Leadership theories refer to the approach that a manager adopts to exercise authority in the workplace and direct staff towards meeting the organizational mandate as outlined in their job descriptions (Foti). It is the way that a manager resorts to discharge all the total responsibilities that entail management and leadership. Leadership theories have just recently been advanced and well understood.
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Earlier literature that is available attempted to identify and classify leadership theories focused on personality aspects that defined leaders and defined followers. It was not until 1939 when Kurt Lewin, as the lead researcher, provided a well documented and thorough research of leadership theories at the time in a study that formed the first framework and reference of future studies in leadership theories and styles (Clemen). The results and findings of the research were published in the U.S Army Handbook.
The currently available literature on leadership theories in the modern organization context is still varied in terms of the number of central leadership theories. In the journal of Harvard Business Review, Schmidt and Tannenbaum have summarized the four common leadership theories that can be identified in modern organizational leaders as autocratic, democratic, laissez-faire, and bureaucratic (2008).
Based on the results from the Myers-Briggs mini version test, which portrayed me as an INTP, the profile for INTP personality is described by this test as the “thinker” (Myers-Briggs.com). People with my personality portrait are described as mostly introvert who hate routine tasks and implement tasks. It is probably why INTP persons are unable to make good leaders because leadership also comes with administration responsibilities.
They are regarded as people who don’t “like to lead or control people” (Myers-Briggs.com). Foremost I concur mostly with the conclusion arrived by the Myer-Briggs test on my personality since I find it accurate most of the time regarding the way I am inclined to behave and act generally. It is also a fact that I am not generally a good leader, and I believe my leadership style tends to lean heavily on laissez-faire style. This is because I am not a talented leader or, in that case, a natural leader, and I mostly find myself acting the leadership role as a figurehead rather than leading practically through example and guidance.
My current position is as a regional manager of a reputable electronic product with a global distribution network; this role has provided me with skills and experience essential in influential leadership positions in any other capacity. As a manager, my core responsibilities requires making informed decisions on the choice of electronic products that the regional stores should have, coming up with product pricing, utilizing the available shelf space assigned by our distributors without compromising on an impressive display, and be able to attain sales and profit targets for the region. As a manager, the core responsibility is to ensure that employees under my department’s efforts are coordinated and work as a team towards achieving similar objectives.
Leissez-Faire is a French word that loosely translated describes lack of interest, and rightly so because, in this case, a leader is almost detached away from the intricacies of organization and employee management (Foti). Because I cannot micromanage employees as a leader, I provide them with much leeway in the way that they wish to use their best judgment and achieve individual or teamwork requirements, meet targets, and work deadline on their own.
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As a leader, I realize I hardly ever supervise employees or follow up on their progress but rely on internal organizational systems to do this for me. For this reason, I find it easier managing personnel who are generally qualified and skilled in their areas of expertise since they can be expected to work on their own without a need for constant direction on work procedures and who are also mature enough to achieve self-motivation (Tannenbaum and Schmidt). I also find my leadership style similar to the democratic style to some extent, probably because it is hard for any person to subscribe entirely to anyone’s definition of leadership style.
Democratic leadership style, which is also referred to as a participative style, is a leadership style that strives to involve employees in organizational management and decision making as much as possible (Foti). I believe I am democratic in my leadership style because as a leader, I think employees are more informed in some instances than their leaders and can therefore provide valuable insight that can enable informed decisions at the management level, which is the reason that I make sure to involve them in most management decisions.
I have also found that applying employees in management decisions makes them feel important and appreciated at the workplace and are therefore very motivated. Because I cannot micromanage employees, I tend to use this approach because it ensures employees are empowered to find solutions to challenging problems at the workplace by themselves without my direction. This leadership style also serves to impart their skills in their routine job requirements besides grooming them towards their next career levels within the organization.
I find this leadership style to be most appropriate because it promotes job satisfaction and rewards hard work and employee achievements, which are necessary factors in preparing and motivating employees to achieve career growth and improve their skills. Therefore, as a leader, I strive to directly involve employees towards shaping their future within the organization rather than expecting to be guided throughout by myself as their regional manager.
Since democratic style is very much similar to the laissez-faire leadership style, I prefer to work with experienced and competent personnel that can be relied on to make an accurate decision during their routine work procedures. This way, I am not worried about the possibility of employees working under me to make costly mistakes that might be disastrous to the organization.
To do this effectively, among other responsibilities, require that I possess skills in people management, a high level of planning and attention to details, organization techniques, personal integrity, human resource management, and dedication, which I believe are some of my best strengths. As a manager, I am required to make unbiased decisions daily that could result in monetary loss to the company in the face of other competing interests. This ability and skills have enabled me to effectively head and run the organization competently despite my limitation in some aspects of the ideal leadership style.
As a leader, I strive to have a high level of integrity and practice fairness and justice in all decisions that I undertake at the organization. I also have an undying commitment to my work responsibilities and a burning desire to achieve change through teamwork, which I believe is best achieved when employees are given room to exercise their creativity instead of tying them down with bureaucratic organizational procedures.
As a leader, I can make tough decisions with constraints of limited information and time pressure with the accuracy required to save any company adverse outcome of the consequences of the decision. This is a habit that I have achieved out of many years of leadership and through intuition.
Finally, as a leader, I can think and make contingency plans strategically. My job responsibilities require that I routinely make risky decisions that are very appealing financially but whose flipside is an equally substantial financial loss; however, I only tend to take calculated risks. As a leader, I strategically analyze all the variables of a decision that include several contingency plans and exit plans. Hence, what would appear as a risky decision for an average manager turns out to be an outcome that is well monitored in a tightly controlled environment for me and, therefore, less likely to lead to massive financial loss.
This is a skill that I have refined over the many years that I have been managing this regional office. These characteristics and strengths have enabled me to achieve an impressive career and continue meeting targets on time.
Clemen, R. Making Hard Decisions: An Introduction to Decision Analysis. Washington, DC: Duxbury Press, 1996. Print.
Foti Hauenstein. Pattern and Variable Approaches in Leadership Emergence and Effectiveness. New York: Gulliford Press, 2007. Print.
Myers-Briggs.com. Portrait of an INTP; the Thinker, 2010. Web.
Tannenbaum, R. & Schmidt, W. How to Choose a leadership Pattern, 2008. Web.