Introduction

Leadership
can be defined as “a process whereby one individual influences other group
members toward the attainment of defined group or organizational goals” (Yukl,
1998), although, until the present moment, there has not been created a
universal and accurate definition of this matter. Among various factors, effective
leadership is essential in completing objectives. For given situations, there
are appropriate leadership theories where each has a set of key characteristics.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

I believe to be adequate to separate these theories into diverse sections:
Person, Result, Position and Process (Grint, 2005). Person-based leadership focuses
on answering: “Is it who “leaders” are that makes them leaders?” (Grint, 2005,
p.1), this is, it explores his or her attributes and conduct. Theories relating
to this group are Behavior theory (1940s-1950s) and Trait theory (1930s-1940s).

Result-based leadership answers: “Is it what “leaders” achieve that makes them
leaders?” (Grint, 2005, p.1). A business consultant is a good example of this. Position-based
leadership refers to: “Is it where “leaders” operate that makes the leaders?” (Grint,
2005, p.1). In other words, it looks into the leader´s position and his
resources towards his underlings. Some of the ideologies regarding this group
are: Path Goal and Power-Influence. Finally, process-based leadership explores
the question: “Is it how “leaders” get things done that makes them leaders?” (Grint,
2005, p.1). Transactional
leadership and Transitional leadership are two examples of theories regarding
this section.

 

By digging into these theories, I
intend to prove that leadership is imperative and crucial in teams to maximize
its efficiency and productivity.

 

 

 

Person-based Leadership

 

 

Trait theory´s first approach sees a
leader as the result of a combination of traits, empathizing the personal
qualities of a leader, or more specifically, their intrinsic qualities. Good
self-esteem, creativity and the power of persuasion are some of the traits
leader need to possess (Yukl, 1989). Therefore, this theory allows us to
conclude that leaders are innate rather than “made”. In this way, an effective
leader is capable of inspiring trust and being decisive towards his
subordinates. Since not all individuals possess these innate traits, only those
who do can be considered as potential leaders. Globally recognized leaders like
Napoleon are examples of this Ideology, by gaining followers for their special
and specific traits (Nicole
Woolsey Biggart, Gary G.

Hamilton, p.431). However, many authors and thinkers presented
several limitations regarding this theory. Some limitations are that there are
no globally accepted traits that can foresee leadership in every situation and
that they do a more accurate and successful task at anticipating leadership´s
appearance than in differentiating effective leaders from non-effective leaders
(Robbins, 2001). Therefore, because of these limitations, thinkers focused their
research in behavioral Theory.

 

            As I mentioned above, Behavior
Theory emerged due to Trait Theory limitations during the 40s and early 50s. Whilst
Trait theory empathizes what the leader is, Behavior theory relates to what the
leader does (Nicole
Woolsey Biggart, Gary G.

Hamilton, p.431). The behavior of a leader is now the main factor to
have in mind in all leadership studies. Effectively, the search for effective
behavior is a less problematic area of study than the analysis of traits a
leader should have, in the way that its simpler to create behavior models than
describing personality structures and characteristics. In this way, having
identified the behavior a leader has, it´s possible to invest in formation
programs that will boost efficiency. This way, we´re not before an innate
leader anymore, but a leader perfecting his behavior to increase efficiency.

           

Within this theory, there are three
types of leader: Autocratic leader, Democratic leader and Liberal (or
Laisse-faire) leader. Autocratic leaders make their own decisions without
consulting their team and colleagues expecting and demanding obedience from his
subordinates (Lewin, 1944). On the other hand, a Democratic leader gives to his
followers some power on decision-making, although the final say is always his (Daft 2011, p.40). Finally, a Liberal leader
allows his subordinates to handle their own workload leaving most decisions in
their hands (Van
Vugt, Jepson, Hart, Cremer, 2004, p.2). During the year of 1939, Lewin, Lippit and White
investigated the effect these types of leadership had on ten-year-old children
(reference). They realized that when using the autocratic leadership, the
children worked much more effectively when supervised than when left without supervision.

