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Leadership: Definition

Leadership is the ability to establish vision and direction, to influence and align others towards a common purpose and to empower and inspire people to achieve success.

Critically discuss the role of leadership style and teambuilding in project management utilising appropriate theoretical models to identify how project staff can be led and motivated depending on project and its life-cycle. Include in your answer a discussion of the role of leadership and communication in this process.

Leadership is the most common topic that has been for discussion for many years and it is the frequent issues that every organization has to go through. An organization can’t be succeeded without good leader. Only leader can help the people to achieve the goal and it shows the path on every people walk. Without a leader no organization can think of its future. Leadership is the way or ability that set direction and vision, also aim to influence and align people to work for common goal. Leadership style plays the most important role in empowering and inspiring people for achieve the required organization success. In regard to this there are many leadership theories that impact the leadership style and this subject can be approached in variety of ways. The best approach to learn about the leadership styles is to compare the transactional leaders with transformational leaders. Transformational leaders help people with every possible manner to get them succeed in their own right and become leaders (Turner and Müller, 2012). There goal is to transform the people to the successful leader and achieve the goals that was expected and lead organization in future. On the other hand transactional leader believe in rewards and penalties for the requirements that are set. It is an exchange program and people are rewarded on the basis what has been delivered by them.

So, to highlight the importance of leadership in the organization and how the factors related to leadership impact the people, this paper is written that provide overview of various leadership theories and examples to understand it further. Leadership style has great role in project management as only leader can motivate the people to achieve the goal faster and in easier way.

Leadership is the process through which leader influences the other people to fulfill the objectives of the organization. Leadership provides direction to the organization in such a way that makes the work more cohesive and coherent. The definition proposed by the Northhouse, “Leadership is the process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal”. Leader always carry out the process through applying the various leadership attributes such as beliefs, values, ethics, knowledge and skills to the best for the organization (Turner and Müller, 2012). Position of manager, team leader or supervisor gives you to play the role of leader through completing the certain tasks and objectives. All these positions only provide the chance to play role of leader but in true sense it make you boss not a leader (Alizor, 2013). Leader is someone that makes people to achieve high goals and objectives on the other hand bosses aims to fulfill the given task or objectives.

Classification of leadership styles and their role in team building process in project management

There is always a question in debate “Whether leaders are born or made”. On this it can be said that leaders are not born they are made providing they should posses the necessary qualities for being as a leader. It is the organization responsibility to provide leader with proper training and skill development courses to help with quality leadership. Knowledge and skills helps directly with the process of leadership while other attributes provides a leader with certain qualities that make him different from others (Hutabarat, 2014). There are four main factors that impact leadership. These are leader himself, his followers, communication between them and situations.

There exits different leadership styles within the working environment and each have there own advantages and disadvantages. It is the culture and goals of the organization that decides which leadership style suits best to the organization. There are some organizations that offer various leadership styles within the organization depending upon the task and needs of the organization. Different leadership styles and role of each in teambuilding is given as under:

Laissez-Faire: These types of leaders do direct the employees under them directly and also don’t provide proper feedback to the employees under his supervision. Under this leadership style only highly experienced and trained employees falls as these employees do not require much supervision (Zumitzavan and Michie, 2015). But not all employees posses such qualities and they need to be highly trained to be fit for this leadership style. This leadership does support project management and team building as employees does not get proper feedback and supervision from the leader. No efforts are put by the leaders in this leadership style that leads to poor management, lack of control and increasing organization cost (Burke and Barron, 2014).

Autocratic: Autocratic leadership style provides the manager to make decisions themselves without taking input from others. Leaders decides what they think is best and put forward to all employees under his control. In this leadership style, leader is sole responsible for the project carried by him. Generally, owners of the organization behave like autocratic leader as no one can command them (Bonnici and Cooper, 2011). Employees are not benefited from this leadership style because employees don’t like to be command forcefully to do their task. Communication under this style is vertical and takes place directly from leader to employees and no feedback is taken from employees. Autocratic leaders directly work for the organization through not taking the interest of employees. Therefore project management and team building does not work properly in this type of leadership (Hutabarat, 2014).

