by Michael J.
Discuss how organization behavior concepts can enhance performance of manager's functions.
THE VARIOUS LEADERSHIP STYLES EMPLOYED BY A LEADER IN AN ORGANIZATION AND THEIR
CONTEXT - DEPENDENT NATURE
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Business dictionary defines leadership as the act of establishing a clear vision and
sharing it with the others so that they will follow willingly. It (leadership) is essential
during our day to day life, in our work places, schools, churches and even homes, as it
facilitates proper and smooth running. Good leadership is required everywhere and it is
the key objective in business premises and organizations that is anticipating to achieve
its Prospective goals. Be it in a small enterprise or a large Corporate, good leaders
will always Share a common aspect; They influence those around them in order to reap
maximum benefit from the organization’s resources, including its most vital and expensive: its
people (Germano, M. 2010, Online). However, there occur to be various ways of
governing and it will depend on the style a leader personally opt to provide directions
and implement work plans to his/her employees. Some of the leaders lack the urge to
involve the employees in decision making while tackling organization’s problems while
others don’t have the desire to assume that responsibility as a leader. This chapter will
briefly discuss the reason as to why the leadership style employed by a leader in an
organization is context dependent and also cover the various basic styles that a leader
can adopt so as to achieve organization’s goals and objectives.
The various leadership styles employed by a leader
The style of leadership employed by a leader in organization is context
dependent as it is different in different surroundings, but must whatsoever be able to
meet the needs of the organization. One of the concepts that have troubled many
leaders, particularly fresh ones who have never been in a leading position before is of
the style that they are going to use and its effectiveness. However, as long as leadership
is concerned, the strategies used normally defines every leader’s personal leadership style.
The basic leadership styles commonly used include:
The Autocratic leadership style
Like the kind of Adolf Hitler’s, this is style of leadership which is classical in approach
as the leader retains as much power and decision making as possible. The leader neither
consult the staff, nor allow them to raise opinion but are (staff) subjected to obey
orders without receiving any explanations (chintu83, 2009. 5 [online]). Autocratic leaders
never trust their staff and they rely most on threats so as to influence the staff.
However, this kind of leadership is the most effective style to use with new, untrained
staff; when you have got limited time to make a decision and also if your work staff
do not respond to any other leadership style. A Good example of a business autocratic
leader is Helen Gurley Brown: The former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine is
notable for many things, not least of which was her ability to consistently turn a profit
in publishing for more than three decades. Brown moved to New York City early in her
career and blended in immediately. She assumed the helm of Cosmopolitan and
revolutionized the women’s fashion market, leveraging her position to reflect and
influence American culture. Brown was known as a task master in a business that thrives
on getting things done with minimal corrections (Gill E. 2014, [online]). Although this
style of leadership is effective in some areas, it shouldn’t however, be exercised in an
organization where staff are full of fear and when they are expecting their opinions to
be heard. Furthermore, autocratic leadership style may be futile in a working area
where there is Low staff morale, high turnover and absenteeism of the staff (leadership
styles [PPP], 12 ).
Bureaucratic Leadership style
In Bureaucratic leadership style, leaders gives directions following the procedures and
Policies stated in the books. Not according to their individual perceptiveness. This
Leadership is based on strict hierarchies and often depends on written job descriptions
and Organization charts to explain the hierarchy and their relationships (Spahr P. 2014,
[Online] ). The staff under this leadership often find it difficult stepping out of the
organizational role they play as they are subjected to report any matter to their
immediate supervisors. If it’s the case of job promotion, they are only promoted based
on their ability to conform to the rules (Spahr P. 2014, [Online] }. One of the areas in
which this kind of leadership functions effectively is in an organization where staff
perform routine tasks repeatedly and also where they need to understand certain standards
and procedures (leadership styles [PPP], 14 ). Bureaucratic style of leadership is
however ineffective in some working environments particularly when working habits
form are hard to break especially if they are no longer useful procedures (leadership
styles [PPP], 15 ). The leadership may also be unrewarding when the staff do
only what is expected of them and also if they lose interest in their jobs and with
their colleagues at work. A good example of a world-known bureaucratic leader is
Alfred P Sloan of General Motors. In the 1920s Sloan took a chaotic hodgepodge of
companies assembled under a financial umbrella called General Motors and turned it into
the world's dominant auto manufacturer, a ruthlessly efficient generator of profits that
managed to thrive even during the Great Depression. Sloan's single most important
contribution to modern business theory and practice was the way he squared the circle
of imposing central, bureaucratic control over operating divisions without destroying the
initiative and creativity of the people who ran them. If he had a passion in his life, it
was the power conveyed by the rational organization of resources (Hornik R. 2003,
Democratic leadership style
Most of the National and International organizations are currently
operating under this kind of leadership as it have been proven to be the most active
and the best to achieve your planned goals. In this type of leadership every
member of the organization is eligible in decision making thus they are able to keep
track of organization’s progress and performance . The leader Keeps staff informed
about everything that affects their work and shares decision making and problem solving
responsibilities. He/she will be a coach who will have the final say but will gather
information from the rest of the staff before making a decision. (leadership styles [PPP],
The democratic leadership style is based on mutual respect. It is often combined with
participatory leadership because it requires collaboration between leaders and the
people they guide. (Gill E. 2014, Online). Thus also referred to as participative
leadership style. While operating under this leadership, leaders are able to produce
quality and high quantity work for long period. The staff in turn like the trust they
receive and respond with cooperation, team spirit, and high morale (leadership styles
[PPP], 17 ). A good democratic leader should help his/her people in evaluating
their own performance and also let them establish their goals. Unlike with the
Bureaucratic leader who will promote those who conform to the rules, a democratic
leader will encourage the staff to be expansive in ideas generation and be innovative
so as to grow job, and in turn recognize and encourage their achievements through job
promotion (leadership styles [PPP], 18 ). When an organization operates under
democratic leadership, chances for it surviving complex problems are very high as all
the input available (the staff) will be used in solving it. Each individual has got his/her
own approach when tackling problems, thus when the various approaches are used,
definitely a clear outcome will emerge. However, leaders are discouraged from using this
type of leadership if they feel threatened while using it and if there’s no time to get
every staff’s input while tackling matters of the organization.