On the other hand, when ruled under democratic leadership ideals, the children
worked efficiently with and without supervision. Lastly, as the children were
ruled under Liberal leadership, the results show that the work done and its
quality are very inferior, when compared to autocratic and democratic
leadership (reference).

 

During the Management away day, in the
heart puzzle activity, my team and I were working as equals trying to complete
the puzzle. Nevertheless, we weren´t progressing in our task so we became more
autocratic as one group member took the lead and organized our team, giving us
simple tasks, which enabled us to easily complete the activity. This demonstrates
that when a team has a leader, group organization and collective efficiency
increases, acting as a great asset for problem solving. Although autocratic
leadership was more effective in the situation mentioned above, normally the
most efficient leadership style is the democratic leader for the reason that by
distributing power, responsibility and by giving every member in the team a say
in a particular matter, it increases the groups´ motivation and efficiency.

           

Another important research program,
known as the University of Michigan, refers the existence of two behavior
categories: Behavior oriented to tasks and behavior oriented to relationships. A
task-oriented leader decides and operationalizes his own tasks as well as his
followers´. On the other hand, a relationship-oriented leader focuses on being
cooperative and friendly to his followers, being concerned for their well-being
(Bowers and Seashore, 1996). This investigation led to the conclusion that a
leader can´t have both behaviors at the same time, although they can
spontaneously change from one to another. From my experience in the Management
away day activities, I was mainly task-oriented due to the fact that my only
concern was to get the job done. Nevertheless, I believe an effective leader
should be mostly relationship-focused for the reason that a good relationship
between a leader and its followers will increase job satisfaction and
integration, contributing positively to an increase in collective efficiency.

            In a general form, in most cases and
relating to these theories, leaders should be democratic and
relationship-oriented to ensure that their subordinates are motivated and happy
which will lead to efficiency maximization. Therefore, as I said before, it is
crucial for an organization or team to have a leader. Every organization or
team needs a structure. Worthy´s study (1950) showed that there are two types
of structure: Tall structure and Flat structure (Carzo Jr, Yanouzas, 1969, p.178).

A flat structure contains few levels of administration, meaning that there is a
narrow “chain of command” and a wide number of workers which the administrator
is liable for. On the other hand, a tall structure consists of a large range of
management layers, each manager having a small span of control. The results of
this study demonstrate that most small organizations have a flat structure (Carzo
Jr, Yanouzas, 1969, p.178). This means that managers will have several employees
to supervise and orientate. Therefore, they can´t always give extensive attention
to all employees leading them to work out their problems and solutions
autonomously. However, this can also lead to certain insecurity and confusion
as to what they have to do. On the other hand, big organizations tend to have a
tall structure, meaning that the employees will have better orientation and
guidance from their superiors, since there is a small span of control (Carzo
Jr, Yanouzas, 1969, p.179).

             

 

 

Result-based
leadership

 

            Result-based leaderships´ focal
point is the leaders´ output in a certain institution and their efficiency in
getting the job done (Grint, 2005, p.2&3). As I’ve mentioned earlier on, in
my introduction, a business consultant is an example of this type of leadership.

When a company hires one, they expect him to achieve a certain objective inside
the firm. Therefore, if he manages to complete his task, he will continue to
have a job at the firm. On the other hand, if he fails to accomplish this, he
will be judged for that, without having taken under consideration any circumstances
that might have led to his failure, resulting on his dismissal.  For instance, if this consultant is asked to help
increase the sales of a particular product, but in this same year the demand
for that type of product falls dramatically, in theory it´s not the consultants´
fault for his failure. Nevertheless, he will be judged for his accomplishments
and therefore he will be fired. In my management away day, this type of
leadership wasn´t present. Yet, regarding University, everyone knows that If
they can´t pass all their subjects, the University can make them repeat the
year or even expel them. Therefore, even if someone doesn´t believe they can do
well in every module, they will at least have the motivation to study harder to
accomplish their goals, knowing what the consequences might be.

