Understanding Leadership Styles
Choice of leadership style and Behavior
The leadership style used in an organization is crucial in determining whether results desired will be achieved. Leadership is all about influence, it is a leader’s ability to influence subjects so they can realize they have common goals or vision. There are different aspects that influence the leadership style used in any work situation. A leader, must be in the position to identify and understand impacts that each factor has, as such, be in a position to adapt the most ideal style that can optimize the results desired. Not being able to understand impacts of varying factors leads to inappropriate choices of style of leadership, which can be detrimental on the overall performance. For instance, in situations that are critical, a leader might choose to opt for the democratic style of leadership which can prove to be devastating. It might take long before one consults all parties that are involved in order to seek their opinion regarding the issue. In the course of a crisis, autocratic leadership might be the most ideal in overcoming crisis and minimization of possible damages. There are numerous factors that influence style of leadership as well as behavior in the workplace, including the nature of decision, situation, the experience of the leader, organization culture, organizational structure as well as personality trait.
In all organizations, there tends to be a change in situations, sometimes from hour to hour and one day to the next. Every situation as well has numerous factors that influence it and these as well vary from one situation to another. Any leader that is successfully situational has the ability of diagnosing separate factors and they also possess the flexibility of adapting their leadership style to acquire positive outcome from all the factors that contribute to the overall situation (Harrison 23). For instance, in the situation of an emergency, autocratic leadership might be more favorable compared to democratic leadership since the urgency does not favor consultation much.
The nature of decision needed to be made has a great influence on the leadership style (Harrison 23). For instance, a simple decision, like where to go for a picnic might require a leadership approach that is more relaxed compared to making complex decision like organizational restructuring. The style of leadership is also influenced by the type of task that needs to be undertaken. For instance, in an organization where things are differently done after every few days, supportive style of leadership is more ideal, while coaching approach might be ideal where there are constant tasks, as such subordinates need to acquire experience that is relevant.
Harrison Jenney (24) made the observation that the past experience of a leader in dealing with situations, groups and persons can influence their leadership style as well as behavior to be adopted in the workplace. While leaders who are experienced employ different styles of leadership, realizing some of the set objectives in a given situation, inexperienced leaders might lack the confidence, skills and ability that is needed to use different styles of leadership in certain situations. Inexperience also drives a leader into adopting a leadership style that is not appropriate as such, affecting the end results.
There are also instances when the style of leadership is an extension of the personality trait of the leader. For instance, an outgoing or assertive person might incline in favor of direct communication with juniors through face to face confrontation. The case might be difference in the case of a reserved person who might opt for communication through telephone or writing to address subordinates opposed to addressing them in a face to face confrontation. Such a leader might also prefer one-on-one interactions with subjects rather than interacting with a group of subordinates. Harrison (23-24) noted organizational structures and the methods of operation in a specific organization might dictate the style of leadership to be adopted by management. For instance, an organization that encouraged employees to contribute ideas is very likely to incline towards democratic leadership style while the one that emphasizes leaders to make decisions they feel are ideal, favors autocratic style of leadership.
Why the leadership styles are likely to have effects on groups and individuals
Warrick, in his works consequences of leadership styles notes that there are some leaders who do not understand fully the significance of their style of leadership in relation to performance and satisfaction of their subordinates (155). He made the observation that leaders control interpersonal and material punishments and rewards both of which have great effects on the behaviors of employees, attitudes, performances and attitudes. The leadership styles used towards particular employees are a reflection of their self-image and they lead to either a negative or positive impact on their potential. Behaviors like fairness, supportiveness, encouragement, lack of support, inconsistencies and negative criticisms have ability to affect workers negatively or constructively (Warrick 155). Some styles of leadership as well cultivate fear and they can create a tense environment which can have effects that are counterproductive on both individuals and groups.
Different styles of leadership have varying effects on groups and individuals (Voon, Lo, Ngui & Ayob 24). For instance, the transformational style of leadership has numerous dimensions which include “intellectual stimulation and inspirational motivation” (Voon et al. 25). Intellectual stimulation refers to the role of the leader to stimulate creativity and innovation on followers through questioning of traditional approaches and assumptions to issues (Voon et al. 25). Such an approach has the likelihood to trigger thinking outside the box, as well as originality among employees as such, ensuring they are more productive. Inspirational motivation relates to inspiring the followers so they can stay committed to the vision of the organization. Such affects the followers in team formation and makes them groups that are more united and capable of overcoming competitions that are not healthy.
