectation which was followed under Oh-Hyun Kwon whereas under Puri, the management style is inclusive of transparency, team working, calm demeanor and higher expectancy (LeFasto et al 2011). Under Oh-Hyun Kwon the company, Samsung underwent several innovative changes that offered the customers more and more satisfaction.

The biggest failure under Oh-Hyun Kwon was the loss of competitive position of Samsung as the customers could not appreciate its power which remained in its future based design neither could the price tag be acknowledged by them (Osteen 2005). Under Puri, Nokia has only started to emerge and survival is the only means for the company which provided. Each of these incidences have provided a brief difference in the leadership style of the successor and predecessor making successor successful than the predecessor especially because of higher leadership capability standards set by the CEO (Posner 2007).

3.3 The gap between current and present talent of leadership is widening mainly because of the different styles of leadership adopted by the leaders today. Transformational leadership style offers the capability to blend with situation whereas the autocratic leadership style makes a leader perform roles and responsibilities all by himself (Riggio 2006).

 

References

Avolio, B. J. 2007. Promoting more integrative strategies for leadership theory-building. American Psychologist, 62, 25–33.

Avolio, B. J. 2005. Authentic leadership development: Getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. Leadership Quarterly, 16, 315–338.

Bennis, W. 2007. The challenges of leadership in the modern world. American Psychologist, 62, 1–5.

Bordas, J. 2007. Salsa, soul, and spirit: New approaches to leadership from Latino, Black, and American Indian communities. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Cherrey, C. 2000. Systemic leadership. Lanham, MD: University Press of America

Ciulla, J. B. 2004. Ethics: The heart of leadership (2nd ed.). Westport, CT: Praeger. Day, D. V., Gronn, P., & Salas, E. (2004). Leadership capacity in teams. Leadership Quarterly, 15, 857–880.

Day, D. V., 2004. Leadership development for transforming organizations: Growing leadership for tomorrow (pp. 153–176). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum

LaFasto, M. J. 2011. When Teams Work Best.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Gupta, V. 2004. Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hackman, M. & Craig, E., 2009, Leadership: A Communication Perspective(Fifth ed.). Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press, Inc. ISBN 978-1-57766-579-3.

House, R. J. 2007. Culture and leadership across the world: The GLOBE book of in-depth studies of 25 societies. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Johnson, P., 2009, HRM in changing organizational contexts. In D. G. Collings& G. Wood (Eds.), Human resource management: A critical approach. London: Routledge, 19-37.

Kernis, M. H. 2003. Toward a conceptualization of optimal self-esteem. Psychological Inquiry, 14, 1–26.

Kezar, A. J., 2006. Rethinking the “L” word in higher education: The revolution in research on leadership. ASHE Higher Education Report 31(6). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Komives, S. R., 2007. Developing leadership capacity in college students: Findings from a national study. College Park, MD: National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs

McMahon, T. R. 2007. Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference (2nd ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

Osteen, L. 2005. Developing a leadership identity: A grounded theory. Journal of College Student Development, 46, 593–611.

Posner, B. Z. 2007. The leadership challenge (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Riggio, R. E. 2006. Transformational leadership. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Schawbel, D., 2012. The Power Within: why Internal Recruiting and Hiring are on the Rise. Journal of TIME, 4(2).

Smith, J. A. &Foti, R. J., 2008.A pattern approach to the study of leader emergence. The Leadership Quarterly, 9, 147–160.

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