Thursday, 22 December 2011

12: Leadership

The ability to lead effectively is one of the keys to being an effective manager. The essence of leadership is followership. People tend to follow those whom they see as providing a means of achieving their own desires, wants and needs. Leadership and motivation are closely interconnected. By understanding motivation, one can appreciate better what people want and why they act as they do.

Defining Leadership

Leadership is defined as influence, that is, the art or process of influencing people so that they will strive willingly and enthusiastically toward the achievement of group goals. Ideally, people should be encouraged to develop not only willingness to work but also willingness to work with zeal and confidence.

Ingredient of Leadership

Leaders must instill values—whether they must be concern for quality, honesty and calculated risk taking or concern for employee or customers. Leadership skill seems to be a compound of at least four major ingredients: the ability to use power effectively and in responsible manner, the ability to comprehend that human being have different motivation forces at different time and different situations, the ability to inspire and ability to act in manner that will develop a climate conducive to responding to and arousing motivations.

Power and Understanding People
The first ingredient of leadership is power. The second ingredient of leadership is a fundamental understanding of people. As in all other practices, it is one thing to know motivation theory, kinds of motivating forces, and the nature of system of motivation but another thing to be able to apply this knowledge to people and situations. Manager must aware of the nature and strength of human needs and is better able to define and design ways of satisfying them and to administer so as to get the desired responses.

Inspiring Followers
Third ingredient of leadership is the rare ability to inspire followers to apply their full capabilities to a project. While the use of motivators seems to center on subordinates and their needs, inspiration also comes from group heads. They may have quality of charm and appeal that give rise to loyalty, devotion, and strong desire on the part of followers to promote what the leaders want. This is not a matter of need satisfaction; it is rather, a matter of people giving unselfish support to a chosen champion. The best examples of inspirational leadership come from hopeless and frightening situations.

Style of the Leader 
The fourth ingredient of leadership has to do with the style of the leader and the climate he or she develops. Strength of motivation greatly depends on expectancies, perceived rewards, the amount of effort believed to be required, the task to be done, and other factors which are part of an environment, as well as on organizational climate.

Relationship with the boss
Effective managers must develop a healthy relationship with their boss. Manager must understand the boss’s goals and pressures and give attention to his or her concerns.

Principle of Leadership
Principle of Leadership is: Since people tend to follow those who in their view, offer them a means of satisfying their own personal goals, the more managers understand what motivates their subordinates and how these motivations operate, and the more they reflect this understanding in carrying out their managerial actions, the more effective they are likely to be as leaders.

Trait Approaches to Leadership

Prior to 1949, studies of leadership were based largely on an attempt to identify the traits that leaders posses. Starting with the “great man” theory that leaders are born and not made, tried to identify physical, mental and personality traits of various leaders. The “great man” theory lost much of its acceptability with the rise of the behaviorist school of psychology. Specific traits related to leadership ability: physical traits (energy, appearance, height, etc.), intelligence, ability and personality, task related characteristics, social characteristics. Not all the leaders possess all the traits, and many nonleaders may posses most or all of them.

Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leaders may have certain characteristics such as being self-confident, having strong convictions, articulating a vision, are able to initiating change, communicating high exceptions, having a need to influence followers and supporting them, demonstrating enthusiasm and excitement and are in touch with reality.

Leadership Behavior and Styles

There are several theories on leadership behavior and styles.

Styles Based on Use of Authority
The autocratic leader commands and expects compliance, is dogmatic and positive and leads by the ability to withhold or give rewards and punishment. The democratic or participative leader consults with subordinates on proposed actions and decisions and encourages participation from them. This type of leaders ranges from the person who does not take action without subordinates’ concurrence to the one who makes decisions but consults with subordinates before doing so. The free-rein leaders use his or her power very little, if at all, giving subordinates a high degree of independence in their operations. Such leaders depend largely on subordinates to set their own goals and the means of achieving them. There are variations within this simple classification of leadership styles. Some autocratic leaders are seen as “behavioral autocrats”. Although they listen considerately to their followers’ opinions before making a decision, the decision is their own. The use of any style will depend on the situation. A manager may be highly autocratic in an emergency; e.g. fire chief or managers may also be autocratic when they alone have the answers to certain questions. Furthermore, manger deleing with a group of research scientists may give them free rein in developing their inquires and experiments.

