Leadership is defined as the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal.
The leader is the inspiration and director of the action. He or she is the person in the group that possesses the combination of personality and skills that make others want to follow his or her direction.Leadership theories:As the importance of leadership began to emerge, several psychologists and sociologists began to compound theories on leadership. These theories generally emphasized the kind of traits a leader should possess, the factors affecting the style and functioning and the role of the followers in the same.
Three main leadership theories have been discussed below. They are1. Team Leadership Theory2. Situational Leadership theory3.
Transformational Leadership TheoryTEAM LEADERSHIP THEORYBasic Assumptions· Involvement of people/ employees in the decision-making process improves the relationship between the leader and the follower.· Involvement in decision-making makes people more committed.· Joint goals bring out collaboration in people instead of competition· Collaborative action imbibes a sense of commitment to the common goal.· More number of people arriving at a decision is always better than one person.
Method of FunctioningA Team Leader, instead of taking up the task of decision-making by him, will seek to involve other people in the process, including subordinates, peers, superiors and other stakeholders.< Not participativeHighly participative >Autocratic decision by leaderLeader proposes decision, listens to feedback, then decidesTeam proposes decision, leader has final decisionJoint decision with team as equalsFull delegation of decision to teamThere are many stages in this pattern. The leader could explain to his subordinates the reasons and the causes for a particular problem or a scenario and the followers are urged to comply and give their own suggestions. The level of participation may also depend on the type of decision being made.
Decisions on how to implement goals may be highly participative, whilst decisions during subordinate performance evaluations are more likely to be taken by the manager.Characteristics of a Team Leadership Working Model:· Responsibility for group effectiveness is not on the leader’s shoulders alone but is shared by the group.Control over the final decision is not held by the leader but is best left to the group.The importance of one’s position and power are de-emphasized in team leadership.
The leader perceives the group not as a set of individuals but as an “interacting and collective team.”The task-oriented functions of the team are not performed only by the leader but are shared by the entire group through its new roles.Group maintenance functions are not performed systematically but are emphasized and shared by the group as a whole.Team leaders, while mostly ignored by leaders in top-down settings, observe socio-emotional processes and interactions, closely.
Expressions of members’ needs and feelings are not discouraged but are encouraged by team leaders and are dealt with openly in meetings.This kind of leadership generally represents the leadership style adopted in smaller companies where it is essential to maintain a good working relationship among the various working groups. It occurs whenEmployees become creative, questioning, generating suggestions, and able to push limits; and· Employees compete, not for recognition but try to move the organization forward through their creativity.This results in increased risk taking, improved cooperation, accountability, a sense of engagement and increased creativity.
SITUATIONAL LEADERSHIP THEORYThe Situational Leadership Theories suggest that leadership effectiveness is a function of various aspects of the leadership situations. As the previous trait and behavioral models were inconclusive and the importance of a particular situation was realized the situational models were developed more systematically.Basic Assumption of the theory:The best action of any leader depends on a variety of different situational factors.CharacteristicsWhen a decision is needed, a good leader needs to look at a range of factors and has to keep in mind that certain situations could cause certain reflexes.
In practice, factors that affect situational decisions include motivation and capability of followers. The relationship between followers and the leader may be another factor that affects leader behavior as much as it does follower behavior. The leaders’ idea of the follower is also an important factor in making up his mind. This may sometimes forsake the truth of the situation.
The leader’s perception of themselves and other factors such as stress and mood will also modify the leaders’ behavior. Yukl (1989) seeks to combine other approaches and identifies six variables:· Follower effort: the motivation and actual effort expended.Follower ability and role clarity: followers knowing what to do and how to do it.The structure of the work and utilization of resources.
Collaboration among the group members.Resources and availability of tools, materials, people, etc.External collaboration with other groups.The term Situational theory is an umbrella term for several theories that sought to explain the importance of a particular situation in the leadership role.
The Blanchard Model, Fiedler’s Contingency Model, House’s Path goal model and the more recent Leader-Participative model are discussed.Hursey-Blanchard ModelBlanchard characterized the leader’s role as one who provides a direction to a particular task. There are four major kinds of Leaders that the model defines. These are:S1: Directing/Telling Leaders: These leaders are people who order their followers.
