This essay paper shall look at the types of leadership theories and styles that used by different organisations to develop effective leadership (Adam, 1976). The paper will analyse and compare leadership programs used in the contemporary organisations for the purposes of supporting the above argument. It will go further to look at more than one organisation and the types of leadership programs that they offer in their organisations with the aim of trying to improve their staffs’ leadership qualities. The programs shall be compared with the known leadership theories find out if the programs are drawing on the theories as they try out the different leadership skills.
In the contemporary organisations, there are various leadership programs that are used in the day to day management. These programs as shall be discussed later, are based on the existing leadership theories and leadership styles. As it shall be seen later in the paper, various organisations have various leadership styles and programs that they use to improve the leadership skills of their members of staff.
Types of Leadership Theories.
The Theory of ‘Great Man’. This type of theory dictates that a leader is one who inherits leadership qualities and abilities from their parents or grandparents (Josh et al 2007). It says that good and powerful leaders are those who are born. Those leaders who emerge from nowhere and come to the limelight after making it for themselves are not considered as great leaders. This type of leadership style was normally used in the past times where men were considered as being better placed leaders than women. The leaders are thought to be heroes and are portrayed as the top cream of the society from which the leaders emerge. They are considered to have the ability to rise up the ladder in terms of leadership and make a difference to the society.
The other type of leadership theory is the ‘Trait Theory’. This type of leadership is like that of the ‘Great Man’ only that certain traits and leadership abilities are inherited and they place the leader in a better position to exercise his/her leadership qualities (Lippit et al, 1939). This theory identifies specific qualities and characteristics (in terms of behaviour) that leaders share in common. It is very difficult to use this type of theory in explaining leadership because people could be having certain traits that are of good characteristics and leadership qualities and yet they are not leaders. Where are such people placed? Are they forced to be leaders? What then happens to them?
The other theory is the theory of participation. It says that the input of the workers or members of staff for that matter in taken into account during the process of decision making. Groups of members are encouraged to participate in various consultations and meetings in order to come up with a reached upon decision by both the management and the staff (NewStrom, 20003). Leaders do only give a leadership role but do not influence the decisions that have been reached upon.
‘Management theories’ are those that are aimed at supervisory roles, organisational roles and performance of the groups in the organisation. Those that perform well are rewarded while those that perform poorly are punished in various agreed upon ways. This type of theory is practiced mainly in businesses. This makes employees to always be on their toes whenever a task is bestowed to them.
Theories of Relations are those that address the relationship between the staff and their leaders. The workers are motivated and inspired by the leaders in order for them to value and see the importance of the work or task that they are doing. Such leaders are considered to be of high moral standing in the organisation and that they care more about ethics than other leaders.
Types of Leadership Styles.
There are three major types of leadership styles in the organisations (Geert, 1977). These styles are so much related to the theories discussed in the previous section. Different organisations apply different leadership styles in their daily business management. Different leadership styles have their own advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of business in question. These merits and demerits will be incorporated in the discussion with the aim of bringing out what each leadership style offers and what it does not offer.
Autocratic Style of Leadership.
This leadership style is one in which the leaders are the final decision makers. The leaders dictate how they want things done or accomplished without even giving the employees the chance to contribute towards the decisions (Gareth, 1997). Employees end up being threatened, abused, scorned at, disciplined and treated in uncalled for ways by their employers if they fail to attend to the said duties. It has the advantage in that employers tend to use it in cases where they have a pressing problem to be solved within a short period of time and the people who are to do the job are always motivated. The employers take advantage of the situation to overuse their employees knowing very well that the results of the rushed job will be perfect. Most of the employers as well, tend to misuse their power when exercising this type of leadership style. It can well be used only in some rare situations where desperate situations call for desperate measures. Otherwise, other styles of leadership styles should be used to avert the problems of misunderstanding between the employers and the employees.
Democratic Leadership Style.
