Leadership and Theory

What is Leadership? It means influencing, motivating and enabling other employees to contribute their best towards the effectiveness and success of the organization. It’s not only motivating and influencing individual but the goals can only be attained by mutual cooperation and cohesive behavior. Leadership has been studied since civilization but it was not given that much important like it’s given in today’s scenario. Leadership is not any type of quality but it’s an individual behavior.

There are some qualities in person who helps him develop the characteristics of a Leader like positive attitude, high self-esteem, continuous self-study, training, evaluation and take positive things in life. A Leader is not the one who stands for his cause but he takes responsibility and motivates other employees of the organization. A Leader can be a motivation for employees and inspires himself as well as others to aim high and attain that aim. It has been noticed that good Leaders are those who had gained the trust and confidence their employees. And in gaining these, communication plays an important role.

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The most important thing is that people respect is knowledge. There are many situations which come in organization and they are not in our control but we can control our reactions. And Leader not only reacts positively but helps other employees to see the positive side of the situation. According to Trait theory, Individuals who takes leadership position has some good qualities or attributes compared to those who are non-leaders. This Trait theory is also known as Great Man theory. This theory focuses on the inbuilt quality which the leader has it in himself.

In 1974, American Researcher named Ralf Stogdill had found that the leadership is not about single or small cluster of traits but it is based on complex groupings of trait and social interaction. This theory focuses on different types of major traits. And these traits were Physical Characteristics, Social Background, Cognitive Ability, Personality, Task Related, and Social. But this trait has attracted many criticisms like the research shows the inequality between leader and others. It only focuses on traits and characteristics of the leaders but they had not given importance to the followers.

And the leaders are not able to fit themselves in the given structure. The Trait which is given doesn’t suit their leadership qualities. The research is also culturally determined because all the traits may not be the same for all the culture. Without being affected by Globalization, there are many major cultural differences exists between regions as well as within us. (Appendix 1)( Stogdill, R. M. (1974) Handbook of Leadership: A Survey of Theory and Research)(www. managementstudyguide. com) With the criticism of trait theory, it gave rise to Behavioural theory.

This theory focuses on the behaviour of leader. The trait theory had only focused on the leader but here it focuses on both the leader as well as their behavior. As trait theory assumes that leaders are born but the behavior theory is away from this concept. This theory tells about what leaders do and how they behave towards their followers. In 1940’s, two universities of US had completed their research on Leadership and these universities were University of Michigan and Ohio State University. Two similar analytical frameworks are developed by the researcher.

These two core dimensions are Concern for task and concern for people. The first dimension describes that the leader gives more important to the production or target. For them people are just the factors of production. And the other dimension is Relationship Behaviour which describes that the leader is more concerned about his follower’s need, problem and development. Three studies had provided the foundation of behavioural theories with the help of these two dimensions. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Ohio State University had differentiated two types of manager.

These both universities have researched almost the same thing. These managers were Production-oriented/initiating Structure Manager and Employee-oriented/consideration Manager. The Production-oriented manager is directly related to Initiating Structure. These were characterized by detailed work routines and work supervision. The study had found out that for them the employees were just the factor to get their work done. And the employee-oriented manager was totally different and is directly related to consideration. They had a strong bond between him and his employees.

He valued the individuality of his employees and generally approached with strong human relations. Here the researchers found out the manager with employee-oriented behavior had high work group performance and the group member had high satisfaction. . To become a good leader he has to have these both dimensions equally. It can also be possible that both dimensions are either high or low. (Bratton, J. (2010) Work and Organizational Behaviour) Till now we had studied the researches done by University of Michigan and Ohio State University.

But there was one more research which was studied by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton. They had combined the studies done by both the universities and worked on the two dimensions. They had worked on the larger version of the Production oriented and Employee oriented. With the help of their study they had made a Managerial Grid which is also known as Leadership Grid. This Grid was designed especially for trainees so that they can know their actual position of task oriented and people oriented leadership style.

