The leadership style followed by the leaders in an organization shapes the entire working process and organizational development. It not only helps the organization in setting the right objectives and strategic vision, but also guides the organizational workforce towards the achievement of the same. It is therefore very important for a firm to clearly understand the leadership style being followed there, consider its effectiveness and weakness and modify it or change the style of leadership by choosing the one that is best for organizational growth and employee satisfaction. This essay will provide the reader with an understanding of leadership as a function of management and the various styles of leadership being practiced(Bolden, 2014).
It will also make them understand how the leadership style impacts the working of the organization and how the organization’s decision making ability and process is influenced by their leaders and their leadership style. While an effective leadership style accelerates the performance and growth of the organization and also fosters the growth and development of the workforce employed in the organization, a leadership style that is ineffective will resultantly lower the efficiency of the organization and also result ina negative work environment, poor work conditions and low employee satisfaction levels.
The purpose of this research is to understand the concept of leadership and its significance as a function of management. This essay contains the meaning, definition and the understanding of leadership as a practice(NIOS, 2013). We have further explored in this essay the various types of leadership and the different basis of their classification. Different leadership styles result in different working style and output of the organization containing same employees performing the same functions. The essay contains an in depth analysis of how a leadership style impacts the working and performance of an organization(Gordon & Slim, 2014).
We have also studied how the leadership style being practiced impacts the entire management process and how the decision making is influenced by the leadership style being practiced in an organization. In the last part of the essay, we have done a case analysis of various prominent organizations and analyzed the leadership style being followed by their leaders. We have also studied how the leadership style is manifested in their day to day working and to what extent the leadership style shapes the organization and its day to day practices(CMI, 2009).
This essay was written with an intent to understand and convey to the reader leadership as a function of management and the various approaches to leadership also known as leadership styles. This essay is made for academic purposes only and contains a brief overview of leadership and leadership styles and how their application affects the decision making process of an organization. The essay also contains a study of leadership styles practiced by various leaders and large organizations.
Leadership styles: Leadership is one of the four primary functions of management. It is the practice of making use of the power that a leader in an organization has to influence the people and make them achieve the desired results. There are certain traits that are required from a good leader that make them effective lead their team towards success. Some of these are honesty, will power, competence, farsightedness, teamwork, credibility, honesty and trustworthiness.
The entire process through which the activities of an organization are aligned for the determination of the organizational goal and its achievement is called leadership. The approach that is taken by the leaders while carrying out this process is called leadership style. It is not necessary that a leader follows a single leadership style at all times, and the it is not even necessary to follow a single style. They can use a style that overlaps some other leadership style or a combination of two or more leadership styles.
Leadership is the process of influencing the subordinated and motivating them to get the work done. Leadership also involves maintenance of harmony and mutual respect for the leaders and individuals of the organization and ensuring sustainable development of the organization. Leadership style is the method by which a leader chooses to influence and lead his subordinates. It is the method of application of the power that is vested in the leader of an organization(UNPAN, 2013).
There are a number of ways and leadership styles that a leader can choose from, of these, the leadership style best suited for an organization depends on numerous factors that range from the kind of leader, operations of the organization, employee motivation drivers etc. While some leaders are able to drive the employees very well with a high degree of authority and discipline, some leaders prefer a more relaxed and easy going leadership style.
While some leaders like to lead single handedly without much involvement of the subordinates, some leaders on the other hand may choose to take the opinion of the subordinates in every decision that has to be taken. There is no single approach for leadership style that suits every work environment and organization and the leaders need to constantly evolve, innovate and adapt to the changing situation and circumstances to emerge as an effective leader.
A leader may use the given leadership style as it is or use a combination of two or more leadership styles to achieve the required results.
Autocratic leadership: - An autocratic leader emphasizes highly on the performace of the employees and does not care muc about the concerns of their people and their needs. A leader following autocratic leadership stylepresumes the employees to be untrustworthy, lazy, irresponsible, and not to be relied on and firmly believes that the responsibility of decision making in an organization must only rely with the leader. The subordinates according to an autocratic leader must not interfere or get involved in the decision making process .
An autocratic manager does not believe in delegation of managerial power by taking inputs or opinions of the employees. (Nanjundeswaraswamy & Swamy, 2014). The autocratic leadership style is sometimes also referred to as authoritarian leadership style as the leaders have all the authority and take decisions on the basis of their thoughts and judgement. In this leadership style, only the managerial staff is aware and involved in deciding the sequence of things in the system and the rest of the employees are only decision takers.
Laissez- faire leadership: - The Laissez faire leadership style lays very less emphasis on the employee performance and highly values their needs and requirements. A leader following the Laissez faire leadership style draws the assumption that the people are in general unpredictable and they cannot be controlled. A Laissez faire leader avoids decision making as mucha s he can and keeps a low profile. Also known as delegated leadership, the leader in this leadership style leaves the people on their own and gives them full authority to make decisions.
