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However, leaders who succeed often have unique characteristics like having a positive outlook towards the situation and being open-minded. A good leader needs to be a good communicator and should exercise patience before making any decisions.

Why Developing Your Own Leadership Skills Is Important

All in all, leadership is about being ready to lead people by taking appropriate action. Revision is what takes a good essay and makes it into a great one. Revision may be a thankless task at times, but it is very necessary. Login Order now. Call Now! Order now.


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Leader behaviour and situation are other important factors that affect leadership. Though successful leaders can be identified with certain traits, traits cannot always be identified with the success of a leader. Traits desirable for one situation may not be suitable for another situation. The list of traits, therefore, has very little practical utility. When a person assumes the position of a leader, he displays the traits of assertion, self-confidence, decisiveness etc.

Despite the limitations, trait theory holds goods in certain fields of discipline. For example, people are generally elected as politicians on the basis of personal traits like intelligence, self- confidence and self-assurance. These theories focus on what the leaders do rather than who the leaders are. The same group of leaders reflects different behaviour in different situations. Social skills may be important in one situation while the skill of being decisive and tactful may be important in the other situation.

Task-related functions that aim at goal accomplishment. They relate to solving problems of people while performing their jobs. These functions require two different sets of behaviour reflected in different leadership styles. Task-oriented style aims at getting the work done with not much focus on growth and development of employees. Leader behaviour is defined in terms of: structure, control and supervision. Employee-oriented style aims to complete the task through friendly behaviour towards the followers and allowing them to participate in the decision-making processes.

This develops their creative skills and prepares them to grow into potential managers. It defines the extent to which leader engages in two-way communication, encourages and supports team members, facilitates interaction and involves the group in decision-making. Leader behaviour is defined in terms: praise, listen and facilitate. Kurt Lenin, Ronald Lippitt and Ralph White conducted a research where the impact of three leadership styles; autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire, was studied on the behaviour of 20 boys.

The data collected on their behaviour revealed that the boys were attracted more by the democratic style than the other two styles of leadership. The emphasis was, thus, on employee-oriented approach towards the leadership style. However, the sample size of 20 boys is too small to arrive at general conclusion. Besides, the behaviour of adolescent boys cannot be compared with the behaviour of employees who are formally related with their superiors in the organisation structures.

Findings similar to Iowa Studies were observed in Michigan Studies also. The Michigan Studies identified two work groups consisting of people from business and non-business organisations. They studied leader behaviour towards these work groups. The employee-centred managers accomplished group goals through participation. Workers performed through inspiration and motivation. The production-centred managers accomplished group goals through identification of task, division into units, description of methods to perform each task and close supervision and control over activities of employees. Employee-oriented approach towards the group, thus, produced results better than the production-oriented approach.

In , the Bureau of Business Research at Ohio State University conducted a research to identify leader behaviour in directing the group towards group goals. Initiating structure is similar to production-oriented leader behaviour and consideration is similar to employee-centred leader behaviour. The leadership styles did not lie on a single continuum. The data revealed that leaders depicted neither of the two behaviours on a single continuum, with initiating structure at one end and consideration at the other end.

No single style of leadership was considered to be the best. The best style depended on the situation faced by the leaders. It was generally felt that in military organisations, leaders ranking high in initiating structure were more successful; in business organisations, leaders ranking high in consideration were more successful. Where employees are not in close contact with their superiors, autocratic or initiating structure may be more effective than a situation where employees are in close and continuous interaction with their superiors.

Leaders normally adopt the style that subordinates want them to adopt. This approach to leadership style was developed in s by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton. According to them, leadership style, employee-oriented or production- oriented depends on where the leader positions himself on the managerial grid.

Managerial grid is a two dimensional matrix with points ranging from 1 to 9 on either axis. Horizontal axis represents concern for production and vertical axis represents concern for people. Based on the managerial grid, five leadership styles have been identified with varying degrees of concern for people and task.

This represents a style where leader has low concern for both people and production. It is more of a laissez faire management style. Interference of leader in task accomplishment is minimum. He exercises minimum efforts to get the work done and group members perform the work themselves. This represents low concern for production and high concern for people.

They show concern, love, affection and friendliness towards the followers, satisfy their needs and motivate them to accomplish group goals. This develops cordial and friendly atmosphere in the organisation. Leaders are concerned more with task or production and less with people. Autocratic style of management is associated with task management where task and authority are well-defined. Leaders maximise output by setting structured work environment and minimum attention is paid to human needs and their satisfaction.

In this style of leadership, leaders satisfy both, organisational production and human needs through moderate concern for production and people. They maintain balance between work and employee satisfaction. This is the most effective style of leadership where leaders show high concern for people and task. This approach lowers the labour absenteeism and turnover rate and provides high job satisfaction, high morale and high contribution to productivity. This is similar to democratic style of leadership. Each style of leadership has varying degrees of concern for people and tasks.

