Leadership: process and organisations
Leadership is vital in any organisation that aspires to achieve its goals. A leader plays a vital role of guiding and directing an organisation towards realizing its objectives. Various theories and opinions have been put forward concerning the concept of leadership and organisation.
I do concur with the idea that not every person has the best quality skills and attributes to lead and that not everyone can become a leader. Leadership is a responsibility that manifests in some people as opposed to others. There are various characteristics that leaders need to have: to make decisive decisions, which includes confidence, good communication skills, conflict solving skills, assertiveness and organisation among others. These skills are either inborn or are learned through real life experiences. This therefore, indicates that leadership is a very long process that has a beginning. Studies have indicated that 24% of leaders inherit their leadership from their parents or family while 60% of these leadership abilities are leaned in the environment. This therefore, shows that both nature and nurture play a significant role in defining a leader (Northouse, 2013). This is attested from the fact that, many of the leaders in various organisations come from families of leaders. Robert (1993) concurs with this evident that indeed one third of leaders are born while two thirds are made. Furthermore, Oscar Wilde (2002) also concurs that experiences that leaders posses is learnt from the real life experiences as opposed to classroom.
Leadership is a matter of possessing the vision and having the zeal to guide the people towards a particular end. In doing this, leaders use various styles. One of the leadership approaches/style is task while the other is relationship. Task oriented leadership is more concerned about accomplishment of task while relationship leadership approach is concerned about creation of positive relationships. In an organisation context, leaders should be able to adapt all these approach. The relationship of the people and stakeholders must be enhanced for the productivity to increase. Furthermore, the tasks or various activities must be done for the organisation to achieve results. The lake and Mouton model developed has five leadership styles including ;authority-compliance, middle of the road management, improved management, team management and country club management. Out of these styles, the most useful and productive style that should be embraced is team management. Leaders should adapt to strategies that place equal emphasize on the production as well as the people. The people are important assets in the operation of an organisation and should be provided with enough resources and attention for them to contribute positively towards the achievement of the organisational goals. Therefore, an all round leaders are important in ensuring that the entity achieves its goals and objectives.
Leadership is a responsibility that requires an individual that has multiplicity of skills and abilities to lead people in various situations. Some of the abilities may be relevant towards certain situations and no applicable to some. Therefore, understanding how to handle each situation is what determines whether a leader is effective or not. A good leader is the one that ensures that objectives are met and that all the processes are running fluently.
Contingency leadership is one important concept in leadership that needs to be given precedent when it comes to the aspects of leading the organisation. A leader should not only understand the behaviors and characteristics of leadership but should also be aware of the situation to provide strategic decision (Roger Gill (2011). Situations that require leadership vary from one to another and this requires exhibition of different behaviors. Contingency theory also known as leader match theory aims at matching leaders to appropriate situations, active leader is the one who fits the leadership style to the context or the situation (Fiedler & Chemers, 1974). In this style of leadership, it is prudent that leaders do understand the style and the situations that the leader leads with. This is very essential because there is no one single style that will be suitable in all the situations (Mullins, 2008). If the followers understand these, it becomes easy for them to adjust to the style of leadership.
The environments under which leaders operate also play a role on the level of effectiveness of leaders. Therefore, some of the factors that should be considered in the contingency model includes: the people, structure, technology, culture and strategy (Blake, & Mouton, 1964). People have different needs, tastes, and preferences and as leaders, acknowledging this fact is important in providing effective leadership (Robbins & Judge, 2006). The structure of an organisation also differs from one entity to another. The way the organisations are structured plays a key role in how goevrneance is carried out as well as on the effectiveness of a leader. As technology advances every day this must be incorporated as the style of leadership changes. Likewise, cultures of people do vary as every organisation has its own cultures and traditions, which requires a different style of leadership. These are therefore, very important aspects for a leader to put into consideration to be able to provide fulfilling leadership. Regardless of whether leaders are using team or relationship motivation style, positive relationships between the leader and colleagues should be maintained. Tasks need to be defined clearly with the structure. The leaders have high authority to govern the entity effectively too. Therefore, leadership based on contingency model is effective and has various strengths such as: it provides enough data useful in development of leadership profiles, is based on research, provides guidelines on how situation affects leadership and gives direction of achieving effective leadership. I on the other hand conquer that the model as lacking in some aspects. One is that it is rigid, as it does not acknowledge the fact that individuals can change their behaviors through training. It is also troublesome in actual work as it fails to inform the leaders on the circumstances they are required to adjust their leadership to achieve the set objectives. Nevertheless, regardless of the situation, it is evident that leaders must be responsive and sensitive when providing leadership because situations and circumstances do vary. What may work in one environment may not total be applicable in another hence the needs to adapt to leadership styles that are appropriate and relevant.
