Implications of Effective Leadership in the Workplace
Theories on workplace provide different insights on how leaders work in an effective manner (Alcorn, 2003: 106). Leadership styles and methods differ from each other, but effective leadership improves procedures of organizational diagnosis and communication within the workplace for the development of better and more reliable business performance. An effective leader is not confined or judged by styles and approaches used, but the impact and result of that leadership style. Effective leaders face fast-changing workplace, which is directly or indirectly affected by factors including new technology and innovation (Weaver, 1997: 1).
Skilled and effective leaders work for the improvement of the quality and quantity on how members coordinate. The surging global competition and rapid deployment of advanced technologies necessitate organizations to reconfigure in the goal of remaining vibrant and competitive. For consideration, the goal of leadership is individual in first instance, but as time processes, leadership results to team or organizational impact. As discussed, changing workplace results to organizational change, which requires transition, wherein human aspect takes high priority (Outward Bound USA & Chatfield, 2007: 272).
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Workplaces that have effective leadership, whether transformational, motivational, or any other types, work smoothly in coordinating actions. Effective leaders are important in goal achievement, expansion and development of the workplace. Objectives Leadership varies across society, organizational culture and background (Nelson & Quick, 2007: 291). For this reason, the clear understanding of leadership is not based on sanctified principles and standards rules. Leadership can be considered as an art so important within the workplace that it affects the overall direction on achievement of goals and objectives.
It intends to draw an outline thought on how leaders affect the behavior of followers within the organization and the workplace. That is, it will seek to evaluate principles and hypothesis on the implications of effective leadership in the workplace. Literature Review Leadership has been the subject of studies and theoretical expansions for several decades. There are several attempts, approaches and methods to understand the underlying principles and school of thought behind leadership. In fact, leadership is “one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth. quoted in Daft & Lane, 2008: 4)” The definition of leadership is difficult and complex because leadership, itself, is complex and large in scope. According to Daft & Lane (2008), to understand leadership, it is very important to clearly understand the key elements involved in the make-up of leadership. Leadership notes influence, which occurs among people who intentionally desire for changes to be shared between leaders and followers. In leadership definition, influence means that the relationship among people is not passive.
In the same manner, influence is multidimensional, multi-directional and non-coercive. For this definition of leadership, it simply implies that necessity of influence for leadership to grow. In The Bass Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, and Managerial Applications, Bass & Bass noted that the broad definition of leadership has reached social order to introduce major change, to give purpose to work and organizations, to influence leaders and followers, and to infuse value and ideology on the organization (Bass & Bass, 2008: 24).
Leadership is not confined to the thoughts and actions of a single person, rather it works on the details of the workplace or organization to introduce new significant changes on the principle and beliefs of an organization for the foundation of direction and clear objectives (ibid). For clarity on definition of leadership, it is very essential to note three dimensions influencing and acting on the value of leadership. As basis of understanding and defining leadership, influence, values and vision play tremendous role in workplace and organization (Bush, 2003: 5).
Influence is a forceful action that leads to specific outcomes; it creates motivations to develop strength for the organization. In the same manner, leadership must endeavor to unify thoughts and directions of all members of the organization. And lastly, leadership aims to reach objectives and goals as part of its ground and framework of outline. For the purpose of defining leadership, La Monica (1983: 63) noted the need of communication for the effective influence and direction of the workplace or organization. Communication is the orbit of leadership to move across channels of the organization.
When the workplace loses the value of communication, it also loses the worth and value of leadership; or leadership deteriorates first in motivating communication. The unclear definition of leadership leads to unclear definition of types and forms of leadership that are utilized in workplaces and organizations. Harter (2008: 82) believes the understanding of leadership types can be viewed in a more sociological manner. Leadership does not only involve the leader alone, but leaders should interact with followers and maintain a relationship with followers.
There is no leadership without a good environment and roll of followers influenced by the form of leadership being cited. To this effect, workplaces and organizations must maintain a good relationship between leaders and followers for a smooth dissemination or integration of the workplace. The essence of this understanding works on the principle of behavior and attitude toward the achievement of goals and objectives. Generally, there are only two main categories of leadership: negative and positive leadership (Schyns & Hansbrough, 2010: 406).
These two categories relate other forms and types of leadership. Negative leadership is also referred to as bad leadership. To understand these two categories is to understand the outcome. Negative leadership results to disintegration of followers, disenfranchisement of organization’s members, and the impossibility of reaching goals and objectives. On the other hand, positive leadership defines actions and strategies for the clear understanding of the organization’s direction giving priority to success and management of success.
As much as leadership can be defined on its outcomes or results, leadership types and forms can also be anchored on the type of environment. As discussed above, the definition of leadership may vary depending on the type of environment of the workplace. The environment of leadership results to different perspective on leadership affecting the style and reaction of the person or leader (Harris, 2009). Leaders of educational organizations work on different factors and elements than industrial leaders. Leadership styles that work on top management may not work on rank and file members a big corporation.
Leadership types and forms are not confined to their own boxes, but they depend on the gravity or type of environment being acted on. Effective leadership in the workplace can be defined as the focus on group processes, personality perspective, act or behavior, power relationship, transformational processes, and skills perspective (Northouse, 2009). In such sense, a leader must be a combination of skills, knowledge, attitude, and personality to contribute in engaging an organization or workplace for the achievement of its goals and objectives.