This leadership style is sometimes known as the participative leadership style. It is where leaders and/or employers include their employees through a representative in their decision making. The workers contribute to the decision making and are even allowed to take charge of the meetings in order for them to participate actively in the process (Culpan, 1995). Despite their involvement, the leaders still maintain the final authority in the decisions. It should not be seen as a style where the leader have a weakness. One would easily misconstrue it to mean that way but is remains a fact that employees are only being empowered to exercise their will and wish with the aim of motivating them.
Normally, it comes in handy when the employees have part of the solution and the employer has the other bit. The fundamental fact is that the leader does not have solutions to every problem that occurs and need the input of the employees to come up with an amicable solution (Harter, 1996). Team work and responsibility is created by this type of leadership style. Better decisions and suggestions are best sort after when the democratic leadership style is used.
‘Laissez Faire’ Leadership Style.
It is also known as delegative style of leadership or the ‘free reign’ style (Thong et al 1997). As the words themselves suggest, it is a leadership style where the employer allows the workers to make decisions on their own. The leader cannot do all the decision making as he/she is also human and is prone to making poor decisions.
Responsibilities are delegated to the employees for them to make decisions especially those directly or closely affecting them. Priorities are set by the leaders but tasks are delegated to the employees so that they can also participate in the general running of the organisation. The employees have the ability and capability of analysing situations and determining the of measures to be used for the purposes of providing solutions. Workers are advised to make decisions on condition that they make them wisely.
There are several forces that dictate the type of leadership style used. They include: the amount of time available, conflicts between the employer and the employees, the nature of the task to be done and the urgency, procedures and regulations governing the organisation among many other factors.
Comparing between two leadership Programs.
This organisation has a leadership program in place. It is called a ‘Management Program’. This program is used in this organisation in order to improve the leadership skills of the Staff. The organisation has discovered that it needs to improve its staffs’ leadership skills, qualities and performance (Swansoon, 1994). The program is aimed at providing practical ideas and innovations concerning management issues that are so critical. The professionals that are at mid-level are the ones who have been aimed at in this organisation. Employees need to be efficient and effective in their leadership in order for them to be able to provide quality services to the other employees. The program covers the entire management skills required of a leader in an organisation. A good manager is one who keeps on training in order to learn new ideas and skills so that he/she can keep in touch with the changing technology and minds.
The results from this program compares with the democratic leadership style. Here, the members of are trained on how to work hand in hand with the other employees with the aim of empowering them so that they are able to participate fully in decision making processes in the organisation. It is imperative that workers take part in decision making in order to enhance their performance thus improving their morale (Nichani, 2003). From the discussion, it is clear that this type of leadership program draws to the theory of improving leadership skills.
This organisation has put in place a program that is only meant for the its senior most management. The Chief Executive Officer and his retinue of colleagues are the only ones benefiting from the program. It is a program aimed at imparting new ideas and management skills to the managers (Nikolava, 1998). This then has to be passed down to the other junior members of staff but in a different way from that of organisation A. The staff is meant to learn from the topmost managers. This program has a problem because the staff has no direct access to the new leadership skills and qualities that are taught in the program. It therefore compares to the Authoritative Leadership style. The members of staff in this organisation are not given the opportunity to make decisions in as far as the organisation is concerned.
This type of leadership program does not draw to the theory of improving leadership skills. Leadership programs are supposed to improve leadership skills of the members of staff in order to make service provision efficient and effective.
From the discussion, it is clear that leaders can use any of the leadership styles discussed in the paper and in some cases, they can use all of them. It all depends with the situation at hand. However, any leadership style used should be to the advantage of the employer and the employees for a smooth running of the organisation (Eisenhardt, 1994). Leadership programs should be incorporated in many organisations in order to enhance and impart leadership skills to their members of staff.
Comparing the three types of Leadership styles, it is obvious that the Autocratic type of leadership is not the best for a majority of organisations. Employees need to be given the chance to participate in some of the organisation’s decision making forums in order for them to feel part of the team thus enhancing performance. No employee in any organisation want to feel left out of the equation. For any organisation to prosper, should have an all inclusive type of structure, comprising of top management, mid-level management and the bottom management.
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