Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 778
, Published on 22 September 2015
The ability to influence a group of people or an organization to achieve a vision or set of goals is known as leadership. It is both a research area as well as a practical skill, regarding the ability of an individual or organization to guide other individuals, teams or entire organizations. Organizations need strong leadership and strong management for optimal effectiveness. We need leaders today to change the status quo, create visions of the future and inspire organizational members to want to achieve the vision.
Leadership from the History:
History reveals us that there have been various great leaders in the past like Mahatma Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Napolean, Alexander the Great etc.
Theories about Leadership:
From the past, it has been a topic of great discussion that how can some people be such great leaders while others just follow them. Various theories have been proposed to find the answer of this. The different types of theories are: Trait theories of leadership, Behavioural theories of leadership, Contingency theories and Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory.
• Trait theories of leadership: Trait theories of leadership are theories that tells qualities of a person and his or her characteristics that differentiate leaders from non leaders. Some of the characteristics are extraverted, conscientious and creative and flexible.
• Behavioural theories of leadership: Behavioural theories of leadership are theories proposing that specific behaviours differentiate leaders from non- leaders. Beginning with more than a thousand dimensions, the studies narrowed the list to two that substantially accounted for most of the leadership behaviour described by employees: initiating structure and consideration.
-Initiating Structure: Initiating Structure is the way in which a leader defines and structure his or her role and those of employees in his or her organization to reach a definite goal.
-Consideration: Consideration is the extent to which a person's job relationships are characterized by mutual trust, respect for employees' ideas and regard for their feelings.
• Contingency theories: From the past, there have been a lot of contingency theories existed which are:
• The Fiedler Contingency Model
• Situational Theory
• Path- Goal theory
• Leader- Participation Model
• Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory: Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory states that because of pressures from peer and from time constraints, leaders tend to make a special kind of relationship with small group of their followers.
Types of Leadership:
Basically, there are four kinds of leaderships, which are: Charismatic Leadership, Transactional Leadership, Transformational Leadership and Authentic Leadership.
1. Charismatic Leadership: In charismatic leadership, admirers make attributions of courage or exceptional leadership abilities when they observe certain behaviours. A Charismatic leader has an idealised goal, willing to take high risk, incur high cost and engage in self sacrifice to achieve the vision.
2. Transactional Leadership: Transactional leaders show the path and inspire their people in the direction of specified targets by having a clear picture of the role and work requirements. They watches and searches for deviations from rules and standards, and take correct action. They intervenes only when standards are not met.
3. Transformational Leadership: Transformational leaders motivate people to overcome their personal interests for the betterment of the organization and can have an outstanding effect on their followers. They provide vision of life and mission in career, inculcate pride, gives respect and get respect from others and develops trust.
4. Authentic Leadership: Authentic leaders are those who know about themselves very well, and about their belief system and values, and make the implications of those values and beliefs whole heartedly and joyfully. People would consider them the most ethical people in this world. Therefore, the most basic trait of an authentic leadership is trust and belief.
Challenges to Leadership Construct:
Leadership construct or leadership building faces a lot of challenges from the outside as well the inner world. The most prominent ones are: Leadership as an attribution, Substitutes for and neutralizers of leadership and Online leadership.
1. Leadership as an Attribution: The attribution theory of leadership says leadership is simply the thinking of individuals about some specific people which they make after looking to their traits. Thus, we can find intelligence, extravagant personality, very good communication skills, aggressiveness, and understanding in leaders. At the organizational level, we are likely to observe leaders, who can be right or wrong, and equally responsible for extremely worst or extremely best performance.
2. Substitutes for and Neutralizers of Leadership: Experience and training are said to be substitutes because they can regulate the need for a leader's support or ability to create structure, whereas neutralizers are attributes that make it impossible for leader behaviour to make any difference to follower outcomes.
3. Online Leadership: Online leaders have to think carefully about what actions they want their digital messages to initiate. They face special kind of difficulties, the most prominent of them are to develop a healthy relationship by making people trust each other i.e. developing mutual trust.
Finding and Creating Effective Leaders:
For creating effective leaders, there are basically two steps involved in it, which are: Selecting leaders and Training leaders.
1. Selecting Leaders: This consists on an entire process in an organization to fill the management positions, essentially an exercise in trying to identify effective leaders. The process begins by reviewing the knowledge, skills, and ability needed to do the job effectively.
2. Training Leaders: Organizations spend billions of dollars on leadership training and development. Behavioural training through modelling exercises can increase an individual's ability to exhibit charismatic leadership qualities. Finally, leaders can be trained in transformational leadership skills that have bottom line results.
The top three leadership competencies are:
1. Be a good coach: Provide specific, constructive feedback; have regular one-on-ones.
2. Empower your team and don't micromanage: Balance giving freedom with being available for advice.
3. Express interest in team members' success and personal well being: Get to know your employees as people; make new members feel welcome.
Leadership plays a central role in understanding group behaviour because it is the leader who usually directs us toward our goals. So, the executives who are energetic, outgoing and competitive can be the best for an organization. They also need to be visionary, hard working and decisive. However, managers need to be aware of unsuccessful executives who once showed management potential but, later proved to be unsuccessful. They typically fail because of personality factors rather than job performance.
This article has been authored by Vinshi Choudhary from IIM Kashipur
• Book: Pearson's Organizational Behaviour By Robbins, Judge and Vohra
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