But now the new version of this grid has been introduced by Blake and McCanse. In which they had identified five basic combinations of Concern for Production and Concern for people. But unfortunately this theory had also attracted many criticisms and this theory had been tested many times but the results were not up to the mark. This theory does not show that how the behavior of leader is connected to the performance outcomes. It was also argued that like the trait theory this theory also looks for simple answers to complex questions. ( Appendix 2)( Blake, R. and Mouton, J. 1978) The New Managerial Grid) The Criticisms on behavior theory gave rise to Contingency theory. Behaviour had only focused on the leader and his follower but this theory focuses on situation as well. This theory also assumes that good and effective leader has to become flexible and able to adapt their behavior and styles according to situation. Feidler was one of them who gave this theory. According to Feidler’s Contingency theory, there is not a single best way for any managers to lead. There are many situations which creates many leadership styles required by the managers.

This theory tells about the three situations which defines the managerial task. These situations are Leader-Member relationship, Task structure and positioning power. But again it has attracted criticism. And the research shows that these study is good for laboratory studies but not for field studies. (Appendix 3)(Bratton, J. (2010) Work and Organizational Behaviour) Criticism on Feidler’s contingency Model gave rise to Path Goal Theory. This theory was introduced by Sir Robert House. He had designed this theory with the help of expectancy theory of leadership.

This theory describes that the main task of the leader is to smooth the follower’s path to goal. This theory focuses on four leader behavior style. This style helps the followers to clarify their paths which will lead them to work and achieve their personal goal. Those four styles are classified as Directive style, Supportive style, Participative Style and Achievement oriented style. These four styles are used at different places. Directive style is used when the leader has to communicate his expectations, schedule work and maintain the standard of performance.

Supportive style is used when the leaders has to express concern and create a supportive environment for followers. Participative is used when the follower can participate in decision making authority. And the last style, Achievement-oriented style is used to set the challenging goal for followers. The research support for this theory is mixed. This theory has support for some of the model’s prediction. (Appendix 4)(House, R. J. and Mitchell, T. R. (1974)’Path-goal theory of leadership) At that time, a new leadership model was prepared by Sir Paul Hersey and Sir Kenneth Blanchard.

This model was based on the amount of direction and socio emotional support, a leader must provide and the level of maturity. 1)Task behavior: – It is the place where the leader has to do all his duties and responsibility carefully in a group or individual. Here, the leader is in one way communication. 2)Relationship Behaviors: – Here, the leader comes into two way or multi way communication by providing socio emotional support. This type of behaviors includes many things like listening, facilitation and supportive behavior.

Maturity is the willingness and ability of a person to take responsibility and directing it on his/her own behavior. There are many degree of maturity, depending on the specific task, function or objective that a leader is attempting to accomplish it through their efforts. The key issue of Hersey and Blanchard in making this type of adjustment is follower maturity, which can be indicated by their readiness to perform in given situation. Readiness is basically based on two major factor and they are: – Follower ability and Follower confidence.

Situational Leadership model show four different types of leadership styles. They are Delegating, Participating, Selling, and Telling. (Appendix 5)(Hersey, P. , Blanchard. (1977) Management of Organizational Behaviour: Utilizing Human Resources) Now coming on to the Transformational leadership. Theories which we have studied so far were developed during the time of Fordism. From the beginning, Fordism was based on the mass production and production. He was plagued by economic and social problem. According to Burns, leaders can be separated into two types.

Transactional and transformational. Transactional theory is also known as classical theory of leadership. Transformational leadership can be seen when leaders and followers make each other to advance to a higher level of moral and motivation. With the help of their strength of their vision and personality, transformational leaders can inspire followers to change expectations, perceptions and motivations to work towards common goals. This leadership is proactive and forms new expectations in followers. Transformational theory is contrasted with charismatic leadership.

Whereas transformational theory focuses on interpersonal exchanges, but charismatic leadership clarify symbolic leader behavior, visionary and inspirational messages. Weber has defined that Transformational theory is weaker version of Charisma. Transformational theory is divided into three stages and these three states are recognizing the need for revitalizing, visioning a new strategy and institutionalizing. (Appendix 6)(www. psychology. about. com) Contemporary theory of leadership has travelled from old command and control of leadership to shared leadership where power is still predominant factor in effective leadership.

Breaking of ‘Glass ceiling’ which referred as acceptance of feminist approach to leadership. Examples like Kiran Majumdar, Indra Nooyi etc are now associated with transformational style of leadership. Today leadership celebrates mutual equality for stronger regulation of global capitalism. To deal with 21st century challenges leader will not only need to acquire wider social context, creativity, skills, competence, vision and strategy but a capacity to learn from followers.

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