Participative or democratic: Under this leadership style, employee’s feedbacks are given proper importance and they are involved in decision making. Responsibility to take the final decision rests with the leader after taking all the input from their subordinate employees. Democratic leaders believe that employees are the person that makes the work done, therefore, employees must be given importance and their feedbacks are taken in decision making process. Leader always boost morale of employees and supports them in every situation to give maximum output. Under this leadership style employees feels that they are part of organization and their opinion matters the organization a lot (Exantus, 2012). When management wants to make changes in the organization activities, employees under this leadership style benefited a lot as democratic helps employees to adapt changes easily. Leaders play equal role as employees under this leadership style. So it can be said that this leadership help more in project management process and it is one most followed leadership style within the organization. Communication plays an important role in this leadership style as leader and team members are closely connected (Bieck, 2014). Parallel communication is effective under such style and provides maximum output.  This leadership style helps to meet the challenges when management wants to make decisions at short interval and such task needs to be completed at very short interval (Wart, 2014). So, it can be concluded this leadership styles highly support team building process and project management.

Transactional: Under this leadership style, leaders are given with certain tasks that need to be done in the particular time period and rewards are given on the basis of work done and performance while carrying out such task (Herrmann, Fechner and Radloff, 2013). It is in the hand of leader on how to manage the work through the implied task force. Rewards and punishment are given by the leader on basis of pre set criteria and on basis of performance of results. Leaders and team members come together to agreed on the predetermined task and members agreed to follow the direction given by the leader. Leader has the power to review the work done and correct mistakes when team members fail to meet the targets (Bonnici and Cooper, 2011). Employees are entitled for the rewards for meeting the targets and bonuses for their extra efforts. This leadership style is much effective in short run and certain tasks need to be carried out in fixed time period. Although, this leadership style supports project management but can’t effective in long run. Communication takes place from leader to team members directly in this leadership style.

Transformational: This leadership style is highly dependent on level of communication within the organization. There need to be communication from management for each task and how it should be carried out. Management takes each task very precisely and they are equally involved in such task. Management plays an important role in motivating the employees and enhances the productivity (Zumitzavan and Michie, 2015). There aim is to transform the employees to give their best and also motivate them to complete the given task. Efficiency of employees is increased through better communication and high visibility (Watson, 2013). Under this leadership style role of management is highly important and reasonability is equally distributed to get best output from the employees. Management divide the task in smaller parts and distribute them within the task force and take feedback from each employees on how to carry out such task and implement such feedback in their decision making process (Exantus, 2012). This leadership style helps a lot in project management and team building process.

Depending upon research and studies there are many leadership theories and each has their own way to classify type of leadership style. Philosophers, researchers and professors have researched and have given their own leadership theories. Those are accepted and well known are discussed below. Each leadership theory has assumptions and criteria to carry out the leadership. Leadership theories are mainly classified on the basis of time (Somech, 2009). For example, before nineteen century great man theory is followed and accepted. In mid 19th centaury trait theory was given importance and followed by huge number of leaders. Here, discussion will be done on 8 well known and classified leadership theories that are generally accepted around the world. Leadership theories are given below:

Great Man Theory: This theory assumed that leaders are born and are not made. People thinks that great leader arise when there is great need. This leadership theory is researched by the people who were already great leaders. There is belief that great man strayed into the mythic domain and leaders arise when the times demand. There are famous examples great leaders like Eisenhower and Churchill who set example for leadership. Under this theory there was no gender issues as it is belief that man are born to lead and woman are good in other areas (Armstrong, 2006). It is saying that history is nothing but a tale of great man who leads the people to their best future.

Behavioral Theory: Under this theory leaders are not born but they are created. This theory states that successful leadership is based in definable and learnable behavior. Behavioral theory does not seek inborn traits and capabilities but in actual act done by leaders are given importance.  According to theory it is easy to teach and learn rather to adopt the traits and capabilities posses by others. This theory is totally different from the trait theory as it assumes capabilities can be learned (Nohria and Khurana, 2013). Compare to other theories this theory is easy to adopt as both leadership and the action of leader can be measured.

