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Organizational Structure and its Impact on the Relationship

Discuss about the Relationship Between Leaders and Followers.

Any successful organization depends solely on the relationship that exists between its leadership and the entire stakeholders.  Locke and Associates (1999) define leadership a process of motivating others to take a particular action for a common goal. Being a leader, you must have followers which in this case are several members including the personnel within the organizations. Both members and the leaders have different obligation required of them to execute to attain the mutual mission of the organization. Therefore, the aim of this excerpt is to explore in details the relationships that exist between the leaders and their followers within organizations.

Worth noting is that the relationship between leaders and the members can be influenced by the organizational structure adopted by a particular firm. An organization that takes a closed system of management often tends to exhibit strict chain of command which intricately slows down the process of decision making. In this kind of system, no one dares, especially the subordinate, employees to question the leader even if the decision is wrong. Such an occurrence could be simply because the company policy dictates one to follow the stipulated channel of communication. On the other hand, organizations that adopt an open system of management provide an ample environment for both leaders and followers to relate well without hindrance for the common goal of the groups. Milakovich and Gordon (2009) refer to the leadership of this kind of system as a social system in which the meaning is attained through a mutual transaction between the leaders and the followers of an organization. Transactional leaders are the ones that identify the needs of their members in their working environment and try to avail them for the benefit of motivating them. As a result, the production will increase to meet the organization's goals.

Moreover, theorists such as Fidler who coined the contingency theory of leadership argue that the output of a particular group depends on the emotional orientation of the leader as well as the environment of the group, the nature of the task and finally the power position held by the head (Peterson et al., 2008). If the relationship between the leader and the followers is right, there are higher chances of attaining the target goal.  Moreover, the nature of the task also can determine the relationship between the members and the leader. The contingency theory argues that the behaviour pattern exhibited by a leader is determined by the requirements dictated by the situation. The task variable explains how the nature of work determines the leader-follower relations.  If the work to be carried out is clearly defined, the leader will not have to spend much time explaining to the followers what they are required to do.

Contingency Theory and Relationship between Leaders and Followers

Furthermore, the power position is another determinant of relations between the leader and the follower based on Fidler’s contingency theory (Goldhaber, 1993). The leadership position of a leader depends on whether the individual assigned to the position has an authoritative power over the members. If the position has authority, within an organization then that leader has less effort making decisions over the employees or followers, and they are likely to listen to him/her. Such is contrary to when they have less authority. For example, a leader is given the position of a chairperson in a committee within an organization but does not have the power to make major decisions. Therefore, building and maintaining a good relationship with the followers determine the output.  Based on the leader-member exchange theory, the rate at which the followers produce often tends to be proportional to how he/she relates to them. Some follow produce more than others based on some variables such as the environment created by fellow followers and the leader or the psychological factors (Sheraz, 2012; Yaseen, 2010). Therefore, to achieve the maximum output from the followers, a leader ought to employ the transactional kind of leadership to make every follower feel they are part of the organization.

On the flip side, the followers also have an obligation within an organization’s leadership. A follower must be able to portray a good sense of judgment. Such is considered being a quality that every individual within the organization must possess some leaders may at times fail to offer the right decision. Therefore it is upon the follower to gauge the directive by the leader and be able to act upon it. Some leaders make bad choices which if not corrected in time, might put the organization in an awkward position. For example, a chief executive officer may give additives that can jeopardize the image of the company. Thus the public relations office being a follower has an obligation to make the right call act on the directive or offer a proper advice on how to react to the situation.

Moreover, a good follower also must observe a work ethic. To have a good relationship between the follower and the leader, the follower must be diligent in their obligations. Bess and Dee (2012) argue that contingency theory of leadership requires the member traits, which entail right skills, and maturity level determines the leadership behavior. The leader’s role is to provide the necessary requirements for the followers to achieve optimum performance while the supporters’ duty is to use their skills and competence to execute their due obligations. Also, members know their responsibility. A good relation between the follower and leader is often achieved when the follower knows his/her responsibility. It is much easier for a fan to complete their obligation without conflicting with the leader. It also makes them proactive to help fellow members for achieving the groups’ desired goals. In turn, this also helps save time and improves efficiency within an organization.