Do Women Lead Differently?
One study found that, women see leadership as changing the self-interest of followers into concern for the total enterprise by using interpersonal skills and personal traits to motivate subordinates. Men in contrast, are more likely to see leadership as a sequence of transactions with their subordinates.

The Managerial Grid
Managerial concern for both production and for people is devised by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in the form of Managerial Grid.

The Grid Dimensions
The grid has two dimensions: concern for people and concern for production. “Concern for” is meant to convey “how” managers are concerned about production or “how” they are concerned about people, and not such things as “how much”. “Concern for production” includes the attitude of a supervisor towards a wide variety of things, such as quality of policy decisions, procedures and process, creativeness of research, quality of staff services, work efficiency and volume of output. “Concern for people” includes degree of personal commitment towards goal achievement, maintenance of the self esteem of workers, placement of responsibility of the basis of trust rather than obedience, good working conditions.

The Four Extreme Styles
Under the 1.1 style (referred to as “impoverished management”), managers concern themselves very little with either people or production and have minimum involvement in their jobs. At the other extreme are the 9.9 managers, who display in their actions the highest possible dedication both to people and to production. They are the real “team mangers”, who are able to mesh the production needs of the enterprise with the needs of individuals. Another style is 1.9 management (called “country club management”) in which managers have little or no concern for production but are concerned only for people. At other extreme are the 9.1 managers (referred to as “autocratic task managers”), who are concerned only with developing an efficient operation, who have little or no concern for people, and who are quite autocratic in their style of leadership. Clearly 5.5 managers have medium concern for production and for people. They obtain adequate, but not outstanding, moral and production. The managerial grid is a useful device for identifying and classifying managerial styles, but it does not tell us why a manger falls into one part or another.

Leadership as a Continuum
Leadership Continuum concept is developed by Robert Tennenbaum and Warren Schmidt. They see leadership as involving a variety of styles, ranging from one that is highly boss-centered to one that is highly subordinate-centered. The styles vary with the degree of freedom a leader or manger grants to subordinates. The continuum theory recognizes that the style of leadership depends on the leader, the followers, and the situation. The most important elements that may influence a manager’s style can be seen as forces operating in the manger’s personality, including his or her value system, confidence in subordinates, the forces in subordinates (such as their willingness to assume responsibility, their knowledge and experience and their tolerance for ambiguity) that will affect manager’s behavior; and forces in the situation, such as organization value and traditions, the effectiveness of subordinate working as unit, the nature of a problem and the feasibility of safely delegating the authority to handle it and the pressure of time.

Situational or Contingency Approaches to Leadership

As disillusionment with the “great man” and trait approaches to understanding leadership increases, attention turned to the study of situations and the belief that leaders are the product of given situations. It supports the follower theory that people tend to follow those whom they perceive (accurately or inaccurately) as offering them a means of accomplishing their own personal desires. The leader, then, is the person who recognizes these desires and does those things, or undertakes those programs designed to meet them.

Fiedler’s Contingency Approach to Leadership
Contingency theory of leadership holds that people become leaders not only because of the attributes of their personalities but also because of various situational factors and the interactions between leaders and group members.

Critical Dimensions of the Leadership Situation
Three critical dimensions of the leadership situations that help determine what style of leadership will be most effective:
1. Position Power: In the case of managers this is the power arising from organizational authority. Leaders with clear an considerable position power can obtain good followership more easily than one without such power.
2. Task Structure: If tasks are clear, the quality of performance can be more easily controlled and group members can be held more responsible for performance.
3. Leader-member relationship: Since position power and task structure may be largely under the control of an enterprise. It has to do with the extent to which group members like and trust a leader and are willing to follow what leader.

