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Study on Leadership Theories and Style: Critical Analysis

Abstract

This essay is a detailed study of leadership theories that has been studied in the course and its application on the behavioral approach. It defines the meaning of leadership and the characteristics and Qualities that an effective leaders should possess. The paper concludes of discussion of what leadership philosophies can be reflected on individual’s own subjective tasks and how it should be demonstrated. It also discusses about individual’s experience over leadership task and the skills and knowledge applied to achieve specific aim. The first part of the essay depicts about the leadership style that I have personally followed and experiences that I have gained through following this style. Second part of the paragraph talks about the key leadership issue that I had to face in my workplace and the implication of leadership philosophy that I applied in order to justify the situation. The overall essay is the amalgam of concepts of leadership theories, style, and philosophy and its application in real life organizational situations.

Introduction

Generally, being a leader means to be humble and inspiring followers by serving those, identifying their needs, and ensuring that their needs are full filled. A leader’s main motive is organization’s movement toward progressive direction in which he/she is participative. The core subject of management is leadership itself. Managers get their work either by authority possessed by themselves or by winning confidence, trust, and support of others. Leadership is defined as the ability to empower followers (Conger 17). It is an ability of setting direction, building an inspiring vision, and creating something new. It’s also referred to an ability to provide direction towards the preferred future aspirations and align the followers towards the achievement of certain goals and target. (Kelly-Heidenthal, 2004). Leaders are those who coaches and builds a team and brings together the skills needed to do these things. Leadership means different things to different people around the world but in a common term, it is the analytical side of vision creation with the passion of shared value and creating something which is really meaningful. Leaders in the group possess the combination of personality and attributes that make others want to follow his or her direction.

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Leadership Style

As we develop leadership skills in us we are likely to use different processes and method to achieve our employee’s objectives and also to gain employees satisfaction. We can identify and recognize certain areas to improve while expanding leadership styles. We can find ways to lead that might better serve our current goals and understand how to work within the organization. Following are some of the leadership styles that leaders follow in an organizational place:

  1. Coaching leadership
  2. Visionary Leadership
  3. Servant leadership
  4. Autocratic leadership
  5. Laissez-faire or hand-off leadership
  6. Democratic leadership
  7. Transformational leadership
  8. Transactional leadership
  9. Bureaucratic leadership

Part A Leadership Philosophy

A) Coaching Leadership

This leadership style not only define the roles and tasks of followers but it also seeks their input and suggestions too. However, the leader will be responsible to take any decisions , but what makes it different is the communication style which will be truly two-way. The leaders with these type of style are not only very effective in settings where performance or results need improvement but they also motivate by helping others to advance their skills, they build strength, and provide a lot of guidance by providing encouragement, inspiring to help others. It also creates a positive workplace where your followers know exactly what’s expected of them and it makes you understand the overall strategy of the company. The leadership style gets more effective when you have followers who are more responsible, experienced, and agreeable (Money-zine.com, 2019).

B) Leadership Principles

The leadership principles which I am going to mentioned can be traced back to Aristotle. The importance of these principles has been discussed in a variety of disciplines including bio medical ethics (Beauchamp & Childress, 1994 ), business ethics (Beauchamp & Bowie, 1988), counselling psychology (Kitchener, 1984), and leadership education (Komives, Lucas, &McMahon,1998). These principles provide a foundations to respect, service, justice, honesty, and community.

The main principles which I choose not to violate as a leader are mentioned below

  1. Respecting & Serving Others,
  2. Being Just & Honest,
  3. Building Community.

Ethical Leaders Respect and Serve others

“Persons must be treated as having their own personal goals” Beauchamp and Bowie(1988, p.37). opposing points of view, treating sub ordinates with their beliefs, attitudes, and values can make them feel competent when a leader who exhibits respect for them. Ethical Altruism is the basic principle which is an example of service. Being Altruistic where the leaders place their followers welfare in their plans. Mentoring, Empowering, building a team are few of the altruistic behaviors (Kanungo & Mendonca, 1966). Peter Senge has emphasized in his book one should possess an art of stewardship of vision to understand the vision of the organization while learning it, which he contended as important tasks of leaders in learning. Clarifying and nurturing the a vision that is greater than oneself can make a individual a steward. The idea behind service is contributing to the greater good of others.

Ethical Leaders are Just & Honest

A leader plays a vital role while distributing the resources and rewards to employees. A leader is judged on the rules which he has set and how they are applied speaks a lot about his justice and fairness the way he or she approaches(2019).

“A concern with issues of fairness is necessary for all people who are cooperating together to promote their common interests”, Rawls (1971). As we have limits on goods and resources, and often being competition for the limited things there have always been an issues of fairness which later becomes problematic. Conflicts have often raised between individuals about fair methods of distribution due to perceived scarcity of resources. So, it is equally important for leaders to set the rules for distributing reward which reflects about the core values of a leader and organization.