The transactional style of leadership has a couple of dimensions which include “management by exception (passive and active) and contingent reward” (Voon et al. 25). This can cause negative effects on both individuals and groups since the employees get used to rewards so they can accomplish different tasks as such, their motivation is misplaced. Management by exception passive involves a leader who intervenes only when there is an issue, which has positive effects on employees as they learn how to work independently in handling challenges and tasks.
Understand leadership qualities and review own leadership qualities and potential
Assessment of own leadership behaviors and potential
As mentioned earlier, the kind of leadership used varies from one situation to another in accordance to factors listed. Following my assessment as well as assessment from my colleagues, teammates and seniors, I practice several kinds of leadership depending on the existing circumstances including democratic, autocratic and transformational styles of leadership. I am an emergency and crisis leader at ADNOC, where it is important for me to communicate both the goals and the vision of the organization as well as motivate the team members towards realization of those goals.
Once in a while, we face critical incidences like oil spills n sites and as a division manager, it is my responsibility to protect UAE environment, infrastructures as well as resources. We also face some emergencies that demand immediate decisions and actions from management. As the individual in charge, such occurrences call for autocratic leadership style where I have to make a decision on what should be done, how and by whom without consultation or delays. My prior understanding of the organization as well as preparedness of such occurrences and understanding of procedures in the case of emergencies makes it possible for me to make such directives and establish the appropriate line of action. During situations of crisis, time constraints never permit me to carry out lots of consultation or to act in a manner that is democratic.
Also, I exercise, democratic and transformational styles of leadership, especially when attempting to involve other staff members and fellow managers in operating the organization. In the attempt, I realize the goals of ADNOC, I seek to inspire changes that are positive among subordinates by stimulating their intellect, influencing their ideas and selling the organization’s vision to them. I also encourage them to participate in drawing their innovativeness and ideas in realization of our goals. The team members have the freedom of sharing their ideas and they also participate in the process of decision making. Among the numerous benefits, the approaches have also helped me in gaining loyalty from my staff.
Enhancing own leadership behavior
To be an effective leader demands more than simply making subordinates do what is expected from them. It demands real influence, where the people own the organization’s vision and they are loyal not just to the leader, but the organization as well this propelled by a desire to deliver only the best results. Improving the behaviors of leadership is only possible if am able to ate my performance as well as determine areas that need improvement an those I need to keep up with in my current strategies. There are several strategies however that play a crucial role in my endeavor to enhance my behavior of leadership skills and the development of professional action plan growth.
In relation to assessment of my belief system, as a leader, I must always be in tune with my own internal belief system and how such affects my processes and perspectives of decision making. Understanding my systems belief can be quite helpful in minimization of personal biases and opinions while increasing the level of objectiveness and making sure interests of the organization always take center stage. Without subjective influences and biases, I will be in position to align the decisions I make with the values of the organization.
Examining my skills of leadership will also assist me in understanding my shortcomings as well as how I should respond to them. If I ignore my weaknesses, it is likely that I will continue influencing my behaviors of leadership as such, affecting my performance as a leader. Having an understanding of my weaknesses and strengths is of great importance as I will be able to capitalize my energy and the areas I must be cautious with. This can be achieved by listing areas of my strengths and weaknesses and comparing my skills with the standards of the organization on the capacity of leadership. Developing a plan of action for professional growth as well relates to identification of strategies that can address my weakness areas.
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Harrison, Jenny. Excel Senior High School: Community and Family Studies. London: Pascal Press, 2002.
Voon, Mung, Lo Monte, Ngui Kwang, and Ayob Brunswick. The influence of leadership styles on employees’ job satisfaction in public sector organizations in Malaysia. International Journal of Business, Management and Social Sciences, 2.1 (2010): 24-32. Print.
Warrick, Donald. Leadership styles and their consequences. Journal of Experiential Learning and Simulation, 3.4 (1981): 155-172.