This leader believes that people who are closest to the point of action have the best knowledge of the situation and are therefore the best judge of the available options and have the ability to make choices on their own. They don’t meddle with the working structure and avoid decision making as much as they can. The employees on the other hand are allowed to make decisions and not supervised or monitored.(Cherry, 2010) No managerial tasks like planning, organizing, decision making etc. is done by the leader and it is all left for the subordinated to decide how they want to work. They do not believe in setting objectives or yardsticks to measure performaces and believe that the employees can perform on their own.
Transactional leadership: - A leader following transactional leadership style looks at work as a transaction between the employee and the employer. Such a leader exchanges rewards for the work done by the employees and encourages them with recognition on completion of tasks. The employees are expected to deliver the results and on doing that they are duly rewarded by the leaders. This acts as a motivating force for the employees and they work even harder. The primary motivational tool used in a transactional leadership style is rewards. The objects of self interest of the employees are used to direct them towards the achievement of the organizational goals(Choudhary, 2014).
Democratic leadership: - A leader practicing participative leadership style operated the work functions as a democratic decision making process. He takes the opinion of the team members and decides accordingly the final decision to be taken. Although the ultimate decision making power lies with the leader, the inputs, suggestions and opinions of the employees are also considered for the same. This makes the people believe that theya re important to the organization and makes them feel respected. This also instills trust in their leader and the organization. The democratic leader generally has highly productive workforce a the people work with zeal and interest in such organizations.(Ryan, 2017).
Transformational leadership: - A transformational leader inspires and motivates the employees to achieve more than what the general aim is and provides the facilities, guidance and support to do so. A transformational leader either by his charisma or by the reward structure guides the subordinates towards personal and professional success. A transformational leader creates a vision that is long term and guides the team towards its achievement(Hein, 2013). The induce positive changes in the employees on not just professional but also personal front. This is currently defined as the best leadership style that is practiced.
Servant leadership: - The leaders following this leadership style lead with the intent to serve their team members and employees. A servant leader lays emphasis on the needs and requirements of the team members and the decision making is centered towards the benefit of the employees. The employees are involved in the decision making process and the leader believes in engagement and gaining trust of the employees. Quiet opposite to the autocratic leadership style, a servant leader makes the rules with the members rather than dictating them and expecting their immediate implementation.
Impact on the management and decision making
While for a majority of the organizations, the terms managers and leaders are synonymous, it is not true for all the companies. A leader is anyone that inspires and motivated the employees towards the achievement of the desired objectives. It is not necessary that a person is first formally appointed in order to lead the people. There are certain people who command respect and take it upon themselves to better the organizational functions.
These people are also known as informal leaders and their sole motive is to get the work done. The informal leaders are sometimes also introduced in the organizations to satisfy the needs of the people who are not happy with the way of working of the formal leaders. The formal and informal leadership can go hand in hand to improve the work environment, performance and job satisfaction levels of the employees of the organization(Men, 2010).
The effective performance of an organization requires effective leadership, and the leadership style that is best suited for an organization directs it towards efficiency and effectiveness(Walsh & Trovas, 2015). An understanding of the leadership style being followed by the leader not only guides him to effectively manage the workforce, but also get better results from the same resources available. It also guides the leaders in the evaluation of the effectiveness that they are likely to achieve by applying the given leadership style and what changes they need to make in their methodology to get the best possible outcomes.
The type of leadership followed by the leader of the organization affects the growth and the directional movement of the organization. An effective leader is the one who changes and adapts to the situation and adapts to the leadership style best suited for the situation and the people being led. In fact, this is one trait that is most desirable in a good leader. Choosing the right leadership style by a leader keeps the team from wavering from the path of goal achievement and keeps them in the right spirits.
In order to choose and switch among the different leadership styles, it is necessary that we first have a knowledge of what a leadership style is and what all leadership styles can be followed. It is how a leader chooses to lead and provide direction to his team. Leadership style also defines how a leader plans, implements and motivates his employees to make them work more efficiently. Each leadership style has its unique traits and the leaders following that have a different outlook towards prioritizing the tasks. While some leaders may give importance to minimizing the wastage of the resources, another leader may prioritize getting the work done in as little time as possible.
This depends on both the nature of work being done and the leadership style being followed by the leader of the organization. Same goes with the decision making process. The decision making process of autocratic leadership style is different than that of the laissez faire leader. An autocratic leader takes charge of the decision making process and does not seek input from the employees while a leader following laissez faire leadership style has delegated the decision making power to the employees and they are given the freedom to make their own choices and take work related decisions. A consultative or democratic leader, although takes inputs and suggestions from the subordinates, the ultimate decision making power is still with the leader only(Agbim, 2013).
He is the decision maker and the employees have to abide by the decisions taken by him. A leader who leads by the laissez faire leadership style entirely takes himself out of the decision making process and transfers the entire decision making power in the hands of the employees. This leader believes that since the employees are better aware of the situations they face, they are better judges of the process and will be able to choose the correct way to proceed with.
The leadership style of an organization not only determines the working of the organization, it also contributes to the individual initiative taking of the employees, their ability to tolerate risk, the direction of the organization, the integration of the leaders and the employees, the control structure and flow and the ability of the employees to tolerate any conflict arising in the organization(Ahmad, Abbas, Latif, & Rasheed, 2014).