 

 

 

 

Position-based Leadership

 

            Path-goal theory, developed by
Robert House, defends that the workers´ output can be improved by their leader if
he helps and assures them certain rewards as a consequence of achieving the
organizations´ objectives. Firstly, the leader must make sure the subordinates
understand clearly what the goals (imposed by the leader) are. In a following
stage, the leader must provide the resources and conditions to help the
subordinates reach their personal objectives as well as the organizational
objectives. This will then lead the subordinates to feel increasingly more
motivated (House, Mitchell, 1975). To accomplish this the leader needs to have
one of the following behavior types: Directive, Supportive, Participative and Achievement-oriented
(Evans, 1974). A directive leader orientates the subordinates, explaining how
each task must be done and communicating what is expected from them. A supportive
leader demonstrates interest in the satisfaction and necessity of the
subordinates in order to create a friendly work environment. A participative
leader encourages the subordinates to participate in the decision-making of the
organization (similar to democratic leadership). Lastly, the achievement-oriented
leader inspires excellence in the performance, imposing demanding objectives (House,
Mitchell, 1975). Regarding my management away day, in the activity where we
needed to circulate a ball using a circuit created by us, made us use the
achievement-oriented leadership, in the sense that we were encouraging each
other to be effective in the part of the circuit each of us were handling. This
type of leadership was efficient with us enabling us to be one of the fastest
team to complete that task during that day.

           

Power
is the ability to influence other people and is extremely important for a
leader to be effective. In organizations, this sometimes means having the
ability to get the job done. There are various sources of power: Legitimate
Power, Reward Power, Coercive Power, Referent Power and Expert Power.

Legitimate power is based on hierarchy. This means that the leaders´ power will
vary, regarding his higher or lower position in the organizations´ structure. This
type of power gives the leader the right and the authority to tell the
subordinates what to do. The best example of legitimate power is definitely the
army. There is no institution or team that has a so well delineated leadership structure
as they do. In the military force the commander and chief has legitimate power over
all the marines, due to his high position in the army’s power structure. Reward
power is the power given to the person in charge of compensating employees for
their work. Coercive Power is based on fear, meaning that the leader will show
his subordinates that he is capable of punishing them if they don´t do what is
expected of them. Referent Power is the power to influence the subordinates
that admire the leader and wish to have the same skills as him. At last, Expert
power is the power a leader has when he holds privileged information and
contacts, the subordinates need to complete their tasks.

 

 

Process-based Leadership

 

            The process of influence by which
the leader engenders change in the subordinates´ attitude and behavior, leading
them to a vehement commitment to the organizations´ objectives, is applicable to
both Transformational and Charismatic leadership.

 

During
half a century, leadership theories have been very focused in understanding aspects
like: if leadership is autocratic or democratic, if a decision-making is
directive or participative, if the focus is on the task or on the people, among
others (Bass, 1990). Webers´ theory (1924/1947) introduced, in a general form,
the notion of a Charismatic leader “as
set apart from others. Due to a certain quality of personality, charismatic leaders
are frequently idolized by followers and are often perceived as superhuman” (Deluga, 1997, p.50). Therefore, in
times of need, the followers trust the leaders´ “powers” to fix a particular problem,
putting their fate in his hands.  Weber
defends that the core of charisma is based on an emotional appeal whose
attitude is revolutionary and transcends everything. For instance, Steve jobs
was considered a charismatic leader for the interpersonal relationship he had
with his employees; for adapting well to various complicated situations and for
having a consistent speech that clarified his objectives and that motivated the
employees (Heracleous, Klaering, 2014).

            The fundamental idea that supports
transactional leadership is the process associated to the recognition of
achieved objectives. The wishes and necessities of the subordinates are
satisfied and recognized if they make the necessary effort to complete a
particular task. “Transactional
leadership refers to the exchange relationship between leader and follower to
meet their own self-interests” (Bass,
1999, p.10).

x

Hi!
I'm Erica!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out