Traits of Good Followers

Besides, followers must possess courage as one of their traits. It is not easy in some organizations for followers to take the bull by the horns and confront their leaders even when they out rightly know the head is wrong. Such a scenario often arises where the organization adopts the hierarchical kind of management. As a result, the followers often retreat for fear of being intimidated by their leaders or fear of causing a strained relationship between them and the leader. In turn, this may cause significant problems to the organization because of a single mistake that ought to have been reported by the follower but chose not to. Interpersonal relationship between the member and the leader could have the influence on the organization's goals. It is wise to note that the ultimate reason for both the leader and the follower is to achieve the preset organizational goals. At times, the strained interpersonal relationship between the leader and the follower could affect the performance of either due to poor communication as well attitudes towards each other. However, the bottom line is for the follower to understand where his/her loyalty lies.  Personal relationship with the leader should not act as a boulder between them and attain the organization’s goals (Chris Maser, 2013)

Also, emotional consciousness is a requirement of a follower. To have a good relationship between the leader and the follower, one must possess a sense of controlling their emotions to themselves as well as with another member. They must remain composed and maintain calm in challenging situations. For instance, some leaders, due to time constraints push their followers to work for long hours to meet the deadlines, which could affect the relationship that exists between them and their supporters. However, it is too, an obligation of the follower to understand the matter at hand and put the interest of the organizations first before theirs.

Nevertheless, self-motivated followers often create a good relationship between them and the leaders. Real fans always take an initiative to perform the task without being pushed around to accomplish the work that they ought to have done on their own. As a result, in most organizations, people with such initiatives have landed recognition through awards and promotion to leadership since they get along with almost anyone. However, it should be worth noting that having such an initiative trait should not lead the follower to be contemptuous of fellow members, rather a motivation to provide more for the organization while maintaining good relations with the leader.

Importance of Interpersonal Relationship for Achieving Organizational Goals

While we have analyzed the roles the leaders and followers in an organization, it is important to look at benefits of having a good relationship between them and its repercussions to the team. First, a good rapport between a leader and the followers builds trust.  As discussed above in the Fidler’s contingency theory of leadership, some leadership power position determines the member’s performance. Thus, suppose the leadership position has a little power that is the leader does not have authority over the followers, good relationship that exists between him/her and they will convince them to perform without being pushed around because they have trust in him/her. As a result, the organization will benefit

Moreover, a good relationship between a leader and the followers will create the right organizational image to the public, which may attract a positive reaction from stakeholders who would like to associate with the organizations. Examples include the investors as well as well-wishers. An organization whose leaders relate well with their followers, often tend to experience tremendous positive changes. Leaders who embrace new ideas from their supporters can gain more (Chen & Silverthorne, 2005). Thus, they not only improve the services of the organization but also provide an opportunity for follower members to become leaders.  These are often known as transformative leaders since they see the goodness in others.

In conclusion, the relationship between the leaders and followers is vital to the success of any organization. As discussed in the essay, both the leader and the follower must meet several obligations as well as exhibit certain traits for common organizational goals. Irrespective of the circumstances that are contingent to various leadership practices effective communication between the leaders and followers is crucial. Also, the relationships that exist between leaders and followers have the significant influence on output and building of member’s trust. Finally, the image of the organization hinges on relationship positive relations among its member.

References

Carolin G., & Wilkins, D. (2013). Leadership Pure and Simple: How Transformative Leaders Create Winning Orgaanizations. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Chen, J., & Silverthorne, C. (2005). Leadership effectiveness, leadership style and employee readiness. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26(4), 280–288. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730510600652 

David, S. (2013). Contemporary Leadership in Sport Organizations. Winsor: Sheridan Books

Goldhaber, G.M. (1993). Organizational Communication (6th Ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Hollanda, E. (2009). Inclusive Leadership: The Essential Leader-Follower Relationship. New York: Rutledge

Jex, M., & Britt, W. (2008). Organizational Psychology: A Scientist-Practitioner Approach (2nd Ed.). New Jersey: John Willey & Sons, Inc.

Locke, A. (2009). The Essence of Leadership: The Four Keys to Leading Successfully. Maryland: Lexington Books

Master, C. (2013). Decision-Making for a Sustainable Environment: A Systemic Approach. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Milakovich E.,& Gordon J. (2009). Public Administration in America (10th Ed.). Boston: Clark Baxter

Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Peterson, S. J., Walumbwa, F. O., Byron, K., & Myrowitz, J. (2008). CEO positive psychological traits, Transformational leadership, and firm performance in high-technology start-up and established firms. Journal of Management, 35(2), 348–368. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206307312512 

Sheraz, A. (2012). Enhancing employee performance through ethical leadership, transformational leadership and organizational culture in development sector of Pakistan. African Journal of Business Management, 6(4). https://doi.org/10.5897/ajbm11.633 

Yaseen, Z. (2010). Leadership styles of men and women in the Arab world. Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, 3(1), 63–70. https://doi.org/10.1108/17537981011022823.           

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