It can be assumed that effective leadership implies the presence of a variety of skills in management, which will allow it to promote and encourage the active participation of employees in the work processes. Nevertheless, the importance of effective followership should not be underestimated since it is the workforce that brings the corporate mission and vision to life. The purpose of this paper is to analyze two different leaders who have opposing leadership styles and to assess which style contributed to the followership more effectively.
The first leader is Mr. Alex Smith who is the current senior manager in the company I used to work part-time. He is an example of a leader that interchanges his management style according to the current staff needs and the objectives set to meet the corporate goals. During my work in the company, he would shift from affiliative style to pacesetting and then use authority when the team lacked motivation or would use referent power to drive the team through his own experience (Goleman, 2000). The second leader is Mr. Jack Jones who is an executive manager. I used to work under his superintendence right after Mr. Smith’s supervision; thus, I was able to compare vividly how differently managers can act to achieve goals. It should be noted that Mr. Jones is a coercive leader mostly and he has preferred to stand aside from teams to encourage strict subordination in the company.
These two leaders were chosen because one of them is believed to apply the contingency approach to management while another individual preferred remaining in the same position and did not comprehend the need and efficiency of interchanging different styles to achieve joint goals. According to Bjugstad, Thach, Thompson, and Morris (2006), “to increase follower motivation, a company needs to create a results-oriented environment with genuine concern for its followers and provide performance-related feedback” (p. 306). It should be stated that Mr. Smith promoted followership motivation through different triggers and stimuli while Mr. Jones resorted to the coercive type of power mostly, which has resulted in a team of alienated followers.
The staff worked as a unit that did not cooperate closely with the leadership and did not participate directly in decision-making. Whereas, in the case of the first leader, the team felt empowered and everyone was an active participant in all the working processes. This approach towards management has contributed greatly to employee motivation and dedication and enabled retaining the workers better while high employee turnover was characteristic of the company where Mr. Jones was the executive (Bjugstad et al., 2006). Therefore, it can be concluded that by comparing the two styles, it was rather easy to see the distinct differences in results, which were the direct consequences of leadership approaches.
Consistency with Contingency Theory and Effectiveness
It is crucial to emphasize that both leaders have charisma. Nevertheless, Mr. Smith utilized the contingency approach more functionally and reflected on the circumstances better. Significantly, Mr. Smith is effective because he was able to use his personal qualities as well as to react according to the situation in which he was acting. Depending on the conditions of work and the needs of the employees, he would focus either on the task or on the relationships within the unit (Goleman, 2000). This allowed him to monitor the working group and to have an impact on it. In his turn, Mr. Jones was as a rule task-oriented and was rarely focused on relations. This led to a high professional burnout of employees as they worked at maximum capacity and did not feel support or encouragement. Through this approach, he could increase the speed of decision-making to reach company goals. As mentioned above, he generally resorted to coercive power type while Mr. Smith changed those adapting to the current setting simultaneously driving the work relationships within the team (O’Connell, 2016). Thus, he could achieve higher efficiency by improving human relations. In particular, he allowed employees to participate in the elaboration of important decisions, took into account the current moods, and encouraged mutual support. Therefore, it can be stated that the first leader applied the contingency approach to management while the second one did not.
Notably, in both cases discussed above, I as well as the other employees were effective in followership. Nonetheless, the reasons for it were different. In the case of Mr. Smith, the team would follow the leader due to the sense of trust, integrity, and ability to self-management, and empowerment (O’Connell, 2016). Whereas in the case of Mr. Jones, the workers were made to follow through the strong authority of the manager; the team was aware of the consequences and reprimands that would be present if the team did not follow the orders or would execute autonomy in decision-making (Goleman, 2000).
Thus, it can be concluded that leadership requires not only particular traits in people but also the knowledge and expertise in managing others efficiently and skillfully. The two managers discussed throughout the paper represent two opposing leadership styles. Both of them were effective; however, their efficiency was reflected differently; while in one instance, the tasks were accomplished quicker, though, with high-stress levels in people and another instance, it took longer to achieve the outcomes, the staff was retained, and they contributed to the work to a greater extent.
Bjugstad, K., Thach, E. C., Thompson, K. J., & Morris, A. (2006). A fresh look at followership: A model for matching followership and leadership styles. Journal of Behavioral & Applied Management, 7(3), 304–319.
Goleman, D. (2000). Leadership that gets results. Harvard Business Review, 78(2), 78–90.
O’Connell, D. (2016). Leadership styles and improved governance outcomes. Governance Directions, 38(4), 202-206.