IntroductionLeadershipcan be defined as “a process whereby one individual influences other groupmembers toward the attainment of defined group or organizational goals” (Yukl,1998), although, until the present moment, there has not been created auniversal and accurate definition of this matter. Among various factors, effectiveleadership is essential in completing objectives. For given situations, thereare appropriate leadership theories where each has a set of key characteristics.I believe to be adequate to separate these theories into diverse sections:Person, Result, Position and Process (Grint, 2005).
Person-based leadership focuseson 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 relatingto this group are Behavior theory (1940s-1950s) and Trait theory (1930s-1940s).Result-based leadership answers: “Is it what “leaders” achieve that makes themleaders?” (Grint, 2005, p.1). A business consultant is a good example of this. Position-basedleadership 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 hisresources towards his underlings. Some of the ideologies regarding this groupare: Path Goal and Power-Influence. Finally, process-based leadership exploresthe question: “Is it how “leaders” get things done that makes them leaders?” (Grint,2005, p.1). Transactionalleadership and Transitional leadership are two examples of theories regardingthis section. By digging into these theories, Iintend to prove that leadership is imperative and crucial in teams to maximizeits efficiency and productivity.
Person-based Leadership Trait theory´s first approach sees aleader as the result of a combination of traits, empathizing the personalqualities of a leader, or more specifically, their intrinsic qualities. Goodself-esteem, creativity and the power of persuasion are some of the traitsleader need to possess (Yukl, 1989). Therefore, this theory allows us toconclude that leaders are innate rather than “made”. In this way, an effectiveleader is capable of inspiring trust and being decisive towards hissubordinates. Since not all individuals possess these innate traits, only thosewho do can be considered as potential leaders. Globally recognized leaders likeNapoleon are examples of this Ideology, by gaining followers for their specialand specific traits (NicoleWoolsey Biggart, Gary G.Hamilton, p.431).
However, many authors and thinkers presentedseveral limitations regarding this theory. Some limitations are that there areno globally accepted traits that can foresee leadership in every situation andthat they do a more accurate and successful task at anticipating leadership´sappearance than in differentiating effective leaders from non-effective leaders(Robbins, 2001). Therefore, because of these limitations, thinkers focused theirresearch in behavioral Theory. As I mentioned above, BehaviorTheory emerged due to Trait Theory limitations during the 40s and early 50s. WhilstTrait theory empathizes what the leader is, Behavior theory relates to what theleader does (NicoleWoolsey Biggart, Gary G.Hamilton, p.431). The behavior of a leader is now the main factor tohave in mind in all leadership studies.
Effectively, the search for effectivebehavior is a less problematic area of study than the analysis of traits aleader should have, in the way that its simpler to create behavior models thandescribing personality structures and characteristics. In this way, havingidentified the behavior a leader has, it´s possible to invest in formationprograms that will boost efficiency. This way, we´re not before an innateleader anymore, but a leader perfecting his behavior to increase efficiency. Within this theory, there are threetypes of leader: Autocratic leader, Democratic leader and Liberal (orLaisse-faire) leader. Autocratic leaders make their own decisions withoutconsulting their team and colleagues expecting and demanding obedience from hissubordinates (Lewin, 1944).
On the other hand, a Democratic leader gives to hisfollowers some power on decision-making, although the final say is always his (Daft 2011, p.40). Finally, a Liberal leaderallows his subordinates to handle their own workload leaving most decisions intheir hands (VanVugt, Jepson, Hart, Cremer, 2004, p.2). During the year of 1939, Lewin, Lippit and Whiteinvestigated the effect these types of leadership had on ten-year-old children(reference).
They realized that when using the autocratic leadership, thechildren worked much more effectively when supervised than when left without supervision.On the other hand, when ruled under democratic leadership ideals, the childrenworked efficiently with and without supervision. Lastly, as the children wereruled under Liberal leadership, the results show that the work done and itsquality are very inferior, when compared to autocratic and democraticleadership (reference).
During the Management away day, in theheart puzzle activity, my team and I were working as equals trying to completethe puzzle. Nevertheless, we weren´t progressing in our task so we became moreautocratic as one group member took the lead and organized our team, giving ussimple tasks, which enabled us to easily complete the activity. This demonstratesthat when a team has a leader, group organization and collective efficiencyincreases, acting as a great asset for problem solving. Although autocraticleadership was more effective in the situation mentioned above, normally themost efficient leadership style is the democratic leader for the reason that bydistributing power, responsibility and by giving every member in the team a sayin 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 behaviorcategories: Behavior oriented to tasks and behavior oriented to relationships.
Atask-oriented leader decides and operationalizes his own tasks as well as hisfollowers´. On the other hand, a relationship-oriented leader focuses on beingcooperative and friendly to his followers, being concerned for their well-being(Bowers and Seashore, 1996). This investigation led to the conclusion that aleader can´t have both behaviors at the same time, although they canspontaneously change from one to another. From my experience in the Managementaway day activities, I was mainly task-oriented due to the fact that my onlyconcern was to get the job done. Nevertheless, I believe an effective leadershould be mostly relationship-focused for the reason that a good relationshipbetween a leader and its followers will increase job satisfaction andintegration, contributing positively to an increase in collective efficiency.
In a general form, in most cases andrelating to these theories, leaders should be democratic andrelationship-oriented to ensure that their subordinates are motivated and happywhich will lead to efficiency maximization. Therefore, as I said before, it iscrucial for an organization or team to have a leader. Every organization orteam needs a structure.