Manifestation of Leadership styles of leaders and prominent organizations
When we discuss leadership, the discussion is limited to the corporate setting and the managerial implications of leadership, but leading the teams is not just limited to getting the work done from the employees and achievement of the desired targets, it is much more than that. A good leader contributes to the success of the organization, but more than that he helps in the growth and development of the employees as individuals.
This is where the leadership style comes into picture. The type of leadership followed by the leader of the organization affects the growth and the directional movement of the organization. Each leadership style has its unique traits and the leaders following that have a different outlook towards prioritizing the tasks and getting the work done. The leadership style of an organization not only determines the working of the organization, it also contributes to the individual initiative taking of the employees, their ability to tolerate risk, the direction of the organization,
the integration of the leaders and the employees, the control structure and flow and the ability of the employees to tolerate any conflict arising in the organization. Now that we have understood the leadership styles and their impact on the management and decision making process of the organization, we have performed a real case analysis of some famous world leaders and some major organizations and understood their ways of working and the leadership style adopted by them. This will help us better understand how the organization is affected by the leadership styles that their leaders follow and how the leadership affects the people and the organization in both short term and long term(Beaman, 2013).
The first leadership style that we studied was the autocratic or authoritative leadership. The best example of an autocratic leader is Adolf Hitler. Although greatly criticized for his authoritative practices, Hitler was a truly autocratic leader who retained the entire decision making power in his own hands. He was a dictator and world leader who did not consult the subordinated or the peers during decision making. If we conduct a case analysis of the major corporations of the world, the leadership styles adopted by their leaders speak a lot about their growth, internal practices and the future direction that they wish to align with(Panth, 2011).
The biggest organization of the United States is the Apple Inc. Apple has always been a pioneer and world leader and this was evident even in the leadership style of their founders and leaders. Steve Jobs was an authoritative leader who believed in the top management of the organization being the sole decisive body. Tim Cook the current CEO has changed that approach to a democratic one wherein the leader takes the opinion and suggestions from the members of the team and then decides the final step to be taken. This is also known as participative style of leadership. It has changed the entire work process and the decision making process of the organization.
Walmart is one of the biggest retail chains in the United States. It follows a unique leadership style that they call servant leadership. In this leadership style, the organization assumes the role of a servant of its employees. The management at Walmart believes that they are serving the people employed with them and thus they treat the employees as masters and themselves as their servants. This makes the organization employee centric rather than organization centric(Givens, 2008). They empower the employees to take their own decisions and give them complete freedom in the organizational planning and decision making.
Google, the American multinational internet related products manufacturer and service provider has Sundar Pichai as its CEO. Famous all over the world as one of the best organizations to work with, Google and its leaders follow distributive participative leadership style. In this leadership style, the leaders distribute the decision making power to the subordinates and they collectively encourage and empower the employees to innovate and think outside the box. They give their employees complete freedom to exercise their creativity and also promote the people in the organization to explore their interests, hobbies and competencies(Sharma & Jain, 2013).
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automobile maker based in Detroit. The leadership style that is followed in Ford Motor Company is purely transactional. The transactional leaders believe in a give and take policy. They reward the employees on the completion of a task and motivate them with these rewards and incentives. The leader creates and defines the vision for the organization and the employees are the followers who understand, support and get attracted to the vision of the leader of the organization. Jim Skinner, the CEO of the world’s largest fast food restaurant chain has been observed to follow a charismatic and transformational leadership style.
He is considered an excellent leader who transformed the organization with a fresh vision and has a mass following among the Mc Donald’s’ workforce. He leads in a creative and innovative manner and has adopted strategies to motivate the workforce to stay committed to the organization’s vision(Amanchukwu, Stanley, & Ololube, 2015). We have also observed the transformational leadership style being followed by some of the world’s most prominent leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. Transformational leaders lead by initiating change in themselves and subsequently their team. This change contributes to a positive growth of not just the leader but also the employees and as seen in the case of these world leaders, their followers.
In this essay, we have studied the concept of leadership and the various approaches of different organizations and people towards leadership. The five majorly practiced and most common leadership styles are autocratic, Laissez faire, democratic, transformational and transactional. We have studied each of these leadership styles and the traits and their influence on the decision making for the organization. In the next part of the essay, we have studied how the leadership style impacts the working, management and decision making process of an organization.
We have studied how the leadership style being practiced by the leaders and management in an organization can contribute to the growth and development of not just the organization, but also its members. An effective leader is not the one who follows a particular leadership style, but the leader who gauges the situation and adapts his leadership style and decision making according to the one best suited for the current situation. In the last section of the essay, we have analyzed a few organizations and the leadership styles being practiced by their leaders.
We have studied the leadership style of some world leaders as well as some of the world’s biggest corporate organizations and tried to identify their decision making patterns. Their success and their ability to survive and thrive even in turbulent times can be contributed only to the exceptional leadership and the ability of their leaders to manage the workforce effectively. This clearly outlines the significance that leadership and the leadership style has in the current corporate environment.
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