They define rules for their followers and supervise them closely.S2: Coaching/Selling Leaders: these leaders define the rules and also ask for suggestions. Decisions are still made by the leader but the communication is two-way.S3: Participating/Supporting Leaders: these leaders give up the daily work to their followers and take part in the decisions but the control remains with the follower.
S4: Delegating leader: The leader gives all the power to the follower and the follower actually decides if or not the leader should be involved.Development levels: Blanchard in conjunction with Hersey categorized the development of followers into four categories, which they named D1 to D4D1: Low competence high commitment: such followers are not good at the job but they are capable to learn and so are willing to take direction.D2: Some competence low commitment: these followers may have some skills but they lack the direction to work on their ownD3: High competence and Variable Commitment: these followers are experienced and capable but still cannot direct themselvesD4: High competence high commitment: these followers are experienced and comfortable in their own ability. They may even be more skilled than the leader.
House’s Path-Goal ModelRobert House developed the path-goal theory. It has its roots in the expectancy theory of motivation. The manager’s job is seen as coaching the individuals in order to complete a particular task in the best possible manner. “Best” is judged by the accompanying achievement of al the organization’s goals.
It is based on the precepts of goal setting theory and argues that a particular situation decides the kind of path a leader should choose to achieve his objective. It’s the leader’s prerogative to direct the job and see to that the goal is in line with that of the organizations.Followers look at the leader’s style of functioning as satisfactory when he provides the right direction and motivation to his team and also rewards them duly when their work is commendable. Path goal theory identifies achievement-oriented, directive, participative and supportive leadership styles.
In achievement-oriented leadership, the leader sets challenging goals for followers, expects them to perform at their highest level, and shows confidence in their ability to meet this expectation. This style is appropriate when the follower suffers from a lack of job challenge. In directive leadership, the leader lets followers know what is expected of them and tells them how to perform their tasks. This style is appropriate when the follower has an ambiguous job.
Participative leadership involves leaders consulting with followers and asking for their suggestions before making a decision. This style is appropriate when the follower is using improper procedures or is making poor decisions. In supportive leadership, the leader is friendly and approachable. He or she shows concern for followers’ psychological well-being.
This style is appropriate when the followers lack confidence.This theory assumes that the leaders are flexible and are capable of changing their behavioral patterns, as the situation may need them to. The theory proposes two contingency variables (environment and follower characteristics) that moderate the leader behavior-outcome relationship. Environment is outside the control of followers-task structure, authority system, and work group.
Environmental factors determine the type of leader behavior required if follower outcomes are to be maximized. Follower characteristics are the locus of control, experience, and perceived ability. Personal characteristics of subordinates determine how the environment and leader are perceived. Effective leaders clarify the path to help their followers achieve their goals and make the journey easier by removing obstacles.
Vroom, Yetton, Jago Leader-Participation ModelThe Vroom, Yetton, Jago leader-participation model relates leadership behavior and participation of the team members to decision making. This model looks at a set of chronological decision-making rules that need to be followed in order to complete a task. It makes use of a decision umbrella in which all the answers are in the form of yes and no to questions related to structure and alternative styles of organization.The following contingency questions must be answered to determine the appropriate leadership style in the leader-participation model.
· Quality Requirement: How important is the technical quality of this decision?· Commitment Requirement: How important is subordinate commitment to the decision?Leader’s Information: Do you have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?Problem Structure: Is the problem well structured?· Commitment Probability: If you were to make the decision yourself, are you reasonably certain that your subordinates would be committed to the decision?· Goal Congruence: Do subordinates share the organizational goals to be attained in solving this problem?· Subordinate Conflict: Is conflict among subordinates over preferred solutions likely?Subordinate Information: Do subordinates have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?Fiedler’s Contingency ModelFred E. Fiedler’s contingency theory states that there is no one effective method that a manager can follow to lead well. Situations will create different challenges to the leader and he has to come good every time. The solution to a managerial situation is contingent on the factors that impinge on the situation.
For example, in a highly mechanized environment where repetitive jobs are done a certain kind of leadership maybe the right way forward but the same cannot be applied in a more innovative dynamic scenario. Fiedler looked at three situations that could define the condition of a managerial task:1. Leader member relations2. The task structure:3.