A leader who is confined to a single set of capability may not be able to translate the workplace into a strong asset of productivity and business performance. In trying to define effective leadership, Daft & Lane (2008: 19) said leaders should “know how they are and what they stand for. …leaders have the courage to stand on their beliefs. ” In this assertion, it is easy for individuals to follow leaders that are trusted and can be counted on, even if they don’t agree on some viewpoints, than those they agree with, but cannot make up their minds on some important things and decisions within the workplace.
Stability and firmness create the effectiveness of a leader in the workplace. However, it does not mean an effective leader must brace the entire workplace with an iron hand, rather it talks about the ‘will’ of the leader to affirm his or her authority and responsibility within the workplace or organization. In the same manner, an effective leader is not just followed by members of the organizations. Leaders influence followers to have an interest on the workplace or organization through shared visions with them (Lussier & Achua, 2009).
The measure of true and effective leadership comes when followers are influenced on doing what is ethical and beneficial for the organization and the followers. It is the responsibility of leaders to actively influence members of the organization to promote the common good and to improve standards of the organization. When leaders arrive at this point, they can easily translate goals and objectives they have set into measurable results. Effective leadership works on two aspects of the organization.
First, leaders should understand the value of change and must lead members of the organization or the organization in facing the change. Influence takes a big part in ensuring stability during the change processes of the organization. The capability of the leader to prepare the organization for the change is a litmus acid test of effective leadership. In the attempt of describing effective leadership, it is necessary to look at some factors, which determine the contingent matching of leadership and the workplace.
Leadership style works on the attitude or behavioral pattern of a leader who attempts to influence other members of the organization (Nguyen, 2008). For transactional leaders, it is very important to influence followers in doing what is necessary and vital for the advancement of the interests and goals of the organization. On the other hand, transformational leadership works on the motivation of followers for them to dedicate on their work and help the organization advance its goals and objectives. Effective leadership works on six important domains, wherein leaders influence members and achieve goals or objectives (Riesbeck, 2008).
Characteristics of effective leaders are displayed in these domains. The six leadership domains are supporting behaviors, instructional leadership, public relations, shared decision-making, role modeling, and school culture (Hodgetts & Hegar, 2007: 356). In these six domains, there are specific character and skills displayed by the leader, but there are general capabilities that must be attended and developed by effective leaders. Empirical studies on effective leadership lead to definition of early theories to define the same phenomenon.
Universalist theories look for the general attitude and behavior of an effective leader in trying to define the phenomena of leadership (Brain, 2002: 145). The behavior of the leader in the workplace, and not the personality or attitude of the leader is the central focus of behavioral theories. Modern approaches of effective leadership center on contingency theories which try to explain the apparent relationship between leaders and the workplace (Bertocci, 2009). Effective leadership translates results of the organizations achievement of its goals and objectives.
Organization sets goals and it is the capability of the leader, which determines the achievement of the set goals. In the same manner, effective leadership aims to prepare others or influence members of the organization to assume position, in the event of untoward situation or promotion (Ashby, 1999: 119). A leader is not effective if there is no other person who can do the job well when he or she is gone. In an organization, an effective leader works to create an atmosphere of openness, wherein ideas and thoughts are shared freely.
When leaders effectively manage the communication system of the organization, it is easy for them to work on the details of job and task descriptions (Hamilton, 2010). According to Shaw (2010), a workplace needs to adapt to changes and demands of the global environment, especially with the introduction of new technologies and advancements. Leaders should stay focused on the problem during turbulent times by getting into the fundamental units of decision making, to wit: getting information, eliciting others’ views and ideas, having sound judgment, and getting enough personal recollection.
Setting priorities and goals is difficult when things change from day to day. The pressure of reaching goals and potentials may result to pressure on employees. When leaders don’t address employees effectively, it results to conflicts, as cited below. In the workplace, everyday interpersonal must be confined and isolated from damaging the goal attainment of the organization. Effective leadership aims to resolve problems and conflicts among employees and departments. The failure of leaders to look at these issues and resolve them may result to low performance.
Several studies suggested two cluster of behavior affected by leadership. Relationship behavior offers understanding of feelings or emotions, creating rapports and lasting connections, reducing conflicts, and boosting workplace esteem (Nyberg, et. al. , 2005: 9). When leaders change their behavior and attitude toward employees, it creates a new culture which encourages better performance. Conflicts and interpersonal differences hinder growth of employees and the smooth coordination of individuals in completing tasks within the workplace.
During change transition, relationship behavior dictates the adaptive capability of the workplace, especially when the change is structural in nature. On the other hand, task behavior works on establishing communication networks, procedures and plans for the effective discharge of duties and attainment of goal (ibid). Effective task leadership in the workplace focuses on defining problems and removing barriers or issues. When the leader works on the smooth coordination of employees, it is easier to reach goals than in an organization where the leader does not have clear understanding of problems and issues.
Central to effective leadership is the workplace’s attitude toward change. According to Bolden (2004), leaders are not confined to personality or to innate traits. Effective leadership grows from situations to situations, affecting the structural and fundamental elements of the workplace. Conclusion Leaders are not born, they are made. It speaks of how a leader can become an effective one. Through careful examination of the factors influencing effective leadership, leaders can translate their personality and character into measurable results.
In the same manner, effective leaderships result to effective management of the workforce, delivery of higher productivity, and the demonstration of better business performance. When leaders of organization start to create a better environment, leaders start to develop strength. It is impossible to separate leadership from following. If leaders are effective, followers are also effective in doing their job. Otherwise, the organization will fail in reaching goals and objectives being set by the organization beforehand.