Leadership Style
There are two major styles of leadership, task oriented where leader gain satisfaction from seeing tasks performed and the other is oriented towards good interpersonal relations and attaining a position of personal prominence. To measure leadership style and determine whether a leader is chiefly task oriented, Fiedler used an unusual testing techniques. He based his findings on two types sources: source on the least preferred co-worker (LPC) scale—these are ratings made by people in a group as to those with whom they would least like to work; and score on the assumed similarity between opposite scale(ASO) scale, which are rating based on the degree to which leaders see group members as being like themselves, on the assumption that people will like best, and work best with. Fiedler found that people who rated their coworkers high (that is, favorable terms) were those who derived major satisfaction from successful interpersonal relationships. People who rated their “least preferred coworkers” low (that is, unfavorable terms) were seen as deriving their major satisfaction from task performance.
Leadership performance depends as much on the organization as it depends on the leader’s own attributes. Except perhaps for the unusual case, it is simply not meaningful to speak of an effective leader or an ineffective leader; we can only speak of a leader who tends to be effective in one situation and ineffective in another. If we wish to increase organizational and group effectiveness, we must learn not only how to train leaders more effectively but also how to build an organizational environment in which the leader can perform well.
In “unfavorable” or “favorable” situations the task oriented leader would be the most effective. Favorableness of situation was defined by Fiedler as the degree to which a given situation enables a leader to exert influence over a group. In other words, when leader position power is weak, the task structure is unclear, and leader-member relations are moderately poor, the situation is unfavorable for the leader and the most effective leader will be one who is task-oriented. At the another extreme, in which position power is strong, the task structure is clear, and leader-member relations are good—a favorable situation for the leader—Fiedler found that the task oriented leader will also be most effective. However, if the situation is only moderately unfavorable or favorable, the human relations-oriented leader will be most effective.
In a highly structured situation, such as in the military during a war, where the leader has strong position power and good relations with members, there is a favorable situation in which task orientation is most appropriate. The other extreme, an unfavorable situation with moderately poor relations, and an unstructured task, and weak position power, also suggest task orientation by the leader, who may reduce anxiety or ambiguity that could be created by the loosely structure situation. Between the two extremes the suggested approach emphasizes cooperation and good relations with people.

Fiedler’s Research and Management
There is nothing automatic or “good” in either the task-oriented or the people-satisfaction-oriented style. Cast in the desired role of leaders, managers who apply knowledge to the realities of the group reporting to them will do well to recognize that they are practicing an art. But in doing so, they will necessarily take into account the motivations to which people will respond and their ability to satisfy them in the interest of attaining enterprise goals. It is important to recognize that effective leadership is depends on the situation.

The Path-Goal Approach to Leadership Effectiveness
The Path-Goal theory suggests that the main function of the leader is to clarify and set goals with subordinates, help them find the best path for achieving the goals and remove obstacles. The theory proposes that situational factors contributing to effective leadership should be considered. These factors include characteristics of subordinates, such as their needs, self-confidence, and abilities and the work environment, including such components as the task, the reward system and the relationship with co-workers.
The theory categorizes leader behavior into four groups
1. Supportive leadership behavior gives consideration to the needs of subordinates, shows a concern for their well-being, and creates a pleasant organizational climate. It has greatest impact on subordinate’s performance when they are frustrated and dissatisfied.
2. Participative leadership allows subordinates to influence the decision of their superiors and can result in increased motivation.
3. Instrumental leadership gives subordinates rather specific guidance and clarifies what is expected of them; this include aspects of planning g, organizing, coordinating and controlling by the leader.
4. Achievement-oriented leadership involves setting challenging goals, seeking improvement of performance and having confidence that subordinates will achieve high goals.

Rather than suggesting that there is one best way to lead, this theory suggests that the appropriate style depends on the situation. The theory proposes that the behavior of the leader is acceptable and satisfies subordinates to the extent that they see it as source for their satisfaction. Behavior of the leader increases the effort of subordinates, that is, it is motivating, in so far as this behavior makes satisfaction of the needs of subordinates dependant on effective performance and the behavior enhances the subordinate’s environment through coaching, directing, supporting and rewarding. The key to the theory is that the leader influences the path between behavior and goals. The leader can do this by defining positions and task roles by removing obstacles to performance by enlisting the assistance of group embers in setting goals by performing group cohesiveness and team effort. The path-goal theory makes a great deal of sense to the practicing manager.

Transactional and Transformational Leadership

Transactional leaders identify what subordinates need to do to achieve objectives, clarify organizational roles and tasks, set up an organizational structure, reward performance, and are considerate for the social needs of its followers. Transformational Leaders articulate a vision and inspire followers. They also have the capacity to motivate, shape the organizational culture, and create a climate favorable for the organizational change.

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