Leadership is one of the most important concepts in organizational behavior study because it determines the main approaches of management and performance. There are numerous theories of leadership which describe the process of leading, controlling and motivating others. Each theory has its unique value as it describes personal qualities and skills of leaders applied to different situations. The purpose of the essay is to describe the main models of leadership and their main characteristics, analysis strengths and weaknesses of each model and evaluate the best model for the army commander.
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Definitions of Leadership
Effective leaders put the goal first, subordinating themselves to it. Otherwise they act for personal aggrandizement, in the belief that this furthers the cause, and risk becoming self-centered and vain. The goal must come first, The task of the transformational leader is to develop the capabilities and talents of each team member. It is the ability to meld the strengths of each member so that he or she can contribute to the team’s goal. That means building on what people are–not changing them, but starting with their strong points. Using a person’s strengths translates energy into performance. The leader taps each team member’s talents and directs the energy to the task to be done. “Leadership processes are directed at defining, establishing, identifying, or translating this direction for their followers and facilitating or enabling the organizational processes that should result in the achievement of this purpose” (Zaccaro and Klimoski, 2001: 6-7). The leadership task combines individual contributions into a composite that becomes a whole team effort. On an effective team, the leadership function progresses according to the logic of the task and the work to be done. Fulton and Maddock (1998) state: “’The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those off other people, for motivating and energizing ourselves and others and for managing emotions effectively, in ourselves and in our relationships” (p.2). The leadership function is not so much one of leading but rather of deciding which team member has the relevant information and, thereby, the authority for decision making. Deciding who has the information may be obvious, or the team may need to discuss the subject. Leadership then shifts to the team member who has the most relevant information or the particular skill and competence. Hoyle and Wilmore (2002) explain that person leads the team through that issue or phase of the project. In other words, the formal leader is not necessarily in charge all the time or on every task. They define leadership as: “interpersonal influence, exercised in situation and directed, through the communication process, toward the attainment of a specified goal or goals” (Hoyle and Wilmore, 2002, p. 54). Performance problem solving focuses objectively on substantive issues, identifies them, defines them, deals with them and solves them; problem solving is not a process of smoothing over or avoiding conflict but rather involves looking for constructive solutions. It is a time for positive forward-looking solutions, not backward-looking fault finding (Barker, 2001).
The common characteristics of all definitions are that they see leadership as a management function based on unique characteristics of a personality. The best definition of leadership is proposed by Hoyle and Wilmore (2002). This collaborative approach to conflict resolution moves a team toward a search for the best response to internal problems Many interpersonal problems can be avoided in the team process by acknowledging that self-discipline and a healthy personality–one capable of withstanding ambiguity and criticism–are required for effective team action. The ground rules should be established up front. Teamwork means that members support the strengths and neutralize the weaknesses of other team members (Charan et al 2001).
The main models of leadership selected for analysis are transactional, situational, transformational and participative
This model is based on the principle that employees are motivated by rewards and punishments. Bad times are a time to focus on the issue at hand, but once the issue has been resolved, the focus is on lessons learned and how the team can perform better in the future. Once the team has worked through the bad times, the team process should be directed to problems that will otherwise fester and become destructive. There are conflict resolution skills for teams that involve civilized disagreement without denial, smoothing over, or the arbitrary use of power by the leader. As Parker noted, effective teams are confident and secure enough to want to express differences. The advantage of this theory is that it allows leaders to control behavior of people and improve the situations at a short period of time. The weakness of this theory is low motivation of employees and lack of initiatives (Zaccaro and Klimoski 2001). The examples of this model are Henry Ford and Sir Alex Ferguson, the coach of Manchester United.
This model is based on Hersey and Blanchard’s approach to leadership. The strengths of this theory is that leaders adopt their behavior and styles to the situations. Team members use communication and listening skills to ensure that all points surface, realizing that diversity is a strength of the team process. result, team members find support in their efforts to articulate their ideas in a positive and constructive manner. They do so by criticizing in private and praising in public. Team members cover for each other when an assignment is missed. They always look for more effective ways to work toward the goal and accomplish the task. In this way, they become a cohesive unit. Interpersonal skills are also improved when there is trust. While teams have high expectations for task accomplishment, they give room for individual differences and personality idiosyncrasies. The weakness of this model is that it does not allow leaders to create long-term commitment and motivate employees (Segriovanni and Glickman 2006). The example of this model are Anita Roddick and Mr. Carlos Ghosn, the CEO of the Renault-Nissan Corporation.
