Leadership is a quality by which a person become able to influence others to accomplish a mission, task or objective and directs the organization in a way that makes it more cohesive and coherent. A person carries out this process by applying his or her leadership attributes (belief, values, ethics, character, knowledge and skills). It is not necessary that a manager or supervisor is always a good leader; their position gives them the authority to accomplish certain tasks and objectives in the organization, it simply makes them the boss. Leadership makes people want to achieve high goals and objectives, while, on the other hand, bosses tell people to accomplish a task or objective.
There are three basic ways to explain the leader and how a person become a leader:
1. The Trait theory: According to the trait theory some persons have the built-in leadership qualities in their personalities
2. The Great Event theory: According to this theory, Sometimes a crisis or an important event may cause a person to rise and brings out extraordinary leadership qualities from his or her personality
3. Transformational leadership theory: it is the most accepted theory of leadership. People can choose to become leaders. People can learn leadership skills and become good leaders.
A person respects a leader; he observes what the leader do so he can know who he really is. With his observation a person is able to know that whether the leader is an honorable or trusted leader or just a self-serving person. Self serving leaders are not as effective because their employees only obey them, not follow them. They succeed in many areas because they present a good image to their seniors at the expense of their people.
So it can be said that, the basis of good leadership is honorable character and selfless service to the organization. A respected leader concentrates on his personality, knowledge and working. What makes a person to follow a leader? People want to be guided by those they respect and who have a clear sense of direction. To gain respect, they must be ethical. A sense of direction is achieved by conveying a strong vision of the future.
A wide variety of approaches and styles are used in exercising leadership skills. Some of them are traditional while others are modern. Let us identify and discuss some of the leadership styles, which are commonly seen in practice and revealed by research studies.
This style of leadership is built on power. The subordinate is often motivated by fear. Under this style, the leader orders his subordinates to do a task and the subordinate are expected to complete it without any questioning. There is very little delegation of authority and the leader does not give explanations for his actions. In the situation where the authoritarian leader functions:
· All Policies are set by the leader
· All the activities are dedicated by the leader and this keeps the subordinates uncertain of future steps
· The subordinates are directed at every step at what to do and how to do
The transformational style of leadership depends upon the charisma of the leader. In this style, the leader encourages their employees and can easily obtain the performance, which is beyond imagination by setting high goals and then inspired their employees to pursue and achieve such goals. Transformational leaders provide a plan for getting the goals and attaining their vision. Actually they provide a big picture to their employees and then the employees relate their individual activities to the work as a whole.
In the supportive Style of leadership the leader seeks psychological support from his subordinates. The relationship between the leader and his subordinates is based on mutual understanding and support.
The leader using this style encourages the subordinates to participate in group activities and decision making. Under such a leader, friendly relations among the members exist. The leader holds his position because he is loyal to the group and is concerned about their interests. There is no threat to motivate the people. The climate in which they operate provides motivation to do their best. A participative leader:
· Permits all members to discuss policy and encourage them to get involved in making necessary decisions
· Permit not only discussion on present activity but also on future activity
· Permits members to define their own job situations as much as possible
Selection of a proper leadership style must be based on the value system of the manager, his confidence in his subordinates, his own leadership inclination, the personality and expectation of the subordinates, group effectiveness, and the type of organization.
The participative leadership style minimizes the amount of interpersonal hostility, frustration and aggression and grievances and creates greater group-feeling and job satisfaction and morale.
There are two types of managerial assumptions, classified into theory X and theory Y. Theory X defines the managers who have negative view about their subordinates while the managers who believe in theory Y have positive view about their subordinates.
Leader Member Exchange:
The Leader-Member Exchange (LXM) theory explains that the relationship of leaders with their employees can develop in different ways.
The Leader-Member Exchange theory defines leadership as a process that is centered in the interaction between the leaders and their followers. Actually the Leader-Member Exchange theory defines how a leader and his or her subordinates develop a relationship between them as they both influence each other (Howell).
Leader-Member Exchange theory is mostly associated with the job contentment and satisfaction. The Leader-Member Exchange theory was formerly called the vertical dyad linkage theory because it emphasizes on the reciprocal influence processes within vertical dyads composed of one person who have the direct authority over the other person.
Least preferred co-worker:
The theory of Least Preferred Coworker describes that the performance of any group depends upon two factors. These factors are:
· Leadership Style
· Situational favorableness
Fred E. Fiedler presented the theory of Least Preferred coworker (LPC) to classify the leadership style of an individual. He developed an index called the Least Preferred Coworker Scale (Fiedler 1967).
This scale asks a leader to name all the people he or she has ever worked and then describe one person, which is his or her least preferred coworker. The responses of the leader and his or her score suggest whether he or she is task oriented or human relation oriented.
“According to Fiedler, the effectiveness of a leader is determined by the degree of match between a dominant trait of the leader and the favorableness of the situation for the leader… the dominant trait is a personality factor causing the leader to either relationship-oriented or task oriented” (Dunham, pp. 365).
Leadership should be judged from the results accomplished in performance and in building an effective work group. A successful leader will exhibit some or all of the following characteristics:
· Make good decisions
· Motivates people to work with him
· Has control of the situation
· Assume responsibility
· Fair in his treatment of subordinates
· Inspire confidence
The style of the leadership puts into practice in a given situation is intertwined with the substance of that job to which a manager directs his attention. Therefore the content of the job and the style must be looked at together and not just the style alone in assessing managerial overall performance.
Each employee has a leadership role and management should recognize this. Each employee has the opportunity to demonstrate leadership ability in two major areas of responsibility:
1. The development of sufficient technical job knowledge and skill to satisfactorily perform a complete job
2. The development of the ability to produce job results by working with and through others.