Types of Leadership Styles
Leadership styles refer to the technique and system of giving directions, implementing changes, and motivating followers. The great researcher Kurt Lewin led a team of researchers who came up with different leadership styles. Back then, the identified leadership styles were autocratic, participative, bureaucratic, and laissez-fair, Stanfield (2009, p. 49). However, with more consideration and critical analysis, it is now universally agreeable that successful leaders require paying much attention towards enhancing the nature and quality of their followers. In light of this, two major leadership styles come up, Ricketson (2008, p. 18).
First, there is the transactional leadership style. This style of leadership requires a clear line between leaders and followers. Leaders administering this type of leadership focus a lot on exchanging transactions or benefits with their subordinates. Transactional leadership style lays emphasis on punishments and rewards as the key motivational aspects to people, Sanders (2013). A leader who uses the transactional leadership style believes that it is the promise of a good reward that enables and pushes followers into achieving their maximum potential.
Secondly, there is the transformational leadership style. This is a leadership style where leaders consider themselves social engineers in the course of their daily work. In so doing, they aim to make changes and improvements in particular individuals as well as in greater social systems. The transformational leadership style encourages leaders to assess the strengths and weaknesses of their followers and using the information they get, they are able to assist them in achieving their best. Transformational leadership style also helps leaders to identify and associate with their followers thus deriving inspiration from the interactions between them.
The Importance of a Leadership Style in Achieving Organizational Objectives
In the field of organizational behavior, leadership counts as one of the important aspects governing the way in which organizational objectives get implemented. In light of this, leadership styles produce the most dynamic effects during the interaction between the individual and the organization. This means that the ability of management to execute a collaborative effort towards meeting the organizational goals depends much on the leadership style in application. Each leadership style has a different and unique way of guiding a group towards achieving the common organizational target. Proper application of a leadership style improves the excellence of a leader to not only inspiring the subordinate’s potential and efficiency but also meeting their requirements in the due process of achieving organizational objectives, writes Obiwuru, Okwu, Akpa, & Nwankwere (2011, p. 101).
Several reasons drive towards indicating the importance of a relationship between a leadership style and organizational performance. To start with, today’s world incorporates intensive and dynamic market features characterized by innovation and competition, performance rivalry, and decreasing returns. In this respect, a leadership style suggests the important behaviors necessary to facilitate the improvement of performance as organizations strive to meet their objectives. On the other hand, the organizational objectives include improved organizational excellence and improved performance. Organizational performance is necessary in viewing how an organization is doing internally and in relation with other organizations in the same industry. A leadership style affects the organizational performance since leadership is one of the key driving forces for improving a firm’s performance, which includes meeting all the organizational objectives. In essence, effective leadership surfaces as potent source of management development providing competitive advantage necessary to boost the attainment of organizational objectives, Obiwuru, Okwu, Akpa, & Nwankwere (2011, p. 102). For example, the transactional leadership style helps an organization to achieve its objectives through linking job performances to valued rewards and ensuring that the employees have the necessary resources vital for doing that job.
Situational Variables Influencing the Choice of a Leadership Style
Different leaders adopt different leadership styles with respect to the different situations influencing the efficiency of an organization in accomplishing its goals as well as maintaining a positive performance. The choice of a leadership style for any situation consists of incorporating the specific behavior patterns subject to dealing with the organization members. In light of this, there are certain variables that guide leaders on applying the best leadership style with respect to various situations. One of the variables is the leader’s personality. Most leaders tend to adopt a particular style applicable in all situations. It is difficult for leaders to play all roles. This means that choosing between transactional or transformational leadership styles depends personal traits of a leader such as naturally jovial or friendly mood.
Another variable is the maturity of the group following the leader’s directions. It is in order to understand that individuals move through stages of development from full dependence to partial dependence and finally to independence, Sharpe (2010). During full dependency, a leader is required for guidance since members are unsure of their roles. In this case, transformational style is applicable. However, when the individuals are fully aware of their roles in the organization, the transactional style can to boost their productivity.
Time availability is the next variable. Time available for decision-making directs on the type of leadership style to adopt. If it is long, transformational style fits since it mostly dwells on the leader’s ideas. If it is short, the transaction style can apply since involving the followers’ contribution does not affect the period of operations execution.
The power bestowed upon a leader also contributes to the adoption of different leadership styles. Too much power leads to transactional leadership since the leader’s roles are overly distinctive. On the other hand, when a leader’s powers are relatively low, transformational leadership style assists in accomplishing organizational goals in a better way.
Positive organizational performance, which includes achieving all the organization objectives stipulated in both the organization’s mission and vision statements, depends on a number of factors. One of these very important factors is leadership. As analyzed starting from its close relationship with management, through the ingredients of effective leadership, and finally in the different types of available leadership styles, it is clearly visible that leadership plays a very important role in facilitating the success of all functions of an organization, especially those leading to the attainment and improvement of organization objectives.
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