Leadership behaviors are explained by different theories. As leaders, it is vital to understand and to appreciate the followers. Leadership is not always about the leaders but it must also be a concern of the followers. Path-goal theory is one of the best theories I find encouraging and recognizing the subordinates (Vroom, 1964). The theory concerns about ways in which leaders can motivate employees and enhancing the performance to help them achieve their objectives (House, 1996).
Leaders must exhibit various behaviors in their leadership including; directive, supportive, participative and achievement oriented. A leader has the responsibility to provide clear direction on the task, the times the task should be completed and the procedure of completing the tasks. This helps the subordinate to work in an organized manner through planning. A leader is also required to support the subordinate and indicate concern about their welfare; they should be treated with respect honor and humility to help the leader to achieve the set objectives together. Leaders has also a responsibility to ensure that subordinates take part in the decision making process. This allows them to raise their opinions and ideas and it motivates and makes them valued in the organisation. Leaders have also the responsibility to encourage their subordinate to perform higher. They should be encouraged that they are achiever and as well work closely with the followers to equip them with more skills to improve their level of knowledge to be in a better position to handle the changes in the organisation.
Followers are important part of leadership and leaders must find amiable ways to motivate them and to accommodate them in leadership. When these followers feel that they are involved in the running of the entity they provide good cooperation and this allows the leaders to provide better leadership. Such environments record growth because of the cooperation and the unity that is cultivated (Northouse, 2001). A leader in a given environment is: a coach, mentor, and ensures that the followers are also confident and benefiting from the leadership. Therefore, leadership, in an organisation that adopts goal path theory it can be forthcoming and advantageous in enhancing positive relationship in an organisation. It is practical kind of leadership that not only helps the organisation to meet its goals but also to stand out amongst others in empowering and appreciating employees or the subordinates.
In conclusion, leadership is essential in almost every facet of our lives. As a people, we require a person that can provide us with direction and guidance. We understand and appreciate that not all of us can become leaders. Leaders therefore have the responsibility of ensuring that they remain visionary and focused in their leadership. Various theories have been postulated on leadership such as contingency models and path goal theories that provide valuable guidance in providing leadership.The fact that situations vary; it become important for leaders to adapt to relevant leadership styles that helps in the achievement of the organisational goals. Leaders must also appreciate their followers and give them enough attention. Followers must be motivated and supported by the leaders to achieve positive performance. Therefore, leadership is supposed to be based on symbiotic or mutual relationships in which both the leader and the followers work very hard to ensure that it succeeds to benefit all of them. Understanding ones responsibility is also important in leader follower relationship. Leaders are therefore not to mistreat and misuse people but are an important element in helping followers achieve their goals and dreams. Therefore, it requires people that are confident, assertive and with a clear vision.
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House, R. J. (1996). Path-goal theory of leadership: Lessons, legacy, and a reformulated theory. Leadership Quarterly, 7(3), 323-352.
Mullins, L.J. (2008), Essentials of Organisational Behavior, (2th ed.) Pearson: Education Limited
Robbins, S. P. & Judge, T. A. (2006) Organisational Behavior, 12th Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Robert W. Terry (1993), Authentic Leadership: Courage in Action. San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass, 11
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Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and Practice (6thed.) SAGE Publications, Inc.
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