A leader can’t be just until he is truthful. To be a good and just leader, one must also be honest. Which makes him a great leader. Similarly, one cannot understand the importance of honesty until he has considered its opposite which dishonesty. Dishonesty can be anything which we misrepresent or manipulate the reality. It may bring many objectionable outcomes which end up creating distrust. When leaders start being dishonest, they are considered as unreliable and undependable. They lose faith of people in what they say and stand for and usually end up in diminishing peoples respect for them. Furthermore, dishonesty also has a negative impact as it invokes strain on the way the people are connected to each other. We start willing to manipulate the relationship on our own terms when we start lying to others. This type of behavior weakens the relationship and even used with good intentions it leads to breakdown of peoples trust and relationship which is nothing but a contribution of dishonesty.

“Being honest means more than not deceiving”- (Dalla Costa, The Ethical Imperative, 1998). He mentioned for leaders being honest means more than not deceiving. In an organizations a leader can be considered as honest if he can deliver what he has promised, if he does not misrepresent, does not hide behind spin-doctored evasions(p.164). Furthermore, he also suggested it is imperative that organizations consider and acknowledge the importance of honesty and reward honest behavior within the organization.

Ethical Leaders build Community

As we all aware that leadership is a process where an individual influences or leads a group of individuals to achieve a common goal. As common goal requires everyone’s agreement in the direction to taken by group. A leader must be take an account for the actions of his own and followers purpose while working together towards their goal which are favorable for both of them. Ethical leadership demands attention to a civic virtue (Rost,1991). By this, he meant that leaders and followers need to attend to the community’s goals and purpose. An ethical leader must be concerned with common good in the broadest possible sense.

C) The impact of personal beliefs on my leadership approach

The first principle of my leadership approach Ethical Leaders Respect & Serve others which clearly talks about how a leader respects others and their beliefs. This wouldn’t be an impact on my leadership approach. As being ethical leader I would respect everyone’s beliefs as I tend to respect my own.

D) Key Experiences which has informed my leadership approach.

There have been few instances at my workplace which informed me about leadership approach, where I have learned and experienced from my managers. I have also experienced being treated just and fair by my leaders which inspired me to treat the same among my colleagues and being honest towards them. Our organization is a diverse people from various nationalities and it has a unique reward system which is completely based on performance and honesty. In spite of being a nepotism among the individuals who were favorite of managers and leaders I was considered and awarded at the end of the year during office Christmas party when I had no expectations of winning the reward. This experience made me realize how my leaders respect others, serve others, how they are just and honest.

Part B: Application of leadership philosophy

A) Key Leadership Issue

I would like to talk about an ongoing key issue within my organization which is impacting the overall performance and failing us to meet the requirements of our client. The reason behind this key issue is poor training. Where the staff aren’t confident about their duties & roles which is bringing down our performances. This issue requires a coaching leader who not only takes key decisions and can guide the staff, but also motivate and inspire them to help others which I believe will help a lot in improving the performance and getting the organization back on track where it meets the clients requirements.

B) Brief overview of the issue

My organization is a security providing company which also has different other contracts among which is traffic management. Our client is one of the world’s busiest airport and our organization is responsible to handle the Landside Operations for the airport. Recently we were shortage of staff and recruited new staff who were not completely aware with the procedures, job roles, and duties to accomplish the tasks during the peak hours. Furthermore, the staff also lack confidence and has zero knowledge of handling the operations during emergency situations and peak hours. The reason behind this issue is lack of proper training and poor decisions from our leaders which has failed our organization to meet the clients requirement.

C) Me as a Leader

If I was a leader in the above situation and was required to make decisions as a leader I would have not failed in taking right decisions as my leadership philosophy is based on coaching leadership which I believe would be the right choice for the situation mentioned above. The above scenario requires a leader who should be a coach and leader at the same time. The situation requires a leader to guide and help the followers to learn things by inspiring and motivating each other’s. I would have trained the new staff personally rather than depending on someone else to train them. I would have also discussed the shortage of staff issues going on with my experience staff where they would have come up with suggestions which I believe would help me before taking a key decisions. Furthermore, I would have assisted them in handling the situations by being available to them whenever required and this would have inspired the other experienced staff to help new ones and motivate the newly recruited staff members to learn things quickly making them confident enough to accomplish the tasks. This style of leadership approach not only helps my organization but also improve our performances with new skills which newly confident staff would have bring.

References

  1. Money-zine.com. (2019). Coaching Leadership Style. [online] Available at: https://www.money-zine.com/definitions/career-dictionary/coaching-leadership-style/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2019].
  2. (2019). [Ebook]. Retrieved from http://homepages.se.edu/cvonbergen/files/2012/12/Principles-of-Ethical-Leadership1.pdf

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