Organizational Behavior - Leadership


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Leadership can be defined as the ability of the management to make sound decisions and inspire others to perform well. It is the process of directing the behavior of others towards achieving a common goal. In short, leadership is getting things done through others.

Importance of Leadership

Leadership is very important in a firm as it leads to higher performance by the team members, it improves motivation and morale within the members, and helps to respond to change.

Leadership facilitates organizational success by creating responsibility and accountability among the members of the organization. In short, it increases value in an organization.

Leader Vs Manager

A leader is someone whom people follow or someone who guides or directs others. A manager is someone who is responsible for directing and controlling the work and staff in an organization, or of a department within it.

The main difference between the two is that a leader works by example, while a manager dictates expectations. If a manager goes against the rules, that will tarnish his position as a manager. If a leader goes against the example he or she is trying to set, that will be seen as a setback. Following are a few subtle differences between the two −

  • A leader is an innovator and creator whereas a manager is a commander.

  • A leader can’t be a manager but the opposite is possible, a manager is more than a leader.

  • A leader does what is right, while the manager makes things right.

  • A leader deals with change whereas a manager plans for a change.

  • A leader gives direction to do something whereas the manager plans for everything that is to be done.

  • A leader encourages people whereas the manager controls people.

  • A leader handles communication, credibility, and empowerment whereas a manager deals with organizing and staffing.

Leadership Styles

Different leadership styles exist in work environments. The culture and goal of an organization determine which leadership style fits best. Some organizations offer different leadership styles within an organization, depending on the necessary tasks to complete and departmental needs.

We find five different leadership styles in the corporate world. They are as follows −

Laissez-Faire

A laissez-faire leader does not directly supervise employees and fails to provide regular updates to those under his supervision. Highly experienced and trained employees with minimal requirement of supervision fall under the laissez-faire leadership style.

But, not all employees possess these features. This leadership style blocks the production of employees needing supervision. The laissez-faire style implements no leadership or supervision efforts from managers, which can lead to poor production, lack of control and increasing costs.

Autocratic

The autocratic leadership style permits managers to make decisions alone without the input of others. Managers access total authority and impose their will on employees. No one opposes the decisions of autocratic leaders. Countries like Cuba and North Korea operate under the autocratic leadership style.

This leadership style benefits those who require direct supervision. Creative employees who participate in group functions detest this leadership style.

Participative

This is also known as the democratic leadership style. It values the input of team members and peers, but the responsibility of making the final decision rests with the participative leader. Participative leadership motivates employee morale because employees make contributions to the decision-making process. It accounts to a feeling that their opinions matter.

When an organization needs to make changes within itself, that is internally, the participative leadership style helps employees accept changes easily as they play a role in the process. This leadership style meets challenges when companies need to make a decision in a short period of time.

Transactional

Transactional leadership style is formed by the concept of reward and punishment. Transactional leaders believe that the employee's performance is completely dependent on these two factors. When there is an encouragement, the workers put in their best effort and the bonus is in monetary terms in most of the cases. In case they fail to achieve the set target they are given a negative appraisal.

Transactional leaders pay more attention to physical and security requirements of the employees.

Transformational

Transformational leadership has the ability to affect employee's perceptions through the returns that organization gets in the form of human capital benefits. These leaders have the ability to reap higher benefits by introducing knowledge management processes, encouraging interpersonal communication among employees and creating healthy organizational culture.

It helps in flourishing organizational innovation by creating a participative environment or culture. It promotes a culture where the employees have autonomy to speak about their experiences and share knowledge.

It has been seen that transformational leaders are more innovative than transactional and laisse-faire leaders.

Traditional Theory

Traditional theory is a theory based on different traits of a human beings. It assumes that leaders are born and not made. According to this theory, leadership behavior is the sum total of all traits that a leader possess.

Thus this theory gives the profile of a successful and complete leader. According to this theory, there are five human traits. They are −

  • Physical trait − it includes energy, activity, appearance, and height.

  • Ability trait − it includes judgement, knowledge, and fluency in speech.

  • Personal trait − it includes self-confidence, creativity, and enthusiasm.

  • Work trait − it includes organization and achievement.

  • Social trait − it includes interpersonal skill, cooperativeness, popularity and prestige.

Drawbacks

Following are the major drawbacks of this theory −

  • Traits are not arranged according to their importance.
  • There is no quantitative tool to judge the human traits.
  • This trait can’t be used universally.
  • This trait can be achieved and developed.
  • Situational factors are avoided.


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