However, the ideal style of leadership is 9, 9 and training programmes should be conducted for managers to adopt this style. It helps managers in identifying the combination of people and task reflected in their leadership style. It helps them understand the behaviour of subordinates relevant to their leadership style. Accordingly, it helps them move to a desirable style which subordinates appreciate to feel committed to the organisation. Though it reflects five leadership styles, there can be other combinations also like 6.

Positions on the grid are not the only situations reflecting the leadership styles.

What are the qualities of a good leader: essay ideas

These are the extreme situations which may not always be found in the real business world. It indicates that managers should attempt to move to the most desirable style, that is, 9. This is to gain advantage for the best interest of the organisation and its employees. It exploits human potential to the fullest to contribute to organisational goals most effectively. Both organisation and people work for the interest of each other. The leadership style is affected by factors like personality of leaders and followers, ability and willingness of leaders and followers to work with each other, environmental factors and other situational factors.

Rensis Likert and his associates studied leadership styles employee-oriented and production-oriented by studying leader behaviour in business and non-business organisations, like medical and Government organisations, at the University of Michigan and concluded that:. His emphasis was more on human relations since effective methods of recruitment, selection and training enable the managers to convert the resources into effective output. Organisational tasks can be accomplished effectively when managers focus on employee development and growth.

Four styles of leadership or systems are developed by Rensis Likert on the basis of leader behaviour based on seven variables. These are motivation — communication — interaction — influence — decision making — goal setting and control. Decisions are made solely by leaders and communicated to subordinates down the chain of command. Control lies entirely with the leader.

The motivational forces are fear, threats and punishments i. These forces are accepted by the members for satisfying their physiological and safety needs only. No confidence and trust is shown by the leaders towards subordinates and, therefore, loyalty of members towards leaders is also minimum. Such a system leads to form informal groups whose goals are contrary to goals of the management.

This system of leadership is a slight improvement over system 1. The aim continues to be production but with a friendly approach towards subordinates.

What Makes A Good Leader: Essay Hints

Leaders use economic rewards along with slight punitive measures to motivate the workers towards organisational goals. Communication continues to flow from top to bottom but there is slight increase in the level of interaction amongst managers and subordinates. Major decisions are made at the top and some routine decisions are taken at the lower levels.

Superiors show some confidence in their subordinates. Control continues to vest at the top though some control is shared with managers at middle and lower levels. This system of management also results in formation of informal groups but group goals are not always contradictory to formal goals of the organisation. This is improvement over system 2 style of management. Important decisions are taken at the top level but operating decisions are taken by lower-level managers. Communication flows in both directions, up and down. Leaders show moderate trust and confidence in subordinates and subordinates are also, therefore, loyal towards the superiors.

Major control vests at the top but some part of it is shared with lower levels. Production is fairly good in this system of leadership and motivation of employees is mainly through rewards; penalties and punishments are used occasionally. Informal groups is a healthy sign as these groups, by and large, Support the organisational goals and do not work against the formal goals. This system represents optimum situation for the management or leadership style. Leaders extensively interact with the subordinates and involve them fully in the goal setting process.

Control is not vested at the top. Subordinates self-control and direct their activities towards organisational goals. Communication is both downward and upward. There is constant flow of information between peer groups at the vertical and horizontal level. High degree of confidence, trust and loyalty is shown by superiors towards subordinates and vice versa.

As a result, production reaches its maximum. The motivational forces of participation and involvement of workers in the decision-making processes satisfy higher-order needs of the employees. Informal groups totally merge their goals with the formal organisational goals. It is observed that system 1 is totally a production-oriented system and system 4 is totally an employee-oriented system.

Production can be maximised through system 4 of management. It should be the endeavour of every organisation therefore, to shift from system 1 to system 4 to achieve not only its own goals but also the individual goals. A common set of traits and behaviour cannot be identified with successful leadership. If one set of traits or behaviour is suitable in one situation, another set of traits or behaviour may be suitable for another situation.

A leadership style which works well in a particular situation may not work well in another situation. Effective leadership, therefore, requires greater understanding of the people, situation and ability of the leader to use appropriate style in the given situation. Situation is, thus, an important variable that affects the leadership style.

Leadership is a function of leader, follower and situation. Situational theories emphasise on situation in formulating situational theories. Situational theories are also called contingency theories as leadership style is contingent upon situational variables. Various situational factors like perception of managers and workers about each other, attitude towards work, nature of work, nature of workers etc. Providing detailed guidelines for task performance, determining job duties of the team members and supervising them closely may be effective in a situation where team members do not have skills to understand the problem and the situation demands error-free, efficient and time-bound performance of the team.