This model implies that a leader is involved in all decision-making processes and becomes a part of the team. The average team cannot afford consultant fees, nor is it prepared to deal with deep seated personality conflicts. The attempt drains energy, diverts concentration, and is often self-defeating. Too much introspection can devastate a team. Each team member contributes something unique to the chemistry of the team, and team chemistry alters any time there is a change in team composition. When even one team member is replaced, the chemistry of the team will change completely. The complex web of interpersonal relationships must be renegotiated, or else gaps in the team structure will occur and important issues will be overlooked. Rather than attempt to influence interpersonal relationships directly, a team can be more productive by focusing on the task to be done. The leader’s task is to develop the new member’s strengths and neutralize his or her weaknesses by focusing on task performance. The team then will reestablish its balance by working in harmony toward the goal. This is not to infer that no time should be spent on people problems or interpersonal skills. The weakness of this model is that it prevents employees from self-management and independent thinking. Employees are used to follow leader’s decisions and become passive and inactive in problem-solving situations (Schien, 1996). The example of this model is Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the prime minister of Dubai and Hujio Cho (chairman of Toyota)
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This model is based on the principle that employees dollops their leader who motivates them. This model allows leaders control others, leaders need to exhibit self-control (but remembering that anger/sadness can be legitimate responses if the circumstances warrant it and are themselves mechanisms for control), to have good control systems (simple and effective to monitor financial and task performance) and to have control of what it is that others should and should not be doing in order to meet objectives. The strengths of this model is that a leader motivates and inspires employees. A transformational leader has a unique vision and personal opinion but he/she takes into account the situations and employee relations. A good leader provides the right climate and the opportunities for these needs to be met on an individual basis and this is perhaps the most difficult of a leader’s challenges. Leaders must also inspire others. Organizations should ensure that they have a policy of developing the leadership potential in all and particularly of newly appointed ‘leaders’! Individuals should also ensure that they focus on developing their leadership skills by training, reading, analyzing and following the example of good leaders and by assessing, monitoring and improving their own performance (Read 2001). The examples of this model are Steve Jobs of Apple and Michael Dell of Dell.
The best model for the army commander is a transformational leadership model. This model involves such issues as influence, inspirational motivation and individualized considerations. Military leadership should have both personal and organizational dimensions, the former concerned with the leader’s influence over individuals and groups and the latter with the leadership of organizations. The two are interrelated, for leadership influences the activities and effectiveness of organizations through setting goals and providing direction and motivation. Also, a leader must know the psychological needs of his people as well as the organizational requirements and technical aspects of marketing. He needs “the ability to understand and appraise situations involving areas in which he is not an expert and he must have the ability to get things done through people who usually know more than he does in their own field. Army facilitates getting things done through others. The success of a leader will be measured by the performance of the organization under his authority. It has been said that an organization is merely the lengthened shadow of its leader and that the top executive, in fact, personifies the business. Leadership suggests vision. It grows out of the ability to innovate and overcome the limitations of traditional patterns and methods (Read 2001). Good leadership requires the acceptance of risk, the adjustment to new situations, and the recognition of opportunity. In the army, leadership is concerned with the determination of basic and fundamental corporate values and is reflected in the kinds of marketing strategies chosen and decisions made. Marketing executives can only be effective through other people, for decisions are valueless until someone does something about them. Through good leadership, organization should help human corporate resources reach high levels of accomplishment.
- Barker, R.A. 2001, The nature of leadership Human Relations. 54 (4), 469
- Boehnke, K., Bontis, N. 2003, Transformational leadership: An examination of cross- national differences and similarities. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. 24 (1/2), 5.
- Charan, R., Drotter, S., Noel, J., 2001, he Leadership Pipeline How to Build The Leadership-Powered Company, Jossey Bass: San Francisco.
- Fulton, R. L., Maddock, R. C. 1998, Motivation, Emotions, and Leadership: The Silent Side of Management. Quorum Books.
- Hoyle, J.R., Wilmore, E.L. 2002, Principal Leadership: Applying the New Educational Leadership Constituent Council (Elcc) Standards. Corwin Press.
- Reed A. 2001, Innovation in Human Resource Management. Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
- Schien, E. H. 1996, Organizational Culture and Leadership. Jossey-Bass.
- Segriovanni, Th., Glickman, K. 2006, Rethinking Leadership: A Collection of Articles. Corwin Press; 2nd edition.
- Zaccaro, S. J., Klimoski, R. J. 2001, The Nature of Organizational Leadership: Understanding the Performance Imperatives Confronting Today’s Leaders. Jossey-Bass.