Worthy´s study (1950) showed that there are two typesof structure: Tall structure and Flat structure (Carzo Jr, Yanouzas, 1969, p.178).A flat structure contains few levels of administration, meaning that there is anarrow “chain of command” and a wide number of workers which the administratoris liable for. On the other hand, a tall structure consists of a large range ofmanagement layers, each manager having a small span of control. The results ofthis study demonstrate that most small organizations have a flat structure (CarzoJr, Yanouzas, 1969, p.
178). This means that managers will have several employeesto supervise and orientate. Therefore, they can´t always give extensive attentionto all employees leading them to work out their problems and solutionsautonomously. However, this can also lead to certain insecurity and confusionas to what they have to do. On the other hand, big organizations tend to have atall structure, meaning that the employees will have better orientation andguidance from their superiors, since there is a small span of control (CarzoJr, Yanouzas, 1969, p.
179). Result-basedleadership Result-based leaderships´ focalpoint is the leaders´ output in a certain institution and their efficiency ingetting the job done (Grint, 2005, p.2&3). As I’ve mentioned earlier on, inmy 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 insidethe firm. Therefore, if he manages to complete his task, he will continue tohave a job at the firm.
On the other hand, if he fails to accomplish this, hewill be judged for that, without having taken under consideration any circumstancesthat might have led to his failure, resulting on his dismissal. For instance, if this consultant is asked to helpincrease the sales of a particular product, but in this same year the demandfor that type of product falls dramatically, in theory it´s not the consultants´fault for his failure. Nevertheless, he will be judged for his accomplishmentsand therefore he will be fired. In my management away day, this type ofleadership wasn´t present.
Yet, regarding University, everyone knows that Ifthey can´t pass all their subjects, the University can make them repeat theyear or even expel them. Therefore, even if someone doesn´t believe they can dowell in every module, they will at least have the motivation to study harder toaccomplish their goals, knowing what the consequences might be. Position-based Leadership Path-goal theory, developed byRobert House, defends that the workers´ output can be improved by their leader ifhe helps and assures them certain rewards as a consequence of achieving theorganizations´ objectives. Firstly, the leader must make sure the subordinatesunderstand clearly what the goals (imposed by the leader) are. In a followingstage, the leader must provide the resources and conditions to help thesubordinates reach their personal objectives as well as the organizationalobjectives. This will then lead the subordinates to feel increasingly moremotivated (House, Mitchell, 1975).
To accomplish this the leader needs to haveone of the following behavior types: Directive, Supportive, Participative and Achievement-oriented(Evans, 1974). A directive leader orientates the subordinates, explaining howeach task must be done and communicating what is expected from them. A supportiveleader demonstrates interest in the satisfaction and necessity of thesubordinates in order to create a friendly work environment. A participativeleader encourages the subordinates to participate in the decision-making of theorganization (similar to democratic leadership). Lastly, the achievement-orientedleader inspires excellence in the performance, imposing demanding objectives (House,Mitchell, 1975).
Regarding my management away day, in the activity where weneeded to circulate a ball using a circuit created by us, made us use theachievement-oriented leadership, in the sense that we were encouraging eachother to be effective in the part of the circuit each of us were handling. Thistype of leadership was efficient with us enabling us to be one of the fastestteam to complete that task during that day. Poweris the ability to influence other people and is extremely important for aleader to be effective. In organizations, this sometimes means having theability to get the job done.
There are various sources of power: LegitimatePower, Reward Power, Coercive Power, Referent Power and Expert Power.Legitimate power is based on hierarchy. This means that the leaders´ power willvary, regarding his higher or lower position in the organizations´ structure. Thistype of power gives the leader the right and the authority to tell thesubordinates what to do.
The best example of legitimate power is definitely thearmy. There is no institution or team that has a so well delineated leadership structureas they do. In the military force the commander and chief has legitimate power overall the marines, due to his high position in the army’s power structure.
Rewardpower is the power given to the person in charge of compensating employees fortheir work. Coercive Power is based on fear, meaning that the leader will showhis subordinates that he is capable of punishing them if they don´t do what isexpected of them. Referent Power is the power to influence the subordinatesthat admire the leader and wish to have the same skills as him. At last, Expertpower is the power a leader has when he holds privileged information andcontacts, the subordinates need to complete their tasks. Process-based Leadership The process of influence by whichthe leader engenders change in the subordinates´ attitude and behavior, leadingthem to a vehement commitment to the organizations´ objectives, is applicable toboth Transformational and Charismatic leadership. Duringhalf a century, leadership theories have been very focused in understanding aspectslike: if leadership is autocratic or democratic, if a decision-making isdirective or participative, if the focus is on the task or on the people, amongothers (Bass, 1990). Webers´ theory (1924/1947) introduced, in a general form,the notion of a Charismatic leader “asset apart from others.
Due to a certain quality of personality, charismatic leadersare frequently idolized by followers and are often perceived as superhuman” (Deluga, 1997, p.50). Therefore, intimes of need, the followers trust the leaders´ “powers” to fix a particular problem,putting their fate in his hands. Weberdefends that the core of charisma is based on an emotional appeal whoseattitude is revolutionary and transcends everything. For instance, Steve jobswas considered a charismatic leader for the interpersonal relationship he hadwith his employees; for adapting well to various complicated situations and forhaving a consistent speech that clarified his objectives and that motivated theemployees (Heracleous, Klaering, 2014). The fundamental idea that supportstransactional leadership is the process associated to the recognition ofachieved objectives. The wishes and necessities of the subordinates aresatisfied and recognized if they make the necessary effort to complete aparticular task.
“Transactionalleadership refers to the exchange relationship between leader and follower tomeet their own self-interests” (Bass,1999, p.10).