This approach may be inappropriate if team members specialise in their area of interest, have the ability to understand the problem and the situation demands innovative solutions or on-the-spot decision making. Where there are good social relationships between the leader and the subordinates, the leadership style will be different from the situation where leaders and followers do not share common understanding. One of the pioneering studies in situational theories is made by Robert Tannenbaum and Warren H. According to them, there is no best leadership style.

There are a variety of leadership styles lying between two extremes; autocratic production-centred and democratic employee-centred. Within these two extremes, leader has the option to choose the style which reflects combination of:. The leadership styles at the extreme corners do not exist in absolute terms. Neither extreme authority nor extreme freedom exist in organisations.

Leadership styles depict combination of freedom and authority in varying degrees. The leader chooses one amongst seven leader behaviours, depending upon three important factors.

Definition of a Good Leader

The way an individual perceives himself as a leader, the source of power, his attitude towards subordinates, attitude towards work; extent to which he wants to retain authority and how much he is willing to delegate to subordinates, his value systems and similar drives influence the leadership style. The leader studies the behaviour of subordinates. Whether or not followers are willing to take additional responsibility, whether or not they find the work interesting, to what extent they willingly subordinate individual goals in the interest of organisational goals and how much they participate in the decision-making processes, are some of the factors that leaders consider before adopting a leadership style.

Even if leaders and followers are ready to work together, the situation may not allow them to do so. The organisation structure, the form of departmentalisation, the extent of centralisation and decentralisation, desires of the top management, effectiveness of various committees and work groups both formal and informal , determine the leadership style to a large extent. Depending on these three factors, the theory developed a leadership continuum with task-oriented, autocratic leadership style at one end of the continuum and employee-oriented democratic style at the other end. Depending on the situation as reflected by these three forces, leaders adopt a style varying between these two extremes.

At the extreme left authoritarian style of leadership, leaders derive power from legitimate source. The extreme right democratic style assumes that leaders derive power from expert or referent sources and workers belong to Theory Y set of assumptions.


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  4. Between the two extremes, leaders move from authoritarian to democratic style of leadership. Even in the two extreme styles of leadership, some degree of freedom is enjoyed by subordinates howsoever little it may be at the extreme left corner and managers exercise some authority at the extreme right corner of the leadership continuum. According to this theory, leadership style depends on the situational requirements. The situational variables determine the appropriateness of leadership style. Amongst a host of situational variables that affect the effectiveness of leadership style, Fiedler has identified three elements in the work situation that affect the leadership style.

    This describes relationship between leader and the members. It describes the degree to which followers have faith and confidence in the leader. These relationships cannot be prescribed by the organisation but have to be developed amongst the group members and the leader. It is easy for the leader to influence the followers if leader-member relations are good. If people and the leader like each other, employee-oriented leadership style is appropriate.


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    If they do not like each other, a friendly approach may not work. The leader adopts a task-oriented leadership style. Task structure defines whether the task is structured routine or unstructured complex. Structured task is divided into well-defined units, people know their responsibility and accountability. In this situation, it is easy for the leader to exercise control over fellow workers. The performance of group members can be easily controlled. In contrast, if the task is unstructured, goals are not well defined, ways of achieving goals are also not defined, leader and followers do not know what is to be performed by whom, it becomes difficult for the leader to influence his followers.

    This is the power of leader derived by virtue of his position in the organisation. If the leader has more position power legitimate power , it is easy for him to exercise control over subordinates. Fiedler identified two leadership styles, task-oriented and human relations-oriented. While task-oriented style focuses on task, human relations style aimed at maintaining cordial interpersonal relations amongst the leader and the group members.

    The style to be adopted by the leader depended on the scores on the LPC least preferred co-worker scale.

    It specifies the employees with whom leaders can least get along well with. The rating was based on liking or disliking of working with others in the group measured along factors like pleasant-unpleasant, friendly-unfriendly etc. High LPC rating managers where people rate their co-workers high or favourable adopt employee-oriented leadership style and low LPC rating managers where people rate their co-workers low or in unfavourable terms perform better when task-oriented leadership style is adopted.

    Based on three situational variables and two leadership styles, Fiedler made eight combinations on the work environment. The leadership style is different for different situations. The leader- member relations can be good or bad, the task can be structured or unstructured and power of the leader can be strong or weak. Conceptual skills involve strategy and the ability for effective planning. Together these make up the model for primary leadership skills.

    Having administrative skills is a big part in being an effective leader. They must be able to manage people. This involves connecting with people and knowing what needs to be done. This part of the administrative skill deals with getting a task done in the most efficient way possible. A leader must also understand how to manage their resources. Resources can include people, money, supplies, etc. The last skill involved is having technical competence. A leader must have knowledge about the task that is being done. In order for an organization to run effectively, the leader must have specialized and technical expertise of the organization.