Position powerManagers were rated as to whether they were relationship oriented or task oriented. Task oriented managers tend to do better in situations that have good leader-member relationships, structured tasks, and either weak or strong position power. These leaders tend to do well when the task is not structured but the position power is strong. Also, they tend to do well at the other end when the leader member relations are moderate to poor and the task is unstructured.
Relationship oriented managers do better in all other situations. Thus, a given situation might call for a manager with a different style or a manager who could take on a different style for a different situation.These environmental variables are combined in a weighted sum that is termed “Favorable” at one end and “unfavorable” at the other. Task oriented style is preferable at the clearly defined extremes of “favorable” and “unfavorable” environments, but relationship orientation excels in the middle ground.
Another aspect of the contingency model theory is that the leader-member relations, task structure, and position power dictate the control a leader has over a particular situation. Leader-member relations are the amount of loyalty, reliability, and support that the leader receives from employees. It is a measure of how the manager perceives he or she and the group of employees is getting along together. In a normal structure a manager can reward or punish his employees as the need may be.
However, in an abnormal relationship the task is usually unstructured and the leader possesses limited authority.The leadership literature of the 1970s and 1980s, with its focus on effective leaders, placed emphasis on the personal traits along with the situational factors affecting leadership. The studies differentiated between leaders and managers and introduced a new leadership characteristic i.e.
vision to foresee newer things, and explored its importance. Along with having vision, effective leaders are said to facilitate the development of a shared vision and value the human resources of their organizations. In addition to these insights on leadership, a new theory emerged — transformational leadership.Transformational TheoryTransformational theories (also known as “Relational theories”) focus upon the connections formed between leaders and followers.
These leaders have a greater motivational and inspirational capability and so they motivate and inspire people by helping group members see the importance of a common shared goal. Transformational leaders give importance to the group collaborative performance and also seek to make sure that each of the group members fulfills his/her potential. These leaders often have high ethical and moral standards. The term transformational leadership was first coined by J.
V. Downton in 1973 in Rebel Leadership: Commitment and Charisma in a Revolutionary Process.Two main theories capture the essence of the transformational theory. They are the Bass’ theory and the Burns’ theory.
BASS THEORYBasic assumptions:· Knowledge of the task motivates people· An emphasis on team work works betterCharacteristics:Bass defined transformational leadership in terms of how the leader affects followers who trust, admire and collaborate with the leader.He identified three ways in which leaders transform followers:Increasing the awareness of the job at hand.Putting the team’s needs ahead of the individual’s.Thinking of higher order needsCharisma is seen as necessary, but not sufficient, for example in the way that charismatic movie stars may not make good leaders.
Two key charismatic effects that transformational leaders achieve are to evoke strong emotions and to cause identification of the followers with the leader. This may be through stirring appeals. It may also occur through quieter methods such as coaching and mentoring.Bass has recently noted that authentic transformational leadership is grounded in moral foundations that are based on four components:Idealized influenceInspirational motivationIntellectual stimulationIndividualized considerationIt is also based on three moral aspects:The moral character of the leader.
The ethical values embedded in the leader’s vision, articulation, and program (which followers either embrace or reject).The morality of the processes of social ethical choice and action that leaders and followers engage in and collectively pursue.This is in contrast with pseudo-transformational leadership, where, for example, in-group/out-group ‘us and them’ games is used to bond followers to the leader.BURNS’ THEORYCharacteristics:Burns defined transformational leadership as a process where leaders and followers engage in a mutual bettering process to improve each other’s work.
Transformational leaders raise the bar by appealing to higher ideals and values of followers. In doing so, they may model the values themselves and use charismatic methods to attract people to the values and to the leader. Burns’ view is that transformational leadership is more effective than other leaderships, where the appeal is to more selfish concerns. An appeal to social values thus encourages people to collaborate, rather than working as individuals (and potentially competitively with one another).
COMPARISON/CONTRAST OF THE THREE THEORIES (TABLE):;AttributeTeam LeadershipSituational LeadershipTransformational LeadershipOriginThis theory is perhaps as old as mankind itself. It was one of the first theories in leadership literature.Were the outcome of the inconclusive behavioral and the trait leadership theories postulated earlier?A newer model emerging from studying the various charismatic leaders who brought about transformations.FactorsAffectingThe theory is affected by the relationship between the leader and the followers.