Apple company is one of the best examples that can be used to illustrate clearly the
kind of governance in democratic leadership style. It was a successful company from
1976 to 1985, before it almost failed in the mid-1990s. Then it became enormously
successful again — precisely because it faltered.
In other words, Apple had a vision. Apple lost its vision. Apple regained its vision.
That’s rare. In the mid-1990s Gateway, Microsoft , Sun Microsystems and other
companies reportedly zeroed in on Apple as an acquisition target. Years later, many of
those brands disappeared. Yet Apple survived.
Apple survived because Steve Jobs learned how to adapt. He became a
democratic/participative leader. Jobs started out as a charismatic/laissez-faire leader, and
Apple soared. Then he became an autocratic leader, and Apple’s board of directors
requested his resignation. When he returned to Apple more than 10 years later, Jobs
combined several leadership styles and added democratic/participative to his repertoire.
He hired other experienced leaders and entrusted them to excel. Jobs encouraged his
lead designer Jonathon Ive, and he mentored manufacturing expert Tim Cook, now
CEO. He let them make key decisions. That’s why Apple survived (Gill E. 2014, [online] ).
Laissez-Faire Leadership Style
Donna Karan, the founder of DKNY jeans, is one of individuals who is known globally for her DKNY clothing labels. Being a fashion designer, she enjoys a reputation as an
attentive but hands-off leader who follows fashion trends while keeping her eyes on
profits. The Center for Association Leadership noted in a 2013 article that Karan trusts
managers to make good decisions while monitoring their performance and offering
ongoing feedback. Karan reportedly believes firmly in autonomy, which leads to strong
job satisfaction and increased productivity (Gill E. 2014, [online] ).
Laissez – faire leadership style, Like in the case of Donna Karan, is the form of
leadership in which All authority or power is given to the staff and it’s upon them to
determine goals, make decisions, and resolve problems on their own. It’s also referred
to as hands-off style as the leader only provide little or no direction and gives staff as
much freedom as possible (leadership styles [PPP], 22 ). However, this form of
leadership is not effective in every work environment. For an organization to run
smoothly without much or no participation of the leader, the staff have to be highly
educated and skilled, and much more should be having maximum experience in that
field. The staff should also be people to be trusted and who have the pride in their
work and personal drive to do it successfully all on their own. To enhance the
performance of the organization, Outside experts, such as staff specialists or consultants
are incorporated for extra assistance (leadership styles [PPP], 23 ). In the case
where the staff feel insecure with the unavailability of their head, the leader will have
no other alternative but choose a different style of leadership. Laissez – faire leadership
style may also be inappropriate for use if the leader does not recognize and encourage
Other leadership styles employed by leaders of organizations
Leadership is a word that is broad in both its meaning and in its application if one
is to define it. In order to increase the efficiency of their governance, some leaders opt
to incorporate other styles of leadership with the basic ones. Other types of leadership
styles that exist include:
Creative Leadership in which the leader is able to uniquely inspire people to complex and readily changing situations (leadership styles [PPP], 23 ).
Corrective leadership whereby the staff are empowered to facilitate collaborative
and synergism, and work together so as to come up with a great and more marvelous
Bridging leadership in which the leader aims at Fostering synergy and reinforcing
behavior and motivation through the use Of communication to create climate of trust and
confidence on the face of a difficult challenge (leadership styles [PPP], 36 ).
In summary the kind of leadership that a leader employs in an organization
therefore varies as it is different in different surroundings for it will rely on the
organization’s working environment. For instance, autocratic leadership style will operate
perfectly in an environment where there is new, untrained staff whereas the staff who
are highly trained, educated and experienced will work successfully in an environment
under Laissez – faire leadership style as they have that personal motivation and pride of
what they do. Stan Slap, the president of the internal consulting company stated, “The
first step out of the gate has to be knowing where you want to end up. What do you really want
from your company?” (Slap S. [Online]). In reference to his words, a leader has the
responsibility to choose the style of leadership which he/she feels will work best and
bring about success to the organization.
List of references
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