Trait theory: In this theory it is assumed that people are born with inherited traits or capabilities and these traits decide leadership qualities. There are traits that are best suited for leadership and on such basis leader are born (Oforchukwu, 2011). Therefore people with such traits have quality of leadership. Some of important traits that are related to leadership are Assertive, Cooperative, Decisive, Dependable, Persistent, Self-confident, tolerant of stress, dominant etc. Apart from these traits leaders must posses some skills like intelligence, creative mind, good communication skill, persuasive, and diplomatic. People having such traits and skills are best suitable for leadership (Belias and Koustelios, 2014).

Participative leadership theory: There are certain assumptions to this theory that decide how leader leads the team members. Involvement of team members in the decision making process and taking helps from fellow members by the leaders is one of the assumptions that provide success. Involvement in decision making process makes the team members more responsible to the project and it is easy to motivate them (Lussier and Achua, 2015). As per this theory, leaders are not autocratic but they take equal participation in the task to get it done. It states that team members are more collaborative and less competitive to go for joint goals. Leaders listen to his team members very carefully and give equal importance to their views. Participation of team members are appreciated in decision making process and provide a sense of ownership to the employees (Krause, Gebert, and Kearney, 2007).

Situational leadership theory: This theory states that action taken by the leader according to situations is the judging factor to decide the best leader. A best leader is who that takes right step even in the worst situation. Different leaders take different steps in each situation but success falls in hands of leader that has taken best action to complete the task. Factors like motivation and capability of followers affects the situational decisions. Relationship between leader and team members is also the judging factor and also affects the leader behavior on the particular situation (Humphrey, 2013). The six variables that decide the leader’s behavior on the particular situation are Subordinate effort, Subordinate ability and role clarity, organization of work, cooperation and cohesiveness, resources and supports, and external coordination. Leaders manage external relationship, acquisition of resources and managing the demand of the group (Hamilton, 2007).

Contingency theory: According to this theory, leader’s ability to lead the team members is totally dependent upon the various situation factors that include the leader’s style, traits and behavior with followers. Contingency theory states that there is no best way to leading, one leadership style can be best suited in particular situation can’t be successful in others. As per this theory, leaders who are successful in particular situation might not possible that they will succeed in other situation (Oforchukwu, 2011). This theory is similar to situation theory but an only difference is that situational theory focus more on behavior that leaders adopt on particular situation.

Transactional theory of leadership: As per this theory team members are motivated through rewards and punishment. There is clear chain command that regulates the team members and maximum output is taken from members. Leaders act as boss and give direct command to the member and rewards on the basis of there performance (Vioet, 2013). Clear set of structure is created and followed by all and on the basis of such set of criteria performance is evaluated. When the work is allocated by the transactional leader to the subordinate, they are considered as fully responsible for such task (Lussier and Achua, 2015).

Transformational theory of leadership: This theory is based on certain assumptions. According to this theory people follow a person who inspired them and motivate them to do work. A person having clear set of vision and passion will surely achieve great in his life. Transformational leader gives all their energy and has passion to do task with 100 % involvement (Northouse, 2012).  These leaders truly care about the subordinates and want them to succeed in the life. Future vision is created and put on the table to be discussed. Mutual agreed decision is taken and all follow such decision. It is expected from the members to follow the leader and give everything to get succeeded in the set goal. Leader lead the members through carrying put work in between the members and command them from the centre. Leaders here believe in big picture and ignore the small mistakes as what left behind can’t be achieved (Adetule, 2011). According to this theory members are responsible for task and they must in charge of their step taken to fulfill the task.

All the above theories play an important role in while deciding the type of leader required for the particular task and how project management can be done easily. Team building is the process which is handled by the leaders and theories of leadership helps leaders in completing this task (Xue, 2016).


At the end it can be concluded that leadership is very important for every organization and only is responsible for the future of the organization. Team building in the project management is sole responsibility of leader and there are various through which is can be done. Leadership is something that is truly dependent on leader behavior and how he takes the responsibility.


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