The situation involving the leader-follower. It suggests that the environment chooses the leaderCharisma is said to be the most important factor for such leaders. Most times these leaders are futuristic or tend to be averse to status-quoLeader’s qualitiesThe leader can range from being autocratic to highly participative.The leader maybe visionary, individualist or a team player as the situation demands.
Highly charismatic (akin to a hero), visionary, self-motivated and capable of bringing in sweeping changesTeam/FollowerThe followers can range be participants in the decision making process or can be forced to accept the decisions.The followers too are subject to environmental conditions.The followers are usually have tremendous respect, loyalty and trust in leadersImpacted by/Responsible forThis theory has impacted the situational and the transformational theory. Both these theories use some attributes of the theory.
This theory was proposed to fill in the loopholes in the trait theory. It impacts both the team theory and the transformational theory, as the situations are important in both.The theory does not seem to have been directly impacted by other theories but a leader of this kind usually has to take the situational factors in mind for best results.PracticalApplicationSeveral small time companies, the military (autocratic), the Orpheus orchestra.
This theory finds application in East Asian companies and some US companies like Xerox.This theory has been at the center of companies like Chrysler corporation, Wal-mart, Apple computers etc.APPLICATIONS:Team leadership in practice:Team leadership examples are very rare in bi corporations. It is mostly applied in the millitary and other defence forces.
One example from the world of music is the Orpheus orchestra which has performed for over thirty years without a conductor — that is, without a sole leader. As a team of over 25 members, it has drawn discriminating audiences, and has produced over 60 recordings for Deutsche Grammophon in successful competition with other world-class orchestras.Situational leadership in practice:Situational leadership by itself does not find many applications. It is hard to imagine how leaders can be found simply based on how they adapt to situations.
Leader training is a multi-million dollar industry now. So the idea that leaders cannot be trained as postulated by his theory is not credible. However a study to investigate the applicability of situational leadership theory within the Republic of China (Taiwan) was conducted. The study was conducted in a large construction company with a broad diversity of managerial responsibilities.
The LEAD-Self instrument was given to a large sample of managers, to determine what they thought of their own leadership style. Employees completed the LEAD-Other questionnaire, to give their perceptions of their manager. Productivity scores were also established for each manager using measures of absenteeism, turnover, overall profitability and quality of work. The results indicated that the situational leadership theory does have applicability in Taiwan; there was a good match between the self-perception of leaders and perceptions by peers, superiors and subordinates and between the LEAD-Self score and LEAD-Other; also that leadership adaptability was directly related to productivity as measured by absenteeism, turnover rates, profitability and, to a lesser extent, quality.
Although the situational leadership is yet to become fully functional some companies like Xerox, caterpillar and Mobil oil have been successfully able to adapt to the leadership style. Transformational theory in practise:Some of the famous transformational leaders in practice today are Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, Colin Powell, Lee Iacocca, Rudy Giulliani . They are charismatic leaders who inspired their followers to exceptional performance, enthusiasm and loyalty. Lee Chrysler took over Chrysler Corporation when it was several billion dollars in debt.
He convinced the Congress for a 1.5B$ loan and motivated the workers to pull together and the public to buy the shares, as a result he repaid the loan 7 years before tit was due. Rudy Giulliani was the charismatic mayor of New York who in his 7 years at the helm brought down felony rates by 57 % and murder rates by 68 %; he developed Manhattan and increased the tourism potential of the city. He also helped the city pull through the 9/11 attack.
FUTURE PROSPECTS OF LEADERSHIP THEORIES:In the future there will be increasing focus onPragmatism and ethics in leadership.Emotions will be important in forming relationships.Leadership styles.Diversity.
Geographic diversity.Change oriented leadership.Models that give importance to management and leadershipWhile the Transformation Leadership approach is often highly effective, there is no one “right” way to lead or manage that suits all situations. To choose the most effective approach, one must consider:The skill of the team membersThe job at handThe industry environmentThe leader’s preferred style.
A good leader will switch between different leadership styles as the task or situation demands. People who are confident of their decisions and who exude some charisma usually apply transformational leadership in inspiring circumstances. Other two leadership styles also find applications in the organizational scenario. ReferencesNorthouse, P.
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